Moberly, Jews, Christians, John 14:6 and Grace

I heard a stimulating paper this morning by Walter Moberly on Scripture and the Relationship between Christians and Jews. Apart from the paper itself, it was just great to witness a rare miracle – an OT specialist break out into exegesis on an area not of their ‘specialty’ (in this case the NT and John 14:6 in particular). In the name of ‘epistemological humility’, he suggested that in place of questionable language about worshipping ‘the same God’ it is better to speak of Jews and Christians, and Muslims, as respectively worshipping ‘the one God’. He then suggested that there is a difference between experiencing grace and experiencing grace as grace. Somehow, somewhere, in the discussion, I was reminded of Barth … as you do:

‘Grace is the presence, event, and revelation of what the human cannot think or do or reach or attain or grasp, but of what is, in virtue of its coming from God, the most simple, true and real of all things for those to whom it is addressed and who recognise it. Grace is the factual overcoming of the distinction between God and humanity, creator and creature, heaven and earth – something that cannot be grasped in any theory or brought about by any technique or human practice…. Grace is God’s sovereign intervention on the human’s behalf. The work and gift of this grace of his is the freedom of the children of God – their freedom to call upon him as Father.’ Karl Barth, The Christian Life: Church Dogmatics IV/4 Lecture Fragments (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 72.

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