The Search For A Pentecostal Structure In Systematic Theology

The Search For A Pentecostal Structure In Systematic Theology

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57 The Search for a Pentecostal Structure in Systematic David R. Nichols * This article is an attempt Systematic which Pentecostals serve. pastors, Theologies Pentecostal perspective. best, Theology to set forth an approach to will serve the interests of existing systems cannot professors, Theology in a way which modified The normal procedure for Pentecostal and layperso.ns has been to adapt the Systematic of theologians like Hodge, Shedd, and Strong to a The fruit of this enterprise has been, at a mixed bag. It is the opinion of this writer that the Pentecostal movement is now at a stage of maturity and depth that it may discover and set forth its own ontology, and hermeneutic, and thereby construct a proper of the name Pentecostal. and Aristotelian ontologies I find myself identifying with a middle path between so epistemology, Systematic Theology, worthy In struggling with the Platonic and their Christian Karl Barth, who attempted dialectics and analogy can be a starting point Barth certainly attempted God. counterparts, to pursue of being. I believe that the work of Barth for Pentecostal theologians because to understand the “otherness” of the work of Barth as it is Theology, and then will germane proceed wheat This article will begin by tracing to Pentecostal Systematic to build on the foundation that remains after sifting the from the chaff. Our treatment of Barth will not be as as such works as The New Modernism, Karl Barth, by Tillich) has developed through by comprehensive Cornelius Van Til, or The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of G. C. Berkouwer because our purpose is to use Barth as a springboard into Theology, utilizing his strengths. and avoiding his weaknesses. A Pentecostal Systematic Theology is necessary for a number of different reasons, a crucial one being the present ultimate concern of mankind. The ultimate concern of mankind (Paul the existential despair of the 1920s and 1930s into a quasi-spiritual quest in the 1970s and 1980s. The average person on the street in 1984 is not nearly as certain that there are no angels, no demons, or no God as was in 1924. The task, then, is to develop a which is capable of carrying the freight of the spiritual reality of Pentecost and which can stand on its own two feet, biblically, historically, and philosophically. This article is a first step in this direction. The approach is not definitive. his or her counterpart Systematic Theology suggestive, 1 58 Part One – An Analysis of the Method(s) of Karl Barth Barth’s Theological Roots It may safely be said that our understanding of Karl Barth will only be as good as our understanding of his background. Therefore, the methodology of this section will consist in an examination of Barth’s heritage through an analysis of Barth’s writings, in order to allow him to speak for himself. Barth reaches back into the Enlightenment to grasp the “new humanism” embodied in the person of Gottfried W. Leibnitz This man’s teachings, for Barth, are the epitome of eighteenth century understanding. The doctrines of human monad, the concordance of human beings with nature, and the harmony between cause and effect all display the robust opinion of human goodness which prevailed in these times.2 Barth’s critique of these beliefs is that they are a triumphal, humanistic Stoicism, and more “sublime” than that of ancient Greece.3 He sees Leibnitz as the shaper of future Christian theology. The result of the blending of Leibnitz’ views into theology was a humanization of the task of theology. Barth sees this humanization as “the incorporation of God into the sphere of sovereign human awareness. “4 This incorporation took place in four major realms, the most important of which is the individual and inwardness. This individual incorporation of God, for Barth, was Pietism, the religious equivalent of secular individualism.5 It is here that Barth’s presentation is weakest, since he follows almost uncritically the view of F. C. Baur and A. Ritschl against the view that Pietism was a further extension of the Reformation. That Barth and I should disagree on this point is not totally un-expected, since he is a devout Calvinist (of sorts) and I am a child of Arminian Pietism. Nevertheless, the interests of truth would be better served if Barth would pursue a middle path between these two extremes. Barth’s critique of Pietism6 does not get him where he wants to be. He wants to show that the elevation of man directly caused Pietism, therefore, Pietism was a major contributor to Schleiermacher’s nineteenth century with its high-man/ low-God theology. There have always been extreme cases by which one may illustrate the aberrations of Pietism, however, most Pietists did not see themselves as deserving of God’s mercy. They saw themselves as wretched sinners saved in a personal experience of Divine grace. The Pietists had a high view of man after the experience of grace.7 Barth’s critique suffers from a failure on his part to understand this. 2 showing revelation real being For this 59 on the eighteenth century by In the thought and century. Here Barth finds God, through reason. of reason by reason the and rightly, humanity Barth examines of thought man as the measure Barth concludes rightly has set itself up against historical Word made flesh.’° are Barth also gives us a viewpoint the influence of its major philosophers. of Rousseau, Barth sees the formerly discordant reason at peace in the basic spirit-nature of many the concern of Barth leaps out at us in these words. it was not first necessary that the word “God” should take on a new sound. It was enough that the word “Man” had now for the first time acquired its full, whole tone. Far from contradicting the theological absolutism of its time, Rousseau’s doctrine was meant to convey a demand that this theology should at last understand itself i.e. truly understood man as one who in his true can also command the true God.9 Kant in order to understand further the flow toward the nineteenth of things, including that Kant’s critique a revealed positive religion, authority of the Bible, and the historical event of the All these are “only relatively measured by pure reason. There is no question that Barth views Hegel as the perfector of the Enlightenment. This is so because he gave a satisfactory conclusion to the conflict between reason and revelation.” I sense was not acceptable a second source of knowledge, apart from itself. “The idea of mind is this: to be the unity human nature…. The divine nature itself is but Revelation in its classical because it posited thought thinking of divine and this: to be the Absolute the divine not acceptable necessary development and the human/ divine necessary” to Hegel heritage principle Barth, divinity Mind, that is to say, to be the unity of and human nature.”‘2 Hegel’s psychological God is to Barth, but he sees Hegel’s contribution as a in our understanding of Schleiermacher nineteenth century. The self-confident, transcendent nature of Hegel’s thought was one way of dealing with the “mature” eighteenth-century philosophy. In Schleiermacher we shall see a quite different synthesis. In the person of Schleiermacher, Barth sees the dawning of a new age in theology. Certainly the foundation had been laid in the Enlightenment, but Schleiermacher soared above his with his theology of feeling or awareness. The formal and material principle of this theology, according to are one and the same, namely, “Christian pious self- awareness contemplates and describes itself. “‘ Barth’s critique of Schleiermacher rests upon the latter’s starting point in the of the Holy Spirit. Barth acknowledges that 3 60 Schleiermacher admits a second center of theology, namely, the divinity of the Logos. 14 But, Barth goes on to establish, that the Holy Spirit did not provide the center of theology for the Reformers. Barth implies here that the Spirit as the center of theology provides an invalid basis. Here Barth betrays his own interest in this matter, for in most of his life, he was intent on showing the distance between God and man, not their similarity. Nevertheless, Pentecostals may learn from this powerful example that neither the Person nor the action of the Holy Spirit can be the center of a proper Theology. In Barth’s critique of Schleiermacher, we see his argument against all forms of rationalism. In critiquing Schleiermacher, Barth was calling to judgment the a priori, the methods, the ontologies of all nineteenth century theology. When Barth reacted against nineteenth century liberalism, he was reacting against his own personal heritage. The following quotations make this clear. The nineteenth century brought with it many deviations from Schleiermacher, and many protests against him; often his ideas were distorted to the he point of unrecognizability, and was often overlooked and forgotten. But in the theological field it was nevertheless his century. After describing all sorts of curves, both great and small, it none the less always returned to him. His influence did not decrease, it increased as time went on, and his views established themselves more in 1910 than in 1830, when people outside the closest circle of his acquaintances had no hesitation in naming him in the same breath with theologians like Daub, Marheineke, Bretschneider and others like them. 15 Barth’s Reaction What event could have the power to shake Barth loose from his background and education in nineteenth-century liberalism? In answer to this it is best to let Barth again speak for himself. One day in early August 1914 stands out in my personal memory as a black day. Ninety-three German intellectuals impressed public opinion by their proclamation in of the war of Wilhelm II and his counselors. support policy Among these intellectuals I discovered to my horror almost all of my theological teachers whom I had greatly venerated. In despair over what this indicated about the of the time I suddenly realized that I could not signs any longer follow either their ethics and dogmatics or their understanding of the Bible and of history. For me at least, 19th-century theology no longer held any future. For many, if not for most people 4 theology represented by only 61 this theology did not become again what it had been, once the waters of the flood descending upon us at that time had somewhat receded. Everything has its time. Evangelical in the true spirit and style of the 19th century continued to exist and some vestiges still remain. But in its former wholeness it is a cause which today is a significantly few. This is not to say that we do not owe it our most serious attention for our own sake and for the sake of the future. But it remains true that the history of this theology had its beginnings, its various peaks, and then also its end The moral and ethical nature was confronted theology usually of conversion, of Karl Barth, it seems, could as he Adolf von and actual evil of human century. century theology century theology. 18 not allow him to continue in the path of Schleiermacher with the realities of World War I. When we add to this the fact that it was his great former professor, Harnack who drafted the German Kaisar’s appeal to the people in 1914,’? it becomes easier to understand Barth’s reaction. So it was the very real potential nature which caused the demise of Schleiermacher’s Thus, 1914 is the ending date of nineteenth just as it is the beginning date for twentieth At this point we would do well to clarify what Barth means when he refers to “Evangelical” theology. In America, “Evangelical” refers to those who believe in a crisis experience born again, those who hold a high view of the authority and who live a life separated from “the world,” some sense. For Barth, the European, this word means someone the tradition of the Reformation, especially as seen from the perspective of John Calvin. Evangelical theology is “the science and doctrine of the commerce and communion Scripture, who is in between God and man, informed described in terms of being of in . “evangelical” thought. Barth’s reaction developments Romans, first published the two previous centuries and man together, Barth’s comment on Romans as heard in Holy Scripture,.”‘9 must be kept in mind as we proceed by the gospel of Jesus Christ This broader use of the term in Barth’s theology in all its The Epistle to the in mind the labor of Chaos has to Schleiermacher’s is seen most clearly in his work, in 1918. Bearing which attempted either to bring God or to make man out to be God, let us observe 1:28-31. Here is the final vacuity and disintegration. found itself, and anything may happen. The atoms whirl, the struggle for existence rages. Even reason itself becomes irrational. Ideas of duty and of fellowship become wholly 5 62 unstable. The world is full of personal caprice and social unrighteousness-this is not a picture merely of Rome under the Caesars! The true nature of our unbroken existence is here unrolled before us. Our ungodliness and unrighteousness stand under the wrath of God. His judgment now becomes judgment and nothing more; and we experience the impossibility of men as the real and final impossibility of God.10 Leibnitz and his “best of all possible worlds” and Schleier- macher with his spiritual capacity of the human soul, here stand in judgment under the pen of Barth! In Barth’s view they stand condemned by the Apostle Paul himself, whom Barth has exegeted.21 Barth’s view of natural man is striking enough, but it is no more pronounced than his doctrine of sin. His comment on Romans 3:23 is luminous. . All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. Here is exposed the cause of the dissolution of every distinction. The remarkable union is attested by a remarkable separation. There is no positive possession of men which is sufficient to provide a foundation for human solidarity; for moral every positive possession-religious temperament, consciousness, humanitarianism-already contains within itself the seed of the disruption of society. These positive factors are productive of difference, since one they distinguish men from another. Genuine is grounded upon a negative: it is grounded fellowship upon what men lack. Precisely when we recognize that we are sinners do we perceive that we are brothers. Our solidarity with other men is alone adequately grounded, when with others-or apart from them, since we may not wait for them!-we stretch out beyond everything that we are and have, and behold the wholly problematical character of our present condition. Men fall short of the glory of God.22 How crass of Barth to suggest that human goodness can never be the basis for human solidarity! How rude of him to state that human solidarity is correctly based only when we reach out to the transcendent God who is above and beyond us! Yet this is the message which the world of 1918 and 1921 was ready to hear. Barth’s view of man’s natural ability becomes even clearer in his essay “NO!”, which is a response to Emil Brunners’ article on “Nature and Grace”. It is an intriguing fact that both men quote John Calvin against the other in support of their respective positions. In this discussion, Brunner’s thesis is that 6 63 the material image of God in man is totally lost, but that the of God remains and provides a point of contact On the other hand, Barth’s thesis is that man formal image for Divine grace.23 has lost any and all points of contact and is totally dependent upon Divine grace.24 It appears to be the case that Barth more correctly represents the Reformer. However, the question here is not so much of the inner unity of Calvin’s thought as it is of theological method. Barth, at this point, stands squarely in the dialectical methodology, with God holy and transcendent over against an estranged and sinful humanity. Brunner, on the other hand, is at least leaning toward the method of analogia entis. Here humanity has something to offer to God. Barth’s emotional response to Brunner reveals that he will yield no ground to anything which smacks of the Enlightenment faith/ reason/ revelation unity. We must observe at this point that Barth speaks very little about metaphysical terminology. He is more concerned with the pastoral side of the theological question.25 Nevertheless, we must ask of Barth’s methods the same questions which have been asked of theological method down through the centuries. Barth’s early success grew out of his dialectical approach to the man-God question. The Platonic ontology of estrangement was Barth’s ontology. Of course it was not paganly Platonic, merely Platonic in the philosophical sense,26 But, Barth did not employ the dialectic in the normal transcendence/ immanence dichotomy as is usually done. Rather, he employed dialectics radically, as a corrective to a theological climate in which. Protestant theology was rotting on the vine. The year 1914 was not the time to “speak peace to one’s neighbor.” Barth saw his task as one of awakening his neighbor from slumber, and in this task he was effective. Von Balthasar provides a lucid exposition of Barth’s view of dialectics in the following remarks. For Barth, Revelation raised the elementary question of type and form in theology. He wanted not only to say something proper about the content of Revelation, but also to convey the stupendousness of the dramatic event being unfolded. Here the style is a necessary ingredient of the truth of what is being said, and the style that Barth chose is dialectic in two ways. First of all, it resembles Kierkegaardian dialectics, focusing on the “infinite qualitative difference,” and high- lighting the aseity of God. It uses every means to set God and the creatures off from one another by picturing the holiness of God in all its loftiness and the sinfulness of the creature in all its lowliness. 7 64 This brand of dialectics was rediscovered in the hectic ‘ . Barth’s years following World War I, in the era of expressionism. This partly explains Barth’s second edition of the Epistle to the Romans. In methodology, it is theological expression- ism. The problem, as Barth put it so is this: “Is any word of mine the Word, the one I am eloquently, looking for, the one which I, in my distress and longing, would like to utter? Can I speak without having one word cancel out the other Transition of the . early It would be a mistake to assume that an understanding Barth will carry us through his entire life. The radical dialectic which was so important in Der Romerbrief gradually came to be tempered. A shift occurred in Barth’s thinking between 1922 and 1932 which led him much closer to analogy as a theological method.28 During this decade Barth became obsessed with throwing off the “shackles” of philosophy and metaphysics in a search for pure Christian dogmatics. It is well known that Barth made an attempt at a major systematic theology in 1927 called Chrisiliche Dogmatik im Entwurf. He abandoned the project when he realized that he had not found the key to a free dogmatics. Persistent man that he was, Barth’continued pushing forward, and discovered in Anselm’s proofs of God, what he needed. In his book Anselm: Fides Quaerens Intellectum he set forth his discovery.29 We must observe that Barth’s newly-discovered analogy is not the analogia entis, which Barth considered to be “the invention of the Antichrist.” Von Balthazor correctly states that Barth sought “a third level, a middle ground, between God’s eternal truth and man’s religious opinions.3? Barth finally realized this objective in the analogia fide. Barth described his formulation in the following way. . In man’s profession of faith, God’s Word becomes man’s thought and man’s word. The dissimilarity is total, but there is not a total strangeness between them. The human counterpart of the divine prototype is a real counterpart.31 Barth adopted another essential feature of his method about this same time. Christology for’ him became the controlling motif of all theology. Continuation with Him can proceed only from a specific beginning with Him, i.e., from a christological foundation in the narrower sense. This has been our procedure in the two first parts of the doctrine, and it must be so now, not for the sake of systematic consistency, but because there is no alternative.32 8 The Nlature Barth Since “there is no alternative,” re-interpreting This he did in the volumes interested again center for Theology, Christomonism, analogy, higher example capable of been overemphasized Unmistakably principal 65 Barth’s task became that of a radical Christology. Dogmatics. Barth was of Chalcedon.33 Here is a proper point of of God at that time from the all of theology through of Church in affirming the Christology Pentecostals can learn from Barth. Chrstology but we cannot go to the as many critics believe Barth did. We may safely say that with his shift from dialectics to Barth started on a path which inevitably led him to a view of man than that with which he started out (for in Der Romerbrief). In Barth’s later thought, man is faith in response to the Divine Revelation.34 In his later writings Barth admitted that the deity of God had in earlier times. for us the humanity moved from the center to the periphery, clause to the less emphasized subordinate clause. I should indeed have been some- what embarrassed if one had invited me to speak on the humanity of God-say in the year 1920, the year in which I stood up in this hall against my great Adolf von Harnack. We should have evil implications with it.35 emphasized teacher, suspected we were not occupied He sought to correct humanity of God. this over-emphasis man . whole stock of those which creatures, ledgment in this topic. In any case by asserting the and possibilities to him, and likewise The acknow- ‘ From the fact that God is human in the sense described, there follows first of all a quite definite distinction of as such. It is a distinction of every being which bears the human countenance. This includes the capacities are in part common to man and to other and in part peculiar man’s work and his productions. of this distinction has nothing to do with an optimistic judgment of man. It is due him because he the being whom not otherwise. But just because God is human in this sense, it is actually due man and not be denied him through any pessimistic whatever its basis.36 is covenant-partner, may judgment, God willed to exalt as His ‘ 9 66 Even though he had moved along the theological spectrum considerably, he still expressed the theological problem as having “to derive the knowledge of the humanity of God from the knowledge of His deity.”31 It is questionable, however, whether we can arrive at a “complete” understanding of God in this way. Barth leaves room for future development when he says, “… the change in which we are now engaged cannot be the last word. That, however, may become the concern of another generation. “38 The significance of Karl Barth for modern theology can hardly be overemphasized. His attempt to pursue a “middle ground” between dialectics and analogy of being was not entirely successful. Nevertheless, it stands as an importnat “jumping-off place” for additional theologizing to be done. In Part Two of this article, we will attempt to move forward, leaving behind Barth’s failures, and using his strengths to understand further, God and man. Part Two – Beyond Barth Toward the End of the Twentieth Century In this section we will attempt to suggest a suitable ontology for Pentecostal Systematic Theology in the last quarter of the twentieth century. It will be based upon Barth as he is based in Kierkegaard, and upon Kierkegaard as he is developed by Martin Heinecken. History: Karl Barth and Soren Kierkegaard We may demonstrate that we are making valid use of Barth by extracting from his earlier (dialectical) writings and from his later (analogical) works, as well. Our object of concern runs through the work of Barth from beginning to end. I know that I have laid myself open to the charge of imposing a meaning upon the text rather than extracting its meaning from it, and that my method implies this. reply a My is that, if I have system, it is limited to a recognition of what Kierkegaard called the “infinite between time and qualitative distinction” eternity, and to my regarding this as possessing negative as well as positive significance: “God is in heaven, and thou art on earth.” The relation between such a God and such a man, and the relation between such a man and such a God, is for me the theme of the Bible and the essence of philosophy.39 Kierkegaard’s “infinite qualitative distinction” between time and eternity is at the heart of our concern here. Our concern is 10 67 to understand it as best we possibly can and then communicate it to contemporary man. Possibly, an ontology of sorts will become apparent. It is necessary to quote Barth again, however, to extract his view of knowledge and history. . We cannot impress upon ourselves too strongly that in the language of the Bible knowledge (yada, gignoskein) does not mean the acquisition of neutral inform-ation, which can be expressed in statements, principles and systems, concerning a being which confronts man, nor does it mean entry into contemplation of a being which exists beyond the passive or history phenomenal world. What it really means is the process in which man, certainly observing and thinking, using his senses, intelligence and imagination, but also his will, action, and “heart,” and therefore as whole man, becomes aware of another history which in the first instance encounters him as an alien history from without, and becomes aware of it in such a compelling 40 way that he cannot be neutral towards it. What is this “alien history,” this “other history” which confronts mankind? How is it related to the “infinite qualitative distinction”? We turn now to these questions, fully aware of Kierkegaard as the father of modern existentialism. We are also fully aware that Barth tried to shed this orientation. Existentialism is valid for us only as it is in agreement with Scripture, God’s Word to man. In this ontology, Revelation is accomplished in Christ, and Revelation is also accomplished in the Scriptures. The Task of Theology in the Last Quarter of the Twentieth Century Any theology we may produce must be couched in terms which are understandable to contemporary people. This does not mean that human concerns shape the content of the message. Rather the message is presented, intact and whole, in a package which can be understood. Of course, no package can exhaust the possibilities of an infinite God, but this is to speak from the perspective of deity, while we are human. When we speak about God, we speak by proxy, as His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, not as Deity ourselves. This is the scandal of theology, God allowing Himself, the infinite One, to be spoken of and written of by finite human beings. Barth comes close to denying this when he says: “Our problem is this: to derive the knowledge ` of the humanity of God from the knowledge of His diety”4’ 11 68 What kind of creature is this twentieth century man whom we are attempting to address? He is still concerned about existence (Kierkegaard, Heidegger, etc.), but this concern has been filtered through the nihilism and narcissism of the mid- twentieth century. This contemporary man somehow knows himself to be a spiritual entity of some kind (contra Barth), so he indulges in large-scale pseudo-spirituality: alcoholism, drugs, Eastern religions, etc. In 1982, for example, nearly eight million Americans visited occult bookstores.42 This groping about in spiritual darkness is a spiritual reality, albeit a negative one. The living message of Christ is that this spiritually darkened man can be brought into the light of fellowship with Christ, that is, positive spiritual reality. In order to explicate this transition, modern Christian theology must operate in an ontology which is capable of carrying this freight. The need of our time is for a theology to be constructed from the basis of . dimensions, for this is how modern man is thinking. A “Spiritual” Ontology Kierkegaard and Barth have given us the starting point for an ontology of a spiritual dimension. In this ontology God is “located” in another dimension, beyond our three dimensional world. This fourth dimension, which interpenetrates all matter, than them as rational thought space, and time is as much greater . is greater than a stone. If one begins using philosophical terms and speaks in terms of transcendence, this must be explained as certainly not meaning a spatial transcendence-that God is way off somewhere outside of this world of space and time. This word “outside” is itself a spatial term. “Transcendence” means that God is not at all spatial and It means that God is without beginning and temporal. end, neither confined to time and place nor spread out in it. He is other than all this. Yet his “otherness” does not consist, as should already have been clear from the above, merely in his “transcendence.” Otherness means not it means transcendence only tran- scendence, but plus immanence. It is precisely this that constitutes the mystery. God is immanent in everything, yet he is by no means to be identified with it. What this means can be apprehended in part by speaking of a ‘dimensional beyondness.’ God is in a different dimension from ours.43 Both Kirkegaard and Barth are well known for being Christian- izers of Plato,44 or at least, for speaking from the Platonic concept of estrangement. The spiritual ontology shares this heritage with them, and with as well. But the spiritual ontology 12 problems by being 69 apart from Christ only as he avoid the perennial Platonic that sees man as estranged, fragmented, participates with sin and death in Adam. How will the spiritual ontology of pure-spirit and evil matter? By understanding “other” God is not outside the world of time, space, and matter. In our world of space the horizontal dimension must be as different from the vertical. For something that is spread out in only one dimension on a horizontal plane this would mean certain absolute limitations. A creature absolutely depth living on such a plane could have no awareness of height or and such phenomena would not even be conceivable. Yet the moment you add a second or third dimension these dimensions interpenetrate. The vertical dimension crosses the horizontal at every point and is yet not to be identified with it. The multiple-dimensional creature, moreover, has a greater flexibility and has access to what so absolutely “transcends” it. The same would be true of the difference between so-called inanimate, the merely extended in time and space, and that to which there is added the other dimension of spirit, not confined to time and space.45 Thus, matter is not evil, by the Creator it is good, being God. eternally interpenetrated The God of this other dimension could not then be confused with the electro-chemical eternity away by passed, energy that pervades This God in his our universe, but he would be its ground. could not be confused with endlessly drawn out time. Even if eternity is described by saying that there is as diamond mountain higher than Mt. Everest against which a hummingbird lightly brushes a silken thread once every million years and that when the mountain has been worn this process then one second of eternity shall have such an eternity still involves change. There will come a time when the diamond mountain will be no more. For us time and change go together, but God is changeless and not subject to the ravages of time. There will never be a time when he is not. Nevertheless this God is not to be . living lord, unchanging confused with the static changelessness of ideas outside of the realm of completely space and time. This lord is the ever active, changing all things, though he himself remains unchanged. How he can be living and yet is for us, therefore, precisely the m?ctery. I iff for us is change and if we beheld no change we would behold no life. A static world is a dead world. God, is not just nonspatial and nontemporal, but in his dimension he is the lord of all space and time, he encloses it and enfolds it as an ocean does an island.46 therefore, 13 70 ontology provides dialectic ‘other’ Being between basis for a medium whereby God may its own epistemology. for man to live in essence of the life of but has path,” man and the dimensionally man’s entrance into the New estrangement provides a The spiritual be immutable and yet living. The spiritual ontology provides Essence is that life which we find of God in the spiritual dimension. Existence is life as we find it in space, time, and matter. In Adam, man is estranged from a God who is essence, while man is in three-dimensional existence. Christ’s redemptive work has made it possible while still living in existence. This is the paradox the spirit-filled Christian believer. He is still human, tasted of the powers of the Age to Come. The spiritual ontology pursues, with Barth, a “middle but it avoids Barth’s error which led him to universalism. The estrangement God is partially healed by in Christ. I say “partially” healed because man must still experience the first death, but in Christ, the second death holds no terror. This healing of the dialiectic a true analogy of being (I am not nearly as afraid of the term as Barth was). This analogy, however, does not refer to man’s natural capacity for God. It refers rather to the analogy which the New Being creates. There comes into an analogous relationship between the man and God which did not exist before. The mediator of this relationship is Jesus Christ who is the full expression of the dimensionally other God, compacted and existing in a complete human nature. primarily being Ontology of being God? We have assumed God, indeed, Scriptures, to God in for for The Spiritual and Natural Theology If the analogy now means our relationship Christ in the New Being, then what of natural man’s capacity at the start that man has a capacity we have set this forth as our point of contact with modern man. This assumption is based on the Word of God, the which teach that man’s natural knowlege of God makes him accountable before God. Nowhere do the Scriptures state that man can experience grace apart from revelation. When I say grace, I mean the forgiveness of sins, justification, and sanctification or in other words, salvation. This puts the naturalis of the spiritual ontology somewhere and the Thomists. It would probably be acceptable the essentials of Christian doctrine which the Thomists include in natural be saved apart theologia between Karl Barth to neither. All except that man cannot theology remain intact, from a revealed Savior. 14 71 All of Barth’s “otherness” of God remains intact, except that man, the good creation of God, although estranged, has the responsibility of responding in faith to God’s word. Existential Considerations There is no antipathy between the spiritual ontology and existentialism when the latter remains true to the original presentation of Kierkegaard. It is only when Being-itself is focused in space and time [Heidegger] that existentialism challenges the spiritual ontology. In Kirkegaard’s thought, the spiritual dimension is free to interact with the material. We human beings can never make any creature free for we are bound to the very powers by which we create and thus immediately bring the being that we wanted to liberate into a relationship of dependence This is why Heidegger’s existentialism cannot be a proper basis for theology, because in his thought man is focused upon himself, and therefore is dependent on himself. God is not bound to the power by which he created us: He is supremely free. That is why His creatures can be free. In fact, we are so completely free that we are able to turn away from the source of all freedom’$ Human freedom does not have a human source. God is the source of all freedom The difference between Kierkegaard and Heidegger is seen more clearly in these words. It would seem that Heidegger accepts the desirability of philosophic basing all in which the ontological research on the situation existing thinker of Dasein finds itself. His distinction between existentialities and categories is aimed at the preservation of the Dasein- orientation of his analysis. The condemnation of the ontology of antiquity is grounded on the belief that its central concepts are an attempt to understand from out of the that Being “world”, which is non-Dasein, rather than from the point of view of the existence of Dasein. The rejection of the ontology of presence or, as has been shown, or pure Being is based on the consideration that makes Kierkegaard’s acceptance of it problematic from the purely existential point of view. It is thus it apparent, surprising as may seem, that Heidegger is, in this sense, more existential than Kierkegaard as he refuses to incorporate into his ontology non-existential elements. And yet the fact remains that, on the one hand, his thinking is not that of subjective involvement and, on the other hand, his addressing himself to the problem of Being as such is itself . 15 72 a basically non-existential undertaking. The result seems to be that by adopting a more purely existential than even position Kierkegaard, Heidegger is somehow forced into an interest in Being which, in his terms, converts his analysis from an existential into an existentialistic one and also succeeds in sapping from it the pathetic involvement that is characteristic of Kierkegaard.49 Thus, the correct existential basis for theology leaves room for Pure Being in the spiritual dimension, which is free to move into the material realm. Also, the “pathetic involvement” – must not be drained off. The analogy of Love The pathos which permeates Kierkegaard’s work is essential to the spiritual ontology. We may even go so far as to say that it invokes a new analogy, the analogy of love, in place of the formerly suggested revised analogy of being.49 The entire God- man relationship must be grounded in the fact that God’s free love has been extended to everyone [John 3:16]. The analogy lies in the fact that love, even as it proceeds from the spiritual dimension into the material, can also be produced and returned toward the spiritual dimension. This, perhaps, is man’s greatest dignity, that he is capable of striving to produce that free, unconditional love which reciprocates the love of God. The analogy of love, in fact, he actually does this [to: spouse, friends, family, etc.]. But this is a flawed, conditional love, which needs the corrective of regeneration. In the Christian, love has an exterior source, namely God. Divine love has interpenetrated his human love so that he is on the way toward the complete, unconditional agape. The Analogy of Love and the Charismata The analogy of love is of special interest to Pentecostals because of Paul’s treatment of it in 1 Corinthians 13. In this profound statement, sandwiched between two key teachings on the charismatic gifts, the apostle asserts the primacy of love. The spiritual ontology, with its analogy of love, is capable of carrying Paul’s meaning to this present generation. The charis- matic gifts of the Spirit, whose source is God, interpenetrate the world of time and space through individual Spirit-filled believers. Here again, man (Spirit-filled believers), is in a position of dignity. Created in God’s image, once fallen, he is now able to participate in the Divine attribute of love in a way which is meaningful on every human level: spiritual- nonrational, cognitive-rational, and physical. 16 73 Pneumatological Considerations It should be obvious by now that the Enlightenment thinkers’ approach to the Holy Spirit will not suffice for Pentecostals in the twentieth century. Neither can we adopt the methodology of Schleiermacher. Kierkegaard and Barth have made this plain. The striking fact is that most (if not all) of Pentecostal theologizing has proceeded from either the Enlightenment/ Schleiermacher approach or from a reaction against this approach. It is time for Pentecostal theologizing to shake free from the shackles of exclusive rationalism (adaptations of Hodge, Shee, Warfield, etc.) and from irrationalism, and stand on its own two feet with a dimensional understanding of spiritual truth. The analogy of love provides a medium for theology which will allow (even encourage) a second experience of infilling with the Holy Spirit. This experience is available to the new human being who in the New Birth lives in both existence and essence at the same time. This understanding avoids the problems of the proto-Gnostics at Corinth who, it seems, believed that the baptism in the Holy Spirit transferred them from existence into complete essence.s’ The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not place us in essence, we must already be there in order to receive it. I believe that a thorough exegesis of the pertinent NT passages will corroborate these philosophical data. There is not space here to set this forth. Eschatology [Future] We have briefly hinted at the development possibilities of the spiritual ontology in several areas of Systematic Theology. Here we will understand the Last Things from the perspective of the analogy of love. The Christian promise is that someday the spiritual dimension will break in upon the material order, so that the present division between them will be torn asunder. This event is described in Revelation 19:11 where John sees heaven opened and it stays open. This event is accompanied by the inbreaking of the Age to Come upon the Present Age, by the Second Coming of Christ, and by the Resurrection of the Dead. Here we see clearly that the material realm is not inherently evil, rather it is an originally good creation which is now under the ravages of sin and death. When the spiritual dimension and the material kosmos are united into one complete reality, God’s redemption will be finished.52 Man’s participation in this redemption is based upon his free choice in response to God’s 17 74 free election of him to grace. Kierkegaard much. ‘ Conclusion has shown us this Systematic integration rational and the non-rational of the human experience man’s existence is actualized and made abundant in Christ. In A full-orbed Pentecostal of the aspects the non-rational aspect, contradiction in the Platonic (partially until the Resurrection). (Christian) tradition (Augustine, Systematic Theology) their own Systematic Theology. the Scriptures, and proceed its analogy of love. Theology will be an (not irrational) of God. In the rational aspect, man experiences essence (a tradition) and lives in essence This clash with the Platonic Luther, Calvin, Reformed why Pentecostals must have is precisely This system must be rooted in from the “Spiritual” ontology with It will then produce its own epistemology and its own hermeneutic. These latter two are definitely in need of development by Pentecostal theologians. These considerations obviously depend on the acceptance of the use of task. metaphysics in the theological *David R. Nichols Church in New London, Bethel Seminary, Marquette University. is the pastor Wisconsin. and is currently pursuing of First Assembly of God He received his MA from a Ph.D. at Century Protestant (Valley Forge: 2. Ibid., 78, 79. 3. Ibid., 79. 4. Ibid., 84 (italics mine) 5. Ibid., 85. 6. Ibid., 84-144. 1. Karl Barth, Theology in the Nineteenth Judson Press, 1959 [English] 1946 [German], 77 ‘ the Centuries (Grand Rapids, 8. Barth, Protestant 7. Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through MI.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 381. Theology in the Nineteenth Century, 232. 18 75 9. Ibid., 232, 233. 10. Ibid., 304. 11. Ibid., 409. 12. G.W.F. Hegel, Vorlesungen uber die Philosophie der Religion, Lasson, ed., Philosophische Bibliothek, Volume III, 38, in Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, 418. 13. Barth, Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, 457. 14. Ibid., 460. 15. Ibid., 425, 426. 16. Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology in the 19th Century, in The Humanity of God (Richmond, VA.: John Knox Press, 1960), 14, 15. 17. Heinz Zahrnt, The Question of God: Protestant Theology in the 20th Century (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1966), 15-16. 18. Ibid., 15. 19. Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology in the ]9th Century,11. 20. Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), 53-54. 21. Ibid., Author’s Preface to the English Edition, ix, x. 22. Ibid., 100, 101 (italics mine). 23. Emil Brunner and Karl Barth, Natural Theology London: Geoffrey Bles: The Centenary Press, 1946), 23, 24, 32. 24. Ibid., 121. 25. Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959), 9-13. 26. Hans von Balthasar, The Theology of Karl Barth New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1971), 48-50. 27. Ibid., 69-70. 28. Ibid., 73. 29. Gregory C. Bolich, Karl Barth and Evangelicalism (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1980), 105; and The Theology of Karl Barth, 80. 30. Balthasar, The Theology of Karl Barth, 92. 31. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, ed. G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T and T. Clark, 1961), 4:38 (italics mine). 33. The Theology of Karl Barth, 101. 34. The Theology of Karl Barth, 130. 35. Karl Barth, The Humanity of God (Richmond, VA,: John Knox Press, 1960),38. 36. Ibid., 52. ‘ 19 76 37. Ibid., 38. 38. Ibid., 38 39. Karl Barth, Epistle to the Romans” 10. 40. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 4:3, 183-184 (italics mine). 41. Karl Barth, The Humanity of God, 38. 42. Christianity Today [June 17, 1983,North American Scene], 51. 43. Martin J. Heinecken, The Moment before God, (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1956), 90, 91. 44. H. U. von Balthasar, The Theology of Karl Barth, 79. 45. Ibid., 91. 46. Ibid., 92. 47. Louis Dupre, Kierkegaard as Theologian (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1963), 109. 48. Ibid., 109. 49. Michael Wyschogrod, Kierkegaard and Heidegger (New York: Humanities Press, 1954), 131, 132. 50. It is likely that there was a group at Corinth who were antinomian based upon a proto-Gnostic disregard for the human body. See 1 Corinthians 3:16-18; 5:1-4; 6:15-20. 51. Ephesians 1:9, 10. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (RSV, italics mine). 20

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