Confessing Christ for Church and World
With one foot in the world of Scripture and another in the contemporary world, Karl Barth was both a modern and a confessional theologian. The intersection of these two worlds makes him a fruitful dialogue partner for thinking creatively about what it means to be faithful to Jesus Christ today.
In this collection of essays both old and new, Kimlyn Bender explores Barth's understanding of Christ, church and world in conversation with American evangelicalism, Roman Catholicism, Reinhard Hütter, Adolf von Harnack, Bart Ehrman and Baptists, among others. Along the way he also engages the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Bender's penetrating analysis of modern theology sheds light on both the task of theology and the witness of the church.
"Clear, scholarly and accessible, these essays draw extensively upon the work of Schleiermacher and Barth as vital resources for Christian reflection today. As a collected volume, this will provide an indispensable point of reference for the further understanding of their theological contributions in new and changing contexts."
"A distinguished expert on Barth's doctrine of the church, Kimlyn Bender now extends his agenda to include an impressive range of new topics. His lively and incisive essays cast fresh light on modern theology from a sophisticated evangelical perspective. He will help American evangelicals to see that Karl Barth, whom they once regarded as a fearsome enemy, is actually their best friend."
"This collection of studies by Kimlyn Bender showcases both very fine dogmatic talent and impressive theological maturity and responsibility. Engaged across a wide ecumenical front even as it delves deeply into the particular riches of Barth's theological legacy, Bender's work brings much needed light to some of the most acute debates of the present moment in English speaking Protestant theology. It invites readers to secure important gifts for the life, preaching and mission of the church precisely in and through the joyful labor of substantive theological reflection and careful dogmatic argument. The lucidity with which these essays are written is surely a mark of Bender's great gifts as a theological teacher."
"Kimlyn Bender's beautiful collection of essays brings us again and again before the living Jesus Christ. He reminds us of the scandal of the gospel and uses it as the starting point from which to explore several key questions and issues that have shaped modern theology. The richness of his scholarly work is reflected in the topics covered, which range from matters of ecclesiology to epistemology, from creation to Christology, from Scripture to ecumenism. With a careful and fair hand, he brings his two great interlocutors, Barth and Schleiermacher, into conversation with thinkers and ideas from a wide variety of traditions and points of view. The result is a vibrant and enriching conversation that will be of interest to anyone studying dogmatic theology. This book represents the best of contemporary Protestant theology, and it challenges us to see Christ once again with new and more discerning eyes."
"Confessing Christ for Church and World brilliantly declares 'Jesus is Lord' in the contemporary North American context in dialectical fashion. In this fine collection of essays, Kimlyn J. Bender masterfully explores the significance of Karl Barth's theology in conversation with Friedrich Schleiermacher and other notable interlocutors on a wide range of important subjects. The reader will come away challenged and enlightened by the depth and breadth of this ecumenical endeavor that grounds contextual theology in the scandal of gospel particularity."
"In these well-crafted, incisive and penetrating essays, Kimlyn Bender provides ample demonstration of the ongoing significance of both Karl Barth and Friedrich Schleiermacher for theology and confession in the present time. An outstanding contribution to the literature of contemporary theology in service to the witness of the church."
"In this absorbing work, Kimlyn Bender offers a series of doctrinal studies that exemplify the art of thinking with esteemed figures from the theological tradition—in order then to think after them for the purpose of the church today. The collection attends primarily to themes in ecclesiology, Scripture, and Christology in dialogue with Karl Barth and Friedrich Schleiermacher; but in truth its dogmatic remit is far broader, and its discourse embraces a wide array of challenging conversation partners. Bender writes with his characteristic precision and verve throughout, and his measured contributions are as insightful as they are thoughtful. This volume comes highly recommended."
"In this remarkable collection of essays, Kimlyn Bender unflinchingly keeps our attention fixed on the scandalous particularity of Jesus Christ—his living and active presence and authority. Upon the completion of one essay, readers will be eager to see what they will find next. Each essay is important in its own right, and taken together the book presents a compelling and coherent theological and ecclesial vision. This collection includes astute analysis of seminal theological texts and clarifying and evenhanded assessment of significant theological disagreements that have shaped the contours of modern theology and have abiding significance for theology and church today. These essays are exemplary instances of historical theology carried out with an eye towards faithful dogmatics and the church's witness in the contemporary world."
"More than just a description of Karl Barth's theology, Kimlyn Bender's erudite collection of essays explores a variety of topics and interlocutors engaging Barth as a persuasive conversation partner. These essays are theologically sophisticated and written in a lively and intellectually engaging style, discussing topics in ecclesiology (Reinhard Hütter), Christology (Schleiermacher), Scripture and theology (von Harnack and Bart Erhman), natural theology (William James and Alasdair McIntyre), and atheism (Feuerbach and the 'new atheism'). Ecumenical in tone, Bender's arguments are shaped by a strong Reformation sensitivity and written in an 'ad hoc' apologetic style (or what Barth calls 'good apologetics'), demonstrating the truth of confessing Christ in the church and the world. This book is highly recommended for scholars in Barth's thought yet accessible to non-experts, especially Catholic and evangelical observers, who seek to think more critically about their own commitments and traditions."
"This collection of essays will be helpful for any evangelical theologian or historian interested in understanding the influence and impact of Karl Barth on theology in this century. One need not be an expert in Barth to gain valuable insights from Bender's work. This Barthian scholar has made Barth's work accessible to a larger audience and has thereby given a valuable gift to the nonspecialist."
"Bender's collection of essays provides space for dialogue across the American Christian spectrum, while not sacrificing his own Protestant outlook. What makes such an exchange possible is not the diversity inherent in American expressions of Christian religion, but rather Bender's own conviction that there is common ground to be found at the center of all Protestant principles: the preeminence of Christ over church, over canon, over creation."
Part One: Church and Conversation
1. Karl Barth?s Doctrine of the Church in Conversation with American Theology Today
2. Karl Barth?s Doctrine of the Church in Conversation with American Evangelicalism
3. An Old Debate Revisited: Karl Barth and Catholic Substance
4. The End of the Reformation?
Part Two: Canon and Confession
5. Scripture and Canon in Karl Barth?s Early Theology
6. Christ and Canon, Theology and History: The Barth-Harnack Dialogue Revisited
7. The Canon as Theological Category: Bart Ehrman?s Questions to Scripture
8. Barth and Baptists: A Fellowship of Kindred Minds
9. Karl Barth and the Question of Atheism
Part Three: Christ and Creation
10. Christ, Creation, and the Drama of Redemption: ?The Play?s the Thing . . . ?
11. Standing Out in the Gifford Lectures: Barth?s Non-natural Lectures on Natural Theology
12. A Concluding Postscript to Schleiermacher?s Christology