Second in a Series
We must now indicate why neo-orthodox theology, as we see it, unwittingly prepared the way for the rise of neo-liberalism. Sooner or later declension and reaction threaten every theology not fully governed by biblical presuppositions or not fully conforming to biblical details. Why has the theology shaped by Barth and Brunner not held the field against the speculations of Bultmann?
THE SWING TO EXTREMES
From the standpoint of Bible-controlled theology, the neo-orthodox revolt against liberalism’s theology of immanence (which minimized or virtually eliminated the transcendence of God) must be criticized as a reaction, equally objectionable and unjustifiable, leading to a one-sided stress on divine transcendence. In other words, dialectical theology is a theology of exaggerated transcendence which distorts the immanence of God, even as classic liberalism was a theology of exaggerated immanence which distorted the transcendence of God.
The basic premise of the theology of transcendence—that God is “wholly other”—is made to support a dialectical view of divine revelation that limits God’s communication to personal confrontation. Theological terms are today often lost in a semantic wilderness, so that the bare verbal statement of this position may conceal its real intention. But the speculative character of this doctrine of revelation, and the extent of its departure from the historic faith of the Christian Church, become apparent once its implications are clear. While this dialectical theory asserts God’s personal confrontation of individuals and the necessity of individual illumination by the Spirit, it does so in open hostility to a biblical view of the reality and nature of divine revelation. The dialectical ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more