At one point I prefaced a line of questioning with these words: â€œAs someone who believes that Barth is not a Christianâ€¦.â€ Van Til quickly and decisively cut me off. â€œNo, no!,â€ he exclaimed. â€œI have never said that Barth is not a Christian! What I have said is that an unsaved person could not come to understand the gospel properly from Barthâ€™s theology. But that he himself is not a true Christianâ€”this is something I have never said, and I never would say.â€
Van Tilâ€™s remark left a lasting impression on me. He was firm in his verdict that Barth was far removed from historic Christian teaching, yet he was still unwilling to offer a similarly critical assessment of the state of Barthâ€™s soul. Ever since, I have tried to exercise a similar caution. It is one thing to evaluate a personâ€™s theology. It is another thing to decide whether that person has a genuine faith in Christ.
From Dr. Richard Mouw