The Genesis Of Reginald Campbell’s Theology -- By: Henry A. Stimson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:255 (Jul 1907)
Article: The Genesis Of Reginald Campbell’s Theology
Author: Henry A. Stimson


The Genesis Of Reginald Campbell’s Theology

Rev. Henry A. Stimson

We have fairly credible authority for believing that there is nothing new under the sun, and there is certainly very little that is original. Goethe, one of the most original, and quite the most fertile, mind of his times, was very fond of proclaiming his indebtedness to others. He delighted to recount the names of those he regarded as his great teachers.

When, therefore, any man breaks out in the theological world with ideas that are startling in doctrine, or statements that are so novel as to challenge wide attention, it is well to seek their origin in some source back of the speaker. The personal equation may be more or less significant. There may be something in time or place that colors them, but their roots run elsewhere. Consciously or unconsciously the speaker is yielding to outside influences, and pretty surely casting in the mold of his own expressions ideas that have a quite independent history.

How far Reginald Campbell may be the exponent of the new theology is an open question. There certainly is a new theology, vigorous and fruitful. It is expressed in many a new

book from a widely-spread group of young writers on the other side of the Atlantic, who show themselves well taught in the schools of to-day, and have spiritual insight and adequate Christian experience. Mr. Campbell’s doctrines are not found in them, and may be regarded as a kind of sporadic outbreak, or as a volcanic explosion of pent-up subterranean forces. In any case they are spectacular, and command the attention of a multitude of people. They are certainly worth examination.

We have perhaps hardly the adequate data for taking them up in detail. Indeed, in the opinion of some of his best friends, the preacher has not yet altogether found himself, and does not know—as his friends do not know—where he will end. But in two fundamental doctrines he seems to have taken definite positions. They are so important that everything else becomes only corollary,—his doctrine of God, and his doctrine of Sin. He holds that not only is God in man, but that in some real sense man is God. The doctrine of the divine immanence, which has always played along the borders of pantheism, has taken on this peculiar form: God and man are so merged that all that man does is the working of God in him; consequently sin is a blundering effort to find God. It is the expression of the repressed and suppressed nature of man trying to disclose itself, and to reach forth to the attainment of its fullest possibilities and desires.

The error of pantheism is its elimination of personality from the Deity. This teaching practi...

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