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A Comparison of Rahnerian to Reformed Apologetics

Christ the Center discusses the theology of the influential Roman Catholic Karl Rahner. Rahner’s theology is a composite of Kantian, Hegelian and Heideggerian philosophies. The panel discusses these philosophic influences and compares Rahner’s approach to apologetics with a Reformed approach – particularly the system taught by Cornelius Van Til. This episode will prove useful not only for the philosophically-minded apologist but also for anyone interested in seeing the influence of one’s theological system upon apologetic methodology. The discussion may also help listeners to realize that much of modern Roman Catholic theology is quite different from that which was taught during the Reformation.

This episode is brought to you in part by The Confessional Presbyterian, a journal for discussion of Presbyterian doctrine and practice.

This discussion follows the structure of Camden Bucey’s recent paper entitled A Reformed Critique of the Role of Natural Law in Rahnerian Apologetics which won the 2009 Greene Prize in Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary. Ten years ago, Jeff Waddington won the same award for his paper Worldviews Collide: The Unapologetic Apologetic of Abraham Kuyper.



Kilby, Karen. Rahner: Theology and Philosophy. London; New York: Routledge, 2004.

Livingston, James C., Francis Schussler Fiorenza, Sarah Coakley, and James H., Jr. Evans. Modern Christian Thought: The Twentieth Century. 2nd ed. Fortress Press, 2006.

Marmion, Declan., and Mary E. Hines. The Cambridge Companion to Karl Rahner. Cambridge companions to religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Rahner, Karl. Foundations of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity. New York: Seabury Press, 1978.

Hearers of the Word. [New York: Herder and Herder, 1969.]

Spirit in the World. [New York: Herder and Herder, 1968.]

Participants: , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.


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