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To reckon with Barth is to encounter one whose theology later inspired liberation theologians in Latin America and antiapartheid theologians in South Africa -- a theologian who felt that what you pray for, you must also work for.
Mozart teaches us the sovereignty of the true servant. In his music, “the sun shines, but without burning or weighing upon the earth,” and “the earth also stays in its place, remains itself, without feeling that it must therefore rise in titanic revolt against the heavens.”
There is a vast company of folk in stations high and low who find Barth’s paradoxes singularly satisfying and alive. Barth, like Schleiermacher, and unlike many of the book-theologians of the last decades, has enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a pastoral contact with real people.
In the past ten years I have been occupied approximately equally with the deepening and the application of that knowledge which, in its main channels, I had gained before. I have had to rid myself of the last remnants of a philosophical. i.e. anthropological (in America one says “humanistic” or “naturalistic”) foundation and exposition of Christian doctrine. My theological thinking centers and has centered in its emphasis upon the majesty of God, the eschatological character of the whole Christian message, and the preaching of the gospel in its purity as the sole task of the Christian church.
When most theologians were trying to adjust themselves to modernism, Karl Barth perceived that modernism was bankrupt. We should make use of "mythical" language, said Barth. Otherwise it would be impossible to bear witness to Christ.
Though Barth failed to see how completely God’s free love entailed human freedom, he did powerfully realize that human liberation is possible only if the God who creates and sustains this universe has the all-sufficient freedom and love to sustain that liberation. His greatness lies in his radical insistence that the God who humbled himself is the self-same almighty sovereign who created heaven and earth.