John Webster on Barth in “From the Substance to the Word:”
[R]evelation is no more and no less than the life of God himself turned to us, the Word of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ.’ Such a divine approach cannot be formalised into a set of axioms, and to attempt to do so (by, for example, developing a systematic biblical theology) is to take up a false stance to divine revelation, treating it as ‘a presupposition [Voraussetzung] which we can control.’ Properly undertaken, biblical theology effects no such settlement; it is simply ‘a series of attempted approximations, a collection of individual exegeses’. What is required of the exegete is not systematic ambition but ‘surrender’.
I found this paragraph to be strikingly beautiful in John Webster’s Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch (Current Issues in Theology):
Second, as God’s free self-presentation, revelation is a free work of sovereign mercy. God’s revelation is God’s spiritual presence: God is the personal subject of the act of revelation, and therefore revelation can in no way be commodified. God is – as Gèrard Siegwalt puts it – revelation’s ‘uncontainable content’. As spiritual presence, the presence of God is free: it is not called forth by any reality other than itself; it is majestically spontaneous and uncaused. Its origin, actualisation and accomplishment require nothing beyond God. Like the entire history of the divine mercy of which it is a part, revelation is unexpected, undeserved, possible only as and because God is, and present after the manner of God. In Barth’s curious phrase, ‘God is the Lord in the wording of his Word.’
Scripture is where we meet God in all the freedom of his self-revealing Lordship.
Sermon text: Psalm 73
Sermon title: Sin and Worship
Date: July 19, 2015
Venue: Miracle Mountain Ranch
Sermon text: Hebrews 2:1-4
Sermon title: Great Salvation, Greater Stakes
Date: August 4, 2013
Venue: Christ Community Church
Sermon text: John 13:1-20
Sermon title: And This Is Love
Date: May 17, 2015
Venue: Forestville Baptist Church
I got to pretend to be a farrier today (City folks, you’re gonna want to look that one up. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.) up at Miracle Mountain Ranch. In the best traditions of cowboy poetry, I composed a little limerick about the experience.
Home, home on the ranch,
Where the cowpokes all have cart blanche
We can shoe as we please, bend the back or the knees,
Till the pain makes us stagger away.
But at least I know ahead of time I’ll be hurting tomorrow morning, so I’ve got that going for me.
Sermon text: Isaiah 6:1-13
Sermon title: The Whole Earth is Full of His Glory
Date: July 7, 2013
Venue: Faith Baptist Church