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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Barth Saved????

Below are two comments I made to John Fraiser on Chaos and Old Night Blog. https://chaosandoldnight.wordpress.com/2006/07/31/what-did-karl-barth-really-say/#comment-149 . But first I will post what John Fraiser said that upset me greatly:

John:

There is much more that I could say about Barth’s doctrine of revelation but the above critique should suffice to generate discussion. Though my evaluation of Barth has been entirely negative, there is much I appreciate about Barth. I think evangelicals have too often viewed him strictly as a foe to orthodoxy. As should be clear from what I’ve written above, I think that there is some foe in Barth, but there is a large degree of friend. Furthermore, I don’t deny or even doubt Barth’s salvation (or Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s for that matter) like many evangelicals do. I think Barth rested entirely on the work of Christ on his behalf. I do not think either his universalism, ecumenism or his doctrine of God or Scripture keeps him out of the kingdom. Christ, and Christ alone, was his righteousness.

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Charlie:


I strongly disagree that Barth was “saved.” He denied practically every essential of the faith there is. How you can say that he believed in justification by faith alone and all the rest of it I have no clue. You even said yourself that his doctrine of Scriptural inspiration was completely different. In addition, Bonhoeffer denied the physical and literal resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think you're being much too charitable. We might as well invite the Mormons to the ecumenical table of salvation as well if we're going allow that Barth and Bonhoeffer were sincere Christians while at the same time denying practically every essential of the faith that confessing Evangelical Protestants hold dear.

Which Christ does Barth know? The Christ of Scripture or a Christ he has imagined? If you’re going to allow Barth a place in heaven you might as well open the door to every other liberal theologian and neo-orthodox theologian that has come along. Quite frankly, the watering down of the essentials in most Evangelical seminaries is leading Evangelicalism down the path of liberalism. There are professors at Fuller and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, as well as at Asbury who think the Bible contains “myth” and that “myth” isn’t really a dirty word. If, as you say, Barth viewed major portions of Scripture as mythological, then we might as well give up and become liberals ourselves if we’re going to concede that Scripture is really not propositional truth or that Scripture is simply fable and myth.

Barth’s view is essentially selling out to philosophies of this world which hold reason supreme. Thus, Barth’s approach is to invent and imagine a faith that doesn’t accept any propositional truth or even revelation directly revealed in the written word.

Forgive me if this sounds a bit harsh, but I think it speaks volumes about the doubts that are being propagated in most seminaries these days. If Barth’s view is correct, then Barth is himself contradicting himself. If we can say nothing meaningful about God, then Barth’s own theology is just so much intellectual exercise and about as useful for toilet paper as anything else. In fact, I would love to use his handwritten version of Church Dogmatics for toilet paper.

In the end we are all going to face God. This life is temporary. We may admire theologians but theologians are just grass in the field and they die like everyone else. Frankly, I think Bultmann was much more valuable to the church even though I doubt his salvation as well. But at least Bultmann didn’t reject natural revelation outright as Barth did.

Peace…


John:

Richard,I may not buy all the implications of Charlie’s Kantian attributions to Barth, but I don’t think anyone who sees Kantian elements in Barth is getting this from Van Til. There are quite a few Barth scholars who see Kantian elements in Barth and have not likely read Van Til. See for example, William Stacy Johnson, The Mystery of God: Karl Barth and the Postmodern Foundations of Theology, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1997: 3, 69-70 and Trevor Hart, “Revelation”, Cambridge Companion to Barth, Cambridge University Press, 2000: 42. Kantian sympathies do not make Barth wrong as Charlie seems to imply. Of course, Barth did not buy into everything Kantian, in fact he rejects quite a bit. But one can make a strong case that he held to several Kantian ideas. -J Fraiser



Charlie:

Kantian sympathies do make Barth wrong. If we reject the idea that the Bible is revelation itself, then we’re basically saying that God only reveals himself to us in existential encounter, which is entirely wrong. God reveals Himself to us through the appointed means of grace which are Scripture, Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel. Of course the Reformed view is that the elect must be regenerated prior to grasping the truth of the revelation of the Bible. Many are called or invited but few are chosen. Your comments reveal to me a departure from Protestant orthdoxy if you’re suggesting that Barth came anywhere near the truth.

Barth has no clue as to who the genuine God of the Bible is since he clearly rejects the Bible. You yourself said that he is no evangelical. The last time I checked being an evangelical means being a genuine Christian who accepts the whole counsel of God and not picking and choosing which sections of the Holy Scriptures we will believe and which we will not accept. The Holy Scriptures contain everything essential to salvation and the Scriptures are perspicuous and clear enough that even a child can understand them and be saved. To obfuscate matters behind philosophical frameworks imposed on the text from modern existentialism and Kantian philosophy is to deny the faith altogether.

The derogatory reference to 5 point Calvinism is just uncalled for since there are many solid Evangelical and Protestant and classical reformed theologians who do not oversimplify or use reductionist views on the 5 points of Calvinism in response to the Remonstrants. To mention a few, I would include Berkhof, A.A. Hodge, Charles Hodge, Benjamin Warfield, etc.

Personally, I think you’re getting your “tolerant” views on Barth from your professor, which disturbs me greatly. If such compromise continues, then the future of Evangelicalism is indeed bleak.

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