In this section Barth wrestles with the relationship of Christian proclamation to Dogmatics. He notes that proclamation needs dogmatics because proclamation is itself a human work and needs critique. He states this while understanding that Dogmatics itself is prone to human fallibility.

I was stuck by his statements in the small print on pages 76-77. He talks about the importance of theology for the whole church – in order to center its life around correct proclamation. He states that while some in the church do theology, “the hearty practical man, may sometimes listen with half and ear, though for their own part boast in living quite “untheologically” for the “demands of the day” (76). I had friends in seminary who would propose that the seminary curriculum needed to be more practical and that our classes were too academic.  Although I understand that a Divinity degree needs be integrated and multidisciplinary, I want my minister to be theologically trained. I have read Stanley Hauerwas say that we wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon who didn’t know about the anatomy of the heart but, we accept pastors who don’t know anything about Christology (rough paraphrase). A failure to appreciate the importance of measuring the church’s proclamation in accordance with the truth of gospel reveals that we have treated theology as a “matter for quiet situations and periods that suit and invite contemplation, a kind of peace-time luxury.” Barth, however, reminds us that the theology is urgent work for the (whole) church. The church must reject shallowness and anti-intellectualism in our preaching, worship, and practice and reflect on in light of Christ’s coming into the world, death-resurrection, and comings again.


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