The Claim of God: Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Sanctification in His Earlier Theology

By Ethan A. Worthington

An analysis of Karl Barth’s early writings, showing how the doctrine of sanctification affected his understanding of the transforming role of God in human life.

ISBN: 9780227175897


Through close readings of Karl Barth’s theological work from 1916 to 1929 this book offers an exposition of Barth’s doctrine of sanctification in his earlier theology – arguing that from his earliest writings after 1915 the doctrine of sanctification was one of the key theological components used in describing the encounter between God and humanity in a positive and concrete manner. This book both fills an important gap in Barthian scholarship and responds to the appeal by other recent interpreters of Barth’s theology for a more balanced and careful exposition of his work. Throughout the course of this exposition the force of Eduard Thurnyesen’s wonderfully insightful comments about Barth show themselves to be fruitfully borne out within his work from early on. That is, “Karl Barth’s theological thinking was from the beginning directed to the life of man … the life of man, on the one side, and on the other the Word of God that meets this life, lays hold of it, and transforms it”.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Ethan Worthington is a minister and spiritual director in Upstate New York. He received his MA in Systematics and Historical Theology from Wheaton College and his PhD in Systematic Theology from King’s College, University of Aberdeen.


Foreword by John Webster

1. The Divine-Human Encounter
2. The Calvin Lectures
3. “The Theology of the Reformed Confessions”
4. The Resurrection of the Dead
5. Göttingen Dogmatics and “Rechtfertigung und Heiligung”



Endorsements and Reviews

This book presents a close, attentive, and convincing reading of Barth’s doctrine of sanctification during this period and makes a significant contribution to this neglected area of Barth studies.
David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chester

The Claim of God is helpful in providing a survey and exposition of those works of Barth that are rarely read. … [It] is a work that could be useful if one were to have very specific concerns in the area of Barth’s view of sanctification, especially as it relates to his penchant for interacting with Calvin.
Joshua Kira, in Theologische Literaturzeitung, Vol 142, Issue 12