Tuesday, February 9, 2010
How to help blind Men see the Elephant?
You carefully describe each part, while you restore their vision of the whole. Douglas Campbell's huge and skillfully developed book, The Deliverance of God, does just that concerning what may be the most monumental confusion to exist in the understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by Paul.
I have finished Chapter 1 of 5, having read and highlighted 216 pages of outlining the problem of the historical and theological development of what he calls, "justification theory".
I can tell you with probably hundreds of odd and painful stories, just how deep and wide this basic confusion is among American evangelicals of all denominations. My own small journey through this situation caused countless small confrontations and separations among those who are supposedly telling an old, old story, of Jesus and his love.
Campbell attempts to show how one huge idea, which is basically bad theology, has been lifted in our conception to the place of deep and foundational truth, and this error has created enormous tensions in our understanding and sharing of the New Covenant of grace.
Is it conditional or unconditional? What is its relationship to the Law of God? What is God's attitude toward unbelievers? Can sinners rationally hear and respond to the truth or are they helpless without God bringing life?
It takes 1000 pages to prepare us to have our blinders removed and to show us that we need to reread Romans 1-8 in light of a number of key conundrums in which part of the elephant is creating a beast of destructive proportions.
One quote which demonstrates the confusion from pg 185, "What is God's attitude toward non Christians? They are under God's just wrath and will be punished in due course with suffering and death and He loves them extravagantly to the point that He is prepared to sacrifice His son in order to save them."
At some point in this last ten years, I quietly slipped over a fence to where I can, with conviction declare the inescapable love of God. I have seen the whole picture of this epic changing good news for the whole world. I have unmasked with the help of others, the false description developed over 16 centuries. It is encouraging beyond words to listen to a scholar take the same path, engaging theological
constructs with a far more comprehensive sweep than my small perspective would allow. The role of Father, Son and Spirit in this transformational rescue of humanity and this unstoppable movement toward restoration have lifted me into the presence of God where I join Paul in our only response.....doxology....Oh the wisdom and glory of God.