Some Personal Reflection On What it Means to Be A Christian After Barth’s Isenheim Altarpiece

I was going to write a piece, simply, On Being a Christian; but I was reading Barth, and instead I thought I would report on his interpretation of Grünewald’s Isenheim altarpiece. His exegesis aligns with what I really wanted to say on being a Christian; only better, of course. Barth shares his insight just as we are entering §15 in his CD I/2; the section on The Mystery of Revelation. Just prior to his offering on Isenheim, he writes this in regard to church dogmatics: “If dogmatics cannot regard itself and cause itself to be regarded as fundamentally Christology, it has assuredly succumbed to some alien sway and is already on the verge of losing its character as church dogmatics.”[1] This kind of thinking allows him to launch into his reflection on the Isenheim altarpiece, and in such a way that it sets us nicely to contemplate upon what it means to be a Christian; a Christian coram Christi. Barth writes:

This condition under which alone Christology is possible takes visible form in the main picture on the altar at Isenheim by M. Grünewald. Its subject is the incarnation. There are three things to be seen in the picture, and it is difficult to say where the observer should begin. In the background upon the heights of heaven, beyond earth’s highest mountains, surrounded by innumerable angels, there is God the Father in His glory. In the foreground angels, but inexorably separated from the background by an immensely high, gloomy partition. But towards the right a curtain drawn back, affording a view. And at this point, at the head of the whole world of Advent looking to see the Messiah, stands Mary as the recipient of grace, the representative of all the rest, in adoration before what she sees happening on the right side. Over there, but quite lonely, the child Jesus lies in His mother’s arms, surrounded with unmistakable signs reminding us that He is a child of earth like all the rest. Only the little child, not the mother, sees what is to be seen there, the Father. He alone, the Fathers, sees right into the eyes of this child. On the same side as the first Mary appears the Church, facing a distance. It has open access on this side, it adores, it magnifies and praises, therefore it sees what is indeed the glory of the only-begotten of His Father, full of grace and truth. But it sees only indirectly. What it sees directly is only the little child in His humanity; it sees the Father only in the light that falls upon the Son, and the Son only in this light from the Father. This is the way, in fact, that the Church believes in and recognises God in Christ. It cannot run over to the right side, where the glory of God can be seen directly. It can only look out of the darkness in the direction in which a human being is to be seen in a light, the source of which it cannot see itself. Because of this light streaming down from above, it worships before this human being as before God Himself, although to all visual appearance He is literally nothing but a human being. John the Baptist too, in Grünewald’s Crucifixion, can only point—and here everything is bolder and more abrupt, because here all indication of the revelation of the Godhead is lacking—point to a wretched, crucified, dead man. This is the place of Christology. If faces the mystery. It does not stand within the mystery. It can and must adore with Mary and point with the Baptist. It cannot and must not do more than this. But it can and must do this.[2]

Jesus is beautiful. This is the first thought that came to mind as I finished this passage from Barth. This is what it means to be a Christian; a theologian. It means that we see Jesus, and we think He is beautiful; it means we stand in the presence of His face, and we never want to leave, we just want to point—but we want to point like Mary, with utter adoration and awe (even in the midst of brokenness). This is what it means, at least to me, to be a Christian. I cannot get enough of Jesus Christ. I cannot get passed the reality that He is a real and living person, who is not simply high and lifted up; but who because of His loftiness, and its cruciform shape, is the High and Lofty One who came to a tree and became a curse for us. When I contemplate the beauty of His majesty, and recognize that Jesus isn’t just a principle for me, but instead my Savior; I cannot but love Him. It is hard to put into words what Jesus means to me. Even though I am a wretched broken sinner, He loves me; He will never leave or forsake me. He will never leave or forsake any of us. He loves us, and He sits at the Right Hand of the Father, for and with us, even now. He intercedes for us, and invites us into His intercessory and Priestly ministry for all. He intercedes for us as our mediator, but not simply as our mediator; no, He is our brother, which makes His Father our Father. I need to know these things, as a Christian. I need to know that I am caught up in the heavenlies ‘in Christ,’ and that He is not some sort of metaphysical being aloof up and out there somewhere. No. He is flesh and blood, and has become us that we might become Him (Irenaeus inspired).

Being a Christian in this Christic reality is the Blessed Hope for all of humanity; it is the only hope, and one that is sorely needed. The world is seemingly unraveling, but it cannot unravel more than the cross of Christ. He has unraveled for the world, for us, that the world, that we might be raveled up with Him in the womb of the Father, in His resurrection body. To God be the Glory in Jesus Christ.

 

[1] Barth, CD I/2 §15, 124.

[2] Ibid., 126. I hope you noticed the prominence he gives Baptists in the third to the last clause [italics mine].

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Did Karl Barth Believe in a Historical Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ; Yes or Nein?

Did Karl Barth believe in the historicity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Yes! But you have to understand the way he understands time and history in order to appreciate just how he thinks this reality. In Church Dogmatics I/2 §14 he communicates very clearly on how he thinks the resurrection. There seems to be some confusion out there in regard to Barth’s position. What I have found is that reading the person directly rather than secondarily (through interpreters) is the best way to understand just what a thinker thinks. In this case there is some obfuscation, I often think for click bait, when it comes to online communication; and other cases the obfuscation is driven by a general animus towards Barth—in an attempt to smear or demonize Barth. I recommend simply giving Barth a read for yourself; you might actually be surprised to find that he affirms all the historic and orthodox doctrines us evangelicals like to say we affirm—the difference between Barth and so many evangelicals though, is that Barth knows why he affirms these various doctrines. Sure, Barth reformulates many of the ‘classical’ doctrines, but not in an attempt to thwart the crystalline reality of the Gospel; instead, Barth’s hope is always to allow Jesus Christ to be the limit or canon by which all else is connived. Insofar as he believes that has been undertaken insufficiently—maybe only because in the passage of time other helpful categories have developed that help enhance and not detract from the classical—he seeks to redress doctrines, again, in such a way that the Gospel, or Jesus Christ Himself becomes the centraldogma by which all else is developed and communicated for the Church.

I wanted to share a longer passage from Barth on resurrection, but because my time is limited this evening let me share a shorter passage that should get the point across. As you read this passage you’ll see how Barth has a hyper-venerated view of the resurrection; such that it transcends all known human categories or analogies, and therefore requires that we submit to its reality rather than attempt to capture or grasp it. Barth writes:

The Easter story is not for nothing the story whose most illuminating moment according to the account of Mark’s Gospel consists in the inconceivable fact of an empty sepulcher, a fact which (in producing a trembling and astonishment) lays hold of the three woman disciples and reduces them to complete silence for they told no one of it, for they were afraid (Mk. 16.8). Everything else related by this story can be heard and believed in the very literalness in which it stands, but can really only be believed, because it drops out of all categories and so out of all conceivability. It cannot be sufficiently observed that in the most artless possible way all the New Testament Easter narratives fail to supply the very thing most eagerly expected in the interests of clearness, namely an account of the resurrection itself.[1]

When the resurrection of Christ is reduced to an apologetic problem that apologists feel they must given an account for, to an unbelieving and critical world; the resurrection loses its intended theological value as the source for Christian well-being. In other words, when the resurrection is only thought of in terms of its historical veracity, or not, it ends up being emptied of its theological majesty and ability to succor the Christian in all their neediness. The resurrection is intended to be the limit by which all else in reality is processed. Just because an unbelieving world is critical of it, doesn’t mean that this unbelief should be allowed to determine the way Christians develop a theology of resurrection.

In Barth’s case, because of his Christ concentrated prolegomenon, the resurrection becomes determinative for all of his theologizing; just at the point that the resurrection represents the point of re-creation and thus gives us a new-logic given shape by the eschatological expectations of the Heavenly Kingdom and life of God. It is from these bases that Barth attempts to reformulate the classical doctrines of the Church; not in competition with them, but instead with a goal to take them to a more christo-logical conclusion that finds its regulation in the categories supplied by the interior logic of the incarnation itself.

[1] Barth, CD I/2 §14, 115.

‘Protestantism is not the Church. We are a prophetic movement of reform within it.’: TF Torrance’s Ecumenicity

As Protestant (even more pointedly, as Reformed) Christians it is easy to give into a sectarian attitude wherein we believe that we have recovered the Gospel like no other iteration of Christian tradition has ever known. It is easy in the evangelical-Reformed sub-culture to look out at the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox with animus, as if they have such a perverted Gospel, that we should not consider them brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. But this isn’t the attitude that TF Torrance operated with. Torrance was unceasingly ecumenical in his theological endeavor and hope. As some of you may know, he was involved in an Orthodox-Reformed dialogue, with the hope of closing the breach between the Reformed churches and the Orthodox; particularly as that breach opened up around the ‘Great Schism’ of 1054, which had to do with Trinitarian concerns vis-à-vis the so called Filioque. Torrance, as a result of that effort, was named a Protopresbyter of the Greek Orthodox church.

In 2013 I was involved with Participatio as an Assistant Editor on a volume (of that journal) that revolved around TFT and Orthodoxy; later it was published as a book under the editorship of Matthew Baker and Todd Speidell—I commend this volume and book to you. Jason Radcliff, following those publications, ended up publishing his PhD dissertation, which he completed at New College, University of Edinburgh (TFT’s school), under David Fergusson’s watchful eye; his book is entitled Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical, and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition (he refers to the work Myk and I have done with our Evangelical Calvinism books, therein). Since then Jason has published another important monograph entitled: Thomas F. Torrance and the Orthodox-Reformed Theological Dialogue (which he graciously had sent to me as a review copy; thank you, Jason!). What I want to engage with, just as I’m starting my read of it, is what Jason has written in the preface to the book. He impresses just how important being ecumenical was, not only to TFT, but to the magisterial reformers in general.

Jason writes (in full):

Upon reaching the Reformation one is reminded of both the great importance and the great tragedy of the Protestant Reformation. Concerning the great importance, as Robert Farrar Capon put it, “The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace—bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly” (Between Noon and Three, 109-10). Yet, as Joseph McLelland says in the discussion following the Third Preliminary consultation of the Orthodox-Reformed Dialogue (in 1983) “we Reformed tend to overemphasize the uniqueness of the 16th century Reformation.” The Reformation was a movement of rediscovery of the radically unconditional grace of God as witnessed by the Scriptures and church fathers; but, it was one movement of many throughout history and, it was never meant to be decisively schismatic in the way that it eventually became.

As Thomas F. Torrance says at the beginning of “Memorandum A” on Orthodox/Reformed relations, “’The Reformed Church’ does not set out to be a new or another Church but to be a movement of reform within the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ . . .” (p. 10). Elsewhere Torrance states, “the Reformed Church is the Church reformed according to the Word of God so as to restore to it the face of the ancient Catholic and Apostolic Church.” (Conflict and Agreement in the Church: Volume 1, 76). In other words, we should never be happy with being “Protestant.” We must always, as Protestants, work toward rapprochement with Rome and Constantinople.

As we pass by the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation these words of Torrance are as relevant today as they ever were. As we commemorate the Reformation and celebrate the wonderful discovery of the radical grace of God in Jesus Christ, the inherently ecumenical and catholic approach of Torrance and the Orthodox Reformed Dialogue remind us that being Protestant was not the point of the Reformers. Torrance and the Dialogue remind us that we are not faithful to the spirit of the Reformation if we cease working for reform and renewal within the the [sic] one universal church. As Protestants, Torrance reminds us that we should bewail the necessity of the Reformation and, indeed, the continued existence of Protestantism. Torrance reminds us that Protestants faithful to the Reformation should regularly work towards rapprochement with the other two wings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church: Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He reminds us that Protestantism is not the Church. We are a prophetic movement of reform within it; if we cease working for reform and rapprochement, we cease to follow the Reformers

The type of ecumenical rapprochement offered by the Orthodox-Reformed Dialogue also provides an example of real ecumenical dialogue. The agreement reached by Orthodox and Reformed was authentic and substantial. It was not the “agree to disagree” compromise so often settled for in ecumenical conversations today. The Orthodox and Reformed confessed together a doctrine of the Trinity that bridged East and West on the basis of the Trinitarian and Christocentric theology of Athanasius and Cyril.[1]

Knowing the sensibilities of many Reformed Christians today, I think this approach, by Torrance, would rub many of them the wrong way (understatement). Yet, for us Evangelical Calvinists, while we’re not shy about stating our beliefs, and attempt to develop and articulate those for the church at large, it is this attitude of ecumenicity, modelled by TFT, that we hope to reflect. While Evangelical Calvinists, at least this one, are not shy about engaging in heated discussion surrounding various theological ideas; this should not be taken as a sign that at the end of the day, I, as a representative, want schism. But even so, some might surmise, “okay, but what about certain fundamentals of the faith; the very fundamentals that brought about the rupture between the Protestants and Catholics (and by default, the Orthodox) in the first place; you know like sola fide, sola gratia so on and so forth?” Someone might say: “it’s fine to attempt rapprochement around a doctrine of God, and the finer workings of Trinitarian dogma; but when it comes to salvation by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, well that’s another story.”

These are not always easy questions to engage with, but one must start somewhere. Torrance decided to start with the doctrine of God. Maybe he was astute to something in that particular doctrine par excellence that he thought if relief could be brought there, if greater depth of understanding could be agreed upon at that point; that the following doctrines, developed from that primal one, would also be open for redress and discussion among the churches—in this case the Reformed and Orthodox churches.

I commend Jason’s book to you just as I am starting into it myself. His work is always stellar, and so I am confident in giving a pre-recommendation prior to my own reading of it. It is important to engage with these issues, I think, because, for one thing, it gives a, hopefully, a broader more fulsome and catholic attitude about the Church of Jesus Christ in its catholic reality. Maybe you aren’t aware of just how miniscule, among Christendom, the Reformed faith is. As I recall, George Husinger, for purposes of perspective and humility, once noted that the Protestant Reformed Church only accounts for 1% of the Church worldwide; in regard to tradition and theological location. This doesn’t, in itself mean that what the Reformed churches think is marginal, per se; but what it ought to tell us is that the church catholic is made-up of peoples and traditions that aren’t univocal with what the Reformed churches are currently recovering, theologically. We at least ought to have an attitude of charity as we engage with these other traditions, with hopes of fostering fruitful dialogue, and working towards the unity of the One Faith once for all delivered to the saints

[1] Jason Robert Radcliff, Thomas F. Torrance and the Orthodox-Reformed Theological Dialogue (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publications, 2018), ix-x.

The Old Testament God of ‘Genocide’ and the New Testament God of the Cross: An Eschatological and Staurological Theory in Relief

The God of the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, also known as Yahweh, is often derided as a menacing vengeful God who is seemingly bloodthirsty for anyone’s blood who isn’t one of his “chosen” covenant people. We see God commanding His people, upon entry to Canaan, to wipe out whole nations; sparing no one, not even child or mother. This seems not just harsh, but for some it is akin to outright genocide. We have concepts like the ‘ban’ in place—just open to the Book of Moses and you’ll see this—under which, as noted, when the tribes of Israel entered into ‘The Land’, they were to engage in a scourged-earth campaign wherein EVERYTHING was to be wiped out; including certain types of vegetation. People often read these passages in the 21st century, under such sensibilities, and attempt to cohere ‘this God’ with the God we encounter in the New Testament, in Jesus Christ. They see an almost absolute disjunction between Jesus, and the God of the Old; to the point that they engage in creative reading practices that attempt to attribute the Old Testament understanding to the purview of the people of Israel, rather than to who God actually is in Himself (in se).

Frankly, such things as the ‘ban’ are not easy teaching; indeed, it is hard teaching. My strategy, in regard to engaging with this difficulty, has been to recognize that what was going on in the Ancient Near East (ANE) millennia ago, represents worlds and worlds of difference from what is going on currently in the 21st century under the pressures of modernity (although, honestly, things aren’t really that different when we start comparing the similarities between the wickedness that prevailed then, and the wickedness and blood-shed that prevails currently). It is within this acknowledgement that I am able to say: “okay, God was accommodating Himself and His ways, to the currents of that time, rather than the currents of my time.” I am able to conclude that God’s Providential ways have worked through every periodized period of history in such a way that He has been able to unfold and accomplish His purposes as those are entailed by the reality of His elect Son, Jesus Christ.

But something hit me tonight, as I was reading Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/2 §14. It involves a theological understanding, more pointedly, a christological understanding of just what might have been going on with the seeming brutality of the ‘ban’, and the way God commanded His people to act when encountering the Canaanites upon entry into the ‘Land of Israel’ (or what would become that). We know, explicitly from the context of the text, that one of God’s purposes was to keep the people from mixing with these corrupted nations; to keep them from adopting their cultural traditions and gods, in order to remain ‘sanctified’ unto God for His peculiar purposes. But this begs the question: ‘why?’ Why was this so important to Yahweh? Why was God so concerned with covenantally preserving the Hebrews? Why was God so intent upon keeping them untouched by the surrounding nations? Here is what cajoled my thinking towards an answer to the “why” of the questions I have just noted:

The Old Testament like the New Testament is the witness to the revelation in which God remains a hidden God, indeed declares Himself to be the hidden God by revealing Himself. In and with this attested revelation a judgment is pronounced upon the whole world surrounding it, since God—here and now actually present—declares the whole world surrounding His revelation to be godless, irrespective of what it apparently believed itself to possess in the way of divine presence. And by this judgment this entire surrounding world is as such destined to die off, to pass away. If it has a hope, it is not to be found in itself, but only in connexion with the divine presence which breaks out fresh in revelation, and is the only real presence. But in the first instance it has no hope. If must first of all pass away. The nations settled in Palestine, which were in certain respects highly civilised nations, were struck with surprise and horror at the nomad nation that broke in from the desert with their first and second commandments, although it was really questionable how far even they understood and followed these commandments themselves. The revelation which was the origin of this nation was the revelation of the one, only God, to be acknowledged without analogy and to be worshipped without image. What invaded Palestine was the radical dedivinisation of nature, history and culture—a remorseless denial of any other divine presence save the one in the event of drawing up the covenant. If there were any pious Canannites—and why should there not have been such?—the God of Israel must have appeared to them as death incarnate, and the faith of Israel as irreligion itself. But admittedly no time was left them for such reflections. In remembering this hiddenness of the Old Testament covenant-God, we also understand that the question, as it was obviously put to Israel in the time of Joshua and the Judges down to and including Samuel, consisted in the frightful dilemma: either God’s presence, guidance and help and therefore fidelity and obedience to the covenant on the nation’s side, or peaceful assimilation into the nature, history and culture of the country, i.e., a common human life with its inhabitants. Or the question put the opposite way: either surrender of the covenant with consequent loss of the presence of God in the nature, history or culture of the country, even involving the physical elimination of its inhabitants. The whole inexorable sharpness of the difference between Yahweh and the baalim, between the prophets on the one hand and the nation and the kings and the “false” prophets on the other, which constituted the theme of the history of Israel down to the Deuteronomic reform and beyond, is understandable in the light of the typical either/or, which according to tradition, constituted the end of the wandering in the wilderness and the beginning of the history of Israel in the country of their fathers (or, rather, in the country of Yahweh). Was it nationalistic narrow-mindedness, religious fanaticism, hatred of men and lust for blood that commanded this people to take such a stand and to act upon it? According to the unanimous testimony of the Old Testament, it is rather driven, against its will and amid numerous attempts to carry out its own opposite will, along this hard. [sic] inhumane way. It would have been very like them to become one civilised Canaanite nation among others, and to be religiously open and pliable or at least tolerant. King Saul, whom Samuel had to withstand, and later King Ahab, whom Elijah had to withstand, must in their way have been outstanding representatives of this naturally human Israel. But Israel could not do as it wished. Wherever the voice of its prophets thundered and was heard, the abyss reopened between the gods and men of the country, and the holy nation, the natural, human Israel was accused, it was called back to the offensive attitude of unconditional resistance. It is not its religious and natural peculiarity that is the restraint here—it would never have been so unconditional in its resistance—but its God, who cannot become manifest without at the same time becoming hidden. The country belongs to Him. It cannot therefore belong to the baalim also or even at all. No other loyalty is compatible with loyalty to Him. Since by its own existence Israel pointed out God’s revelation to the world around it, it had to deny their gods, i.e., their very deepest, best and most vital thing, the supposedly absolute relations in which they thought they stood. Israel had to point out to this world the end, the judgment coming upon them. That Yahweh’s exclusiveness is fundamental, that His revelation really points out the judgment coming upon the world, is to be seen in the fact that the prophetic accusations and threats, which apart from Israel are in Amos still directed only against the nearest nations, reach over in the later prophets to the great world nations on the Euphrates and the Nile. From this later message of judgment we shall have to read off the meaning and trend of the earlier one.

The revelation of God in Jesus Christ is actually the end and judgment, the revelation of the hidden God which the Old Testament indicates. In the cross of Christ God is really and finally to become hidden from the world, from this æon. And thereby judgment will be passed upon this æon. The old will have passed away in the incarnate Word of God. The history of Israel runs to meet this Word and so this passing away. It only runs to meet it. But it does run to meet it. It signifies the proclamation of world judgment in fulfilled time. It is the time for expecting it. But because it is the time for expecting it, it is itself revelation-time.[1]

I am not going to attempt to exegete what Barth offers. I simply wanted you to see what prompted me to some of my own thinking on this issue; it is related, of course. I also wanted you to have the opportunity to be prompted to your own thinking by reading this passage from Barth.

But what hit me takes us back to Genesis 3, and the satanic temptation of Adam and Eve. We see ‘in the Beginning’ that the devil has been intent on thwarting the purposes of God, and that he will go to great lengths to undo the ‘very good’ creation that God is willing to give His own and eternal Life for. We see Cain, Nimrod, and Noah’s generation rising up under the inspiration of the devil’s lisp in a demonic attempt to rise up against God’s proto-evangelium (Gen 3.15), and thwart God’s plan to redeem the world. We see in the post-diluvian world (post-flood) a new generation rising up, one that took various trajectory through the lines of Noahic genesis; a trajectory wherein nations were birthed through the seed of the women. These nations, from their inception, were seemingly under the spell of satan’s deception; constructing cultures and gods who were systemically aerated with the breath of the Serpent.

My thought, within the aforementioned context of the ‘ban,’ was that these nations, from the beginning were constructed in such a way that their purpose was to keep God’s plan from fruiting. It would be through the intermixing and watering down of God’s covenant people that God’s people, as mediators of the Messiah, were intended on thwarting God’s plan. Even as we read in Barth, this is exactly the sort of waywardness that Israel was so prone to. What we see is that even in the mixture of “God’s people” with the ‘secular nations’, even in the failure of God’s people, as they were allowed to grow and mix with the nations and their ways; we see that God’s Way could not be thwarted. No matter the imperfection of these people, “His people,” He would mediate Himself through their loins, as the Lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world. But it seems that early on as Yahweh was bringing His people into The Land, that the intent was to carve out a space where His sanctified and vivified people might begin to flourish as they moved towards the ‘fullness of time’ (Gal 4).

In a way this helps me understand what was going on in the ‘ban’ period of God’s people as they invaded the Canaanite lands. In the midst of that there was a foreshadowing of the ultimate judgment to come, as that would be realized in the flesh of God in Jesus Christ. Up until that ‘revealed-time’, God worked as leaven in the ‘lost-time’ of the nations with the sole purpose of bringing His rightful judgment of them to an end in the unrightful judgment of Himself as the ‘Judge judged’; which is His Grace enacted. But the harshness of the judgment meted out on these nations, I contend, was ultimately for their own good. It signifies just what is at stake in the coming of the Son of Man, and the harshness of the judgment He bore for them and all of us.

The nations, under the devil’s own motivations, sought, unconsciously, in the spiritually dead state they took formation within, to thwart the means of their own so desperately needed re-conciliation with God. In order to look at this sort of ‘judgment’ for what it is, this requires that we approach this eschatologically, under the staurologic (cross-logic) of God’s ultimate purposes to reverse the curse spawned by the Serpent’s word, by bringing His Word (Logos) to the concretization that the Christ is. But in order for my theory to be persuasive, the primary premise that must be accepted is that Israel was (and is) God’s covenant people; a people with the ‘seed’ (Gal 3) in its loins that would ultimately be the salvation not just for them, but even the nations under Yahweh’s judgment. These things must be thought through this lens, or my thesis falls apart, and we are reverted back to the Enlightenment-critical reading that sees the Old Testament referring to a God of the Hebrew’s own projection. FWIW

[1] Barth, CD I/2 §14, 87-8.

Barth Against Andy Stanley, Quasi-Marcionites, Socinians, and Other Heresiarchs

Andy Stanley has recently and rightfully come under fire for his diminution of the Old Testament for 21st century evangelical Christians. He offers the church a sort of quasi-Marcionism that would elevate the New Testament Jesus while denigrating and antiquating the Old Testament God; as if the latter has no real meaningful relationship with the former. But anyone aware of Holy Scripture’s sense, meaning, and trajectory will almost immediately recognize how far Stanley has slipped into the absurd.

As Thomas Torrance has done, in his little book The Mediation of Christ, all Bible interpreters ought to recognize how central the Old Testament witness and reality is to the New Testament witness and reality. We ought to appreciate that the Old Testament and New Testament have the same canonical and regulative reality (res) in Jesus Christ; and read them together as a piece. This is where Stanley et al. fail to read the Bible accurately, and with any sense of theological acuity. He ironically stumbles just on the scandal of the Gospel as that has history of salvation sense – as that has protological gravitas in the promises of the Old Testament. He stumbles because he doesn’t read the Bible eschatologically; as if the circle of God’s Triune Life doesn’t sit above in the heavenlies breaking in and throughout the histories of the Old and New Testaments as a canonical whole. He stumbles by not seeing the face of Christ in the first Adam, the Israelites, the kings and prophets, and the suffering servant of Jobian and Isianic motif.

Along with Thomas Torrance et al., Karl Barth also understands the significance of the Old Testament; he gets how the New Testament would make absolutely no[n] sense without the context of the Old. Here Barth operates in a very catholic sense as he, along with many of the Patristics, counter someone like Marcion, and underscores the significance of the Old Testament reality for the New Testament Christian; as that all is conditioned by Jesus Christ.

To indicate the axiomatic character of the statement that Christ was manifested as the Expected One even in the time of the Old Testament, we may make the further point that this statement was one which was taken for granted by the whole of the early Church from the 2nd century up to and including the Reformation and the orthodoxy of the 17th century determined by the Reformation, in spite of all the changes in the interpretation and evaluation of the Old Testament. Marcion in the 2nd century and the Socinians in the 16th were already in the eyes of the Church of their time regarded as opponents of the Old Testament, theologians with whom one could not discuss, against whom one could only dispute as against heretics—in fact the last resort could not dispute at all, because in abandoning the Old Testament they had abandoned not something but everything, namely the New Testament itself as well, and the whole New Testament at that. No-one can annul or take away the Old Testament without also confounding the New Testament, since the new appeals again and again to the old as it stands in itself (Quenstedt, Theol. did. pol., 1685 I, c. 4, sect. 2, qu. 5, beb. obs. 5). So obvious to the early Church was the recognition that Christ is also manifest in the Old Testament. A. v. Harnack, who admittedly had no desire that this recognition should prevail, in his spirited way propounded the thesis that “to reject the Old Testament in the 2nd century was an error which the great Church rightly rejected; to cling to it in the 16th century was a destiny from which the Reformation could not yet withdraw; but still to preserve it after the 19th century as a canonical source in Protestantism is the result of a religious and ecclesiastical paralysis. … To make a clean sweep at this point and honour the truth in confession  and instruction is the mighty act—already almost too late—required to-day of Protestantism” (Marcion, 2nd edn., 1924, 217, 222). Upon which the simple comment to be made is that by this “mighty act” the Evangelical Church would lose her identity with the Church of the first sixteen centuries, “The Gospels are ‘the flesh of Christ’ and the apostles the priesthood of the Church,” writes Ignatius of Antioch; “but leave us also the dear prophets, because their proclamation also aims at the Gospel, because they too hope for and expect Him, are saved by faith in Him, being in unity with Jesus Christ … witnessed by Jesus Christ and counted with Him (Ad Philad. 5, 2). They lived according to Jesus Christ, in spirit they were His disciples and were expecting Him as their Teacher; they were persecuted for His sake and were moved by His grace (Ad Magn. 8, 2; 9, 1).[1]

It seems like it should be as simple as the way Barth puts it. It seems like the Christian should easily recognize how important the Old Testament not only was, but remains in the face (prosopon) of the risen Christ! But nothing is ever this simple in the confusion and morass that is the human complexity. Nevertheless, the clarion voice of the living Christ shines brightly through the halls of catholic and canonical history with all those with ears to hear, and eyes to see.

 

[1] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/2 §14, 75-6. The italics are Latin and Greek sections offered in the English translation.

The Evangelical Calvinist Blog is Closed. I Will Leave the Blog Up as its Own Archive: UPDATE Lol

Addendum 2: I’ve decided to come back here to blog. This blog continues to generate the type of traffic that it did before I closed it. I had full intention of quitting blogging altogether. I grow weary of social media. But I guess the reality is, is that at some level I’ll always be a hopeless blogger. So I have annulled my relationship with my new Torrance blog, and this will be the exclusive place for reading me online (as far as this sort of platform goes). Sorry for the inconvenience. But hey, I used to do this sort of stuff every few months or so. At least this time I went about ten years before I did it this time ;). 

Addendum: Alas, I’ve already started another blog project. If you’re still here, come over and subscribe to the new blog. It is called Sub Specie Torrancitatis. You can find it by Clicking HereOr alternatively, here is the full address: http://posttorrancean.wordpress.com . I explain in my first post there the rational behind starting a new blog. Even in this short week I’ve realized, once again, that having a blog is part of my DNA, at this point. It helps with my reading, and gives it some purpose other than simply being for me. Blogging fills a lacuna in my life, and the PhD may never come. My energy levels are tapped out, it seems, at just maintaining a blog (I currently work graveyard, and even now am operating on minimal and terrible sleep). Anyway, if you want to continue to read my stuff then come on over and subscribe. It will be a different experience, I think; as far as focused content on TFT. But of course, if you’ve been reading me for awhile here, you’ve gotten plenty of Torrance here as well. See you there!! 

I’ve come to the conclusion that this blog The Evangelical Calvinist has run its course. I originally started blogging in 2005, and had many other blogs prior to this one which I started in 2009. I originally started this blog as a secondary blog to focus on what Myk Habets and I were doing with Evangelical Calvinism; this blog was never intended to be my only or primary blog, but that’s what it ultimately became. In some ways I feel like my blog is holding me back from doing something new; meaning, I really want to pursue the PhD and other things, and holding onto this blog almost makes me feel locked into a past that zaps my focus that way. So part of closing the blog has to do with that. But on the other hand, blogging itself has, in my view, changed or died, relative to the function it used to have in the online world. Blogs used to have a network of other blogs it was part of, and there was a lot of helpful banter and debate that took place as a result. That has all changed, and the comments sections of almost ALL blogs has seemingly dried up; thanks to the way Twitter and Facebook has conditioned people to interact on social media (I think). Anyway, I am totally appreciative of all my faithful readers, although I don’t even know who you are because you never comment ;). But I think it really is time, this time, to retire this blog.

So what does this mean for this blog? What it means is that I will no longer be actively posting here. What it doesn’t mean is that I will delete this blog; I will never do that. This blog represents blood, sweat, and tears; it represents lots of work and lots of research. This blog will serve integral to my PhD work (whenever that happens) in the days to come. I have so many quotes and ideas embedded in the makeup of this blog that it would be ludicrous to delete it. Hopefully, even though I will no longer post here, this blog will continue to serve as a resource for folks who are looking for an alternative mood within the Reformed Christian reality.

Because I have at least eight outstanding blog book reviews I have committed to over the last couple of years I will continue to write at my Medium.com site. In fact, I will continue to write at my Medium site quite regularly. I will leave a link to that at the bottom of this post. As I have in my sidebar: ““I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” – St. Augustine cited by John Calvin. Since this is the case: I will always need a place to write and learn. Medium will serve as a nice transition place for me; it is set up more like Facebook, in a way (meaning, the like button is more of the focus rather than comments so much, although commenting is still available at Medium), with a focus on the writing itself rather than on comments so much—which fits with the way blogging itself has gone anyway.

I am sort of sad to do this, but I think it is an important step for me with hopes of transitioning to a new phase in regard to what I would like to accomplish academically in the days to come. Again, I so appreciate the faithful readership so many of you lurkers have offered me over the years. And hopefully you’ll still be able to benefit from any insights I might have as I continue to write over at Medium. So for the last time here at The Evangelical Calvinist Pax Christi and Blessings!

You can still read me over at: medium.com/@bobbygrow

Thinking About Retiring The Evangelical Calvinist

I’ve been blogging consistently since 2005, not all at this url, obviously. I’m starting to think that I might retire TEC. It isn’t as fulfilling as it once was, and I’m not even sure I have that many readers anymore. But even if I do, I’m starting to think the work of The Evangelical Calvinist might be done and over with. If I do retire TEC, I’ll still write, sometimes, over at my Medium site; which if I do retire I’ll leave a link to that here. But the reason I ever originally started TEC was to be a thematic blog that sought to offer an alternative mood of Reformed theology; alternative to Federal theology, and the more popular iterations of Calvinism found in baptistic and five pointed forms. That battle, or engagement, has seemingly been fought; at least in the theoblogosphere, and I’ve said everything I need to say about that.

Anyway, I’m contemplating.

The Idol-Mind: Barth’s Thinking on A Priori Theologies and the ‘Middle Position’

What do we know of God? Is there some sort of vestiges of God in us, such that contemplation of God is an inherent capacity built into humanity? The Great Tradition of the Church has seemingly operated with a grandiose Yes, to this question. But what about us Protestants? We say we affirm a doctrine like Total Depravity, wherein the noetic effects of the Fall are so great that there no longer remains any basis inherent to humanity to ponder God; instead, at least in some Protestant accounts, at best all we can ponder, even if we desire to ponder God, is an idol (cf. Calvin).

This issue continues to remain of great concern to me. What issue, you may ask? The issue that so called natural theology presents us with. True, many proponents of natural theology maintain that God’s Revelation and Reconciliation are still required in order to come to a real knowledge of God; but at the same time they also operate with this idea that humanity, post-lapsarian, retains a hook or moral capacity to posit God outwith Revelation. They don’t posit this in a fully Pelagain sense, but it is framed, I would contend, at best, in a semi-Pelagian frame. That is, while humanity retains this moral or intellectual capacity towards knowledge of God, these folks would also maintain than in order for knowledge of God to genuinely obtain, that (created) Grace needs to be present in the life of the positer (of God). There is a background anthropology at work here, one that emphasizes an intellectualist anthropology (as in Thomist intellectualism and Christian Aristotelianism); which helps explain why these proponents are so strongly committed to arguing for the viability of a natural theological way. Prior to this anthropology, these proponents are committed first to an Aristotelian/Thomist doctrine of God (as in Thomas’s Prima Pars). In order to maintain coherence and consistency with their commitment to a Thomist doctrine of God, and the hierarchy of being therein, they recognize that this must follow through into their respective doctrines of anthropology and soteriology.

But I don’t think the aforementioned commitments are sufficiently “Bibilical.” In other words, in Protestant form, as one committed to the Scripture Principle, and all that entails de jure, I think scriptural reality negates a slavish commitment to accounts of theological grammar that masquerade as what just is the orthodox reality of the Church of Christ. In other words, I don’t think orthodoxy, for the Protestant, requires that I simply affirm the Tradition, a priori, just because it is the Tradition. As a Protestant my rule of faith is not Church Tradition, but instead, it is Jesus Christ; or the biblical reality. In this alternative frame, then, if I read Scripture without these prior commitments what comes through on a prima facie reading is the reality that ‘no one seeks after God, nor desires to do so’ (cf. Rom. 3). What stands out is that without Revelation there is no genuine knowledge of God possible (cf. Gal. 1; Acts 8 etc.).

Karl Barth appreciates all of this better than anyone else I know. I maintain that there can be no such thing as a ‘natural theology’ precisely because I maintain that there is nothing natural about God. God is super and supranatural, as such any knowledge of Him will be fully contingent upon Him. Knowledge of God will not have any a priori bases in hidden moral capacities latent in the intellects of an abstract humanity; to think such only means that the persons who engage in such abstract positing about God can only be one thing: self-projection. If there is no basis in humanity for knowledge of God, and yet individual humans (even collectively) believe otherwise, then what notion of God are they conjuring if in fact they attempt to so conjure? Genesis 3 narrates this:

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Men and women did not gain a knowledge of God through eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; no, instead they gained a knowledge of their navels—thus recognizing their exposure before God, but only as He first walked among them. Men and women in their ‘natural’ (or lapsed) status, according to Scripture, only have a knowledge of themselves (homo in se incurvatus); as such, it requires God to come down to humanity and pull people out of their navels into the nave of God’s inner life as that is Revealed in Reconciliation in and through His Self-givenness in Jesus Christ. Any attempt to circumvent this way can only leave us in a place of self-projecting, if in fact we attempt to think God at all.

Barth concurs with more eloquence as he writes the following:

The inner necessity of the theological method employed in Holy Scripture and demanded by it can be made clear by following out the contrary method to its consequences. To characterise the latter in terms of the arbitrariness by which man takes liberties with God is hardly sufficient. This arbitrariness is itself obviously just a symptom of a very peculiar opinion which man has formed about himself, about God and about his own attitude to God. In the usual critical way, he thinks that he can set himself over against God as partner and opposite number. He therefore thinks that God and His revelation belong to the sphere of his own capacity, since by revealing Himself God does something which man can foresee and anticipate in its content as well as in its form. To a certain extent God is doing His duty in revealing Himself to man; and, moreover, it is His duty to reveal Himself to man precisely in a way which the latter can foresee and anticipate, and on the basis of such foresight and anticipation understand and appreciate. It belongs to man that God is and is free for him, and so becomes manifest to him. Thus that arbitrariness of his is quite in order. Because of his self-awareness he is also aware of what it must mean if God reveals Himself to him. he should and must measure the so-called revelations that meet him—so many encounter him claiming to be revelation—by the measure of himself, of his thoughts about what is appropriate to God and salutary for man. If this view is valid, that God is originally as bound to man as man is to God, the view that God is not the free Lord, His revelation not free mercy, the fact of His revelation not the presupposition, freely created by Him, of all our thought and language about it—if all this is valid, then arbitrariness must have its place, and the objection that such arbitrariness is illegitimate will be quite incomprehensible. The will it not rather be praised as a fine gift of God Himself and used with the appropriate assurance? But behind this view does there not still lurk something quite different? In the speculative, apriori-aposteriori, critical thought and language about God and man, as it reached predominance in Protestant theology in the period of Leibniz, should there really be only a relation of parity between God and man? Should we rather not posit here a relation of superiority in favour of man? Such thought and language may of course be embellished and justified by the edifying reflection that, to enable man to know Him, God has permanently planted Himself in man’s heart. Yet we are bound to agree with L. Feuerbach in his objection to theology, that the essence of such thought and language consists practically in man creating God for himself after his own image. No doubt this also may be interpreted as a work of serious, sincere piety. But in that case piety must mean a profound meditation by man on himself, a discovery of his inmost agreement with his own intimate and essential being, a disclosure, affirmation and realisation of the entelechy of his I-ness, which constantly asserts itself in natural and historical form, in joy and sorrow, in good and evil, in guilt and reconciliation, in truth and error, and which ought to be addressed as a divine being. The contrast between the conditioning of man by God and that of God by man now becomes, secondary, colourless and unimportant. Are the two not the same thing? Is not the objection brought against the arbitrariness of man quite futile? Have we not control of God, because we have control of ourselves, control of ourselves because we have control of God? Can the second view be avoided, once we have admitted the first?

It is not necessary to pursue these conclusions to their full limit, if the significance and basis of the other method is to become equally manifest. It is not necessary to go so far as to deny the objective reality of revelation, which is apparently the ultimate goal of this other method. It is a long way to Feuerbach from the “reasonable” or “mild” orthodoxy, which consciously and systematically used this method for the first time two hundred yean [sic] ago. But the continuity of the way cannot be disputed. That must open our eyes to the fact, should we fail to see it otherwise, that the way of the prophets and apostles right from the start is quite a different way.[1]

Earlier I referred us to a late medieval iteration of natural theology, and its reception by Post Reformation Reformed orthodoxy; at least in certain situations. Barth refers us to natural theology’s development in the Leibnizian period of thought; but I would contend that there is corollary between the two, at an intellectual level. Albeit the former is a confessional form of natural theology, while the latter becomes a deconfessionalized form; the distinction being on the plane and role that revelation itself plays in the development of the natural theological method and certain conclusions. But at a summary level, I contend, that all natural theology starts on the same plane; all natural theology starts on the premise that there is latent moral capacity in humanity that gives them the capacity to posit God at some level.

Along with Karl Barth, and the Bible, I maintain that such positing about God can only and always be a mode of self-projection and idol-manufacturing.

 

[1] Karl Barth, CD I/1 §13.

The Theme of Road to Emmaus, Resurrection, and New Creation: A Critique of Barth’s Conception of Resurrection and the Eschaton

The Road to Emmaus has to be my favorite setting and theme in the whole of the Bible; other than Revelation 21–22. So when I come across studies that engage with this theme I am always enthralled by it. I just finished Edwin Chr. van Driel’s book Incarnation Anyway (an excellent study and read!). Because I am severely time-pressed I won’t be able to adequately engage with the critique he offers of Barth on resurrection, but I at least wanted to share a short revealing passage of the way van Driel’s critique works. Full disclosure: I agree with van Driel in regard to his critique of Barth’s conception of time and how that implicates a doctrine of resurrection and new creation. Indeed, this is the theme I am so enthralled by; i.e. New Creation! After much prior development, here is, in a nutshell, van Driel’s critique of Barth and the idea of resurrection as it functions in Barth’s theology of time and recreation:

Eschatological human beings are thus embodied creatures—Christ as the firstborn, than, in the general resurrection, followed by all others. If this is true, it will not do to say, as Barth does, that the being of Jesus Christ was perfect and complete by the time of his death, and that resurrection and ascension are no more than the revelation of Christ as the man he had been. Nor will it do, as Barth’s recapitulation model does, to conceptualize eschatological consummation as the preservation of the lived life, instead of the continuation of the creature’s temporal life. Embodiment implies a continuation of time. Bodily actions are, essentially, temporal events. Breaking bread, eating a fish, embracing a friend—these are actions that cannot take place in a timeless existence. Further, a life that still unfolds in time cannot be called completed. Therefore, Christ’s being, Christ’s life and identity cannot be presented as completed by the time of his death, nor can the resurrection be analyzed as solely a revelation of a life lived. A completed life has no future, but Christ does. A life lived no longer participates in time, but Christ does. The recapitulation model needs to be rejected: it falters on the embodied nature of the resurrected One. The eschaton is not the conservation of a life definitively ended by death. Instead, the eschaton is the harvesting of a new life; a life born out of the old as the crop is born out of the seed.[1]

As I noted, we won’t have time to address the technicalities that van Driel has treated in a much fuller and developed form; prior to this critique. But suffice it to say, I think van Driel is right to critique Barth on this front. Don’t worry, I still love Barth; but I don’t want to read anyone uncritically.

In summary: Barth thinks things in terms of an actualist and completed event; including Christ’s parousia. When applied to certain doctrines this does things to them; sometimes I find it helpful and beneficial for the theological task, other times I do not. The point van Driel is raising contra Barth is a point at which I think Barth’s theology falters indeed. I think actualism, by-and-large, is the better way to go; I think Barth’s “post-metaphysical” narratival mode (attempting to think things as narrated in the history of salvation as attested by Holy Scripture) is still the better bend we can take in the road of theological methodology. But at certain points I think we must demur; or at least I must.

[1] Edwin Chr. van Driel, Incarnation Anyway: Arguments for Supralapsarian Christology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 148-47.

Some Positive Theses on Theological Blogging; And Some Lamenting on Its Current State

I wanted to register a few theses on why I think theological blogging is still the better and more viable alternative to other forms of social media (Facebooking, Tweeting, etc.) when engaging in organic theological conversation.

  • Theological blogging fits well with the reformation concept of The Priesthood of All Believers. In other words, just as this principle fit with the practice of translating the Bible into the vernacular for all Christians; so too, theological blogs open the doors for all Christians to engage in thoughtful and reflective theological machination in the context of the broad gamut of various other Christians and their respective traditions.
  • Theological blogging offers the space required for meaningful theological discussion to occur (V Facebook and Twitter which only allow for soundbyted pearls that are prone to misunderstanding, and don’t have the capacity to draw people into a deeper reflection and sustained thought, per se).
  • Theological blogging, as a subset of blogging in general, has a greater preponderance for promoting free thought; just because blogs and their hosts have a greater distance from each other (meaning less editorial oversight by the hosts — like we get on Twitter and Facebook).
  • Theological blogging has the potential (now mostly lost, but it’s still there) to provide for networks of people coming together to form other networks with other people, thus providing ferment for a cross-pollination of ideas that outwith would not happen.
  • Theological blogging is populated by people who voluntarily engage in theological reflection, and is made up by people who want to engage in this sort of discussion and reflection. This is not the case, especially with Facebook (but also with Twitter), since it is made up of people who are there for a variety of reasons; and around a variety of shared or unshared commitments. Theological blogging doesn’t have this disadvantage. The people bloggers encounter, via comments, and other blogs within their chosen network[s] (in my case, theology) are people who by definition want to share in the same sort of discussion you are seeking to promote, provoke, or foster.
  • Theological blogging is a perfect place, particularly if you are engaged in academic theological writing, for floating various projects, theses for dissertations or books so on and so forth.
  • Theological blogging is a place where you can learn while you write and write while you learn.
  • Theological blogging allows a place for the theological writer to mature as a writer. Blogging allows for freedom in the writing process where an organicism can blossom, while at the same time a discipline can be cultivated.
  • Ideally, theological blogging promotes real life discussion, such that people comment, and the author the blog gets almost immediate feedback to their ideas. This can be a fruitful process, and a place where, again, maturation, in a variety of ways can take place.
  • Theological blogging is a place where education can happen. In other words, because of the variety of potential interlocutors in the blogosphere, there is a mixing and meshing of various education backgrounds and experience. As such, beginners can be pushed by veterans, and veterans can be pushed by beginners in the communicative and pedagogical process and development.

I just noted, on Twitter, that I think theological blogging is largely dead. Tim Challies responded thusly:

I tend to think that if anything is killing blogs, it’s people saying that blogs are dead. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the meantime, tons of people are still doing it and many more are taking up the craft…

I don’t agree with, Tim. My intent was to note the way blogging has changed. I’m not suggesting that blogging no longer represents an online presence. But I am suggesting that blogging, relative to its heydays, is indeed DEAD. In my theses above I touched upon some of the hallmarks that USED to make blogging a lively endeavor; most of that is gone. People no longer comment, for example; not just on my blog, but on some of the most popular blogs. Regular church people no longer have blogs, unfortunately; when in fact, in my experience, these were the folks who made up most of the theological blogs out there—I would suggest that it is this demographic that has largely given up blogging and migrated to Facebook (not Twitter).

Blogging used to be an enjoyable thing. For me it has mostly become a die-hard practice that I have been cultivating since 2005, and am unwilling to give up; precisely because of its positives as I’ve highlighted in my aforementioned theses. I will always continue to maintain a blog, again, because I think it has the values I’ve already mentioned. Even taking away much of the culture of the blogosphere, and it has been taken away relative to its past iterations, I still see value in blogging. Like I have posted in my sidebar:

“I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” – St. Augustine cited by John Calvin

Contra Challies, there is nothing self-fulfilling about stating that blogging is largely dead; not when, in fact vis-à-vis its past, it is dead! Blogging has changed, and I would argue much of that has been driven by the onset of a new demographic (millennials, yes, I’ll blame the millennials again) entering the world at large. They are used to quicker engagement, and have been weaned on Twitter, Snapchat, Instragram, and other like social media. Blogging in such a context seems too slow and archaic for this sort of psyche. I’m hopeful that blogs might have a revival, but as it stands now I don’t really see that happening. I mean, sure, people still read blogs, but it is not the same dynamic as before. Things have changed in the blogosphere, and it isn’t for the better in my view.