IVP - Addenda & Errata - Bad Day in Basel

September 24, 2008

Bad Day in Basel

Talking about baptism can make theologians grumpy. Here's Karl Barth, after an extensive argument against the baptism of infants:

Enough of this tiresome matter! Theology can and should do no more than advise the Church. It would be as well for the Church, of course, if it would occasionally ask seriously for the advice of theologians, and if it would then listen to it no less seriously. In this matter of infant baptism, our advice has not been sought, and there is only the faintest hope that it will be heeded. (CD IV.4, p. 194)

I've had this quote on my blogging "idea sheet" for at least eighteen months, and I recently reread CD IV.4, where it appears. I was hoping to provide some wise or witty commentary on it. But all I can come up with is, "Karl, I feel your frustration. And as an editor I've felt it repeatedly as I've sent 'my' books into the world. But sometimes I am surprised when the church does listen! And I think you underestimated the effectiveness of your arguments regarding baptism and the hearing they would receive. The church heard you, in some quarters at least."

Posted by Dan Reid at September 24, 2008 4:08 PM Bookmark and Share

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