Oct 20, 2023Liked by Center for Barth Studies

A thoughtful reflection for anyone troubled by the scandal ridden Church of the day. As I read Barth on the action of God it seems to me problematic to identify any world/church occurrence directly with the same. God's work is hidden, contains both judgement and grace, and certainly takes the side of the hurt, abused, downtrodden. I think adding Bonhoeffer's voice about the suffering God helps us here.

Expand full comment

As I read the New Testament, a pharisaic voice adopts an accusatory mode - speaking from above or outside the company of those whom it accuses. As such it is the opposite of that of the one-time pharisee, St Paul's 'I am the chief of sinners'.

For what it's worth, my own impression in reading this article, 'Church Abuse and the Judgment of God', is that I am hearing, not an echo of Barth's voice, let alone St Paul's, but of one tending more towards the pharisaic.

I've ventured this comment, because this voice is one that I hear as omnipresent in North America, not least in our increasingly polarized public square, but, yes, also in the church.

And let me be the first to acknowledge my own all-to-ready liability to the pharisaic. Indeed, is my comment here in that mode?

Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.

Expand full comment