Monday, November 22, 2010

Karl Barth: The Power of the Word of God

Commenting on Romans 1:16 & 1 Cor. 1:18 Barth writes:

"If a man knew nothing of this power that both sustains and stimulates, both protects and punishes, both pacifies and disturbs, if he merely heard about it without knowing it as a power, he would only give evidence that he knew nothing of the Word of God.  We are acquainted with the Word of God to the degree that we are acquainted with this power.  We speak of God's Word when we speak in recollection and expectation of this power, and when we do so in such a way that we realise that this power of the Word of God is not one power among others, not even among other divine powers, but the one unique divine power which comes home to us, to which we are referred, in face of which we stand in decision between the obedience we owe it and the unfathomable inconceivability of disobedience, and consequently in the decision between bliss and perdition." (I.1 150)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday Night Live on the Folly of Positive Thinking

2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." -Jesus

"It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ." -Martin Luther

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.  They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of the self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.  Above everything, we alcoholics must rid of this selfishness.  We must, or it will kill us!  God makes that possible.  And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid.  Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to.  Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power.  We had to have God's help.

This is the how and why of it.  First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn't work.  Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.  He is the Principal; we are His agents.  He is the Father, and we are his children.  Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom." -Alcoholics Anonymous the Big Book

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Karl Barth on the Importance of Theology.

I'm currently trudging my way through Karl Barth's massive Church Dogmatics.  My goal is to get through the whole 14 vol. set over the next several years.  Needless to say, I'll be sharing some of his gems as I come across them.  Here's Barth on the importance of theological work:

"How disastrously the Church must misunderstand itself if it can imagine that theology is the business of a few theoreticians who are specially appointed for the purpose, to whom the rest, as hearty practical men, may sometimes listen with half an ear, though for their own part they boast of living 'quite untheologically' for the demands of the day ('love').  As though these practical men were not continually preaching and speaking and writing, and were not genuinely questioned as to the rightness of their activity in this regard!  As though there were anything more practical than giving this question its head, which means doing the work of theology..."

"As though there could be any more urgent task for a Church under assault from without than that of consolidating itself within, which means doing theological work!"

"The whole Church must seriously want a serious theology if it is to have a serious theology."

"The freedom claimed when men think they can and should theologise 'quite untheologically' is the freedom to prattle heretically or in a way that makes for heresy.  There is no room in the Church for this freedom."

Church Dogmatics I1 76-77