Karl Barth the Preacher

In preparation for the upcoming Karl Barth Blog Conference, I have been reading KB’s Homiletics lectures.  As usual, Barth is both stimulating & unsettling.  In this particular case, as i near the end i am struck by the passion, the commitment Barth has for the ministry of preaching.  While it is well known that the “problem of preaching” provided the impetus for Barth to begin rigorous dogmatic investigation, it has been quite refreshing for me to encounter someone who is as passionate about the call to preach, even if i don’t agree with all of his conclusions.  Here is a brief excerpt that deals with originality & honesty in preaching:

Honesty of speech is demanded.  Speak your own language!  Do not put on the royal mantle of the language of Canaan or pass yourselves off as little Luthers.  Precisely those who are committed to exegesis and the church cannot posture as apostles or reformers.  Phrases from the bible and the hymnal and sonorous perorations are not appropriate either.  If quotations are introduced only to give momentum to what is said, there is every reason for mistrust.  Stand behind your own poverty!”  (83)

One response to “Karl Barth the Preacher

  1. I love the Homiletics lectures, and the Prayer lectures that went with them. God help us when we get too far away from “practical theology” and this sort of passion and commitment to it! And you read his sermons, and watch him develop, and it becomes apparent that the passion and connection are superior as motivating necessities to “being good at it.” A man driven to proclaim, stuck on it as an intractable problem of Christian life, getting better in all areas as he stays grounded in the practical life of the church. I look at it kind of like Schleiermacher: Barth changes as he wrestles, but never gives up the partner.

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