I've chosen to write my theological college book review on Karl Bath 'The Kingdom of God'. If anyone has any tips for this or recommended reads which will help me to understand this book, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
This is stimulating stuff from Wikipedia. I know nothing about Karl Barth so far but perhaps I'll like him which sounds facile, I know, but it can help, I've got to spend the next month getting to know him, only well enough for 1500 book review though.
One of the most influential and controversial features of Barth's Dogmatics was his doctrine of election (Church Dogmatics II/2). One thread of the Reformed tradition, following one interpretation of its most influential thinker, John Calvin, had long argued for so-called double predestination: that God chose some humans for salvation through Christ and others for damnation. These groups were sometimes called the "elect" and "reprobate." This choice (or "election") was made by God and was the result of God's "absolute decree," a mysterious and fundamentally inscrutable decision which, though it was a decision of ultimate consequence for the individual human, was fundamentally inaccessible and unknowable to him or her. God chose each person to be saved or damned based on the divine will, and it was impossible to know why God chose some and not others or whether God had elected or rejected oneself.
Barth's doctrine of election involves a firm rejection of the notion of an absolute decree. In keeping with his Christo-centric methodology, Barth argues that to ascribe the salvation or damnation of humanity to an abstract absolute decree is to make some part of God more final and definitive than God's saving act in Jesus Christ. God's absolute decree, if one may speak of such a thing, is God's gracious decision to be for humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. With the earlier Reformed tradition, Barth retains the notion of double predestination but makes Jesus Himself the object of both divine election and reprobation simultaneously: Jesus embodies both God's election of humanity and God's rejection of human sin. While some regard this revision of the doctrine of election as an improvement on the Calvinist doctrine of double predestination, critics have charged that Barth's view amounts to a lax universalism.
I'm quite attracted by this too which I've been wondering about lately, so much so that I'm not sure if the word 'evangelical' actually describes me anymore. 'Post-evangelical?
Some fundamentalist critics have joined liberal counterparts in referring to Barth as "neo-orthodox" because, while his theology retains most or all of the tenets of their understanding of Christianity, he is seen as rejecting the belief which is a linchpin of their theological system: biblical inerrancy. Such critics believe the written text must be considered to be historically accurate and verifiable and see Barth's view as a separation of theological truth from historical truth.Barth could respond by saying that the claim that the foundation of theology is biblical inerrancy is to use a foundation other than Jesus Christ, and that our understanding of Scripture's accuracy and worth can only properly emerge from consideration of what it means for it to be a true witness to the incarnate Word, Jesus.
Once a young student asked Barth if he could sum up what was most important about his life's work and theology in just a few words. The question was posed even with gasps from the audience. Barth just thought for a moment and then smiled, "Yes, in the words of a song my mother used to sing me, 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'"
See also Centre for Karl Barth Studies