Archives For God

I’m cautious of any and all mainstream news, including that which comes from conservatives. It’s good practice to read between the lines, and really take in what’s being said. Besides that, I do it because I’m no mindless drone. It pays to be informed.

Phil Robertson’s points here are excellent. I agree with most of them. I do, however, find myself conflicted about universal health care.

The package for any country has to have the right balance. There should be a safety net that doesn’t hinder the free market, but ensures citizens get the best care available.

While being fully aware of the arguments against government funded universal healthcare, being raised in a country that has a version of it, I see that the benefits of universal healthcare, outweigh the drawbacks, making it the only area where I find myself slightly at odds with what Phil has to say.

I’ve plugged this video on social media a few times today because there’s a whole lot of good in it:

“Once you elevate government to where it supersedes God and you begin to think the government will feed us. The government will house us. The government will educate us. The government will provide our health care, once you do that you begin on a downward spiral and you end up where all the nations before of us have ended up.
We’ve removed God. We pushed him out of our culture and every way possible.We pushed God out of the public domain and we’ve got him pushed out of the way.
What we need to do is understand that worship is not about going to church worshipping and leaving worshipping God is offering yourself your body as a living sacrifice everywhere you are you point people to the God of creation everywhere you are work play 24/7 we have to implement that we’re gonna have more the same.”

 


 

johnabigailPart of the beauty of the ‘Letters of John and Abigail Adams’ is that every sentence suggests careful consideration.

There are sentences for example, where John cautions Abigail against openly sharing his letters for fear of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. They reveal a husband and wife, both loving parents who are also very much the exemplary, one for the other, each for God.

‘Their mutual respect and adoration served as evidence that even in an age when women were unable to vote, there were nonetheless marriages in which wives and husbands were true intellectual and emotional equals.’ (History.com)

I picked this book up out of curiosity about its historical and theological significance. As I continue to casually read through them, I am more and more convinced about the gravity of their contents, context and the important message they carry to the world, not just Americans.

Part of a letter written to John in May, 1775, from Abigail, further clarifies my point :

‘The Lord will not cast off his people; neither will He forsake his inheritance. Great events are most certainly in the womb of futurity; and, if the present chastisements which we experience have a proper influence upon our conduct, the event will certainly be in our favour’[i].

The Adams family epistles have contemporary relevance. The most pertinent of which is that they challenge Christians to steer clear of anti-intellectualism. They encourage Christians to engage; to understand current events in light of the biblical texts, and move away from disengaging in informed debate, dismissing it as uninteresting, convoluted and/or unnecessary.

Here are a people on the cusp of necessary conflict; a people not yet prepared for what they hope to avoid; a people who understand the danger of the mob; a people who acknowledge that they bear the burden of responsibilityand are God’s participants in necessary decisions that will require courage, faith, hope, prudence, calm justice and fierce mercy.

The same people who, under God, will stare down the supposed divine right of a king, and challenge his exercise of freedom without restraint.

The same people who will instead assert that under God all are created equal, and that authentic freedom can only come with the caveat of authentic responsibility.

One example is that both John and Abigail looked unfavourably on slavery, made clear by Abigail’s rebuke: ‘I wish most sincerely there was not a slave in the province. It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me— to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have. You know my mind upon this subject.[ii]

Both husband and wife lived out their faith – not in a cloister, reserved pew or in pious appearances.

A constant in the letters are references to biblical texts. Used comfortably, they form an important part of the extraordinary exchange. It might not be so wrong to suggest that these letters read like small sermons, shared between a loving, overburdened husband, and his equally loving and overburdened bride.

Unfortunately, the letters are not without theological issues.

Gaps exist. Such as Abigail’s allusion to a form, of what Shirley Guthrie called, the ‘common heresy’ of Pelagianism (Christian Doctrine, 1994:127) – an ancient misinterpretation of God’s salvation, grace and the role of the responsive sinner.

‘God helps them that help themselves, as King Richard says; and if we can obtain the Divine aid by our own virtue, fortitude, and perseverance, we may be sure of relief.[iii]

In addition, I’m uncertain as to whether or not the countless references to ‘Providence’ are in fact veiled 18th Century Congregationalist references to the Holy Spirit. The context implies they are.

‘I pray for you all, and hope to be prayed for. Certainly there is a Providence; certainly we must depend upon Providence, or we fail; certainly the sincere prayers of good men avail much. But resignation is our duty in all events.[iv]

Nevertheless, reformed theology appears to dominate the politics, parenting philosophy, orthodoxy and sociology. Prayer and references to God’s care, wisdom, provision and guidance are ever-present.

This is not something that is the result of a cultural Christian appendage. To begin with Abigail Adams is openly critical of appearance only faith.

‘General John Burgoyne practices deceit on God himself, by assuming the appearance of great attention to religious worship, when every action of his life is totally abhorrent to all ideas of true religion, virtue, or common honesty.[v]

John affirms this in a similar way stating that:

 ‘The man who violates [destroys] private faith, cancels solemn obligations, whom neither honor nor conscience holds, shall never be knowingly trusted by me. Had I known, when I first voted for a Director of a Hospital, what I heard afterwards, when I was down, I would not have voted as I did. Open, barefaced immorality ought not to be so countenanced.[vi]

The Adams family epistles are unique in that they present an organic living relationship between husband and wife, grounded in God’s freedom. What has caught me by surprise is that God is not reduced to second place. Alongside great concerns, God is still in the forefront of their thoughts, and as a result a good deal of theology permeates the wisdom that informs their actions, wit and dialogue .

One thing grasps me as I read through these letters. That is the relevance they hand out to a contemporary audience still concerned with the matters of God, love, liberty and the caveat of responsibility.

Braintree, 19 August, 1774:

Did ever any kingdom or state regain its liberty, when once it was invaded, without bloodshed? I cannot think of it without horror.
Yet we are told that all the misfortunes of Sparta were occasioned by their too great solicitude for present tranquillity, and, from an excessive love of peace, they neglected the means of making it sure and lasting.[vii]
– Abigail Adams.

History forgotten is history repeated.


References: (Not otherwise linked)

[i] Adams, J & Adams, A. 2012. The Letters of John and Abigail Adams (Kindle Ed). Start Publishing LLC, 7th May , 1775

[ii] Ibid, 24th September , 1774

[iii] Ibid, 16th September , 1775 & John Adam’s agrees with this. See letter 62. 1st October, 1775

[iv] Ibid, John Adams, 8th May , 1775

[v] Ibid, Letter 55. 25th July, 1775

[vi] Ibid, Letter 72. 23rd October, 1775

[vii] Ibid, Letter 13. 19th August, 1774

Image: Abigail and John Adams (Source)

A few years back I did an online retreat for a spiritual formations class I was taking. It was a core subject, with a large amount of flexibility in what classes you can choose from[1].

What was revealed to me during of one of these classes was the short but sweet statement, ‘aim to bless, rather than impress’. Recently, I found myself questioning it’s viability as a theological statement from which society can be critiqued.

I began wrestling with the question, is there ever an appropriate time to impress people? As a budding student theologian, I immediately started to critically work out a reasoned polemic.

The answer I came up with was no. There should never be a need to try to impress people, ever. If there is follow Paul’s advice and run, run far and run fast (2 Tim.2:22 ESV).

I’m a fairly confident guitar player, and I love a large variety of musical genres, so putting on a show is in my very westernized and socially engineered self-conscience. Throughout junior and senior high school, getting the latest riff right down to its semitone and crochet, determined a high level of social acceptance.

As a result I derived my sense of self-worth from how well I could play (i.e.: put on a show). In my pre-Christ alignment, this became an idol I obsessed over.

From hard learned experiences, for me appearance determined reputation and was therefore everything. The language of acceptance was, at least from my prespective, my musical ability.

The statement ‘aim to bless, rather than impress’ is counter-cultural. We know this because God’s standard is to ‘look upon the heart and not outward appearance..not as humans do’ (1.Sam.16:7).

This means that a statement like aim to bless rather than impress, is the ordained orientation for humanity, even if it is not always the reality. This statement appears on the ‘horizon of the possibility’s of grace’ (Leonard Ravenhill).

Father, Son and Spirit rushes towards us, not unlike the prodigal’s father running towards his son, undeterred by his “wasteful” public display of affection, joy, gratitude and forgiveness (Lk. 15:17) [2].

For now, I have concluded that humans are called to be bothered with how we bless people, as opposed to how we impress them. This does not mean I give up on performing, it means that I resist any area in my life where my performance, worth and acceptance is tempted to become about simply just ‘putting on a show’.

Today, I was reading my news feeds and stumbled across this relevant gem by Wendy Murray:

”Your worth, and mine, cannot–I dare say, must not — be reduced to “likes,” “retweets,” “shares,” and “mentions.” Your worth and, mine; your influence on others’ lives, and mine, have nothing to do with measureable algorythms. It is a lie…be who you are, before God. Do what God made you to do. Look people in the eye. Show up. That is enough’’

What that all means is this:

In order to express excellence we must only do our best! Outside simply giving our best, the contemporary ”virtue” of excellence and the quest for it can become an idol.

In doing so we live out of a darkened sense of self-worth dictated to us by others, instead of God’s idea of who we are. When we aim to bless, rather than impress, we set our feet on the Christological reality that says,

‘it is only from God that men and women know who they are’ (Bonhoeffer 1966, p.31).

This is the only measuring stick, and from it we ‘intuitively recognize that we, ourselves are more than what has been defined for us’ (Cone paraphrased p.11, 1975).

Give thanks, for “we are found”… (David Crowder)


References:

Bonhoeffer, D. 1966 Christology William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, London

Cone, J.H. 1975, God of the oppressed Orbis books, Maryknoll, N.Y

(Edited from an article originally posted in 2013)


[1] I plan to write on some of my experiences, if I get the time to formulate them into a coherent and linear framework.

[2] Luke 15:17 ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (ESV)

Photo by José Martín on Unsplash

Cracked soil 2Two weeks ago I came across two speeches. The first was from Catholic Theologian Jean Vanier, and the second was from Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks.

I’ve had an interest in the praxis, theology and political philosophy of the former since my encounter with his work during my undergraduate study. His co-authored work, ‘Living Gently in a Violent World, (2008)‘ written with Stanley Hauerwas still stands out in my mind.

Each speech was given as part of an acceptance ceremony whereby Vanier (2015) and Sacks (2016) were awarded the Templeton Prize. Both speeches are not entirely worlds apart, however in the end I was drawn to the speech given by Sacks, more than I was Vanier.

For context, the Templeton Prize is an award that ‘honours a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works […]The Prize seeks and encourages breadth of vision, and new insights that human beings take their spiritual bearings from a range of experiences.’ [i]

The Sacks speech hits on the dangers and problems caused by the outsourcing of [personal] responsibility (for example abuses, neglect, mechanisms of denial, anxiety avoidance, crisis, oppression, self-justification and how at times  social justice can mask even greater evils).

Some of the key highlights:

1. ‘A free society is a moral achievement. Without self-restraint, without the capacity to defer the gratification of instinct, and without the habits of heart  and deed that we call virtues, we will eventually lose our freedom.’
2. ‘The 1960’s is marked by the outsourcing of morality; an abandonment of the Moral Sciences. Morality had been outsourced to the market. The market gives choices, and morality itself is just a set of choices in which right or wrong have no meaning beyond the satisfaction or frustration of desire […] Ethics was reduced to economics. As for the consequences of our choices, these were outsourced to the state […] Welfare was outsourced to the state. As for conscience, that once played so large a part in a the moral life, that could be outsourced to regulatory bodies. So having reduced moral choices to economics, we transformed the consequences of choices to politics.’
3. ‘You can’t outsource conscience. You can’t delegate moral responsibility away. When you do, you raise expectations that cannot be met. […] as a result people start to take refuge in magical thinking, which today takes one of four forms: the far right, the far left, religious extremism and aggressive secularism. The far right seeks a return to a golden past that never was. The far left seeks a Utopian future that will never be. Religious extremists believe you can bring salvation by terror. Aggressive secularists believe that if you get rid of religion there will be peace. These are all fantasies, and pursuing them will endanger the very foundations of freedom […] We’ve already seen on university campuses in Britain and America [& Australia] the abandonment of academic freedom in the name of the right not to be offended by being confronted by views with which I disagree.’
4.  ‘What emerged in Judaism and post-reformation Christianity was the rarest of character-types: the inner-directed personality. Most societies, for most of history, have been either tradition-directed or other-directed.  Inner directed types are different. They become pioneers, the innovators and the survivors. They try to have secure marriages, hand on their values to their children, belong to strong communities, and take daring but carefully calculated risks. When they fail, they have rapid recovery times, have discipline and are more interested in sustainability than quick profits.’
5. ‘Civilisations begin to die when they lose the moral passion that brought them into being in the first place. It happened to Greece and Rome, and it can happen to the West.’

His conclusion:

‘There is an alternative: become inner-directed again […] which means learning that there are some things we cannot or should not outsource, some responsibilities we cannot or should not delegate away.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren not to throw away what once made the West great, and not for the sake of some idealized past, but for the sake of a demanding and deeply challenging future.
If we do simply let it go, if we continue to forget that a free society is a moral achievement that depends on habits of responsibility and restraint, then what will come next – be it Russia, China, ISIS or Iran – will be neither liberal nor democratic, and it will certainly not be free. We need to restate the moral and spiritual dimensions in the language of the twenty-first century, using the media of the twenty-first century, and in ways that are uniting rather than divisive.’ [ii]

All Sacks’ points and his sharp conclusion speak of a society telling itself that it’s on the verge of an upgrade. When in fact it’s face to face with the abyss, far closer to an irreversible downgrade. Glimmers of hope, such as Brexit, where free citizens vote not to comfortably slide into the role of indentured subject, may not be enough to encourage unity against such.

On another front, for me, Sacks’ use of the phrase ”inner-directed” is too ambiguous. Other than referring to it as being human conscience, it’s left open to interpretation. If the definition rests solely on human conscience then it raises significant problems for theologians, who hold human conscience as not being the centre or source of morality, ethics – the distinction between good and evil; right and wrong.

Humanity is not the source of this. It can only be a Word spoken to humanity from outside humanity. It cannot speak right and wrong to itself abstracted from the source of this differentiation. As witnessed throughout the 20th century in the West, when right and wrong are detached from Judeo-Christian ethics, human suffering isn’t answered, it’s increased.

It’s exactly what Bonhoeffer digs into when he states:

Humankind, which has fallen away from God in a precipitous plunge, now still flees from God. For humankind the fall is not enough; its flight cannot be fast enough. This flight, Adam’s hiding away from God, we call conscience. Before the fall there was no conscience.
Only since humankind has become divided from the Creator are human beings divided within themselves. Indeed it is the function of conscience to make human beings flee from God and so admit against their own will that God is in the right; yet, conscience also lets human beings, in fleeing from God, feel secure in their hiding place […]
Conscience is not the voice of God within sinful human beings; instead it is precisely their defence against this voice. Yet precisely as a defence against this voice, conscience still points to it, in spite of all that human beings know and want.’ [iii]

‘Inner-directed” therefore can only mean the inner-direction of the Holy Spirit. Any other source of ”inner-direction” is bound to lead us into inner-misdirection. Inner-direction is directed by a transcendent direction, at once hidden, yet revealed.

Outside this theological framework Jonathan Sacks’ call to become inner-directed is mis-directed:

‘Conscience means feeling shame before God; at the same time one conceals one’s own wickedness in shame, humankind in shame justifies itself […] The grace of the Creator is not recognised. God calls Adam and does not let him flee. Instead Adam sees this grace only as hate, as wrath, a wrath that inflames his own hate, his rebellion, his desire to get away from God. Adam keeps on falling. The fall drops with increasing speed for an immeasurable distance.’ [iv]

With the understanding that ”inner-direction” is within the framework of humanity finding itself being Holy Spirit-directed, I’m on board with Sacks’ conclusions.

‘If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:16-26)


Source:

[i] Templeton Prize

[ii] Sacks, J. Rabbi, 2016 Templeton Speech PDF Sourced 19th June, 2016 from http://www.templetonprize.org/

[iii] Bonhoeffer, D. 2004, DBW3 Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1–3  (128). Minneapolis: Fortress Press. (p.128)

[iv] ibid, 2004:130

Landed on this quote this morning. Kinda made me smile on the inside.

 

Barth Quote p211 CDII_2

 

Have a great week.

Jerusalem Cook BookPart of our teaching plan for this year is to introduce koine Greek to our kids. We’ve covered some basic “common” Greek words in the past, however, we’d like to dig a little deeper.

Being a Christian homeschooling family we read the Biblical texts together on a regular basis. For brevity we use the NLT life application bible for guys and girls. Every child has one. Each child gets to participate.

Contextual issues matter. Taking them into consideration helps us to focus more on how the text reads us and less about how we read it.This forms part of our overall approach to education where careful reading and critical thinking takes precedence over how we might feel about the subject.

For example, only after establishing what the biblical text says and in turn what it might be saying to us, do we discuss how we might feel about the text.

English translations of the bible have their limitations. Greek words and their definitions don’t always neatly match up with our English ones. Then there are cultural and historical differences.

By filling in the cultural and historical context, I can add some genuine flare to the events that are recounted to us on each page. There are many ways that this can be achieved such as, food. For this purpose, we purchased a Middle Eastern cookbook called, ‘Jerusalem[i]’ and are cooking our way slowly through it.

If you were considering introducing koine Greek, there are some helpful, low-cost, materials available:

1. Greek Alphabet PDF

2. Greek Lessons [Kids Greek – may require some payment for advanced lessons]

3. Fun,  koine Greek alphabet song for correct pronunciation.

4.N.T Greek Studies: Children’s Greek

By engaging on this level we allow God to speak for Himself about Himself. God proves His own existence (Psalm 18). Since He does this through His Word and deeds in Jesus Christ, it pays to pay attention to where He has chosen to reveal Himself. Humanity doesn’t get to determine when and where this happens or has happened. (John 3:8)

God is free and as such is not bound to a human determination of what, who and where we might be tempted to say that God is, or should be. Knowledge of God comes from God. The only requirement for men and women is to acknowledge the how, where and when.

The where and when are in how God reveals Himself in both His dealings with Israel {covenants} and in Jesus Christ. The biblical text is a testimony to this. With the aid of the Holy Spirit we hear and see His choice, His wanderings and His incarnation among us.

The bible is part of this testimony. Warts and all it’s a compilation of books that reflect a rule of faith. This rule is the consistency of God who communicates Himself in ways we can understand. He wills to be for us, with us, and to not be without us[ii].

Through studying the Biblical text we find ourselves learning important language and social skills.For a time homeschool becomes a “house” church; doing theology in community. From here our homeschoolers develop their own ability to think for themselves, trust God’s guidance, serve others and process information in a balanced way.

In addition, the Judeo-Christian ethic is Middle Eastern. Reading the biblical text takes us out of our cultural comfort zone. Through every preposition, verb, metaphor, figurative narrative, historical event and genre, we are presented with a challenge to our Western way of thinking, being and doing.

It moves us from an otherwise immovable position. It addresses the blind spot in the Jo-Hari window and moves us towards its remedy.

The Gospel is Good News. Through it God proclaims emancipation. It teaches us that our place in the world and in history is not all there is. In short, our focus is shifted from being entirely on ourselves and instead our focus is shifted onto God’s revelation in Jesus Christ; concrete evidence that God exists. In His Son, Jesus Christ we don’t just witness THE messenger, but see and hear THE Message itself.

This Message walks, talks, prays, commands, comforts and speaks. When we pick up the Biblical texts and read them in a deeper way, we encounter the one who wills to encounter us, the author of life.

 


Notes:

[i] We’ve cooked some of the recipes in this and can recommend it!

[ii] Karl Barth

Karl Barth's CD II 1 2016 GVLWith the time constraints and work outside my study of theology and political philosophy, I’ve managed to complete Barth’s Church Dogmatics II:1[i]. This leaves me thinking about the remaining nine.  Will they be as great a learning experience? Will the journey ahead be as arduous and beneficial as the one before it?

The task now is II:2,  the most recommended starting point for Barth’s work in this 13 book series[ii].Beginning with IV:4 then I:1 and I:2, I’ve deliberately taken the long road to get to it.

To mark a finish line and starting point, I’m adding a few of my thoughts and notes from the remaining pages of II:1. There is a large amount of worthy mentions. However, I’m aiming for brevity. So tattered note-book in hand, here’s the most significant.

What does it mean for theology to say that God is beautiful?

Although Barth considers it dangerous for theology to speak of God’s beauty because “only God can speak of God.” Barth provides a way for theology to speak of God’s beauty without it falling into idolatry. Theology should first acknowledge that good does not come from beauty. Beauty comes from that which is good.  Our idea of beauty mustn’t derive from its secular definition (p.651, clarified further on p.656) The reason for this is that God is much more. God is free. God is love and His love is ‘majestic, holy and righteous.’ (p.651)

 ‘…if we allowed aestheticism to have and keep the last word it would inevitably be as a false and unChrisitian dynamism or vitalism or logism or intellectualism or moralism which might try to slip into the doctrine of God. For all that, it is as well to realise that aestheticism which threatens here is no worse than the other “isms” or any “ism.” They are all dangerous.’ (p.652)

What is God’s glory?

According to Barth in II:1, God’s glory is

‘His active grace, mercy, patience and love[iii] […] the revelation of Jesus Christ par excellence […] the Son is the prototype of God’s glory.’ (pp.653, 661, 667)

Glory is to be viewed in the same light as dignity. Here Barth writes,

it is a glory that awakens joy […] God’s glory radiates it […] because it is God who Himself radiates joy […] His glory is radiant, and what it radiates is joy. It attracts and therefore it conquers.’ (pp.655, 654, 661)

What of theology as a science?

Within his discussion on God’s glory and beauty, Barth stops to make a few side remarks about theology as a science. He notes,

‘…theology as a whole is the most beautiful of all the sciences. To find the sciences distasteful is the mark of a philistine. It is an extreme form of Philistinism to find, or to be able to find, theology distasteful. The theologian who has no joy in his [or her] work is not a theologian. Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this science. May God deliver us from what the Catholic Church reckons to be one of the seven sins of the monk – taedium {tedious or boring}’ (p.656)

What is the human response to God to be?

Two of the pillars of Barth’s theology are prayer and gratitude. What does God require in response to grace[iv]? Prayer and radical gratitude.

Grateful obedience (p.229)
‘To believe in Jesus Christ means to be thankful. This is to be understood as radically as it must be in the context.’ (p.669)

To be in Christ, as Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthian church[v], means to be a new creation. Barth tells us that be a new creation,

‘is not merely  a change of temper or sentiment or conduct and action. It is a change of the being of man before God, brought about by the fact that God has altered His attitude toward humanity. It is the change from ingratitude to gratitude, full of hope. Gratitude is to be understood not only as a quality and an activity but as the very being and essence of this creature. It is not merely grateful. It is gratitude itself.’ (p.669)

Further along, Barth adds,

‘The Holy Spirit begets the man [or woman] in Jesus Christ whose existence is thanksgiving (p.670) […] it is only by a heart’s willingness and readiness to live unto God that God can be honoured, thanked and served.’ (p.674)

Why is eschatology important to the Church?

In a rather large side note Barth breaks to discuss his early theology and rejection of Liberal Neo-Protestantism, writing without hiding it’s political overtones,

Back then, ‘I even dared to say that: “Hope that is visible is not hope.’ Direct communication from God is not communication from God. A Christianity that is not wholly and utterly and irreducibly eschatology has absolutely nothing to do with Christ. A spirit that is not at every moment in time new life from the dead is in any case not the Holy Spirit. ‘For that which is seen is temporal’ (2 Cor.4:18) What is not hope is a log, a block, a chain, heavy and angular, like the word ‘reality.’ It imprisons rather than sets free. It is not grace, but judgement and destruction. It is fate, not divine fulfilment. It is not God, but a reflection of man unredeemed. It is this even if it is an ever so stately edifice of social progress or an ever so respectable bubble of Christian redeemedness. Redemption is that which cannot be seen, the inaccessible, the impossible, which confronts us as hope. Can we wish to be anything other and better than men [and women] of hope?” Well roared, lion! There is nothing absolutely false in these bold words. I still think I was right ten times over and against those who then passed judgement on them and resisted them.’ (pp. 634-635)

II:1 displays some of Barth’s best work. In it his theology bursts to life.  Each chapter is deep and well thought out. Barth is consistent. He’s bold and doesn’t cease to be. That he carefully speaks his mind has only strengthened my opinion of him as a theologian.Reading Church Dogmatics is a spiritual discipline. I don’t see how a careful reading of Barth should be done in any other way.

In our divided world the division between left and right once again threatens to claim or reject theology as a buttress for ideology. Once again it threatens to subdue theology into propping up, in absolute agreement, the pretensions of humanity. And, once again as his words point us towards the holiness, grace and freedom of God in Jesus Christ, Barth’s “roar” finds relevance and commands attention.

#Jesusisvictor!

Source:

[i] Barth, K. 1940 Church Dogmatics, II:1 The Doctrine of God, Hendrickson Publishers

[ii] Excluding the index

[iii] ‘God’s glory is God’s love’ (p.645)

[iv] Barth: ‘Grace/charity (caris) calls forth thanksgiving (eucaristia). But thanksgiving is itself the substance of the creature’s participation in the divine grace/charity.’ (p.670. See also p.216)

[v] 2 Cor. 5:17

Related CD II:I posts:

Barth: ‘God Does Not Will To Be Without Us’
Anger, Angst, Amps & An “Appetite” For Definition (God is not a species)
Revelation Over Religion: God’s Mind Is Not For Rent
Cor-kneel-i-us
A Dose Of Dodgem: Dads
Karl Barth: God Is The One Who Loves In Freedom
Directing Light Under The Shadow Of Real Hate
Gnade: The Importance Of Karl Barth’s Non-Separation Of God’s Holiness & Grace
Every Genuine Proclamation Of The Christian Faith Is Destructive To The Advance Of Religion
Barth’s Impossible Possibility: It’s Not That We Can Fall From Grace, It’s That Grace Can Be & Is Rejected
George Orwell & Karl Barth: On The Irruption Of a Third Reich Of Madness
May God’s Omnipotence Be With You