Archives For September 23, 2013

I happened to find this statement from Karl Barth intriguing and wondered what implications it might have for Christian bloggers. Particularly those who are not theologically trained, yet bring their theological acumen to bear, as they broadside their readers with content so theologically deep that it has the potential to impact even the most qualified.

Speaking in the general zone of theological reflection – I say general zone because they don’t neatly fit – of what we call deliberative theology (questions motivated by experience) and embedded theology (learnt, assumed, taken for granted), Barth writes:

‘It has happened, of course and this was especially true in the age of orthodoxy, that the scientific character of academic dogmatics has had to be vindicated against free-lances. BUT it has also happened that the scientific character of dogmatics has had to be vindicated by free-lances against the dogmatics of the schools. Naturally it cannot be denied that the aversion to the dogmatics of the schools which may be found a little in every age has often rested on enthusiasm of some sort and not on solid Christian insight, that it has had little or nothing to do with the seriousness of the question of dogma, and that it is not, therefore, a sign of scientific concern. BUT it is also impossible to deny that the transition from irregular to regular dogmatics – when perhaps the school has ceased to be aware that it had to serve life, i.e., the Church – has often been accompanied by a decline in the seriousness, vitality and joyfulness of Christian insight, by lameness in the enquiry into dogma, and therefore by a loss of the true scientific character of dogmatics’ (Karl Barth 1936, Church Dogmatics 1.1:278)


Sometimes academic questions are answered by the seemingly not so academic. For example: if you’re a Christian blogger responsibly writing with, for, about and to the Church (read: The Commonwealth of Christ) don’t give up because you think that you are theologically unqualified.

You may just be providing an objective insight that joins a serious answer to an even more serious question. (and the added bonus is, it appears that Barth would approve!).

Related reading:

Duke, J.O & Stone, H.W 2006 How to think theologically, 2nd Ed. Augsburg Fortress