“As a father discovers himself in his child” – Karl Barth

imageAs you might have gathered from my recent posts on Barth’s Romans, I’m reading Barth’s commentary with our 4th year Bible/Theology majors in the capstone seminar for our major. It is my first sequential and complete reading of Barth’s Romans. It is a magesterial work in every sense. I’m finding it to be a difficult, frustrating and deeply profound work, and that usually is my feeling all within one paragraph. Today, I read a beautiful passage on grace:

Grace is the existence begotten by God, the new man, created and redeemed by God, the man who is righteous before Him and in whom He is well pleased, the man in whom God again discovers Himself, as a father discovers himself in his child (comment on 6:12-14, pg. 207, emphasis added)

I love that image of a father discovering himself in his child which Barth employs. This is something that I have come to understand especially in the last year. While I’m not going to say God discovers something about himself in us he had forgotten, at least not in the same way, there is perhaps something of that in his adoration of his children, and, particuarly, the redeemed. And this makes sense in light of experience.

As I pay close attention to my son Zion, I discover again myself. I come to understand and value myself. I prise the me God made. I stand in awe of him, but also of myself if I have eyes to see. How much I resemble him. How much I had forgotten of myself as I grew to adulthood. How revelatory. How redeeming. In Zion, I see the way I “was”; the way I was before sin took me out, cut me down and bent me.

There is a purity of insight into oneself through one’s child, if we only pay attention.

This is grace.

Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy

I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-pub copy of Scot McKnight's new book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2014).In a nutshell, McKnight argues that there are two predominant views of "kingdom" operating in and around evangelicalism. First, the skinny jeans view, which equates kingdom with social justice. Second, the pleated pants view, where kingdom equates to God's redemptive work. McKnight wants to affirm the good of so … [Read More...]

Nijay Gupta Reviews The Gospel of the Lord

Over at Sola Crux, Nijay Gupta gives a brief review of my The Gospel of the Lord.Glad to see that I am a proud recipient of the "Gupta bump," I think Nijay needs to produce a trophy to be given to recipients. … [Read More...]

Jesus the Zealot (Again)

Reza Aslan's book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth tried to give the zealot hypothesis a shot in the arm. Even more recently, Dale Martin has written a piece entitled, “Jesus in Jerusalem: Armed and Not Dangerous,” JSNT 37.1 (2014): 3-24. The substance of his argument is that: In deba … [Read More...]

The Whackiest Thing Karl Barth Ever Said: The Weak in Faith in Romans 14

Look, I like Karl Barth, his christocentric theology, his trinitarian revelationism, and lots of  other stuff.However, I've been reading over his Romans commentary and as much as I try to appreciate him as a theological interpreter and all, some of the stuff he says is just whacky.When it … [Read More...]

Howard Marshall Remembers Leon Morris

The Leon Morris Centenary continues over at the Ridley Blog with a short post by I. Howard Marshall on In gratitude for Leon Morris. Great piece, do check it out!Quite simply he was one of the few really competent evangelical scholars who was able to take on the opposition and be recognised as a … [Read More...]

“The Righteousness of God” by Karl Barth

I've not read a more powerful statement on the "righteousness of God". The righteousness of God is His forgiveness, the radical alteration of the relation between God and man which explains why, though human unrighteousness and ungodliness have brought the world to its present condition and are … [Read More...]

When Conservatism Becomes an Idol

One thing that perplexes outsiders about American evangelicalism is why they seem so keen on impaling each other on secondary matters. I think I may have had an epiphany and I'm finally beginning to get a grip on this.I remember once watching a GOP presidential debate where Ron Paul boasted that … [Read More...]

The “particularity of the Jew” according to Karl Barth

Here is the peculiarity of the Jew and the meaning of circumcision. God is known as the Unknown God, who justifieth the ungodly (4:5), who quickenteth the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were (4:17), on whom men can only in hope believe against hope (4:18). When the 'Jew' re … [Read More...]

Aussies Spearhead Global Poverty Initiative in NY

Interesting article in the Financial Review about a group of Aussies in NY city, spearheading the global poverty initiative. When actor Hugh Jackman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and rapper Jay Z appear before 50,000 festival-goers in New York this weekend to help fight global poverty, … [Read More...]

Galatians and Christian Theology (Baker Academic)

In 2012 St. Andrews University hosted their fourth Scripture and Theology Conference. The focus was Galatians. I had the privilege of participating and offering a paper "Davidic Messiahship in Galatians", which was eventually published in the JSPL 2.2. (79-96). The conference volume has just been … [Read More...]

The Suburban Captivity of the Church

Tim Foster The Suburban Captivity of the Church: Contextualizing the Gospel for Post-Christian Australia Melbourne: Acorn, 2014. Available here or on kindle.Amidst all the talk of planting churches in highly secular cities of the west, my colleague Tim Foster has written a commendable volume o … [Read More...]

On-line Course on “Knowing God”

Here at Ridley College we have an awesome on-line theology program for lay people called The Ridley Certificate. This multi-media program is a great way for you, your family, or your home group to do a six week course on topics like 1 Corinthians, Gospel and Life, Understanding Your Bible, Ministry S … [Read More...]

Tomas Halik on Europe after Secularization

Very interesting article by Czech religious professor Tomas Halik at ABC Religion and Ethics on Europe after Secularization: What Future Has Christianity on the Continent.Halik writes: When religion made a global comeback on the political stage over the last three decades, many were shocked. … [Read More...]

And There is A Time to Avoid Simplicity in God-Talk

In responding to a critic of his first edition of The Epistle to the Romans, Karl Barth offers a reflection on the relative importance of simplicity in his preface to the second edition (1921). One critic dismissed Barth's first edition of the commentary with the line "Simplicity is the mark of … [Read More...]