Some Emil Brunner Sayings (from Dogmatics, Vol. I)

Some Emil Brunner Sayings (Quotations Mainly from Dogmatics)

These quotes are from Dogmatics I: The Christian Doctrine of God (London: Lutterworth, 1949):

“The Dogmatic Theologian who does not find that his work drives him to pray frequently and urgently from his heart: ‘God be merciful to me a sinner,’ is scarcely fit for his job.” (85)

“Dogmatics does not consist in constructing a system of Biblical statements, but it is reflection upon revelation, on the basis of the religious evidence of the Bible.” (256)

“No speech, no word, is adequate to the mystery of God as person.” (16)

“Revelation is…never the mere communication of knowledge, but it is a life-giving and a life-renewing communion.” (20)

“In all the various forms of revelation, there is one meaning: Emmanuel, God with us.” (20)

“Revelation and faith now mean a personal encounter, personal communion.” (26)

“The revelation in Christ is not completed with the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus: it only attains its goal when it becomes actually manifest; that is, when a man or woman knows Jesus to be the Christ.” (29)

“The witness of the Spirit is not the whole work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not only the One who witnesses and speaks, He is also the God who pours out vitality and creates new life.” (31)

“To be united with Christ through the Holy Spirit means: to be directly united with Him. Here there is no difference between an ordinary Christian of our own day and an Apostle. … The fact of our redemption—the history of salvation—is transmitted by the proclamation of facts, that is, by the testimony of the Apostles under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” (33)

“We do not believe in Jesus Christ because we first of all believe in the story and the teaching of the Apostles, but by means of the testimony of their narrative and their teaching we believe, as they do, and in a similar spirit of freedom. Faith in Jesus Christ is not based upon a previous faith in the Bible, but it is based solely upon the witness of the Holy Spirit.” (33-34)

“The Scriptures are the absolute authority, in so far as in them the revelation, Jesus Christ Himself, is supreme. But the doctrine of Scripture as such, although it is the absolute basis of our Christian doctrine, is only in a conditional sense the norm of the same. Critical reflection on the adequateness, or inadequateness, of the Biblical testimony for the revelation to which it bears witness, is not eliminated; we still have to face it; a final resort to a single Scriptural passage is impossible for us. Hence in each instance all Christian doctrine is, and remains, a venture of faith.” (49)

“Revelation cannot be summed up in a system, not even a dialectical one. … Dogmatics as a system, even when it intends to be a system of revelation, is the disguised dominion of the rational element over faith.” (72)

“Above all the teaching of the Church, even above all dogma or doctrinal confession, stands Holy Scripture.” (80-81)

“To believe in Jesus Christ and to be of the elect is one and the same thing, just as not to believe in Jesus Christ and not to be of the elect is the same thing.” (320)

“The Bible does not contain the doctrine of double predestination, although a few isolated passages seem to come close to it.” (326)

“The Ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans [does not] deal with the salvation and damnation of the individual, but with the destiny of Israel.” (328)

“Paul wishes to show [in Romans 9] that God chooses the instruments of His redemptive action, the bearers of the history of the Covenant, as He wills. The theme of this passage is not the doctrine of predestination, but the sovereign operation of God in History, who has been pleased to revealed Himself at one particular point in History, in Israel.” (329)

“If God is the One who, before He created the world, conceived the plan of creating two kinds of human beings…namely, those who are destined for eternal life—the minority—and the rest—the majority—for everlasting destruction, then it is impossible truly to worship this God as the God of love, even if this be commanded us a thousand times.” (331)

“In point of fact, it is impossible to say of the God whom the Biblical revelation shows us, that He is the author of Evil. But Calvin tries in vain to eliminate this conclusion from his doctrine of predestination. Here, too, his argument simply ends in saying: ‘You must not draw this conclusion!’—an exhortation which cannot be obeyed by anyone who thinks.” (332)

“Love is not a ‘quality’ of God, but is His Nature….” (188)


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