- The appropriate (sachgemäß) focus of theology (whether dogmatic or exegetical) is the Gospel, the “work and word of God in the Immanuel-Story”, which is a narrative.
- This story is unitary, it is the single story of God's redemption.
- The witnesses to this story, however, are manifold.
- Therefore, the task of theology is a matter of gathering and syn-opsis, "seeing together" (Zusammensehen), with the goal of discerning the one story.
- Given that the witnesses were elected historical individuals ("the prophets and apostles"), Barth affirms that it is what they said that should form the raw material for this synthesising, i.e. the sources, redactors etc.
- Childs agrees with Barth on everything.
- There is one problem: how do we relate the parts?
- Here the canon steps in: it provides the structure for relating the parts to each other, some being subordinated, some being highlighted, some having their semantic content shifted. The canon was actually designed to do this, as it both creates and maintains the unity of the Bible (1970: 39).
- The final form thus becomes valid because it is the form which provides the co-ordinates in which the Gospel in its fullness can be perceived. This rational for focus on the final form is different to contemporary literary approaches, postmodern approaches, and other attempts to find ways to bridge the gap between past and present (symbolic, psychological, existential). It thus provides, I think, a fitting context for Seitz's claims that the real issue at stake in contemporary theological interpretation is not an adequate hermeneutics but an adequate theological appreciation of the nature of the Gospel and its God (which would seem to find its Brennpunkt in the question of the nature of the relation of the two testaments).
Does this follow? Are the assumptions correct? Is not the work of Seitz the way forward for the Church?