A great quick read (if there is such thing as a theology book to read quickly!) that sheds some light on some of the history behind Neo-Orthodoxy. Brunner makes a case with the Neo-Orthodox camp for a natural theology, with the appropriate hedges to prevent against natural theology being turned into pagan religion. Barth, on the other hand, adds relatively little substance to the discussion, but persists in quick hits and attacks that are not very well developed responses. If one were to say that Brunner was using a scalpel on Barth's theology, Barth is using a machine gun towards Brunner's response.
When I finished reading, I left coming away with the feeling that Barth's prowess has been vastly overestimated; he is capable of building an internally coherent system of thought centered around a central premise ("God is wholly other") but he is not as capable of dealing with a fine-tuned critique. Barth's character is somewhat revealed; and while wanting to avoid an ad hominem rejection of Barth, I am left to wonder whether Brunner, despite some mistakes, has more claim to understanding due to his more refined approach.
Disclaimer: Coming from the Wesleyan theological tradition, I have much more natural affinity for Brunner than Barth on the issue of natural theology (mainly due to the concept of prevenient grace, which has a corollary preserving grace in Brunner's argument). So my opinion of Barth's response may be shaped by that, but I alsoused to be a big fan of Barth's theology.
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