Even Theology Departs
While residing in Connecticut on vacation, I received a copy of Karl Barth's Call for God. The book acts as a type of sequel to the collection of Basel Prison sermons published under the title Deliverance to the Captives. That being one of my most cherished books, I was eager to see what jewels existed in this collection.
The sermons themselves within Call for God are not of the same diversity as those in Deliverance to the Captives. So far, I do not count that as a negative thing. Still, the persistent drumbeat of Barth's merging Christology-Soteriology has echoed in my head as I've enjoyed these sermons.
One particular sermon that has stood out is entitled "The Lord Who Has Mercy On You." Taken from the Isaiah 54:10, Barth articulates the doctrine of the Scriptural God as found in the work of Christ. All other things in this life "shall depart" or "be removed" as the text indicates. In the end for us, there will remain nothing but Christ crucified on our behalf. This is even true of our theology:
No, we cannot indeed believe in our characters or in the good in ourselves. We cannot even believe in our own faith. That could only turn out badly. We can and may believe only that God is for us. You can and may believe only that Jesus Christ has died and risen again for you … Whether I am strong or weak, stand or fall, doubt or have a calm mind, go my way in darkness or light: My kindness shall not depart from you—hold fast to that, let us all hold fast to that. (17)
As I've articulated recently, our theology debates often involve idolatry rather than pragmatic faithfulness. Latent faith in our theology leads us to combative theological discourse that is not glorifying to God. This is not to discourage 1) the study of theology or 2) the act of correcting false theology. And yet, in the end, all this shall fade away and depart from us. During that final judgment, all our incorrect and correct theology will be stripped away. Faith in Christ alone will remain.