Review of Campbell’s Deliverance PART 8
In this post we complete our analysis of DC’s portrayal of the First Phase of JT. In the next post we will detail the nature of the Second Phase before turning to look at the important matter of the ‘root metaphors’ of JT.
The introspective twist
So far, this First Phase is nothing unusual. However, the point of all of it is to drive the sinner into a second, Christian phase. ‘How it achieves this pressure is quite ingenious, involving, first the rigor with which the law is upheld and, second, a principal of introversion’ (19).
The rigor may either be interpreted as the demand for total obedience, or obedience which outweighs disobedience – though the former tends to trump the latter (cf. the Westminster Confession of Faith: 'The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience'). But either way, the point is that obedience is impossible – it leads to condemnation. Hence the second point: ‘People are supposed to reflect on their own condition in the light of the demands of the law and to realize that they fall short if the requisite obedience’ (20). We all sin and everyone who look at themselves honestly, who examine themselves enough, will realise this (cf. aspects of the autobiographies of Luther and Augustine at this point!)
Hence, some poor folk may simply ‘try harder’, ‘pull up their moral bootstraps’ as Tom Wright may phrase it. But this will fail, generating a loop of despair (hence, I am tempted to add, Luther, his probable OCD and his anguished conscience – cf. Osborn, Ian. Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2008).
The loop of foolishness
Of course there will be some fools who, having confronted the reality of themselves (introspected), fail to realise the gravity of the situation and boast in their own righteousness. These hypocritical folk, though truly destined to doom, are terribly deceived, and this explains why the pious are often the wost kind of people, and liable to the most guilt.
The next post completes our overview of JT according its logical progression.
Labels: Review of Deliverance of God