The Quotable Kaesemann #3: Tradition and Fresh Perspectives

Having gone to a conservative conference recently for the first time, I was thinking about doctrine and Scripture a lot this past week. I am “evangelical” without hesitation or qualification, but sometimes I fear the wrath of a traditionalist scorned, so to speak. I was impressed, then, when I stumbled upon this quote from Kaesemann…

If our parents rightly described the church of Christ as semper reformanda, as always in need of renewal, we must see to it that the world and members of our community are not fed with dogmatic formulas become unintelligible or useless. In any event, the confessions of the fathers are our guideposts, not live wires to keep the cows in the pasture or block the curious from entering the holy place. Since earliest Christianity, stupidity, ecclesiastical tyranny, and party strife have misused the confessions, as if they could replace the living voice of the gospel, the voice of the God who speaks to us today. In that case, the past of the religious world is made the sphere for a faith that no longer journeys into God’s unknown future and there awaits the open heavens above. (p. 162).

NB: From On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene (Eerdmans).

The Quotable Kaesemann #2: On Faith and Discipleship

More vintage Kaesemann…

“believing” quite simply and irreversibly means to rely on this word [of Christ’s lordly ownership of those disciples of faith and surrender in Baptism] when it comes to blows, to throw everything else to the winds that is offered to us as salvation or threatened as damnation (p. 158).

…we must understand the first commandment [of the Decalogue] as the sum of Scripture. All other words, pages, and books in it form, as it were, a commentary on it, and in the NT this summary is repeated Christologically, unequivocally defined and made concrete: “I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me!” (p. 159)

NB: From On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene (Eerdmans)