Friday, December 9, 2011
Introduction to Pannenberg
"The Apostles' Creed" by W. Pannenberg In this book, one is given an overview of Wolfhart Pannenbergs overall thought process, his thinking concerning theology and its task as well as his approach to the task of Apologetics. It is a great and superb book, that is considerably lighter in style than “Jesus – God and Man”, but no less weighty in substance. I highly recommend the book. Article by article Wolfhart goes through the Creed explaining its history in the church, and philosophical problems and answers regarding each proposition. He admonishes the pastors and theologians to teach this creed, to make it make sense for the lay person. It is their job as teachers of the church. And here he is quite right. I found the first few chapters of this book to be incredibly insightful, as he discusses the decline in belief in God in the west through the propositions of Fichte, Feuerbach and Freud. And how ultimately, this atheism is unsustainable. Equally intriguing is his assault on the idea of Faith as being a personal decision, a “leap of Faith” that puts its trust in no facts whatsoever. This thought is probably more dangerous to Christianity today than any single other heresy. A Faith that has no foundation is no faith at all, and invites one to treat all religions the same, basically as fictions meant to make you feel better about yourself. He argues quite effectively that the logical line to the Christian faith, is first belief in God and then in Jesus, that the two are interrelated and are not easily separated is an intriguing one. In doing apologetics I like to start and end with the historical resurrection, something that W.P. does extremely well defending, and argue that this validates Christ’s claims not only to be God, but also about God. This does work, but at other times I have found some resistant to such argumentation, and W.P. has made me at least reexamine some of my underlying thoughts on all that. It may be a longer row to hoe to go his way, but perhaps needed, at least in some cases. The only real objection I have to this book, is that W.P. makes no sense whatsoever when speaking about the Virgin Birth. He is all over the map on that one, denying it, and yet trying to affirm it at the same time. I am not quite sure what his ultimate hang up is with that. In this he concedes way to readily to liberal scholarship and presuppositions. His whole argumentation seems to stand and fall though with Markan Priority, which is something I myself have never been fully convinced of. Call me traditional, or Lutheran, but Matthew was first, and Markan Priority is a Calvinist Camel with its nose in the tent.