Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Declaring the Death of Christ: James Denney. VIII.

By 1900 James Denney had been teaching Systematic and Pastoral Theology at the Free Church College, Glasgow for three years. But 1900 ushered in a new era, for it was in 1900 that the Free Church of Scotland united with the United Presbyterian Church, producing the United Free Church of Scotland. The United Presbyterians had had their own college, located in Edinburgh. Since the Edinburgh Free Church College (New College) was far better equippped than the U.P. College it was agreed to close the United Presbyterian College and to redistribute the professors around the Free Church Colleges. Glasgow had a vacancy in the New Testament chair created by the death of Professor Bruce, but the U.P. Professor who was assigned to them was James Orr, United Presbyterian professor of Systematic Theology. Dr. Denney was moved to the chair of New Testament and Apologetics. It was the post for which he was probably best qualified. One of his future colleagues, Professor Clow, wrote: "For this Chair of New Testament Exegesis he was uniquely prepared... he was essentially a man of one book. That book was the New Testament. Its history, its sources, its authors, and especially the Gospel writers, and Paul as their interpreter, called forth from him all his powers, with a deep joy in their exercise." It was telling that he greatly resisted an attempt made later to transfer him back to his original chair after the death of Professor Orr.
Denney's interpretation of the New Testament centred around the doctrine of the Atonement. The death of Christ was the absolute centre of his system, holding together everythin else.
God willing, we shall say something about his teaching on the atonement next time.



Post a Comment

<< Home