Friday, November 30, 2007

Barth and Piper on the Relation of God’s Love and Glory

Every now and then, the work of John Piper flits across my mind. I read his Desiring God (Multnomah, 1996) during the period of transition from High School to College, but I have since come to be…let’s say…‘skeptical’ about the veracity of his position. In any case, I am working on a project with a faculty member here at PTS, and Piper’s work came up briefly there. So, he has been on my mind.

At the same time, I am reading Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics 2.1 (T&T Clark, 1985) for a PhD seminar currently underway, and I came across a bit of text (reproduced below) and the contrast between Barth and Piper jumped out at me. I wanted to post about it.

So, here are quotes from both Piper and Barth on the relation between God’s love and God’s glory. As you will see, Piper makes God’s love for us subordinate to God’s glory, while Barth makes God’s glory subordinate to God’s love for us.

Piper:
“God’s ultimate goal therefore is to preserve and display his inifinte and awesome greatness and worth, that is, his glory. God has many other goals in what he does. But none of them is more ultimate than this. They are all subordinate. God’s overwhelming passion is to exalt the value of his glory. To that end, he seeks to display it, to oppose those who belittle it, and to vindicate it from all contempt. It is clearly the uppermost reality in his affections. He loves his glory infinitely. This is the same as saying: he loves himself infinitely.” (43)
Barth:
“God’s loving is an end in itself. All the purposes that are willed and achieved in Him are contained and explained in this end, and therefore in this loving in itself and as such. For this loving is itself the blessing that it communicates to the loved…Certainly in loving us God wills His own glory and our salvation. But He does not love us because He wills this. He wills it for the sake of His love. God loves in realising these purposes. But God loves because He loves; because this act is His being, His essence and His nature. He loves without and before realising these purposes. He loves to eternity. Even in realising them, He loves because He loves.” (279)
I have the sneaking suspicion that if Piper had lead with his last thought in the quote about (that God loves himself infinitely), and subordinated the language of 'glory' to this, he would have arrived at a position similar to Barth's. As it is, notions of 'value' and 'worth' to which God is subordinated means that God's love cannot ultimately be free. There is a 'why' behind God's love (and a rather abstract metaphysical 'why' at that), a goal to which it is directed and to which it is the means. I prefer Barth's tack. God's very being is love, and that love is not a means to a further end. No further end exists. God's love is the end in itself.

In any case, one of these options seems decidedly more in line than the other with what the New Testament has to say about Jesus.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2008 Karl Barth Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary

Another piece of news. I'm beginning to feel like the theological Associated Press!

The Center for Barth Studies has posted an announcement of the 2008 Barth conference. Here you will find information about the date of the conference (June 22-25), the conference cost ($100 USD), and the current list of confirmed speakers (which includes Kathryn Tanner and Nigel Biggar).

The topic of the 2008 Barth conference is: “Karl Barth and Theological Ethics”

While you are surfing the Barth Center website, be sure to check out the book review section.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Warfield Lectures, 2007: Update

As faithful readers of DET are well aware, three of your dedicated theo-bloggers from Princeton Theological Seminary banded together to provide coverage of the 2007 Warfield Lectures, presented by Dr. Kathryn Tanner. An index with links to coverage of all the lectures is available in my 'Collaborative Projects' section, to which there is a link at the top of the right side-bar.

The purpose of this post is to announce that one of Dr. Tanner's Warfield Lectures has been published in the Princeton Seminary Bulletin. This lecture was #4, and - if one wanted to do some comparative analysis - you can access Chris' notes on its original presentation.

Dr. Tanner's published lecture is entitled, Kingdom Come: The Trinity an Politics.

Here are her two introductory paragraphs, which set the tone for the essay:
In contemporary theology, the Trinity is often enlisted to support particular kinds of human community - say, egalitarian, inclusive communities, in which differences are respected - or to counter modern individualism by greater respect for the way persons are shaped by community. What the Trinity is like is thought to establish how human societies should be organized; the Trinity is thought to be the best indicator of the proper relationship between individuals and their community; and so on. Jüergen Moltmann, John Zizioulas, Miroslav Volf, Leonardo Boff, and Catherine LaCungna are all important names in this regard.

Although theological judgments here seem quite simple - for example, if the persons of the Trinity are equal to one another, then human beings should be too - figuring out the sociopolitical lessons conveyed by the Trinity is fraught with complexities and perils. I systematically explore these complexities and perils here and conclude that it would be best to steer attention away from the Trinity when trying to determine the proper character of human relations in Christian terms. Christology, I suggest, is the better avenue to help Christians make sociopolitical judgments.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (4)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 4: Christology Within a Systematic Framework

Pannenberg’s short volume concludes with a consideration of Christology. I must confess that this chapter was the hardest for me to get my mind around, and I’m not entirely sure that I succeeded. This means that what follows will be more descriptive than critical.
  • The Church

  • Pannenberg gives us a tidy definition of the church in the opening sentences of this chapter:
    “The Christian church is the community of those who by baptism, faith, and eucharistic communion share in the ministry and death of Jesus Christ and thereupon live in the hope for the new life of his resurrection. Thus the church has been called the ‘body’ of Christ.” (53)
    The conviction of this community is that Jesus Christ has universal significance, and this conviction provides the community with an impetus to mission. However, this conviction also underscores the need for Christology…

  • Task of Christology

  • …whose task it is “to give reasons for the Christian truth claim that is the foundation stone of the church” (55), namely, the universal significance of Christ as understood in terms of his…

  • Pre-Existence

  • …pre-existence. The truth claim that undergirds the church is the affirmation “that Jesus is the eternal Son of God incarnate. In him it has become manifest how the creature can relate to the eternal God in such a way as to enjoy communion with him in eternity, beyond this earthly life, but already in each present moment” (55).

    Pannenberg spends the bulk of this chapter exploring how it is that Jesus can be understood as the eternal Son of God incarnate. To do this he depends on historical critical research into the life of Jesus, but he also draws some very striking and powerful conclusions from that research. Basically, he reconstructs how it might have been that the early followers of Jesus came to understand Christ as the incarnate eternal Son of God, tracing the logic of the development of Christian belief. It would be a disservice for me to attempt to recount precisely how Pannenberg does this; instead, I strongly recommend that you find a copy of this volume and see for yourself.

  • Tolerance

  • While pursuing the path traced above, Pannenberg has cause to stop and consider the contemporary world’s preoccupation with tolerance. This consideration is precipitated by his speech about the “church’s universal mission” (54) or the “universal significance” of Jesus. Isn’t this a form of intolerance to be shunned by any enlightened participant of the modern world? Isn’t this a “symbol of Christian exclusivism” (ibid)?

    Pannenberg says no. He recognizes that it does exclude something, namely, the possibility of salvation through any means other than Christ. However, it doesn’t exclude anyone. “It does not necessarily deny salvation to members of other cultures and religious traditions, but it certainly claims that if those persons obtain salvation, it will be through the grace of Jesus Christ whom perhaps they do not even know” (ibid).

    On the specific question of tolerance, Pannenberg makes a distinction: “toleration is not indifference toward conflicting truth claims…toleration is only possibly on the basis of a decision concerning what truth is normative” (ibid). Further, tolerance “does not put conflicting opinions and attitudes on the same level; that is what indifference does. Indifference does not take seriously the conflicting claims” (ibid). Which option, indifference or toleration as Pannenberg defines them, is the less colonial way of interacting with other cultures? My vote is with this kind of tolerance that admits difference but nonetheless cooperates, respects, and engages that difference. Of course, this sort of toleration needs to be a two (or more) way street.
Concluding Thoughts

Simply put, I have found much in Pannenberg’s short volume to appreciate, but I am still not sold on the apologetic way in which he casts the task of theology. While I have appreciated his engagement with philosophy, science, and historical Jesus research, the role of theology seems to be understood as defending Christian belief against these things. What is theology’s positive task? Does it serve any but a defensive function? I would like to think so. Still, Pannenberg is a theologian with penetrating insight and a powerful mind: he is one from whom much can be learned and in whom much can be appreciated.

Previous Installments: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (3)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 3: The Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Scientific Cosmology

Part of my attraction to the work of TF Torrance is his understanding of theological science and the relation of theology and science, so I very much enjoyed this chapter wherein Pannenberg engages scientific cosmology. In keeping with Pannenberg’s apologetic impulse, which we saw in the first chapter, this chapter seems to be predominantly a ground-clearing exercise, interested in suggesting ways in which Christianity can be understood in harmony with scientific cosmology. It seems to me that theology must attempt to find this harmony whenever possible, and so it was interesting to see Pannenberg engage in this task.
  • Mechanical Universe

  • Pannenberg recounts how scientific cosmology developed in the 18th and 19th centuries to view the world as a mechanical system. While God was originally posited as the basis of this system, he became an increasingly unnecessary notion especially after Darwin. According to Pannenberg, this hasn’t much changed (Torrance would likely disagree, citing profound and erudite things from post-Einstein philosophy of science) except with reference to…

  • God and Math

  • …mathematics. Pannenberg notes that “modern theories of nature are mathematical” (38) and so in order to challenge the notion that the universe is not a system that excludes God, one of two things must occur: either God must be described by mathematics or mathematics must be understood as an approximation to reality as opposed to assuming that “that the very nature of things is mathematical” (ibid). The second option is what appeals to Pannenberg, rightly in my opinion, and he goes on to point out that it is the very precision of mathematics that indicates its limitations. “There is something in life which is not precise and systematically escapes that form of presentation” (ibid). TF Torrance would say something similar about language in relation to thought, and thought in relation to reality: language approximates thought, and thought approximates reality, but nailing everything down exactly is beyond human ken. TF Torrance has also made much of Gödel's incompleteness theorums as suggesting that the material world is comprised of multiple layers of intelligibility - open ever upwards toward greater complexities - and that mathematics itself is an abstract system that (according to Gödel) is always either incomplete or inconsistent. So, mathematics need not be diametrically opposed to what Pannenberg is trying to do here.

  • Schleiermacher?

  • Ever since I read Schleiermacher’s doctrine of creation last Spring I have had fun spotting his influence in various theologians (and I don’t think that being influenced by Schleiermacher, especially on the doctrine of creation, is necessarily a bad thing). Schleiermacher pops up between the lines when Pannenberg discusses original creation and continuing creation, specifically with reference to the question of eternity. The “conception of creation as creation out of nothing also applies to continuous creation” (40), Pannenberg informs us. He then goes on to affirm that, with reference to the continuing ex nihilo creation, “the act of creation, though it now spans the entire temporal process, has to be conceived as an act in God’s eternity, that is, as eternal in itself” (41). This is precisely the sort of claim that Schleiermacher makes, although both he and Pannenberg go on to talk about ways of safeguarding the contingency of creation thus conceived.

  • Spirit

  • The third person of the Trinity does a lot of work in Pannenberg’s understanding of creation. He trances the notion back to the Stoics and Origen, concluding that “the spirit is simply the dynamic principle of life, and the soul is the creature which is alive and yet remains dependent on the spirit as the transcendent origin of its life” (43). One problem in the doctrine of creation is how to speak of the human being, and creation in general, as dependent upon God and related to God without undermining salvation as grace rooted in Jesus and not in some general grace of creation.

    I haven’t decided what I think about Pannenberg on this score yet. First he wonders, moving in the wrong direction as far as I’m concerned, “Could it be that, basically, faith is the uncrippled and untainted enactment of the movement and rhythm of all life as it was intended by the creator” (45). Then he says something that sounds better: “the ecstatic self-transcendence of life is not something that is in the power of the organism itself, but arises as its response to a power that seizes it” (ibid). But, he then goes on to make this somewhat dubious distinction: “the Spirit is not given to all creatures, but operates in all of them by arousing their self-transcendent response which is the movement of life itself” (46). In any case, I’ll have to think a lot more about this.

  • God as Field of Force

  • This is where Pannenberg really interacts with scientific cosmology, discussing the history of the view of space and time (“God’s immensity and eternity can be regarded as constitutive of time and space” [48]), and how understanding “the presence of God’s Spirit in his creation” as “a field of creative presence” (49) might just be the way to go. This short section is very interesting, and I’m looking forward to studying it more carefully in conversation with TF Torrance, who discusses space and time at length. Of course, I have discussed elsewhere the relation of time and eternity.

  • Religious Animal

  • This is where my Barthian dander, perturbed throughout the chapter even as I enjoyed it, really gets up. Pannenberg discusses the way in which human ability “discern between objects…as self-centered entities, not simply as correlates to our own drives; that is to say: to discern them from ourselves and ourselves from everything else” (50) separates humanity from the rest of creation. This self-discernment leads to the recognition of finitude, and thus “because the human being is the self-consciously discerning animal, it is also the religious animal” (51). Of course, Pannenberg is well within the Christian tradition, and even Protestantism, when he makes these claims. But, this is one area in which Barth radicalized even the Protestant position when he rejected natural theology of any kind. One wonders sometimes about TF Torrance in this regard as well with reference to his epistemological realism which rejects all forms of dualism.
Previous Installments: Chapter One, Chapter Two

Friday, November 09, 2007

Eberhard Busch Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary

On Thursday evening, November 8, 2007, Eberhard Busch – Karl Barth’s last research assistant and Emeritus Professor of Reformed Theology at Göttingen – lectured at Princeton Theological Seminary. The title of his lecture was “A Swiss Voice: The Campaign of the Swiss Government Against the Voice of Karl Barth During the Second World War,” and this title is self-explanatory. It was a fascinating lecture that sought to dispel the myth that Barth was not politically active during World War Two, and Busch drew much upon original archival research in Swiss and German government archives that have only recently been opened for such research.

Below are my notes from the lecture. They are not well formed, nor have I gone back to edit them. Thus, they do not give a precise or comprehensive account of what was said, but they do give an indication. Undoubtedly this information will become available in traditional print form in due course.

====================================

Eberhard Busch – “A Swiss Voice: The Campaign of the Swiss Government Against the Voice of Karl Barth During the Second World War”

Barth saw his task as to do theology and only theology, and thereby caused a public nuisance! Barth’s work against Hitler’s government induced the Swiss government to work against him. This story has been forgotten in recent times, perhaps because some wanted to forget about their own or their country’s stance toward Hitler at the time. Busch will take us through some documents from the Swiss and German government documents from the time of the second Word War, largely unavailable until recently.

Barth was removed from his German teaching office in 1934. The reason for this was Barth’s alarming political statement on Reformation Day in 1933, where he asked for a protest of the church against the treatment of the Jews and the imprisonment of members of the democratic opposition to Hitler. In 1935 Barth was called to the university of Basel, and at the same time the Swiss government made him the leader of a relief organization for scholars expelled from German (mainly Jews). In this capacity he arranged a big demonstration for the benefit of Jews and worked with Thomas Mann. The German government wrote to the Swiss government during this time complaining that Barth works against the German government. By 1935 Barth wrote in a Basel newspaper that the Nazi government had showed its bolshevist face and insisted that the church follow only her one Lord. Thus, Barth performed the office of a watchman, coming into conflict with the Swiss government.

The Swiss government wanted to stop Barth’s comments about these matters. Switzerland in that time was considered by the German government as a neutral state. This was a lucky coincidence for Hitler because Switzerland was a useful turntable for economics and espionage. The Swiss government was motivated by the desire to stay out of the second World War at all costs, making them very interested in not upsetting Germany.

Barth criticized especially three points: (1) The claim that the Swiss government’s interpretation of Swiss neutrality was the only way to be neutral, (2) The making secret of the extensive Swiss support of German policies, thinking that this violated Swiss neutrality, (3) The opposition of free expression of opinion and the freedom of observation.

Barth thought that Swiss neutrality ought to mean the freedom to stand against aggression and a free living together. As a sign of his willingness to defend Swiss neutrality for this reason, Barth voluntarily because a soldier of the Swiss army (at the age of 55). The government criticized Barth, for instance, for violating neutrality by his printed description of Hitler as an ‘ill man.’ The government had made illegal such denigration of Hitler. Germany’s embassy in Bern urged the Swiss government to take action against Barth as well. Barth persisted, however, in his lecturing and printing critical of the Nazi government as well as the Swiss government’s policy’s toward Germany. Indeed, Barth specifically lifted up the Jewish question as pivotal, noting that salvation came from the Jews and they thus deserve to be defended by the church.

The Swiss government slowly began tightening its grip on critical publication, classifying some of Barth’s lectures as political instigation. Organs of the Swiss government even described Barth as a ‘theologian of hate,’ and he was accused of political agitation against Germany under the cover of religion. The two kingdoms doctrine was even marshaled against Barth, and he was told that he could say whatever he wanted about theology but that he couldn’t give political lectures under the guise of ecclesial style. The publication of certain of Barth’s published lectures and booklets was forbidden. Barth contested these things, arguing that the theologians of the Reformed church in the tradition of Calvin and Zwingli have not only the right but the duty to speak politically. When his appeal failed, Barth was unable to publish or lecture on the political situation in Switzerland. Barth’s phone was tapped, and his correspondence was monitored and censured. In one instance, one of Barth’s letters, including a picture of him in his military uniform bearing the caption ‘Resist the evil with all means,’ was confiscated.

Barth managed to some degree to circumvent the Swiss government’s censorship by means of the media in Great Britain, the United States and elsewhere. Germany suggested to the Swiss government that they put pressure on Barth by means of their employment of him, and Barth was officially criticized for neglecting his teaching duties by agitating abroad against Germany. Barth replied that he would do it again! The longer the war lasted, the bolder the censors of Barth’s texts grew. They even insisted that Barth inform the government when he wrote for foreign media outlets. There was even thought within the Swiss government about putting Barth in prison (which the German embassy pushed for), but this never happened.

One of the reasons given for the government censorship of Barth had to do with Barth making a statement about the bolshevic face of the Nazi German government. It was argued that Germany was the leader of Europe in resisting communism. Those who opposed Hitler now tended to be accused of communist sympathies. Barth, despite his sympathies to Swiss socialism, had always resisted Russian communism beginning with the revolution of 1917.

====================================

Images: The top image is of Busch entering with Darrell Guder under the watchful eye of Warfield, and the bottom image is of Busch with Daniel Migliore.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Calvin on Ordination and Pastoral Obligation

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.5.4 - Abuses in the appointment of the presbyter ("priest") and deacon.
"Here is a noble calling, by reason of which bishops boast that they are the apostles' successors. But they say that the right to create presbyters belongs to them alone. In this they very wickedly corrupt the ancient institution, because they create by their ordination not presbyters to lead and feed the people, but priests to perform sacrifices. Similarly, when they consecrate deacons, they do nothing about their true and proper office, but ordain them only for certain rites concerned with chalice and paten.

But in the Council of Chalcedon, on the contrary, it was enacted that there should be no ordinations free of pastoral obligations, that is, that a place be assigned to the person ordained where he is to exercise his office. This decree is valuable for two reasons. First, that the church may not be burdened with needless expense, and spend upon idle men what ought to be distributed to the poor. Secondly, that those ordained are not to think themselves promoted to an honor but charged with an office which they are with solemn attestation obligated to discharge."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wolfhart Pannenberg, 'Introduction to Systematic Theology' (2)

Wolfhart Pannenberg, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).

Learn a little something about Pannenberg.

Chapter 2: Problems of a Christian Doctrine of God

I liked this chapter much more than I did the first one, so maybe my earlier distaste was simply part of my general distaste for prolegomena. In any case, I can’t deal with all the content packed into this chapter, so I’ll have to hit high points.
  • Theology, Philosophy, Metaphysics

  • Pannenberg argues that “the theologian is called to restate the doctrine of God in terms of rational argument” (23), and he makes two points related to this. First, he notes that “the concept of God which was developed by medieval and early modern theology in close contact with classical metaphysics is in need of rather radical revision” (ibid). But, he notes secondly that a significant difficulty in going about this ‘radical revision’ is “the desolate state of metaphysics in modern philosophy” (ibid). That is, the philosophers aren’t doing metaphysics, and therefore the theologians have little to work with as they go about this revision.

    Moving on, Pannenberg says a bit more about how theology and philosophy relate. “First, the theologian should not realy too heavily on a particular philosophical system, but she or he should critically participate in the dialog of contemporary philosophy…” (24). The goal of this ‘critical participation’ by the theologian is the refinement of the Christian doctrine of God and the demonstration of its “rational plausibility” (25). Indeed, Pannenberg thinks that this has always been the role of metaphysical considerations in the Christian doctrine of God, at least when properly pursued.

    Lest anyone (pay attention, ye Barthians!) should object to this work, Pannenberg takes the time to point out that this sort of work is not engaging in ‘natural theology,’ the rejection of which thinks “served as an excuse for not entering seriously at all into the dialog with philosophy” (ibid). Pannenberg is not (here at least) interested in proofs of God’s existence, but in the explication of the Christian doctrine of God in a way that makes sense. Thus, he states that
    “to engage in critical dialog with the tradition of philosophical theology is not to do what is called ‘natural theology,’ but serves the critical examination of theological language. The less attention has been paid to this requirement, the more subjective and irrational theological language has become, even if the subjectivism simply consists in taking over traditional formulas and phrases without sufficient awareness of their implications” (ibid).
    I say, “Amen,” and I’m sure that this gladdens the heart of my philosopher friend.

  • Paul Tillich vs. Thomas

  • Paul Tillich (you can access my mini series on him in the DET serials index) gets a bit of a beating in this chapter. Pannenberg notes how Tillich attempted to revise the doctrine of God. Tillich’s first problem, according to Pannenberg, is his “dislike for the idea of a purely transcendent God” (ibid). Though Tillich is not a pantheist, this dislike is what pushes him to speak of God as the ground of being. Pannenberg thinks that Tillich should have paid more attention to the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Second, Pannenberg discusses Tillich’s notion of God as ‘being’ and not ‘a being’. Thomas is the hero in this section because he was able to hold together the notions of God as the ground of all being and as a particular being, precisely what Tillich couldn’t do because he thought it impossible for a particular being to be the ground of all being. “What is different in the case of God, according to Thomas Aquinas, is not that he has no essence at all, but that his being and essence are one. Therefore Thomas Aquinas could still speak of God as the highest being” (27). In Pannenberg’s estimation, this is Thomas’ “superior sophistication” (28).

  • Process Theology / Philosophy

  • Pannenberg thinks that Whiteheadian process philosophy / theology has much to commend it to one’s attention. For starters, it does a much better job than Tillich in “describing…the cosmological function inherent in the idea of God” (29). Furthermore, it is one of few examples of a contemporary philosophy that takes God seriously. However, its problem is
    “that it does not allow for a concept of creation. The Whiteheadian God is but a partial factor in the constitution of actual existence, which is basically conceived as self-constitutive. Therefore, the God of Whitehead is not the biblical creator God. Furthermore, the Whiteheadian God is one actual entity among others, though distinguished from them by being everlasting. According to this philosophy all actual reality is finite, even God. It’s picture of the universe is that of a pluralism of finite realties.” (29-30).
  • God as “Father

  • Coming back to Tillich, Pannenberg discusses God’s fatherhood. He lands on a position that is similar to Tillich’s, but that resists the more contemporary movements to speak of God in only gender-neutral language. “‘Father’ is not an exchangeable metaphor,” Pannenberg states emphatically, “though otherwise it may be regarded as a metaphorical expression on the same footing with words like ‘mother’ or ‘friend’” (31). The reason that it is not exchangeable has to do with the fact that “the word ‘Father’ indicates that our way of talking about God and of addressing God relates to the same God whom Jesus talked about…the exchange of this name inevitably results in turning to another God” (32).

  • The Personhood of God

  • Pannenberg discusses the personhood of God and locating it within his broader discussion. He also mentions some ways in which this concept developed and, more importantly, was severely critiqued in the modern period. What happened was that God’s personhood became identified with his existence as ‘spirit’ which, in the German philosophy of the day, was equated with ‘mind’. The question then came to be how a particular mind could also be infinite, and other questions similar to those found in discussions of God as a being or as being itself. The result of this discussion is this:
    “The biblical God is personal in his elective will and action and as he is revealed as Father by his Son Jesus Christ. And because as Father he is related to his Son in all eternity, he is personal in eternity in the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit. In them, the unspeakable divine mystery is eternally concrete. Therefore, one cannot have one God as personal without the trinitarian persons” (35-6).
Previous Installments: Chapter One

Friday, November 02, 2007

My Most Recent Publication

A Report on the Second Annual Karl Barth Conference, Karl Barth Society Newsletter 35 (Fall, 2007), 1-4.

Regular readers of DET may remember that, coming off the success of the 2007 Karl Barth Blog Conference, things were uncharacteristically quiet here during the second annual Karl Barth conference held at Princeton Theological Seminary back in June. Well, this is why. My reporting on the conference was spoken for by the Barth Society Newsletter, the editor of which (Paul Molnar) asked me to provide such a report because of my involvement in organizing the conference.

In any case, if you are a member of the Karl Barth Society of North America, my report will show up in your mailbox in a few days (if it hasn’t already). It will also appear in due course in the digital collections of the Princeton Theological Seminary library.

This issue of the newsletter also includes information on the upcoming Barth Society meetings in conjunction with the 2007 AAR conference in San Diego, a review of Karl Barth and the Churches, and notices of some recent publications on Barth as well as the Digital Karl Barth Library.