Training in Christianity: Part III

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In this last part of Søren Kierkegaard’s Training in Christianity, our Danish philosopher seeks to exegetically investigate John 12:32:

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

He performs this exegesis by giving us seven untitled expositions of this verse. I have taken it upon myself to title these expositions for my own benefit. Here are my given titles to these expositions:

  1. Remember Christ
  2. “Draw”
  3. Cannot Now This Sight Move Thee?
  4. An Examination in Obedience
  5. The Church Militant
  6. The Follower
  7. We Pray For All

Now I will quote my favorite passage from Part III. This passage might possibly be the most vivid passage for me in this entire work. In discussing the humiliation and the exaltation of Christ, and the Christians call to imitate Christ–in His humiliation and His exaltation–, Kierkegaard says:

Such is the relationship between exaltation and lowliness. The humiliation of the true Christian is not plain humiliation, it is merely the reflected image of exaltation, but the reflection of it in this world, where exaltation must appear conversely as lowliness and humiliation. In reality the star is situated high in the heavens, and it is no less high for the fact that seen in the ocean it seems be below the earth. Likewise, to be a Christian is the highest exaltation, although as reflected in this world it must appear the deepest humiliation. Humiliation is therefore in a certain sense exaltation. As soon as you eliminate the world, the turbid element which confuses the reflection, that is, as soon as the Christian dies, he is exalted on high, where he already was before, though it could not be perceived here on earth, any more than a man who was unable to lift up his head, and so could only see the star deep below at the bottom of the sea, could get the notion that in reality it is on high. (p. 179)

————

Part I: Come Hither!

Part II: The Offense

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3 thoughts on “Training in Christianity: Part III

  1. Pingback: Training in Christianity: Part I | Lankford Press

  2. What did you learn from reading this book? Put differently, what are your personal take-aways? I’d like to hear about application.

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    • I think, above all, Training in Christianity instilled in me the understanding that Christ is truly someone that offends us in many ways. Notice how I said that. I do not say that Christ is offensive. Man merely finds this offensive. Even Jesus’ closest disciple becomes so offended by Christ that he rejects and denies his savior. So, I guess what I took away is that no matter how offensive I find Christ (or Scripture), I need to examine myself and understand what the cause my taking offense.

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