Understanding Karl Barth Pt 2

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What must be avoided in theology is the need to reason our way to the truth.  Good theology is not founded on the ability for any human being to reason using the art of persuasive debate to achieve the best doctrine.  Though it is the pattern of modern times to turn to those with the best qualifications, the greatest charisma and the most distinguished of people and take more notice of what they say, this is not necessarily the case when it comes to the task of undertaking good theology.  What good theology expects of us is to place aside reason and to reiterate what has been revealed by the very Revealer Himself to us to the wider Christian community and to the uttermost parts of the world.  Reason comes from the mind of fallible human beings while revelation comes to human beings from the outside in to inform us of Godly things that we otherwise would never know.

Some theological foundation courses try to address the question of revelation and the particular types it entails.  There are sometimes discussion in some schools of thought as to the existence of God.  If we go to colleges and universities to study theology as Christians, the question of revelation and the existence of God is already settled.  Jesus has come who is God who reveals.  What does God reveal when He reveals Himself?  God reveals God, thereby God reveals Himself. This event is history and the question as to His existence is settled because God has appeared as the Man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the Scriptures testify to this.  It has been revealed to us Jesus has risen and lives forevermore.  We didn’t have to reason this.  It has not come through our logic and it is not the result of human discussion.  It has happened in history and it is God who has made it happen in His own way and in His own time.  We as Christians are witnesses to this event and we declare this to each other and to all for all to hear.  God takes responsibility for how this will be revealed and to who it will be revealed to. We do not have to prove the existence of God because God has provided all the proof that is needed by not only laying down His life but by taking it up again.  This is the truth that is not determined by whether one believes it or not.  It is the universal truth for the believer as well as the unbeliever.

The gospel in itself requires no added human justification other than what has already been justified in the Person and work of Jesus Christ.  It stands on its own.  God has sanctioned it and does not need any added authority of our own.  The Spirit gives it all the power it needs to open the eyes of the blind to see what only God can make seen.  If we fiddle with it and adjust it to the level of our own pleasing, then it becomes void of its own power.  We must accept that we are just fools into which the gospel has been given into our hands by the power of God and by the power of God it will be placed into the hands of others.  The mere fact that any of us believe is a miracle-working power of God.  The working power of God is good working power that is represented in good news which is entirely evangelical in its nature.

We stand in and with the Light so that we can keep all manner of darkness from entering into our fellowship and distorting what we have accepted as evangelical.  We can listen to those who oppose the truth with the view that we might be more confirmed and assured in the truth and not be swayed by what God has so graciously given to us already in Jesus Christ.

Now here is an interesting situation we have in the church today.  We have varying bodies within the one church who treat each other with suspicion.  Yet, there is one Lord who is head of the one church, a body which is a total miracle of God.  Are we saying the same thing?  Are we teaching the same thing?  Obviously there are differences within the body and each section of the body has to have a statement that justifies their position.  There has to be a process of thought leading up to the punchline of why a particular body is the one true church who has the one true revelation.  It is almost presented as proof as to who truly owns this revelation and who is the true faith.  Who owns God?  Is revelation ours to keep?  Who can claim to have faith of their own?  The faith we have is a gift given by God and this gift is the giving of God to us in Jesus Christ.  No denomination or body can lay any claim except to confess that we primarily exist purely by the good favour and grace of God. God is for us only because He wants to be for us and by some miracle we are able to see this for ourselves. No person, no denomination, nor minister has a monopoly on what is entirely the work of the Spirit.

The existence of the church is as real as the existence of Jesus Christ where the church and Christ share in one another’s being.  Prior to Jesus Christ, there was no knowledge of what was to come and no human being had any insight to the mystery that was kept hidden through the ages.  With the advent of Jesus Christ, humanity was presented with a new way of being and the knowledge that came with it required us to adopt a new way of thinking which subsequently led to a new way of living.  It is so hard for the world to accept that it has not been given to understand what God has given to us in Jesus Christ.  It would rather have Jesus Christ conform to what they believe to be right and wrong pertaining to the things of God.  For so long the church in general has entertained in the imaginations of ordinary human beings.  It must no longer do so.  We must be transformed by the renewing of the mind and take on the mind of God in Jesus Christ.  This unbreakable bond between the Father and the Son is what we have been saved into and this is the ground and grammar of all the ways and works of God.

The foundation for everything we say about God is what God has already said about Himself in Holy Scripture.  God has disclosed Himself as Father, Son and Spirit through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Therefore our knowledge about God is distinctly Christological in its character.  Jesus Christ is the Arche of all the ways and works of God and is the window into the very heart of God Himself.  If we are to pursue knowledge about God then we focus on what God has said about Himself.  What God has said about Himself is Godly knowledge.  As Jesus Christ is God made human, then we have the ways and works of God given to us in human terms using our concepts and understandings.  Our reasoning has been transformed and sanctified by the union of divine and human minds enabling us to engage in divine reasoning delivered to us by the Spirit.  Let us submit to the mind of Christ as there is so much more to offer if we are prepared to just listen and obey Him.