Tag Archives: Emil Brunner

‘No one enters into the Kingdom of Heaven by fear’ or why I love Emil Brunner

“One scarcely hears a sermon any more about The Judgment. Perhaps in former times there was too much and too rash preaching on this subject, motivated by a desire to drive men into the Kingdom of Heaven by fear. No one enters into the Kingdom of Heaven by fear, and the man who tries to do God’s will out of fear simply does not do God’s will.” — Emil Brunner, in Our Faith 

Brunner was a Gifford Lecturer; more about that here.

Read Theopedia’s entry on Brunner here.


Dusted Off: Brunner on the lack of Christian education in Protestant churches

From Christianity and Civilization, The Gifford Lectures, Part 2, delivered by Emil Brunner in 1948:

“No doubt, the Church of the Middle Ages did a tremendous work of education by its religious apparatus and by its effective endeavour to permeate the whole of life by its sacramental practices. No wonder, then, that in this epoch the conflict between Christian theology and the Socratic idea of education was covered by the actual educational work of the Church.

“This lack, however, became much more dangerous in the Churches of the Reformation. Here the sacramental training and Church habits were reduced to a minimum. On the other hand, preaching and teaching the doctrine of the Bible was pressed almost exclusively. These two facts together created an enormous educational vacuum. Whilst in theological knowledge the New Testament origins of Christianity were rediscovered, it was almost completely forgotten that the original Christian Church was before all a living community, that the Holy Spirit worked primarily by means of communal life, and that at that time the younger generation received their Christian influence and instruction not merely through preaching and teaching but through training in Church life. The educational vacuum, which became more and more obvious, is primarily due to the lack of capacity and even of endeavour on the part of the Reformation Churches to develop a Christian community life. Certainly, there exists a considerable difference between Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches. Calvinism, and even more the sects deriving from Calvinism, have paid much more attention to the formation of living communities than the Lutheran and even the Zwinglian Churches, where the identification of Church and civic community worked in the opposite direction. But the tendency toward orthodox intellectualism developed the same vacuum even within the Calvinistic Churches. The orthodox intellectuals’ emphasis on doctrine is the main cause of the educational vacuum of Protestantism.”