Theology on Thursdays

Posted: January 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

The massively influential 20th century theologian Karl Barth did not define the Word of God the same way a typical evangelical would. 

Barth used the term rather loosely (for 100 pages before he even defines it, which is just irritating).  Sometimes Barth used “Word of God” to mean Jesus himself but other times he seems to have meant the proclaimed promises of God, which subjectively take root in a hearer and then, and only then, become the Word of God.

Think of that what you will but did you notice that Barth does not include the Bible as “the Word of God.”  In fact, Barth states in volume 1.1 of Church Dogmatics that the Bible (and most preaching about the Bible) are mere human words.   At best, Scripture is recollected revelation that has been de-divinized because authors have attempted to bound with the finite tool of human language.

Certainly no one would argue that human language can, in and of itself,  fully convey the holiness of God or the heart breaking grace of the cross but cannot God find a way to reveal truth via human means? Didn’t he do exactly that in the person of Jesus Christ? But, as John Franke has pointed out in his latest book Manifest Witness, if God has done this then why do so many committed Christians come to different conclusions about the message and application of Scripture?

Again, I have oversimplified things because of the “finiteness” of my blog, but it is just a little something to wrestle with over your coffee this morning.

Grace and peace.


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