Yesterday, I was very happy to discover that Stephen Williams’ Kantzer Lectures, given last September at TEDS, are posted for streaming or download (scroll down to the bottom of the page). The topic is the doctrine of Election, namely whether it is possible to move beyond the Calvinist-Arminian impasse. I’ve listened to the first two lectures, and they are extremely fascinating. The second lecture deals with Karl Barth. Williams gives an excellent summation of Barth’s doctrine of Election, engaging with contemporary debates (including some criticism of McCormack). In the first half of the lecture, Williams offers a highly positive appraisal of Barth’s approach, but, in the second half of the lecture, he departs from Barth with some incisive criticism of his exegesis. He then offers some cautious psycho-analytical musings on Barth’s fear of natural theology and dislike of tragedy, in contrast with Brunner’s less worried approach to natural theology but (contra Barth) fear of universalism.
Stephen Williams is Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological College, Belfast. He is the author of Revelation and Reconciliation (Cambridge U. P., 1996) and The Shadow of the Antichrist: Nietzsche’s Critique of Christianity (Baker Academic, 2006).