Monday, December 5, 2011

A Word from John McLeod Campbell


My friend John MacMurray emailed these quotes from John Mcleod Campbell's The Nature of the Atonement.   
"If the atonement is rightly conceived of as a development of the incarnation, the relation of the atonement to the incarnation is indissoluble; and in a clear apprehension of the incarnation must be felt to be so. Further, if the eternal life given to us in Christ is that divine life in humanity in which Christ made atonement for our sins, then the connection between the atonement and our participation in the life of Christ is not arbitrary, but natural: and thus the incarnation, the atonement, and man's participation in the divine nature, offer to our faith one purpose of divine love, reaching its fulfillment by a path which is determined by what God is and what he wills that man should be.

"Yet I cannot forget that there are earnest and deep thinking minds in whose case the faith of the incarnation and their acceptance of it as the fundamental grace of God to man to the light of which all that concerns God's relation to man is to be taken, has issued, not in the recognition of the atonement as a development of the incarnation, but on the contrary, regard the atonement as in the light of the incarnation alike uncalled for and inconceivable."

"So soon as the incarnation... is accepted as itself the light to which the subject of the atonement must be taken, we are prepared to find that all conceptions of the atonement, which accord not with the love of the Father of spirits to mend his offspring manifested in the incarnation, will be rejected."

6 comments:

athanasius said...

"God With Us" is also "Us With God". The incarnation is the basis for intercession: from the Cross of Christ for our salvation and from the Throne of Grace for our daily prayers.

Ian Woodley said...

Hello Baxter
I just wanted to pass on a little revolution that you've started in our local congregation! I read "Jesus and the Undoing of Adam" and took it to church for others to borrow. Some liked it so much that they bought their own copy and have recommended it to others. Many thanks for the encouragment you've given!
Ian Woodley, UK (part of Grace Communion International in the UK)

Anonymous said...

I find the exact meaning of Campbell's words very difficult to grasp. The last paragraph seems to sum up much of what he's getting at. Here is what I see in it:

God became human to begin the healing process. Jesus wasn't acting on his own, or even forced by his Father to take the licking.

Sin does bring suffering and death, so God was placing himself along side us, and before us, as a shield to protect his creation from complete destruction.

It is hard for us to see that God never declares war on anyone, no matter how evil. We do, because we cannot separate the ignorance and mistakes from the individual. God is capable of repairing anyone, and will be "wrathful" until his dream is realised. His wrath is our word anguish, on steroids. Love is the one force which simply cannot be withstood.

Barnabas1702 said...

Perichoresis is wonderful as to how it helps us to see God's inclusion of us.Often in surprisingly story based ways. I take turns with others in our mens group and lately we were studying koinonia together - the word in the New Testament which translates as partnership, participing, sharing. One of the guys commented on how he was caught up in hero worship and in particular heroes that were connected with a tragic death. In a broken way there was a sense we felt of yearning for Christ our righteous hero who tragically dies, but being the hero he is serves us in his death as well life, and remarkably including us in his risen life. We are raised with him. I'm grateful that our inclusion in God in Christ means that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit embrace us much more closely than we can think or imagine.

Anonymous said...

Since the Triune God is eternal and unchanging, there was never a time when the "Son" was not atoning. And He was atoning for that which was not Himself, I.e., creation. So out of His eternal Love in which He was always creating, He was always atoning, and in some more mysterious way, always incarnating. Love eternally impels the creative process, and Love eternally "regenerates" a creation which could never inherintly possess His own perfection, much less maintain it. And then, like a bolt out of the blue, he came to us in Jesus. It's the only way it could ever have worked.

Lore said...

Love Unspoken Sermons and G. MacDonald! Have you read his fiction? His ideas and theology come to life in his characters. If you don't want to slog through his fiction as he originally wrote it, Michael Phillips and Dan Hamilton have done well at editing his stories.