Welcome back to Wednesdays With Barth! I hope you enjoyed some thought provoking reading this week! Wow we flew through that book! I will have a new reading schedule up for us ASAP.
“The well-known definition of the Church in Conf. Aug. 7 runs: “It is taught that there will be one holy Church in perpetuity. Moreover the church is the congregation of the saints, in which the Gospel is purely taught and the sacraments rightly administered. And it is sufficient for the true unity of the Church to agree upon the doctrine of the Gospel and on the administration of the sacraments.” This definition certainly does not say all that can be said about the task of the Church in the execution of its appointed mission. But it does at least say something which has to be said and which has to be given priority over everything else that can be said on the subject. The one Church of Jesus Christ is defined as the congregation of the saints because it is the holy congregation in which the Gospel is purely taught—otherwise it is not the Church. The right administration of the sacraments is related to the pure teaching of the Gospel as the sacraments in general are related to the Gospel. They are included in the Gospel. In their own way they are themselves the Gospel. They attest it in the form of a completed action, just as the preaching of the Gospel attests it in the form of the spoken word. Their distinctive feature is that of a corrective to the word of the preacher. In contradistinction to the latter, they expressly testify that the Word of God is not only a word but also an action of God. Therefore in contrast to the pure doctrine of the Gospel, their right administration will expressly remind us that the recommended and intended “purity” of doctrine is not an abstract intellectual business. It is really related to the rightness necessarily incumbent upon the Church member, to his edification in accordance with the supremacy of God’s free grace.”
Barth, K., Bromiley, G. W., & Torrance, T. F. (2004). Church dogmatics: The doctrine of the Word of God, Part 2 (Vol. 1, p. 761). London; New York: T&T Clark.
The church is not just a moral community. It is a community of Grace. Preaching that is all about the right way to do things, say things and think things without the Gospel of grace is not preaching it is just talking and merely human. True Christian preaching and churching is always “Gospeling” in community together. What we are doing when we come together as a church body is observing and responding to who Jesus is, what he has done and what he will do. We do and see this this through Communion and Baptism right? Can you imagine the practice of the sacraments without the life, death and resurrection of our Lord? Without His sacrifice? I can’t. But I have heard so much preaching from the word without the Word. I have heard so many calls to bear the fruit of holy living, thinking and speaking without one single reminder of the need to be rooted in the Grace of God. The grace of God in Jesus Christ is our catalyst morally. Morality in and of itself is not our aim. Jesus is not our great moral example he is our savior. So as a pastor your most important work from the pulpit is preaching “the pure doctrine of the Gospel” that leads to the Holiness of God.
Question: Do you have any contemporary examples of preaching that is void of Grace?
Reading schedual for Church Dogmatics Book I.2 in 7 weeks.
Dates in bold represent posting/discussion days.
December 30, 2013 pp v–xiii, pp 1–25 January 01, 2014 pp 26–69 January 03, 2014 pp 70–106 January 06, 2014 pp 107–146 January 08, 2014 pp 147–198 January 10, 2014 pp 199–232 January 13, 2014 pp 233–279 January 15, 2014 pp 280–318 January 17, 2014 pp 319–361 January 20, 2014 pp 362–416 January 22, 2014 pp 417–449 January 24, 2014 pp 450–495 January 27, 2014 pp 496–533 January 29, 2014 pp 534–574 January 31, 2014 pp 575–628 February 03, 2014 pp 629–664 February 05, 2014 pp 665–703 February 07, 2014 pp 704–756 February 10, 2014 pp 757–796 February 12, 2014 pp 797–840
- February 14, 2014 pp 841–885, pp 895–905
Learn more about Karl Barth here.
Buy his Church Dogmatics in LOGOS here.
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