The Contribution of Karl Barth toward the Formulation of an Evangelical Theology of Religions
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The dissertation focuses on Karl Barth's theology as it relates to present issue in Evangelical thought. Chapter 1 states that an Evangelical theology of religions can affirm and apply particular aspects of Barth's doctrine of the Holy Spirit that will serve to redefine some present Evangelical approaches to the content of divine revelation. Chapter 2 surveys the theology of religions models constructed by Karl Rahner, Clark Pinnock, Amos Yong, and Terrance Tiessen. These scholars affirm in some respect that non-Christians need not have explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ and His work in order to appropriate the benefits of redemption. Chapter 3 examines Barth's trinitarian-oriented doctrine of revelation. For Barth, the doctrine ofthe Trinity provides the key to genuine divine revelation because revelation's content cannot be separated from its form in Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 addresses Barth's evaluation of the phenomenon of religion and natural theology. His attack on both concepts as human attempts to fashion God in their own image will be discussed. Chapter 5 will discuss and analyze the Christ-centered nature of Barth's doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The discussion shows how for Barth the Holy Spirit is the sole mediator of Christ's presence who guides persons into objective knowledge of Christ and equips them for Christian service. Chapter 6 details Barth's use of secular "parables" of truth in the world in relation to the one Truth-Jesus Christ. The focus is how these "lights" of truth in creation never exist apart from Christ's reconciling work. Chapter 7 evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of Barth's thought as it relates to thesis of the work. Particular attention is given to Barth's rejection of general revelation and the doctrine of common grace as juxtaposed with the work of Herman Bavinck, whose thought is utilized as a useful alternative to Barth's thought in this area. Chapter 8 will conclude by briefly addressing Bavinck's position in contrast to Barth. Finally, the work seeks to reaffirm the thesis that use of selective aspects of Barth's thought can serve as an aid to on-going Evangelical efforts to formulate a viable theology of religions.