A good deal of discussion was aroused in Europe recently by the apparent change of mind in the Basel theologian, Fritz Buri. Professor Buri had written a book in which the tones of Reformation faith were distinctly audible. This was coupled with a wide-spread rumor that Buri had undergone a spiritual conversion under the influence of Karl Barth. What made the situation fascinating is the fact that this particular theologian was well known as a representative of an extreme liberal school of theology. His previous publications had established him in that position. He was a disciple of the thought world of Albert Schweitzer, particularly in regard to New Testament eschatology. He held that the New Testament was consistently eschatological and that its eschatological hopes had proven unfounded. This position has found defenders among such men as Martin Werner as well as Buri himself. Furthermore, Buri had been occupied in writing a dogmatics which was profoundly permeated with philosophical existentialism.
What interests us is the fact that Buri’s book has awakened a certain distrust among readers. Reading Buri’s book, one cannot escape the impression that a real and radical change has come over this Swiss theologian. But it is also apparent that among those discussing the book many feel it almost impossible that a genuinely liberal theologian could possibly become converted to orthodoxy. This suspicion is what concerns me here.
We encounter a conversion from Protestantism to Rome occasionally as well as from Rome to Protestantism. But a conversion from liberalism to evangelical orthodoxy sometimes seems too much for us to expect. We hardly count on such things taking place anymore. We speak rather glibly about the ...1
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