Mark’s decided to do a multi-part investigation of Karl Barth’s theology as service to the church.
… in spite of what one might first perceive of Barth and his monumental work, he was first and foremost a Church theologian. He wrote for the Christian community and devoted his gifts intellect and literacy to articulating the Churches faith and practice. For Barth his position as a professor of New Testament or Systematic Theology was never an academic one (in theory). He did not undertake theology for theology’s sake. For him, theology meant service within the context of the Christian community (Bromiley, 1989). It was Barth’s pastoral beginnings that shaped his understanding of theology as service to the church and the relationship between theology and the church…
Barth and Brunner, Calvin and Luther, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, and everyone else who has ever written a useful theology has done it with one eye on the Church and the other on the Bible. This is exactly why only those who have faith can explain faith. Barth was so correct to demand that Christian theologians be Christians. Non-Christian ‘theologians’ are a contradiction and their contributions so much straw.
I look forward to more in Mark’s series.