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Initial Musings on Barth

While preparing for a class on Karl Barth, I was assigned quite a few books by Barth. As I read, I was desperately seeking some way of summarizing, contextualizing or understanding Barth. Below are some of my early attempts to comprehend where this theologian is coming from. These musings do not represent my finished thoughts on Barth: please continue reading my posts on Barth to see my final convictions.)

« Barth can only be understood within his Reformed tradition. He seems to be taking sovereignty to such an extreme that man is neither  free nor really culpable for his sin. Thus God can and must save all in Christ. »

« Barthianism is a plea bargain with the Devil! With it, the scholar gains his own soul, but forfeits (a mission for) the world in the process! »

« You can always tell when Barth is feeling intellectually cornered. This is when he comes up with his most pithy, prosaic statements. In so doing, he is often able to turn the tables on his opponents, throw dust in their eyes, and slip out of their intellectual grasp. His rhetorical maneuverability is ingenious! However, for those truly concerned with seeking after truth, his methodology cannot be anything other than frustrating… »

« When followed to its logical conclusion, Barthianism seems to provide no distinction between the Christian and non-Christian except for the rather flimsy dilineation that one side knows they are saved, while the other does not yet know. »

« I now know where Rob Bell gets his theology from! He seems to utilize this very theology to state that the only meaningful distinction between the Christian and non is works. I wonder how Barth would respond to this? »

« The problem with the human race is not that we are sick with sin – it is taht we are dead in it. Our soul putrifies while our flesh clings to a fleeting half-life. We do not need the deadly tourniquitte of religion to bring new life. But neither do we need this deadly salve, this false Gospel, of Barthianism – this message that « We are saved already, » and should just start living as though this were true.

In repentance and rest is our salvation – but there is no rest for the wicked. Therefore, when we hear His call, let us not harde our hearts, as they did in the wilderness, when thousands died as a judgment on their heard hearts. Rather, what is the word from Heaven? « Behold, I set before you death and life. Therefore, choose life! » 

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