Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Knowledge about God
"Reformed teaching is the renewal of the prophetic-apostolic knowledge of God as knowledge of the one and only God. Beside and apart from God there is indeed His creation but no other God. No one and nothing is the Lord in the sense in which He is the Lord. God is not alone, but God alone is God.
Therefore this knowledge signifies further the relativising of all human ideologies, mythologies, philosophies and religions. Whatever their validity within the created world may be, their objects can certainly not be understood as gods. In the last resort they cannot be considered worthy of belief and proper reverence cannot be paid to them."
This is a quote from Barth in his book The Knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation: Recalling the Scottish Confession of 1560. It is actually Barth's Gifford lectures given at the University of Aberdeen in 1937. Barth insisted his lectures, which were suppose to be about natural theology, were an example of what natural theology was not. In other words he was lecturing on revealed theology.
I often think the above quote about Reformed teaching should always follow the quote, "Reformed and always reforming." That is, Reformation teaching about God should always be returning to knowledge of God given in the prophetic and apostolc word.
In the devotional I use, The St. James Daily Devotional Guide, the author, Patrick Henry Reardon, wrote about the teaching of Jesus to his disciples during the forty days after the resurrection. He wrote:
"... the Church's proper interpretation of Holy Scripture down through the centuries is rooted in what the Lord Himself taught her during the forty days spoken of in Acts 1:3. The correct--that is to say, the orthodox--understanding of the Bible is based on what the Church learned directly from the risen Christ. Her interpretation of Holy Scripture is in separable from the hearing of the Lord's voice (John 20:16), the handling of His flesh (Luke 24:39-40; 1 John 1:1), the touching of His wounds (John 20:27). The Church's experience of the risen Christ is the source of all correct understanding of Holy Scripture."
And so the Church's knowledge of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is known because of Jesus Christ the living Word and the written Word of God.