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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

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Short Review of THE THEOLOGY OF THE REFORMED CONFESSIONS, by Karl Barth


Recently, I read Karl Barth's series of lectures on the Reformed confessions of faith. While it would be lengthy to give a full review of the book here, let it be said that Barth for the most part understands what the classical Reformed confessions were saying. This is astounding since we know that in his opus, Church Dogmatics, Barth both upholds and repudiates much of the traditional and classic theology of the Calvinist side of the Reformation.

My greatest disagreement with Barth's assessment is that he pretends to know more than the Reformers themselves since he thinks several of the confessions depart from Calvin's views when they address the implications of the assurance of salvation according to a Reformed theology of justification, regeneration, salvation and revelation in Holy Scripture. Barth is simply equivocating here since his own views on revelation are highly existentialistic and subjectivistic, which leads one to wonder how he can accuse the Westminster divines of subjectivism when they considered the issue of justification by faith alone, divine election, and how all of this relates to the assurance of salvation and the perseverance of the saints.

I thought Barth's book was challenging and even encouraging reading, despite my disagreement with several of his assumptions. Every Reformed believer should read Barth's lectures on Reformed theology in the confessions of faith, especially if they are familiar with them firsthand. [THE THEOLOGY OF THE REFORMED CONFESSIONS, (Columbia Series in Reformed Theology, translated and annotated by Darrell L. Guder and Judith J. Guder, Columbia Theological Seminary. Louisville: Westminster, 2005. Paperback edition)].

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