Karl Barth and Evangelical Theology explores the convergences and divergences between the theology of Karl Barth and historic evangelical faith, and on that basis presents ways for evangelicals to dynamically engage with Barth's theology. It is a balanced appraisal of Barth's theology from a solidly evangelical perspective and features contributions by many leading theologians, including Alister McGrath, Kevin Vanhoozer, Gabriel Fackre, and Henri Blocher.
Karl Barth is undoubtedly one of the most influential Christian theologians of the twentieth century. However, the reception of many evangelicals to Barth's theology has been complicated. Some evangelical theologians rejected his theology, arguing that his view of Scripture is inconsistent with historic evangelical views. Others accepted wholeheartedly Barth's emphasis on the Word of God and Christ-centered interpretation of the Gospel.
“For evangelicals, the Word of God is an object—the deposit of revealed truth in Scripture. By contrast, for Barth the Word of God is a subject whose speaking in and through Jesus Christ creates both the canon and the church.” (Page 39)
“The difficulty lies in Barth’s espousing two incompatible axioms: first, that the Bible is the Word of God; second, that the Bible contains errors and contradictions.” (Page 31)
“The Word of God is God himself in Holy Scripture.’65 Barth never tired of insisting that only God can make God known.” (Page 39)
“Jesus Christ is not only the Object of election but also the Subject of election” (Page 74)
“Where I have personally benefited from Barth’s theology is in his emphasis on the gospel before the law, divine revelation over human reason, dogmatics before apologetics and theology over ideology. My reservations lie in his objectivistic and universalistic slant, which he nevertheless strives to hold in balance with his concern for vocation as the third element in salvation—after justification and sanctification.” (Pages xvi–xvii)
This collection ought to do much to stimulate fresh evangelical engagement with one of the great gospel thinkers of the modern Christian tradition.
—Professor John Webster, University of Aberdeen