Monday, August 15, 2005
Theology of the Word and the Postmodern Context: #1
The following thoughts have been milling around in my head for months now. My most recent thoughts have been sparked by an article by Jonny Baker that my co-worker, BJ, asked me to read. The article is great. Suposedly it was written for a book on preaching with many different UK voices, but his article was rejected. Read it and you'll understand why. Jonny Baker and many in the emerging church, including Doug Pagitt who has a new book on preaching, are calling for major changes in the way we think about and do preaching. Some have said that the emerging churches are strong in their anthropological understandings of what postmodern people want and can learn through, but not so strong in theology. I agree that the emerging church voices I often hear are not very strong theologically, not because their wrong, but because they speak mainly in anthropologic terms instead of theologic. I beleive the changes that the emerging church leaders are calling for in preaching can be supported theologically. In fact, at least in our context, this developing theology of the Word is stronger than what we have inherited from the modern church.
First of all, my theology of the Word has to be explained very quickly. Barth has helped me here. Barth says the Word of God is both scripture and more importantly Jesus. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. Barthian thinkers beleive transformation comes through the proclamation of the Word. That proclamation is the action of Jesus through the proclamation of the truth of scripture. Scripture is the conduit, but it is not the object of our worship. Our worship is of Jesus, not scripture. Of course scripture is beleived to be inspired by The Word and so it is held very high as the main way Jesus speaks to his church. But Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are all held far above scripture. Barth's theology, which I only understand in it's simplest forms, does not necesitate scripture to be inerrant, but it does hold it to be God's written Word and fully inspired by God. My thoughts over the next few days are built upon this kind of theology of the Word. A theology that places the greatest importance on what Jesus is presently doing through the activity of the Word.