Monday 5 December 2005

Church Dogmatics IV/4 (fragment)

Note: Barth drafted IV/4, a volume on “the Christian life,” and his plan was for this volume to be structured around the three main events of the liturgy: baptism, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Lord’s Supper. But Barth only completed the section on baptism, and this was published as the final “fragment” of the Church Dogmatics.

Summary: At the beginning of the Christian life we are baptised with the Holy Spirit, and as a faithful response to God’s faithfulness we are then baptised with water by the Christian community.

Quote: “Since Jesus Christ is a servant, looking to Him cannot mean looking away from the world, from men, from life, or, as is often said, from oneself. It cannot mean looking away into some distance or height. To look to Him is to see Him at the very centre, to see Him and the history which, accomplished in Him, heals everything and all things, as the mystery, reality, origin and goal of the whole world, all men, all life. To look to Him is to cleave to Him as the One who bears away the sin of the world. It is to be bound and liberated, claimed, consoled, cheered and ruled by Him” (p. 150).

Notable section: Section 1—Barth’s account of baptism with the Holy Spirit as the manifestation in our own lives of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

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