Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gundry on Barth and Van Til

This is worth signaling out and repeating here. While reviewing a book by Christian Smith on inerrancy, Robert Gundry makes this remark about Barth and Van Til:
"For in Basel during the fall of 1960 I regularly climbed out of the basement of biblical studies to attend the theological seminars held by Barth upstairs, only to hear him repeatedly engage in subjective judgments on what in the Bible carries authority and what therein does not. Dismissively, for example: "Oh, that's just a bit of Jewish apocalyptic that crept into Scripture." As I wrote shortly afterward to an acquaintance, "For all Barth's likeableness I must think that [Cornelius] Van Til's harsh judgment on his theology is more grundlich and closer to the truth than the sympathetic attitude which has appeared even in some American evangelical circles …. So far as I can see, Barth is the sole judge of what in the Bible is authoritative for him." Others disagree, I know; but that was my take."
I realize the effectiveness and accuracy of Van Til's response to Barth is a matter of debate. It is probably more favorable in some evangelical circles to side with Barth and reject Van Til's criticism. Of course, on the other hand siding with Van Til is not to say Barth is totally useless. He is still a towering intellect and it is tough to under estimate his impact on 21st century theology.

However, it is interesting to see this recollection of Barth's use of Scripture.

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