Karl Barth was a complex figure. He’s always had a tenuous relationship with evangelicals. In fact, this site derives its name in part from a simultaneously hostile and humorous conversation between Barth and evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry. As recent research has confirmed, Karl Barth was no perfect man. He harbored sin in his life and attempted to justify it to avoid repentance (as we are all prone to do). But he also made significant contributions to Protestant theology, many of which helped steer a new course away from liberalism and toward a renewed appreciation for Christ and Scripture. If you view theological liberalism and traditional evangelical theology as a road trip from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Barth gets you all the way to about Jackson, Mississippi. His theological program has much to commend and leaves much to be desired.
But this post is not focused on Barth the adult or Barth the theologian. Rather, it will look at Karl Barth the child, “Karli” as his parents called him. As Mark Galli points out in his new book Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals, young Karl had a mean-streak in him that led to his share of fight fights. But alongside this proclivity to confrontation, Karli was captivated by music. He first heard Mozart at age 5 or 6 and was gripped from then on. But Mozart was not the watershed musician for young Barth; his mother was. Continue reading ““Karli” and Kids Music”
Augustine, perhaps church history’s most towering figure, didn’t think his work would be remembered. In his widely read and celebrated autobiographical Confessions, he wondered: “But to whom am I telling this story? Not to you my God; rather in your presence I am relating these events to my own kin, the human race, however few of them may chance upon these writings of mine.” Continue reading “Augustine the Pastor”
As historian Grant Wacker was working toward his 2014 America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation, he had the opportunity to spend time with Graham at his North Carolina estate. Wacker recalls one insightful conversation: “After a few minutes, Mr. Graham’s special assistant, standing nearby, said, ‘Billy, Grant is writing a book about you.’ Obviously puzzled, Mr. Graham responded, ‘Why? Why would you want to do that?’ Taken aback, I finally mumbled, ‘Well, you have done some important things.’” Continue reading “The Humility of Billy Graham”
Questions fill the air at Christmas: What’s on your list? Where is the party? What’s the greatest Christmas movie ever? (It’s a Wonderful Life.) What’s the worst? (A Christmas Story.)
But there’s another question that we should reflect upon during this season:
“Who do you say that I am?” Continue reading “Christ, Christmas, and Chalcedon”
Get The Colson Way by Owen Strachan here.
In The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World, Owen Strachan provides Christians a stellar resource in how to navigate and respond to the growing hostility aimed at traditional Christian belief. Using the life and ministry of Charles (Chuck) Colson as a lens, Strachan helps believers see that they too can engage the watching world with the good news of Jesus Christ in a winsome and courageous way. Continue reading “Book Review: The Colson Way”
“How I dread preaching on the estate of marriage! . . . but timidity is no help in an emergency; I must proceed. I must try to instruct poor bewildered consciences, and take up the matter boldly.”
Martin Luther’s 1522 The Estate of Marriage begins with an honest reflection regarding the difficulty of addressing such a topic. Nonetheless, he saw a dire situation in 16th-century Germany. He knew his words and counsel were needed, and so he boldly took up the pen. In doing so, he dismantled the medieval system of marriage and family and replaced it with a vision of the Christian home that flowed directly from his discovery of justification by faith. Continue reading “Luther’s Reformation of Marriage”