In the Forward to The Doctrine of the Word of God, (Volume I, Part I), Barth is already writing stuff so explosively cool that you just want to punch your fists in the air at the theological Rocky of the 20th Century- taking on all comers with nothing but a typewriter and whatever the equivalent of a cold-room filled with meat carcasses is.
He is fighting back against accusations of being a closeted Roman Catholic and against the critics who attack his altogether out-of-date defense of such embarrassing doctrines as the Trinity and the virgin birth! Remember, the version I am reading was published in 1934. Hitler had come to power and the persecution of the Jews had begun. Barth, writing from Germany says of his critics:
… should I rather weep over the constantly increasing barbarism, tedium, and insignificance of modern Protestantism, which has gone and lost- apparently along with the Trinity and the Virgin Birth- an entire third dimension (let us say it once for all, the dimension of mystery- not to be confused with religiously moral “seriousness”); only to be punished with every possible worthless substitute, only that it might with all the less check relapse into High Church, German Church, Christian Community, religious socialism, and similar miserable cliques and sects, only that in the end so-and-so many of its preachers and faithfull ppeople might learn finally how to discover religious insight in the intoxication of their Nordic blood and in their political Fuhrer?
I love how he charts in one paragraph the demise of theology, first into liberal modernism, then losing its voice so that it re-moulds its doctrines to correspond to the morality of the day and finally losing its soul as the morality of the day goes bankrupt and rotten.
Onwards to the real work of the Dogmatics so that we can see how this pipe-smoking, Mozart-loving old man could rebuild our confidence in Orthodoxy!
Your Correspondent, Not tempted to trust in his white-boy blood