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August 02, 2004



Good thoughts! What little I've read and heard about the German theologians you mentioned seemed to give me an impression that they had been wrestling with at least some of the Gospel vs. culture issues, that's a part of this whole postmodern mix. I had been curious about Karl Barth, and what his contribution could be to the postmodern/emergent conversation, and am surprised to see his absence. And perhaps the lack of comments here is a case in point that the contemporary version of this similar conversation is not engaged historically -- though to their credit, they do try to reach a broader span of the historical church, beyond the myopic focus of the stereotypical evangelical church on a selective narrow reading of the Reformation.

jen lemen

there are plenty of barth fans in emerging church circles, especially among uk, nz and canadian emergers. of course, being a notorious name collector and dropper, i have no idea what this means, but my steel trap brain has collected the info just in case. :) (ah, input!)


And now I know why Kierkegaard has always appealed to me so greatly, and why a good friend of mine is bugging me to read more of his work :)


Len, after you've read some Kierkegaard you'll change your above post to say:

"And now I know why this friend of mine has always appealed to me so greatly, and why Kierkegaard is bugging me to read more of his work." ;-)

If anyone's interested, I wrote a post on my blog called "Postmoderns Ignore Kierkegaard at Their Own Peril." Here's the link:


excellent examination of the roots of the issue. very informative.

youve inspired me to dust off some books and re-engage some ideas i havent considered for a long while. thanks. Ü

Alan Corlew

I am in complete agreement with Ken on this matter. I presented a paper at the SW Regional meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society a few years ago where I argued for Schleiermacher as the ignored historical antecedent of postmodernism. My masters thesis was on Schleiermacher's contextualization of Christianity within Romanticism and the significance of the that in the development of thought in the 19th and 20th centuries leading up to postmodernism.

Jimmy Nerantzis

Nuts and bolts, nut and bolts please, for my benefit. I came upon your site and was interested
in what I read. However, because I have not studied past philosophers, only knowing a bit of each, its hard for me to understand really what your needs are, and how these guys in the past seem to give you life and validation. It may seem to sound like I am being cynical, I am not, but I do notice an almost complete unsatisfaction
with things Christian. I know we all should be dissatisfied with any shallow teaching of scripture, but I find there are still some great thinkers bringing depth to Christain education.
I guess I'm sticking my neck out in this forum and in this postmodern community saying this, but
I read McLaren's book ,"A New Kind Of Christian",
and it disturbed me because I felt he was knocking everything...everything, but never offered anything in its place. He even admitted that in the book. Is that what postmodern's enjoy, someone who makes invalid, and wrong all the theology that has come down, and offers only a wish for something to get developed.
So, again, will you be real clear, and basic what self proclaimed postmodern Christians need.
Thank you for considering this.

Could you also comment on this please, because I'm not sure the answer. I have read quite a bit of Francis Schaeffer, and it is clear, rather, he is clear that he puts quite a bit of blame on the persons of Kierkegaard and Karl Barth for being instrumental in bringing about what he saw
as the problem with current intellectual thought and theology. He is serious. He repeats that from book to book.
What I'm confused about is, that Schaeffer seems to be one that many postmoderns love to read. So, I read some articles where Schaeffer is adored, then I read this website where Kierkegaard and Karl Barth are adored -I just don't get it.


Mark Diebel

Terrific post... I've said something similar to my friends... so it may be that this is in the air, so to speak.

I would add another to your list, "Perhaps no Christian thinkers have responded to the structure and assumptions of Enlightenment thought better than Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky. They struggled to the death with the same issues that have been newly rediscovered by postmodern Christians: subjectivity vs objectivity, foundationalism, feelings vs systems" and that is S.T. Coleridge.



i am interested that so many ppl have come across this site and i was just wondering is the factor that ties all of u to this one particulary site a college report on postmodernism

Nic Nelson

Um, Ken, you might want to delete the previous six comments, I don't think they are legit. Delete this one too while you're cleaning up.

Hey, a real question which I might email to you as well: How does an appreciation for the ecclesiastical calendar get along with German Idealism? Is it too much of a Mechanism, or would they embrace it as a continual out-living of salvation history, making it "ourstory"?

(that's obviously my own idiom-- I'd love to know how Schliermacher et. al. characterized the church year)

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Hi, Just found this forum, I'm not sure if this is the place section to post this, I am Tom from Australia.

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