When Karl Barth visited America for the first and only time in 1962, he was asked how he would summarise the millions of words he had published. He thought for a moment, and replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
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In 1931 he began the first book of his massive Church Dogmatics. It grew year by year out of his class lectures; though incomplete, it eventually filled four volumes in 12 parts, printed with 500 to 700 pages each. Many pastors in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, desperate for an antidote to liberalism, eagerly awaited the publication of each book.
Though Barth made it possible for theologians again to take the Bible seriously, American evangelicals have been skeptical of Barth because he refused to consider the written Word “infallible” (he believed only Jesus was). Nonetheless, he remains the most important theologian of the twentieth century.