Things on the Radar

One of the things never appearing much on anyone’s radar at Central Seminary, at least when I was there and to my knowledge, was Barth. I knew that Karl Barth was a big name, a giant, weighty in places not faithful to the Bible, that sort of thing. At one point I found out that Barthians were still around and apparently in no small quantities. I even took a class in which we read one of his volumes, though I am not prepared to say I understand what Barth is about today. But people in the circles of Central Seminary were not being influenced in any threatening way or even any perceptible way by Barth that I could tell

It is not that way at Westminster. They talk about this Bavnik guy all the time, and I try to tune out the Van Til stuff, but Barth is definitely and intriguingly on the radar here. And they speak as if they know what they are talking about, as if Barth is definitely about something that you can pin down. And, of course, the sense you get is that Barth is not good.

To what is it owing? I suppose it has to do with contact with a wider theological world, that’s one thing. I have to conclude that it has also been in the past a big deal and there has been a point made of drawing a line around Westminster, outside of which is Barth and are Barthians. There’s the communist under the bed approach to it sometimes: this or that, this one or that one seems to exhibit shades of Barthianism. The innuendo is that it is not a positive development. Too much enthusiasm for this Barthian advocate is considered unhealthy, etc. But aware of Barth indeed they are.


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