Karl Barth and American Evangelicalism (McCormack)

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
These are mostly fine essays illustrating to what degree Barth has been received by the American Evangelical community.

George Harinck gives a fascinating essay on how Dutch and American Neo-Calvinism reacted to Barth. In doing so, he gives new light on Van Til’s own career.

Barth and Van Til

DG Hart has a fun essay on Evangelicalism’s reading of Van Til’s reading of Barth. Van Til’s attack on Barth, at least the later one, was a confessional Presbyterian attack. As such, it was also an attack on Princeton’s modernism. This put neo-Evangelicalism in a tough position. For them, if Van Til offered a good critique of Barth and a defense of inerrancy, fine. If Van Til seemed to be arguing for Presbyterian Confessionalism, then he can take his quarrel elsewhere. (Here Hart explains why the OPC refused to join the NAE, to their everlasting credit). My own concerns with this essay is that I don’t think neo-Evangelicalism was truly enamored with Barth. Certainly not when Carl Henry led the movement. Later neo-evangelicals might have been, but by that time the PCUSA (or what would later become of it post-1967) had already apostasized. Simply tagging them as “Barthians” isn’t entirely accurate.

Barth and Kant

Bruce McCormack responds to Van Til’s reading of Barth. McCormack said Van Til misread Barth’s use of Kant. For Kant, the a priori forms organize our knowledge; they do not determine it (and so it is not true, per Van Til, that a Kantian couldn’t tell the difference from a snowball and an orange). In fact, Kant held to an empiricism as to the phenomenal world.

As McCormack notes, “Kant did not believe that knowledge is simply constructed by the human mind through the use of the categories of understanding. The categories provide the forms of knowing which help us to order sensible experience” (McCormack 369). In this case it’s not too different from Aristotle’s Table of Logic. For Barth, however, Kant ceased to be important after 1924, when Barth discovered the an/enhypostatic distinction.

The one strength in Van Til’s reading, however, is that Barth did admit that Hans urs von Balthasar’s position was similar to his own. If this is true, then it is fatal to Barth’s position. Complicating the matter is that Barth seems to say von Balthasar is correct. I think, however, that Bruce McCormack’s own reading of the two authors (Karl Barth’s Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology) shows that von Balthasar was wrong, despite Barth’s own views of his own readings.

Theological Issues

Pride of place, not surprisingly, goes to Michael Horton’s essay. Horton correctly reads Barth and focuses on the real issues, and not tired paths like “Did Barth hate the Bible” that we often see in debates with the Torrancian school. Further, Horton highlights the real problem with Barth: his tendency to collapse time into eternity (Horton 125). Barth is an Origenist, in other words. Though to be fair, it’s hard to see how the entire Platonic tradition isn’t prey to this critique. Horton builds on this critique: The Reformed rejected the medieval nature/grace dualism. Barth, himself an Origenist, falls back to it: grace is necessary before the Fall. Grace for Barth is mercy shown to those at fault. If this happens before the Fall, then creation is somehow at fault as well (Horton 133). Creation and the Fall are two aspects of the same event. This is Origenism, pure and unadulterated.

Horton also notes that Barth never actually said “Election constitutes the Trinity.” This is a correct reading, though, tipping my hat to Derrida, I think it is implied in Barth’s theology, pace George Hunsinger. However, I don’t think Horton truly pinpointed Barth’s opposition to the Pactum Salutis. If there is only one mind in the Trinity, as the classical tradition holds, how does it make sense for the Persons of the Trinity to make deals with each other, since they all have the same mind?

Horton rebuts McCormack’s reading of Barth’s objection to “substance” and “essence.” McCormack thinks substantialism implies a “something” behind the entity. When applied to God, this raises the question: so which God is the real God for us (a question, I would point out, that Eastern Orthodoxy’s Essence/energies distinction can’t answer)? Horton says, by contrast, that a substance is simply thing that can be predicated of (128n72). I think both are correct.

Horton ends with a good observation on Barth’s so-called Christomonism: “When Christology swallows the horizon, Christ is no longer central; he is the whole picture. He is not the mediator...but the Creator simpliciter” (144).

Barth and the Church

The Evangelical group that has been most interested in Barth’s view of the Church is the anabaptistic groups. They fault Barth for either not totally denouncing the “Civil Sphere as a Real Government” (Hauerwas) or not embodying the right practices (various emergent groups). In contrast to this cacophony, Barth appears rather stable. Mind you, I think his ecclesiology ultimately fails at the end of his career when he gives an anemic view of the sacraments.

Barth and Future Issues

There are a few essays summarizing the problems with Barth’s universalistic tendencies. They are fine essays but ultimately don’t advance any new conclusions. I did enjoy the essay on Radical Orthodoxy.

Conclusion

Some essays fell flat but most are quite instructive.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Yeah the Reformed Forum did some episodes on this book years ago. I have not read the book, though I want to, but the interesting critique of it from their perspective was that no one really represented a defense of Van Til's critique of Barth. I am of the opinion that for better or worse no one can deny the depth of Van Til's critique.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I am about to read Kant's critique of pure reason, and eventually read Van Til's critique of Barth. McCormack did raise an interesting point: Barth likely dropped the need to rely on Kant after 1924 when he discovered the anhypostatic/enhypostatic distinction. The Reformed view of the communicatio allowed for an indirect relation between the natures (realdialektik) because the Person mediates the natures.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Yeah I have his later work. It really is well down. But yes the second section is more or less a strictly reformed critique of Barth. I think that he wanted to show that he in no way shape or form "Reformed". Which may seem irelavent to the larger evangelical world but since Barth claims to be reformed it is relevant. In the third section he shows how despite Barth's critique of concousness theology he never the less is at the end of the day a concousness theologian.

The first section, which I guess I shod have started with, is where he identifies what he thinks Barth's central problem. I recomend it and you judge for yourself if Van Til is correct. John Frame says it was his most scholarlly work.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I am about to read Kant's critique of pure reason, and eventually read Van Til's critique of Barth. McCormack did raise an interesting point: Barth likely dropped the need to rely on Kant after 1924 when he discovered the anhypostatic/enhypostatic distinction. The Reformed view of the communicatio allowed for an indirect relation between the natures (realdialektik) because the Person mediates the natures.

I had an interesting exchange with Mike Horton asking him about McCormack. It made me realize the amount of daylight between what I thought I know and still need to learn. A lot of these discussions obviously require a depth of study I may never quite achieve given my time.

That said, one thing that continually struck me when I listened to McCormack's own theology and the way he described Barth's was this whole idea that classical theology was built on the old metaphysics and then modern theology was built on the new metaphysics but that Barth had been the first to succeed (and McCormack in his footsteps) at creating a theology that was freed from extra-Biblical metaphysics.

As I listened to his reasoning, however, I kept thinking: "There's a metaphysics being inserted here. I'm not trained enough in philosophy and the history of thought to articulate the 'what' of it but I'm certain there is something that is being slipped in the back door."

Now I'm not saying Van Til has to be thought of as the "all knowing" oracle of things theological and philosophical but I do wonder if the things he was getting at are accurate. Is it possible that McCormack merely thinks that Van Til missed the fact that Barth was not just being Kantian or is there more to it than that? In other words, even as these men (Barth and McCormack) claim to be moving beyond metaphysics are they really modernists of a different sort and Van Til was trying to point that out in Barth? I don't know.

As for the charge that our theology of God is wed to classic metaphysics, Horton thinks it's popppycock and points out that this has been the liberal/modernist charge for decades now and Barth/McCormack are sort of a new variety but singing the same old tune that we need to move beyond classic metaphysics in our Doctrine of God when Horton disagrees that the Church (and later the Reformers) did not adopt a doctrine of God simply because they were slaves to classical metaphysics.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
 

JSauer

Puritan Board Freshman
If you were engaging with a Barthian, what would be the main points you would try to stick to so the conversation stays on track? I recently have been in a discussion with a neo-orthodox type and it's hard to pinpoint one point of difference. Would you say it's Barth's view of scripture that is the source of the major problems? Maybe it's too complex to boil down to a point or two, but like most non-reformed views there is usually a lynchpin or two behind the whole system. Is this true of Barth's views?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
If you were engaging with a Barthian, what would be the main points you would try to stick to so the conversation stays on track? I recently have been in a discussion with a neo-orthodox type and it's hard to pinpoint one point of difference. Would you say it's Barth's view of scripture that is the source of the major problems? Maybe it's too complex to boil down to a point or two, but like most non-reformed views there is usually a lynchpin or two behind the whole system. Is this true of Barth's views?

I would not even start with Barth's view of Scripture, simply because too many trees have been killed and I am really not interested. I would simply ask Barthians--and who those are is another interesting question--to explain why Barth has Origenist tendencies. Barth is a modern day Origenist.
 

Justified

Puritan Board Sophomore
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

McCormack uses it to be a something behind a something. The substance is that which withstands change. I am undecided on whether that is a good definition. I am reading Aristotle and Gilson at the moment.

As to alternatives, Horton himself has pointed towards a Covenantal Ontology in his critique of Radical Orthodoxy.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
McCormack uses it to be a something behind a something.

In which case classical (Thomistic) theism rejects it, given that God is both simple and pure actuality. And oddly enough, I think Barth is on board with that, at least by the Dogmatics. But he interprets pure actuality to be a revelatory unfolding in history, though he interprets this from a transcendent perspective (Pannenberg and Bonhoeffer tended to approach it from an immanentist perspective).

In other words, the essential problem with Barth is that he views God as being in becoming and holds this tension between them. Historically there have been two trajectories following this, of neo-orthodox (Pannenberg, T.F. Torrance, Bonhoeffer) and neoliberal (Tillich, Bultmann). More recently, the debate has been between postliberals (Hunsinger) and Neo-Barthians (McCormack).

Barth's actualist ontology is intriguing, but ultimately does collapse God into time, which then implodes his trinitarian theology, given that it then would deny simplicity (which is, presumably, why Torrance eventually looked east for firmer grounding in The Trinitarian Faith). But the key here is that Barth is trying to find firmer footing similarly to the older direct realism. The problem is that the prevailing Kanto-Hegelian apparatus of the German academy of the day made it a non-starter. Ontologically, Barth was able to break away from Hegel and Kant, but epistemologically he was less successful. Critical realism wouldn't come for another fifty years.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

I've read almost all of Jamie Smith's stuff. Marion is okay, but I reject his Dionysian neo-Platonism.

McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can.
But McCormack has said he does not reject metaphysics qua metaphysics. He is rejecting a certain Cartesian and Thomistic model.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

Not to derail this thread either, but I wonder if Horton holds to a classical reformed metaphysic in respect to the being of God? I say this knowing (Horton) and his association with some very fine Lutheran pastors.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

Not to derail this thread either, but I wonder if Horton holds to a classical reformed metaphysic in respect to the being of God? I say this knowing (Horton) and his association with some very fine Lutheran pastors.

He does with regard to the being of God, not with epistemology (he is far more praising of Jean-Francois Lyotard's work than I am).
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

Not to derail this thread either, but I wonder if Horton holds to a classical reformed metaphysic in respect to the being of God? I say this knowing (Horton) and his association with some very fine Lutheran pastors.

I would say so. I would refer you to his systematic theology on that.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

I've read almost all of Jamie Smith's stuff. Marion is okay, but I reject his Dionysian neo-Platonism.

McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can.
But McCormack has said he does not reject metaphysics qua metaphysics. He is rejecting a certain Cartesian and Thomistic model.

Yeah Marion is out there but in some ways useful. Smith is good but bad at other points. McCormack in one lecture admitted that he didn't know the Reformed tradition as well as he should. I think that if he and other Barthians were to really read the Reformed tradition they would stop calling Barth Reformed. But that's just my opinion, for whatever it's worth.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
ANd I would largely agree with Horton, and at times McCormack hedges his bets by saying, "Not all metaphysics; just substanced-based ones." As to Horton's charge, Horton routinely praises Merold Westphal's Overcoming Onto-Theology, which seems to be an attack on at least natural theology, if not substance metaphysics.
Do you mind explaining specifically what "substance metaphysics" is? I think I have an idea just based on the words themselves, but want to see it fleshed out just a little more. And what are the alternatives to a substance metaphysics as Christians?

This question might be outside the bounds of this thread but I would refer you to postmodern critiques of substance metaphysics and the many alternatives vaguely offered by them. I would personally go with Jacob's suggestion of Horton. But also Dr. Oliphint has done some metaphysics that is along the same lines. James k. a. Smith is very good here. Jean luc Marion although Catholic has some interesting things to say here. You have to understand that with the "overturning" of traditional, or "substance", metaphysics in the past two centuries, 19th and 20th, everything is up for grabs so to speak.

As far as Barth is concerned I whole heartedly agree with Rich. McCormick and Barth can pretend all they want that they reject metaphysics but at the end of the day they can't because no human being can. In a sense we all have a "meta physical" view of reality. It is inescapable. Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

Not to derail this thread either, but I wonder if Horton holds to a classical reformed metaphysic in respect to the being of God? I say this knowing (Horton) and his association with some very fine Lutheran pastors.

I would say so. I would refer you to his systematic theology on that.

I've read his ST (I have a review of it somewhere on PB). I think Horton completely misunderstands what the East says on Essence/energies, but the rest is pretty good.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
And for the record, I've moved back closer to "classical ontologies," at least as regards the will, mind, and soul. Barth deals with creation-aspects in CD III, which I Haven't gotten to yet.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I do appreciate your reviews. Keep them coming.

I know we seem to disagree a lot, but thank you for your comments. Iron sharpening, and such. I'm planning on doing a review of Thomas Hobbes soon, Deo volente.

And for the record, I do see myself in the Dutch tradition on theological prolegomena. I appreciate most of Van Til on theology and I line up with Bavinck on most points. I've listened to a million Bahnsen lectures and read almost everything Bahnsen has written.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
But McCormack has said he does not reject metaphysics qua metaphysics. He is rejecting a certain Cartesian and Thomistic model.

Though I'm not sure he rejects Thomism so much as neo-Thomism.

I think that if he and other Barthians were to really read the Reformed tradition they would stop calling Barth Reformed.

That's like asking that the PCUSA stop calling itself Presbyterian. Broaden the boundaries enough and anyone can be "reformed."

I've read his ST (I have a review of it somewhere on PB). I think Horton completely misunderstands what the East says on Essence/energies, but the rest is pretty good.

Is he engaging with Pre-Palamite or post-Palamite ontologies primarily? From my understanding he's drawing more on the Cappadocians, who didn't acknowledge the essence/energies distinction and all it implied.

Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

I'm not sure that's entirely fair. I would rather say that Barth's metaphysic is unstable but could be salvaged through a reaffirmation of classical theism, which is what, I think, Barth is attempting to get back to, but struggles to articulate in his own intellectual world.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I do appreciate your reviews. Keep them coming.

I know we seem to disagree a lot, but thank you for your comments. Iron sharpening, and such. I'm planning on doing a review of Thomas Hobbes soon, Deo volente.

And for the record, I do see myself in the Dutch tradition on theological prolegomena. I appreciate most of Van Til on theology and I line up with Bavinck on most points. I've listened to a million Bahnsen lectures and read almost everything Bahnsen has written.

Oh don't worry about it, Philip and I have disagreed for what years now Philip and yet there is always respect among brothers and sisters in Christ. I appreciate engaging with you and everyone else on here. You are very much iron sharpening iron, so keep sharpening me as Philip and many others have done and still do.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
But McCormack has said he does not reject metaphysics qua metaphysics. He is rejecting a certain Cartesian and Thomistic model.

Though I'm not sure he rejects Thomism so much as neo-Thomism.

I think that if he and other Barthians were to really read the Reformed tradition they would stop calling Barth Reformed.

That's like asking that the PCUSA stop calling itself Presbyterian. Broaden the boundaries enough and anyone can be "reformed."

I've read his ST (I have a review of it somewhere on PB). I think Horton completely misunderstands what the East says on Essence/energies, but the rest is pretty good.

Is he engaging with Pre-Palamite or post-Palamite ontologies primarily? From my understanding he's drawing more on the Cappadocians, who didn't acknowledge the essence/energies distinction and all it implied.

Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

I'm not sure that's entirely fair. I would rather say that Barth's metaphysic is unstable but could be salvaged through a reaffirmation of classical theism, which is what, I think, Barth is attempting to get back to, but struggles to articulate in his own intellectual world.

Well I can definitely agree with you here, where you quoted me at least (I can't speak for anyone else). The one thing I love about Barthians, and I'm not saying you or anyone else here is, is that they all seem to disagree about what he meant. It reminds me of that movie where the line, the movie escapes my memory right now, "will the real blank please stand up". That's just my impression at least.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
The one thing I love about Barthians, and I'm not saying you or anyone else here is, is that they all seem to disagree about what he meant.

Yeah, my take on that is that because Barth was such a giant in 20th century theology, most postliberal theologians will draw from Barth. The problem is that to make Barth work with postliberalism, you have to reinterpret him.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
But McCormack has said he does not reject metaphysics qua metaphysics. He is rejecting a certain Cartesian and Thomistic model.

Though I'm not sure he rejects Thomism so much as neo-Thomism.

I think that if he and other Barthians were to really read the Reformed tradition they would stop calling Barth Reformed.

That's like asking that the PCUSA stop calling itself Presbyterian. Broaden the boundaries enough and anyone can be "reformed."

I've read his ST (I have a review of it somewhere on PB). I think Horton completely misunderstands what the East says on Essence/energies, but the rest is pretty good.

Is he engaging with Pre-Palamite or post-Palamite ontologies primarily? From my understanding he's drawing more on the Cappadocians, who didn't acknowledge the essence/energies distinction and all it implied.

Van Til never criticized Barth for having a metaphysics only that the metaphysics he unknowingly sneaked in undermined Christianity.

I'm not sure that's entirely fair. I would rather say that Barth's metaphysic is unstable but could be salvaged through a reaffirmation of classical theism, which is what, I think, Barth is attempting to get back to, but struggles to articulate in his own intellectual world.

Well I can definitely agree with you here, where you quoted me at least (I can't speak for anyone else). The one thing I love about Barthians, and I'm not saying you or anyone else here is, is that they all seem to disagree about what he meant. ]/quote]

I like to see it as several schools of Barth. I really appreciate McCormack's rebuttal of the Torrancian school. Torrance was a genius in both physics and theology, but he botched Reformed historiography. And many of his disciples have a cult-like mentality about him. And McCormack's critique of both Emergent Church and Radical Orthodoxy usages of Barth is appreciated.


It reminds me of that movie where the line, the movie escapes my memory right now, "will the real blank please stand up". That's just my impression at least.

there is an Eminem song of similar title. LOL
 
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