Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Work of God the Reconciler: God with Us (A Barthian Ecclesiology)

Excerpts of thoughts to form a rough “outline of the matter” from “The Doctrine of Reconciliation” in Church Dogmatics by Karl Barth on certain ones “who are assembled in the Christian community”:

They dare to make the statement, that God is the One who is with them as God, amongst [those/others] who do not yet know this. … Their aim is to show them what they do not yet know but what they can and should know. … Much depends upon their coming to see that it applies to them. But everything depends upon their coming to see that it all has to do with God ; that it is God who is with them as God.

“God with us” — the core of the Christian message, the decisive general statement of the Christian community — can be interpreted as “God with us [humans/humanity]“, but with the clear distinction, with us [human ones] who know it but are always learning it afresh—and as the word of our declaration to all others, and therefore with ” us ” other [human ones] who have always to learn it afresh because we do not yet know it, although we can know it.

There is a sense here it seems of ongoing progress through learning afresh in the context of a community continually learning anew together—a gathered assembly being reformed and always reforming by their communal experience of eternity as a learning community, becoming more sure of their identity with increasing awareness and growing realization of the living reality of “God with us” in the Spirit of Christ.

In this movement from a narrower to a wider usage the statement ” God with us ” is the centre of the Christian message—and always in such a way that it is primarily a statement about God and only then and for that reason a statement about us [human beings].

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