Sunday, March 18, 2007

A question on Barth ... Please help!

I came across these sentences in Barth's Epistle to the Romans and I have a question. He says:

"...we men, living in time, perceive the Futurum resurrectionis [future resurrection], which is our true and positive conformity to Jesus. This is wholly distinct from such moral and actual experiences or dispositions of character as many accompany the perception" (197).

He's commenting on Romans 6:5

Is Barth recognizing that in there is a true conformity the begins in the Christian life? Or is he just Lutheran enough to place all real subjective change in the end (glorification)?

I'll leave this vague. Hopefully the conversation will lead to clarity.

Thanks Barthians!

3 comments:

Shellie said...

I wish someone would help you with this quote because it feels uncomfortably over my head. :)

And just in case you needed some levity...you've been tagged.

Check out Tagged!

I know there's lurking weirdness somewhere...

Scott Savage said...

Yeah, this post was a shot in the dark. I am writing a paper on the sacraments and was looking at Barth. I am quite ignorant of his work.

So I have been tagged, huh? Interesting...

Richard said...

I'm not quite a Barthian and you're probably passed any real need for comments on this post...but Barth goes on to say:

"That life of ours which is positively conformed to Jesus is the life which is hid with Christ in God, and which is only 'ours' here and now as the eternal future. This, however, is sufficent for us, for the grace of God sufficeth (2 Cor. 1:9). Grace is the act of God by which the new man shall be and is, and by which also he is free from sin. Our negative, known, human existence, so little conformed to Jesus, is filled with hope by the positive and secret power of the resurrection."

I'm not sure that he's being Lutheran here, as much as he's just being Christian - confessing our human frailty and weakness...our total depravity...so it is the active work of God (i.e. God's grace) that conforms us to Jesus and frees us from sin...only consummated in the resurrection. That is to say it is all the act of God in and through Christ which will find its fulfillment in the future resurrection. There is an "already" element, but a much heavier emphasis here on the "not yet"...for our participation in the life of God begins here and now (by God's grace) but it a pale shadow of what is yet to come. That is at least the closest that I can get to clarifying your question. Whether that is in the vein of the reformers - or is just good Christian theology (maybe both)...you'll have to determine for yourself. It certainly does nuance a realized understanding of "sanctification" - at least an anthropocentric articulation of it.

Blessigns in Christ ~ RLS