The 2015 Karl Barth Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary was a one of a kind experience for me. I got to immerse myself in theological lectures and conversations with people who know a lot more about theology than me. I made new friends and got to meet in real life several people who I had previously only connected with online. And I had an unexpected opportunity to talk one on one with Jürgen Moltmann when I came downstairs for a cup of coffee that Sunday morning (the day of his lecture). I reminded him about my letter to him last year concerning universalism and thanked him for his reply. He said that his lecture that night would be on the same sections of Church Dogmatics that he had told me to read. “Karl Barth didn’t know whether he was a universalist or not,” Moltmann said.
And universalism was certainly in the foreground of the lecture that night, even if Moltmann’s position on the topic was only made explicit during the Q&A. He began by exploring the problems created by the traditional Calvinist doctrine of election (Introduction), followed by how Barth’s christocentric reformulation of election overcomes the damaging dualism of Double Predestination (points one and two). But his most profound contribution was his “added chapter” to Barth’s doctrine of election, bringing it into conversation with liberation and political theologies (point three).
Since the Barth Conference I’ve had a chance to rewatch the lecture and put together some fairly detailed notes, which you can find here below the embedded video and audio (I may try to improve them later if I get a chance to listen again). Verbatim quotes are denoted by quotation marks or blockquote indentation. Quotes are Moltmann except when stated otherwise. I’ll do a follow up post with some of his responses from the Q&A in the near future. Other lectures from the Barth Conference have been posted by Princeton Theological Seminary, and I’ve provided a listing with links here. Continue reading Predestination: Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election (Audio, Video & Notes from Moltmann’s #KBC2015 Lecture)