45 Quotes From Evangelical Theology (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 in a series of 45 quotes from Karl’s Barth work Evangelical Theology: An IntroductionClick here for Part 1.

The Threat To Theology
“Whoever takes up the subject of theology discovers himself immediately, recurrently, and inevitably banished into a strange and notoriously oppressive solitude.” (110)

“Religion may be a private affair, but the work and word of God are the reconciliation of the world with God, as it was performed in Jesus Christ.” (111)

“Faith is the fundamental relationship by which the violent disturbance of theology is distinguished from other exciting human experiences.” (116)

“Faith is the use of the freedom which is granted corporately to all Christians, by which they may affirm the Word of God, put all their trust in him, and obey him wholly.” (116)

“Whoever involves himself in theology, if he does this seriously, must be ready and able, in a given situation, to endure and bear loneliness just in respect to his practical ethics.” (120)

“What basically makes [a theologian] a doubter is not that the world impresses him so much or that the Church impresses him so little, but rather that there is a structural flaw in his own private life which undoubtedly influences the public side of his conduct.” (128)

“There is no theology which could live otherwise than by the mercy of God. No theology, therefore, can be proper and useful other than by the experience of God’s judgment.

“The danger and distress of theology contain hope – and this hope is not somewhere alongside or behind them but within themselves.” (147)

“When theology confesses its own solidarity with all flesh and with the hope in the grace of God which is the mystery of this judgment. This hope is a present reality in which theology may also participate and do its own work.” (149)

“Evangelical theology […] is to be pursued in hope, though as a human work it is radically questioned by God, found guilty in God’s judgment and verdict – and though collapsing long before it reaches its goal, it relies on God who himself seeks out, heals, and saves man and his work. This God is the hope of theology.” (152)

Theological Work
“We should keep in mind the fact that prayer, as such, is work; in fact very hard work, although in its execution the hands are most fittingly not moved but folded. Where theology is concerned, the rule Ora et labora! is valid under all circumstances – prayer and work!” (160)

“The purpose of the Sabbath is not to eliminate the working days or to divest them of their proper task, but rather to obtain for them precisely the light from above which they lack.” (162)

“If God’s goodness is new every morning, it is also every morning a fully undeserved goodness which must give rise to new gratitude and a renewed desire for it.” (166)

“Because it has to be ever renewed, ever original, ever ready to be judged by God himself and by God alone, theology must be an act of prayer. The work of theology is done when nothing else is accomplished but the humble confession, ‘Not as I will, but as thou willest!’” (167)

“God’s grace is powerful enough to give even a man’s impure hear, hesitant will, weak head, and bad conscience the capacity to ask and answer meaningfully with respect to God and his work and word.” (168)

“Prayer without study would be empty. Study without prayer would be blind.” (171)

“To study theology means not so much to examine exhaustively the work of earlier students of theology as to become their fellow student. It means to become and to remain receptive, for they still speak, even though they may have died long ago.” (173)

“Practical theology is studied in order to seek and to find, to learn and to practice, this speech that is essential to the proclamation of the community in preaching and teaching, in worship and evangelization. For these reasons practical theology must also be studied as long as one lives.” (183)

“Theological work is service. In general terms, service is a willing, working, and doing in which a person acts not according to his own purposes or plans but with a view to the purpose of another person and according to the need disposition, and direction of others.” (184)

“A theologian cannot conduct himself like one who pretends to know all or who tries to outshine all those in the community who are less thoroughly learned and informed about the Gospel.” (188)

“Since theological work is service in the community, indirectly it is also service in the world to which the community is commissioned to preach the Gospel.” (196)

“Without love, theological work would be miserable polemics and a waste of words. The most serious prayer, the most thorough and extensive study, or the most zealous service could not alter this result.” (197)

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