Barth’s Church Dogmatics

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Vol. 1.1 and 1.2 of Karl Barth’s 14 volume Church Dogmatics came in yesterday (thanks to Chaz) and I am as happy as a hyena! Those who love theology understand why. Barth is considered by many as the greatest theologian of the 20th century, a modern church father, and it seems his influence is increasing as the years go by. The Church Dogmatics is a set which one would easily choose as the one set of books (next to the Bible) one would bring with him to a desert island. So I’m ready to be exiled!

But the arrival of Barth’s books caused me  to again ponder over what I’d really like to do in life: master theology or law? Choosing mastery in one means being average in the other. Which will it be? Vern Poythress answered the question in favor of theology (see quote below); but how would I answer it?


While I was doing my Ph.D. work at Harvard, my interest in the Bible
and theology continued, and I found that I was devoting all my spare
time to reading in this type of area. Then I had to reassess
which was my first love. In thinking and praying about it, I decided
that my first love had become theology. I wanted to spend the
rest of my life there rather than in mathematics. But I was in the
middle of my doctoral program. I decided to go ahead and finish it,
then make the switch. I could see that one did not have sufficient time
in one lifetime to be both a good mathematician and a good theologian,
so it was necessary to choose.

(from An Interview with Vern Poythress by Marco Gonzales)

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