This has been the most satisfying week for me as I am reading through Barth ― at least 50% of his material was understandable. (Please hold the applause I am trying to be humble here.) No, really, this week was satisfying for me because I think I have finally found a view on Scripture that says what I have always wanted to say but my inability with language has prevented.
Since Storied Theology has already shined on 4.2 I will keep my remarks to a minimum on that section.
YES! YES! YES! The Scriptures stand over and above the church! Can I get an amen?! One of the most frustrating things I find about inerrantists is the way that they insist that the Scripture must be what they say they are even when the Scriptures do not make this claim. I believe Barth would say that they have forgotten who has authority over whom. We (the Church) cannot tell the Scriptures what they are, instead, they should tell us what she is.
I had never been able to conceive of the Scriptures “containing God’s word” before but I like the idea; even if I am a little hesitant to adopt wholesale his view of the “Word of God.”
I will my thoughts on this section with a quote that would be considered heresy at my school (DTS):
“Presupposing that we are right about the fact described, that by Holy Scripture the CHurch is summoned and directed to its proclamation and empowered for it, this implies that Holy Scripture, too, is the Word of God.”
Now to section 1.1 §4.3:
While the previous section was good I really enjoyed this section the most.
In a nutshell it seems easiest to understand Barth’s concept of the “Word of God Revealed” as being essentially good works. Now I am not trying to say that this is only what he means but, just that, this is the most powerful way to understand his point. One of the things that I used to emphasize most in my preaching (before I took a break) was that good works are important because they are the main vehicle that God uses to reveal his nature to the world who either doubts his existence or is suspicious of his character. Good works are the means by which God acts in the world. Here is a good quote from that section that leads me to believe he and I are tracking together here:
“When the Canon, the staff which commands and sets moving and points the way, is moved by a living stretched-out hand, just as the water was moved in the Pool of Bethesda that it might thereby becomes a means of healing, then it bears witness, and by this act of witness it establishes the relation of the CHurch to revelation, and therewith establishes the CHurch itself as the true Church, and therewith its proclamation as true proclamation. By its witness! Witnessing means pointing in a specific direction beyond the self and on to another.”