Thursday, 11 October 2007

Pistis christou

J. Louis Martyn’s essay, “The Apocalyptic Gospel in Galatians,” Interpretation 54 (2000), creates a brilliant encounter between Paul’s apocalyptic gospel and Flannery O’Connor’s use of the grotesque. In one of the footnotes (p. 250), Martyn settles the pistis Christou debate with this anecdote about Karl Barth:

“Oral tradition, which I have not been able to find in print, tells of a priest who made an appointment with K. Barth on a personal matter. Coming after a while to the point, he said, ‘The problem, Dr Barth, is that I have lost my faith.’ The response: ‘But what on earth gave you the impression that it was yours to lose?’”

10 Comments:

Joshua said...

whether true or not about barth i do not know. what i do know is that lewis ayres begins his 1st year history of christian doctrine course by saying...you have probably been told that if you go to seminary you will lose your faith by studying too much. well i have some good news, it is not yours to lose.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the anecdote and oral-tradition. This privatization/personalization of faith is made constantly amongst Evangelical Christians. I imagined this would be much less a problem amongst other faith traditions, but it seems like the Catholic priest has also fallen prey. The permeation of modernity in our minds is deep indeed.

Also Joshua thanks for sharing about lewis ayres.
James

Pastor David said...

I think we are starting to regain, after years of neglect, the sense that one of the major themes of Scripture is the faithfulness of God/faithfulness of Christ; and that often the promise is not that we will have faith, but that God will be faithful. This ancedote is a wonderful reminder. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a first time blogger to your wonderful site. A comment/question: in view of this particular article I'm interested in how one would interpret Luke 18:8: "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" If faith is not ours to lose what is our Lord referring to?

kerry said...

one of the wonderful things about this blog is that you're continuously introducing me to fascinating thinkers of whom i'm totally innocent ('innocent' sounds so much better than 'illiterate,' especially when one's reached my age!) jacob taubes is the latest. thanks!

kerry said...

oops! apparently i'm innocent of how to use computers, too. my comment above obviously belongs to the jacob taubes entry, not pistis christou.

John C. Poirier said...

The jury is still out on pistis christou. After a strong start out of the gate, the "faithfulness of Christ" interpretation has been losing a lot of ground lately. The whole idea, I think, is based on rather poor exegesis. (See esp. Gordon Fee's remarks on this in his recent *Pauline Christology*.)

Anonymous said...

Typical Barthian comment. He is as actaully insightful as Bob Hope is actually funny, i.e. not much.
Wht would Barth think any indiviudal is capable of? Nothing. And that's why he is so dreary.

John C. Poirier said...

Amen, Anonymous, "dreary" is a great word to describe Barth's theology. But there's something much worse than being dreary. That's being *wrong*, and Barth is consistently that as well. He's a horribly poor reader of the Bible.

kim fabricius said...

Barth "dreary"? Now that's funny.

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