Christianity Today’s 2014 Book Award for Biblical Studies: “Paul and Union with Christ” by Con Campbell
Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study is among several books from this year that Christianity Today hand-picked as "most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture."
Craig L. Blomberg had this to say about Paul and Union with Christ:
Campbell tackles a massive topic on which no consensus has ever been reached. He covers the waterfront in terms of judicious analysis of the relevant Scriptures, and he adopts sensible, convincing, multifaceted conclusions. Yet for all its learnedness, the book is so carefully structured and clearly written that the reader marvels…
Does Union with Christ Make the Imputation of His Righteousness Redundant? Con Campbell Gives an Answer
If you've been following along here the past few weeks you know we've been showcasing a few interviews with Constantine Campbell on his new book Paul and Union with Christ. We've heard about the key influences that impacted his research. We've also had Campbell engage and answer the question "Does Paul have an ordo salutis?".
In this final video interview we let Campbell engage and answer another crucial question regarding union with Christ: "Does union with Christ make the imputation of Christ's righteousness redundant?"
This question is a tricky one because it gets at the heart of how it is that believers are declared righteous. Is it through imputation or through union with Christ?
You're probably aware of the recent debates between Reformed theologians and scholars in the so-called New Perspective Paul regarding this very issue. The discussion regards this question: "How do we receive righteousness in Christ?" On the one hand the Reformed tradition emphasizes imputation, that Christ's righteousness is taken from him and put on us. On the other side is the idea that because of union with Christ we share in his righteousness and are justified by that union, thus imputation is unnecessary.
But are the two views mutually exclusive? Or is there a way to cut through the false dichotomy into a more biblically, theologically rounded understanding of our question? Campbell thinks so.
What is the Key to Unlocking Paul’s Theology? An Excerpt from “Paul and Union with Christ”
If you missed it, earlier in the week we posted a short video on Con Campbell's book Paul and Union with Christ. The book itself is a thorough treatment of what James Dunn and others call one of Paul's central theological themes: union with Christ.
But rather than conceiving of this important concept as the center of a wheel—where all other ideas emanate like spokes—Campbell images it as a key to discerning the web of Paul's interconnecting, interdependent ideas; "a key provides access to something that is missing in order to make sense of the whole." (439)
The excerpt below further explains this intriguing, insightful description of arguably the key theological motif that helps unlock Paul's whole theology:
We observed…that the theme of…
Key Influences on Con Campbell’s Research for His Book “Paul and Union with Christ”
Constantine R. Campbell's new Paul and Union with Christ is one of the most thorough treatments of one of Paul's most important, yet obtuse subjects I have seen.
As Campbell explains, "The theme of union with Christ in the writings of the apostle Paul is at once dazzling and perplexing. Its prevelance on every page of his writings demonstrates his proclivity for the concept, and yet nowhere does he directly explain what he means."
Hence this important book. And in it he engages two central concerns of Paul's scheme: what union with Christ actually is and what role it performs in Paul's theology. The manner in which he engages them is through both exegesis and theology, an unusual…