the origin of the great errors

There can be no doubt that all the great errors which have overtaken the preaching and theology of the community in the course of its history have had their true origin, not so much in the studies of the well-known errorists and heretics who have merely blabbed them out, but rather in the secret inattention and neglect, the private drowsing and wandering and erring, of innumerable nameless Christians who were not prepared to regard the listening of the community to the Word as their own concern, who wanted privacy in their thinking, and who thus created the atmosphere in which heresy and error became possible and even inevitable in the community. Conversely, there can be no doubt that the revivals and quickenings continually granted to the preaching and theology of the community have had their basis, not so much in the bearers of the great names which have come down to us in Church history as representatives of these movements, but effectively, if secretly, in the community from which they sprang, by which they were surrounded and as the mouthpiece of which they spoke, and therefore again in the innumerable nameless Christians for whom the question of correct doctrine was a burning one which they tried to address to the right quarter, and who then quietly if inarticulately found and espoused the relevant new and better answers until someone was found to bring them to expression.

— Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III:4