Full Text for The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology, part 3 (Text)

<1rnurnrbiu ID4tnlngirul :d[nut~ly Continuing LEHRE UND VVEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.-LuTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. VII April, 1936 No.4 CONTENTS The Principles and Teaching's of the Dialectical Theology. Th. Engeldtr . • • • • • • • •• 241 Der Pietismus. Thea. Hoyer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . • • . . • . . • . • • •. 252 Biblical Methods of Poor-Relief. V irtu. Gloc. • • . . • . . . . . • .• 262 Der Schriftgrund fuer die Lehre von del' satisfactio vicaria. P. E. Kretz mann. • . • . • •• 278 Dispositionen ueber die erste von del' Synodalkonferenz angenommene Evangelienreihe .............. . .... . 281 Miscellanea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 296 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches . . . .. 300 Book Review. - literatur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 311 Ein Predlger muu nlcht allein weidm, also dass er die Scbafe untel"Weloe, wle • Ie rechte Cbrl ten IOllen ""in, IOndern aucb daneben den Woelfen wehrm. daM ole die Schafc nlcbt angreifen und mit faIscher Lebre verfuebren und Irrtum ein· fuehren. - Luther. E. 1st kein Ding, d •• die Leute mehr bei der Klrche beboeit denn die gute Predigt. - 4pologie, 4rt. !~ . If the trumpet give an uncertain ""und, who shall prepare bimself to tbe hattIe? 1 Oor. 4.8. l'ublished for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other Sta t es CONCORDIA l'UBLISHING H OUSE, St. Louis, Mo. ARCHIV Concordia Theological Monthly Vol. VII APRIL, 1936 No.4 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. (Oontinued.) Enthusiasm in its gross form and Enthusiasm in its dialectical form is an evil thing. It is destructive of all assurance, of the certainty of salvation, and of the certitude of the doctrine. There can be assurance only where the objective character of redemption, the objective character of the means of grace, and the objective validity of the Bible-teaching is recognized. Where subjectivism rules, certainty departs. "Dasist ja eben die ganze Schwaeche .der Thea- lagie BaTths, dass nach ihr ein bestimmte1' Inhalt der Schrift, der dem Menschen das Bekenntnis abnaetigen wuerde: 'Hier redet Gatt mit dem M~enschen/ nicht fixie1·f werden kann. . .. Der Begriff 'Wort' Gattes ist voellig aufgelaest und die Sache selbst einem ufer- lasen Subjektivismus anheimgegeben." (R. J elke, Die Grunddogmen des Chrisfentums, p. 9.) In the first place, the "Word of God" of the dialecticalists cannot serve as authority for doctrine because the con- cept is tDO nebulous. ~Which of the various forms of the "VV ord" with which Brunner operates is the real source of doctrine ~ Which of Barth's three forms? And, in the second place, when they have decided that a certain passage of Scripture has been vitalized by the Spirit and is valid for proof, how will they determine that the right decision has been made? They may tell me: This is a good proof- text, I am absolutely convinced of it. I will answer: Your personal conviction means nothing to me; I am ready to bow to God, - "it is written," - but not to your experience; you may be mistaken. You cannot convince me, and what is more, your own conviction is based on a nebulous foundation. All the assurance that you have for the truth of your doctrine is your subjective experience. And you know that no reliance can be placed on that; for experiences change. 16 242 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. The only thing that stands firm is the unchangeable word of Scri pture.1) And this "outward word" as it is written in Scripture and con- fronts us in the promise of the Gospel and the Sacraments is the only I) The uncertainty inherent in subjectivistic theology manifests itself in the inability of the dialecticalists to establish a fixed corpus doctrinae. The subjectivist never knows what doctrines must be added, subtracted, and revised under the rule of his theological principle. Subjectivism is uterlos. It will not be confined in fixed boundaries. As R. Jelke sees it, Barth's theory on this point is: "Von der Antwort, die das Wort Gattes gibt, koennen wir niemals al8 von einer fertigen Groesse reden. . .. E, ist unmoeglich, dass das Wort ein fuer allemal geltende Erkenntni8 bietet." (Luthardt-Jelke, Komp. der Dogm., p. 53.) That is true, says Brunner. "Nor does this book claim to be a 'doctrine of Christ.' In my opinion the time is not yet ripe for this." (P.15.) And as to specific points: "Hait- jema accuses me 'of beginning to operate with faith, revelation, the Word, as though they were impersonal entities,' in the spirit of a mere spectator. I am fully sensible of the force of this accusation; for as soon as we use comparisons in speaking of the Christian religion, it is impossible to avoid 'operating' in a certain sense with 'fixed' conceptions. This danger can be avoided of course by renouncing this work of comparison alto- gether. . .. I see clearly that this cannot be done if we wish to avoid the danger of gradually falling a prey to a kind of spiritual conservatism, whicll may lead to obscurantism. . .. It is inevitable that we should employ certain fixed fundamental conceptions of Christianity. This does not mean that we regard the actual theological labor as already finished, but ... from the second and third sections of this book, if not from the first part, it ought to become quite clear that I do not really regard those conceptions as 'fixed.''' (P.24.) To get the matter clear, we might ask Brunner whether the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, for instance, is fixed. He tells us, No. You can affirm and you can deny the Virgin Birth. And A. Keller declares that that is the ideal situation. '1'he dialectical theology is "attacking not only modernistic theology, but also conservative theology, which interprets Ohristian truth as an objective statement, similar to, and of the same certainty as, a scientific fact .... A heavy attack is being directed against the static certainty of those who deal with the divine promises as elements of a theological system and not as the free acts of a divine will." "The dynamic character of God's revelation ... connotes a process of continual development." "Karl Barth is strongly opposed to any canonized interpretation of the Bible which defines once for all the meaning of the Word of God and prevents the Holy Spirit from using the written W"ord as a manifestation of God's will." The Bible must not be "treated as a datum, a static entity, which can be classified by the human mind." "God's will or Christ's will may appeal' different to different generations and different persons." (Religion and Revolution, pp. 48. 62. 66 f. 70.) Barth pities the Lutheran Ohurch for its insistence on the Oontessio Augustana INVARIATA. He demands: "Keine Invariata 'und Invariabilis!" He is proud of the Reformed Ohurch, which has no "symbolical books," but only "confessions," "several of which contain the express provision that the doctrinal statements might be changed on fuller information." (Das Wort Gottes, etc., p. 186.) He will consequently, says one of his associates, "censure no man as an 'errorist, false teacher,' for to do that one would first have to possess a 'reine Lehre.''' (Zwischen den Zeiten, 1928, p. 528.) - So, where does the dialectical theology stand? Not where it stood yesterday. And to-morrow it will have moved on to another position. Says the Ohurchman, as quoted in the Pastor's Monthly, 1931, p. 311: "Refutations of Barth- ianism are beside the mark; Barth is constantly writing refutations of himself and writing refutations of the refutations. So to do is an essen- tial part of his 'dialectic' method." The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. 243 basis of our assurance of salvation. There stands the objective word and promise, solid and firm, abiding and unchangeable. Whatever the devil may tell me to the contrary, whatever my subjective experience at the present moment may be, I know that Christ died for me be- cause God tells me so in His Word, in the Gospel, in the Sacraments. No, says the dialecticalist. I can know it only when "God speaks through Christ to me and thus speaks in me." (P.527.) "When I know that it is God who is speaking to me in this event, - that God is really speaking to me, - I believe." (P.524.) Assurance must thus be based not on the objective word as we find it in the Bible, but on the fact that God is speaking in my hcart. But that does away with all assurance. It may be the devil who is speak- ing to you. And where will you be if you do not hear the voice of the Spirit in your heart? You cannot fall back on what God says in the Bible, in the Gospel. For that is a dead letter, useless unless it is vitalized. God does not speak to us, we heard Barth say, every- where in the Bible, but only wherever, whenever, and through what- ever words He will. Accordingly the Christian cannot take the promise at its face value, but must wait till a subjective experience makes the promise real. The point at issue is not whether the Ohris- tian knows that God is speaking to him, whether faith must be defined as the assurance that God is speaking to me. We are agreed on that, and we are agreed that the promise does not avail anything to him who does not believe. But this is the question; Am I certain that Christ died for me because the words written in Scripture assure me of it, or am I certain because the Holy Spirit assures me of it? The dialecticalist answers ; Not because the words, of themselves, say so, but because God's Spirit has made them God's Word to me. The Lutheran answers; The two factors go together; they belong together; they are in reality one; I am certain because the Holy Spirit assures me through these words,· these words are spirit and life. We get our assurance from the objective words, not from a sub- jective experience. Brunner indeed takes exception to the charge of subjectivism. He knows that it is an evil thing. He insists that his theology stands for objectivity. He speaks of this matter on pages 516-529 and presents it thus; "That God speaks through Ohrist to me and that He thus speaks in me is an absolutely present and thus an ab- solutely subjective experience. It is the speech of the Holy Spirit. But the fact that it is Christ in whom and through whom God thus: speaks to me is the most objective fact possible" (p.527).2) An "ob- jective fact" of this nature does not help us here. Surely it is a fact 2) It happens that the liberal C. H. Dodd uses similar language. "The ultimate 'fact' is the unity of experience in which 'subjective' and 'objective' are one." (The Authority of the Bible, p.297.) 244 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. that the Ohristian believes, and he is absolutely sure of his case. But that is not the objectivity with which we are here concerned. What we need as the basis for the assurance of our faith is the objective certainty of God's Word and promise. We need to have words whose certainty does not depend on the hearer's attitude. Unless God's promises and the words of Scripture are of such nature, no subjective assurance will ensue. - The dialectical theology does not serve the need of the Christian. It is, as Prof. Th. Laetsch says, "not Scriptural, not Lutheran theology; it is rather the theology of subjectivism, which refuses to submit to Scripture as the sole and sufficient authority on all matters theological. Such theology cannot establish the heart nor engender that faith which overcomes the world." (CoNe. THEOL. MTHLY., 1935, p.716.) "Damit kommen wir zu der Schwaermerei Karl Barths. " .. Er findet letzten Endes die Begegnung mit der Wirklichkeit, 'Gott,' ausser dem Wort, das in Schriften steht. " ". Er kaempft so scharf mit Worten gegen den Subjektivismus, liefert aber selbst die Kirche demselben aus, indern er sich nicht auf das Wort der Apostel und Propheten gruendet, son- dern auf den W'ahnwitzigen menS'chlichen Versuch, in dem W O1"t der Apostel und Propheten das eigentliche Wort aufzuspueren." (Schrift u. Bekenntnis, 1930, S. 88.) 3) Brunner bases his theology on the "Word of God," - but not exclusively. He relies to a great extent on an additional principium cognoscendi - and that is philosophy, his dialectical philosophy. Metaphysical and psychological, etc., investigations, disquisitions, and argumentations bulk large in our book. It is half theological and half philosophical. Indeed, it is more than half philosophical argu- mentation. The proof from Scripture comes in only rather in- cidentally. Metaphysics claims the greater part of Brunner's energy. And so the book makes very hard reading. Much of it, in the first place, is hard to understand. The reader must first acquire a new 3) Dr. H. W. Tribble of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has written an "introductory interpretation of the dialectical theology" which "is sympathetic in general, but not critical." Our interpretation is not written in a sympathetic spirit. However, Dr. Tribble and we are agreed on the essential point. He writes: "This throws some light on Barth's view of revelation. It is not mediated through nature or discovered by man's reason. It is the Word of God that comes to man entirely apart from, and independently of, human and temporal conditions. It is altogether supernatural. Man can receive it because God gives him the grace to receive it, not because he has the inherent capacity to grasp it. And that Word of God is always a spoken Word, spoken direetly to man. It is never eontained in anything that man ean hold in his hand or read. with 7vis physieal eyes. 'l'he Bible as a printed book is not this living, spoken Word; it does not oontain the Word of God, but witnes'ses to it." (Italics our own.) "When the Bible is read in true faith, the Spirit of God speaks through it to the believing person." (The Review and Ex- positor, 1936, p. 38.) The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. 245 and sometimes strange vocabulary 4) and then finds it ordinarily rather difficult to follow the lines of abstruse thinking and finely spun argumentation set before him. And in the second place, after he has, after a manner, understood it, he is asking himself, Oui bono? Brunner has perhaps proved a point philosophically, but that does not prove it theologically. And so the reader pursues his way through the dreary waste rather unwillingly. It makes hard reading. There is room certainly for philosophy in a theological book. It is permis- sible to meet the false arguments drawn from reason and science also by showing that there is something wrong about those arguments logically and scientifically. But we must not give this method much space. Oui bono? It does not, as a rule, convince the opponent. Here the philosophers have been arguing with one another for cen- turies, both sides offering unanswerable arguments, and there are as many systems to-day as there ever have been, and more. 5) And it does not help the believer. Metaphysical methods and systems may (or may not) satisfy reason, but it takes the word of Scripture to engender and nourish faith. "The defenders of Ohristianity are not concerned with speculation at all; they are not thinking about satisfying the metaphysical sense of scientific need; their whole concern is with the Word of God." That is the correct principle, as set down by Brunner himself on page 232. But he forgets that rule time and again. He resents such a charge indeed and says: "It seems likely that to the very end of time the reproach will be hurled at us again and again that we are here simply spinning metaphysical or speculative theories." (P.284.) We certainly do charge him with that. In this respect he is no better than the other modern theologians. These men act on the theory that, while it is sufficient for the simple Ohristian to believe, it is the business of theology to demonstrate the truth of faith with scientific processes. A few examples will illustrate Brunner's way of applying this false principium. cognoscencli.G) The article of the Trinity is thus demonstrated: "God manifests Himself to us in revelation [in the Revealer, Ohrist] as the One who communicates Himself as Love. That He is the One who com- municates Himself we cannot conceive otherwise than through the thought that in Himself - and not only in relation to the world- He is loving, self-giving. It is this truth which is expressed in the 4) "Die sogena.nnte 'dia.lektische Theolagie' 1Jollends - ih?' V C1'dienst steht n.icht in Frage - encheint a.ls ein 'Dialekt,' der sich nieht eindeutschen Za.esst." (W. Vollrath, Vorn Rittertum deT 'Thea/agie, p.45.) Vollrath is referring not only to the terminology, but also to the philosophical thought- forms of the dialectical theology. 5) The philosopher "is constantly writing refutations of himself and then writing refutations of the refutations." 6) We are willing to substitute the term pTinoipium demonstTandi. It amonnts to the same thing. 246 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. Ohristian doctrine of the Trinity. . .. The Triune God alone gives Himself within Himself." (P. 280 f.) This argument (put forth already in earlier times) - Since God is Love, there must be in God one who loves and one who is loved - cannot convince reason; and even if it did, it would not strengthen faith. Again: "Only the God in Three Persons is truly personal." (P.282.) You will never be able to convince a man that according to the laws of psychology, if God be a personal Being, there must be more than one person; let alone that there must be three persons. - This matter of personality plays an important part in BrunnCl"s book. He makes the Scrip- tural statement: "Ohrist has indeed assumed human nature, but not a human pers!Yn." (P.319.) But instead of emphasizing the mystery here encountered, he supplies a lot of psychological infor- mation, which of course cannot explain the mystery, but leaves us floundering and gasping: Cui bono? "The N ous is the rational nature, the means of communciation which arises out of the his- torical connection and unites with history, that whereby the Person makes Himself visible and clear from the human and historical point of view. The N ous is the historical manifestation of the mystery of the Person. . .. This mystery of personality lies behind all historical and psychological perception. It lies even behind all self-percep- tion, etc., etc." (P. 318.) This much we know, that, if we would understand Brunner, we must get his definition of person. Here it is: "A person, in the full sense of the word, is not an entity which exists in its own right; one becomes a person through the call of God, 'heard' in the decision of faith." "Our personality remains an object of faith, not an historical form. For as persons we cannot be known, only believed. Our being, as persons, is determined by our attitude towards God." (Pp. 270. 319.) This much we know now, that all these psychological investigations and pronouncements have not shed any light on the mystery of the anhypostasia. We accept Brunner's statement: "Ohrist has indeed assumed human nature, but not a human person">' but after reading his explanation, we do not know what to make of it.7) 7) Besides, his philosophical cogitations have enmeshed him in an absurdity, as P. Althaus points out. Althaus has written a review of Brunner's Mediator (Theologische Aufsaetze, II, p. 169 if.), and he sides with Brunner, in general. "On the whole, I can gladly assent to Brunner's Christology and his whole teaching on the question of revelation." (P.Ul.) But he takes issue with Brunner's treatment of the enhypostasia (anhy- postasia), establishing, first, that Brunner does not use this term in the sense of the old dogmaticians. Brunner distinguishes between "personality" and "person." lIe says that Christ is in the full sense of the word a historical personality, - for that belongs to the wholeness of the human nature, - but that Christ did not assume a human person in the sense of the personal mystery of man, for that is sin. "Instead of the human mystery of personality, sin, Christ possesses the divine mystery of per- The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. 247 Next you will have to study the meaning of the word history. The use of this term by the dialecticalists is most confusing to the outsider. "Easter, the resurrection of the Lord, is not an 'historical event' which can be reported." "It is superhistory, eschatological history; hence it is no longer historical at all." (Pp. 575. 583.) But: "The Resurrection was an actual event. Without the reality of the Resurrection," etc. (P.432.) "By revelation we mean that historical event which is at the same time the end of history." 8) (P.27.) Offensive use of the term mythological: "The Christian knows that all his statements about the faith are mythological, that is, quite definitely they are inadequate." (P.377.) "The time-myth, the his- torical event as an act of God, inadequately describes the action of the personal God and His movement towards man." (P.392.) "The Christian 'myth' is that form of thought in which time is taken seriously; hence it is the only type of thought in which God is re- garded as truly personal, that in which the Word, as the Word of God and as the real Personal Word, is the decisive factor. Thus is the Myth of the Word." (P.386.) What becomes of the simple word soon when dialectically treated 1 "Once we have recognized that in eschatological thought Time is an intensive quality, - and thus how far removed from the idea of mathematical Time, which has to do with watches and calendars,- it will be no longer possible to say that Jesus and His apostles were 'deceived' in their expectation of the Parousia. The 'soon' of the Eschatological Hope cannot be expressed in the terms used to describe mathematical astronomical conceptions. If we confuse this neutral sonality: divine authority." (P.320.-The present writer calls atten- tion to these philosophical subtleties without attempting to explain them.) Then Althaus shows that Brunner's theory is not tenable; it involves an absurdity. Commenting on Brunner's statement on page 498: "To be a human being means to be a sinner. To predicate sinlessness of any human being, when one knows what sin really is, means that this man must be more than human. Only the God-man can be the Sinless One," Althaus writes: "We, too, say that only the God-man is without sin. But to say that for that reason He has no human person comes close to Manichaeism and contradicts the important statement made on page 497: 'Christ is "the whole man," the "second Adam," in whom the nature of man is restored to harmony with the divine creation.' If this statement is true, - and it is true according to the New Testament, - then the anh-y- postasia either must fall, or it must apply to all children of God, regen- erated to the image of Christ; apply not only to the God-man, but also to the 'man of God.' Is Brunner ready to abide by this necessary in- ference 1" (P. 180.) Althaus, on his part, denies the anhypostasia. "It is an untenable dogma." (L. c.) 8) We have not the time to study this term in its full dialecticalist sense. And why should we take the time? - Vollrath characterizes the dialecticalists' attitude towards history as "dialektische Sch-waermerei." (Vom Rittertum der Theologie, p. 10.) 248 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. material idea of Time with that existential decisive idea of Time, then certainly there is nothing left but to admit that the prediction was not fulfilled, and therefore that it was erroneous. But at the Judgment the 'error' of the apostles will hold its own against the 'truth' of their critics. Scriousness and 'soon' are indissolubly con- nected. The 'soon' is an intensive quality, that is, it increases with the increasing seriousness of God. The chronological 'soon' and the truly historical 'soon' cannot be compared. Where God is truly known, there at the same time the speedy coming of His kingdom is recognized. In the literal sense the critics are indeed right: Jesus and the apostles did identify this 'soon' with a point in the time series; and this definition of a special time has proved to be in- correct." (P.421.) "The Ohristian religion does not say : 'You can, therefore you ought,' but rather: 'You ought, therefore you cannot. For if you could, you would know nothing of duty; God's will would be to you no alien law, but fatherly mercy.''' (P.148.) Brunner may be ex- pressing a truth here; but why these mental gymnastics? - We wonder whether all philosophers will admit the truth of the following: "A philosophical system and the admission of the presence of evil in the world are mutually exclusive. For every system in which evil would be acknowledged would automatically transform evil into a concept, which would be to deny it, because it would mean turning something which is antirational into something which is less rational." (P. 123.) - What do you make of this: "Ohrist Himself IJossesses the authority which is ascribed to God alone. He Himself stands on the other side of the frontier, beyond which only God Himself can stand. Here, too, the one thing that matters is to pay attention to this 'place.' For the place is decisive in the question of authority." Now: "In all that belongs merely to the realm of ideas there is no question of a place or of what happens, because here no secret is disclosed .... Therefore here there is no authority." (P. 247.) - Try this from R;. Barth: "He comes BV (11:01'C{J [in a moment], says Paul, in an indivisible, non-temporal, eternal moment and Now [Nu und Jetzt]. Is it yesterday, to-morrow, to-day? Is it always? Is it never? In each casc we may answer yes and no." (Das Wort Gottes u. d. Theol., p.95.) Or this: "Rom. 2, 2: 'Wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself.' By taking a definite position [indem du dich auf einen S tandpnnlct stellst], you are putting yourself in the wrong. By saying '1' or 'we' or 'that's it', you change the glory of the Ul1cor- ruptible into the image of the corruptible (1,23). Undertaking to give honor to the unknown God, deeming that undertaking possible, you again cover up and hide the truth." (Der Roemerbrief.) Barren wastes! Says the Duthemn H emld, referring to the dialectical theology : "We would say, beware of a religious teacher The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. 249 who tries to force the Ohristian religion into a new or old philosophy. All you get out of it is 'confusion worse confounded.'" The particular form of philosophy in which the dialectical theology specializes is Dialecticalism. ·What is that? Brunner defines it thus: "The dialectic, the affirmative in the negative and the negative in the affirmative." (P.532.) "Darkness -light, death -life, perdi- tion - salvation, judgment - grace, guilt - forgiveness, sin - re- demption. This discontinuity, these pairs of antitheses, are not, as you may hear it said of late, a peculiar fad of dialectical theology .... " (The W o1·d and the World, p. 48.) Barth's definition: "There is never so decisive a yes that it does not harbor the possibility of a no. There is never so decisive a no that it is not liable to turn into a yes." (Das Wort Gottes una die TheoZogie, p. 75.) Hans Asmussen: "Jedes Ja ist zUlgleich ein Nein." (Op. Schrift und Bekenntnis, 1928, p.140.) The discovery of the alleged law that every affirmation (every truth) is necessarily linked up with a negation (a valid nega- tion) of this very affirmation and the application of this law to theology constitutes the raison c(etre of the dialectical theology. We grant the metaphysicians the right to discuss the law of the dialectic. If we had time to join in the discussion, we should probably deny its validity. We deny the statement in its generality that every yes harbors a possible no. There is the affirmation of sin. The dialecticalist says that calls for the counter-truth of grace. It does not. The Bible indeed tens us that where sin abounded, grace did much more aboUlld. But that is so because of the grace of God, not by force of the law of the dialectic.9) We are able to meet the fact of sin with the great counter-fact of grace - on the basis of the Gospel-teaching. If the thoroughgoing dialecticalists imagine that they can find a universal law C allgemeines If eUgesetz") covering this situation and want to discuss it philosophically, let them do it to their hearts' content. But the trouble is that they want to mal,e a theological use of these researches. And we are not willing to permit them to demonstrate theological truths with their philosophical maxims. That is just what they are doing. They do say that their sole authority is the "Yord of God; but if we ask them why they are then filling their books with the metaphysical discussion of the law 9) "Es ist wahr, in ma,nnigfachen paradoxen Sa,etzen hat es Luther ausgesp-roehen, class Gott dtirch Toeten lebendig macht. Fides vita,e in m01'te exercetu7'. (De Servo A.rbitrio. W. A., 18, 633.) Doeh warum ist in der Suende die Gnacle? WEIL CHRISTUS SICH ZU IHR GESELLT! ¥Varum kann cler Glatibe im Sterben ge1iebt werden? Weil er siGh an Clvristus klamme1·t. J ene Para£loxien sind t1[er Luther niahts ohne die gntndlegencle Ueberzeugttng, cZ'ie sein ganzes Leben e1'ttteZlt. Seine tietste Er7cenntnis betritft KEIN ALLGEMEINES 'VELTGESETZ; sie haengt an einem ganz be- stimmten, geschiahtlich wirksam gew01'cZenen Nein, clem NEIN AUS HEILIGER GNADE, also am einem geschiehthchen Fa1ctllm." (G. 'Vehrullg, Geschichte uncZ G lattbe, p. 454 f.) 250 The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. of the dialectic, they will have to answer that they do it for the purpose of establishing or at least strengthening their theology. They do not indeed set out to reconcile the contradictions. They are not disciples of Hegel. But they do declare that this particular kind of philosophical wisdom is necessary in order to app1'ehend the truth. "It is only by means of the contradiction that we can apprehend the contradictory truth that the eternal God enters time," etc. (The Word and the World, p. 6.) Professor Weber of Bonn declares that the dialectical theology has made this valuable contribution to theology: uBie lehrt aus der Dialektik der menschlichen Existenz heraus das paradoxe Gotteswort ergreifen." (Pastoralblaetter, 1935, p.594.) We insist that the theologian has no business to buttress his theology with philosophy. Even G. W obbermin protests against the dialectic method. He makes the objection, says the Theological Forum (1931, p. 258), "that the dialectic method belongs to philosophy and is an intruder in the field of theology. This method, which opposes each truth with a counter-truth, which contrasts to complete, which destroys to reenforce, would not be admitted by ancient theology and is considered a Fremdkoerper, an alien element, scholastical, philosophical, in theology. (Cp. G. Wobbermin, Richt- linien, etc., p.17.)" Here is certainly a great paradox: God justifies the sinner; God's love - God's wrath; sin - grace. Why does Chris- tian theology teach that? Simply and solely because Scripture reveals this truth - in no way because it happens to agree with the law of the dialectic. It is destructive of Christian assurance if the theo- logian is led to have recourse in any way or degree to philosophical considerations in the presentation of the truths of the Bible. A sample to show how Brunner applies his law: "The Christian faith points beyond itself to the end, to the resurrection of the body, because in itself it is inconsistent." (P.532.) Add to this the fact that the dialecticalists, in applying their theory, are frequently led into e1'1'or. Illustrating his statement that "there is never so decisive a yes that it does not harbor the possibility of a no," Barth declares: UKeiTh Erwaehltsein, aus dem nicht Verworfensein, kein Verworfen.sein, au,~ dem nicht Erwaehltsein werden koennte." Another point: an or- dinary Christian and an ordinary theologian cannot follow the dialectic thinking. It goes beyond all bounds. You are dizzy long before you reach the top. Take this from Barth's Roemerbrief, on chap. 3, 2: "The impossible, GDd, stands within the limits of the possible, not indeed as a possibility among others, but, as becomes apparent in the case of the just, as the impossible possibility." Even Erich Schaedel', himself not a novice in this field, grows impatient and speaks of Barth's "continual talk about a possibi.lity that is im- possibility and an impossibility that is possibility. You enter a magic forest of dialectic turns and denying yeas (verneinende Bejahungen)." The Principles and Teachings of the Dialectical Theology. 251 (Theaz. Theal., p. 216.) 10) The dialectic, as a principium demon- strandi, is of no help to the theologian. There is a Scriptural dialectic: Sin and grace! Grace for the sinner! Law and Gospel! God's wrath against the sinner-God's grace for this very sinner! That is the supreme art of the Ohris- tian - knowing what to make of these antitheses. If Brunner had only confined himself to this dialectic! He treats of it indeed, for instance, on page 519. Quoting Luther, he says: "God, 'outside Ohrist,' is really angry, but 'in Ohrist' is 'pure love.''' Biblical d.ialectic trains the Ohristian to distinguish between the Law and the Gospel. Luther knew how to enforce it. "Theoretically this dis- tinction is easily made, but at the point of death and in perils we :find that we are but poor dialecticians. A good dialectician distin- guishes between the Law and the Gospel and indeed admits that he has not kept the Law, but insists: From this premise the conclusion does not follow that I should despair and be lost. For the Gospel commands me to believe in Ohrist and stand on the works and right- eousness of Ohrist." (4, p.2078.) If Brunner and the rest would only spend their time in inculcating this dialectic! They need not 10) "Freilich, v;as heisst denn das: dialektisch, Dialektik? Obwohl, vielleicht weil bedeutsamer Ausdruck des Suchens unserer Zeit, entbehrt dieser Begriff ciner einheitlichen HandhabU'ng. Was Hegel einmal (Enzy- klopaedie, § 81) belelagt, scheint fuer die Gegenwart gesprochen: 'Oft ist die Dialektik a·uch weiter nichts als ein subjektives Schaukelsystem van hin- und heruebergehendem Raes01mement, wo dm' Gehalt fehlt und die Bloesse durch solchen Scha.rfsinn bedeclet wird, der solches Raesonnement erzeugt.' " And speaking specifically of the dialectical theology of Harth and Brunner; "lOs kommt endlich hin.'Zu ein soholastisch·dialektisoher Zug, dessen erstes Anliegen es ist, ... in der Ohristologie das ueberkommene Problem des Zusammenbestehens von Gottheit tlnd Menschheit kunstt'oll weiterzufuehren odor etwa in der Gotteslehre die wohldurchdaohton Be- stimmU'ligen der alton Kirohe ueber das Verhaeltnis der drei Personon zur Einheit des Wesens, wenn es sein muss, mit den Denkmitteln des heil·iger/, '['hornas gegen eine widerspenstige Welt Z'U ,,;erteidigen. Das Dialektisvhe mithin Hilfsmittel Ztt einem neuen Dogmatismus!" (G. Wehrung, op. cit., pp. 449. 465.) - We might submit at this stage of our discussion a new definition of "dialectic." It is given by Ludwig Schlaich, as published in Z,wischen den Zeiten, 1928, p. 502: "In unserem Predigtgottesdienst findet ein Dialog zwisohen Gemeinde und Wort Gottes statt, sofern das Wort Gottes Antwort gibt aUf die Frage der Gemeinde. Anmerkungsweise dart hie?' betont wei'den, dass die dialektische Theologie von diesem Dialog her den Namen hat. Der Be,griff Dialektik ist also hier nicht im Hegelschen Sinn getasst, sondern im Sinn der platonischen Dialoge. Er hat a'Uch mit dem Beg?'iff des Pa'l'udomen z'Unaechst gar nichts zu tun in dam Sinne, als ob eine dialekiische Behauphmg als dialektische jeweils den logisohen Satz vom lFiderspruch aufheben m·/tesste, also immer die Form 'a=non a' t?'agen mttesste. Dia/ektiscile Theologie heisst urspruenglieh niehts anderes als THEOLOGIE DES DIALOGS, dialogische Theologie, ausgehond von dem Dialog des nttn genugsam besc}wiebenen protestantisvhen Gottesdienstes." \Ve are not particularly interested in thc question as to which definition of the term dialectic is authoritative. But it is most interesting to hear from a dialeeticalist that, as the term is commonly understood by the dialec- ticalists, it means that the law of the dialectic removes the difficulty which the logical contradictions in the Bible present. 252 5l)et ~ietismus. bother about forming it "dialectically." The Ohristian is not asking them to do so. He is not asking them to do so in any doctrine. But the dialecticalists are bound to reduce all doctrines to the terms of the dialectic, and instead of assurance in theology we get un- certainty and confusion. We have no use for a theology which bases its teachings on a nebulous "Word of God" and buttresses them with precarious pronouncements of philosophy. TH. ENGELDER. (To be continued.) ;!Jet ~iett£lmu£l. (5'otifetun\1.) ~n ber lEorrebe au feinen Pia Desideria fag± @)pcncr: ,,:Ilas (tlenb [in ber SfirdJc J, ltJelef)es ltJir oefIagen, lieget bor 21ugen, unb ift niemanb bcrooten, fetne ~riincn iiber basfe1be nief)t nm im ®eljeiln au bergienen, lonbern fie auef) em ben Orten fallen ilU 1al1cn, ltJo fie anbere feljen unb fo ilum ~.RitIeiben aTe ~)Ci±ra±en beltJogen ltJerbcn miigen." linb ben erften ~eiI bet ®ef)rijt. in bem er ben berberbten 2uftanb ber ~iref)e fef)UDert, beginnt er fo: ,,)illenn ltJir mit ef)riftIicljcn unb nur eiluas erfeuef)±eten 21ugen - naef) unf ers @3rfiife1'13 (t1'maqnung, bie 2eief)cn ber 2eit unb beren snefef)affenqeit au beurteHen - ben jei.?igen 2uf±anb ber gefamten