Kierkegaard & Kerygma

The Peculiar Prophet, Dr. William Willimon, has written an interesting little post on the relationship between Soren Kierkegaard and the challenges of ministry. You can read the post in whole by clicking the following link: Willimon & Kierkegaard. For now, here's an interesting quote from none other than Kierkegaard himself, speaking, basically, on the issue of preachers, teachers and ministers selling out and watering down the Gospel (not that this ever happens today):

As long as the clergy were exalted, sacrosanct in the eyes of men, Christianity continued to be preached in all its severity. For even if the clergy did not take it too strictly, people dared not argue with the clergy, and they could quite well lay on the burden and dare to be severe. But gradually, as the nimbus faded away, the clergy got into the position of themselves being controlled.

So there was nothing to do but to water down Christianity. And so they continued to water it down till in the end they achieved perfect conformity with an ordinary worldly run of ideas - which were proclaimed as Christianity. That is more or less Protestantism as it is now.

The good thing is that it is not longer possible to be severe to others if one is not so towards oneself. Only someone who is really strict with himself can dare nowadays to proclaim Christianity in its severity, and even then things may go badly for him.
(Kierkegaard, Journals)

Willimon closes by saying, "Still, all things being considered, being a pastor is a high vocation, a great way to expend a life. The way of Christ is narrow and demanding, but it is also a great gift, even 'in its severity.' These are my thoughts, thinking with Kierkegaard looking over my shoulder, as I begin this week of ministry."

What's on your mind as you begin a new week of ministry?

1 comment:

  1. My favorite Kierkegaard quote (and along the same lines):

    Christianity has been made so completely devoid of character that there is really nothing to persecute. The chief trouble with Christians, therefore, is that no one wants to kill them anymore.