Douglas Campbell and Douglas Moo debate Justification


Yesterday, the Henry Center at TEDS posted a debate between Douglas Campbell (Duke Divinity School) and Douglas Moo (Wheaton College) on Paul’s doctrine of justification. This debate will garner wide interest. I just finished watching it, and I can highly recommend it. Moo is well-known for his several commentaries on Paul’s epistles and as a leading biblical scholar in the American evangelical academy, including his work on the new edition of the NIV a few years ago. Campbell is that rarest of things: a biblical scholar who is an unapologetic Barthian, happy to utilize systematic and confessional categories. You should watch his advice to students.

As the debate progressed, I thought the discussion got more and more interesting, all the way into the Q and A. Campbell and Moo are irenic and respectful throughout. I would have liked to see more exegetical work, but it serves well as an overview of their respective positions.

Embedding is disabled, so you will have to click on the link and watch it on YouTube.

If you are new to these issues, then you would do well to read Joshua Jipp’s introduction to the debate: “Re-Reading Paul: What is Being Said and Why It Matters.” Jipp’s summary of Campbell is probably the clearest that you will find anywhere.

Tip of the hat to Jennifer Guo for alerting us to this debate.


Image: The Carl F.H. Henry Center



  1. I don’t really have the time or qualifications to evaluate the exegesis, but I’m skeptical of whether Romans 1-3 can really be radically re-read in the way Campbell wants. He’s certainly a likable guy though, and a lot of what he says makes sense.

    • Yes, that is definitely the most vulnerable bit of his exegesis of Romans. It makes me want to read his massive ‘Deliverance’ volume and see the full argument.

      • I think it’s also the most crucial part, which is why he repeatedly pressures Dr. Moo in their debate to name another passage presenting the same view of humanity & epistemology as Rom. 1-3 (and I don’t recall that he ever did). If the passage can be read rhetorically/Socratically, it removes a massive obstacle for his argument. Definitely worth a closer look.

      • Good point, Matt. The uniqueness of the passage is indeed curious. If Campbell is right, then he has offered the Barthian construal of gospel-law its most significant and sophisticated exegetical defense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s