Archive for the 'Theology' Category

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.

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More Bonhoeffer II

July 30, 2010

Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by the one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 28.

More Bonhoeffer

July 30, 2010

God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 27.

Nothing But Grace

July 30, 2010

It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is by grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to love in community with Christian brethren.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 20.

Brunner on the Word of God

July 19, 2010

The Law of God is everywhere, the Promise of God is only in the Bible—the promise, namely, that God comes to His sick, rebellious people, to heal them, the message of the “Saviour,” the healing, saving, forgiving, and redeeming God. This promise is really the Word of God.

Emil Brunner, Our Faith, trans.  John Rilling (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1954), 62.

Tillich on Secular Faith

May 28, 2010

Modern humanism, especially since the eighteenth century, rests on a Christian foundation and includes the dominant emphasis on the “ought to be,” as elaborated by the Jewish prophets. Consequently, it shows from the beginnings strong progressive and utopian elements. It starts with the criticism of the feudal order and its sacramental foundations. It demands justice; first from the peasants, then for the bourgeois society, then for the proletarian masses. The faith of the fighters for the enlightenment since the eighteenth century is a humanist faith of the moral type. They fought for freedom from sacramentally consecrated bondage and for justice for every human being. Their faith was humanist faith, expressing itself in secular more than in religious terms. It was faith and not rational calculation, although they believe in the superior power of a reason united with justice and truth. The dynamics of their humanist faith changed the face of the earth , first in the West, then also in the East. It is this humanist faith of the moral type which was taken over by the revolutionary movements of the proletarian masses in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries . Its dynamic is visible very day in our present period. As for every faith, the utopian form of the humanist faith is a state of ultimate concern. This gives it its tremendous power for good and evil. In view of this (and the preceding) analysis of humanist faith, it is almost ridiculous to speak of the loss of faith in the Western secular world. It has a secular faith, and this has pushed the different forms of religion into a defensive position; but it is faith and not “unbelief.” It is a state of ultimate concern and total devotion to this concern.

Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper, 1957), 68-69.

Redirected to the Cross

April 13, 2010

Beyond God’s universal goodness in creation and providence, if ever we were tempted to abstract God’s sovereignty, justice, wrath, or righteousness from God’s goodness, we are redirected to the cross, where we behold with unparalleeld clarity the triumph of God’s goodness in the face of Christ, who cries out, “It is finished.” If we are ever in doubt as to how far God will go with his goodness, in view of the hostility with which it is resisted, we read, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). As Barth cautions, it is not a “general conception” of love that is definitive here, but the specific act of God in Jesus Christ.

Michael Horton, Lord and Servant (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 56-57.

The Word That Comes From the Outside

April 2, 2010

The death and the life of a Christian is not determined by his own resources; rather he finds both only in the Word that comes to him from the outside, in God’s Word to him. The Reformers expressed it this way: Our righteousness is an “alien righteousness,” a righteousness that comes from outside of us (extra nos). They were saying that the Christian is dependent on the Word of God spoken to him. He is pointed outward, to the Word that comes to him. The Christian lives wholly by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ. If somebody asks him, Where is your salvation, your righteousness? he can never point to himself. He points to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, which assures him of salvation and righteousness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 22.

Should We Teach Predestination?

July 21, 2009

Wes White answers here in the affirmative.

Helm on NT Wright

July 1, 2009

Great stuff from Paul Helm on NT Wright’s new book.