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Waggoner in Transition: 1889-1891
The years between the Minneapolis conference and Waggoner's departure for England in 1892 are fascinating years in his theological development. They furnish the clearest evidence of a theology in transition. In this period Waggoner did not express the pantheistic sentiments which appeared soon after his arrival in England. But in 1889-189 1 he advanced theological positions which effectively laid the basis for his later pantheism. If we can give any credence to Waggoner's own Confession, written shortly before his death in 1916, he had privately abandoned faith in the Adventist doctrine of the cleansing of a heavenly sanctuary as early as 1891.1
Waggoner's writings between 1889 and 1891 are not difficult to analyze. He concentrated on justification by faith, the divinity and humanity of Christ, the meaning of the blood of Christ, living by faith and the righteousness
94of God. In our analysis of Waggoner in transition, we will begin with the development of his new position on justification. This was central. We will then show how the other concepts were more or less supportive.
Justification by Faith
Before the 1888 conference Waggoner held a Protestant meaning of justification. He believed that justification was a forensic act in which God pronounces the believer righteous on the ground of the imputed righteousness of Christ. Furthermore, the Waggoner of 1888 distinguished between justification as a forensic act for the believer and sanctification as an effective act within the believer.
In 1889 and 1890 Waggoner wrote a series of articles in the Signs. Most of them were based on the book of Romans. Some of these articles were later incorporated into his best-known book, Christ and His Righteousness.
In these articles Waggoner began to adopt an "effective" justification.2 At first he did not abandon forensic justification, a justification by imputed righteousness. But he took the position that justification is both a
95declaring just and a making just. This Roman principle quickly displaces the Protestant element. Thus, by 1891 Waggoner had replaced the Protestant doctrine of imputed righteousness with an internal work of grace. For him justification had become sanctification. Let us now trace this change in emphasis.
On February 4, 1889, Waggoner wrote an article entitled "The Obedience of Faith." Like Luther, he called imputed righteousness "passive righteousness" and the believer's new life of obedience "active righteousness. But after stating that "active righteousness is just as much the work of faith as is the other," he misused Philippians 3:9 and also called "active righteousness" righteousness by faith.3 This was a fatal mistake.
Luther deliberately called one righteousness passive and the other active. Passive righteousness is what Christ did for us by His holy obedience two thousand years ago. It is counted as ours in the merciful reckoning of God. It is ours by faith alone. We had absolutely no part in working it out. This cannot be said of sanctification. Although God's Spirit works it in the believer, He does not obey for the believer. As a responsible person, the believer is called to meaningful human activity as he cooperates with God in the great work of overcoming. This righteousness is not passive but active. It involves what the believer himself does under the impulse of divine grace. This active righteousness is not called the righteousness of faith either in Paul or in Luther. Because Waggoner blurred their distinction and called them both righteousness by faith, he was logically forced to propose that the believer's new obedience of
96faith "is not his personal action." Not long after this, Waggoner began saying it is God who does the believing and obeying in the believer. Blurring the distinction between the passive righteousness of faith and sanctification logically leads to blurring the distinction between God and the believer. And this is the essential premise of pantheism.
Waggoner had not yet developed his pantheism by February, 1889. But he possessed a logical mind that followed his premises through to their final end. When sanctification is confused with the righteousness of faith, one must logically contend that the righteous acts in the believer's life are the work of the Creator alone.
In April Waggoner confused the righteousness of faith (Phil. 3:9) with sanctification.4 He even confused "the righteousness of God" (Rom. 1:17) with sanctification. In June, 1890, Waggoner correctly showed that eternal life is the reward of righteousness. But instead of showing that the substitutionary righteousness of Christ entitles the believer to eternal life, Waggoner argued that eternal life is the reward of an indwelling righteousness.5
In the same issue Waggoner presented direct evidence for his change to the Roman Catholic concept of "effective" justification.6 He defined "to justify" as "to make righteous, or to show that one is already righteous." Waggoner correctly argued that the law can only justify a righteous man. But then he reasoned incorrectly that the sinner obtains the righteousness needed for his
97justification when Christ imparts or creates this righteousness in him.
On September 8, 1890, Waggoner quoted Professor James R. Boise to support his interpretation that the Pauline doctrine of justification by imputed righteousness means justification by an infused righteousness. In Romans 3:22 the apostle declares that the righteousness by faith of Jesus Christ is unto all and upon all them that believe. Waggoner said:
In his article, "The Blessing of Abraham," Waggoner pursued his false premise and confused the forgiveness of sins with the actual infusion of righteousness into the heart. He still used the term "imputed righteousness" but said that "it is righteousness put into and upon the sinner. That is, he is made righteous both inside and outside."8 This is the old Roman Catholic error of utterly confounding justification and sanctification, forgiveness of sins and healing from sin.
If Waggoner only taught that forgiveness has sanctifying
98effects, there could be no valid objection. All great Protestant scholars consent to this. But careful reading of his material shows Waggoner had moved to an "effective" justification. He had made any distinction between justification and sanctification virtually meaningless.
At the end of 1890, in his pamphlet, The Power of Forgiveness, Waggoner introduced the mystical theory of atonement then becoming popular in some Protestant circles. Like John Henry Newman of Oxford Movement fame, Waggoner used this theory to support a justification which combines declaring righteous and making righteous. Equating blood with life, as in the mystical atonement, he reasoned that to be justified by Christ's blood means being justified by a mystical partaking of His life.9 To be justified, therefore, means to be "made righteous, or doers of the law." When God declares a person righteous, He speaks Christ's righteousness or life "into and upon" him.
Waggoner occasionally used expressions like "impute," "reckon" and "accounted righteous." But the context provides no evidence that he meant that the righteousness of Jesus of Nazareth is accounted to us in God's merciful reckoning. Rather, he meant that the righteousness God puts into us and works in our hearts is counted as ours.
In the book, Christ and His Righteousness, adapted from his 1889-1890 Signs articles, Waggoner said justification means "to make righteous."10 He also tended to confound forgiveness of sin with regeneration and healing from sin. This book, however, does not contain the more blatant Romanism of 1891. Waggoner still
99retained the concept of being justified and counted as though one had never sinned simply because Christ had borne the penalty of sin on the cross. Waggoner had not yet abandoned the truth of imputed righteousness, nor had he developed the mystical theory of atonement.
For Waggoner, however, it seemed that a little leaven of Roman Catholic justification soon leavened the whole lump. If his articles on justification in 1890 were disappointing, his lectures on Romans at the General Conference of 1891 were terrible.11 Nothing of the Pauline and Reformation concept of justification remained. Waggoner's concept of justification in these lectures was wholly Roman Catholic. Justification was understood as an inward work of sanctifying the believer. Great Pauline texts referring to the vicarious righteousness of Christ were construed to mean an infused righteousness which makes the believer conformable to the law of God. Here is a sample of Waggoner's 1891 lectures.
Justification is the law incarnate in Christ, put into the man, so it is incarnate in the man.13
The forgiveness of sins is not simply a book transaction a wiping out of past accounts. It has a vital relation to the man himself. It is not a temporary work. Christ gives his
100righteousness, takes away the sin, and leaves his righteousness there, and that makes a radical change in the man.14
"..... being justified by faith," that is, being made conformable to the law by faith, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The only way that man can be made conformable to the law, and live free from condemnation is by having faith in the promises of God. In Christ there is no unrighteousness, therefore there is nothing but righteousness. By believing on Christ, the Christian has the righteousness of Christ.15
In 1891 Waggoner apparently had no concept of the mediation of an "outside" righteousness. He was only concerned for an inward righteousness. This observation corresponds to his own Confession of 1916.
It is even more disturbing that L. E. Froom could laud Waggoner's 1891 lectures and present them as evidence that righteousness by faith was then being preached in the church. To prove that "righteousness by faith" was being taught by Adventists, Froom indiscriminately cited nearly everyone who used the term. He was either a careless scholar or he could not distinguish between Catholic and Protestant justification. But Froom had good company. He said:
102globe? We felt them in Australia, and when we got the  Bulletins, and began to read, our hearts were stirred, and I have seen our brethren sit and read those messages with the tears streaming down their cheeks; I have seen them fairly convulsed with the power there was in the message, even though only printed in the Bulletin; I felt it myself."18
The Divinity of Christ
From March 25 to April 22, 1889, Waggoner wrote four articles for the Signs on the divinity of Christ. Much of this material was incorporated into his book, Christ and His Righteousness, in 1890. Waggoner tried to boldly confess Christ's divinity. He denied that Christ is a created being. He said that Christ is God, both Creator and Lawgiver. These views were more advanced than the blatant Arianism of such early Seventh-day Adventists as Uriah Smith, who declared that Christ was created.
Nevertheless, Waggoner was still Arian in the classical sense. He taught that the Father existed before the Son and that the personality of the Son had a beginning.
103detracts from the honor due him, since many throw the whole thing away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of Scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so, "it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Col. 1:19.
Some have difficulty in reconciling Christ's statement in John 14:28, "My Father is greater than I," with the idea that he is God, and is entitled to worship. Some, indeed, dwell upon that text alone as sufficient to overthrow the idea of Christ's divinity, but if that were allowed, it would only prove a contradiction in the Bible, and even in Christ's own speech, for it is most positively declared, as well as seen, that he is divine. There are two facts which are amply sufficient to account for Christ's statement recorded in John 14:28. One is that Christ is the Son of God. While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is the greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ's personality had a beginning.19
The Humanity of Christ
There is no evidence that Waggoner's teaching on the humanity of Christ was part of his message in 1888. This is one of the Waggoner myths demolished by an investigation of the original sources.
However, in the 1889-1891 period Waggoner began giving great prominence to the humanity of Christ. He argued mainly from Romans 8:3 and Hebrews 2:14-17 that the human nature or "flesh" of Christ was sinful and under the condemnation of the law like the rest of mankind (Gal. 4:4, 5). According to Waggoner, Christ's human nature inherited all the tendencies of sin and sinful passions common to all men. Waggoner said:
A brief glance at the ancestry and posterity of David will show that the line from which Christ sprang, as to his human nature, was such as would tend to concentrate in him all the weaknesses of humanity. To go back to Jacob, we find that before he was converted he had a most unlovely disposition, selfish, crafty, deceitful. His sons partook of the same nature, and Pharez, one of the ancestors of Christ (Matt. 1:3; Gen. 38), was born of a
105harlot. Rahab, an unenlightened heathen, became an ancestor of Christ. The weakness and idolatry of Solomon are proverbial. Of Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon, and, other kings of Judah, the record is about the same. They sinned and made the people sin. Some of them had not one redeeming trait in their characters, being worse than the heathen around them. It was from such an ancestry that Christ came. Although his mother was a pure and godly woman, as could but be expected, no one can doubt that the human nature of Christ must have been more subject to the infirmities of the flesh than it would have been if he had been born before the race had so greatly deteriorated physically and morally. This was not accidental, but was a necessary part of the great plan of human redemption, as the following will show: "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. [The Syriac version has it, "For he did not assume a nature from angels, but he assumed a nature from the seed of Abraham."] Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. 2:16-18.
If he was made in all things like unto his brethren, then he must have suffered all the infirmities and passions of his brethren. Only so could he be able to help them. So he had to become man, not only that he might die, but that he might be able to sympathize with and succor those who suffer the fierce temptations which Satan brings through the weakness of the flesh. Two more texts that put this matter very forcibly will be sufficient evidence on this point. We quote first 2 Cor. 5:21:— "For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This is much stronger than the statement that he was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh." He was made to be sin. Here is a greater mystery than that the Son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin,
106was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner, but actually taking upon himself sinful nature. He was made to be sin in order that we might be made righteousness. So Paul to the Galatians says that "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. 4:4, 5.
That Christ should be born under the law was a necessary consequence of his being born of a woman, taking on him the nature of Abraham, being made of the seed of David, in the likeness of sinful flesh. Human nature is sinful, and the law of God condemns all sin. Not that men are born into the world directly condemned by the law, for in infancy they have no knowledge of right and wrong and are incapable of doing either, but they are born with sinful tendencies, owing to the sins of their ancestors. And when Christ came into the world, he came subject to all the conditions to which other children are subject....
His humanity only veiled his divine nature, which was more than able to successfully resist the sinful passions of the flesh. There was in his whole life a struggle. The flesh, moved upon by the enemy of all righteousness, would tend to sin, yet his divine nature never for a moment harbored an evil desire, nor did his divine power for a moment waver. Having suffered in the flesh all that all men can possibly suffer, he returned to the throne of the Father, as spotless as when he left the courts of glory.20
The human nature that he took was a sinful nature, one subject to sin. If it were not, he would not be a perfect Saviour.21
107of the Christian church have always taught that Christ partook of the substance of human nature and assumed all the "essential properties" of human nature. Moreover, they confessed that He assumed the infirmities of human nature resulting from the Fall.
But in stressing Christ's union with the race, Waggoner failed to maintain any distinction between that humanity conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin and the rest of humanity conceived in sin by two earthly parents (Ps. 5 1:5). The orthodox Christian faith confesses that Christ took all the "essential properties" of human nature even as they had been affected by the Fall. It also confesses that sin—sinfulness, sinful passions, sinful tendencies or original sin—is not an "essential property" of human nature. Like Adam before the Fall, Christ was truly human because sin was no part of His human nature. If He had possessed a sinful nature like the rest of us, He would have been less than truly human. The true church of all ages has confessed that Christ became like us in all things, sin only excepted (Heb. 4:15). But Waggoner failed to make that distinction.22
108Waggoner misused two scriptures—Galatians 4:4 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. Christ was under the condemnation of the law only because our sins were imputed to Him, not because our sinful nature was imparted to Him. Christ was "made to be sin for us," not by giving Him a sinful human nature, but as the context shows, by imputing to Him the sins of the world.
Waggoner apparently abandoned the biblical concept of imputation with respect to both Christ and the believer. In the biblical concept Christ was condemned because our sin was imputed to Him, and we are justified because His righteousness is imputed to us. Waggoner was at least consistent within his own framework. But by 1891 he had apparently abandoned the forensic categories of biblical thought. His developing idea of the unity—without distinction—of Christ's human nature with all men played a significant role in his developing pantheism after 1891. He later repeatedly appealed to this view of the incarnation to support his pantheism.
Waggoner did not enunciate a new heresy in his unfortunate theological development. In church history many have followed the same path. Louis Berkhof and Augustus Strong have shown that the doctrine of the sinful nature of Christ logically leads to the abandonment of justification by an imputed righteousness on the one hand and to the development of pantheism on the other.23
109Of course, some who hold a theory of the sinful human nature of Christ do not discard imputed righteousness and do not embrace pantheism. This is because they do not follow their Christology to its logical conclusion. But Waggoner seemed to be both blessed and cursed. He possessed a logical mind that followed every premise to its natural and inevitable end.
Toward the close of 1890 Waggoner presented a mystical view of the atonement which later played a fateful role in his developing pantheism.24 His view of the atonement was the result of repudiating forensic justification for an "effective" justification. Simply stated, Waggoner's theory was that the blood of Christ is the life of Christ. In death Christ gave us His life. Mystically poured into us, this life accomplishes our forgiveness and justification.
This enticing theory in effect denies the legal penalty for sin that was paid on the cross. The death of Christ is simply regarded as a means of pouring out His life so that it can be poured into us. God pardons by inner renewal. He forgives by healing the disease. And He justifies by sanctifying.
Waggoner's view on the blood of Christ was not new to Christian theology.25 It was popularized in the nineteenth
Note[There appears to be no p 110, however in fact, footnote #25, which begins on page 109, continues through to the bottom of page 111.]
111century by Bishop B. F. Westcott in The Victory of the Cross.26 Westcott argued that in shedding His blood, Christ gave His life to all men. Westcott's concept that the life is in the blood was based on Leviticus 17:10. In death Christ surrendered His life and made it available to men.27
Waggoner's developing theory of the mystical atonement is of particular interest because of its connection with pantheism. In his Reformed Dogmatics Herman Hoeksema says, "Many of the mystical theologians are either pantheistic or have a strong pantheistic tendency."28
Historical theology also shows that the mystical theory of atonement stresses the incarnation more than the cross and is therefore often found in association with the doctrine of the sinful human nature of Christ. Waggoner apparently imbibed some of these theories from his wide reading, especially after going to England in 1892.
The righteousness of faith is Christ's righteousness alone. The righteousness which is by faith alone was done without the believer's work or activity. As long as we recognize that we are justified by a righteousness in which we had no share, a righteousness which is by faith alone, we are on solid ground. But if we confound sanctification with righteousness by faith, we are involved in serious heresy. Confounding righteousness by faith and sanctification was fatal for Waggoner's theory of sanctification.
The best Protestant authors have never taught that sanctification is part of righteousness by faith. They have never taught that sanctification is by faith alone.29 Man is both a creature and a person. Because he is a
113creature, God must sanctify him. In that sense a holy life is a gift of God. But because man is also a person, he must cooperate with God in living a holy life. He is called to work, strive, wrestle, run and fight. There is to be meaningful human activity. God gives the power. Man obeys and forms a character. God does not propose to use him like a robot, to do the believing and obeying for him. The work for him was a substitutionary work done by the Mediator.
It may sound pious and super spiritual to say Christ lives the victorious life in the believer. But this fails to do justice to both the Old and New Testament, which ascribe the work of faith to the believer. The Bible does not hesitate to speak of "your righteousness" (Deut. 6:25), "his [the believer's] righteousness" (Ezek. 33:18), "your work of faith" and "labour of love" (1 Thess. 1:3) and "good works" (1 Tim. 6:18). The works of the believer are his works—even though they may be the result of the Spirit's thrust in his life. And the believer will be judged by his works. If they were only the works God did in and through him, the believer's personality would be lost in union with the divine. The distinction between the work of the Creator and the work of the believer would also be lost. This must logically lead to perfectionism—for is not God's work powerful? And it must logically lead to pantheism.
Unfortunately, between 1889 and 1891 Waggoner moved in this direction with his extreme views of sanctification. These views could have been avoided if he had preserved the distinction between righteousness by faith alone and sanctification. On February 4, 1889, he made the incredible statement that the obedience of the Christian "is not his personal action."30 If sanctified
114obedience were the righteousness of faith, what other conclusion could he logically draw?
In his lectures on Romans in 1891, Waggoner said:
His obedience must be manifested in us day by day. It is not our obedience, but the obedience of Christ working in us.32
These statements would be innocent
aberrations if not taken too seriously or pressed too far. Similar
statements are found in the teaching and writing of many pious
believers. They sound like humble and spiritual confessions of
dependence on Christ's grace. And if that is all that is meant, we
should place the best construction upon them. But Waggoner relentlessly
pressed these premises until they bore fruit in the most outrageous
perfectionism and pantheism. Waggoner's developing theology should be a
warning to us. For all the features of his 1889-1891 thought are with us
today in the current Adventist struggle over righteousness by faith.
115the law of God is an expression of the righteousness of God. But in the years between 1889 and 1891 Waggoner seemed to stress this point until he appeared to say that the law is an exhaustive expression of the righteousness of God. In "Living by Faith" he declared that "the righteousness of God is the perfect law.' "33 This is like turning the biblical statements "God is love" and "God is light" into "love is God" and "light is God." Love, light and law are aspects of God's character. But it cannot be said that any one is an exhaustive expression of God. In the same way, law is not an exhaustive expression of God's righteousness (Rom. 1:16, 17).
If law were an exhaustive expression of God's righteousness, as Waggoner seems to imply, then law and gospel would be indistinguishable. Waggoner had not come quite that far in 1891. But we shall see that he drew the inevitable conclusions in 1894.
Waggoner's theology between 1889 and 1891 was a theology in transition. Although not at first abandoning forensic justification, he moved to a concept of "effective" justification. And effective justification soon eclipsed forensic justification altogether. Along with the Roman Catholic concept of effective justification, Waggoner developed such supportive concepts as the sinful human nature of Christ, the mystical atonement, sanctification by faith alone, and the law as an exhaustive expression of God's righteousness.
Both church history and the history of theology clearly demonstrate that these are pantheistic premises.
Waggoner's theology became subjective and internalistic. His own Confession shows that as early as 1891 he saw no value in the intercessory ministry of the High Priest in the heavenly service. He had departed from the concept of salvation by imputation, substitution and representation. Grace was wholly confined within the believer. Waggoner lost the anchor outside himself, the anchor that enters "within the veil." His theology was a theology of immanence which lost sight of the transcendent God.
Waggoner rose no higher than he did at the conference of 1888. It would be unwise, even dangerous, to look for the 1888 message in his writings after that time.
1 E. J. Waggoner, A "Confession of Faith, "pp. 14-15. [back]
2 In the history of theology, "forensic" and
"effective" justification are terms which go back to the great
battle over justification in the sixteenth century. Against the
Reformers, who taught that the sinner is justified solely by the imputed
righteousness of Christ (passive righteousness), the Romanists contended
for that justification which is justum efficere. This expression
may be translated as "make righteous." By insisting on this
definition of justification, Rome confounded justification with
sanctification, the forgiveness of the guilt of sins with the healing of
the disease of sin, divine acceptance with spiritual attainment. In
short, forensic justification means "to declare righteous,"
while effective justification means "to make righteous" by an
internal renovation of character. [back]
E. J. Waggoner, "How Righteousness Is Obtained," Signs
of the Times, 8 Sept. 1890, p. 474. [back]
25 "Theories which conceive the work of Christ as terminating physically on man, so affecting him as to bring him by an interior and hidden working upon him into participation with the one life of Christ; the so-called 'mystical theories.' The fundamental characteristic of these theories is their discovery of the saving fact not in anything which Christ taught or did, but in what he was. It is upon the Incarnation, rather than upon Christ's teaching or his work that they throw stress, attributing the saving power of Christ not to what he does for us but to what he does in us. Tendencies to this type of theory are already traceable in the Platonizing Fathers; and with the entrance of the more developed Neoplatonism into the stream of Christian thinking, through the writings of the Pseudo-Dionysius naturalized in the West by Johannes Scotus Erigena, a constant tradition of mystical teaching began which never died out. In the Reformation age this type of thought was represented by men like Osiander, Schwenckfeld, Franck, Weigel, Boehme. In the modern Church a new impulse was given to essentially the same mode of conception by Schleiermacher and his followers (e.g., C. I. Nitzsch, Rothe, Schoberlein, Lange, Martensen), among whom what is known as the 'Mercersburg School'.. . will be particularly interesting to Americans (e.g., J. W. Nevin, The Mystical Presence, Philadelphia, 1846). A very influential writer among English theologians of the same general class was F. D. Maurice (1805-72), although he added to his fundamental mystical conception of the work of Christ the further notions that Christ fully identified himself with us and, thus partaking of our sufferings, set us a perfect example of sacrifice of self to God (cf. especially Theological Essays, London, 1853; The Doctrine of Sacrifice, Cambridge, 1854; new ed., 1879). Here, too, must be classed the theory suggested in the writings of the late B. F. Westcott (The Victory of the Cross, London, 1888), which was based on a hypothesis of the efficacy of Christ's blood, borrowed apparently directly from William Milligan (cf. The Ascension and Heavenly Highpriesthood of our Lord, London, 1892) though it goes back ultimately to the Socinians, to the effect that Christ's offering of himself is not to be identified with his sufferings and death, but rather with the presentation of his life (which is in his blood, set free by death for this purpose) in heaven. 'Taking this blood as efficacious by virtue of the vitality which it contains, Dr. Westcott holds that it was set free from Christ's body that it might vitalize ours, as it were, by transfusion' (C. H. Waller, in the Presbyterian and Reformed Review, ii, 1892, p. 656). Somewhat similarly H. Clay Trumbell (The Blood Covenant, New York, 1885) looks upon sacrifices as only a form of blood covenanting, i.e., of instituting blood-brotherhood between man and God by transfusion of blood; and explains the sacrifice of Christ as representing communing in blood, i.e., in the principle of life, between God and man, both of whom Christ represents. The theory which has been called 'salvation by sample,' or salvation 'by gradually extirpated depravity,' also has its affinities here. Something like it is as old as Felix of Urgel (d. 818 ... ), and it has been taught in its full development by Dippel (1673-1734), Swedenborg (1688-1772), Menken (1768-1831), and especially by Edward Irving (1792-1834), and, of course, by the modern followers of Swedenborg (e.g., B. F. Barrett). The essence of this theory is that what was assumed by our Lord was human nature as he found it, that is, as fallen; and that this human nature, as assumed by him, was by the power of his divine nature (or of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him beyond measure) not only kept from sinning, but purified from sin and presented perfect before God as the first-fruits of a saved humanity; men being saved as they become partakers (by faith) of this purified humanity, as they become leavened by this new leaven. Certain of the elements which the great German theologian J. C. K. von Hofmann built into his complicated and not altogether stable theory—a theory which was the occasion of much discussion about the middle of the nineteenth century—reproduce some of the characteristic language of the theory of 'salvation by sample"' (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1:351-52). [back]
26 A series of six sermons preached by Bishop B. F. Westcott during
Holy Week in 1888 and afterwards (London, 1888), published under the
title, The Victory of the Cross. For a summary of Westcott's mystical
theory of the atonement, see T. H. Hughes, The Atonement: Modem
Theories of the Doctrine, pp. 243-50. [back]