Questions posed during the Reading Barth Together webinar Note: These have been neither edited nor organized but have been anonymized.
Questions posed during the Reading Barth Together webinar
Note: These have been neither edited nor organized but have been
Session 4: Holy Spirit et al.
• hello! Will you dabble in talking about the potential that Barth could have leaned
towards Christian Universalism (in the best sense of the phrase)
• How do we understand Barth's claim that God never rests in light of Genesis 1's
• I appreciated the email that noted that Barth's brevity on the third article follows the
balance of the Apostles Creed. But... Barth spends 72 pages on Jesus Christ and 4 pages
on the Holy Spirit. This can't be right. Can you discuss further Barth on the Holy Spirit? Is
his an example of his fear of promoting pietism and Schleiermacher?
o Surely this is inevitable, given that the series is structured on the Apostles Creed.
o This seems to be a broader trend in his theology, correct?
• Can you guys further differentiate Barth's "difference" between the Church and the
Kingdom/Reign of God?
• How might Barth respond in this moment for Churches to reopen in the name of their
essential character? Thinking especially in light of the conversation about politics and
ecclesiology and visibility and arths statement about too much being said of the
church? Or maybe better, what would a conversation about this question of church
closure and opening in the time of Covid between Hauerwas and Barth sound like?
• Bonhoeffer felt that Barth did not emphasize enough the role of the church -ethics
really, and accused Barth of revelational positivism, a kind of Gnosticism where we are
only have to know certain things about the work of the God-head. Yet, later, Barth
wrote in D IV., God doesnt do everything. What role does the teachings and earthly
life of Jesus offer us? This is not about having hristian homework, but about Pauls
admonishment, to work out your salvation as the response to Gods work in hrist,
through the Spirit.
• Barth is somewhat notorious for de-elevating the role and significance of the
sacraments. Do the two of you see a role for the sacraments in arths event language
that perhaps he didnt connect together himself? Would that not thread together with
Stanleys assertion about say-ability and visibility?
• This sort of shared reading, this 'reading together,' seems generous in bringing forward
the richness of an extraordinary theologian, Karl Barth, as well as the thoughtfulness,
critical patient-kindness, of Will and Stanley. Reading Barth with Wittgenstein at hand
goes toward language realism, and with the gospels, or New Testament, theological
realism. Is there a distinction worthwhile in the making between this sort of reading
moving toward preaching vis a vis reflection philosophically/ theologically?
• an you expand a little on arths understanding of the hurchs Apostolicity? cf.
• Would you speak some more about the Church/world distinction? I understand that the
hurch is a people set apart for a particular purpose by a particular God, but isnt this
particular God the creator of the world? When Dr. Hauerwas was says that the hurchs
job is to make the world the world, what does that mean exactly? To show the world
that it does in fact belong to God? Or to let the world be what it is without transforming
• I was told at General Seminary in the mid 1960s that ecclesiology is the study of church
buildings. I didnt believe that then now.
• thanks for discussing trump
• Fascinated by arths claim here: ^redo Ecclesiam means that I believe that the
congregation to which I belong, in which I belong, in which I have been called to faith
and am responsible for my faith, in which I have my service, is the one, holy, universal
• Does Barth's alleged marital infidelity raise a question about his comments on King
David's sin and on sin in general?
o I'm uncertain how and what this infidelity is actually what we would judge as
infidelity but it might be from the outside, confusion
• In a very embodied way does not arths v iew of resurrection for Christians as being a
guest at the Lords Table constitute a arthian realized eschatology?
• What does Barth's ecclesiology have to teach United Methodists at this time?
• What are some specific works by theologians that Barth is responding to that you would
recommend we read next? (other than Schleiermacher, since that seems obvious)
• That you choose to go through "Dogmatics in Outline" during the time of corona-crisis;
is that in reality a way of carrying out Barth´s advice how theologians are to react to
political events: "do theology as if nothing as happened (though maybe in a slightly
• The theme of witness plays an underlying role throughout Dogmatics in Outline, and
starts - albeit briefly - to come to the fore in the final chapters. Given that Stanley gave
his Gifford Lectures on the topic of Barth and witness, I was wondering if the two of you
could spend some time talking about witness, particularly as it pertains to Barth,
Dogmatics in Outline, the Christian life/discipleship, etc. Possible lines of conversation
could be "who are witnesses?" "what does it mean to witness?" "what about 'fallen'
witnesses? (i.e. Vanier, Yoder, etc.)"
• I would love to hear their thoughts regarding Pentecost and how Barth might try to
preach the Acts 2 story today.
• Would you explain further arths teaching on God[s judgment? How does that relate to
his saying that omnipotence and grace are identical? What are the strengths and
weakness of his teaching on judgment for the needs of our day?
• Echoing the question about the hurch/world distinction: what does arths claim that
the worldliness of the world exists as the world in the midst of which Jesus hrist was
crucified and rose again (íïî). How does that transform the way view the world?
• I read Wesley and I know Wesley was a believer of apokatastasis. Why did Barth not
consider apokatastasis viable?
• Didn't Barth say that in Acts, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of the Risen Christ were
virtually indistinguishable? This is part of why he says little about the HS, because he
sees the presence of the risen Christ and the HS as connected in scripture.
Session 3: Christ
• Some of us will be celebrating ascension Sunday this week. Do you have any comments
as to its importance in Barth's theology and perhaps its importance given the current
situation many of us worship?
• I would to know more about arths hermeneutic in interpreting scripture. He seems to
play fast and loose with the biblical text.
o That's quite an accusation. Do you have examples to support such a claim??
o Yes, Id be interested in the examples.
o If you don't give examples (which is very difficult to do in this "chat" context),
this claim amounts to slander.
• Reading chapter 11 I wondered about Barth's view of the "state of grace" of modern
Judaism, and about his general view of the modern state of Israel. (I realize the lectures
were given just prior to the establishment of modern Israel.)
• Prof. Hauerwas, you mention the necessity of the whole life of Jesus to properly
understand his Person and work. Many contemporary theologians who fall 'under the
tutelage' of Barth have made much of the justifying/sanctifying process of
deification/theosis to do just that. (Think, for example, of Kathryn Tanner, Robert
Jenson, etc.) Could you speak to Barth's conception of theosis as concerns the Second
• ould we talk some about chõ on Heaven and Earth? I think thatd be helpful bridging
the first article and the second as Barth explicates them.
• Barth is clearly against Bultmann's demythologization in insisting upon the historical
resurrection and ascension. At the same time, he is less specific than Calvin and Luther
in naming the nature of Christ's presence in the Lord's Supper. How does Barth 'locate'
the resurrection/ascension body of Christ?
• You say that Barth does not go into theories of reconciliation, but he seems to imply
penal substitution in various other places in Chapter 17. What is your view?
• I have a question about the accusation of Christomonism leveled against Barth due to
his Christocentric theology. How can we express his theology in a trinitarian grammar?
• What does Barth have to say about the concept of hell that Jesus spoke about in the
• What might Barth say about the distinction in contemporary conversations between
anti-Semitism and Zionism?
• In chapter 19 Barth distinguishes between Christ's work and the church, explaining that
"it should not be said that the work of Jesus Christ simply continues in the life of
hristians and the existence of the hurch…That would contradict His 'It is finished'.
What happened in Jesus Christ needs no continuation." (Barth soon clarifies that Christ's
accomplished work still leaves room for human participation.)
• Could you comment on the significance of this distinction between Christ's work and the
church's, and what difference it can and should make for the church today? At the same
time, how can this distinction leave room for Paul's comment in Colossians 1:24, "I fill up
in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to hrists afflictions…"?
• How would answer the charge that arths high hristology loses the humanity of Jesus
in discussing suffering, humiliation, etc.
• In arths moral theo logical objection to nationalism as an attempt to displace God into
the systems of human progress, what would Barth say to Evangelicals today who do the
same while proclaiming the uniqueness of the Gospel?
• Because of his emphasis or overemphasis on Jesus Christ, some theologians criticize
Barth that he promotes the danger of Christomonism. What would you think about this
• I'm not sure American evangelicalism's rejection of Barth is about pietism vs. election.
It's more about Barth's doctrine of revelation and how that relates to scripture -- i.e.
scripture is not propositional inerrancy. Those neo-Calvinist evangelicals occupy a
strange space in American evangelicalism, notwithstanding their broad influence --
they're really the heirs of the New Light Calvinists of First Great Awakening who saw a
spiritual experience as a sign of election. I also don't think it's fair to say "American
evangelicals" reject Barth -- that depends on how you define "American evangelicals."
At Fuller Seminary, say, you'll hear plenty positive about Barth; at some others you
• Anthropologically, it seems that the Christological orientation is not a direct move. How
does Barth understand humanity through Jesus Christ, what moves does he take here?
• If Pilate was contingent, what methodology do we use to draw the line between
necessary acts and events in the life (death, resurrection, ascension) of Christ, and
• Barth's emphasis on the historicity of Christ (Pontius Pilate!) would seem to indicate the
necessity of historical criticism in Biblical research in the academy, of course, and in the
pastor's study. Miroslav Volf says to approach this task with a "hermeneutic of respect."
How can this be done in Barthian terms, with Barthian parameters?
• Maybe the fact that God heals (in a medical way...) only very few persons, is a sign that
God also reveals part of his mystery in persons who are sick, have disabilities. Being sick
or disabled doesn't mean one is not whole, does it? (Talitha)
• Barth said he wanted to include Bonhoeffer´s Discipleship into KD. Could that in some
way add something to the question on a presumed theology on sanctification.
• Along with the Jewish people and the Christians, how would Barth understand the
natural revelation which underpins and incorporates Gentiles in Romans (particularly
found in in Chptrs. 1-3)?
• Jenson differs from Barth in many ways - not least in relation to the logos asarkos - do
you find Jensons account of the unfleshed word satisfactory?
• How does NT eschatology about the Reign of God fit in with Barth's notion of Israel and
Jesus the Jew who fulfills Israel's role; especially with regard to the crucifixion,
resurrection, and ascension?
• How can I read Wesley as a Barthian? Nor can I read him as a pietist. Can we read John
Wesley as John Wesley?
• Does Barth have too much faith in preaching and teaching as the basis for the Christian
• What is the specific title of this book on the Ascension of Christ?
o Douglas Farrows Ascension Theology is the more accessible version of
Ascension and Ecclesia. oth very good.
• How would Barth feel about throwing entire classes of people under the bus?
• Will did not make Barth Wesleyan but, is he was trying to make Trump supporters
• Do you think American Evangelicals avoid arths personal life? Is it evangelical
judgementalism that leads them to block him out?
• Ascension: How would arth talk about the relationship between Jesus historical being
and his risen humanity? How do we make this relationship intelligible in our
proclamation of the ascension?
• Is there any room for talking about the Universal Christ, or Christ consciousness, in
• I wonder if arth wouldve thought differently had he been aware of recent
developments in theoretical physics, namely quantum mechanics, and its implications
for our cosmology and phenomenology. What can we know really, when what we know
is subject to our observation of it?
• Dorothy Sayers[ Mind of the Maker is probably one of the best books on the Trinity!
• What is the best biography of arth?
o Mike, Eberhard uschs book, Karl arth: His Life from Letters and
Autobiographical Texts by E. Busch might be a good one. Busch is the last
research assistant of Barth at University of Basel!
• on 123, when Barth says we cannot consider the Resurrection as a spiritual event does
that mean that we cannot adopt the resurrection for our own present life? What is the
limits of adopting the resurrection or using the resurrection as a metaphor for other
areas that preachers often transmute?
• If Jesus salvation is not a response to sin, what is His incarnation, death, and
Session 2: God
• Barth seems rather allergic to the traditional notion of deification but has no problem
saying that "God of Himself lets us participate in His nature, in His life and essence" (p.
45). I find it difficult, here and in other places, to understand Barth's notion of
participation. Can you shed some light on these two sides of Barth?
• My question is for Stanley - on p. 58 Barth speaks of the goal of creation, in which he
refers to creation as "the theatre of His glory." Briefly, he then touches on man as "the
witness to this glory." I was wondering if you could reflect further on this in relation to
With the Grain of the Universe and your other work on witness, both how this is
representative of/differs from Barth's other work on witness, and how your work on
witness has been shaped by Barth's, esp. re: what is (briefly) stated here.
• an arths theology be ever reconciled with so called contextual theologies, i.e.
Asian theologizing, African theologizing? or are their presuppositions totally
o If this question doesn't get addressed, I recommend Daniel Lee's book:
• in differentiating between myth and saga, (p51) it seems that Barth creates a distinction
without a difference...could you comment?
• Does Holy Scripture's primary use and direct endorsement of "God as Father"
throughout the NT to describe a "way of being" for the Triune Christian God that
excludes the metaphor of "God as Mother"? Lots of scholarship has been done on the
benefits of "God as Mother" metaphor that seem to capture something relevant and
good. What would Barth say? What do you two say?
• In hapter ñ arth asserts that we dont move from our definitions of things like
father or love and then use those to understand Gods Fatherhood, but that its the
other way around. Do you think Barth would allow us to extend this to all words and
activities of God? As in, could we say we learn what the word unites or bears means
only from God? And what about motherhood? an we learn what mother means from
Gods revelation of Gods self, or only what father means?
o arsten, Im more interested if we can learn anything about what motherhood
means from looking at God.
o as in, I have no problem with God as father, but what other words can we learn
by looking at God and what are the limits of that method?
• Arent words symbols like art? reating meaning.
• an you say something of onoeffers notion of power in the prison letters in relation to
• With regard to the Trinity, why does Barth choose the modalist option ("ways of
o I think this is a break down in the English translation of Barth. The German
doesn't have this connotation.
o The same question could be levelled at Rahner, too….
o From the editor's preface of Church Dogmatics: "In regard to Seinsweise Karl
Barth himself once agreed with us that way of being might be a better
rendering in English than mode of being, if only to avoid any hint of
modalism, which he completely rejects. Yet his intention here to refer back to
the appadocian τρόπος ὑπάρζεως* and the modus entis* of Protestant
Orthodoxy made it evident that it would be best to preserve the rendering
mode of being adopted by Thomson. In any case, way of being appears in
some contexts to detract from arths determination to move behind an
economic to an immanent (i.e. an ontological) Trinity."
• At the end of chapter ñ, arth says that we cannot make images of God and that this
entire spectacle of hristian art, [is] well-intentioned but impotent. an we do art as
an expression of faith? Obviously, we cannot perfectly do art, but is it possible,
according to Barth, for art to be useful for us in our worship of God?
• Barth advises to not talk about the 'creator' or 'God' but "the thing we begin with, is God
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." (p. 53) Do we have examples of Barth
explaining or preaching to non-Christian or atheistic audiences? How does he practically
accomplish his proposal?
o Check page 93
o Will do. Ha, SH is reading it right now! Well done.
• On pages 55-57 Barth is talking about God's relationship to Space and Time, declaring
him the Lord of Space and Time. TF Torrance expands on this in his "Space, Time, and
Incarnation" and "Space, Time, and Resurrection". I was wondering if you could speak
about about how God relates to Space and Time?
• an we not say that there is a universal longing for God, while not saying so as a proof
to reason our way to God? Can we not get to this universal longing by starting with
Gods revelation of Gods own self?
• You spent some time talking about arths assertion on page ïò that God is not
independently found or discovered, but is wholly known through Gods own
revelation. How do you understand this assertion of arth in light of Pauls sermon to
the Athenians, and his own appeal to the Greeks unknown god as in fact a shrine to
God? It seems to me Barth might be in conflict with this scene from Acts.
• In ch., arth talks about God as possibility. How is this different from Aquinas (and
Aristotles) distinction between potentiality and actuality?
• So, the problem is not conceiving of arth as an epistemologist, but thinking his
epistemology follows Descartes cogito ergo sum rather than Anselms credo it
o love his commentary on 1 Cor, where he riffs on Descartes, "I am thought of,
therefore I am"
o I think this is a great way to put it. Barth refuses to subscribe to Cartesian
epistemology, and thats a good thing.
o Thanks, Sam. David, thats so good, thank you. Great to see your name!
• Would love to hear both give a short definition of pietism.
• Im part of a church that is doing a ó week sermon series called God is in control. based
upon the book of Daniel. Im wondering how you think arth would respond to such a
sermon series. (Really Im looking for the affirmation that it is Christian of me to despise
this series as much as I do)
• Different question: Stanley, where do you get those nice shirts? particularly the ones
with all the extra buttons. I have been really interested in them, but I have not been
able to find them anywhere.
• Is Barth then actually freeing us from orthodoxy in a challenge to our language? In some
respects is he then our first Liberation Theologian, even more so than Bonhoeffer,
where orthopraxis becomes more significant than orthodoxy?
• As one in the Reformed tradition, how does Barth handle Calvin's idea of the "sensus
• Dr. Hauerwas -- you refer to the concept of analogy -- and Aquinas -- I think you're
reading of what Aquinas is really doing in the Five Ways is correct -- but -- if we want to
use analogy at all, don't we need to correct Barth's extreme position against the analogy
of being (ala von Balthasar's reading of Barth)?
• Barth distinguishes between God's power as potentia and the chaotic power of
potestas. While God is not characterized by 'unlimited power' - that, indeed, is the
definition of Satan! - so Barth is 'opposed to every kind of powerlessness.' How might
that dialectic inform our understanding of kenosis?
• Didnt God create the worldly powers, too?
• I have two requests. Id love to hear you both discuss:
1. The recent conflicts between a more classical model of trinitarian personhood and
social trinitarianism. And specifically how they pertain to arths language of ways
2. The McCormack/Hunsinger debate concerning the logical priority of election and
Trinity in Barth.
• Hans Kung: "Barth was the first postmodern theologian." Do you see this as correct?
• Did Israel know that the world was Creation?
o and would Barth claim that Israel did not know that the world was creation?
• Very general question here — Barth seems somewhat ambivalent, if not antagonistic
towards philosophy, but his discussion throughout seems to presuppose philosophical
concepts (metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics), how does he attempt to reconcile this
issue, if at all?
• P54 - ^reation is grace… - to what extent, if at all, does this affirmation ground human
speech about God, even before Christ is named? Does this stand in any kind of tension
with arths claim that God can be truly spoken of ONLY in Jesus?
• What is the connection between a religion centered on our subjectivities and the
political order Barth wants to resist?
• As a Methodist do you see any of arths influence in E. S. Jones?
• Would love to hear either of them pray us out at the end
• I have three questions to suggest for consideration—
1. Is Barth a modalist? Or somewhat more orthodoxy, is his notion of the Trinity a
(pragmatic) epistemological one rather than a Nicene one?
2. Does arths approach to God the creator manifest any point of appreciative
contact with process theology?
3. How does arths notion of a man centered view of heaven and earth interact
with current moves toward green theology?
• Do you think Barth offers a helpful corrective to the way in which many Christians
understand Gods omnipotence (cf. ô-9)?
• ould you comment on arths understanding of the relationship between creation and
covenant (i.e. Jesus Christ) [cf. 57-8]?
• We are "reading Barth together"; how is that compared with, say, the discussion of
Trinitarian Ontologies of late at Cambridge? (Stanley elsewhere characterized himself:
me reading Barth, (Barth) reading the New Testament).
• What is the actual etymology of the word, 'God'?
• He wh0 says God in the sense of Holy Scripture will necessarily have to say Jesus Christ
over and over again. - YES and YES.
HOWEVER - arth in his Dogmatics preserves a great deal of space for the hidde nness
of God even in his revelation. Can you talk about how that works in Barth?
• Given Barth's affection for Thomas Aquinas, I find it a little confusing that in chapter 7
(p. 46), Barth speaks of "possibility" in God. Is this what Thomas labels "potentiality,"
and says (if memory serves) that this "potency/potentiality" cannot exist in God?
o Is the difference that Barth is in no way employing an Aristotelian metaphysics?
• Isnt it the Western tradition that is obsessed with proof? Isnt Jesus-Emmanuel the
living presence ? Isnt it YWHW - I AM WHO I AM - something for us to meditate upon
and adore and obey? To become like? As a friend?
Who is it that wrote God is all is all? Isnt that the God is closer to me than I am to
How can we unite the wonder of the Word the Love that does not insist on its own way
with the experiential joy of cultivating the discipline to follow - through the prayer of
Jesus Christ, given through the Holy Spirit?
I like God is another name for reality! Thank you!
o God as all in all – 1 Cor. 15:28
o God as closer – heck Augustines Confessions 3.6.11
• I am wondering how arths epistemology relates to that of Frei?
o i feel like my question has been answered
• Will, in light of your statement that Barth was hard on artists, can you comment on his
love of Mozart, saying in his short text on Mozart (1956) that he started each day with
Mozart as well as the newspaper and scripture; and saying that Mozart may have found
his freedom to create in the paintings of Raphael and Botticelli.
• an you talk about how arth reworked the word Law?
• Arent all of arths statements about our inability to know God, to make abstractions,
and all of his other qualifications about the way we can know about God apart from
Gods own self-revelation — how are these NOT a priori assumptions about God?
• The question of Barth as (anti)epistemologist is an interesting one. In p. 71 of the
Church Dogmatics (to be tangential for a moment), Barth talks about knowledge
(illumination) as the result of union with Christ. Could you say more on Barth's stance
re: epistemology in light of this later claim about knowledge and union?
• Why do you think Barth didn't like using the word person when talking about the Trinity
but mode? There are a whole lot of misconceptions about his trinitarian theology.
• Jews and Muslims believe in the world as God's creation but without belief in Christ.
What does Barth's theology here imply about their belief in creation?
• How far is Holy Saturday the lens through which we look at the world today?
• Could you say a bit about how the futility of human proofs for God (p. 37) relates to the
modern churchs interest in apologetics, as opposed to dogmatics.
• entral to arths whole theology is the doctrine of Gods objective self-revelation. But
how can we know Gods objective revelation without human subjective experience?
Can you please discuss about this comparing and contrasting Barth and Tillich?
• Re feminine nature of God - Bobby McFerrin, Psalm 23
The Lord is my Shepard, I have all I need
She makes me lie down in green meadows
Beside the still waters, She will lead
She restores my soul, She rights my wrongs
She leads me in a path of good things
And fills my heart with songs
Even though I walk, through a dark and dreary land
There is nothing that can shake me
She has said She won't forsake me
I'm in her hand
She sets a table before me, in the presence of my foes
She anoints my head with oil
And my cup overflows
Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me
All the days of my life
And I will live in her house
Forever, forever and ever
Glory be to our Mother, and Daughter
And to the Holy of Holies
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
World, without end
• Can you speak to Barth influence on Lesley Newbigin and the historical development of
• Joe R. Jones, in his Grammar of the Christian Faith, uses "modes" language, and qualifies
it by stating that he does not mean what Sabellius meant. Is "modal" language useful
for us? Is this what Barth is doing?
• Could you not understand motherhood from that of the Church…hrist existing as
• How does Barth consider knowing and believing informed by the Holy Spirit given that
knowing and believing is after the materialization of things. Knowing and believing is at
the end of things
Session 1: Dogmatics and Faith
• Dr. Hauerwas, you have written extensively on the distinct language and grammar of the
Christian Church - the linguistic forms that are necessary for the gospel to be proclaimed
and lived aright.
What do you make of Barth's contention in ch. 4, "Faith as Confession," that while the
Church has a distinctive language - a "language of Canaan" (31) - its confession "must be
fundamentally translatable into the speech of Mr. Everyman"? Do you find yourself at
least in a creative tension with Barth's dialectic realism on this point?
• What resources can you point me to research the similarities between Barth and Tillich?
o https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0040573618785338 You might
check out this essay by the great Barthian George Hunsinger.
o mccormack also has an article somewhere on barth and tillich
• Barth writes of freedom in the early chapters. Would you comment on what you see
freedom is for him and perhaps how that compares with freedom proclaimed by
• Is a rejection of the Wesleyan understanding of prevenient grace built into arths
perspective on faith?
• That was actually a note I made as I read on pg 24: to have faith/knowledge "is brought
about simply by God Himself." I saw a similarity there with Prevenient grace. I'd be
interested to see what our speakers say.
o Yes, I concur. I made a note about prevenient grace on pg. 24 too.
• upon re-reading, I was shocked to read, "where the creed is uttered and confessed
knowledge should be, is meant to be, created" (p. 23, at the top). I would have expected
"revealed", or that a "point of contact" for knowledge is created, but knowledge itself is
• To what extent do you both understand Barth as an heir to premodern/pre-
Enlightenment theological interpretation of Scripture, especially in the central notion of
communion with God as the goal of interpretation and as the goal of hristian
• Please give the title of the book and the author.
o Eberhard usch The Great Passion: An Introduction to Karl arths Theology_
• Modern science seems to hold as fundamental, the doctrine of skepticism. Does Barth's
understanding of dogmatics/theology as a science allow for skepticism?
• Question on ^The Gospel
What as hristians do we really have to say?_
…in our time of need to-day the question is more insistent than ever, what the content
of hristian proclamation ought to be._
/// Whether it be a 30-seconds in an elevator or 30-minutes in a sermon, what ought we
be communicating as the gospel according to arth? In what ways would you affirm
this or nuance it?
• How does arths claim that Dogmatics is a science differ from Aquinass claim that
Sacred Doctrine is a science?
• He says ^hristian dogmatics will always be a thinking, an investigation and an
exposition which are relative and liable to error. If this is true, how will dogmatics (on
arths account) transcend opinion and be knowledge.
• What might Barth suggest is a faithful confession for Christians to embody today, in the
context of a global pandemic?
• There has also been a strong tradition of pre-modern apophaticism (Dionysius, Nicholas
of Cusa...). What do you make of this?
• Who was the Oxford Philosopher that Stanley referenced?
o Stephen Mulhall at New College
• arth says on page íõ that in faith is involved a may, not a must. Does faith rid us of
all demand? Is the freedom and permission of faith really opposed to the demands of
• do we have any evidence that after the war, Barth actually learned or paid attention to
the witness of the church, as in input for his reflection, rather than just writing and
• If theology cant be a system, why is it a science, or an attempt to see, to hear, and to
state definite facts? Sciences generate systems of knowledge.
• Could you give some examples of what a translation of the Church's Confession would
be for the "Everyman" in our American culture today? (pg. 32).
• What would Barth make of the nature of God language debate? As to gender specific
• And doesn't Barth shortly thereafter call faith 'activity'?
o I believe so. He also calls faith a 'choice' in ch 4 (p.29) if I'm reading it correctly.
For KB, this must be preceded by the work and word of God, of course - but, I'm
eager to hear their thoughts on this.
• What is this conversations with Barth work? Reference for further reading? :)
o I think Stanley was talking about the Barth in Conversation series which has a
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3. You might also check out Wills Conversations with
Barth on Preaching book though!
• Hasn't Luther argued for the objectivity of faith? In what way is Barth special or original?
• Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his God in Search of Man, underscores how God reaches
out to us, do you see some affinity in Barth's Dogmatics? Question 2, as far as you know
did the two ever meet?
• I understand Barth to be saying that Christianity is irreducible to what it is within the
context of the church – and so in some sense untranslatable to the outside world. And
yet he urges his listeners to translate their experience to the larger world and that the
German church failed to do this to tragic end. Can you reflect on this seeming
incongruity? And what is the content of what is to be translated?
• I would like to hear the distinguished speakers tackle the self-revelation of God in how
that is achieved. Is only gained from reading Scripture, is given through the Holy Spirit,
• If there can be no other starting point to talk about God than Gods self-revelation, and
scripture is merely a witness to that self-revelation, where do we get language to speak
about God in and from scripture while simultaneously not making scripture a false
foundation of our reflection on Gods action in the world?
• How does Karl Barth today help us to navigate a post Covid-19 church and world and all
that this means about talking about God and what it is to be human?
• What account would you give of faith as knowledge as it relates to people with severe
• I have always been edified by Barth's theology. Particularly, as a student of pragmatist
and ordinary language philosophy, I have always appreciated the insights thats seem
very compatible with ways of knowing found in pragmatist and ordinary language
philosophy. One thing I have always been unsure of, however, is how Barth understands
how a Christian should go about revising historic faith commitments in light of new
human experiences and cultural developments. The pragmatists and ordinary language
philosophers have a way of doing it in terms of how the normative status of
performances are left behind/altered/revised if they social world they were meant for
no longer takes them up. How does Barth think about God's self-revelation and our
being born into a set of beliefs but also how our experience sometimes challenge those
• I just felt like dropping this question now. I hope its not too early.
Please can you explain what Barth meant by faith having a character indelibilis in a
person? Did he believe in the Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the saints?
• ould you define what arth means by determines? Is there a possibility of anot her
determination? For example, could God as the God for us determine to be God
• I wonder if we do ourselves a disservice if we approach God as an object, as opposed to
a subject. Is God a guarantor of our worldview, or that which disrupts our worldview,
opening us up to the possibility of participating in God (as opposed to pure speculation
of or about God)?
• I like arths understanding of faith as meeting with God and becoming free to hear.
What does it mean the Church to participate in that by our works in the world?
• Would Barth designate God or the history of communion between God and human
beings as the object of dogmatic science?
• Have we substituted God and our experience of God with God and our language about
• Can we talk about God or believe in Him apart from any experience?
o No. The point I hear Barth making is not to FOCUS on the experience. Focus on
• Does Barth ever distinguish between faith and belief? Trust, enthusiasm, absurdity -
these things seem to qualify as faith more so than belief.
• Barth is oft quoted in the work of practical theologians who are using qualitative
research to think about the experiences of Christians. Yet here we hear that we should
not focus on the experience but on Christ. How does this marry together, can a practical
theologian be a Barthian?
• Dr. Hauerwas suggested that arths aversion to Pietism —and also potentially certain
varieties of Wesleyanism—was based in large part on his belief that it often leads to
protestant liberalism. Im curious: what would our distinguished presenters make of the
argument—made in one version or another by thinkers ranging from Cornelius van Til to
Gary Dorrien—that arth never really fully left liberal modernism behind?
• Can theology in arths understanding be interdisciplinary?
• Is the story of faith, as arth understands it, a definite and adequately big world -
• Im curious as to how both of you were first introduced to arth and what your first
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