After reading Karl Barth's Theological Existence Today! A Plea for Theological Freedom,I cannot help but wonder if the American Church in 2014 – between its enthusiastic packaging of the gospel in the American flag, its shallow baptism of the “American Dream,” and its inflammatory rhetoric on the “religious freedoms” of birth control and homosexual wedding cakes (!) – finds itself in a remarkably similar predicament to the German Church in 1933.
We must hear anew Barth’s warning: “All crying about and over the Church will not deliver the Church. Where the Church is a Church she is already delivered” (77).
The Church may not always enjoy its position atop the religious mountain, brought to the end of itself, where the “No” of God (and man) can quickly make things feel like the valley of the shadow of death. Hovering in mid-air, supported but by the breath of the Spirit, how solid the Gates of Hell appear!
And yet, on the precipice of her theological task she hears the “Yes” of God, even if only as a whisper – a whisper full of the joy and peace, the knowledge that those Gates will never prevail.
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