RBT Email 4

Our fifth and last session of Reading Barth Together on Dogmatics in Outline will be tomorrow morning (6/2 @10 AM EST); you can log on here, and we’ll be posting it on my YouTube Channel where the first four session are already posted as quickly as we can.

This is the newsletter I sent out this week along with a few additions for the blog:

(If you would like to receive these, check out the Contact page.)

The first four Reading Barth Together sessions are posted on my YouTube channel. This week Stanley and I finished Barth’s Dogmatics in Outline with the third article of the Apostles Creed which also led us into questions about his universalism, his pneumatology, and the politics of the Gospel.

Reading Barth Together: Session 4: Spirit et al.

The Zoom link for this week (5/26 @ 10AM EST) is the same as last week. You can also find the zoom link and more on the Reading Barth Together post. For this week, we’ll expand our panel to include Justin Coleman and Jason Micheli to talk about how Barth has figured into their ministries and what he has to say to the church today with the panel also opening up for a longer Q&A time when we’ll try to catch some of the persistent questions we haven’t gotten to yet.

Justin Coleman is the Senior Pastor of University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A native of Houston, he is a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.  Rev. Coleman has also served as the Chief Ministry Officer for the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, TN, as Lead Pastor of the Gethsemane Campus of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, at the SMU Wesley Foundation, and in other college and youth ministry settings.

His ministry at University UMC includes leading the church as it seeks to live into radical kinship by loving God, serving others, and building Christian community. Rev. Coleman is married to Dr. Chaka Coleman and they have three sons.

Rev. Coleman is the author of Home for Christmas: Tales of Hope and Second Chances and is the Old Testament presenter on Disciple Fast Track: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study.

Jason Micheli is the Lead Pastor at Annandale United Methodist Church. He also has the Crackers & Grape Juice podcast on which I regularly appear and the You are Not Accepted podcast where he discusses Stanley’s essays with Johanna Hartelius. His most recent book is Living in Sin: Making Marriage Work between I Do and Death, and you can find more about him on his website.

Andy Rowell will be having the discussion group as usual immediately following the conclusion of this week’s webinar. This is the link for that group. If you’d like to continue the discussion (perhaps about Barth, COVID, and God) after the webinar, that forum may be the perfect chance for you to do so.

We’ll be making an announcement about what will follow this series during the webinar this week, so make sure to tune in to find out!

In Christ,


Mentioned Last Week

Mentioned the Third Week

  • Given that this Sunday is when many congregations will be remembering the Ascension, it’s worth pointing to Douglas Farrow’s work around the significance of the Ascension for Christians and their theology. Farrow’s original book Ascension and Ecclesia is longer and more technical, but he also published a more accessible volume, Ascension Theology. In time for Sunday, you might read Wesley Hill’s review of the latter volume at the Christian Century.
  • If you’re curious about Bultmann’s (misguided) “demythologizing” approach to Christianity, you might look at his collection of essays New Testament and Mythology.
  • As we’ve said before, when you want to read Karl Barth’s Christology, you read Church Dogmatics IV.1-2, and you may well skip straight to §59ff.
  • It’s hard to talk about Barth, election, and the relation between God the Son and the man Jesus of Nazareth without finding yourself running into the McCormack-Hunsinger debate over how all that shakes out. While it’s a bit arcane for my tastes, if you’re curious, you can look at Philip Cary’s “Barth Wars” piece from a few years ago for a succinct introduction.
  • For my treatment of election and what it has to do with Methodist preachers, see How Odd of God and its companion piece “Homiletical Implications of Barth’s Doctrine of Election” which I put on my blog recently.
  • Y’all wanted us to talk about Barth, the Church, and Israel, so we did. If you want more, you might take a look at Eugene Rogers’ reading of Barth on Israel in his Sexuality & the Christian Bodychapters 6 & 7, Kendall Soulen’s The God of Israel and Christian Theology or Abraham’s Promise: Judaism and Jewish-Christian Relations, or Sonderegger’s That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew: Karl Barth’s “Doctrine of Israel,” though I can’t say that I’m necessarily endorsing every sentence of each book.
  • As we noted, Barth reports being quite fond of Dorothy Sayers. Though she’s best known for her mysteries, it was one of her religious plays which gripped Barth.

Mentioned the Second Week

  • Above Karl Barth’s desk hung a representation of Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece. You can get my perspective on what the masterwork means for Barthian preachers in my Conversations with Barth on Preaching (see the Introduction, specifically the “Two Portraits of a Preacher” section), and you might pursue Andrée Hayum’s The Isenheim Altarpiece for the best treatment of the altarpiece by an art historian.
  • Stanley and I also talked about the work of the great Hans Frei on theology as narrative. Take a look at Frei’s Theology & Narrative collection or The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative to see what we were talking about.
  • Finally, Stanley’s Gifford lectures With the Grain of the Universe popped up again.

Mentioned the First Week

  • Stephen Mulhall, the Oxford Wittgensteinian
  • The Barth in Conversations series being published by Westminster John Knox:
  • My Conversations with Barth on Preaching
  • Alasdair MacIntyre’s Whose Justice? Which Rationality?
  • Eberhard Busch’s introduction to Barth’s theology The Great Passion
  • Barth’s Christology in Church Dogmatics IV.1 §59ff “The Way of the Son of God into the Far Country” for which the Leitsatz reads:”That Jesus Christ is very God is shown in His way into the far country in which He the Lord became a servant. For in the majesty of the true God it happened that the eternal Son of the eternal Father became obedient by offering and humbling Himself to be the brother of man, to take His place with the transgressor, to judge him by judging Himself and dying in his place. But God the Father raised Him from the dead, and in so doing recognised and gave effect to His death and passion as a satisfaction made for us, as our conversion to God, and therefore as our redemption from death to life.”

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