February 22, 2016
What if Karl Barth really wasn't a Supralapsarian?
The most recently published book to land with a (happy) thud on my desk has been Shao Kei Tseng’s provocative Karl Barth’s Infralapsarian Theology: Origins and Development, 1920-1953 I couldn’t be more excited.
Now before all you non-Barthians go to sleep and you Barth-partisans (Barthisans?) rush out and purchase the book, hear me out. (Does anyone ever “rush out” and buy our books anymore? Don’t they always just pull it up on their phone? Perhaps if they happen to live across the street from well-stocked theological bookstore like this one, this one or this one, but otherwise, definitely an archaic metaphor.)
Tseng’s book is the result of a long journey with Barth. While he was getting his first master’s degree at Regent College in Vancouver, BC under the legendary J.I. Packer he once asked in class about a particular reading of Barth and supralapsarianism (supralapsarianism being the idea that God’s decrees of election and reprobation preceed the decree of the fall). Packer was surprised at Tseng’s quotation and told him that if what he said was true, than Barth was likely actually an infralapsarian.
This is of course good news to anyone (like Tseng, and maybe you) who is interested in both Barth and orthodox reformed theology. For Tseng, this offhand comment by Packer opened up an new world of scholarship where he was determined to trace whether this really was Barth’s position. And it led to the wonderful book that you can buy from us at the link below.
It is also of course the second book in our New Explorations in Theology series after Samuel V. Adams’s excellent (and bestselling at AAR/ABL) The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N. T. Wright . And NET fans should also watch our catalog and tables at upcoming conferences for a third series volume that arrives this October.