Full Text for CTM Book Review 14-9 (Text)

668 Book Review Book Review All books reviewed in this periodical may be procured from or through Con­cordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis 18, Mo. The Heart of the New Testament. By John B. Champion, Professor of Christian Doctrine, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. 227 pages, 5lJ4X71J2. Price, $1.50. The heart of the New Testament is "the vicarious righteousness of Christ" and "justification by faith in Christ's work" (pp. 28, 114). Much of what Dr. Champion says on this point is good Christian theology and deserves earnest study. See, for instance, the examination of the terms lILXCl.LOOO and lILu{h1xl1 (pp. 27, 115). But he cuts the heart out of this fundamental doctrine of the New Testament when he denies a real substitution. He says, in the words of Beyschlag: "We do not find in 2 Cor. 5: 21 the idea of an atonement by substitutionary suffering of the punishment of sin -a conception which is not expressed in Paul either here or any-where else. . . . The passage shows positive traces that the exchange between Christ and us which the Apostle has in view cannot. be thought of in the form of the abstract juridical doctrine of substitution. We find such traces in the fact that it does not read anti hemon but huper hemon. Paul says: He died, one for the advantage of all" (p.160). Dr. Champion buttresses his rejection of substitution by another, a rationalistic, consideration: "We must be on our guard to prevent penalistic interpretations of Redemption from ending credibility of the unity of the Trinity. It is the Trinity they sacrifice instead of witnessing to the sacrifice of Christ. Almost invariably penalists quote 2 Cor. 5: 21: 'Him who knew no sin He made sin on our behalf.' If literally He made Christ sin, then it would not be sin, for whatever God does is right, and it would be sinless sin because God made it, for He like the Son 'knows no sin.' . .'. Recently a prominent preacher speaking at one of our chapel services said: 'One thing I want you to remember -it was God who put Jesus Christ to death, and the wrath of God rested upon Him as He hung on the cross.' How much unity of the Trinity is left by statements that God the Father murdered His own Son, as sinless as He? ... How could God make His Son sin for us and then reject Him for being what He had made Him? With these penal interpretations we have a delirium of contradictions and absurdities with not a shred of the unity of the Triune God left. What I am showing is that pure penalism sacrifices or abolishes the unity of the Trinity" (p. 32 ff.). The heart is cut out of the New Testament, further­more, by the teaching of an election intuitu operum, intuitu fidei, by the denial of the sola gratia. "If there were total depravity, grace would have nothing to appeal to or work upon in the soul to cause it to respond. Where there is no favorable interpreting content of mind, there can be no possibility of reading the lost as persons. This is just the differ­ence God foresees by His omniscience, that some will respond and Book Review 669 some will not. 'Whom He foreknows [will respond], He predestinates, to be conformed to the image of the Son.' Foreknows because He will compel the reception of grace? No, that would be neither grace nor foreknowJpogP, And gr; :ompulsion would smack .e will of a totalitarian dictator, rather than of divine grace. God, on the other hand, would not be omniscient did He not foreknow those who would respond to His saving love. No arbitrary favoritism can be found in the Father" (p. 24). Our book presents a curious mixture of believing in spite of the protest of reason and of submitting to rationalistic considerations. "The Incarnation was the miracle of all miracles. . . . Lacking the necessary ·omniscience to explain this mystery of mysteries, etc. . . . We cannot explain how the uncreated Creator became a creature in the Virgin's womb" (pp. 48, 128). But substitution cannot be true, because that would destroy the Trinity! It cannot be true that "the Father in the Divine anger poured out the vials of holy wrath upon Jesus," for did not "Jesus Himself say: 'Therefore doth the Father love Me'?" (P.170.) And then such fine statements as these are made: "That God has not explained the unexplainable by reason of our finite capacity in under­standing how the pre-existent Person united human nature and life to His Divine nature and life, does not prohibit the potent, patent fact of this from beill.g accepted. . . . ViJhen that blood was shed, it W3S the blood of the God-man, the blood of a Divine-human body" (pp. 49, 51).­It is an inexplicable phenomenon. Some portions of our book are rather incongruous. For instance: '''Human blood is made up first of all of a fluid, plasma, or lymph, in which varied corpuscles swim or are carried along in the current of