The Burden of Soren Kierkegaard
180 Pages

The Burden of Soren Kierkegaard


180 Pages


Although the wide influence of Soren Kirkegaard's writings upon modern Christian thought is now generally recognized, the insights of the Danish knight of faith have often been misread and misinterpreted by those who seek to canonize their own theologies by appealing to Kierkegaard. The fact that modern Christian thought owes much to Kierkegaard does not mean that modern Christian thought speaks fo Kierkegaard at all points.
In this short study, Carnell has allowed Kierkegaard to speak for himself, thus providing a valuable glimpse into the thought of the great Danish philosopher-theologian. Restricting the number of critical comments (including a short closing chapter entitled Yes and No), Carnell has written a short survey of Kierkegaard's thought with generous documentation from his writings. The two major theses which the author discusses are existential living and Truth is subjectivity.
He elucidates the latter thesis by explaining the four affirmative elements in Kierkegaard's idea of subjective truth: faith, suffering, hope, and love. Carnell concludes by stating that because Kierkegaard strove to enrich the body of Christ by developing a fresh interpretation of spiritual truth, his books should be read, and read again. This volume will do more than encourage readers to do that; it will help them when they do.



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Published 01 November 2007
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EAN13 9781725218147
Language English
Document size 13 MB

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An Introduction to CHristian Apologetics,* 1948 Television: Servant or Master, 1950 he heology of ReinHold NiebuHr, 1951 A PHilosopHy of tHe CHristian Religion, 1952 A CHristian Commitment,* 1957 he Case for OrtHodox heology,* 1959 he Kingdom of Love and tHe Pride of Life, 1960 he Burden of Søren Kierkegaard, 1965
he Case for Biblical CHristianity,* 1969
*hese reprint editiOns alsO include Edward Carnell’s Presidential Inaugural Address, “he GlOry Of a heOlOgical Seminary,” presented at Fuller Seminary in 1955. his appears at te end Of tese bOOks.
Wipf and Stock Publishers 199 W 8th Ave, Suite 3 Eugene, OR 97401 The Burden of Soren Kierkegaard By Carnell, Edward J. Copyright©1965 Becker, Jean Carnell and Carnell, John ISBN 13: 978-1-55635-147-1 ISBN 10: 1-55635-147-X Publication date 12/15/2006 Previously published by Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1965
Edward J. Carnell (1919–1967) is One Of te mOst fascinatingfigures in twentiet-century American evangelicalism. By age fOrty e ad prOduced a cOrpus Of majOr writings mOre impressive tan many scOlars prOduce in a far lOnger lifetime. NOr was e, like sOme, writ-ing essentially te same bOOk in differing fOrms. His writing was marked bOt by creativity and by remarkable develOpment during is relatively sOrt prOductive career. He was alsO, by all accOunts, te mOst pOpular teacer at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary, were e taugt frOm 1948 until 1967 and served as president frOm 1954 tO 1959. FOr a few years, at te peak Of is brief career, e was re-garded as te leading intellectual representative Of evangelicalism in te larger American teOlOgical cOmmunity. AltOug is writings are tOday nOt as well-knOwn as tey were in te past—a regrettable situatiOn tat we can Ope tis vOlume will begin tO remedy—e played a majOr rOle in setting te tOne fOr muc Of future evan-gelicalism, especially te kind Of apprOac represented tese days at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary. he sOn Of a Baptist pastOr, Carnell received is BA frOm WeatOn COllege, were e was influenced by te pilOsOper GOrdOn H. Clark (1902–1986). Graduating frOm WeatOn in 1941, Carnell went On tO Westminster heOlOgical Seminary were e studied wit apOlOgist COrnelius Van Til (1895–1987). In 1944, te same year tat Carnell cOmpleted is BD at Westminster, Clark and Van Til became engaged in a sarp cOntrOversy cOncerning Clark’s mOre ratiOnalistic apOlOgetic and Van Til’s presuppOsitiOnal apprOac. Carnell, wO sided wit Clark, was searcing fOr is Own resOlutiOn Of tese differences. He alsO sOugt tO engage te PrOtestant intellectual mainstream Of te day, gOing On tO Harvard Divinity ScOOl fOr a hD, were e wrOte On ReinOld Niebur. Wile in te BOstOn area e enrOlled in a secOnd dOctOral prOgram in 1
2 FoREWoRD pilOsOpy at BOstOn University. He wrOte is dOctOral dissertatiOn tere On Søren Kierkegaard and received is PD in 1949. Eventually e turned tese wOrks intO bOOks On tese prOminent figures. MOre remarkably, wile e was engaged in tese twO dOctOral prOgrams, e prOduced is first majOr bOOk,An Introduction to CHristian Apologetics, publised in 1948. his vOlume, wic ad-dressed issues tat Carnell ad been wrestling wit in is studies wit Clark and Van Til, received te “Evangelical BOOk Award” Of $5,000 (a cOmfOrtable year’s salary) frOm William B. Eerdmans Publising COmpany. Wen in 1948 Carnell tOOk a pOsitiOn at Fuller heOlOgical Seminary in Pasadena, CalifOrnia, e was already establised as a prOdigy Of te “new evangelical” mOvement tat was emerging Out Of fundamentalism. Fuller Seminary ad been fOunded just te previ-Ous year tO be te intellectual flagsip Of tis mOvement. HarOld J. ockenga (1905–1985), pastOr Of Park Street Curc in BOstOn, was te leader Of tis mOvement and served as Fuller Seminary’s presi-dentin absentia. Fundamentalist radiO evangelist Carles E. Fuller (1887–1968) prOvided sOlid funding. he seminary was tO be made up Of teOlOgical “stars” Of te mOvement and Carnell jOined Carl F. H. Henry (1913–2003) as One Of te brigtest yOunger ligts. Having accOmplised sO muc befOre te age Of tirty, Carnell ad te igest ambitiOns fOr te mOvement Of wic e was a part and fOr is rOle in it. In is effOrts tO revOlutiOnize evangelical apOlO-getics, e frankly aspired tO be te evangelical equivalent Of Paul Tillic Or ReinOld Niebur, te best-knOwn PrOtestant teOlOgians Of te era; e lOOked tO ave, as tese teOlOgians did, a majOr na-tiOnal audience. His Opes tO be a pOpular cOmmentatOr sOOn met wit disillusiOn wen is small bOOk,Television: Servant or Master?(1950), despite its balanced apprOac, prOved tO be a cOmmercial failure. NOneteless, is determinatiOn tO cange te face Of te teOlOgical wOrld remained intact. In 1952 e publised a secOnd majOr wOrk On apOlOgetics,A PHilosopHy of tHe CHristian Religion.In tis e departed frOm is ear-lier empasis On te law Of nOn-cOntradictiOn and “systematic cOn-
FoREWoRD 3 sistency” and empasized mOre tat Cristianity bestsatisfied te eart’s desire fOr meaningful values. Five years later, in 1957, e pub-lised a tird apOlOgetic wOrk,CHristian Commitment: An Apologetic, tis time wit a majOr cOmmercial publiser, Macmillan in New YOrk. Addressing Cristianity’s “cultured despisers,” tis igly Original vOlume empasized te existential appeal Of Cristianity. Particularly Carnell empasized te cOmmOnalities between te ex-periences Of believers and nOn-believers and Ow Cristianity best accOunts fOr universal mOral sentiments, suc as mOral Outrage Or a sense Of injustice. he bOOk, altOug creative, did nOt ave te impact tat Carnell Oped. Part Of te prOblem was tat Carnell, despite is immense intelligence, was less and less wOrking witin a traditiOn. Béla Vassady, a distinguised RefOrmed teOlOgian frOm Hungary wO was briefly a cOlleague Of Carnell, later cOmmented tat e was amazed at te degree Carnell believed e cOuld recOn-struct Cristian tOugt On is Own. heOlOgian JOn G. StackOuse Jr. as suggested tat Carnell was a sOrt Of “intellectual hOreau,” depending On insigts intO is Own experience and ten general-izing tO all umanity. hese perceived traits may elp tO explain wy Carnell did nOt gain a larger public cOnstituency. In te meantime Carnell ad been elevated tO te presidency Of Fuller heOlOgical Seminary were e encOuntered sOme Oter prOblems. In May 1955 e delivered is inaugural address, “he GlOry Of a heOlOgical Seminary.” In it e empasized te need fOr mutual tOlerance and fOr empasizing Cristian lOve Over fine pOints Of teOlOgical difference. Fuller Seminary in 1955 was tOO clOse tO its partly fundamentalist Origins fOr tese sentiments tO pass uncallenged. COnservatives On te faculty suggested tat Carnell’s sentiments smacked Of teOlOgical cOmprOmise and blOcked te publicatiOn Of is address. (only after Carnell’s deat did is fOr-mer student, President David Hubbard Of Fuller Seminary, ave it publised.) he cOntrOversy Over Carnell’s inaugural address at Fuller was part Of te backgrOund fOr te mOst cOntrOversial part Of is muc-discussed bOOk,he Case for OrtHodox heology(1959). By te later
4 FoREWoRD 1950s, even tOug Carnell ad nOt ad te natiOnal impact fOr wic e ad Oped, e did ave te satisfactiOn tat mainline PrOtestant leaders were recOgnizing im as One Of te mOst tOugt-ful evangelical spOkesmen. He was OnOred tO play tis rOle wen e was cOsen by Westminster Press tO write a bOOk On evangelicalism tO cOmplement bOOks On PrOtestant liberalism and neO-OrtOdOxy in a tree-part series. Wile Carnell defended brOadly RefOrmed Or-tOdOxy, te mOst nOtable part Of is bOOk was is pOlemic against fundamentalism. NOt Only did e attack dispensatiOnalist teOlOgy and fundamentalist anti-intellectualism, but e alsO singled Out cOn-servative PrOtestantism’s mOst renOwned scOlar, J. Gresam Macen (1881–1937), fOr sOme Of is strOngest criticism. Carnell caracter-ized Macen, te fOunder Of WestminsterheOlOgical Seminary and te ortOdOx Presbyterian Curc, as prOmOting a “cultic mentality” wic Carnell saw as One Of te wOrst features Of fundamentalism. Even tOug Carnell ad resigned frOm te Fuller presidency at just abOut te same time tathe Case for OrtHodoxyappeared, te bOOk brOugt widespread criticism frOm cOnservatives and fundamental-ists tO Fuller heOlOgical Seminary and tO its spOnsOr, Carles E. Fuller. Carnell resigned te presidency largely because Of deteriOrat-ing mental ealt. His cOnditiOn was dOubtless exacerbated by te immense pressures Of te presidency wile alsO cOntinuing wit is scOlarsip. In te subsequent years e suffered frOm bOuts Of severe depressiOn and during te wOrst periOd in 1961–62 e was Ospitalized fOr five weeks and ten cOntinued an extensive series Of sOck treatments Or electrOcOnvulsive terapy. NOneteless, e cOntinued is teacing and sOme writing, altOug as a teacer e was Only a sadOw Of imself. He alsO maintained is rOle as an evangelical spOkespersOn On te natiOnal scene, cOntinuing tO write fOr teCHristian Centuryand Oter jOurnals articles tat wOuld be cOllected pOstumOusly inhe Case for Biblical CHristianity, edited by ROnald H. Nas. MOst nOtably e accepted, despite is illness, te great OnOr Of being One Of te “yOung teOlOgians” cOsen tO