Posts tagged ‘karl barth’

November 8th, 2013

Christo-Monism and Why You Should Know the Term

by Max Andrews

Barth has made many contributions to Christian theology. Christo-monism came to light in contrast to liberal anthropocentrism.  It adopts ecclesial-centrism of Catholicism.  With this, Jesus Christ is the center and focus of all revelation and so of all God’s elective and redemptive work for humanity.  Therefore, all doctrinal headings are brought in naturally under Jesus Christ.

May 13th, 2013

Thomas Torrance–One of the Greatest Theologians of the 20th Century

by Max Andrews

Thomas F. Torrance (1913 – 2007) – the developer  of scientific theology

Thomas Torrance was a professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  He was heavily influenced by Karl Barth and contemporary science.  He translated Barth’s Dogmatics from German to English. (Which is quite voluminous–thirteen volumes, six million words).  He was also a recipient of the Templeton Prize for the advancement of religion.

In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found.  If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object.  Thus, to know entities as they actually are what they are in their relation “webs”.  Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.[1]

The methodology of the epistemological realist concerns propositions of which are a posteriori, or “thinking after,” the objective disclosure of reality.  Thus, epistemology follows from ontology.  False thinking or methodology (particularly in scientific knowledge) has brought about a failure to recognize the intelligibility actually present in nature and the kinship in the human knowing capacity to the objective rationality to be known.[2]

June 7th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Thomas F. Torrance Part 1

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Thomas F. Torrance (1913 – 2007) – the development of scientific theology

More about his theology:  Thomas Torrance was a professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  He was heavily influenced by Karl Barth and contemporary science.  He translated Barth’s Dogmatics from German to English. (Which is quite voluminous–thirteen volumes, six million words).  He was also a recipient of the Templeton Prize for the advancement of religion.

Torrance was the primary contributor to the development of scientific theology.  He argued that the universe of space and time is the means by which God has revealed himself to man, as it comes to view under human inquiry to develop and formulate knowledge of God.  This was the development of an exegesis of nature. 

Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) developed the interrogative (interrogatio) rather than the problematic (quaestio) form of inquiry.  Valla’s mode of inquiry was one in which questions yield results that are entirely new, giving rise to knowledge that cannot be derived by an inferential process from what was already known.  This method was similar to the works of Stoic lawyers and educators like Cicero and Quintilian; that is, questioning witnesses, investigating documents and states of affairs without any prior conception of what the truth might be.  Valla transitioned from not only using this method for historical knowledge but also applied it as “logic for scientific discovery.”[1] Valla’s logic for scientific discovery was the art of finding out things rather than merely the art of drawing distinctions and connecting them together.  He called for an active inquiry (activa inquisitio).  John Calvin (1509-1564) applied this method to the interpretation of Scripture and thus became the father of modern biblical exegesis and interpretation.[2]  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) applied it to the interpretation of the books of nature, as well as to the books of God, and became the father of modern empirical science.[3]

June 1st, 2012

Karl Barth’s use of St. Anselm’s Theological Method

by Max Andrews

Karl Barth’s rediscovery of Anselm’s works could rightfully be said to be the turning point in Barth’s pursuit of a means to DO theology. It was after moving to Munster and in preparation for lectures that Barth studied Anselm and eventually produced “Anselm:  fides quarens intellectum,” which was considered by Barth to be his most important book.  It was Anselm’s definition of God that became the springboard for Barth’s theology.  Anselm said, “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.”

Sum of all possible perfections.  Existence follows.  It only works in this instance (Contra. Caunilo). Follows from common reason.

May 8th, 2012

The Search for the Historical Jesus: The Period of No Quest

by Max Andrews

After the first search for the historical Jesus ended in 1906 the next search, or better said, the period of no quest, began and lasted until 1953.  At this point there was little optimism for finding the “historical Jesus.” Karl Barth (1886-1968) was the key figure during this time.  He claimed that the Jesus of history has little to do with theology–the Christ of faith is more important.  Barth ushered in Neo-Orthodoxy–an emphasis on sin, sovereignty, grace, and faith.  This was a de-emphasis on what actually happened.

This led to form criticism: An analysis of the forms in which the narratives of the gospels come down to us. Not literary, but their pre-literary oral forms. The idea was that different kinds of stories have distinctive kinds of forms that effect how they should be interpreted: miracle stories, healing stories, apothegms, etc.

April 18th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Nachdenken

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Nachdenken

Definition:  German– rethinking and thinking after the words [wherein God is experienced]

More about the term:  This comes into use, particularly, by Karl Barth.  Theology is rethinking the words in which God is manifest–Nachdenken.  Every such word of revelation is an encounter with God and human beings.  Emphatically, the word is Jesus and he is the ultimate place of the encounter of God and human beings.  Jesus Christ is the singular and unique self-revelation of God, the Word of God in person.  From this basic affirmation of faith Barth deduced the deity of Jesus Christ:  “revelation is the self-interpretation of this God.”

April 17th, 2012

The Central Task of Theology According to Karl Barth

by Max Andrews

Theology cannot be done without Christ. Christ is the God incarnate and as such is the only interaction that man can have with Him. Von Balthasar used the image of an hourglass to illustrate Barth’s theology, with Christ as the midpoint which all the grains of sand must run. In his own, ‘Fate and Idea in Theology,’ Barth argues that “theology will really be theology when from beginning to end it is Christology.” As a matter of fact with out Barth view of Christ, there would never have been his ‘Church Dogmatics.’

Christ, as incarnate God, is the revelation of God to mankind. It is through Christ that God reveals His grace to us, the very being of God-given to mankind. “If God was not gracious (and this means if He retained the majesty of His Godhead for Himself), if He did not of His own free decision turn toward men, there would be no revelation; man would be left to himself.” (Revelation, 53)  For Barth, Jesus is God-Man manifested to mankind; He is the mediator of our knowledge and the gateway to understanding God. This is essential for Barth’s theological task, Christ is necessary to ‘do’ theology for Barth.

April 16th, 2012

Karl Barth on Election and Double-Predestination

by Max Andrews

Predestination is prominent in Barth’s thought.  To Barth, “election” is the sum heart of the gospel.  Barth “responds” to John Calvin by turning Calvin’s pre-destination into salvation for “all” mankind.  This is not universal salvation.  For Barth, election is the greatest gift to the good news of the Gospel.  Calvin understands election and pre-destination as a mystery in God whereby some are elected to salvation and some are elected to damnation.  As Calvin puts this doctrine in the hiddeness of God, he works against his usual theological practice of placing doctrine on God’s revelation and God’s manifestation of His will in Jesus.  Here, Barth points out that we must only reflect on God in His revelation and not, what is not revealed.  Barth’s “double-predestination” has two parts.  As Jesus is the Revelation of God, He is the Choosing God and the Choosing Man.  He is actively choosing and passively chosen.  Secondly, we know who is “elect” because in Christ, man is Chosen for salvation and God in Christ Chooses Himself for damnation.

April 15th, 2012

Karl Barth’s Evangelical Theology

by Max Andrews

Theology itself is a word, a human response; yet what makes it theology is not its own word or response but the Word which it hears and to which it responds.  Theology, in short, is not a creative act but only a praise of the Creator and of his act of creation—praise that to the greatest possible extent truly responds to the creative act of God.

Before human speech and thought can respond to God’s word, they have to be summoned into existence and given reality by the creative act of God’s word.  Without the precedence of the creative Word, there can be not only proper theology but, in fact, no evangelical theology at all.  Theology is not called in any way to interpret, explain, and elucidate God and his Word.  The theological response can only consist in confirming and announcing the Word as something spoke and heard prior to all interpretation.  What is at stake is the fundamental theological act that contains and determines everything else:  “True knowledge of God is born out of obedience.”

February 9th, 2012

Theology Thursday: Karl Barth’s Theology

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: Karl Barth (1886-1969)

General summary of his theology: Barth has made man contributions to Christian theology. In this post I’ll discuss general theological ideas in Barth’s thought.

If the word of God the task of theology then there is a problem:  of all disciplines theology alone is confronted with an unanswerable question [for us]–What is before birth and after death?.  The question that my finite self overcomes nihilism.  Theology, whether preaching or teaching, the theological task is impossible but necessary because the question must arise in we existing human beings; and so, theology as the human speaking the word of God as God’s own speaking cannot be done; therefore, No.  Yet, theology, in seeking to speak the word of God, to human finitude and human need must be done.  In recognizing that theology cannot be done and cannot answer the question while still pursuing and seeking after the answer is to do two things:  glorify God and may open the field (when God allows it) to the possibility that an answer may come from God to existing human beings.  No human being, though, can say or speak absolutely and unambiguously the word of God as God’s own speaking.  Therefore, any true word of God that comes through our human speech is again still NO and YES, YES and NO, because it both is and is not the word of God.