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What I Read Online – 04/15/2013 (a.m.)

15 Apr
    • The obedience of faith (11:8)
    • The patience of faith (11:9-10)  
    • The strength of faith (11:11-12)
    • Toplady wrote a number of hymns in his life, but “Rock of Ages” is by far his most famous.
    • But back in the second year of his pastorate, he was doing his best to preach the unpreachable liberal theology he had learned in seminary, and had not yet discovered for himself just how useless the modernized gospel was at comforting modern man.
    • “During my time as a pastor… I often succumbed to the danger of attempting to get alongside the congregation in the wrong way. Thus in 1912, when the sinking of the Titanic shook the whole world, I felt that I had to make this disaster my main theme the following Sunday, which led to a monstrous sermon on the same scale.” (from the definitive Barth biogarphy by Eberhard Busch, p. 63)
    • Barth took as his sermon text the current event of a disaster, rather than an actual portion of Scripture. He tacked on a bit of Psalm 103 (“as for man, his days are like grass”) at the beginning, but this sermon was clearly about the boat, and Barth was not leading his congregation into the word of God, but into the world of current events.
    • Barth, soon to be known as “the red pastor of Safenwil” for his support of communistic solutions to the exploitation of factory workers in his town, leans into his role as prophet announcing God’s wrath against capitalism
    • Barth’s seminary trained him in classically liberal Christianity. He entered the pulpit with a set of beliefs that were brittle, insufficiently biblical, and ultimately irrelevant to real people. In the Titanic sermon, you can see him trying to make his liberalism stretch to cover currrent catastrophes. It stretched enough to cover the Titanic, but just barely. This sermon was a real stinker, a real sinker, and it went under pretty fast. But Barth’s preaching career kept going until a few years later when the outbreak of World War I would be an even more titanic challenge to the weak Christianity of his seminary training. When that happened, Barth couldn’t stretch the thin commitments of liberalism to fit the real world.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 15/04/2013 in Current Issues

 

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