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The invalidity of the cushioned

If this lecture has a unifying theme, however, it is this. What is cushioned is likely to be invalid. What encourages us to defend the security allegedly bestowed by our traditions puts our Christian understanding in peril. That understanding is imperiled also, of course, by the cult of the alleged autonomy of faith, according to which faith is creative of its own objects. Here too there is flight to a security, albeit an inward security, a withdrawal from accepting the peril and the promise of the Incarnation. It is, I repeat, not with Establishment in the narrower sense that I am concerned in this lecture, but with the cultivation of the status of invulnerability, issuing in a devotion to the structures that preserve it. . . . But the issue of kenosis and Establishment is in the end an issue of spirituality. To live as a Christian in the world today is necessarily to live an exposed life; it is to be stripped of the kind of security that tradition, whether ecclesiological or institutional, easily bestows. We deceive ourselves if we suppose that we do not seek to hide ourselves away from the kind of exposure to which I am referring.

~ Donald MacKinnon, The Stripping of the Altars (Suffolk: Collins, 1969), 33-34.


  1. Jason Knott wrote:


    Who does he think he has in his sights in critiquing the “alleged autonomy of faith”? Sounds like a critique of Barth or some kinds of “Barthians.”

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
  2. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Nah. Think more like John A.T. Robinson.

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 1:02 am | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Yeah, I don’t think there’s any real way to construe Barth as arguing that faith is “creative of its own objects.” I think Nate’s right about Robinson.

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  4. adamsteward wrote:

    Donald Mackinnon is my number one priority in reprint pursuits right now. If anyone out there has any information as to the whereabouts of his estate holder, I would greatly appreciate being notified. This really needs to happen.

    Monday, June 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

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