Barth for Armchair Theologians (er…dummies)
I am about finished reading this book for a class I am taking with John Franke (the author). This book is part of a series of books written for “Armchair Theologians.” This series is described as, “Written by experts but designed for the novice, the Armchair series provides accurate, concise, and witty overviews of some of hte most profound moments and theologians in Christian history.”
While I am not quite a Barth (by the way, its pronounced “Bart”) expert (I’ve read a the first two books of the dogmatics, and some of volume 4.3.2 but that hardly makes me anything near an expert!) I have found this book by Franke to be very, very helpful. Even if you have some reservations about Barth this is a great book to read. In fact, if you have reservations about Barth and have never read Barth this is an even more important book to read.
Of all the theologians, Barth is often called the most misunderstood. Now, that is partially his fault because his works are so hard to read. So, even if you think Barth is a raging heretic, or if you have no clue who he is and would like to know more about his life and his theology, this is a great place to start. One of the most helpful aspects of this book is to learn a little more about the world and events that influenced Barth’s theology. No doubt, writing theology in the midst of WWI and WWII makes a big impact on how you view the world and God.
One of the things that I have appreciated most about Barth is that he genuinely writes for the church and his Church Dogmatics, while extensive and hard to follow, is not written as some high-brow academic only work that has little to say to the church.
(No, I am not getting paid for this endorsement, nor am I seeking to suck up and get myself a better grade…I really do think its a great little book).