Emil Brunner, fully Heinrich Emil Brunner

Emil
Brunner, fully Heinrich Emil Brunner
1889
1966

Swiss Protestant (Reformed) Theologian, along with Karl Barth is associated with Neo-Orthodoxy or the Dialectical Theology Movement

Author Quotes

For the Platonic or Aristotelian philosophy it is of no importance whether Plato or Aristotle ever lived. For the mystical practice of an Indian, Persian, Chinese, or Neo-Platonic mystic it is a matter of indifference whether Rama, Buddha, Laotse, or Porphyrius are myths or not. The mystic has no personal relation to them. It is not here a question of somebody telling me the truth which of myself I cannot find, but of my finding an access to the depths of the world in the depths of my soul. And everywhere the tendency is to eliminate personality. Even where religion does not have this mystical character, it has no relation to an historical person, who communicates himself to me. That is the characteristic essence of faith alone. Even where a prophet plays the role of a mediator of divine truth, as for example in Islam, the religious act is not directed toward him but toward his teaching or message? as being the Word of God.

Hope is the positive mode of awaiting the future.

Hope is the power that gives us the power to step out and try.

In quite recent times we seem to have entered a particularly dangerous new phase of anthropological aberration, namely, a queer combination of nihilism and deification. Theoretically, man is said to be nothing but an animal with a highly developed cerebrum. At the same time, it is believed of this man that he is capable by science and technical devices of achieving whatever he wants. The deification which might have been thought to be finally over-come, returns as it were from behind, in the form of a deification of technical creativity to which not much less than omnipotence is ascribed. After mankind has done away with the pseudo-religion of race and blood, it is faced with the even greater danger of a technocratical pseudo-religion. There is no room for human personality, freedom and justice in either of these new religions of divine man. But the most dangerous of all must be the one which makes man at the same time nothing and God.

It is characteristic of the thinking of our time that the problem of guilt and forgiveness has been pushed into the background and seems to disappear more and more. Modern thought is impersonal. There are, even today, a great many people who understand that man needs salvation, but there are very few who are convinced that he needs forgiveness and redemption... Sin is understood as imperfection, sensuality, worldliness -- but not as guilt.

One who receives this Word, and by it salvation, receives along with it the duty of passing this Word on... Where there is no mission, there is no Church, and where there is neither Church nor mission, there is no faith.

So long as we stand "under the Law", we cannot perceive this hidden unity of all the commandments. It is part of legalism that the will of God must appear to it as a multiplicity of commandments. In actual fact, it is one and indivisible; God wants nothing else except love because He Himself is love.

The Church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.

The Revelation of God is not a book or a doctrine, but a living Person.

Utopias are the straws to which those cling who have no real hope; utopias are as unattractive as they are incredible, for those who know what real hope is. Utopias are not a consequence of true hope but a poor substitute for it and therefore a hindrance and not a help? God's victory over all powers of destruction, including death, is the end towards which the time process moves as its own end.

What until recently seemed to be only the apocalyptic fantasies of the Christian faith has today entered the sphere of the soberest scientific calculations; the sudden end of history.

All mere orthodoxy, all mere knowledge concerning God's will, is not only nothing but less than nothing. The more knowledge, the more obligation. The maintaining of revealed doctrine becomes blasphemy if it is not borne out by the corresponding testimony of the life. He who is always appealing to the Word of God without his life and conduct corresponding to this knowledge of God, dishonors God's name, making Him an object of mockery and hatred. It is just those who know so well how to talk about God who make His name hateful among men, because their lives darken the picture of God and turn it into a caricature. The Lord is judged by the life of His servants; this is the truer, the more zealously they appeal to Him.

Eternal life is not an unending continuance of this life--that would, perhaps, be Hell--but Eternal Life is quite a different life, divine, not mundane; perfect, not earthly; true life, not corrupt half-life. We cannot form a conception of Eternal Life. What we imagine is ever simply of the earth, temporal, worldly? What sense is there in thinking about it if we can have no conception of it? The answer is, "It is life with God, in God, from God; life in perfect fellowship." Therefore it is a life in love, it is love itself. It is a life without the nature of death and sin, hence without sorrow, pain, anxiety, care, misery. To know this suffices to make one rejoice in eternal life. If there were no eternal life, this life of time would be without meaning, goal, or purpose, without significance, without seriousness and without joy. It would be nothing. That our life does not end in nothing, but that eternal life awaits us.

Evil can be interpreted as guilt only where human existence is understood as personal, and that means where the existence of man is understood to be in responsibility to the Divine Thou. This is the depth of human distress, that we are separated from God, that our communion with Him is destroyed, that man has emancipated himself (has taken himself out of the hand of God) and has become independent, his own master.

Faith is obedience, nothing else.

This autonomy of man, this attempt of the Ego to understand itself out of itself, is the lie concerning man which we call sin. The truth about man is that his ground is not in himself but in God -- that his essence is not in self sufficient reason but in the Word, in the challenge of God, in responsibility, not in self-sufficiency. The true being of man is realized when he bases himself upon God's Word. Faith is then not an impossibility or a salto mortale [mortal leap], but that which is truly natural; and the real salto mortale (a mortal leap indeed!) is just the assertion of autonomy, self-sufficiency, God-likeness. [It is] through this usurped independence [that] man separates himself from God, and at the same time isolates himself from his fellows. Individualism is the necessary consequence of rational autonomy, just as love is the necessary consequence of faith.

Love does not inquire into the character of the recipient but it asks what he needs. It does not love him because he is such-and-such a person but because he is there. In all this it is quite the opposite of natural love: it "does not seek its own". It does not perform the characteristic natural impulse of love and life. Therefore it is basically independent of the conduct of the other person; it is not conditional but absolute. It wants nothing for itself but only for others. Therefore it is also not vulnerable. It never "reacts" but is always "spontaneous", emerging by its own strength -- rather, from the power of God. Love is the real God-likeness of man for which he has been created. In so far as love is in man he really resembles God and shows himself to be the child of God.

What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.

The God of the “other religions” is always an idol.

Hope... is one of the ways in which what is merely future and potential is made vividly present and actual to us. Hope is the positive, as anxiety is the negative, mode of awaiting the future.

Love is the most freely willed of any activity of which we are able to think.

Duty and genuine goodness are mutually exclusive… The sense of “ought” shows me the Good at an infinite impassable distance from my will. Willing obedience is never the fruit of an “ought’ but only of love.

For every civilization or every period of history it is true today: show me what kind of god you have and I will tell you what kind of humanity you possess.

No religion I the world is without some elements of truth. No religion is without its profound error.

Since man cannot help seeking the infinite he now seeks the meaning of his life in an infinity of things.

Author Picture
First Name
Emil
Last Name
Brunner, fully Heinrich Emil Brunner
Birth Date
1889
Death Date
1966
Bio

Swiss Protestant (Reformed) Theologian, along with Karl Barth is associated with Neo-Orthodoxy or the Dialectical Theology Movement