Karl Barth’s “modern” and “unbiblical” universalism according to Willie Jonker: Valid critique? Or the way forward in a pluralistic society?
Keywords:Barth, Election, Jonker, pluralism, Universalism
AbstractThis paper asks the question whether Willie Jonker’s critique of Karl Barth’s universalism, which is claimed to be found throughout Barth’s theology, is valid. It is argued that Jonker is to a large extent quite correct in his judgment that Barth’s universalism is in part due to his modern paradigm, and is not always Biblically founded. However, it is also argued that Barth’s universalism is not identical to a modern tolerance, and is not completely unbiblical. It is rather a particular universalism that tries to keep both the universal and the particular aspects of God’s revelation in tension. In a pluralistic country and world, this particular universalism of Barth opens an opportunity to think in a theologically responsible way about unity within diversity.
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