The Theological Thought of Karl Barth
By Shalonda Jeanette
Karl Barth has been given many different titles concerning the type of theologian he was. He has made many transitions in his thinking since he holds the position of always beginning. It means that he was a theologian open to correction by the Holy Spirit. First and foremost, he was an evangelical theologian whose focus remained on God in Christ. In Barth’s theology there is not a single Dogmatic center, in the sense of a single organizing idea. There is an overall unity to his conception of God’s action. Nothing that is stated in one area of his theology is done so without implicit or explicit reference to other themes. His main theme is God and His word revealed. It is his understanding that any theology that is not bearing on a life lived before God, is not Christian theology. In this paper I have written only a selection from his thoughts. I have chosen the theological ideas that are of most importance, in my opinion. I must say that Barth is very complex and dynamic in his thinking therefore I wouldn’t have enough space or time to write about his entire theology.
Karl Barth was born in Basel on May 10 1886 where he spent most of his life. Theology ran in his family as both Barth’s grandfathers as well as his father were pastors. Barth and his family moved to Berne in 1888 where he began to study theology in 1904. He also studied in Berlin, Tubingen and Marburg. Barth being well educated in liberal theology completed his theology examinations in 1908 and was ordained by his father. In 1909 Barth left the academic world for the pastorate, serving first as assistant pastor in a German Reformed congregation in Geneva. Here his encounter with the industrial proletariat prepared him for service from 1911 to 1921 in the parish of Safenwil, Canton Aargau. Alongside ministry, Barth was devoted to socialism. He not only preached, but lectured and wrote about...