A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Soren Kierkegaard: Postmodern Prophet #1

When I was a student in seminary many years ago, I developed a love for the writings of Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Through the years my interests have taken me in other directions, but I have been able to renew my appreciation for him this summer as I have refreshed my memory of his work by turning to him once again. I begin a series of posts on his thinking, particularly his much read and discussed Attack Upon Christendom. I think that SK (as we will call him) assists us in working through what it means to be the church in a postmodern context.

1. The Attack

The last few years of SK's life were directed toward a very harsh attack against the established Lutheran Church. His journals reveal that for most of his lifetime he believed the Danish Lutheran Church, the state church, was in awful spiritual condition. The bishop of the DLC was J. P. Mynster. Soren had grown up hearing his sermons Sunday after Sunday. Over time SK came to believe that the bishop was doing more harm than good when it came to preaching the gospel.

In 1854 Bishop Mynster died. At the memorial service, Professor Hans L. Martensen eulogized the deceased cleric by saying that he was one of the true witnesses to the truth, a link in the chain that stretched all the way from the time of the apostles to the present. SK, who had been publicly silent up to this point concerning his feeling toward the Established Church, could be silent no longer. In his writings Soren placed great emphasis on the necessity of witnessing to the truth. To refer to Mynster as such a witness was more than SK could handle. He chose a popular political journal, The Fatherland, in which to hurl his assault. The critique and criticism was continued in a series of papers called The Instant, which were compiled into a book entitled Attack Upon Christendom.

In my second post on SK, we will discuss the specific nature of his attack.


Ted M. Gossard said...

I look forward to your posts on Soren Kirkegaard, as what I have picked up about him is fascinating to me.

Jim Martin said...

I'm very glad you are doing this series. I've been impressed with his writing for quite some time. I look forward to your next post.

Jim Martin said...
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