David McGregor: When you become familiar with them, reading the Dogmatics often becomes an occasion for immense spiritual exhilaration.

When you become familiar with them, reading the Dogmatics often becomes an occasion for immense spiritual exhilaration. You will find yourself racing through page after page to get to the end of the section, which always culminates with a profound and wonderful Christological affirmation. I often found myself lifted up in worship while reading Barth’s exposition of the God who says ‘Yes’ to us in Jesus Christ! This is what the Dogmatics is, by the way, – a sustained exposition of the Triune God – i.e. the God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ to be the Father who freely loves us, and has so from all eternity. This same God is the God who realises in time and history His original purpose for us by reconciling us to Himself in Jesus Christ, who is the Eternal Son, the One who humbled himself to exalt us, who came to be with us so that we could be with Him; and again, this God is the God who comes to dwell in us through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit – the power and presence of His love – and so is the God who in freely loving us frees us to love! The Christian life is therefore ‘Eucharistia’ (thanksgiving and gratitude) in response to ‘Charis’ (grace); it is saying yes to the God who has said Yes to us; it is loving the God who loves us. Wonderful, isn’t it?”

This is what my tutor in theology David McGregor, said to me back in August 2002, when I first started seriously engaging with Karl Barth’s Dogmatics. David was an inspiration.

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