The Austin Dogmatics brought the theology of Karl Barth to the United States in an accessible and forceful statement of the most exciting theology of the day. In addition, the yearlong course of lectures proposed a radical theology of Christian mission and ministry to the American churches that grew from the author's three years of working in the inner city. While at times hammering home a single point, the lectures often flower into a passionate homiletical style that is still captivating half a century later.
Publication of the Austin Dogmatics fills a gap in American theological history. In 1963, the author published The Secular Meaning of the Gospel, which the press identified with the death of God movement. While the author denied the association, the Austin Dogmatics explains how he moved from the strict Barthianism of his early period to the linguistic analysis of his middle period. His late and perhaps most important work that lay ahead was yet in another direction entirely, making van Buren one of the most versatile and adventuresome American theologians of the second half of the twentieth century.
The current publication includes personal reminiscences by friends and colleagues after the author's passing.