The Christian Doctrine of God: Dogmatics - Vol. 1

The Christian Doctrine of God: Dogmatics - Vol. 1

The Christian Doctrine of God: Dogmatics - Vol. 1

The Christian Doctrine of God: Dogmatics - Vol. 1

Excerpt

In the realm of doctrine the Christian Church has always recognized a twofold task: one concerning the Church itself; the other concerning the outside world, the world of doubt and unbelief. Although, at a time like the present, the conflict with unbelief and false ideologies may seem the more urgent one, yet the first task is always fundamental. For how can the Church do justice to her missionary calling in an un-Christian world if she is not herself clear about the content of her message? All down her history the Christian Church has given much thought to the basis, meaning and content of the message she has received--and is bound to proclaim; this process of reflection is what we mean by "dogmatics".

Dogmatics is not the Word of God. God can make His Word prevail in the world without theology. But at a time when human thought is so often confused and perverted by fantastic ideas and theories, spun out of men's own minds, it is evident that it is almost impossible to preserve the Divine Word without the most passionate intellectual effort to re-think its meaning and its content. The simple Christian may, it is true, understand and preserve God's Word without theology; but for those Christians who are involved in the thinking of their own day, and who, as children of their own day, are deeply influenced by these currents of thought, an all-inclusive and thorough effort to re-think what has been "given" to faith is absolutely indispensable. This is particularly true for those whose calling it is to proclaim this faith to others.

Hence dogmatics serves first of all those who themselves exercise a teaching-office in the Church, as clergy and missionaries, evangelists, pastors and catechists. In addition, it is useful to all those members of the Christian Church who desire to grapple with the religious problems which their faith creates in their own minds. Upon the ladder of reflection on that which is given with the Word of God, dogmatics, as the science of Christian doctrine, holds pride of place. Hence it is not "everybody's business", but only that of those who are capable of, and in need of, a thoroughgoing effort of thought.

There is no lack of dogmatic works in the Church. But the theological renaissance of the past twenty years has not produced any comprehensive work which expresses the spirit of . . .

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