Edward Irving (1792-1834) died of tuberculosis at about my age. He had been defrocked for heresy the previous year after taking a little London congregation from 50 to 1000 people. Reading this account at christianity.com, it seems as though his downfall was pride, rather than TB.
He was also at the center of the proto-charismatic circle (and may have inadvertently founded the Catholic Apostolic Church) I alluded to in my last post, and he seems to have encountered some of the most consistently disastrous flaws of some charismatics (eschewing medical help out of certainty that God will heal, disorder in the church).
A brilliant preacher, he sometimes looked down on others, but in pastoral-care he was amazingly Christ-like, and there may be a theological source of inspiration for this compassion: The theological issue that brought him down was a theme rehashed from Gregory of Nazianzus: that Christ, in his incarnation had taken on, not just a human nature, but a sinful nature, and had remained sinless only through his intimate connection with the Holy Spirit. This has the benefit of giving believers a much greater sense of Christ’s commonality with us; a greater sense that we can mutually “relate” to each other. Irving’s atonement theology therefore emphasized Christ’s Representative rather than substitutionary function, in relation to humanity in his life, death and resurrection (one theme of Hebrews and Romans in the New Testament). Although the two words imply similar concepts, Representational theories emphasize Christ's incarnation and representation of humanity as essential and even primary aspects of reconciling humanity with God. Protestants after the Reformation have tended to emphasize (rather exclusively) Christ’s death; almost implying that everything else in the Gospels is mere commentary and logistics for the cross (and maybe the resurrection). Irving’s approach was broader, but the precise point on which he was attacked were his references to Christ’s “sinful flesh” which may have implied something that Irving did not intend. Nazianzus had written that "what is unassumed is unredeemed" (or something like that), meaning that if Christ had NOT taken on everything it means to be human (including our "fallen" condition) then he could not have redeemed us in our humanity. Whatever was made of Irving's phraseology, that's some good theology.