I’ve been re-reading Love Alone Is Credible, something I do somewhat regularly. It’s a short monograph about the Church’s perennial struggle to make the Gospel make sense. Von Balthasaar makes a great observation about the connection between what we love and what we find beautiful, which sets the stage for his understanding of revelation:
Already in the realm, of nature, eros is the chosen place of beauty: whatever we love—no matter how profoundly or superficially we may love it—always appears radiant with glory; and whatever is objectively perceived as glorious—no matter how profoundly or superficially we experience it—does not penetrate into the onlooker except through the specificity of an eros. Both reciprocally related poles are transcended in the realm of revelation, wherein God’s kenotically condescending Logos expresses himself as Love, Agape, and thus as Glory.
Robe Bell says he isn’t interested in controversies over traditional and long held conceptions, but in the possibility of regaining the meaning, mystery, love, and hope that go with God.
But isn’t that like saying as a radical interventionist, “I’m not concerned with your family history, with the language, patterns and symbols that have landed the family here. I’m concerned with moving the family forward today!”
The thing that bonds liberals and evangelicals tighter than Jacob and Esau in the womb is a loathing of the tradition.
When we read the apologetics of the second and third centuries, can we altogether avoid the painful impression that what we have here—as though the persecuted can only regard themselves as spiritually undeserving of the external pressure brought to bear on them—is, on the whole, a not very happy, a rather self-righteous, and at any rate a not very perspicacious boasting about all those advantages of Christianity over heathen religion which were in themselves incontestable but not ultimately decisive? In these early self-commendations of Christianity a remarkably small part is played by the fact that grace is the truth of Christianity, that the Christian is justified when he is without God, like Abraham, that he is like the publican in the temple, the prodigal son, wretched Lazarus, the guilty thief crucified with Jesus Christ. Instead, we have the—admittedly successful—rivalry of one way of salvation, one wisdom and morality with others, of a higher humanity consummated and transfigured by the cross of Christ with a decadent and defeated humanity which has rightly grown weary of its ancient ideals. How strangely did a man like Tertullian see the danger which threatened at this point, and at the same time never really see it at all, but actually help to increase it. And to the extent that the fact that grace, that Jesus Christ, is the truth of Christianity was never completely concealed in the doctrine and proclamation of the Church, did not the fact that Christianity is the special religion of grace and redemption easily appear to be its final and supreme advantage, although it was robbed of its real meaning and power to convince by the fact that the Church was not content with grace?
-Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I.2.17