Friday, December 18, 2009

Evangelical theology is modest, free, critical, and happy!

In 1962 Karl Barth gave five lectures at the University of Chicago.They were later published in Evangelical Theology: An Introduction.

In the first lecture he defines "evangelical" theology as that which considers the "God of the Gospel":
the theology to be considered here is the one which, nourished by the hidden sources of the documents of Israel's history, first achieved unambiguous expression in the writings of the New Testament evangelists, apostles, and prophets; it is also, moreover, the theology newly discovered and accepted by the Reformation of the sixteenth century.
Evangelical theology is a "science" in the sense that it seeks "to apprehend a specific object and its environment in a the manner directed by the phenomenon itself". This "theological science" has four specific characteristics: it is modest, free, critical, and happy!
Evangelical theology is modest theology, because it is determined to be so by its object, that is, by him who is its subject.
It is a free science because it
"joyfully respects the mystery of the freedom of its object and which, in turn, is again and again freed by its object from any dependence on subordinate presuppositions."
Evangelical theology is an eminently critical science, for it is continually exposed to judgement and never relieved of the crisis in which it is placed by its object, or, rather to say, by its living subject.

Evangelical theology is concerned with Immanuel, God with us! Having this God for its object, it can be nothing else but the most thankful and happy science!

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