Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dogmatics in Outline

    The academic title and the no frills cover disguise what has to be one of the most beautiful explanations of the Apostles’ Creed I’ve ever read.  Through this series of lectures delivered by German professor and theologian Karl Barth in the summer of 1946, the reader is taken into the mysteries discussed in the Apostles’ Creed, or the “Christian Confession,” as Barth refers to it.  
      So often we place limits on God, based on our own limitations and prejudices, on the narrowness of our own minds, and then we get stuck spiritually, unable to break free from the jail cell we’ve created.   Dogmatics in Outline often made me feel as if my mind and soul were expanding as I read it.  The bars of the jail cell I’ve constructed over the years were being bent back or even broken in half.

  Another time I was acutely aware of this sort of epiphany-like occurrence while reading was when I took a Philosophy of Religion course many years ago.
     Though I know God is much bigger than humans can ever explain or fathom, Barth’s explication of the Creed helps to emphasize the magnitude of the Lord, that has been and always will be well beyond our grasp.   Through a close examination of the words of the Creed and how they are developed through Scripture, the reader is given an opportunity to comprehend on more ethereal and visceral levels a prayer and confession of faith that sums up the most significant aspects of Christianity.   
     My mom raved about Karl Barth's Dogmatics in Outline, one of the books that she was assigned to read for one of her Master’s courses.  She liked it so much that she gave both my sister and me copies of the book this past Christmas.  For a number of reasons, God’s seen fit to inspire me to read certain books at the right time, so that’s why I didn’t pick up this one until May. 
     I highly recommend this book to Christians everywhere.  I feel quite certain the lyrical quality of the language and the vastness of God’s Power and Presence will draw you in, make you think, and lead you to a deeper life of prayer, preaching, and living out the Gospel.
     For more information or to order a copy of this masterpiece, click here.
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