So while I am not behind in reading Dogmatics, I am behind in blogging Dogmatics. This week however is a “reading week” in college and since Dr. Craig Blomberg is preaching in church on Sunday, I intend to race ahead in college assignment work and slip a few chapters of Barth in while no one is looking.
How disastrously the Church must misunderstand herself if, on whatever pretext, she can dream of being able to undertake and carry out anything serious in the certainly important fields of public worship reform, or social work, or Christian education or the regulation of her relationship to State and society, or an international understanding among the Churches, without the necessary and possible being done simultaneously in regard to the visible centre of her life… As if we could confidently leave that to God and meantime busy ourselves with the circumference of the Church’s circle, which has perhaps been revolving for ever so long round a wrong centre!
One of the cool but frustrating things about being the only Presbyterian ministry candidate in the class, never mind the only person who isn’t Roman Catholic is that most sentences begin with “You guys believe…”. What follows might be a description of the Baptists or the freaking Greek Orthodox but it is almost certainly going to land nowhere near Geneva.
We had one such conversation over coffee last week as to what authority I place in Benedict XVI. I offered my opinion that he is obviously one of the greatest theologians alive today. They wanted to know why I couldn’t subscribe to Papal infallibility. And Barth has give me glorious winsome words to respond with. The Church has lost its course at times, or at all times in some ways and it needs to be brought back in line, back to the topic at hand, back to the Kingdom initiatives. How do we do that re-orienteering (as a word for reforming that isn’t reformed) if the source of authority is in the church? Are we not running the risk of tinkering with our activity around the edges while our core has been misplaced?
So instead, my task (and my new friends’ task) is to “do theological, dogmatic work” which is grounded in Scripture as the revelation of Jesus Christ. Even in defending my own position on where authority lies, Barth proves his point true, “The whole Church must seriously desire a serious theology, if she desires to possess a serious theology”.
Your Correspondent, Even to love is to do theology