Unity and Persuasion

In his The God of Jesus Christ, Walter Kasper elucidates the meaning of the claim that God is one, and in this singleness the source and foundation of all reality, with the ultimate unity of reality to be found in God. And if God unites all that is, then it follows that God is the only God, one God, without rival. “Only one God can be infinite and all-inclusive; two Gods would limit one another even if they somehow interpenetrated.”1 This uniqueness of God is the ground of the unity of all peoples, and that unity’s goal. In this sense, the monotheistic claim to uniqueness need not be a sign of close-mindedness, resentment and elitism but rather universalism.

But what kind of universality? And how is this ultimate unity to be brought to fulfilment in history and among peoples of varying belief? A unity that is at root violence? Nietzsche, we are told, thought there was no other way than the will to power. Certainly, Christianity’s method of witnessing to the unity of all in Christ is/must be persuasion. But this persuasiveness must not be one more example of a disguised will for power, no matter how high the original ideals.  The persuasiveness of the gospel cannot even be a victory of rhetoric or dialectic such as “the way in which a lesser force succumbs to a greater, as an episode in the endless epic of power.” 2 The persuasiveness of the gospel is Christ alone, crucified and risen. (1Cor 1:18-31) All the clever theologising, the efficient use of resources, the use of the latest technologies, these and all else at the disposal of the church is no substitute for Christ and his gentle way of love that alone can bring peace.

 

  1. Walter Kasper, The God of Jesus Christ, p. 240. For his discussion on the oneness of God and source of unity, see pp. 234-241, 248.
  2. David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite, p. 3. See pp. 1-5 on the necessity for the evangel to be peace, agape, shalom, and a felicitous conjunction with beauty.

Tags: cross | evangelism | Nietzsche | peace |

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