Practice in Christianity

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Practice in Christianity is a work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1850. It is one of the works which he published under a pseudonym.

Practice in Christianity, by Soren Kierkegaard as Anti-Climacus [Indøvelse i Christendom] (1850)
Quotes from 1991 translation by Howard H. Hong and Edna H. Hong



  • As long as there is a believer, this person, in order to have become that, must have been and as a believer must be just as contemporary with Christ’s presence as his contemporaries were. This contemporaneity is the condition of faith. P. 9

The Invitation[edit]

  • Come here to me, all you who labor and are burdened. This he says, and those who lived with him saw and see that there truly is not the slightest thing in his way of life that contradicts it. With the silent and veracious eloquence of action, his life expresses-even if he had never said these words-his life expresses: Come here to me, all you who labor and are burdened. He stands by his word or he himself is his word: he is what he says-in this sense, too, he is the Word. P. 14
  • If you are conscious of yourself as a sinner, he will not question you about it; he will not break the bruised reed even more, but will raise you up when you accept him. He will not identify you by contrast, by placing you apart from himself so that your sin becomes even more terrible. P. 20
  • “History,” says faith, “has nothing at all to do with Jesus Christ; with regard to him we have only sacred history (which is qualitatively different from history in general), which relates the story of abasement, also that he claimed to be God.” P. 30

The Halt[edit]

  • The sagacious and sensible person might say, “of course he does not invite me anyway; for he invites only those who labor and are burdened.” …. The philosopher might say, “it is madness for the single individual to want to be God. If this madness were possible, that an individual human being was God, then to be consistent one would have to worship this particular human being; a greater philosophical brutishness cannot be imagined.” The scoffer might say, “The contradiction is solely and only and exclusively the inventor’s: that a human being just like the rest of us, but not as well-dressed as the average person, therefore that a poorly dressed person who most likely belongs under the welfare department-that he is God.” P. 43, 48, 52
  • It is cunning of the inviter to say: I heal all sicknesses, and then when one comes says: I acknowledge only that there is one sickness-sin-of that and from that I heal all of those “who labor and are burdened,” all of those who labor to work themselves out of the power of sin, labor to resist evil, to overcome their weakness, but only manage to be burdened. Of this sickness he heals “all”; even if there were but one single person who turned to him on account of his sickness-he heals all. P. 61
  • That with which you are living simultaneously is actuality-for you. Thus, every human being is able to become contemporary only with the time in which he is living-and then with one more, with Christ’s life upon earth, for Christ’s life upon earth, the sacred history, stands alone by itself, outside history. P. 64

The Moral[edit]

  • And what does it all mean? It means that each individual in quiet inwardness before God is to humble himself under what it means in the strictest sense to be a Christian, is to confess honestly before God where he is so that he still might worthily accept the grace that is offered to every imperfect person-that is, to everyone. And then nothing further; then, as for the rest, let him do his work and rejoice in it, love his wife and rejoice in her, joyfully bring up his children, love his fellow beings, rejoice in life. P. 67

Blessed Is He Who Is Not Offended At Me[edit]

  • Fear yourself, fear what can kill the faith and in that way kills Jesus Christ for you-the offense. Fear and tremble, for faith is carried in a fragile earthen vessel, in the possibility of offense. P. 76

A Brief Summary Of The Contents Of This Exposition[edit]

  • The God-man is not the union of God and man-such terminology is a profound optical illusion. The God-man is the unity of God and an individual human being. P. 82

The Exposition[edit]

  • The generation wants to form the established order, to abolish God, in the fear of men to browbeat the single individual into a mousehole-but this God does not want, and he uses the very opposite tactic-he uses the single individual to prod the established order out of self-complacency. P. 89-90
  • The possibility of offense in relation to Christ qua God-man will continue until the end of time. If the possibility of this offense is taken away, it will mean that Christ, too, is taken away, that he is made into something different from what he is, the sign of offense and the object of faith. P. 93
  • One becomes a Christian only in the situation of contemporaneity with Christ, and in the situation of contemporaneity everyone will also become aware. P. 102
  • If I voluntarily give up everything, choose danger and difficulties, then it is impossible to avoid spiritual trial (which in turn is a specifically Christian category but of course has been abolished in Christendom), which comes with the responsibility (which in turn corresponds to the voluntary), when it is said: Why do you want to expose yourself to this and begin such a thing-after all, you could leave it alone. This is specific Christian suffering: it is a whole scale deeper than the ordinary human sufferings. P. 109
  • To commit a whole life to suffering, to sacrifice, is madness of the understanding. If I am to submit to a suffering, says the understanding, if I am to sacrifice something or in any way sacrifice myself, then I also want to be able to know what profit and advantage I can have from it-otherwise I would be a lunatic to do it. P. 116
  • The God-man (and, as said before, by that Christianity does not understand this fantastic speculation about the unity of God and man but an individual human being who is God) exists only for faith; but the possibility of offense is precisely the repulsion in which faith can come into existence-if one does not choose to be offended. P. 121

The Categories of Offense, That Is, of Essential Offense[edit]

  • Wherever it is the case that the teacher is an essential component, there is a reduplication; … that the teacher is the integral; … where there is reduplication communication is not direct. Reduplication in the teacher through his existing in what he teaches; all direct communication is impossible. P. 123
  • It was Christ’s free resolve from eternity to want to be incognito. He had superiority over himself in such a way that one seems lowlier than one is. P. 128-129
  • The possibility of offense is present at every moment, confirming at every moment the chasmic abyss between the single individual and the God-man over which faith and faith alone reaches P. 139
  • Eighteen hundred years have not contributed a jot to demonstrating the truth of Christianity. In proportion as the demonstration increased in power-fewer and fewer were convinced. P. 144

From On High He Will Call All To Himself[edit]

  • Lowliness, abasement, is the stumbling stone, the possibility of offense, and you are situated between his abasement, which lies behind, and his loftiness-that is precisely why he is said to draw to himself. The abasement belongs just as essentially to him as the loftiness. P. 153
  • Lord, increase my faith. The person who prayed this prayer was not an unbeliever but a believer. The person who prays this prayer aright must already feel himself drawn. Be aware of His presence. P. 156
  • Whether you or some person has adversities in life, whether things perhaps go downhill for him, or whether he perhaps loses his beloved: this is not called suffering like that of Jesus. Such sufferings are universally human, in which the pagans are tried as much as Christians. P. 173
  • This is the test: to become and continue to be a Christian, a suffering with which no other human suffering can be compared in pain and anguish. Yet neither Christianity nor Christ is cruel. No, Christ is himself leniency and love, is love and leniency itself; the cruelty comes from the Christian’s having to live in this world and having to express in the environment of this world what it is to b e a Christian-for Christ is not so lenient, that is, so weak, that he wants to take the Christian out of this world. P. 196
  • When the truth is the way, being the truth is a life-and this is indeed how Christ speaks of himself: I am the Truth, the Way and the Life-the illusion of the Church triumphant is that Christianity has been regarded as truth in the sense of results instead of it being truth in the sense of the way. P. 207
  • Only the Church militant is truth-the Church triumphant and established Christendom are an illusion. P. 219
  • Lord Jesus Christ, you did not come to the world to be served and thus not to be admired either, or in that sense worshiped. You yourself were the Way and the Life-and you have asked only for imitators. If we have dozed off into this infatuation, wake us up, rescue us from this error of wanting to admire or adoringly admire you instead of wanting to follow you and be like you. P. 233
  • When it comes to the moral, to want to admire instead of imitate is not an invention by bad people-no, it is the spineless invention by those who must be called the better but also weak people, whereby they seek to keep themselves detached. They are related to the admired one only though the imagination; to them he is like a theatrical play. P. 244
  • When the truth is the way there are “three ways to go wrong-to go the wrong way, to stumble on the way, to make a wrong turn away from the way”-we pray to you that you will draw the strayer back to yourself, will strengthen the stumbler on the way, will lead back to the way those who have gone astray. P. 262

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