Marc Cortez has a great post (think post of the year) outlining 5 reasons why you should read Barth. His list is comprehensive and thoroughly professional. I encourage everyone to take note of what he says. I would also add to Marc’s list the following reasons to read Barth:
- His is a pastoral theology. Specifically Barth’s theology is undertaken from the standpoint of the pulpit. Barth cuts through much of the rubbish and gets to the core issue, Christ.
- His is a biblical theology. Don’t get me wrong, Barth is not a biblical scholar however, his theology is grounded in the Scriptures.
- His is a theology of the Word. For Barth the Word of God is found in three forms, Preached, Written and Revealed.
- His is a theology of joy. In fact Barth himself was a joyful theologian. He is reformed but not stodgy and grumpy like many of the older (and current it seems) reformed theologians. Christ is the source of life and happiness for Barth and it bursts forth on every page.
- His is a theology sorely needed today. I wish more people took the time to read Barth, especially pastors. He is hard work and he is different to many of the modern church fathers, yet his approach is groundbreaking. He is well worth the investment.
Eugene Peterson made the following observations about Barth in his Memoirs, “The first book of Barth’s I read was like an ice-axe…In reading Barth I realised…He was calling attention to the lived quality of the Christian life, the narrative of the Bible, the good news of the gospel” It is true, Barth is hard work, but like all things that are worthwhile the reward is great!
If you wish to begin this truly wonderful journey can I encourage you to start with Barth’s “Evangelical Theology” or, if you are truly game go out and purchase his 14 Volume Dogmatics and read Ben Myer’s “Dogmatics in a week” HERE.