Since I seem to be drawn to some of our great Christian authors this week, I thought I’d share a story that a friend related to me recently about Karl Barth. I guarantee that almost none of you know who that is. That is tragic because just a few decades ago he was one of the world’s greatest theologians, featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1962.
Barth was famous because he lived at a time when the best scholars in the world were attacking the church and denying the truths about God and the Bible. They were winning the minds of the world, turning hearts away from God and His church, when Barth broke away from that theology and fought back. He saw the emptiness in liberalism and wrote volumes and volumes of books that influenced the church all around the world.
The importance of his writings are hard to imagine, today but he was regarded by some as the greatest theologian of his time. His intellect matched any of his adversaries and he defeated their arguments time and again.
This amazing intellectual was lecturing in America when a student asked him a question. Unable to take in so much of the great teachings he was hearing, he asked Dr. Barth: “Is there any way you could summarize your lifelong theology?”
The great scholar stopped, looked at the young man and said,
“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
That story is over half a century old but it still tells us that we can make God so complicated that we forget the most basic elements about Him.
The entrance to heaven is not a theology exam. It is a broken and contrite heart.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”