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Barth for Armchair Theologians Paperback – August 3, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Barth for Armchair Theologians offers an accurate, insightful, and at times whimsical introduction to the great thinker from Basel." -- Joseph L. Mangina, Wycliffe College, Toronto, author of Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness

About the Author

John R. Franke is Lester and Kay Clemens Professor of Missional Theology at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

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Product Details

  • Series: Armchair Theologians
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664227341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664227340
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John R. Franke is executive director and professor of missional theology at Yellowstone Theological Institute in Bozeman, MT; professor of religious studies and missiology at the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven, Belgium; and general coordinator for The Gospel and Our Culture Network in North America. He holds the DPhil degree from the University of Oxford and is particularly interested in engaging postmodern thought and culture from the perspective of missional Christian faith. He has spoken on the relationships between the gospel, theology, mission, and culture throughout the U.S. and around the world. He is the author of numerous articles and reviews as well as several books including Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context (Westminster John Knox) with Stanley Grenz; The Character of Theology: An Introduction to its Nature, Task, and Purpose (Baker Academic); Barth for Armchair Theologians (Westminster John Knox); and Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Abingdon). His most recent book on missional theology is forthcoming from Baker Academic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Taylor on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Reading Karl Barth's work can be a daunting task. With this work Dr. Franke has provided interested learners with a both a framework for understanding and a introduction to the thinking of a theologian widely recognized as one of the leading Christian theologians in Church history. That Franke could do so in a mere 166 pages is impressive.

The book itself is part biography, part historical (Barth's) theology. Franke demonstrates how Barth's theologizing developed under the influence of his personal and world events. From Barth's early family life and academic training to his pastoral and educational work, his maturing thought is illuminated and comprehended as an interaction with culture, life events, and especially his increasing reliance on the Word of God.

Discussion of Barth's magnum opus, Church Dogmatics (CD), does not take up the majority of this book, though it is covered in the longest chapter. Personally, I would have liked to have had two to three times the material discussing CD that Dr. Franke gives. However, what is presented is sufficient to assist the reader in entering into useful dialogue with Barth. I found the insight of making conscious use of the divisions (paragraphs and subsections) of CD most welcome.

Dr. Franke's work also described important works by other Barth scholars; his synopsis of George Hunsinger's & Bruce McCormack's works provide frames of reference and mindset that are crucial, I believe (I've read those works cited), to accurately comprehended Barth's writings.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brett A. Stroud on July 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Karl Barth is probably among the three most important theologians in Protestant history (along with John Calvin and Friedrich Schleiermacher). His insightful and monstrous Church Dogmatics is a daunting task for any reader (I'm just started on it myself), and he certainly has his own method of organizing and talking about theology.

John Franke, with an engaging and lucid style, tells the interesting story of the life of Karl Barth while explaining his theological development into liberalism and out of it. He concludes with a large chapter on the outline of the Church Dogmatics (which includes tips on how to approach the colossal work) and a chapter on the present and future prospects for engagement with Barth's unique "dialectical" theology.

I highly recommend this book to all those interested in 20th century theology and especially to those like myself interested in reading and understanding Barth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Timothy P. Monaghan on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a great over view of one of Barth's CDs before you tackle the volume yourself, but really Webster's intro book is the best
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan O'Day on January 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author did a great job showing the development of Barth's life and thought, and I feel he gave a fair shake to his teachings and views. Most people completely botch Barth's teachings and compartmentalize him into boxes he doesn't fit in. The author does a great job demonstrating this and placing Barth where he belongs. Excellent job, five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Riyawzidawn on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In reading I gained a sincere appreciation for the man. I find myself disagreeing with some of his views but, judging from (theologically) where he started, I found his journey of faith rather remarkable. During his career, German theological liberalism was nearing its zenith and, whatever quibbles I may (and certainly do) have with some of his theology, he was certainly swimming upstream. His very public chastising of his theological colleagues over their support for Hitler, and his subsequent authoring of the Barmen Declaration (a very orthodox work) were acts of significant theological and personal courage.
If this book is indicative of the series, I'll be reading more of these "for Armchair Theologians" books.
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