Not Left Alone with the Inner Light

May 18, 2011

Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.

G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 76.


The Pertinence of Theology

May 16, 2011

The pertinence of theology consists in making the exposition of revelation its exclusive task.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II/1, trans. T. H. L. Parker, W. B. Johnson, Harold Knight, J. L. M. Haire, eds. G. W. Bromiley and T.F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957), 203.

Zadie Smith on Reading

May 10, 2011

But the problem with readers, the idea we’ve been given of reading is that the model of a reader is the person watching a film, or watching television. So the greatest principal is, ‘I should sit here and be entertained.’ And the more classical model is the idea of a reader as an amateur musician. An amateur musician who sits at the piano, has a piece of music, which is the work, made by somebody they don’t know who they probably couldn’t comprehend entirely, and they have to use their skills to play this piece of music. The greater the skill, the greater the gift that you give the artist and the artist gives you. That’s an incredibly unfashionable idea of reading. And yet when you practice reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It’s an old moral, but it’s completely true.

Zadie Smith

Hostile gods are false gods

May 10, 2011

For according to the Word which He Himself has spoken in His supreme and final work, there is no other God. All other gods, all gods which are hostile to man, are false gods.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, IV/1, trans. G. W. Bromiley, G. W. Bromiley and T.F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1956), 38.

Only the Haters Seem Alive

May 6, 2011

Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred which one bears the other. In fact, this hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upsidedown: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive.

Walker Percy, The Moviegoer (New York: Vintage, 1998), 100.

Dogmatic Intolerance

May 2, 2011

It is only where adversaries are opposed with genuine dogmatic intolerance that there is the possibility of genuine and profitable discussion. For it is only there that one confession has something to say to the other.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, I/2, trans. G. W. Bromiley, ed. G. W. Bromiley and T.F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1956), 827.

Barth Timeline

May 2, 2011

Thanks to Via Crucis for this Barth Timeline which outlines both the German and English publication dates for most of Barth’s works.

Exegesis and Dogmatics

May 2, 2011

A great post by Ben Myers on the relation between exegesis and dogmatics.

Here’s an excerpt:

In other words, there’s no one-way street from exegesis to dogmatics – the traffic always moves in both directions. And as Bultmann rightly insisted, there can never be a “presuppositionless exegesis,” in which the exegete confronts the text of scripture with a theological blank slate. Theology is always there already – indeed, it’s already inscribed in the texts themselves, and in the whole array of lexical, text-critical and historical tools which are used to translate and interpret these texts. It’s theology all the way down!

Philosophers as Hidden Theologians

December 29, 2010

Every creative philosopher is a hidden theologian (sometimes even a declared theologian).

Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), 25.

Hermann Venema: Definition of Covenant; Covenant of Works

August 8, 2010

A covenant is a voluntary agreement on the part of two or three persons to enter into friendship on certain conditions, or to renew it when broken, and is usually accompanied for the purpose of confirmation by the observance of ceremonies of various kinds.

The covenant of works it is said consisted in the agreement entered into between God and man, according to which the latter by rendering perfect and uninterrupted obedience to the divine commands in his own strength would have secured for himself.

Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., Alex W. Brown (Andover: Draper Brothers, 1853), 445-446.