Thursday, September 23, 2010

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Public worship does not have immunity from the concerns of “misunderstanding and abuse,” but “has its treasure in earthen vessels.” It cannot “console itself with the reflection that everything human is imperfect, or the recollection that its sins are forgiven.

The grace of sanctification, and therefore of Jesus Christ generally, is surely alien to it if it does not try to counteract the continual menace and process of a profanation of that which is holy by its own human and therefore unholy hands; if its does not resist to the best of its ability and conscience. . . .

It is well aware that only He who is present and active within it as its Lord has the authority and competence to order this and therefore to protect it against perversion. . . .

It cannot, therefore, regard its liturgy as inviolable because inerrant. It cannot shelter it (least of all for reasons of piety) from the critical question whether it is rightly done, or whether it might not be done differently or better. . . .

'Let us leave it all to the Holy Ghost' cry some impetuously. They are right enough, but the fact that we leave it to the Holy Ghost does not mean that we leave it to the rash and wilful but that we ask ourselves unitedly and conscientiously, and in the light of Holy Scripture, what obedience means in this matter.”
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/2, 709-710.

1 comment:

Dale Harris said...

wow. poignant and incisive words.

i gotta read me some barth.