As a theological discipline dogmatics is the scientific self-examination of the Christian Church with respect to the content of its distinctive talk about God.[1]

It is very easy for a Christian community to fall under the illusion that it exists and works as the result of complete human endeavour. The church, in this frame of reference, is the sole result of people’s hard work and achievement and it would seem as if God is shunted off to the side awaiting the completion of the building in order that he might be invited in as the special guest.  The people can be heard to proclaim, “Look what we did for God in Jesus’ name!”

However, it does not take much to see that Scripture reminds us that the church, as it is known in this modern era, is the sole result of God’s work in Jesus Christ and is brought forth by the Holy Spirit. In the same way God elected Israel to be his agent of redemption in the world, so to the church is elected in Christ. It is brought forth, established and sustained in Him by the Holy Spirit. There is not a congregation, big or small, that is not founded in Christ.

As a continuing (and perhaps continual) work of the Holy Spirit, if we began in Christ why do we not continue? Why do we so easily push God to the side and try to prove ourselves to Him? It is not that we should do nothing. No. This would be slothfulness. Rather, everything we undertake in Jesus name is our response to His faithfulness in Christ.

[1] Karl Barth et al., Church Dogmatics, Volume I The Doctrine of the Word of God, Part 1 (2d ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2004), 3.