Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Karl Barth?

So my box set of Church Dogmatics arrived this week - appropriately on my birthday.

There is a lot to admire about Karl Barth and his massive, unfinished project. I recently had the joyful experience of explaining who Barth was to someone in Manning Bar who had never heard of him. He was a theologian who called his readers to focus on Jesus. His opposition to liberalism, Nazism, and Cold War's partianship was because of what Barth knew God had done in and through Jesus Christ. When asked by a reporter how he would summarise his work after all his years of study, Barth replied "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Maybe I should have shown them this video:

The impact of Barth's scholarship during and after his life time has been far reaching. Yet far more influential than the volumes of his writing was his commitment to the gospel. After Barth died in 1968, the translators of Church Dogmatics into English - TF Torrance and GW Bromiley - made reference to this in their preface to CD IV.4:
"When the proofs of this book were still in our hands, new came in that Karl Barth was dead. God took him to his rest in the early hours of December 10, 1968, the great Church Father of Evangelical Christendom, the one genuine Doctor of the universal Church the modern era has known. It is in the Church Dogmatics above all that we must look for the grandeur of this humble servant of Jesus Christ, for the work he was given to accomplish in it will endure to bless the word for many centuries to come. Only Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin have performed comparable service in the past, in the search for a unified and comprehensive basis for all theology in the grace of God.

The Church Dogmatics represents an immense struggle for the understanding of the eternal Word of God and its rational articulation in the modern world in which the thought-forms of man are obediently and pliantly yielded to the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures."
If this has whet your appetite, you might like to check out the highlight package of Church Dogmatics at Faith and Theology: Church Dogmatics in a Week. And remember to love God and keep your pipe lit.

1 comment:

onejudge said...

Sounds like a top bloke.
The link you put on there convinced me not to read the summary of his work though! Enjoy your reading. Maybe i'll get one too.

But... since you've got the whole set, can I borrow the volumes that I gave you? :)