Sunday, 5 June 2011

On Giants' Shoulders

Following on from "The Breeze of the Centuries" (Some quotes here), Mike Reeves has published the second book in his trilogy of great historic theologians: On Giants' Shoulders.

Included here is Karl Barth, whose great 13 volume life work "Church Dogmatics" is something I have recently purchased.

Feeling intimidated by it, I thought I would poke my nose into this latest Reevesian tome to see if I could glean any hints and tips before I pack my theological rucksack and head out to scale this Eiger of a work! I'm pleased to say, I found encouragement, for he said...

Perhaps most important of all, though, the fact that Barth writes in such a sermonic, almost story-telling, style actually means that the reader can relax. Failing to fully grasp a few pages really will not matter, for the sweep of the argument is larger than that.
Barth is like theological marmite in Christian circles, many love him, others think he was distastefully maverick. Whilst he was no doubt far from perfect, his brilliance (as far as I can see - and the reason I saw fit to invest nearly £200 in the 13 volume set) is in his desire to understand everything out of a centre in Jesus Christ, including God himself.

He doesn't dream up in his own head what God is like and then go to the Bible to find evidence for his philosophical hunches, making Jesus the convenient left-over skivvy of the Father. He starts with Jesus, the revealed radiance of the Father (Heb.1:3) the wisdom and power of God (1Cor.1:24), the source of all treasures and knowledge (Col.2:3), the cornerstone (Eph.2:20) around whom the whole edifice of reality (not just the church) is structured and moves out from HIM to Trinity and then finally to us.

He has it the right way round I think. He doesn't trust his own "rational" idea / feeling about God - he comes in faith to the Son (Jn.3:18, 6:40, 14:9-10).

1 comment:

Mark Amos said...

Schleiermacher is such important background to Barth, so this looks like a great book!