The Word of Christ and the World of Culture
Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the founder and director of the Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins, and Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah University and Seminary. Dr. Metzger is also the editor of New Wine's journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture. Integrating theology and spirituality with cultural sensitivity stands at the center of Dr. Metzger's ministry vision. He and his wife, Mariko, a native of Japan, have been active in intercultural ministry in churches in the United States, Japan, and England. Dr. Metzger is the author of Beatitudes, Not Platitudes: Jesus' Invitation to the Good Life (Cascade, 2018); Evangelical Zen: A Christian's Spiritual Travels With a Buddhist Friend (2015); Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (2012); New Wine Tastings: Theological Essays of Cultural Engagement (Cascade, 2011); The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town (2010); Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (co-authored with Brad Harper; 2009); and Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church (2007). He is co-editor of A World for All?: Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (co-edited with William F. Storrar and Peter J. Casarella; 2011); and editor of Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology (2005). Dr. Metzger is a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey, and Senior Mission Scholar in Residence, Spring 2018, at the Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut. The Metzgers have two children and one grandchild. He has a keen interest in the art of Katsushika Hokusai and Georges Rouault, the writings of John Steinbeck, and the music of Johnny Cash, The Doors, and Nirvana. Dr. Metzger blogs frequently at "Uncommon God, Common Good." Dr. Metzger's present research projects include a forthcoming volume on social ethics inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s personalist philosophy and public theology, most notably Dr. King's prophetic critique of the Vietnam War.
Colin E. Gunton was Professor of Christian Doctrine, King's College, London, UK, and a Minister of the United Reformed Church.
"Metzger's study of Karl Barth's theology of culture takes its rightful place at the forefront of a growing body of literature that challenges and overturns common North American prejudices about the theology of Karl Barth. In the light of Paul Louis Metzger's study, North American theologians may come retrospectively to regard Karl Barth--and not Paul Tillich--as the preeminent theologian of culture in the twentieth century."
--Clifford Blake Anderson, Center for Barth Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary
"Noting the difficulty of placing Karl Barth in traditional accounts of 'Christ and culture,' Paul Metzger argues that Barth's incarnational christology provides the resources for a theology of culture that avoids the extremes of both divinization and secularization. This book helps us understand how Barth could say 'Nein' to general revelation on the one hand and 'Ja' to Mozart on the other. The 'word of Christ' is God's critical 'No' to the world of culture surrounded by an even greater covenantal 'Yes.' Metzger's study is a good introduction both to Barth's theology and to the theology of culture, and it convincingly shows that the gospel of Jesus Christ, far from being otherworldly, is in fact most-worldly--the best word that the world can hear."
--Kevin Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"That Karl Barth was the twentieth century's greatest theologian of culture has long been known but has never been adequately demonstrated. In this beautifully constructed book Paul Metzger shows how Barth's profoundly christological theology provides us with a basis for reflection on culture that goes further and deeper than the theologies of correlation by Barth's contemporaries. This volume will be welcomed by students of Barth and all who want to better understand the interaction of theology and culture."
--Timothy Gorringe, University of Exeter
"Karl Barth is nothing less than a 'neo-orthodox' theologian. His theology is specifically modern. It contains a normative theological theory of modern culture that is based on a differentiated 'synthesis' of the sacred and the secular. Paul Metzger's very clear book demonstrates convincingly that this central insight can lead to a general interpretation of Barth's dogmatic theology. I especially recommend this book to readers who want to know what the work of the great Swiss theologian has to offer to Christianity today."
--Georg Pfleiderer, University of Basel