Home > Apologetics, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Reviews > Love Alone is Credible § 1

Love Alone is Credible § 1

Over the course of the next few days I’ll be posting a series of reflections on Hans Urs von Balthasar’s book, Love Alone is Credible.
Here is the first installment:

Over the course of the history of Christianity, by a variety of means and methods, thinkers in the church have attempted to articulate the logic and truth of the gospel in such a way as to persuade and even overwhelm the many “logics” of the world. Compelled by the Holy Spirit, the church offers her apologia, her defense of the logic of faith, in order to provide justification for her faith in the living Logos of God, Christ Jesus. The New Testament authors fervently claimed that all of the hopes, dreams, and expectations of the people of Israel, and indeed the entire world, had been fulfilled in a Galilean peasant. According to the earliest witnesses the person and work of Jesus Christ was “in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). Further, in the ancient and medieval world the logic and credibility of the gospel was presented with reference to cosmology and world history. When these arguments became increasingly less persuasive to the modern “enlightened” mind, Christian apologists turned to the individual subject, appealing instead to our shared “religious experience.” However, as Hans Urs von Balthasar cogently argues in his magnificent work, Love Alone is Credible, both of these approaches ultimately fail, “for neither the world as a whole nor man in particular can provide the measure for what God wishes to say to man in Christ”(10). Instead, von Balthasar claims that the “logic” of the gospel is only credible as love, that is, “as God’s own love, the manifestation of which is the glory of God” (10).

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  1. masonmusic
    April 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    But what is the manifestation of the glory of God?

    I love the emphasis on not overwhelming or individu-whelming.

  2. roflyer
    April 12, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    In one word, love. Dude, you’d love von Balthasar.

  3. masonmusic
    April 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    i’m excited, seriously, but his name is hard to say.

    did i tell you that i bought a compendium of Christian Ethics edited by Hauerwas and Wells?

  4. roflyer
    April 12, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Is that the Blackwell one? I got that one for free…from Jer Wiebe!

  5. roflyer
    April 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Is that the Blackwell one? I got that one for free…from Jer Wiebe!

  6. April 13, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Von Balthasar seems like my kind of chap. Good stuff.

  7. Jim Cheatley
    April 14, 2008 at 2:44 am

    This thesis, love alone is credible, is wonderful. It reminds me of Bonhoeffer’s question about how we can speak of God in a world drained of religion. Secularization focused our attention on the task of building up the earth, as the “logic” of the otherworldly faded away. Perhaps what remains to be proclaimed to secular society is a gospel of love’s (or read “God’s”) incarnation in communities as the kingdom. I love this Gandhian (maybe it’s Christian) idea of truth as the fidelity of consciousness and being and the unity of means and ends. In this context, love can be understood as the way to the kingdom as well as its substance and practice…. I look forward to more on von Balthasar and your thoughts.

  8. Mike Cheatley
    April 14, 2008 at 4:44 am

    It seems to me like the case for love becomes the foundation on which all other matters of doctrine and ethics are later built (whether they’re needed/legitimate is a seperate matter). From my perspective, love is the starting point that qualifies further beliefs and is the surest thing I have to any kind of Truth.

    I like how the evolution of the general theological agenda has boiled down to this simple concept. Selfless love–epitomized in Christ–is the best we’ve got and I have a hard time imagining a better place to begin. I like the idea Jim brought up about love having that dual quality of being the way to the kingdom as well as being its very substance. Its worth is realized immediately as the means that heads toward some kind of ends–no matter what picture of an ends we may have.

    ‘But if Christ hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn’t want to be a human being. I’d just as soon be a rattlesnake.’ Kurt gets me everytime.

    Wiebe – I hope your thesis reading goes well.

  9. roflyer
    April 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Wow, what a treat! Thanks for the insightful comments boys.

  1. May 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

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