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Cameron, John


Scottish theologian, a leading divine of the French Huguenot Church; b. Glasgow, 1579; d. Montauban, France, 1625. He was educated at the University of Glasgow. In 1600 he went to France where his abilities as a classical scholar won him a professorship at the Protestant University of Sedan. From 1604 to 1608 he studied theology at Paris, Geneva, and Heidelberg. In 1608 he published the first of a series of theological tracts (De triplici Dei cum homine foedere ), which were to make him a controversial figure in Calvinist circles. In retrospect, Cameron's theological intentions seem quite clear. He, like the Dutchman Jacobus arminius, was trying to resolve the dilemma implicit in orthodox Calvinist theology as to whether Christ had died for all men or for the elect only. Arminius, unlike Calvin, insisted that the atonement was for allbelievers and nonbelievers, elect and reprobate alike. If Christ died for all, anti-Arminians charged, then nonbelievers were the victims of divine caprice and the unregenerate had a voluntary power to resist grace. In either case, significant attributes of the divine nature were impugned. Cameron contended by way of compromise that Christ's death was a universal sacrifice but that nonbelievers did not therefore have a choice of accepting or resisting grace. According to Cameron, the will of man is determined by the judgment of the mind. Men do good or evil as a result of knowledge infused into them by God, who does not move the will physically but only morally as a consequence of its dependence on human judgment. Thus Cameron believed he had removed God's ultimate responsibility for sin, preserved the irresistible nature of grace, and explained how it was that some men could seemingly accept or deny the consequences of Christ's sacrifice.

Despite his ambivalent position, Cameron held the chairs of divinity at Saumur (161820) and Glasgow (162223). Never popular with the strong Presbyterian party in the Scottish Church, he ended his days in France, where he taught briefly at the University of Montauban before his death.

Bibliography: t. f. henderson, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 3:747748. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church 223.

[s. a. burrell]

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