Interview with Mark Galli
Author of Karl Barth:
An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals
An essay by Christiane Tietz, published this summer, sheds new light on Karl Barth’s relationship with his secretary, Charlotte Von Kirschbaum. Recently released letters between Barth and Von Kirschbaum reveal “that Kirschbaum and Barth loved each other; more than that, they were lovers; more than that, Barth brought her to live in his own home with his wife and five kids. Barth was not willing to give Kirschbaum up, and it almost … came to divorce between Barth and his wife Nelly; but for some reason…, Nelly stayed with Barth in this intolerable situation.” (quoted from Bobby Grow’s summary of the Tietz essay).
In light of these new details, I had the opportunity to ask Mark Galli, author of a new biography of Karl Barth, Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals (Eerdmans 2017), what they might mean for Christians, and especially those who identify as Evangelicals.
ERB: I appreciate that your new book encourages evangelicals to familiarize themselves with Karl Barth and his theological work. In light of the details above, and that evangelicals generally have strong convictions about traditional, monogamous marriage, does the case you are making become a tougher sell?