Technically this was finished on Wednesday (10:41 pm)! So I can still welcome you to  Wednesday’s With Barth!  #winning!

Barth says… “In identifying with divinity a humanly conceived idea, one, that is, already belonging to man prior to, or even apart from, any revelation, it may set store by the man Jesus, but it may also do without Him. It may strip Him of His mantle of divinity, just as it cast it over Him”

Docetism is an early rejected teaching of Christ. To the Docetist Christ  “seemed” or “appeared” to be human but was not actually human. The divine Christ part of the man had vacated Jesus during his suffering, death and resurrection. Docetism is the product of importing Gnostic beliefs into Christianity. The selected quote from this week’s reading has much to teach us about projecting ourselves into our Christology. For the Gnostic all things spiritual represented good while all things material represented bad or evil. So for many Christians trying to reconcile the tension of the Christ event with their Gnostic reasoning the construct of Docetism seemed practical.barth

D.F. Wright says… “The Docetists of primitive Christianity were united in being unable to affirm inseparable lifelong identity between the heavenly or divine One (often distinguished as Christ) and the human Jesus. But they differed widely in their christological accounts. Some believed that Jesus was born and lived like other human beings but was indwelt by the Christ only temporarily, from his baptism to the eve of the crucifixion, thus avoiding implicating the divine power or agent in the processes of human birth and death… Others at the opposite end of the docetic spectrum regarded the figure of the Gospels literally as ghostlike, a phantom, an optical illusion… Underlying all docetic christologies in the early centuries was a conviction, whether of philosophical or theological inspiration, of the impropriety or even impossibility of real incarnation of divinity in human matter. Some flavor of dualism of spirit and flesh was nearly always operative, but the precise nuance of that dualism, varying from gut-level revulsion against the very thought of God in the womb or the tomb to high-minded notions of divine transcendence, must be observed in each case.”

Trying to reconcile the tension of the Christ event (God to man) with human philosophy (man to God) John simply says…

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish (The Message).

John is not trying to answer the “how” question concerning Jesus Christ but more like the “who” and the “what”.  I think we “strip Him of His mantle of divinity” or “cast it over Him” when we remove the space of mystery from the event of Jesus (100%) Christ (100%). When we seek to use man made tools to reconcile the mystery that is Godliness we might comfort ourselves in superficial ways but in the end we are rendered blind by our own man made lenses. Is it possible that we do this for example with Genesis when we read the book through the lens of modern fabricated creation/evolution tensions and exchange the “who” question of Genesis 1 & 2 for the contemporary imposing “how” question? That same imposing “how” even finds its way somehow into our soteriology by making the central question of the Gospel “how one is saved by Jesus Christ?” or “How is the Christ, Jesus?” rather than “who is the one who saves us through Jesus Christ?” or “Who is Jesus?” to which the Bible emphatically exclaims The Christ! How is Jesus the Christ and The Christ… Jesus? Well now that’s a mystery (Deuteronomy 29:29).


  • Do you have any examples of how we theologically set store by the man Jesus in a way that may do without him?
  • Can we even avoid this?

I want to make you aware of some other good Barth posts from this week as well. Thanks guys!

  • Mike Ivaska wrote a couple of  little gems over at Head and Heart… here & here.
  • Luke Geraty wrote a piece here.

I also want to show you how to display the page numbers on the Logos Bible Software edition of Barth’s Church Dogmatics. It is very helpful.



Reading schedual for Church Dogmatics Book I.2 in 7 weeks.
Dates in bold represent posting/discussion days.

  1. December 30, 2013 pp v–xiii, pp 1–25
  2. January 01, 2014 pp 26–69
  3. January 03, 2014 pp 70–106
  4. January 06, 2014 pp 107–146
  5. January 08, 2014 pp 147–198
  6. January 10, 2014 pp 199–232
  7. January 13, 2014 pp 233–279
  8. January 15, 2014 pp 280–318
  9. January 17, 2014 pp 319–361
  10. January 20, 2014 pp 362–416
  11. January 22, 2014 pp 417–449
  12. January 24, 2014 pp 450–495
  13. January 27, 2014 pp 496–533
  14. January 29, 2014 pp 534–574
  15. January 31, 2014 pp 575–628
  16. February 03, 2014 pp 629–664
  17. February 05, 2014 pp 665–703
  18. February 07, 2014 pp 704–756
  19. February 10, 2014 pp 757–796
  20. February 12, 2014 pp 797–840
  21. February 14, 2014 pp 841–885, pp 895–905

Wednesdays with BarthLearn more about Karl Barth here.
Buy his Church Dogmatics in LOGOS here.

*Reading list generated by Logos Bible Software.