Monday, November 05, 2012

The Sins of Karl Barth

Interesting tidbits on Barth's personal life... also the blogger makes an interesting case for "emotional adultery."

Barth is one those people whose writing requires sifting. Not everything he wrote was awful- at times he makes some insightful points.


Kevin Davis said...

There's more than a tinge of pietism in the post. Having said that, I don't care to either defend or excoriate Barth on this point. We really don't know the facts and motivations behind the scenes, and we come perilously close to Pharisaical action in our condemnations. It is irresponsible (and against the command of Christ to "judge not") to say, flat out, "Barth was an adulterer." If we really understand the depth of God's commandments, every Christian can point to instances (and perhaps prolonged periods) of "adultery" in their marriages, where they have thought more of their own needs and desires.

If I were to offer a defense -- or, at least, an empathetic angle -- I would point to the fact that Barth saw Charlotte as indispensable for his work, the Church Dogmatics, and indeed she was indispensable. And the Church Dogmatics was a critical and necessary entry into the theological bloodstream of the 20th century -- a necessity which Charlotte passionately envisioned in her work with Barth. The higher motivation of their work, beyond whatever subjective needs for companionship were present, is this work on behalf of the Church and for the Church.

David Waltz said...

Hi Kevin,

Sincere thanks for your post; it brings some much needed sobriety to this topic.

I have had dozens of conversations with critics of Barth, and after being pressed, only ONE of those persons had actually read his 14 volume Church Dogmatics; all the rest were relying on assessments made by others.

Anyway, now is the time for Barth's critics to step-up, and do their 'homework', for has his 14 volume set for sale at an incredible price:

Church Dogmatics, 14 Volumes

Grace and peace,


Pastors Scott Wilson and Aaron Mansfield said...

What should a pastor say to a fellow like Barth in his situation with Charlotte?