Buswell and Schaeffer meet Barth

[From “Geneva for the Faith; Karl Barth Questions the Truth” by J. Oliver Buswell in The Bible Today Vol. 44, No. 1, Oct. 1950.]
Dr. [Douglas G.] Young knew that I had hoped to see Karl Barth, but had thought it impossible. By considerable effort he secured an appointment with Barth for five of us for the Saturday morning which was free for sight-seeing. We have been warning against Barthian theology for year. I, for one, had just published an extended review of Barth’s latest book in English (See The Bible Today, June-September 1950, pp. 261ff). I try to be especially careful and accurate in reviewing books with which I disagree. One may say, “We can read;” yet there is always a possibility of misunderstanding, a slip, in some aspect of the author’s thought. Therefore I welcomed the opportunity for a direct personal conference.
Nothing could have been more cordial than Barth’s attitude during the two hour chat. We toiled up the steep road to the Pestalozzi cottage overlooking Lake Zurich where Barth spends the summer. He was waiting for us nearly a half mile down the road.
“I have read in the paper of the I.C.C.C.” he said, “But what kind of Christian churches?”
“We are called fundamentalists,” I said.
“Fundamentalists!” he exclaimed in somewhat broken English (far better than my poor German), “Fundamentalists, you would like to eat me!”
“No,” said Francis Schaeffer, “That would defeat our purpose; we wish to talk with you.” And we all had a good laugh.

1 thought on “Buswell and Schaeffer meet Barth”

  1. “Barth likely had Van Til in mind when he wrote that while he could discuss his view with some fundamentalists, there were ‘butchers and cannibals’ [who] are beyond the page.” – Muether, Van Til, 136.
    And all of this comes to a humorous conclusion when Van Til wrote to Barth, Dec. 21, 1965, signing his letter “Cordially yours, C. Van Til, Ein Menschenfresser [A cannibal]”

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