31 May 2008

Drowning in a Sea of Barth Goo - Carl Trueman on Karl Barth

One of my hero's, Carl Trueman (I'm sure he wouldn't like me to call him that), has just disappointed me. It has sadly come to my attention that he has written the forward to Engaging With Barth (how have I missed this up til now?). I am saddened. Derek Thomas takes him to task here for his promotion of KB and Trueman's responses are here and here. His response is much of what I've heard and read before, i.e., Barth makes us think and challenges us and although we disagree with him blah, blah, blah. So, I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what is so compelling about Barth that it should make me want to study (or at least read) him. Someone please tell me I don't have to buy this book and spend valuable reading time on it.
Although I've written this somewhat tongue-in-cheek I am still serious when I ask what's the big deal? Many others down through history have made us think and have had some keen theological insights but they don't get nearly as much press as Barth does.


R. E. Aguirre. said...

...? Even as a Catholic I understand the profound insight of Barth (on how he basically re-interpreted Reformed theology using German paradox and the dialectical method).

...any serious scholar of any theological tradition would note the importance of the "20th centuries most influential theologian".

(Presbyterian) Professor of Sytematic Theology at Princeton Bruce McCormack - http://www.ptsem.edu/PTS_People/faculty/mccormack.php
is considered one of the world's top Barthian authorities and has written many works on him. He is due for a popular introduction to Barth and Orthodoxy in September-

R.E. Aguirre

Reformed Renegade said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by. As a Catholic do you understand just how incorrect he was as a Protestant? I particularly like Van Til's assessment of Barth.

...any serious scholar of any theological tradition would note the importance of the "20th centuries most influential theologian". Yup, heard this, too. and in the next breath the same theologians who say this point out all the areas where he was wrong. :-)

Thanks for pointing out McCormack. Already aware of him. I was hoping someone would engage me in some dialogue rather than pointing me to another book. :-)

R. E. Aguirre. said...

No problem, glad to have posted (I have a soft spot for Reformed Protestants).

And yes, I recognize how poor Barth has been misunderstood and attacked even by his German audience (not too mention the Americans). I especially like Kung on Barth (and even Kung was attacked by his Catholic colleagues). I also liked Gerstner's defense of Barth in his lecture series.

My response was not to engage you on Barth but to respond to the question posed,

"Why would anyone spend money on reading Barth, I mean really" (paraphrase)

(answer), because anyone that is interested in understanding theology (especially the developments in the 20th century) must address Barth.

R.E. Aguirre
Anno Domini MMVIII.