I am picking up Barth again, slogging through the second volume (which is actually 1.2). The power of the Word and the Scriptures is key for Barth. The section I am currently working through is incredibly exciting. (No, really. It is.)
The Church is not merely a human institution. This is not “a human polity, monarchical, aristocratic or democratic, in which the discharge of the witness to Jesus Christ committed to it is left to the good pleasure of its members.”
You would think it is exactly that, given the vast range of views on Christ himself sometimes! It seems we just can’t make our minds up about Jesus or the Church or authority or the Spirit… or much of anything.
What we need to remember, Barth contends, is that the Church is created and maintained by the Word of God. It is not a wind up toy that he is now leaving alone. The Word continues to govern the Church. The Word is given to us through the Scriptures. That is the clearest form of how we can truly know the Word.
“To say that Jesus Christ rules the Church is equivalent to saying that Holy Scripture rules the Church.”
The Scriptures exegete Christ. Christ exegetes the Scriptures. The Word confronts us and we need to deal with that confrontation as the Church. Does Jesus rule his Church or not? If so, are we understanding the authority of the Scriptures in our lives?
Our playing around with the authority of Scriptures in the life of the believer gets us into trouble. We need to bring our attention back to the Word of God, and the Scriptures that reveal that Word so clearly to us!