Monday, July 01, 2013

Hard to Believe: “Barth on History”

Richard Mueller on “Barth’s Historiography”:

“As is often the case with Barth’s reviews and critiques of the [Reformed] tradition, his argument is directed more toward the justification of his own position than toward a genuine understanding of the past.”

Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy; Volume 3: The Divine Essence and Attributes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 155.

HT: Jared Oliphint

I find this helpful, given that I’ve never had the time to read Barth. One of the best discussions of Barth’s work that I’ve seen from a conservative Presbyterian point of view is this RTS Seminar by on iTunesU. It’s about a two hour seminar, the second hour of which is some discussion, but it provides an erudite view of what Barth got right (i.e., putting a stop-sign up to the train wreck of “old liberalism”), and what he got wrong (i.e., his view of Scripture).


  1. The Time Magazine cover, by the way, was from 1962. In the RTS seminar, Dr. Charles MacKenzie noted that Time put Barth on the cover because "Barth had done for theology what Einstein did for physics". Dr. MacKenzie knew Barth personally (the recording is probably from the 1980's), and while he strenuously disagrees with Barth's view of the Scriptures (and with those students who look for ways to rationalize Barth's views of the Scriptures), he doesn't hesitate to give credit where credit is due as well.

  2. john can one deny plenary inerrancy and still have a credible profession of faith like barth or guys like randall rauser, what about those who denied the historicity of adam like peter enns

    1. I'm not in a position to say. Certainly those kinds of things are not helpful, and even can lead people astray. That is one reason why teachers are held to greater accountability.

      But I still think it's important to oppose and work to correct their positions (as Steve especially does here).