Welcome to The Karl Barth Society of Amherst, Massachusetts - a local chapter of the The Karl Barth Society of North America. This site is maintained by Chris TerryNelson. Please let me know how I can make this page a better resource for you. Email me, view my profile. You can also visit my new personal website, Disruptive Grace.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Worst Part(h) About Barth?

I thought it would be revealing to have a discussion regarding the shortcomings of Barth. However, let's stay close to the discussion of his doctrinal treatments, and far away from how "long-winded" his writing style is.

A quick example:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Where Barth's Christology Goes Wrong

"Bonhoeffer’s own christology began to take definitive shape in his Habilitationsschrift, Act and Being. In this book, Bonhoeffer analyzes the epistemologies of transcendental and ontological philosophies in terms of the problems they pose for an understanding of revelation. Of particular significance is his assertion that transcendentalism is prominent in Barth’s ‘actualist’ theory of revelation (Gruchy 1991, 8). Barth argued that revelation is a product of God’s infinite freedom and thus a purely contingent act. It creates its own response, is not bound to anything, and God is free to suspend it at any time (8-9). Revelation as act means that God is always beyond human knowledge, escaping every human attempt to have God at its disposal. Barth felt that only by affirming revelation as act could one preserve the freedom and majesty of God against human attempts to domesticate the divine. Bonhoeffer criticized Barth’s actualism because it made God so utterly free that God’s freedom became an abstraction (Woelfel 1970, 138). " (taken from B.U. Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology)

So, do you think Barth was too exclusivist? Too inclusivist? Was Barth's treatment of Scripture problematic? Was Barth lacking a satisfactory treatment of the Holy Spirit?


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