Paul Jones on Barth’s Politics & the Filioque

Paul Dafydd Jones, The Humanity of Christ: Christology in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics (London: T&T Clark, 2008): 182, bold added.
“[T]he political import of Barth’s Christology does not rely on a flattened out version of the imitation Christi, with Christ’s life operating as a paradigm for social justice in the present day. Rather, it commends the task of inhabiting and realizing a future enabled by Christ’s sanctifying existence and the work of the Spirit. The filioque, one might say, has been transformed from a point of trinitarian doctrine into a starting point for theological ethics: the Spirit draws the Christian ‘back’ to the Son and enlivens Christian action on behalf of the Son with the Father.”
This little tidbit is fascinating. The connection that Jones draws between how Barth conceives the church’s political outlook and the filioque is very interesting, and highly original – as far as I know. Of course, the proprietor of Theomentary would know better than I. Coincidently, his book on this topic in Barth is currently under review at the CBS. Look for an update when that is online.

In any case, Jones continues:
“The sin to be faught against, in the church and in the world - especially in the political sphere – is sloth. The ideal of Christian life is to participate in the work of the Spirit, thereby honouring Christ’s existence as wholehearted, sovereign, loving and productive of deliverance with its continued enactment. At issue must not be the tired and disturbingly unreflective question as to what Jesus might do, but the imperative of Christian existence in the time and space opened up and animated by God’s second and third ways of being.”
“Sloth” is quickly becoming one of my favorite concepts in Barth, although it is unfortunate that the term has such a strong association with “lazy.” In Barth’s parlance, sloth is much, much more than that, and – indeed – sometimes quite different from it as well. Whereas pride is one’s unwillingness to accept and live into God’s negative judgment leveled upon one in Christ, sloth is one’s unwillingness to accept and live into God’s positive judgment leveled upon one in Christ. Pride resists justification; sloth resists sanctification – to put it very, very simply. In any case, I like the appearance it makes here.


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