Book Review: The Faith of the Church
Author: Karl Barth
Publisher: Wipf & Stock
Reading Level: Moderate
The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth lectured frequently on Reformation theology and the Apostles' Creed. Many of these lectures are available in print (e.g. Credo and Dogmatics in Outline) and are great introductions to the theology of Barth. In a pairing of these two topics, The Faith of the Church contains lectures from Barth on the Apostles' Creed using the 1534 Geneva Catechism of John Calvin.
These lectures, given between October 1940 and January 1943, peer into the developing theological relationship of Barth with Calvin (in the midst of his writing Volume II of his Church Dogmatics). With the central dogmas of the Christian faith as his source material, Barth addresses many subjects invaluable to Christian today. And with the added layer of Calvin's Geneva Catechism, Barth is able to launch with great expediency into the practical worth of the creed in Calvin's thought.
Using the catechism as a gateway, Barth is able to reveal many great features of Calvin's theology that often get buried in his systematic theologies. The Faith of the Church works as a historical reflection on the simplified theology of Calvin. Barth is able to demonstrate points of agreements, progression, and disagreement between the giants of reformed theology. With the number of theological topics limited by the creed, Barth and Calvin provide an excellent set of material for studying Christian theology including creation, predestination, the incarnation, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, and final judgment.
In conclusion, Karl Barth's The Faith of the Church: A Commentary on the Apostles' Creed According to Calvin's Catechism is a must own. The intellect engagement of Calvin and Barth is titillating, the dogmatic value studying the Apostles' Creed is profound, and the value to historical theology is unmatched. Christians of all traditions and interests will benefit from reading these two giants.
Editor's Note: A series of blog posts interact with The Faith of the Church
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.