Theology for the twenty-first century – Going beyond Barth?

  • Christo Lombard
Keywords: Barth, Van Ruler, Pneumatology, Twenty-first century, Christology


Dirkie Smit is honoured in this contribution as a theologian who has persistently and ingeniously held together two poles in Reformed theology: Karl Barth’s emphasis on Christology: God’s salvation and free grace as incarnated in Christ, and Van Ruler’s emphasis on pneumatology: the appropriation, application and working out of God’s grace in humanity, nature and history, through the indwelling power of God’s Spirit. The article, based on cryptic notes in which Van Ruler offered “Critical comments on Barth’s theology” (1965), provides an English translation of this unique text with explanatory footnotes. It is suggested that Van Ruler’s sixteen pertinent questions to Barth, almost fifty years ago, once again deserve our careful attention and that our task remains to keep in balance the work of the Creator, the Saviour and the Spirit, which persists in working on the pneumatological question of how we as human beings are incorporated into God’s ongoing, sanctifying work in nature and history.