Saturday, 28 July 2007

A very short dogmatics: eight theses

  1. “Father!” The whole of Jesus’ life, together with his death, is expressed in that one word.
  2. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the Father’s reply: “Son!”
  3. The breath by which these words are uttered is the Spirit.
  4. The Holy Trinity is the occurrence of this discourse, the history enacted in these utterances.
  5. The creation is the free and surprising opening-up of space and time by this divine discourse.
  6. The church is the community enfolded in this discourse, swept up in the breath of these utterances.
  7. The final consummation is the animation of all creatures by the breath of this discourse.
  8. All Christian speech and action therefore begin and end with the same word: “Father!”

21 Comments:

learnerpriest said...

Thanks, Ben - that's quite brilliant!

Halden said...

I love it.

Dan said...

echos of things i've been reading lately... makes me want to sing!

Jason Goroncy said...

Ben. Such a beautiful statement of the Gospel. How can God be that good! Thanks for posting.

WTM said...

Ben, this is rather remarkable. Please write a volume based upon it so that the rest of us can use it as a teaching text!

Halden said...

And I will publish it! : )

Matthew said...

Great for the "fathers", bummer for the "mothers".

Halden said...

That God is the Father of Jesus is good news for everybody.

alan said...

"Father! When used in Christian thought and speech as a term for God, the word 'Father' is always to be employed and understood in precisely the same sense that is has here in the introit to the Lord's prayer, namely, as a vocative...If it is a matter of God, then seriously, properly, and strictly Christians cannot speak about God but only to him...what we have in mind, and must have in mind, when we dare to apply this word to God, to speak it and even to think it in relation to him, is: 'O, Father!'"

Karl Barth, IV/4, The Christian Life, p. 51

Sally said...

excellent

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for this encouraging feedback. My main aim in this sketch was to try to imagine a way of taking the historical Jesus as the starting-point for dogmatics.

Jonathan Hughes said...

Good stuff Ben. The only word missing is Israel. You have creation and then skip right to the Church. Besides everything on this web pages is supposed to include the number 10 :)

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, Jonathan -- I was waiting for someone to mention Israel! In a fuller sketch, I'd probably try to include Israel in the first point: when Jesus stands before God and calls him "Father", he's acting as Israel, not merely as an individual subject or as a proto-Christian.

Stephen Hand said...

A very thoughtful reflection which now lives in us too. Very beautiful.

Thanks, Ben.

Kim fabricius said...

Hi Ben,

Perhaps readers have wondered at the good word you have occasionally put in for the Belgian theologian Edward Schillebeeckx. Is one correct in seeing the influence of Schillebeeckx here? I am thinking of his Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (1974), in which "Jesus' original Abba-experience, source and secret of his being, message and manner of life" (p. 256) is so central.

Also, without in any way impugning the dogmatic loveliness of this post, I wonder if, autobiographically, "fatherhood" is very much on Dr. Myers' mind, and that we have here an instance of a very contextual theology (in the best sense of the word!). :)

Ben Myers said...

Hi Kim -- yes, for me, Schillebeeckx is one of the great role models here (and so is Pannenberg, who of course derives his early christology from Jesus' self-distinction from the Father).

And thanks for your nice observation about the context of this post -- the arrival of our new baby is now (like the kingdom of God) very much "at hand"....

Matthew said...

"what we have in mind, and must have in mind, when we dare to apply this word to God, to speak it and even to think it in relation to him, is: 'O, Father!'"

Nice thought from Barth. Too bad people's minds don't work that way. =P

derek said...

Hi Ben,

This is neat, but i have to prod you a bit here. You told me earlier that your view of the trinity didn't follow augustine. i have to say, your Trinitarian model here looks very Augustinian to me.

Of course, since the point of these theses was to be concise, i'm sure after elaboration i would see that you are more nuanced than that.

Calling the HS the "breath" of the conversation between the Father and the Son sounds very much like the "bond of love" that Augustine endorsed. "Breaths" and "bonds" aren't "persons", so it makes me a bit uneasy i guess.

What am i missing here?

Aric Clark said...

Indeed, if I have any critique of this fascinating little dogmatics, it is that the Holy Spirit comes across as very impersonal.

Also, though I understand the theological point being made by Barth and others about the significance of God's "fatherhood" and Christ's "sonship", this dogmatics does give the impression of being very androcentric. Brevity is your enemy here, because as Michael Westmoreland-White is fond of saying, a commitment to feminist trinitarianism condemns you to long complicated sentences. Nevertheless, I think it's an important critique. How do you answer the woman who asks you why she has been excluded from the conversation?

Viola said...

I have not been excluded--O Father--is beautiful-- great post.

regressivepresby said...

Brilliant... much to reflect upon, and be grateful for! I sense an 8 part sermon series coming on...

thanks,
dm

Post a Comment

New book

Archive

Contact

Although I'm not always able to reply to all emails, please feel free to contact me.

Faith and Theology © 2008. Template by Dicas Blogger.

TOPO