Study Note

I’ve begun what will hopefully be an in-depth study of late 19th century/early-to-mid 20th century Protestantism of the more liberal stripe – this includes (and I realize this is not a super precise grouping) Tillich, Bultmann, Schleiermacher, Barth, Bonhoeffer, etc.

I just read ‘Kerygma and Myth’, by Bultmann -some first read/initial thoughts: Bultmann puts a lot of weight on the mythical world-picture assumed by te New Testament and insists we must demythologize it. In our modern age, we can no longer believe in the miraculous world of the NT. He sees terms such as ‘ascending into heaven’ and other dogmatic statements in our modern scientific age, and it’s here that I have a few questions.

Why, however, is this the case? How is the supernaturalism of the NT invalidated by modern science? Plantinga has forcefully shown that the idea that modern science does away with any supernaturalism is pretty much hopeless – I see no reason to reject supernaturalism because of our modern age even if it means that we cannot accept, say, every aspect of ancient Hebrew cosmology. It seems to be an all-or-nothing kind of deal for Bultmann, but I see no reason why it has to be so. Simply because the picture of the world is no longer accepted is no reason to throw out the supernatural element therein. The message of the New Testament and the supernaturalism it contains is not dependent on any particular world-picture even if a certain world-picture is used to express said supernaturalism.