What was John Murray's view? In my paper I cited his commentary on Romans along with many other representatives of the traditional Reformation view that Romans 2:13 is hypothetical. Dr. Waldron takes exception to my citing Murray as a representative of this interpretation. But I remain unrepentant. The following quotes from his commentary seem to me to prove that Murray held to the hypothetical (or empty-set) view of Romans 2:13. He starts out by saying that whether there will be any doers of the law who are justified is irrelevant to Paul's purpose at this point in his argument:
"This verse [Rom 2:13] is directly connected with the two clauses immediately preceding and supports or confirms the proposition that the law will be the instrument of the condemnation pronounced upon those who have sinned under it. The emphasis in verse 13 falls upon the difference between 'hearers of the law' and 'doers of the law'. The mere possession of the law does not insure favorable judgment on God's part. The law is the standard of judgment but it is the law as demanding conformity .... It is quite unnecessary to find in this verse any doctrine of justification by works in conflict with the teaching of this epistle in later chapters. Whether any will be actually justified by works either in this life or at the final judgment is beside the apostle's interest and design at this juncture. The burden of this verse is that not the hearers or mere possessors of the law will be justified before God but that in terms of the law the criterion is doing, not hearing. The apostle's appeal to this principle serves that purpose truly and effectively, and there is no need to import questions that are not relevant to the universe of discourse" (1.71)
At this point, Murray inserts a footnote where he quotes another commentator favorably, thus in effect adopting the empty-set view:
"Philippi's statement is worthy of quotation: 'Whether or not there are such perfect 'doers of the law' the apostle does not say in this passage, but only opposes the true standard to the false standard of the Jews, that 'hearers of the law' are just before God. The entire reasoning of the Roman epistle tends to this conclusion, that no man is by nature such a 'doer of the law,' or can be'." (1.71 n 21)
That Murray has adopted the empty-set or hypothetical view of Rom 2:13 is confirmed later on in his comments at Rom 3:20 ("by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight"):
"This [Rom 3:20] does not overthrow the principle stated in 2:13 that 'the doers of the law will be justified'. This holds true as a principle of equity but, existentially, it never comes into operation in the human race for the reason that there are no doers of the law, no doing of the law that will ground or elicit justification – 'there is none righteous, no, not one' (vs. 10)" (1.107).
Now it is true that Murray did not take Rom 2:6-11 as hypothetical (see his remarks at 1.62-63). Clearly, Murray is on Waldron's side at this point, not mine. But as Dr. Waldron himself has pointed out, some commentators adopt a mediating position in that they take Rom 2:6-11 as real but v. 13 as hypothetical. I would argue that Murray falls in this category (as did Philippi himself, whom Murray follows). I should have been clearer about this distinction, and I will make it clear in a future revision of my paper. Still, I stand by my claim that Murray interpreted Rom 2:13 hypothetically.