Red Letters

While doing a little Doctoral research, I’ve found a little known theologian that I’ve fallen in love with. His name is Cristoph Blumhardt (1842-1919) and he was born in Germany. His teaching influenced great minds such as Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Jurgen Moltmann. Here’s a taste of the richness in which he writes on Christianity and the Kingdom of God. Notice particularly what he says in the second paragraph:

“It was Blumhardt’s conviction that the greatest of all dangers to human progress was “Christianity” – Sunday religion that separated material existence from the spiritual and that erected rituals and practices of self-seeking, self-satisfying, other-worldly piousness instead of practical works of righteousness.

Blumhardt didn’t care about matters of religion and church, of worship services and dogma, not even of inner peace and personal redemption. For him, faith was a matter of the coming of God’s kingdom, of God’s victory over darkness and death here and now. His vision of God’s righteousness on earth was an unconditional and all-embracing one: God’s love reconciles the world, liberates suffering, heals economic and social need – in short, it renews the earth.

To many people, Blumhardt’s message sounded dangerously worldly, even irreverent. In fact, the established church of his day retaliated by casting suspicion on him, and slandering and maligning him. His message touched a nerve that is still raw today.

Blumhardt’s aim, however, was never to attack. What ruled his whole thinking was the kingdom of God – the creative reign of Christ’s peace and justice on earth. This kingdom is neither a formal constitution nor an ideal. It is a movement that belongs to the future but impinges upon the present. It is humankind’s truest history, and will be demonstrably victorious in the end. It confronts everything that has ever been thought, planned, or built; it opposes all institutions, monuments, and ideologies. It always seeks the different, the new, and encompasses the whole of life.”

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