This week marks the first in a very long schedule for reading through Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics instigated by Daniel Kirk at Storied Theology. While I have read snippets of and shorter works by Barth, reading through the entire Church Dogmatics will be a challenge, hopefully one worthy of taking. At the current pace, Daniel estimates approximately seven years (!) to work through the whole fourteen-volume set. I am going to do my best to read along with the schedule each week and post a few thoughts, reflections, and quotes from each section.
I enjoyed reading the first section – the Task of Dogmatics. While dense, I found it to be a rather passionate, even pastoral, call to the pursuit of theology, a pursuit which Barth argues should emerge from the church, supported by the Scriptures and by prayer.
A few highlights:
“[Rest] content with the grace of the One whose strength is mighty in weakness” (3).
“Christian speech must be tested by its conformity to Christ. This conformity is never clear and unambiguous. To the finally and adequately given divine answer there corresponds a human question which can maintain its faithfulness only in unwearied and honest persistence” (13).
“As the Church accepts from Scripture, and with divine authority from Scripture alone, the attestation of its own being as the measure of its utterance, it finds itself challenged to know itself, and therefore even and precisely in face of this foundation of all Christian utterance to ask with all the seriousness of one who does not yet know, what Christian utterance can and should say to-day” (16).
“To be in the Church, however, is to be called with others by Jesus Christ. To act in the Church is to act in obedience to this call. This obedience to the call of Christ is faith” (17).