For several decades the subject of special revelation has been focal in theological discussion. The basic issue, implied or stated, in recent theological structures is precisely the question, how are we to understand God’s specific self-disclosure? Those who have rejected the historic evangelical position, with its sola scriptura, sola fides, solus Christus, despite varying degrees of dogmatism, betray an astonishing degree of fluctuation and hesitancy, gyratings and revisions.
Some have commended modern theology for its “dynamic” nature in contrast with the “static” doctrine of the “traditionalists.” The emphasis on new “insights” into truth frequently recurs in modern theologies. But it is one thing to move, another to be sure where you are going. Much modern theology is restless and lacks a fixed center; it is on the march, but unsure of its destination.
It is difficult to describe some contemporary views on revelation with exactness, not only because these newer theological reconstructions insistently deny all finality but because of the delight expressed by exponents over the disagreements among each other. The basic differences between Barth and Brunner are well known. Brunner accused Barth of inconsistency. Although Barth professes to repudiate intellectualism in theology, his writings are vitiated, Brunner insists, by an unconscious philosophy which ends in biblical monism. Barth retorts that Brunner welcomes at the back door (in the form of general revelation) the intellectualism he has cast out at the front door. With both and between themselves Tillich and Niebuhr disagree. Tillich writes of the “many theological disputes” he has had with his “great friend” Niebuhr. Niebuhr maintains that an indebtedness to Greek ...1
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