But theology is a function of the Church. The Church confesses God as it talks about God. It does so first by its existence in the action of each individual believer. And it does so secondly by its specific action as a fellowship…Fortunately the reality of the Church does not coincide with its action.
Everything the church undertakes to do in Jesus name (and even that which it does not) says something about God. Fortunately for us our reality in Christ does not reflect our actions or words. Nevertheless our actions and words should reflect who we are in Christ. As Barth reminds us; our action is our theology!
Theology is the function of the church in which the community subjects itself to self-examination. This self-examination is not a free science. It is not Christian philosophy. It is objectively grounded in Christ. Scripture forms the foundation of theology (Hence all theology should be biblical theology). Ministry (or praxis) is the goal and dogmatics (or theology) forms the content of what we believe.
For more than two or three generations these three things have not formed the accountability of the Christian community. More and more the church evaluates itself against the culture and ways of the world.. This cannot continue because this way will surely only lead to destruction. If Christ is the foundation of the Christian life why is he not also our centre?
It is not that theology possesses special powers or keys (maybe principles is a more appropriate word) rather theology is task by which the church allows its speech and action to be judged in light of the gospel. Perhaps, as we have seen in recent times, if the church fails in this task the world will do it for us and the church continues on a road of unfaithfulness.
 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.
I just read that line today! good thoughts!
Thanks Brian. How are you finding him?
@Mark: Great line about the church seeking accountability from the world. I have felt this pressure as I engaged biblical studies. There is pressure to untheologize Scripture to make it a purely historical set of documents with some possible practical applications, yet the church has never read our Scriptures this way. I am not trying to think about what this means.
@Mark – I like Barth! It takes work to read him and of course he isn’t perfect but I like it so far. 🙂
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