First of Two Parts

Let us briefly sketch our present-day situation. The presently dominant theological tendencies originated in Germany and from here coursed throughout the entire theological world. When we speak of “modern” theology, we now mean primarily the existential theology founded by Bultmann and his disciples, which claims to be today’s only feasible theology because it alone allegedly meets the demands of modern man’s world view.

The seriousness of the situation is seen in the fact that this theology exerts tremendous influence on the younger theologians, increasingly determines preaching and religious instruction, tries to control the religious press, radio, and television, and disseminates a popular kind of academic literature that the non-theologian can understand. No doubt it has a strong sense of mission. It feels called to win the unchurched person to Christian faith, convinced that if he is unburdened of untenable dogmatic concepts he will more easily and willingly find the way to the Gospel. But those who believed this have been gravely disappointed, for this theology is, as someone has said, a “theology of empty churches.” Although it has gained wide attention, it has enjoyed little success. Hardly anyone has through it come to a living faith in Jesus Christ.

It is a heartening sign that the Church of Christ has become newly aware of its task and responsibility, and is determinedly opposing “modern” theology’s reduction and corruption of the Gospel. I mention only the writings of Professor Walter Künneth and Dr. Gerhard Bergmann; the declaration concerning Holy Scripture by the European Alliance; the extremely significant Braunschweig theses of 1966; and above all, the tremendous witness at Dortmund of the ...

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