Przywara’s Missionary Interest in the Analogy of Being

This is some very interesting analysis from Johnson’s book. A few comments after the quotes. Bold is mine, italics belong to Johnson.

Keith L. Johnson, Karl Barth and the Analogia entis, T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology (London; T&T Clark, 2010).
By describing human existence in relation to a God who exists both above us and in us, the analogia entis promotes a view of the Catholic Church whose relation to the world follows precisely the same pattern: it is a Church above the world, in the sense that exists in distinction from the world, but it also is a Church in the world, in the sense that its inner life is bound together with its outwardly focused mission to reach out to the world with the truth of the gospel. (47-8)

Przywara’s vision for the Roman Catholic Church after the war was missionary in nature. That is, his goal in these early years was to formulate a theological framework that could help the Catholic Church engage the world instead of retreat from it, because he believed the Church’s theological tradition had resources that could address the philosophical problems facing German culture…Przywara saw Barth’s theology as a threat to his vision for the church, and…he posited the analogia entis as an alternative to Barth’s construal of the creator-creature relationship. (51-2)

Przywara's move is clear: he has adopted the starting point of general religious philosophical reflection - the human consciousness - but unlike the philosophers, he has turned it into the very place where the transcendence of God is realized. This makes the analogia entis at its core a missionary principle, because it leads the human who recognizes the nature of his true existence to strive towards God who is infinitely beyond him. (78)
Johnson seems to be making the point that at the heart of the disagreement between Przywara and Barth is a divergence in missiological vision. Of course, Barth spends a lot of time working out his own way of thinking about mission, as this indispensible book from John Flett has explained. I suspect that a reader interested in either of these books would be advised to read the other as well.


Flett exposes the same missiological drive behind Brunner's work. The missionary impulse for both is not an outworking of the doctrine of God (God as a missionary God), but rather is limited to the church's work of locating general religious phenomena (Przywara) or creating cultural opportunities (Brunner) that will allow the Gospel to be heard.

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