Encountering Bultmann - a personal account (Pt 2/3)
Actually, my spiritual ‘default’ setting is still ‘Fundie’. I can’t help it. Reboot my brain and its ‘Foaming-Mouth Fundie Operating System Version 1.1’ that loads up. Thus even today, whenever I pick up Bultmann with my right hand, my left hand unconsciously twitches for Josh McDowell’s, Evidence that Demands a Verdict - and a big jug of holy water. OK, maybe that’s exaggerating. But you get the point.
I’m writing all of this, not because I now think Bultmann is only great. I surely don’t and I remain convinced that his works are riddled with a number of significant problems. But because of my religious background it never occurred to me to actually read Bultmann. For a time longer than I care to admit both volumes of his Theology of the New Testament sat on my shelf gathering dust, carefully separated from the bibles (wouldn’t want them getting infected).
But there is some really good stuff in these books! And its far more preachable than almost anything else produced in scholarship (the ‘personal address’ of the kerygma etc.). I dare you: Try reading, for example, his section on ‘faith in Paul’ (Theology of the New Testament 1.314-330) and see if you don’t feel like you’ve just been treated to real, profound and wonderful theological treasures (of considerable practical and ‘devotional’ worth, btw).