ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, June 19   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
30 years of internet...
Will digital natives and the "Gen Z" use new technologies with a better ethical/values reflection than the previous generation?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



 

Karl Barth on homosexuality

The Swiss giant still commands enough respect to be taken seriously both within and without the walls of the academic community (certainly here, at least, in Continental Europe).

FRESH BREEZE AUTHOR Will Graham 16 MAY 2015 23:03 h GMT+1

Love him or hate him, Karl Barth refuses to go away. To this day, his name is never far from controversy in biblical and theological circles. Just about every other day his name appears on Google News feeds. Quite a feat for someone who has been dead for the best part of fifty years! Wouldn’t you say?



The reason I revive his legacy today is strictly an ethical one. I believe a short extant (and widely forgotten) passage from his massive magnum opus Church Dogmatics (1932-67) can orient all Bible-students in this confusing climate of pro-gay marriage and pro-gay ordination around which contemporary Christendom is currently circulating. The Swiss giant still commands enough respect to be taken seriously both within and without the walls of the academic community (certainly here, at least, in Continental Europe).



So, what does Barth say about homosexuality? Let me resurrect three key Barthian observations.



01.- Homosexuality, says Barth, is a sin against God’s primal purpose in creation. 



Make no mistake about it. Barth only proceeds to speak of homosexuality after clearly establishing that God’s image on earth was the unison of male and female in Eden (Genesis 1:26). Theologically this context is important to keep in mind because it shows us that Barth is not anti-gay for the mere sake of being so; but rather Barth’s anti-homosexual stance stems from his pro-creational confession. Sometimes love must say ‘no’. Not only homosexuality, but everything, “which points in the direction of male or female seclusion […] is obviously disobedience” (i). Men and women were made to abide together in the community of creation. Who commands a man to run away from woman (or vice versa)? Certainly not the Lord of all creation! God’s plan was men and women together as one. Homosexuality, thus, is a manifest deviation from this plan.



02.- Homosexuality, says Barth, is a social “malady”. 



In Barth’s terms gayness is a, “physical, psychological and social sickness, the phenomenon of perversion, decadence and decay, which can emerge when man refuses to admit the validity of the divine command.” Its sick nature has to do with its blatant denial of the one true God as well as a negation of true humanity (the two always stand or fall together). Our Swiss thinker could hardly position himself in more explicit terms. Barth connects homosexuality with idolatry (i.e. God-denying) and the glorification of the creature over the Creator (just in much the same way Paul did back in Romans 1:26-27). In his analysis, homosexuality is “the corrupt emotional and finally physical desire in which […] man thinks that he must and can find in man, and woman in woman, a substitute for the despised partner.”



03.- Homosexuality, says Barth, is resolutely opposed to Christian ethics. 



What, then, is the Christian to do or to say in such an instance? Barth replies, “The decisive word of Christian ethics must consist in a warning against entering upon the whole way of life which can only end in the tragedy of concrete homosexuality.” And how are Christians to so warn folk? By preaching the divine command! Men (and women) must be told that they are not sovereign in themselves and that they were made for one another. A man with a man does not resemble unity in diversity, merely unity in multiplicity or unity in uniformity. A man can only be genuinely human with woman (and a woman can only be genuinely human with man). Therefore, the preacher must protest, warn and call to conversion. He must never bless any type of same-sex union. And in the proportion that a hearer “accepts this insight, homosexuality can have no place in his life, whether in its more refined or cruder forms.”



Wrapping up



All in all, I must confess that it is refreshing to find an internationally acclaimed theologian like Barth unafraid to call things by their name. But what perhaps is most laudable in his anti-homosexual manifesto is his stress on the “forgiving grace” of God. Ultimately, there is no human act or condition that cannot be overcome by the power of the Gospel. On the one hand, we must denounce homosexuality in the strictest of terms; but on the other hand, we must never forget to point the way to the forgiveness, grace and mercy available for every repentant soul. Jesus is still an almighty Saviour.



----------------------------------------

(i) All quotes taken from Barth’s Church Dogmatics III.4, pp. 165-166.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Karl Barth on homosexuality
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure

The milestone represents an important point in the nonprofit’s 40-year legacy.

 
What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

 
A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray

Thousands of visitors will have the chance to discover “the God who is alive who listens and answers prayers”.

 
John Lennox on Acts John Lennox on Acts

Professor John Lennox  examines the three supernatural events in the first three chapters of Acts: Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit's descent at Pentecost, and the healing of a lame man by the Apostles.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.