Karl Barth on the Importance of Theology in Everyday Church Life

A great, though slightly wordy, quote from Barth on a common misunderstanding that just won’t go away:

“How disastrously the Church must misunderstand itself if it can imagine that theology is the business of a few theoreticians who are specially appointed for the purpose, to whom the rest, as hearty practical men, may sometimes listen with half an ear, though for their own part they boast of living ‘quite untheologically’ for the demands of the day (‘love’) [Shawn note: something I constantly hear].  As though these practical men were not continually preaching and speaking and writing, and were not genuinely questioned as to the rightness of their activity in this regard!  As though there were anything more practical than giving this question its head, which means doing the work of theology…  Again, how disastrously the Church must misunderstand itself it it can imagine that theological reflection is a matter for quite situations and periods that suit and invite contemplation, a kind of peace-time luxury for which we are not permitted but even commanded to find no time should things become really serious or exciting!  As though there could be any more urgent task for a Church under assault from without than that of consolidating itself within, which means doing theological work!…  Let there be no mistake.  Because of these distorted ideas about theology,… there arises and persists in the life of the Church a lasting and growing deficit for which we cannot expect those particularly active in this function to supply the needed balance.  The whole Church must seriously want a serious theology if it is to have a serious theology.” CD I/1 77

Karl Barth “Church Dogmatics

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