Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Problem of Brunner

    After recently finishing the second volume of Brunner's three volume work, I thought I would share just a small bit of what I have found to be troubling in Brunner's work. This isn't a detailed critique but just something that  has just been bothering me.

   Now, my specialty in academia is Existentialism. I studied it in college and graduate school, and wrote some major papers on existential themes, including my Master's thesis. Yet, Brunner is perhaps too existential for me. At least, he is too existential to be taken seriously anymore in the realm of scholarship. The problem is that Brunner reduces the whole Christian life down to the personal encounter between an individual and God. In doing so, he has, at least so far, left out the possibility for community. I have not yet gotten to his volume on the church, but it seems to me that the church is just there to show you that you need to have such a personal relationship. I find this highly problematic. The Bible calls us not to be individuals, but to be a body, one body made up of many parts. Brunner's theology does not seem to address this, and I look forward to hearing how he incorporates the Church into faith.

   My other problem is that Brunner seems to reduce the Christian faith down into only a work of Jesus. He seems to be saying that God the Father is the Holy Hidden God where God the Son is the Loving Revealed God. It is then only the Loving Revealed God that we can have relationship with. This seems to me to be short-changing the Trinity. The only real mention of the Holy Spirit in his works so far is that the Holy Spirit somehow points to the Son. I feel like Brunner has a very under-developed Pneumatology and cuts us off from relationship with God the Father.

     I am looking forward to reading the last book of this trilogy and sharing my thoughts with you, and thought I'd take a brief break and share my gratitude to your support and comments and hope that they continue.


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