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Posts tagged "Barth"


Law & Gospel: News from Across the Sea

The following is excerpted from Mockingbird’s newest resource, Law and Gospel: A Theology for Sinners (and Saints), which is available here. This comes from the beginning of the Gospel section: ‘News’ expresses something different from ‘knowledge.’ We live in a time of unprecedented knowledge: a day’s worth of new data now would, in terms of […]

Karl Barth on The Humanity of God

The great Swiss theologian  addresses the task of preaching, from a late-career book of the same name:

barth“A fourth consequence [of God’s humanity]: the sense and sound of our voice must be fundamentally positive. Proclamation of the covenant of God with man, announcement of the place which is once for all opened and assigned to man in this covenant, the message of Immanuel, the message of Christ – this is the task. The dialogue and encounter which are our theological theme involve God’s grace and man’s gratitude. To open up again the abyss closed in Jesus Christ cannot be our task. Man is not good: that is indeed true and must once more be asserted. God does not turn toward him without uttering an inexorable ‘No’ to his transgression. Thus theology has no choice but to put this ‘No’ into words within the framework of its theme. However, it must be the ‘No’ which Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself for us men, in order that it may no longer affect us and that we may no longer place ourselves under it. What takes place in God’s humanity is, since it includes that ‘No’ in itself, the affirmation of man.

The direction of our word is given therewith. The man with whom we have to do in ourselves and in others, though a rebel, a sluggard, a hypocrite, is likewise the creature to whom his Creator is faithful and not unfaithful. But there is still more: he is the being whom God has loved, loves, and will love, because He has substituted Himself in Jesus Christ and made Himself the guarantee… And with this explanation the statement that the human spirit is naturally Christian may also be valid as an obstinately joyful proclamation. That is what we have to testify to men in view of the humanism of God, irrespective of the more or less dense godlessness of their humanism – everything else must be valid only in the framework of this statement and promise.”

The Timeless God, an excerpt from T.S. Eliot

An excerpt taken from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets“, “Dry Salvages”: To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits, To report the behaviour of the sea monster,Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,Observe disease in signatures, evokeBiography from the wrinkles of the palmAnd tragedy from fingers; release omensBy sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitableWith playing cards, fiddle […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 6): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58) **final**

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) In a final turn, Barth deals with the dependence of the individual on community and the community on individuals; of the Christian on the Church and the Church on the Christian. For, “there cannot be one without the other”. The Holy Spirit assembles and sustains the Church, Christianity, not as a heap of […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 5c): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) *There are three forms to Sin. 1. Sin negates the first form of grace of God: that “God gives Himself to us, He makes Himself responsible for our cause, He takes it into His own hand”. Sin transgresses the great first commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your soul, mind, body, […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 5b): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) In the doctrine of reconciliation humanity is not only confronted with the positive side of the truths in Jesus Christ, but also the negative side of the truth of sin in the world initiated by humanity and its victim. By Jesus’ atoning work, God reconciles covenant breaking humanity to Himself by Himself. Consequently, […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 5a): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

iv.1.58.4 Barth works out the threefold form of the Christological aspect of the doctrine of the reconciliation*. In and by Jesus, humanity is confronted with God. In Jesus, God—by becoming man—actively intervenes and takes up His cause—the covenant—“with and against and for man”. Jesus “is the authentic revealer of God as Himself God”. By Jesus […]

“Wake me up inside…” (part 1): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation is the crescendo of the symphony that is his Church Dogmatics. Specifically, in this small (!) section (iv.1.58), one can begin to see how Barth is going to pull his entire theology together through the one moment, the one solitary and essential event of the atonement. He has woven together […]