Karl Barth and "The Great Passion"


So what is Abu Daoud reading these days? you ask... Far be it from me to deprive you all of this important information!

Right now I am reading the very boring and arduous "The Great Passion" by Eberhardt Busch, which is a book about the theology of Barth. You see, I did not study theology at a university that was particularly interested in Neo-Orthodoxy, so I found it was a something of a blind spot in my education which I should fill.

I like Barth, I guess. I had read his book on evangelical theology before and I found it to be quite helpful. I especially like his theology of the Word and his understanding the Bible as the witness to the Word, which is the Word Incarnate. In other words, when we speak of the Bible as the Word of God, it is because of its status as a unique and authoritative witness to the Word Incarnate. Jesus Christ IS revelation.

I also like his reconfiguration of election as an intra-Trinitarian dynamic. The question, who is elect? is answered: the Son is the elect of the Father. I find that to be a corrective to the hyper-individualistic approach to election that one sees in five-point Calvinism. It also hi-lights the important of the church, because it provokes the question, how is one found to be "in the Son"? The answer is, we are found to be in the Son when we are in his body--the church. We are in the Son when we are built upon him--a temple of living stones built on his foundation. We are found to be in the Son when we are in his bride. This does not obliviate the obligation of the individual to make choices and decisions in life, but it does bring us back to a more Jewish and communal understanding of salvation, which I find all over the Bible, in both testaments.

Are you and I elect? If we are in his Son, then we are elect, because we are united to the one who is the elect of the Father from all eternity.

But I am having a hard time getting into his grouchiness about natural theology and his ultra-negative comments about religion. Anyway, this is what I'm reading and it's pretty slow-going. Perhaps I should consider it a Lenten discipline :-)

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