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 Emil Brunner Quotes
16 Famous Quotes by Emil Brunner
12/23/1889 - 4/6/1966
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About Emil Brunner

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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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By giving to Jesus Christ, the Man who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, this historical personality, the name of Lord, the Saviour, we renounce all mysticism. For mysticism in the strict sense exists only where one soars above the sphere of history, and where in place of the Mediator and the historical event are put the inner word of God, the inner motions of the soul, in order to reach immediacy between soul and God, and, in the end, the identity of both. But while it is necessary to safeguard the Christian message of the Holy Spirit from the mystical misunderstanding by calling attention to its relation to Jesus Christ, it is necessary on the other hand to safeguard the message of Jesus Christ and His work from the orthodox and rationalist misunderstanding by emphasizing that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624 Utopias of historical progress cannot seduce those who believe in Christ. 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. The hope that is in Jesus Christ is different from all utopias of universal progress. It is based on the revelation of the crucified one. It is, therefore, not an uncertain speculation about the future but a certainty based upon what God has already revealed. One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without knowing for certain that God's victory over all powers of destruction, including death, is the end towards which the time process moves as its own end.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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

Hope Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543 Since becoming a disciple of Christ, Paul knows that 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, dishonours 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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100 Thanksgiving (U.S.) 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. Nor could we know anything about our eternal life if it had not appeared in Jesus Christ. In him we realize that we were created for the eternal life. If we ask, what is this eternal life? 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, is the glad message of Jesus Christ. He came to give us this promise as a light in this dark world. A Christian is a man who has become certain of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936 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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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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.

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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 overcome, 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.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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O Lord, let thyself be found with a good gift to everyone who needs it, that the happy may find courage to accept thy good gifts, that the sorrowful may find courage to accept thy perfect gifts. For to men there is a difference of joy and of sorrow, but for thee, O Lord, there is no difference in these things; everything that comes from thee is a good and perfect gift. ... Søren Kierkegaard August 16, 2000 By giving to Jesus Christ, the Man who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, this historical personality, the name of Lord, the Saviour, we renounce all mysticism. For mysticism in the strict sense exists only where one soars above the sphere of history, and where in place of the Mediator and the historical event are put the inner word of God, the inner motions of the soul, in order to reach immediacy between soul and God, and, in the end, the identity of both. But while it is necessary to safeguard the Christian message of the Holy Spirit from the mystical misunderstanding by calling attention to its relation to Jesus Christ, it is necessary on the other hand to safeguard the message of Jesus Christ and His work from the orthodox and rationalist misunderstanding by emphasizing that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754 The Pauline teaching is the means through which God Himself wants to teach us; Paul's Epistle to the Romans is a letter from God to us, mankind today. It remains the great problem of interpretation, hitherto never entirely solved, how to unite these two things: the keen attention to what Paul wanted to say to that community then, and the search for what God wants to say to us through Paul today. In the end, the question is whether the reader will really allow God to speak to him, or whether he evades God by hiding behind "Paul", behind "the past".

Christianity Quotes, by Emil Brunner

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Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957 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 the Christian 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. But the Christian does not believe in the teachings of Jesus -- which would not be Christian faith, but general religion -- he believes in Christ Himself as being the Word of God.

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