The Deliverance of God: An Interview with Douglas Campbell

douglas-campbell-sept2013-90Recently, I sat down with Dr. Douglas Campbell, Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School and author of this month’s Plus One, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul.

DM: What pushed you to write The Deliverance of God? What aspects of current scholarship were you wanting to address in this work?

DC: Well there were a couple of things going on. The thing that was really driving the book was the realization that there’s a fundamental difference between a covenant and a contract. So a covenant, understood in the most theologically constructive sense, is an unconditional relationship in which you covenant to someone – you commit to an unconditional covenant. You initiate a relationship and you stay in a relationship with that person, or that group of people. For good. Permanent. It’s irrevocable. And you have very strong expectations about how people should behave within the covenant. You don’t break it. That’s a fundamentally different account of relationships from a contract, where I enter into a relationship with you only on the proviso that you fulfill certain conditions. And if you don’t fulfill all those conditions, I break off the relationship with you.

Now, think about that. Our society structures most of its public relationships in terms of a contract. Political relationships, legal relationships are contractual. But our most important relationships are covenantal. Our family relationships are covenanted. I have a daughter and I have a son. And they’re not my daughter and my son because they fulfill certain requirements and we’ve entered into a contract of parenting and childhood so that if they fail to fulfill those requirements that relationship will be terminated. My relationships with my daughter and my son are irrevocable. They will always be my son and my daughter. No matter what they do and no matter what I do, I will always be their parent. They will always be my children. And that’s how God relates to us. It’s terribly important that our relationship with God is covenanted because that’s a relationship of love. A contractual relationship is not a relationship of love. It’s a relationship of justice. These two moral narratives are fundamentally incompatible as accounts of God.

I realized a lot of Pauline debates were caught up in this distinction without recognizing it. The old perspective is unfortunately basically a contractual account of how God relates to us. It’s a contractual account of how God relates to humanity, based on works. If you do these things, you’ll be saved, and if you can have faith, you’ll be saved.

In the parts of Paul that I really resonate with, like Romans 5:1-11, God loves us and commits to us in Christ before we do anything right. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is the covenant. So I suddenly realized there was an interpretative collision going on, deep down in the way we were interpreting Paul, which was messing up everything else that we were doing. I had to address it. I had to find out, “Was Paul confused? Was he an old perspective guy deep down all the time? Was he a covenantal thinker all the time?” This is what we want. And the stakes are fairly high here.

And so the book came out of the realization that we can read Paul in a way that is consistently covenantal. We don’t have to pay this price. We don’t have to say that Paul is muddled up. We don’t have to say that Paul was ever committed to a contract. The enthusiasm of some interpreters for contractual salvation has led to them finding that in Paul, but it’s not really there. That’s what led to the book. But it’s quite a deep issue. It’s a big one, it’s broad, it’s complicated.

DM: Based on some push-back that I’ve read regarding your view as a whole, especially Tom Schreiner’s response to your chapter in Four Views on the Apostle Paul, his main critique was that you don’t have a role for judgment in your understanding of Pauline theology. Would you like to respond to that?

DC: Yeah, well he’s wrong. I’ve got plenty of room for judgment. There’s a lot of accountability in what I’m talking about. Everybody in Christ will rise and have to give an account of themselves to God. What’s missing from my account is Tom Schreiner’s version of judgment. I consider this to be a great advantage because I wouldn’t want Tom’s view of judgment to be in my account of the Gospel because I don’t think it’s compatible with the Gospel, because any notion of judgment has to be reconstructed by the Gospel.

I work a lot in justice and prison work, and one of the first things that you learn is that there are a lot of different definitions of justice out there. Some of them are harsh, some of them are nasty, and some of them are kind and constructive. What we need to do as Christians is let our understandings of restoration and accountability be reconstructed by Christ, and by Christology, and by the pressure of our Christian situation, and not bring in our cultural baggage.

I don’t see any indication that Tom’s account of final judgment has been reconstructed by Christology. All I see is a political and cultural override of what Christ is trying to say about justice and judgment. And I think this is a major problem. God is not characterized fundamentally by retribution. God is not characterized fundamentally by the need to punish. If he is, then the doctrine of the Trinity is ruptured, which I think would be a very bad idea. God is certainly characterized by justice conceived in terms of restoration, and covenantal accountability, and transformation, and resistance to evil, and these things are entirely legitimate. So we’re probably a little closer together at these points than he thinks.

DM: At Duke, not only are you training up the next generation of scholars and professors but you’re also training pastors as well. How do you want the next pastoral generation to take the essence of your understanding of Pauline theology and implement that into their congregations in their ministries?

DC: Well I do spend entire semesters on this – it’s huge. Let me just say a few things. I encourage people to really submit themselves and allow God to be in charge of the truth process. Trust God to reveal stuff to you, rest in God. Don’t try and work it out for yourself, don’t try and base it on your own understanding. Kind of, let go and let God, and rest in that. So I think that’s actually very important, because it stops people falling into a set of traps, where you might try and work it out yourself and then what you’re working out proves to be a foundation that collapses. It’s a house of sand. You’ve got to build your house on the rock— on God. And it’s believing that God actually does stuff in your life now, God’s alive, that’s very important. Which sounds kind of basic, but actually standing up in a classroom and saying repeatedly, “God is here now and works in your life and your relationships and the communities,” is actually shocking to some folks. But that’s what needs to be said.

Second, I think this will push you into very practical, very particular relationships. God is interested in friendships, what I call “strange friendships”. He’s interested in Christians that can be flexible enough and confident enough to reach out to people who don’t look like them and to create covenantal relationships with these people. This is how Paul operated. He made friends. He was an expert friend maker and he made friends with very odd people; with prisoners, with women, with hand-workers, with high-status people, with low-status people, with non-Jewish people, with Jewish people. He was always making friends and this is what made the whole thing work. So that’s another thing that I emphasize; friendship evangelism and network evangelism. I talk about that a lot. And going in with the right attitude and acting in the right way within those relationships.

I also emphasize the importance of prisons and the prison-industry. Paul wrote 40% of his letters from an incarceration. And it’s very difficult to understand what that means if you haven’t visited a place of incarceration. Maybe even spent a little bit of time there. Go and hang out with some prisoners as Paul certainly did. This was a very, very big part of his life. And it should be a very big part of the church’s life. So I’m theoretically, but also practically, very strongly committed to getting prison visitation programs going, restoration processes going, restorative justice processes going, re-entry programs going, etc. This is part of what Paul was about, and if you’re not doing it, you’re not getting it.

* * *

the-deliverance-of-god-an-apocalyptic-rereading-of-justification-in-paulThe Deliverance of God is available for only 99 cents during the month of February. You can also get a differing opinion with Justification Reconsidered by Stephen Westerholm, February’s Free Book of the Month.

Get both books today!

The Importance of Prioritizing Your Commentaries

Why prioritize your library?

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Prioritizing your library allows you to pull up the resources you want quickly. The beauty of Logos Bible Software is that it allows you to quickly search thousands of resources. But not all resources are equal. Each of us has a preferred commentary series, like the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Series, the International Critical Commentary Series (on sale this month) or the Hermeneia and Continental Commentaries. Prioritizing these resources brings them up first in the guides.

Get step-by-step direction on prioritizing your library.

Setup a one or two-volume commentary

A one or two-volume commentary provides a quick survey of the text and is guaranteed to open. Often, time is at a premium. Rather than survey numerous sources, a reliable a one or two-volume commentary provides quick treatment of a passage. It can provide the scholar with a starting point for future study and point him or her n the right direction.

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Additionally, what if your preferred commentary set doesn’t have a volume for the book you’re studying? Sometimes, a commentary set only covers a specific set of books, like the JPS Tanakh Commentary Collection. Or, a set only covers part of Scripture, like the IVP New Testament Commentary Series. A one or two-volume commentary is guaranteed to open, regardless of what book you’re in.

Suggested commentaries include:

The Bible Knowledge Commentary is available in most base packages. Additionally, the New Bible Commentary is edited in part by respected scholar, D.A. Carson. However, the recently released in print, Fortress Commentary on the Bible promises to outshine both these works. Unlike either of the other two works, The Fortress Commentary includes a section on the Apocrypha. It is sure to hold a prominent place in any scholar’s library.

Save when you pre-order the Fortress Commentary on the Bible

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible includes a broad array of scholarship from multiple traditions. Additionally, it makes a concerted effort to assume very little on the part of the reader. For example, as Matthew Coomber notes in his introductory section, “Reading the Old Testament in Ancient and Contemporary Contexts”:

Only a handful of my students claim to have been exposed to the stories of the Old Testament outside of either Sunday school or in episodes of the popular cartoon series Veggie Tales. Due to this lack of exposure to the Old Testament, I feel compelled to give them fair warning about what they have gotten themselves into . . . .

The importance of prioritizing a one or two-volume commentary cannot be overstated. Be sure to setup your library today for optimal performance. And now, for a limited time, save $25.00 when you pre-order the Fortress Commentary on the Bible. This exciting work takes critical scholarship to the next level with a rich diversity of perspectives.

Pre-order the Fortress Commentary on the Bible today!


Learn to Use Interactive Resources with Logos Academic Training

In this video, Morris Proctor shows you how to use the new Before and After feature, one of the many interactive resources in Logos 6. Morris is our official Logos Bible Software trainer, make sure to check out his newest Mobile Ed course here: Logos Academic Training.

Logos 6 features

Introducing Encyclopedia Britannica Noet Edition

Encyclopedia Brittænica has been a go-to source for authoritative and comprehensive scholarship for hundreds of years, and for the first time you can use it for your research right in Logos!

Encyclopedia Britannica Noet Edition (EBNE) just launched, and until February 19th, you can get it on Pre-Pub for only $99.95—that’s 80% off!

EBNE is the gold standard of digital, general reference works. Your Logos library may be full of specialized scholarly resources focused on your particular field of study, but this authoritative resource still deserves a place in your library. Here’s why.


Authoritative scholarship

When you’re doing serious, academic research, you need trustworthy information. Having a reliable source is even more important when your research touches on topics outside of your immediate field of study.

You can find almost anything on the internet—but you can’t always trust what you read. Consulting online articles for a quick, cursory understanding of a topic is fine—but you can’t crowdsource the kind of scholarship you need for your next contribution to a peer-reviewed journal, term paper, or course lecture.

EBNE contains 10 million words across 19,000 articles, rigorously compiled by the editors at Encyclopædia Britannica. It puts the scholarship of expert contributors right in Logos, so you can do all of your research in one place—and safely rely on the information you find.

Seamless integration and robust data

Like all Logos resources, EBNE seamlessly integrates with other books in your Logos library. That way, when you search for a historical figure such as Philipp Melanchthon in EBNE, you can click from a reference to the Augsburg Confession, to the original text, to an English translation in a flash.

With Logos 6’s Factbook and guides, accessing scholarship from EBNE is simple. Look up “Code of Hammurabi” in the Factbook, and Logos scours all your resources, placing relevant entries from EBNE alongside other passages drawn from your library.

The Timeline—Logos’ visual chronicle of biblical history—receives a massive infusion of data with EBNE. Biblical events, people, and places are added to the Timeline, and Logos 6’s color-coded filters let you sort results by subject, type, and much more.

EBNE comes with an immense stock of images and other media—thousands-upon-thousands of photos and art, more than 1,500 maps, hundreds of videos, and more. Together, this makes for an enormous dataset that you can access at any time throughout the software. Plus, Logos 6 makes it simple to add this media to your next presentation.

See it in action

You only have until February 19th to get Encyclopedia Britannica Noet Edition for 80% off!

3 Things You Might Not Know about C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is coming to Logos. As part of this exciting event, we’ve also rounded up a package of contemporary scholarship that fills out your Lewis library with scholarly analysis of the Oxford don’s life’s work.

Whether you’re a casual fan or can recite everything Lewis’ has ever written, you’re sure to discover something new about his life, work, and influence in the pages of these resources—here are just a few . . .

1) He never became a full professor at Oxford

Despite producing excellent critical work throughout his career, Lewis never received full professorship at Oxford. In Spirituality for Mere Christians, William Griffin describes how Lewis’ faith cost him professionally.

After publishing The Screwtape Letters in 1942, Lewis fame grew at the expense of his reputation in the eyes of many colleagues—some of whom, according to Griffin, dismissed him as “C. Screwtape Lewis.” In 1947, he was nominated for the prestigious Oxford Professorship of Poetry. Lewis was supported by most all the faculty of Magdalen College—as well most of the heads of the other Oxford colleges.

According to Griffin, in the election, he faced poet Cecil Day-Lewis (father of award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis), on a final ballot that presented the two names: C.D. Lewis and C.S. Lewis. The confusing ballot yielded a result of 194 for Cecil Day-Lewis, and 173 for C.S. Lewis. A few years later, Clive would journey east to receive the accolades he deserved, accepting the chair of Medieval literature at Cambridge.

2) He replied to most every letter he received—usually the day he received it

According to his secretary Walter Hooper, Lewis was a prolific letter writer—spending the first two hours of every day responding to anyone who wrote him. Hooper’s edition of Lewis letters fills more than 4,000 pages, serving as a unique sort of autobiography. In an article for Sehnsucht: The C.S. Lewis Journal, David C. Downing analyzes how Lewis was a “spiritual mentor by mail.”

Downing discusses how Lewis engaged correspondents of all varieties—from hostile atheists to little children with big questions—always searching for common ground and crafting the vivid metaphors that made him famous. A professional literary critic, not a theologian, he often avoided addressing theological questions. But he lent his thoughts to those who wrestled with ideas of hell, determinism, and other difficult doctrines. His letters laid his life bare, succeeding, according to Downing, “not so much because of the insights and arguments contained in his letters, but because of the character and the life of the man behind them.”

3) You can track his spiritual journey through the progress of his poetry

On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was commemorated with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner. Though he is most famous for his endlessly enriching and amusing prose, Lewis spent his pre-Christian youth determined to succeed as a poet. In another article in Sehnsucht, Don W. King examines what Lewis’ early poetry reveals about his long journey to Christianity.

Lewis’ conception of God, King explains, slowly moves from a cruel obstacle in Lewis’ first published work, Spirits in Bondage, to a gracious savior in the spiritual awakening captured in The Pilgrims Regress. King goes on to track how poems written from throughout Lewis’ life enrich readings of his prose—from “The Apologist’s Evening Prayer” and Mere Christianity, to “Love’s as Warm as Tears” and A Grief Observed.

Don’t Miss Out

There’s not much time left. For a little while longer, you can add 30 volumes of C.S. Lewis works to your Logos library at a 30% Pre-Pub discount. To get the most out of your time with Lewis, be sure to pick up the Studies on C.S. Lewis Collection.

C.S. Lewis

You’re Invited! Free Webinar February 18th

Dr. Steve Runge, scholar in residence here at Faithlife, is on a mission to create a series of commentaries that give you all the detail of an in-depth original language study, without losing sight of the big picture. Join us at this free-to-attend webinar to see how he’s doing it.

In his Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament and Lexham High Definition New Testament, Dr. Runge annotated the significant discourse devices that aid in biblical interpretation, inviting even English-only students of the Bible to explore the Greek text. And now he is taking it one step further, making connections and drawing conclusions to illuminate your personal study or teaching ministry.

Register at to sign up, and join us on February 18th at 10:00 a.m. (PST), as Dr. Runge demonstrates how he and the rest of the Faithlife team are creating this one-of-a-kind Bible study tool.

Build an Affordable and Powerful Library with Community Pricing

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get top-notch scholarship for your research, papers, or lessons. Logos’ Community Pricing program lets you tell us what you’re willing to pay for classic commentaries, monographs, sermons, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other scholarly resources enhanced with our powerful tagging and research tools. Tell us the most you’d pay for a product, and once we have enough orders to cover production, you’ll only pay the lowest possible price.

Watch how it works:

Community Pricing is perfect for anyone looking for great content in the Logos format, but it gives students and scholars some distinct advantages.

Strengthen your Logos library on a budget

If you’re like a lot of people, you have loads of commentaries on the Pauline epistles and other New Testament books. But how’s your collection on Isaiah or Ezekiel? Or maybe your focus is on biblical studies, and the church-history portion of your Logos library is a little thin.

Our team curates the best content we can find on specific subjects (like the philosophy of free will or the Reformation and Renaissance in Italy), a book of the Bible or biblical genre (like the book of Amos or the Pauline Epistles), or the works and influence of a specific author (like B.F. Westcott or Ulrich Zwingli). Once you identify weak areas, it’s easy to browse Community Pricing titles and bid on collections that beef up your library. That way, when your next paper or research project comes along, you’ll have what you need to hone in on specific issues—and you won’t break the bank doing it.

Access a diverse range of scholarship for your research

It’s important to be evenhanded in your treatment of others’ positions, and the best way to do that is to study the work of those who hold views different from your own. In our Community Pricing collections, we strive to provide content from myriad theological traditions. For instance, the Classic Studies on the Ten Commandments collection includes volumes by Baptist, Anglican, Catholic, and Presbyterian scholars writing from both conservative and liberal perspectives. Community Pricing is a great way to fill out your library with a broad array of theological views.

Get the most out of Logos 6

Chances are, you use Logos for your Bible study and theological research because of its powerful tools. But to get the most out of the Factbook, guides, and other awesome tools, you need a robust Logos library. What’s one of the most affordable ways to build a library chock full of resources that populate these features? You guessed it: Community Pricing. Once a Community Pricing title’s cost is covered, it goes into production, receiving rich tagging that fully integrates the resource into your library and takes advantage of Logos’ tools.

Ready to get some great deals on resources that fill out your library, provide a variety of perspectives, and help you get the most out of your software? Browse all Community Pricing titles now!

Grow Your Logos Library with New Scholarship on Pre-Pub

The Logos Pre-Publication (Pre-Pub) program offers great deals and helps fund our ever-expanding digital library. We think it’s pretty sweet. Here’s why . . .

Grab the best price you will ever see (outside of a base package)

At a typical book vendor, when you preorder your favorite scholar’s latest work, you’ll usually pay full price—and maybe even an extra fee. But with discounts that often exceed 40%, Pre-Pub lets you be the first to plug your favorite books into your Logos library—all while paying the price of a book on the clearance shelf.

The Master Journal Bundle is 40% off on Pre-Pub right now!

The Master Journal Bundle is 40% off on Pre-Pub right now!

Pre-Pub also gives you the best deals on scholarly journals—including Bibliotheca Sacra, Themelios, and Princeton Theological Review—that are enhanced with specialized tagging by author, passage, and topic. The long-awaited Master Journal Bundle supercharges your library with a 1,280-volume archive of 58 journals—for less than 50 cents per volume if you buy through Pre-Pub.

Help fund new scholarship and translations

Pre-Pub is a lot more than just books from your favorite authors and publishers—it makes you a part of bringing quality research to the world for the first time. Faithlife’s resident scholars launch ground-breaking Bible study resources through Pre-Pub that are not available anywhere else, and are specially engineered to draw out the power of your software.

Resources like Steve Runge’s Lexham Discourse Handbooks and High Definition Commentaries combine cutting-edge digital study tools with the trusted scholarship our users expect. You’ll also find great deals on the Lexham Bible Guides, which summarize a massive range of commentary and theological opinion and jumpstart your study of individual books of the Bible.

Scott Hahn, Michael Morton, and Michael Bird toting their new copies of Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics—published in English for the first time by Lexham Press

Scott Hahn, Michael Morton, and Michael Bird toting their new copies of Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics—published in English for the first time by Lexham Press

Pre-Pub also funds new and first-time English translations of important works. Geerhardus Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics first came to English audiences through Pre-Pub. With Pre-Pub, you can be among the first to read works like Amandu Polanus’ A System of Christian Theology and Strack and Billerbeck’s Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Midrash in English—and participate in making them more widely available.

You’ll also find steep discounts on new Mobile Ed courses from renowned professors like Douglas J. Moo, Tremper Longman, Ben Witherington, and Craig Evans. Pre-Pub saves you even more as you design your own private program of study.

Build an interconnected library

If you’ve used Logos for any period of time, you know you’re not just paying for a book to scroll through. Logos books are smartly interconnected within a research ecosystem that grows more powerful with each new book.

Pre-Pub carries carefully curated collections of all sizes—offering even bigger per-book discounts on bigger collections. These collections instantly bulk up your library with contemporary research in theology, church history, biblical studies, biblical languages, and more—at the lowest prices you’ll ever see for these collections.

What are you waiting for?

Check out all the great deals on Pre-Pub today. It’s the most cost-effective way to customize your library, and sponsor the continued growth of the world’s biggest and most powerful digital library for Christian scholars, students, and pastors.

Dr. Lynn Cohick—Jewish-Christian Relations and Ancient Christian Women

Dr. Lynn Cohick, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, talks about Jewish-Christian relations over the centuries and her recent scholarship on Christian women in the 2nd–6th centuries.

Check out Dr.Lynn Cohick’s Mobile Ed courses NT101 Introducing New Testament: Its Structure and StoryNT231 Paul of Tarsus  and more at

Save over 78% When You Bid on Theodor Zahn’s New Testament Introduction

Theodor Zahn’s Introduction to the New Testament (3 vols.) is still available on Community Pricing. Bid by this Friday and you could get the entire set for only $14![1]

Study classic scholarship

theodor-zahns-introduction-to-the-new-testamentZahn, a German professor and writer born in 1838, represents the best of conservative scholarship in the early twentieth-century. As the The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge notes:

His literary activity has been great, commensurate with his responsibility as virtual leader of the conservatives in New-Testament criticism. [2]

When last reproduced in print, it received this recommendation from S.L. Johnson Jr. in Bibliotheca Sacra:

Theodor Zahn was Professor of New Testament Exegesis in Erlangen University. He was an outstanding interpreter of the New Testament, but to most in the English-speaking world he is known best for his Introduction to the New Testament. It is without doubt the finest work of its kind. Its conservative viewpoint makes it a must for all diligent conservative students of the New Testament. It should be read and re-read until it has been digested. One may not follow Zahn in all of his views, yet they are always stimulating.[3]

Save with Community Pricing

Get this respected set for 78% off the regular price when you bid today. But hurry – bidding closes at noon (PST) on Friday, February 6!  

[1] At the time of writing, the projected price for the Theodor Zahn’s New Testament Introduction was $14, 78% off the regular price.
[2] Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: Embracing Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology and Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Biography from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1908–1914), 496.
[3] Bibliotheca Sacra 111, no. 444 (1954): 371.