I was reading Kevin Davis’ post today about PCUSA’s recent decisions, which allows room for homosexual marriage[i]. Not too long after this I arrived at page 777 of CD.1.2, landing on these words from Barth.
‘Even behind the most insignificant deviation or obscurity or irrelevance, behind the apparently most harmless whimsicality, which someone or some circumstance may wish to employ in matters of Church proclamation, there may lurk error and falsehood by which the promise is annulled and the Church destroyed. In every menace to pure doctrine the question arises whether the Church, at the point where it now speaks, has not perhaps rejected grace and is, therefore, itself rejected. In our prayer for the Holy Spirit we commit it to the grace of God, and in so doing we confess that it needs divine grace, and must be continually rescued from death if it is to live.’[ii]
Barth is discussing the science of dogmatics as having a middle role to that of explication and application (or exegesis and practical theology).
In light of these words I found myself asking:
What kind of ‘dogmatic attitude that is critical, but not sceptically negative’[iii] towards this proclamation by PCUSA would be considered a healthy response?
How much of God’s Word is reflected purely through the human word?
Does God even exists in these decisions?
I also wonder if, in some aspects, Barth’s idea of preaching as being a ‘selfless word’[iv] is an indictment against this kind of proclamation. In this respect could such decisions rightly be considered as being a ‘selfish word’ and therefore false proclamation?
As with a lot of discussions about homosexual “marriage”, there are more questions than answers.
That said, we’ll know sooner or later how this all pans out for the Church. Simply because consequences determine the wisdom of our actions (Jesus, Luke 7:35 paraphrased)
[i] link: http://dogmatics.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/what-did-the-pcusa-do/
[ii] Barth, K. 1938 Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of The Word of God I.II Hendrickson Publishers 2010
[iii] Ibid, p.775
[iv] Ibid, p.764