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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, four sets of coordinates are used to chart how Barth viewed ‘sacrament’ and ‘sacraments’ in Church Dogmatics. They are: (a) witness and mediation (with their objective and subjective poles); (b) instrumentalism and parallelism; (c) the relation of divine and human activity; and (d) the threefold office of Christ. These coordinates prove useful in analysing how Barth viewed Word and sacrament not only in the early volumes of Church Dogmatics, but also in volume IV, where he significantly changed his mind. It is shown that in discussing ‘sacrament’ and ‘sacraments’, Barth paid more attention to witness than mediation; that he tended towards instrumentalism rather than occasionalism (although not conclusively so); that he worked with a non-synergistic account of divine and human activity from the beginning of his dogmatics through to the end; and that he heavily emphasized Christ’s prophetic office over his royal office and—especially—over his priestly office.

Keywords: baptism, Lord’s Supper, mediation, preaching, proclamation, sacrament, sacraments, witness, Word of God

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