Karl Barth 

There are numerous reasons for the spread of pagan relativistic attitudes to the Bible and absolute truth among many Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics in the United States and some other Western countries. But one of these reasons is the acceptance of the teachings of non-Evangelical Neo-Orthodox theologians like Karl Barth.

When talking about the Bible, Karl Barth said, “the prophets and apostles as such, even in their office, even in their function as witnesses, even in the act of writing down their witness were real, historical men as we are, and therefore sinful in their action, and capable and actually guilty of error in their spoken and written word.” [1]

Barth also said about the Bible, “It witnesses to a revelation from God, but that does not mean that God’s revelation is now before us in any kind of inherent quality of being divinely revealed. The Bible is not a book of oracles; it is not an instrument of direct impartation. It is really witness.” [2] Here Barth was teaching a modified version of the liberal doctrine that the Bible is not the Word or objective revelation of God but instead merely contains the Word or revelation of God in some of its parts. Barth’s concept of the Bible witnessing to the living Word of God – Jesus Christ – is different from liberal teachings on this, but it still ends up with a similar result. This result is the Bible is regarded as not 100% God’s Word or revelation.

Therefore, it is little wonder that Barth spoke similarly to the Neo-orthodox writer C.H. Dodd when Barth said commenting on Romans 5:12: “Adam has no existence on the plane of history.” [3]

We can see the implications of Barth’s errors about the nature of the written Word of God when we see, for example, his comments about Satan and demons. He proposed a mystical philosophical view when he claimed: “their origin and nature lie in nothingness…They themselves are always nothingness.” [4] When referring to Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4 in relation to the topic of the fall of angels, Barth said, “the intolerable artificiality with which attempts have been made to use them as a basis for the development of the doctrine of a fall of angels and therefore of an explanation of the existence of the devil and demons.” [5]


 


[1] Karl Barth, “Church Dogmatics”, Volume 1, Part 2, T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1956, page 528-529.

[2] Ibid, page 507.

[3] Karl Barth, “Romans”, page 171.

[4] Barth, “Church Dogmatics” Volume III, Part 3, pages 522-523.

[5] Barth, “Church Dogmatics” Volume III, Part 3, page 531.

 

 


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