Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pannenberg, Brunner, Barth - Revelation

For the last two days, I've been (meant to be) reading some modern (some even German-speaking) theologians. All of them seem to give at best a mixed bag, in terms of both comprehensibility and truthfulness, but here are some of the highlights...

Thus, we saw that it is only the end of all events which could bring in the final self-manifestation of Jahweh, the perfection of his revelation.... the witness of the New Testament is that in the fate of Jesus Christ the end is not only seen ahead of time, but is experienced by means of a foretaste. For, in him, the resurrection of the dead has already taken place, though to all other men this is still something yet to be experienced.


Now the history of the world is only visible when one stands at its end... With the resurrection of Jesus, the end of history has already occurred, although it does not strike us in this way. It is through the resurrection that God has substantiated his deity in an ultimate way and is now manifest as the God of all men. It is only the eschatological character of the Christ event that establishes that there will be no further self-manifestation of God beyond this event. Thus, the end of the world will be on a cosmic scale what has already happened in Jesus.

Wolfhart Pannenberg, Dogmatic Theses of the Concept of Revelation

As a rule the modern man does not understand the claim of Christianity to be a religion of revelation, and he therefore rejects it. The most characteristic element of the present age, and that which distinguishes it from earlier periods in history, is the almost complete disappearance of the sense of transcendence and the consciousness of revelation.

Emil Brunner, Revelation and Reason

All the Church need do is just this: After any exegesis propounded in it, even the very best, it has to realise afresh the distinction between text and commentary and to let the text speak again without let or hindrance, so that it will experience the lordship of this free power...


Thus God does reveal himself in statements, through the medium of speech, and indeed of human speech. His word is always this or that word spoken by the prophets and apostles and proclaimed in the Church. The personal character of God's Word is not, therefore, to be played off against its verbal or spiritual character.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics

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