“These sermons were prepared from 1920 to 1924. Professor Barth preached some of them while he was minister of the Reformed congregation in Safenwil, Canton Aargau, Switzerland; others in the Reformed Church in Goettingen while he was professor of theology in the University. Pastor Thurneysen at that time preached to the congregation in Bruggen, near St. Gall, Switzerland. The sermons were written not for special occasions but for the regular Sunday morning service, and were addressed to such men and women as one will find in any village or city church—to men and women in the struggle for life, waiting and seeking for God. Pastor Thurneysen selected the sermons and arranged them according to a scheme that may be indicated by the words Promise, Christ, Christian Living.”
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Karl Barth (1886–1968), a Swiss Protestant theologian and pastor, was one of the leading thinkers of twentieth-century theology, described by Pope Pius XII as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas. He helped to found the Confessing Church and his thinking formed the theological framework for the Barmen Declaration. He taught in Germany, where he opposed the Nazi regime. In 1935, when he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler, he was retired from his position at the University of Bonn and deported to Switzerland. There he continued to write and develop his theology.
Barth’s work and influence resulted in the formation of what came to be known as neo-orthodoxy. For Barth, modern theology, with its assent to science, immanent philosophy, and general culture and with its stress on feeling, was marked by indifference to the word of God and to the revelation of God in Jesus, which he thought should be the central concern of theology.