Karl Barth: The Medium & The Message

Do we worship the bible? Or do we worship God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom the scriptures testify?

“It would be possible and quite correct to describe the covenant fulfilled in the work of reconciliation as the heart of the subject-matter of Christian faith, of the origin of Christian love, of the content of Christian hope. But the faith and love and hope of the Christian community and the Christians assembled in it live by the message received by and laid upon them, not the reverse. And even if we tried to put them in the forefront, we should have to lay the emphasis upon their subject-matter, origin and content, which are not immanent to them, and which do not exhaust themselves in them. For Christian faith is faith in, Christian love is love through, and Christian hope is hope in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is something prior, outside, different from them which encounters them. It is God whom they encounter, from whom they have their being, whom they can lay hold of but not apprehend or exhaust. Not even the message by which faith and love and hope live, not even the confession with which the community responds to the message, not even the dogmatics in which it gives an account of the message and its own response, and finally of its faith and love and hope as such, can take the place of God.”

– Karl Barth (Church Dogmatics; Vol. IV, pg. 3-4)

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