My fellow theo-blogger and colleague, Travis McMaken, succinctly puts his finger on something I've been mulling over concerning Evangelicalism:
The really strange thing about this quote is that the things Barth identifies as present-day (in terms of 1920's Germany) tendencies emanating from Schleiermacher — “church life, experiential piety, historicism, psychologism, and ethicism” — are precisely the things that seem to me to be holding the field within contemporary American evangelicalism, in many ways. It is a well-worn trope of comic books and action movies that one is always in danger of becoming what one fights against. Have evangelicals started becoming liberals, in the classic European sense of the term?
I think he is on to something — read in a vacuum, Schleiermacher sounds remarkably “Evangelical” or Evangelicals can sound remarkably Schleiermachean. That Barth was identifying the same problematic tendencies in the Church of his day highlights the strength with which these sirens of theology sing.
Travis continues with a challenging question worth considering:
If so, how advanced are the symptoms, what is the prognosis, and what can be done to combat this malady?