FREE book: Barth’s The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life

There is something you should know about me: I really like Karl Barth. Barth (btw, silent “h” at the end, pronounce it just like the only son of Homer and Marge Simpson) was probably the most prolific theologian of the twentieth century. Want proof? Here’s the Barth shelf from my little library (right above the Thomas Aquinas shelf, my other hero).


All of those are by Barth. The black ones are all volumes of his Church Dogmatics (of which I still lack two volumes). I also have another half shelf of smaller works and German editions. Makes for some nice, light bedtime reading, let me tell you.

Barth gets overlooked sometimes because a lot of what he wrote is a pretty tough read, often made tougher still by less than helpful translations from the German. But even if you have never read his works (or even heard of him before now), you have likely read others who were heavily influenced by Barth. He stood up to the Nazis when few in the German church did and he helped push theology beyond the futile problems of modernity. He also has some smaller books that are easier to get into, like Evangelical Theology, Deliverance to the Captives, Dogmatics in Outline, and a little one called “The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life.”

I was using that book as a text in a theology course I was teaching at Lee University a few years back, when it suddenly fell out of print for about a year. Undaunted, I got a copy of the original German off of eBay (back when I still used eBay) and produced my own translation. Since I had used the book in a previous semester, I knew some of the questions that it brought up. To save myself some time and effort I addressed those questions as footnotes to the text.

11188120_10205703054727612_568067773_oNow I’m giving to you for free if you want it: Karl Barth’s The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life. Thanks to the help of my friend James Marler, you can download this in three ways: as a PDF (below), as an epub file (this link), or as a mobi file for Kindle (this link).

I hope you enjoy it; I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

PDF: The-Holy-Spirit-and-the-Christian-Life-Karl-Barth-Michael-Raburn

God is speaking – to YOU

The other day, Anne Jackson asked a question on her blog, “when the devil latches on and screams at you… what do you do to shut him up?” There were many really good responses posted, but also many more that took a do-it-yourself approach to the issue, ignoring the best solution of all – let Jesus tell you the truth. Let the Lord rebuke the devil for you. This is the approach the archangel Michael took in Jude 9, so it’s at least worth considering.

This got me to thinking: why are we so ready to accept that the devil talks to us, that demons talk to us, but we aren’t nearly as ready to accept that the Lord talks to us? I know the accuser has a loud, irritating, impossible-to-ignore voice, but I also think we too often forget to open our ears to what the Lord is trying to say to us. After all, we have quite a talkative God:

God created everything by speaking.

First thing God did after creating Adam – spoke to him.

Spoke to Cain, Enoch, Noah.

Uses the title “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” as self-identification: all people God spoke to.

God spoke face-to-face with Moses again and again while they wandered around together for 40 years with the Israelites.

Half of the Old Testament is made up of God speaking to various peoples through the prophets.

Jesus did a lot of speaking while on earth, of course, but He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to teach us, remind us of what Jesus said, comfort us, and counsel us. All of these involve communication.

Jesus spoke again to Paul and got his attention quite well.

Jesus spoke all kinds of stuff to John the Revelator.

The Spirit has spoken to many people throughout the history of the church: Origen, Chrysosthom, Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Thérèse of Lisieux, John Wesley, and William Seymour (just to name a few).

All of this speaking coming from a God who does not change and who doesn’t play favorites can only mean one thing: God is still speaking today and would like to communicate with you. Especially in those moments when the enemy is all up in your ear yelling his lies and accusations. You don’t have to deal with that alone and really you can’t. The Lord says the battle belongs to Him.

The battle is won by the Lord’s power, which often comes when the Spirit speaks the truth over you and into you. Scripture plays a role in this, but remember that Scripture is a means God uses to speak to you, not a means by which you get to figure it out alone.