Karl Barth: Satan’s Minion?

July 31, 2006

Since school begins in two weeks, my girlfriend gave me her all her books from last year. Thankfully, I can use most of them. Among these well kept books (thank you!) was my textbook for my class on Revelation: Book of the Revelation by Beka Horton, published by A Beka Book, based in Pensacola Christian College.

In a subsection entitled Satan Countermoves with Neo-orthodoxy (in the chapter Laodicean 20th Century Church), the author writes:

“In the 1940s and 50s, Satan launched a much more subtle attack; in fact, it was so subtle that many pastors were oblivious to the attack. A Swiss theologian named Karl Barth (bärt: 1886-1968) appeared on the scene. While Barth reacted to the unbelief of Modernism, he also rejected major Biblical doctrines. He said that orthodoxy was all right, but we need a new kind of orthodoxy. He fathered Neo-orthodoxy, or new orthodoxy, using Biblical phrases but giving them liberal meanings. His reinterpretation of Biblical truth swept through seminaries and into American pulpits in the 40s and 50s. Neo-orthodoxy deceitfully used the language of traditional Christianity while retaining liberal meanings to Biblical words and phrases. In a sense, Barth was an agnostic (one who does not know), for he seldom expressed himself positively but engaged in paradoxical double-talk. He declared that we actually know little or nothing about God and that we cannot have a real experimental knowledge of God for “God is in heaven and thou upon earth.” Barth taught that the Bible is full of errors and inconsistencies. Barth did not believe the Bible to be the Word of God; he taught that the Bible only contained the record of religious men’s encounters with God and their insights into religious matters. While he did not categorically deny the virgin birth, he insisted it is of no importance, making no difference whether one believes it or not. He held the same view on the resurrection as on the virgin birth; i.e., it may be true, but it is not important. He declared that while the Bible “contains” the Word of God, it is not the Word of God.” –  Book of the Revelation, Beka Horton, pp. 161

Now, I admit that I have never read anything of Karl Barth’s. But after hearing so much of him and his monumental Church Dogmatics, the guy can’t be the pawn of Satan that my textbook makes him out to be.

Thoughts? Comments? Snide remarks?


8 Responses to “Karl Barth: Satan’s Minion?”

  1. ++Mike Says:

    Thoughts: Karl Barth is a pimp. And that whole bit about him not believing the Bible to be the word of God is shit. Neo-Orthodoxy is our friend.

    Comments: The virgin birth doesn’t affect our salvation. God is smart. He can do things without our understanding…

    Snide Remarks: A Beka is lame.

  2. Barbara A. Telleria Says:

    For the A Beka comment: ditto.

  3. 1337 Says:

    Um, nice cursing Mike. Also, I am teh so sorry I didn’t call you. :(:( But you were 150 miles away from me anyway.

  4. ++Mike Says:

    Ummm…. I don’t know who you are “1337.”

    But thanks for acknowledging my apt use of the more vulgar side of our common tongue.

  5. thinkulum Says:

    Bruce McCormack says that evangelicals have misunderstood Barth when it comes to the Bible. Barth believed that God’s Word exists in three forms: revelation itself, the Bible, and preaching. He compares this three-fold form of the Word to the Trinity. So while he distinguishes the Bible from what he calls revelation, he doesn’t say that the Bible isn’t the Word of God. McCormack acknowledges that Barth wasn’t an evangelical, but he believes Barth’s view of Scripture is compatible with evangelicals’. See McCormack’s essay “The Being of Holy Scripture is in Becoming” in Evangelicals and Scripture, ed. Vincent Bacote, Laura Miguélez, and Dennis Okholm (IVP, 2004). I thought his case was convincing. Barth probably did redefine a word somewhat in this case, revelation, but the effect in this case was to make evangelicals distrust him.


  6. Kyle Says:

    If you think for one moment that the author actually read Barth, you’re nuts. That’s all a bunch of fundamentalist crap. :0)

  7. Rob Says:

    1337 – Noob.

    Kyle – Yeah, most of my Revelation textbook is. But know you can sort of see where I’m coming from as I’m excising my old roots.

  8. *Puts on Afterglow by Mentallo & the Fixer ( http://ghostonthenet.wordpress.com/2006/07/15/mentallo-the-fixer-where-angels-fear-to-tread/ )

    “You’re accused of being in league with the devil!!!!”
    “Blasphemy! He blasphemies!!!”
    “The antichrist has spoken!!!”

    Seriously, the fundamentalist church has an extremely difficult time getting the positions of other groups correct, and is also fond of the pursuit of contributing to making this planet a living hell for a while by bridge burning and apocalypse powder-kegging.

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