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Justification: The doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic reflection Paperback – 1981
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Text: English, German (translation)
About the Author
Hans Kung is President of the Global Ethic Foundation and Professor Emeritus of Ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen in Germany. A prolific and important contemporary theologian, he has written over fifty books including On Being a Christian, Does God Exist?, Infallible? An Inquiry, and The Church. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Kung suggests that we put Barth's concept of justification thoroughly to the test, then we shall have a basis for comparing it with the Catholic concept.What is Sin? A) Pride, the dark, opposite pole to the kenosis of the Son of God, to Taoist emptiness; B) Sloth, stupidity, to be like "the fool" in the Proverbs or in Ecclesiastes; inhumanity, or like in Amos' prophecy of judgment; decadence, as in David's lust; C) Lying.
With the Formula of Concord, we call man truncus et lapis (a log and a stone) in order to describe his inability to help and save himself, not his ontological status: "All the features that make him a man remain" (47). Barth revises the Reformation's positions on the freedom of man: servum arbitrium (not liberum), but in a deterministic sense. But if man could not really choose, he would only be a machine. Barth writes (IV, 2) against Trent's human assentire and cooperari with the gratia praeveniens. The practical consequence of this is that the misery of man is not regarded as dramatic. He rejects Anselm's substitutionary atonement (IV, 1, p486-87). Man is an insolvent debtor; there is no relic or core of goodness which persists in man despite of his sin. Justice of man is alien to him: the only justice man can exhibit is the justice of Jesus Christ. Barth also rejects the Reformed idea of limited atonement (IV, I, 630)
Justification and sanctification are two quite distinct aspects of ONE divine act: sanctification is not a second divine action that takes place simultaneously with justification or precedes it or follows it in time. Sanctification is:
a)participation in the holiness of Jesus Christ
b)the call to follow him
c)an awakening to repentance
d)praise given by works
e)carrying the cross
Justification through sola fides means that no human work as such is or includes man'justification (not even the work of faith as such) and that the believer is the man justified by God. To him justification denotes the divine judgement executed in Christ's death on the cross and revealed on the cross. Barth's second major polemic against Catholic teaching: Trent does not leave intact the sovereign character of justification as a divine work done for man. The Catholic Church does not take seriously the sovereignity of God; it flounders in anthropocentricity. Trent reduces divine justification to a physical process taking place within the human subject (IV,1)
As an attempt at a Catholic response (either/or vs. et et). P. 117, Kung argues that Justification is not the central dogma of Christianity: the mystery of Christ is, and of his revelation (his eternal pre-existence). Everything originates and exists in Jesus Christ (Col 1:16). Thus, no autonomous, theoretical and practical naturalism is possible (see De Lubac's The Supernatural). The sinner, who revolts against his being-in-Christ is still in Christ, though in a different manner than that of the justified man (p. 145), who has found in Christ and through Christ the Holy Spirit, the Father, and the infinite and thus completely self-transcendent fulfillment of his being (p. 146)
For a description of Scotist and Thomist views of the Incarnation, see p. 168 and ff.
The Reformers erred when they conceived of the condition of the sinner as one absolutely without grace (p. 179)
About Free Will, see p. 183, 184, 193, 194, 203, 206, 207.
Is justification merely forensic (declaration of righteousness) or does it make a man just (renewal)? Kung answers: both. God's word accomplishes what it says. The Council of Trent rejected an exclusively extrinsic character (Rm 2:13; 3:20; 8:33). The massive attack of the Reformers called for an equally massive counter-attack and provoked a certain anthropocentricity in the council (see p. 232).
Justification includes a) forgiveness of sins; b) granting the right of the children of God; c) granting the inheritance of eternal life
Cooperari is not in the objective event of salvation (death and resurrection of Jesus), but in the subjective process of salvation. Cooperation not in the sense of collaboration but of involvement: no synergism in which God and man pull the same rope. It is never as if justification came partly from God and partly from man. Justification is not identified with salvation, which follows it. See p. 271, 272, 281-84.
Oh, by the way: and the reason why the previous two idiots who read my review did not find it helpful is........?