Review of Campbell’s Deliverance PART 12
We continue our overview of DC’S list of Justification Theory’s intrinsic difficulties
Linked to this point, Is it just that one’s own deserved punishment is transferred to Christ, a transfer accessed by faith? Does not retributive justice demand that sinners themselves be held accountable and punished? Is justice really satisfied on this count, as JT claims, if somebody else, an innocent, is punished for another’s sin? So DC writes: ‘Justification theory is not just, even though it claims to be’ (49).
When, at this point, DC refutes a strategy to mask this particular intrinsic difficult with JT, something struck me. I personally think it at least likely that Luther suffered from a religious expression of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that his understanding of God’s grace was something of a cure for him, as it was, in different ways, for John Bunyan and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (cf. Ian Osborn, Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2008]). While it is evident that the pious and confessional frame of 'confession of sin' is usually enough to justify notions of personal sinfulness (it is right to acknowledge our sinfulness before God), a problem can exist here. ‘[I]n so reasoning, Justification advocates have essentially repositioned a legitimate Christian activity in a location that renders that activity incoherent and, moreover, calls God’s character radically into question’ (47). Yes! Here is a question that I hope will help sufferers of religious variations of OCD, to rethink some of there practices (nothing like a bit of cognitive-behavioural therapy in the middle of a book review!): Is the context of your personal sin-confession God’s own gracious ‘yes’ to us in Jesus, or rather a ritualistic and self-atoning mechanism by which God’s holy justice is appeased? The difference here is considerable. It is the difference between Justification Theory and the apocalytpic gospel DC will suggest Paul truly advocates.
Labels: Review of Deliverance of God