Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Barth on Obedience and Prayer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 10, 2010 by stephengardner

In prayer, he (the Christian) makes use of the freedom to answer the Father who has addressed him, or, to put it in another way, to go to meet the Father whose goodness he proceeds, or, to put it in yet another way, to give direct and natural expression of the truth of the situation in which the Christian finds himself as a Christian. When he prays, he puts himself in the position in which faith and obedience can always begin again at the beginning. As this primitive movement, prayer, which is the basis of all other activity, is included in obedience. It is itself the act of obedience par excellence, the act of obedience from which all other acts must spring. (Church Dogmatics III.3 49.4. p.265)


Barth on Faith and Prayer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 9, 2010 by stephengardner

“Faith itself cannot be without prayer, for, as we have already maintained, faith is neither a possession which is transferred to the Christian from without, nor is it a conviction which he has reached from within, but it is an act which is creaturely by nature, which fulfils itself in those two movements, but the fulfilment of which is anything but self-evident, needing the awakening of man by the Word of God. Therefore, it is inevitable that in faith, in the fulfilment of this act, God is always a surprise to man, and man a surprise to himself. Man stands amazed before the divine goodness which gives him the freedom for this act. And he stands amazed before all that it shows him—the fatherhood of God, his own sonship, and the right of sonship in the house of the Father as the Father confers it and he himself receives it. It is in this inevitable surprise that the faith of a Christian as such is also prayer—the prayer of thanksgiving and praise. Again, he stands amazed before the unmerited gift that he himself is actually enabled to believe, to believe this. And he can never understand how it is that he is able to do so, to receive this unmerited gift. Indeed, the more freely he can believe, and the more fully he receives in faith, the more he is conscious of his own inability and unworthiness, his own incapacity. It is in this surprise that his faith as such is prayer—the prayer of penitence and confession of penitence towards the great God who has done such things towards man, and still does so. And again, the Christian stands amazed before the nearness of God, and the superabundant wealth of all those things which call him to faith, and which as the gift of God are calculated to appease his hunger, to cover his nakedness, to make good his deficiencies. ” (Church Dogmatics, III.3 49.4. 252-253)

The Presupposition of the Atonement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 10, 2010 by stephengardner

For Barth, the presupposition of the atonement is God’s original covenant with humanity – the atonement brings this to fulfillment in Jesus Christ. ‘He therefore fulfills and reveals the original and basic will of God, the first act of God, His original covenant with man.’ Because the atonement fulfills this original covenant of God it demonstrates that God has always been for humanity, that ‘God does not occupy a position of neutrality in relation to man.’

That is the covenant of God with man, from which He has bound and pledged Himself always to begin, and in virtue of which He has constituted Himself his God. And that is the presupposition of the atonement as revealed in its actualisation in Jesus Christ: the presupposition whose consequences are deduced in atonement; the presupposition which in the atonement is fulfilled in spite of the opposition of man. We do not postulate it. We do not grope for it in the void. We find it in that which has actually taken place in Jesus Christ. IV.1.2 p38

It is in act of atonement that God says ‘I will be your God and you will be my people.’ So, for Barth, this means two things. First, humanity cannot think of God except as the One who has established and fulfilled this covenant. ‘For according to the Word which He Himself has spoken in His supreme and final work, there is no other God.’

Second, this means humanity cannot think of itself except as those covenanted to God. ‘Just as there is no God but the God of the covenant, there is no man but the man of the covenant: the man who as such is destined and called to give thanks.’

All of this means that gratitude is the only right response humanity can make to the presupposition of the atonement – that God will be their God and they will be His people:

Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning. IV.1.2 p41

#35 of the Pilgrim’s Podcast: Richard Maegraith

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by stephengardner

Its been a long long time since Mark and I got together for the Pilgrim’s Podcast. But here it is…episode 1 of season 3…or something.

Here we chat with an old mate, Richard Maegraith about his life, his passion for music (he’s one of Sydney’s premier Jazz saxophonists), how he came to faith in Jesus and his exciting plans for the future. We also go on a cool tangent about passions v.s. Christian ministry…well worth a listen.

Richard, along with a few other Christian musos are preparing to plant a new church in Sydney’s Marrickville in January 2011. Have a listen to see how you can get involved or just to hear a great story.

Get it here

Are you a young punk? Do you like young punks?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 11, 2010 by stephengardner

If you’re a young punk and want some help in following Jesus, or if you’re involved in youth ministry then check out these links:

The Nugget…

The Nugget is a new(ish) podcast that a good mate of mine is doing, Adrian Foxcroft (hereafter referred to as ‘The Fox’). Each episode goes for around 5 minutes and in it The Fox makes reading the Bible easy and accessible by giving you a passage and a couple of questions to think through! Pure gold! Its a great way of dipping into the Bible — The Fox has just finished going through Luke’s Gospel.

A Light On A Hill…

The next site I want to share with you is another new(ish) venture that another good mate of mine has begun. A Light On A Hill is Ryan Smarrt’s blog and its a fantastic resource for anyone who is in youth ministry in any form! You might remember Ryan from an earlier podcast where he chatted to Mark and I about his work as head of Christian Studies at Scots College. Ryan’s a super sharp guy with stacks of interesting insights into how to go about working with young punks. Check out his blog regularly!

O’Donovan on the resurrection

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 5, 2010 by stephengardner

This is a beautiful quote from O’Donovan on the power of the resurrection to rescue what was lost, to give life to what was dead and to recreate what had been uncreated:

It might have been possible, we could say, before Christ rose from the dead, for someone to wonder whether creation was a lost cause. If the creature consistently acted to uncreate itself, and with itself to uncreate the rest of creation, did this not mean that God’s handiwork was flawed beyond hope of repair? It might have been possible before Christ rose from the dead to answer in good faith, Yes. Before God raised Jesus from the dead, the hope that we call ‘gnostic’ , the hope for redemption from creation rather than for the redemption of creation, might have appeared to be the only possible hope. ‘But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…’ (1 Cor 15.20). That fact rules out those other possiblities, for in the second Adam the first is rescued. The deviance of his will, its fateful leaning towards death, has not been allowed to uncreate what God created.

(O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, p. 14)

ps. The pic is of the roof of  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Over the next little while I’m going to try and use pics from our recent trip…

A stroll through dogmatics: II.2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 3, 2010 by stephengardner

I’m back from my escapades around the middle east and eager to make up for lost blogging time. As per my promise, I’m trying to post some highlights from Barth’s Dogmatics. This last week we read some hot stuff on election, here is some of the gold:

There is no such thing as a decretum absolutum. There is no such thing as a will of God apart from the will of Jesus Christ. Thus Jesus Christ is not only the manifestatio and speculum nostrae predestinationis. And He is this not simply in the sense that our election can be known to us and contemplated by us only through His election, as an election which, like His and with His, is made (or not made) by a secret and hidden will of God. On the contrary, Jesus Christ reveals to us our election as an election which is made by Him, by His will which is also the will of God. He tells us that He Himself is the One who elects us.

For Barth, the fact that our election is not a decree external to His being, but lodged firmly in the Godhead, in Jesus, is grounds for our assurance of its reality:

In the very foreground of our existence in history we can and should cleave wholly and with full assurance to Him because in the eternal background of history, in the beginning with God, the only decree which was passed, the only Word which was spoken and which prevails, was the decision which was executed by Him. As we believe in Him and hear His Word and hold fast by His decision, we can know with a certainty which nothing can ever shake that we are the elect of God.

(Barth II.2 p 115-116)