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Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

It can be a challenging task to connect faith and culture in a way which respects both. By no means do I wish to hide from the rich experiences of culture, but I become uneasy when faith is swept away with the current. In recent years, Hollywood has become profoundly aware that Evangelicals are a huge market. While it may be affirming to see movies produced in consultation with people of faith such as The Prince of Egypt complete with discussion notes, a definite line was crossed when the same was done for Man of Steel.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Superman. No, I haven’t seen the movie yet, though I will. However, the specific content of this particular movie is irrelevant.

Marketing “God in a Box”

We, as Christians, are sometimes our own worst enemies when we forget who we are. In our zeal to witness to others about God, we often serve the gods of culture–in this case marketing. I am mindful of a friend who once became so frustrated with this phenomenon that he wrote out four full verses under the title “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Fish” using the tune from a similarly named hymn.

My biggest concern here is that every attempt was made to create analogies between Superman and Jesus. While this is not a new idea, the effort reached a crescendo as language in the trailer and the film itself were crafted carefully to appeal to Evangelical ears. Images are powerful and, even in the face of reasoned contrasts, confuse our view of God greatly. Following are some key problems with making any comparison at all. (more…)

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Section 28 begins a new chapter for Barth on “The Reality of God”. The discussion shifts from the knowledge of God (noetic or epistemological) to the being of God (ontic or ontological). Core to the nature of God’s being is His action in love and freedom. Love will point us to freedom and freedom will in turn direct us back to love.

“God is who He is in the act of His revelation. God seeks and creates fellowship between Himself and us, and therefore He loves us. But He is this loving God without us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the freedom of the Lord, who has His life from Himself.” –Karl Barth (CD II.1, p. 257)

Barth does not surprise us by starting the discussion with love and freedom. Nor is it surprising that he will end by saying that this revelation finds its focus in the person of Jesus Christ. In between, however, he will wreak havoc on some commonly held views, not only by people outside the faith, but by mainstream Christians throughout history. (more…)

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In Section 25 of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, we looked at the fulfillment of the knowledge of God. Here in Section 26, Barth delves into what it means for God to be knowable.

“The possibility of the knowledge of God springs from God, in that He is Himself the truth and He gives Himself to man in His Word by the Holy Spirit to be known as the truth. It springs from man, in that, in the Son of God by the Holy Spirit, he becomes an object of the divine good-pleasure and therefore participates in the truth of God.” –Karl Barth (CD II.1, p.63)

In large part, his target is to discredit natural theology as a means to knowing God from every direction he can imagine. Barth will settle for nothing outside God’s own gracious self-revelation as the only means to knowing God. Later, we will see why he is so insistent on this stance, but for now we will review his argument at face value.

Without God, there is no revelation. It is an act of grace or good will toward humanity that he reveals Himself at all. There is no necessity that He do so, but He chooses to do so. (more…)

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