It had been hoped that Dr. Karl Barth himself would make some answer to the questions put by Professors Clark, Klooster, and Van Til (July 3, 1961, issue). Owing to pressure of work, however, he was unable to do this. Therefore CHRISTIANITY TODAY has asked Dr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley to suggest some lines of reply from his reading of the Church Dogmatics. It should be remembered, of course, that these are not the express answers of Barth himself, and also that while Dr. Bromiley is one of the translators of Barth’s writings, the arguments here presented are not necessarily to be associated with Dr. Bromiley personally.
Dr. Clark’s questions:
1. Was it reasonable for Paul to endure suffering in his ministry (or is it reasonable for us) if all are in Christ and will perhaps be saved anyhow, and if, as Professor Barth says, Feuerbach and secular science are already in the Church?
DR. BROMILEY’S COMMENT: The answer is twofold. First, Barth does not hold it as authoritative or certain that all will enjoy the benefits of the salvation sufficiently attained for all in Christ. Secondly, knowledge and faith are necessary for this enjoyment, and these come through the ministry of Christians in the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence Christians have a necessary part to play in the prophetic aspect of the work of reconciliation, and no sense of futility need hang over their work and warfare.
DR. CLARK’S OVERCOMMENT: Barth is not altogether clear on the matter of universalism. In some places he seems to say that all are saved, whether they know it or not. In this case, a Christian message might comfort some troubled souls for the time being, but inasmuch as it does not determine their future bliss, a missionary is hardly called on to suffer very ...1
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