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  • Norine Rae

Karl Barth And Devine Revelation

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

Time's Cover Of Karl Barth


A Paper

Presented to

Tom Mount

A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

TH 6040 Theology 1: God, Revelation, and Humanity

By: Norine Rae


Exploring Divine Revelation as it is viewed by Theologian Karl Barth presents a formidable challenge as a plethora of resources are available regarding his life and works which would enlighten any reader. Karl Barth was born in 1886 in Basle, Switzerland. His father was a theologian, Professor, and writer which influenced his formative years. Karl Barth attended Universities in Berlin, Tubingen, and Marburg. It is important to note that the philosophical views of Barth were impacted by his exposure to the teachings of Wilhelm Herrmann and Johannes Weiss stressing Interims-ethik and eschatology. His writing style was shaped during his two years as a journalist assistant to Martin Rade. From 1911-1921 he held a pastorate in the small village of Safenwil, in Canton Aargau.  At the completion of his ten years as a pastor he was called to a Chair at Gottingen, as Professor of Reformed Theology; characterized as hardworking and a prolific writer.

  Because of his vast accomplishments, in 1925 he was transferred to an Official Chair of Theology at Munster, in Westphalia and in 1929 furthered his career in Bonn, living primarily within the base of the Rhine tributaries. [1] The political events of the time are significant to Karl Barth’s writings as he expressed his concerns which forced him to passionately take a stand promoting scriptural truths during the National Socialism movement of the Nazi regime. He was determined to voice his theological political opposition despite ridicule and expulsion: thus, he was driven from his professorship at the University of Bonn, and criticized, by Gogarten, a fellow professor, for ignoring the importance of historical Jesus.[2]

Karl Barth was a primary theologian of the twentieth century and spoken of as a prophet, professor, politician, and patriarch within the Christian faith. Protestants affirmed this by stating, to find someone of his caliber one must go back to the likes of Calvin and Luther. While Pope Pius XII hailed Barth as the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas.[3]  Having a brief understanding the man, Karl Barth, will contribute to understanding the theology that he presented on Divine Revelation. This paper will discuss Divine Revelation concerning Jesus Christ, the Word (Scripture), and Criticism of Barth’s Theology as it relates to his position on Divine Revelation.


The Living God

Christian revelation is explained as being a “discloser of God through the work of Jesus Christ” in The Living God authored by Thomas C. Oden. [4] It is through the illumination of Christ, the Word, that truth is comprehended by humanity. Oden explains that this mystery of Christ is revealed through history as the eternal purpose for life and Godliness (Hag. 2:7; John l: Eph. 1). Christ being the secret, unfolding truth and treasure which is obtainable to all humanity (Col. 2:2,3). Citing Basil and Gregory of Nyssa, Oden shares that Christianity declares Jesus as the Source through whom the Father is revealed, yet he does not negate the relevance of the Spirit of God.  Barth in his work Romans he states,

The revelation which is in Jesus, because it is the revelation of the righteousness of God, must be the most complete veiling of His incomprehensibility.

In Jesus, God becomes veritable a secret: He is made known as the Unknown, speaking in eternal silence: He protects Himself from every intimate companionship and from all the impertinence of religion. He becomes a scandal to the Jews and to the Greeks foolishness. In Jesus the communication of God begins with a rebuff, with the exposure of the vast chasm, with the clear revelation of a great stumbling-block. ..Faith in Jesus, like its theme, the righteousness of God, is the radical “Nevertheless”.[5]

 Jesus is the revelation, the tangible presence of the Divine who touches the world revealing the nature of the Godhead. The Incarnation, Jesus, Emanuel, God with us, is the one and only revelation of any importance according to Barth’s theology. He does not deny that there are many revelations only that Jesus is what is most relevant. The Word of God is the source and basis to his dogmatic thinking of the Living God. [6]  Therefore, Barth disregards teachings in general ideas of revelation concerning philosophy or universal history of religion. Instead he is interested in the events of God in that the “Word came, and continually comes again, to man, the revelation, that is, of God in Jesus Christ.”[7]  

For God revealed Himself to humanity - as he appeared in the person of Jesus - a Subject of a human life within history.[8]  It is the relational event of John l: 14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  In his final lecture at Basel prison, where he frequently spoke, he discussed that the divine love of God was demonstrated through the Godhead by seeking humankind in Jesus Christ.[9] Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are a free gift from God to humanity.  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

The Love of God

Clearly this sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ is a demonstration of the love of God towards humankind (John 3:16-17). “For Barth there could be no mutual conditioning relation between knower and known because revelation is and remains an act of sovereign grace that in no way depends upon us for success. And grace could not be assigned to transcendental experience as an a priori without detaching it from the particular act of God in his Word and Spirit.”[10] So what does this have to do with the love of God? It is through God’s grace that we have been saved and again we cannot attain this on our own merit for it is a gift from God (Eph. 2:5). Christians must grasp the revelation knowledge of the love of God in their lives which requires participation on the part of the believer to seek God in Christ.[11]  

Divine revelation of the love of God and the praise of God are inspired directly to the commandment of loving God and neighbor once a person has faith and becomes a Christian. For Barth asserts that for the faithful Believer life should begin and end with love.   Paul D. Molnar’s article discusses the theological views of Rahner and Barth on the subject of the love of God and love of neighbor where Barth argues, When we know God's revelation in Christ, we experience ourselves as those who must repent and constantly look beyond ourselves and specifically toward Christ. That this ever happens, for Barth, is a miracle—that is, something that cannot be explained but can only be accepted in faith. That explains why Anonymous Christianity is central to Rahner's understanding of love of God and love of neighbor, while Barth unequivocally insists that our thinking must begin and end specifically with Jesus Christ himself if the commands are to be properly related and understood.[12]

Theology or the revelation of God must be grateful for this gift of love which is demonstrated to humanity through Jesus Christ for in him is perfect love. All other gifts dwindle in comparison to love. Theological work without love would be “miserable polemics” and wasted words for any “good” work requires love. Barth determines that theologians, like Paul described, would be as noisy gongs or a clanging cymbals to the world without the love (1Cor. 8 and 13).[13]

Veiled and Unveiled

Hence to understand this great love and the mysteries of the Godhead there must be a veiling and unveiling of divine revelation according to Barth. There is in fact mysteries of God as seen in Scripture, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). This riddle of God is unveiled through the life of Christ and relationship with Christ. Yet there are elements of God which continue to remain hidden. God provides Self-revelation through Christ. Barth believes that the Holy Spirit is necessary to make the veil transparent by giving humanity the opportunity to see through the eyes of faith that which is beneath the surface.

In this unveiling one sees that the life of Jesus is God’s life. This revelation is only possible through the power of God and by no means can be attained by the knowledge of man. There is a veil of Self-revelation that does not pertain to history. “The difference this makes is that if the life of God has become historical, then appeals by the individual theologian to the Holy Spirit are not made in a vacuum. They are made with respect to a reality in history; the veil of the divine Self-revelation at least is something to which the church as well as the guild of historians have access” … through the revealing power of Holy Spirit as mentioned above.[14]

The revelation of God is shown through the character of Jesus and truth of the Scriptures. It is addressed to human reason thus providing understanding. God remains veiled and only becomes unveiled through His willingness and choice to have relationship with humanity for this too is a gift from God for He is the “Subject” of the event.[15] It is not a single act, but a reoccurring divine action of veiling and unveiling. This revelation is Divine communication with the mystery of the Trinity in which we are given an opportunity to participate as we encounter God.[16]

Revelation through Encounters

Therefore revelation is brought forth in the process of unveiling through encounters with the Divine Trinity. Barth determines that “revelation proceeds from the Father, is fulfilled objectively in the Son, and is fulfilled subjectively by the Holy Spirit.”[17]  Revelation according to Barth is a rational event that occurs in the human realm, but requires the willingness of God to communicate through Jesus Christ in views, concepts and words. Barth believes that the knowledge of God is granted to humanity through the grace of God and will be done so through the discipline of words. Christians are provided the opportunity through faith to apprehend God in His hiddenness.[18]

St. Augustine, a Father of the Christian faith, taught that the Divine light shines into the mind of human intellect so that truth may be seen. In his writings on the doctrine of illumination Augustine shares that people have a quest for certainty within themselves. The encounter is manifested as the individual seeks God thus illuminating as a flame or fire igniting the intellect in truth. [19]  

There is an innate desire within the individual for truth which leads them to encounters with the Godhead. Deuteronomy 4:29 states, “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Whereas Barth expresses these encounters as rational events brought forth through seeking Jesus Christ through the Scriptures as an act of Self-mediating. God finds us as we seek Him. “For us, knowledge of God occurs when and where God takes up the language of the biblical witness and bears witness to himself in and through its witness (the objective moment) and awakens in us the faith needed to comprehend that witness (the subjective moment).”[20]

Analogy of Faith

Hence the necessity for faith is ever present in the life of the Christian believer.  Neither critical historical reason nor religious experiences are determining factors for Barth’s stance is that revelation and faith “stand on their own. [21]  God imparts His revelation through the power of the Holy Spirit and it is the mystery of faith in which it is received.[22] Theology in regards to the human testimony always emulates faith to the true knowledge of God. In Barth’s studies of Anselm he researched Fides quaerens intellectum (Faith in Search of Understanding) and used it in much of his work as he felt Anselm’s work on the knowledge of God to be of great regard.[23] Barth agreed with Anselm that faith was not to be thought of as irrational or illogical, and that quest for God could not be possible apart from faith.

Theology is possible only in humanity’s understanding of God as we grow from faith to faith in our acknowledgement of Christ. The existence of theology is not threatened or changed depending humanity’s ability to achieve faith.[24] It is in the recognition of the knowledge of God that theologians can do their tasks, “including that contained within the Confession (Credo) of the church, is dependent for its validation upon the revelation of God.”[25]  For it is through grace and faith that people become comfortable with the object (God): Barth calls this theology the analogy of faith.[26]


The Word

Barth teaches in Church Dogmatics the infallibility of Scripture and the inspiration or revelation brought forth through passages in II Timothy 3:14:17 and II Peter 1:19-21. Scripture being given by God to man and that it is literally from the Spirit of God. He believes the mystery of the “free grace” from an active Holy Spirit that is present - before and above - and in the Bible. He believes in the full authority of the Scripture with the Holy Spirit being the decisive reference and author, although human prophets in their humanity spoke or wrote with spiritual obedience.[27]  

According to Barth, it is only through Scripture that the actual event of Divine revelation can be understood and expounded.[28]  Barth states,The Word of God is God Himself in Holy Scripture. For God once spoke as Lord to Moses and the prophets, to the evangelists and apostles. And now through their written word He speaks as the same Lord to His Church. Scripture is holy and the Word of God, because by the Holy Spirit it became and will become to the Church a witness to divine revelation.[29]

Reason and Understanding

 Scripture being holy and the true Word of God, Barth challenges people to read it with wonderment and excitement not depending on their own reasoning and understanding for guidance. He echoed a need to get back to the Bible and rediscover the depth and revelation within so that the individual might find community with God.[30]  It is difficult to even separate The Revelation of Jesus Christ and the Word or Holy Scripture for Barth they are one as seen above. God is known and revealed to people by God alone. “He Himself has revealed Himself to man in His Word, in Jesus Christ.” [31]

In this quest to find God, Barth turned to the Bible. He was not satisfied with mans search for understanding within themselves as a form of enlightenment, and the emphasis on reason over Scripture.  Struggling with theologians and philosophers obsession with Christian doctrine undergoing trial of reason he presented his views hoping that people would find value and purpose.  The greatest value to life according to Barth was that civilizations grasp the necessity of the Christian faith.[32]

 The Christian faith can therefore only be achieved through “the Word of God as God Himself utters it.”[33] Torrance speaks of Barth’s writings in his work Karl Barth, An Introduction To His Early Theology, 1910-1931 declaring, “Barth’s insistence that the Word is Ereignis, God’s act, eschatological and ontological event, is also what he means by saying that the Word of God even as the object of our knowledge is always and indissoluble Subject.”[34]The Word of God is concrete and is revelation as God is the object.

Word of God: Object and Authority

If the Word of God is the “Object,” then Scripture must be given rightful authority. Barth was concerned with “romantic, impressionistic theologies which view divine revelation as impartation of life rather than as the communication of truth.”[35]  His belief is that Scripture holds the highest authority rather than personal experience, free thinking or romancing within theology as there must be grounding within doctrines. The Word or Object is therefore firm and solid, as rational revelation with the person Jesus Christ.  

The Word is living and has an active encounter with humanity as it is eternal in its sovereign superiority. Biblical revelation is possible as people utilize their words and thinking appropriately through sound rational scriptural teaching.  Barth also feels that dogmatics need to operate within the authority of the church for that itself is scriptural. The Object – revelation of Jesus Christ – is discovered through faith and obedience, according to Barth, within the church for that is where the Word is heard and received.[36]

Barth declares that the Word is of greatest importance, and yet, he also rejects the infallibility of the Bible in Church Dogmatics and The Word of God and the Word of Man.[37] He expresses the error in which the apostles wrote as well as issues within the Bible regarding historical events; therefore, he felt that the Bible was vulnerable. Yet, at the same time he believed that it is active, living, and authoritative revelation for humanity.[38] And as God is the source of all things humanity looks to Him for truth, theoretical and practical as God uncovers His fullness to us through revelation.[39]  Stressing to all, the Word of God is the source of all religious authority. It is the substantial core to Barth’s theology as the Logos or logic that guides his doctrinal analysis.[40]

By looking at Barth’s position regarding the authority of Scriptures and the revelation within them we also see his faith regarding the church as he shares, “When we adopt the Canon of the Church we do not say that the Church itself, but that the revelation which underlies and controls the Church, attests these witnesses and not others as the witnesses of revelation and therefore as canonical for the Church.”  In fact Barth is making an appeal to both the authority of the Church and the authority of Scripture.  His view of authority actually reflects that of Jesus’ in Mark 7:1-13. Barth does not imply that the church has all authority as indicated earlier, but that the Godhead and Scripture has primary importance in the opinions of people within the church and their religion.[41]

Revelation Verses Religion

Hence truth cannot be found through religion, but is a gift from God in the form of Divine Revelation revealed through the Scriptures. In analyzing and comparing the relationship between religion and revelation Barth believed each theologian is led to an understanding of who God is, how we reach God and how the doctrine of the Trinity is illuminated. He emphasized as discussed earlier the primary importance of revelation as God in Jesus Christ and the Word. Religion does not bring people to the Godhead, but it is through grace that God shows Himself to humanity through the life of Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture.

The knowledge of truth is made known from beyond the grave of Christ as we are reconciled to the Godhead through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ. To say revelation, for Barth, is to say that the Word became flesh.[42] God is transcendent in His absoluteness. He is above religion, philosophy, scientific research, and nature for He is the all in all that delights in revelation of Himself.[43]

Barth teaches that what makes the Christian faith unique and a true religion is on the basis of divine grace. “Barth insists that the religion of revelation is bound up with the revelation of God: but the revelation of God is not bound up with the religion of revelation.”[44]  Through divine election, the name of Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God in flesh, as a gift to humanity for the forgiveness of sins offers atonement and sanctification to all humanity. This priority of revelation over religion has been construed as neo-Protestant orthodoxy theology. Barth is genuinely concerned with human religiosity, and hopes to draw people to the divine Trinity and power in the saving work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.[45]


Barth’s Theology Questioned

Karl Barth has contributed immensely to Christian Theology with regards to Divine Revelation, yet not without criticism. Many have misunderstood his writings and thus have scrutinized the man without fully understanding his theology.[46] Continually, Barth shares the faith of the Trinity, but is said to negate the work of the Holy Spirit other than as a participant with the “Spirit of Jesus Christ and is not to be regarded…as a revelation of independent content, as a new instruction…that goes beyond Christ; beyond the Word.”[47]  Yet, Alan Torrance in his discussion of Barth and the Trinity explains that God is “Self-giving…the dynamic Self-presentation and Address of the divine Thou.”[48] Barth is actually stating that the Godhead is Triune as revealer, revelation, revealed. Does not the Trinity include the Holy Spirit? Critics must look closer into Barth’s theology.

While Donald Mitchell states in his article Who’s Who in Christian History, “Barth accepted certain higher critical views of Scripture, he refused to equate the words of the Bible and God’s inspired Word. Inspiration, for Barth, had more to do with the Bible reader than with either the Bible itself or its writers. The words of the Bible convey the Word of God as the Holy Spirit speaks through them to the reader. Perhaps more than any other aspect of Barth’s theology, his doctrine of Scripture created serious misgivings among many evangelical theologians.”[49]

Thou ridiculed, Barth’s appreciation and love for the Scriptures is shown through his vast writings. He often refers to Scripture as the Word rather than the Bible. Clearly, he indicates the importance of the Bible stating, theology “stands and falls” with scripture. Theology according to Barth must be an action or response to the Word or it is void. Divine revelation, for Barth, is made possible through communication both in hearing and answering through the Word.[50]

Revelation or Mystical Experiences

Another area that is sensitive to theologians and evangelicals is Barth’s stance on mysticism.  Barth opposes Mysticism as it has been defined as “something intrinsically intelligible.”[51]According to Barth revelation must be verbal and propositional.  It needs to provide truth, information, and have definite commands in which the individual is given instruction for it to be considered revelation. Barth would question anything that was inexpressible or speechless as Divine Revelation which would be in disagreement with several distinguished Christian leaders of their time including Augustine, Tillich, Smend, Dibelius, and Bar.[52]

Therefore, Barth will have nothing to do with some imaginary realm above and beyond the Word where there takes place a wordless vision or a logical experience of God; nor will he have anything to do with the God who is defined as Schleiermacher defined him, a God who is ultimately dumb, and whom we know only through examining and analyzing our own feelings and determinations of soul, and so put words into “God’s mouth through interpreting our religious sensations. No, God comes to us as Word himself, Word who is independent of our awareness and mystical experiences.”[53]

Oden speaks of general revelation that is revealed to all people from God. The “revealer of mysteries” (Dan. 2:47; 2:22) and revelation that is coming in the appointed time (Hab 2:2) is a revelation for today through dreams, visions, prophecy…”[54] Yet, Barth’s teaching denies these as divine revelation to some degree as he stated, Humanity should not be moved by experience and reason to revelation, but, from revelation to experience and reason…In other words, such experiences and judgments themselves cannot be normative; but when critically tested in light of revelation, they can at best have the provisional status of parables and therefore witnesses. It will be a relation of limited correlation, never a relation of organic synthesis.[55]

Barth’s dialectical method of eschatology sets a tension for evangelicals and theologians. For Barth dogmatic thinking requires communication, questions and answers with the authentic Word of God in order to break paradoxical views. Some see Barth’s determination to present revelation as over thinking the Divine.[56] Perhaps Barth’s opinions regarding mystical experiences as discussed in Kurt Anders Richardson book Reading Karl Barth give further light into his theology. Barth questions Augustine’s mystical theology as discussed in Augustine’s work, Confessions when he elaborately describes an experience that he had with his mother in which they are “caught up” to heaven. Barth disagrees with Augustine as this being Divine Revelation because of his “abandonment to creation” and finds fault with transcendence and ascension.[57] 

It is Barth’s belief that when someone transcends to heaven that they are hurrying past God who willfully comes to earth on the behalf of humanity. Thus, Barth feels that to seek God through heavenly encounters is to seek Him where He is not to be found. The act of ascension and transcendence for Barth does not lead one to the knowledge of God and objectivity. God as object, according to Barth, gives Himself to be known in His Word therefore He is by-passed through mystical theology. He reminds theologians that God comes to humanity not through ascent, but descent, and only from “non-objectivity back into objectivity.”[58]

Judgment Unfolding

Barth’s dialectical method of eschatology creates tension for evangelicals and theologians as they wonder at his dogmatics hoping that in time judgment may unfold further truths of his accuracy for all his works including those concerning Divine Revelation.  According to John Bowden, the three highlighted area of discussion within Karl Barth’s works include God’s transcendence, Christ on whom revelation of God to humanity is centered, and the Bible which is the media for which revelation is communicated. Bowden shares, in his small book Karl Barth that each theological view has incredible weaknesses.[59]

Barth, himself, told critics that his work on Church Dogmatics needed further study for those who did not understand it fully.[60]Dogmatic thinking requires communication, questions and answers with the authentic Word of God in order to break paradoxical views.  Defenders of Barth believe that it is too soon to pass judgment and they are focusing on the contributions Barth has provided the Christian Church. Others see Barth’s determination to present revelation as over thinking the Divine.[61] 

Yet, Barth wrote, “God’s true revelation comes from out of itself to meet what we can say with our human words and makes a selection from among them to which we have to attach ourselves in obedience.”[62] One cannot deny the strength of his conviction nor his ability to answer difficult questions though he has changed or better said revised his stance from his earlier works. Barth echoes, God in His goodness provided for us what we could not achieve for ourselves as the Divine became human for humanity’s sake. Who can argue with this point, for there is truth in a great deal of what Barth presents.  Much of what Barth has contributed is profound with an element of truth; he has taught clearly God’s desire for Self-revelation through Christ to bring forth the simple truth for God’s hope for humanity with reconciliation and community.[63]

Truth Revealed or Error

Hence in the search for truth, Hans Kung said, “All human truth stands in the shadow of error. All error contains at least a grain of truth. What a true statement says is true; what it fails to say may also be true. What a false statement says is false; what it means but does not say may be true.”[64] Kung discusses a need for common Christian truth in theology which will bring forth harmony between evangelicals and post-liberals. He is not necessarily only addressing Barth’s works, but all ecumenical theology. Harnack, another opponent of Barth’s theology, struggled with Barth’s denying the relevance of the historical-critical method. It was Harnack’s belief that the historical-critical method was paramount to scientific objectivity where Barth would argue the Divine Revelation of the Living God is the touchstone to objectivity thus providing illumination of truth.[65]

Some present day theologians continue to have tension with Barth’s stance on the infallibility of Scripture and the rationality of Christianity. Clark in his book, Karl Barth’s Theological Method,writes that Barth is self-contradictory in his position. Clark feels that Barth has ridiculed the requirement for rational truth. He argues the importance of Scriptural truth over the Enlightenment of man expressing displeasure in Barth’s views. He feels they present irrationalism and that even though Barth is enthusiastic in his works to bring the good news of Divine Revelation of the Living God, he “forgot that what became flesh and spoke in human language was the Word, the Logos, and the infallible Reason of God.”[66]

Barth’s dogmatics concerning the Divine Revelation of God pose a challenge as much of his work is being scrutinized. If Barth’s premises are true and humanity can only obtain God through a miracle of divine revelation Bowden proposes that there is no reason for evangelism and the alternative would be that of atheism without intervention from God Himself.[67]

Perhaps, again Barth is being misunderstood by his critics who do not understand his stance on the lack of interest in the search of the historical Jesus when so much emphasis within his theology is based on revelation through Jesus Christ. And in looking at the Bible, Barth’s shared that as “a given; the limits of the canon were ultimate limits to the vehicle of divine revelation, which marked out an area utterly different from the rest of the world.”[68] With the Word of God being a happening and not a thing (object) for Barth he is not seen as a fundamentalist, yet his views require again further study for “revelation and the scriptures are never essentially linked; even through scripture and revelation happens as an event.”[69]

This again, provides questions for those studying Barth’s work as it seems to bring confusion and tension as theologian’s appreciation of the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Looking at the man, Karl Barth, we see that his theology is not complete without the man himself. What a wonderful mind and heart Karl Barth had as his passion to seek God for understanding is evident in his writings. Yet, perhaps he too pondered on his written theology on whether it was fully truth or unfolding Divine Revelation to come as a miracle from God who may or may not chose to reveal Himself wholly.[70]


Learning from Karl Barth regarding Divine Revelation is inspiring as a deeper study is required to effectively grasp his teachings and insight. Exploring his theology in regards to Trinity showed the honor he bestowed to historical Church fathers and Scripture. Barth was willing to stand up to criticism of fellow theologians without compromising his eschatology and theology.  Divine Revelation was to Barth an experience with the Living God through a miracle provided only by the Godhead to humanity as God’s unfailing love is displayed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who brings reconciliation to human it

For Barth the Word of God is necessary, but infallible as it is written by humans who make mistakes. He appealed to people to get back to the Scriptures for revelation knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who will speak to humanity through the Word to bring Divine Revelation. Encounters with God, according to Barth, are available here on earth as God chooses to reveal Himself as humanity seeks Him. Looking into the history of the man, one can see the influences which molded his work. As a leading theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Barth’s critics are many, yet judgments will continue to unfold as time discloses the depth of his works in regards to the Divine Revelation of God and how they touched the world.


Barth, Karl. Evangelical Theology : An Introduction. Grand Rapids  Mich. Eerdmans, 1979.

Bowden, John. Karl Barth. London: S.C.M. Press, 1971.

Brown, Colin. Karl Barth and the Christian Message. [1st ed.]. Chicago: Inter-varsity Press, 1967.

Camfield, F. Reformation Old and New:  A Tribute to Karl Barth. London: Lutterworth Press, 1947.

Clark, Gordon. Karl Barth’s Theological Method. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1963.

Hartwell, Herbert. The theology of Karl Barth: An Introduction. London: G. Duckworth, 1964.

Hoyle, Richard. The Teaching of Karl Barth: An Exposition R. Birch Hoyle. London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1930.

Hunsinger, George. How to Read Karl Barth: The Shape of His Theology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

“Karl Barth | Truth is Still Truth”, n.d. (accessed April 1, 2011).

McCormack, Bruce. Orthodox and Modern : Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth. Grand Rapids  MI: Baker Academic, 2008.

 Molnar, Paul. “LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF NEIGHBOR IN THE THEOLOGY OF KARL RAHNER AND KARL BARTH.” Modern Theology 20, no. 4 (October 1, 2004): 567-599.

Molnar, Paul D. “‘Thy Word is Truth’: The Role of Faith in Reading Scripture Theologically with Karl Barth.” Scottish Journal of Theology 63, no. 01 (2009): 70. (accessed March 27, 2011).

Mueller, David. Karl Barth,. Waco  Tex. Word Books, 1972.

Oden, Thomas. The Living God. 1st ed. [San Francisco  Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

———. The Living God. 1st ed. [San Francisco  Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

“One Year With Karl Barth: Revelation Spawns Religion » More Than Cake”, n.d. (accessed April 1, 2011).

Richardson, Kurt Anders. Reading Karl Barth. Grand Rapids  MI: Baker Academic, 2004.

Torrance, Thomas. Karl Barth : An Introduction to His Early Theology, 1910-1931. London: SCM Press, 1962.

Webster, J. The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth. Cambridge  U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

     [1] Richard Hoyle, The Teaching of Karl Barth. An Exposition. (Student Christian Movement Press  London  1930., 1930), 19-20.

     [2] F Camfield, Reformation Old and New  a Tribute to Karl Barth. (London: Lutterworth Press, 1947), 25.

     [3] John Bowden, Karl Barth (London: S.C.M. Press, 1971), 11.

     [4] Thomas Oden, The Living God, 1st ed. ([San Francisco  Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992), 21-22.

     [5] Thomas Torrance, Karl Barth : An Introduction to His Early Theology, 1910-1931(London: SCM Press, 1962),


     [6] Herbert Hartwell, The Theology of Karl Barth: An Introduction (London: G. Duckworth, 1964), 67-69.

     [7] Ibid., 68.

     [8] Bruce McCormack, Orthodox and Modern : Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth (Grand Rapids  MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 171.

     [9] “Karl Barth | Truth is Still Truth”, n.d., 3,, (accessed April 1, 2011).

     [10] Paul Molnar, “LOVE OF GOD AND LOVE OF NEIGHBOR IN THE THEOLOGY OF KARL RAHNER AND KARL BARTH,” Modern Theology 20, no. 4 (October 1, 2004): 582.

     [11] Ibid., 583.

     [12] Ibid., 592.

     [13] Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology : An Introduction (Grand Rapids  Mich. Eerdmans, 1979), 196-203.

     [14] McCormack, Orthodox and Modern, 33-34.

     [15] Ibid., 83.

     [16] Ibid., 168.

     [17] Ibid.

     [18] Ibid., 170-171.

     [19]William Augustus Ibid., 12 & 168.

     [20] Ibid., 112.

     [21] George Hunsinger, How to Read Karl Barth : The Shape of His Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 323.

     [22] Ibid.

     [23] David Mueller, Karl Barth, (Waco  Tex. Word Books, 1972), 39.

     [24] Ibid., 38-39.

     [25] Ibid., 40.

     [26] Ibid., 40-41.

     [27] Gordon Clark, Karl Barth’s Theological Method. (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1963), 189.

     [28] “One Year With Karl Barth: Revelation Spawns Religion » More Than Cake”, n.d., 1,, (accessed April 1, 2011).

     [29] Colin Brown, Karl Barth and the Christian Message., [1st ed.]. (Chicago: Inter-varsity Press, 1967), 39.

     [30] Bowden, Karl Barth, 28.

     [31] Hartwell, The Theology of Karl Barth, 101.

     [32] Ibid., 4-5.

     [33] Torrance, Karl Barth, 97-99.

     [34] Ibid., 99.

     [35] Ibid., 100.

     [36] Ibid., 129.

     [37] Clark, Karl Barth’s Theological Method., 188.

     [38] Ibid., 202-203.

     [39] Torrance, Karl Barth, 160-161.

     [40] Clark, Karl Barth’s Theological Method., 13.

     [41] Brown, Karl Barth and the Christian Message., 39-41.

     [42] Paul D. Molnar, “‘Thy Word is Truth’: The Role of Faith in Reading Scripture Theologically with Karl Barth,” Scottish Journal of Theology 63, no. 1 (2009): 2, (accessed March 27, 2011).

     [43] Richard Hoyle, The Teaching of Karl Barth an Exposition R. Birch Hoyle. (London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1930), 104-105.

     [44] J Webster, The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth (Cambridge  U.K. ;;New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 251.

     [45] Ibid., 251-252.

     [46] Webster, The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth, 252.

     [47] Molnar, “‘Thy Word is Truth’,” 2.

     [48] Webster, The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth, 73.

     [49] “Karl Barth | Truth is Still Truth,” 3.

     [50] Barth, Evangelical Theology, 17.

     [51] Clark, Karl Barth’s Theological Method., 116-117.

     [52] Ibid.

     [53] Torrance, Karl Barth, 98.

     [54] Thomas Oden, The Living God, 1st ed. ([San Francisco  Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992), 19.

     [55] Hunsinger, How to Read Karl Barth, 329.

     [56] Hoyle, The Teaching of Karl Barth. An Exposition., 238-240.

     [57] Kurt Anders Richardson, Reading Karl Barth (Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 132.

     [58] Ibid., 133.

     [59] Bowden, Karl Barth, 109.

     [60] Ibid., 104.

     [61] Hoyle, The Teaching of Karl Barth. An Exposition., 238-240.

     [62] Hunsinger, How to Read Karl Barth, 217.

     [63] Ibid., 171-173.

     [64] Ibid., 338.

     [65] Ibid., 332.

     [66] Clark, Karl Barth’s Theological Method., 224-225.

     [67] Bowden, Karl Barth, 110-111.

     [68] Ibid., 111-113.

     [69] Ibid., 114.

     [70] Webster, The Cambridge companion to Karl Barth, 40-42.


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