With one foot in the world of Scripture and another in the contemporary world, Karl Barth was both a modern and a confessional theologian. The intersection of these two worlds makes him a fruitful dialogue partner for thinking creatively about what it means to be faithful to Jesus Christ today.
In this collection of essays both old and new, Kimlyn Bender explores Barth's understanding of Christ, church and world in conversation with American evangelicalism, Roman Catholicism, Reinhard H|tter, Adolf von Harnack, Bart Ehrman and Baptists, among others. Along the way he also engages the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Bender's penetrating analysis of modern theology sheds light on both the task of theology and the witness of the church.
Kimlyn J. Bender (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is associate professor of theology at Truett Seminary, Baylor University. He is the author of and is coeditor with Bruce McCormack of . Bender's work has been published in numerous journals and collections, including and . He serves as a contributing editor for , has served as the theology editor of and is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Karl Barth Society of North America and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion. Bender is the recipient of numerous awards, including the David Allan Hubbard Award from Fuller Theological Seminary, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Sioux Falls, and the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics. An ordained Baptist minister, Bender has preached in many churches and has served in ministries in the Dakotas, California, New Jersey and most recently as the Senior Pastor of Oak Hills Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He and his wife Trudy have three children.
Clear, scholarly and accessible, these essays draw extensively upon the work of Schleiermacher and Barth as vital resources for Christian reflection today. As a collected volume, this will provide an indispensable point of reference for the further understanding of their theological contributions in new and changing contexts.
University of Edinburgh
A distinguished expert on Barth's doctrine of the church, Kimlyn Bender now extends his agenda to include an impressive range of new topics. His lively and incisive essays cast fresh light on modern theology from a sophisticated evangelical perspective. He will help American evangelicals to see that Karl Barth, whom they once regarded as a fearsome enemy, is actually their best friend.
Princeton Theological Seminary
This collection of studies by Kimlyn Bender showcases both very fine dogmatic talent and impressive theological maturity and responsibility. Engaged across a wide ecumenical front even as it delves deeply into the particular riches of Barth's theological legacy, Bender's work brings much needed light to some of the most acute debates of the present moment in English speaking Protestant theology. It invites readers to secure important gifts for the life, preaching and mission of the church precisely in and through the joyful labor of substantive theological reflection and careful dogmatic argument. The lucidity with which these essays are written is surely a mark of Bender's great gifts as a theological teacher.
-Philip G. Ziegler,
University of Aberdeen
Kimlyn Bender's beautiful collection of essays brings us again and again before the living Jesus Christ. He reminds us of the scandal of the gospel and uses it as the starting point from which to explore several key questions and issues that have shaped modern theology. The richness of his scholarly work is reflected in the topics covered, which range from matters of ecclesiology to epistemology, from creation to Christology, from Scripture to ecumenism. With a careful and fair hand, he brings his two great interlocutors, Barth and Schleiermacher, into conversation with thinkers and ideas from a wide variety of traditions and points of view. The result is a vibrant and enriching conversation that will be of interest to anyone studying dogmatic theology. This book represents the best of contemporary Protestant theology, and it challenges us to see Christ once again with new and more discerning eyes.
-Keith L. Johnson,
Confessing Christ for Church and World brilliantly declares 'Jesus is Lord' in the contemporary North American context in dialectical fashion. In this fine collection of essays, Kimlyn J. Bender masterfully explores the significance of Karl Barth's theology in conversation with Friedrich Schleiermacher and other notable interlocutors on a wide range of important subjects. The reader will come away challenged and enlightened by the depth and breadth of this ecumenical endeavor that grounds contextual theology in the scandal of gospel particularity.
-Paul Louis Metzger,
Multnomah Biblical Seminary
More than just a description of Karl Barth's theology, Kimlyn Bender's erudite collection of essays explores a variety of topics and interlocutors engaging Barth as a persuasive conversation partner. These essays are theologically sophisticated and written in a lively and intellectually engaging style, discussing topics in ecclesiology (Reinhard Hutter), Christology (Schleiermacher), Scripture and theology (von Harnack and Bart Erhman), natural theology (William James and Alasdair McIntyre), and atheism (Feuerbach and the 'new atheism'). Ecumenical in tone, Bender's arguments are shaped by a strong Reformation sensitivity and written in an 'ad hoc' apologetic style (or what Barth calls 'good apologetics'), demonstrating the truth of confessing Christ in the church and the world. This book is highly recommended for scholars in Barth's thought yet accessible to non-experts, especially Catholic and evangelical observers, who seek to think more critically about their own commitments and traditions.
St. John's University
In this remarkable collection of essays, Kimlyn Bender unflinchingly keeps our attention fixed on the scandalous particularity of Jesus Christ - his living and active presence and authority. Upon the completion of one essay, readers will be eager to see what they will find next. Each essay is important in its own right, and taken together the book presents a compelling and coherent theological and ecclesial vision. This collection includes astute analysis of seminal theological texts and clarifying and evenhanded assessment of significant theological disagreements that have shaped the contours of modern theology and have abiding significance for theology and church today. These essays are exemplary instances of historical theology carried out with an eye towards faithful dogmatics and the church's witness in the contemporary world.
In this absorbing work, Kimlyn Bender offers a series of doctrinal studies that exemplify the art of thinking with esteemed figures from the theological traditionin order then to think after them for the purpose of the church today. The collection attends primarily to themes in ecclesiology, Scripture, and Christology in dialogue with Karl Barth and Friedrich Schleiermacher; but in truth its dogmatic remit is far broader, and its discourse embraces a wide array of challenging conversation partners. Bender writes with his characteristic precision and verve throughout, and his measured contributions are as insightful as they are thoughtful. This volume comes highly recommended.
-Paul T. Nimmo,
University of Aberdeen
In these well-crafted, incisive and penetrating essays, Kimlyn Bender provides ample demonstration of the ongoing significance of both Karl Barth and Friedrich Schleiermacher for theology and confession in the present time. An outstanding contribution to the literature of contemporary theology in service to the witness of the church.
-John R. Franke,
Yellowstone Theological Institute
"More than just a description of Karl Barth's theology, Kimlyn Bender's erudite collection of essays explores a variety of topics and interlocutors engaging Barth as a persuasive conversation partner. These essays are theologically sophisticated and written in a lively and intellectually engaging style, discussing topics in ecclesiology (Reinhard Hütter), Christology (Schleiermacher), Scripture and theology (von Harnack and Bart Erhman), natural theology (William James and Alasdair McIntyre), and atheism (Feuerbach and the 'new atheism'). Ecumenical in tone, Bender's arguments are shaped by a strong Reformation sensitivity and written in an 'ad hoc' apologetic style (or what Barth calls 'good apologetics'), demonstrating the truth of confessing Christ in the church and the world. This book is highly recommended for scholars in Barth's thought yet accessible to non-experts, especially Catholic and evangelical observers, who seek to think more critically about their own commitments and traditions."