the past

“Are we at liberty to ignore the past?  Do the great teachers of the Church…not possess a — certainly not heavenly — but, even so, earthly, human ‘authority’?  We should not be too ready to say, No.  To my mind the whole question of tradition falls under the Fifth Commandment: Honour father and mother!  Certainly that is a limited authority; we have to obey God more than father and mother.  But we have also to obey father and mother…There is no question of bondage and constraint.  It is merely that in the Church the same kind of obedience as, I hope, you pay to your father and mother, is demanded of you towards the Church’s past, towards the ‘elders’ of the Church.”

— Karl Barth

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4 responses to “the past

  1. Dogmatics in Outline, no?

  2. Actually, I got it second-hand, without a citation. I’d love to have the larger context.

  3. Speaking only from observation, I believe the lack of respect of elders–both of one’s family, and of the church elders–has negatively affected our world society, and consequently the church. Certainly in the United States such is quite evident.

  4. it is Dogmatics in Outline

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