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Friday, November 14, 2014

Formation Fridays: Søren Kierkegaard

These "Formation Friday" posts will range from some general thoughts on current events helping us remember Jesus... to some of the sayings and writings of wise Christian leaders throughout the centuries.

My hope is that as we stay simple and we peek into the things around us and the musings of those who have gone before us that we would enjoy and experience a jump-start into our own personal spiritual formation, hence the title: Formation Fridays.

I hope you will join us, and thanks for reading!

Søren Kierkegaard (pronounced "Keer-kuh-gard") is one of the most famous philosophers from the 19th-20th Centuries. He was born in Denmark where he lived all 42 years of his short life.

Much of his work deals with the art of Christian love. He was extremely critical of the practice of Christianity as a state religion, primarily that of the Church of Denmark. He believed the church is at its best when it is autonomous of the state, a belief still strongly supported today.

The thing is though, Mr. Kierkegaard is most notably known for his works on Christian ethics and the institution of the Church. He was an avid reader and writer. Kierkegaard wrote over 7,000 pages in his journals on events, musings, thoughts about his works and everyday remarks. He was is called the first "existential philosopher". He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely ("authentically").

Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology. RELEVANT posted an article earlier this week, on the anniversary of Kierkegaard's death, to highlight some of his greatest sayings. You can find that article here.

Whether you agree or disagree, the fact is this thought process and ideology has influenced a lot of our society... in fact it has permeated the western culture entirely.

Kierkegaard had plenty of tragedies in his life, beginning with a deeply estranged relationship with his father and an engagement breakup with the only woman he ever fell in love with. He is deeply misunderstood at times, disliked for the hard things he said about the church, and blamed for promoting the cause of a lot of the individualism that has run rampant into our culture, but the truth is we can learn a lot from those whom we disagree with, those we misunderstand, and those who we haven't taken the time to get to know. Søren loved Jesus and the church very much. Amidst all of the problems he had in his own life he breathed fresh life into the realm of Christian theology in his day and his works are studied and built upon even today. Here are some quotes by him to get us thinking:


"The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly."

"God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: He makes saints out of sinners."

"Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are."

"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."


Nathan Bryant

is a pastor living in Phoenix, AZ. As a student at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri he majored in Biblical Leadership, New Testament Studies, and Missiology. Nathan has a combined passion for unity and discipleship in the global church.

Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our causes.
Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our boundaries.

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