Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805–1880)
Over at the blog run by several key folks at BIOLA’s Torrey Honors Institute, The Scriptorium Daily, today’s date elicited a meditation on Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-1880) and the exorcism that propelled him to fame, such that he came to influence Karl Barth, among others. The following is written by Fred Sanders:
Today (December 28) in 1843, an unclean spirit cried “Jesus is victor!” as it departed from a young girl in Möttlingen, Germany.
The possessed girl was Gottliebin Dittus, and the presiding pastor was Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-1880). An account of the conflict can be read in the book The Awakening, available as a free pdf from Plough books. In fact, several books by and about Blumhardt and his son are available from Plough. The account of Blumhardt’s encounter with the unclean spirit is carefully written to avoid anything prurient, and to discourage unhealthy curiosity. But given the subject matter, it’s inevitably chilling and weird. It ranges from standard poltergeist behavior (loud knocking) to apparitions of the guilty departed, to intimations of the dark, spiritual world inhabited by fallen angels. Some of the scenes are, to speak anachronistically, straight out of exorcist movies. Continue reading
Today is the annual Collegiality Day of the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools. Luther Seminary‘s Paul S. Chung will present a reflection on changes in missions since the Edinburgh conference a century ago (“Mission today in light of the 1910 Edinburgh Conference.”) A number of folks will respond, including me. Though it will likely be trimmed a bit, my response will look something like this:
The successive “openings” of mission since Edinburgh
I hear in Dr. Chung’s paper a series of “openings” of world missions activity and thought since Mott and the 1910 meeting at Edinburgh. I want to review these briefly and then, as I am a historian, to illustrate them with a brief story from recent Christian history in the global south.
By the time of the 1952 Willingen missions conference, Karl Barth had sparked an opening or broadening from Edinburgh’s “pragmatic, purposeful, activist, impatient, self-confident, single-minded, and triumphalist” accent—in other words, its accent on human initiative—to a theological insistence that mission comes at the initiative of the Trinity. It is God who sends, and we who follow. Continue reading
Posted in Resources for Radical Living
Tagged Africa, Edinburgh, Ghana, global Christianity, Karl Barth, Kintampo, Lamin Sanneh, Lesslie Newbigin, Luther Seminary, missio dei, missions
It occurs to me as I look over the previous post of notes from Lee W. Gibbs, The Middle Way: Voices of Anglicanism (Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement Publications, 1991) that Sayers sounds like a precursor of today’s “radical orthodoxy” movement. This is so both in her insistence that theology be resurrected as “queen of the sciences” and in her ressourcement from the Middle Ages. Here’s the bit that triggered the thought:
“Sayers is not so much anti-science or anti-technology as she is a Christian integralist who perceives that science and technology have become over-emphasized and predominant in the modern world, too often at the expense of theology and philosophy as equally valid and necessary paths to truth and knowledge. What she calls  for is a return to the more proper balance achieved during the Christian Middle Ages, where philosophy was seen to be a subdivision of theology, and science a subdivision of philosophy.” (108 – 9)
And here’s the wikipedia bit on radical orthodoxy. Note especially the “Main Ideas” and “Influences” listed here: Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants
Tagged Augustine of Hippo, Dorothy L Sayers, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, John Milbank, Karl Barth, Medieval, Meister Eckhart, Middle Ages, neoplatonism, nicholas of Cusa, radical orthodoxy, secularism, the Cambridge Platonists, the Oxford Movement, Theology, Thomas Aquinas
The Christianity Today history blog has just posted a piece by me on the British mystery author and lay theologian Dorothy L. Sayers. And yes, the great modern theologian Karl Barth not only enjoyed Sayers’s detective stories, but called her one of the “outstanding British theologians.” He himself translated three of her essays into German.