Monthly Archives: December 2015

Karl Barth on Intercultural Theology

In a forthcoming article, “The Christus Victor Motif in Karl Barth and African Theology,” Benno van den Toren mentions an interesting passage from Barth’s later work on the value of intercultural theology. In a discussion of “The Lordless Powers” in lecture fragments on the Christian life, intended to become part of vol. IV, 4 of his Church Dogmatics, Barth writes:

“In this matter we have one of the not infrequent cases in which it has to be said that not all people, but some to whom a so‐called magical view of the world is now ascribed, have in fact, apart from occasional hocuspocus, seen more, seen more clearly, and come much closer to the reality in their thought and speech, than those of us who are happy possessors of a rational and scientific view of things, for whom the resultant clear (but perhaps not wholly clear) distinction between truth and illusion has become almost unconsciously the criterion of all that is possible and real….

“Might it be that our fellow Christians from the younger churches of Asia and Africa, who come with a fresher outlook in this regard, can help us here? We hope at least that they will not be too impressed by our view of the world and thus be afflicted by the eye disease from which we ourselves suffer in this matter.”[1]

[1] Karl Barth, The Christian Life: Church Dogmatics IV, 4 Lecture Fragments, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (London: T. & T. Clark, 2004), 216, 219.

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