Engaging Karl Barth's Theology with Nurcholis Madjid and Ibn Taymiyya

A Discourse on Universal Salvation and Divine Mercy





Karl Barth , Nurcholis Madjid, Ibn Taymiyya, universalism, salvation, Islam, interfaith


This study presents a pioneering dialogue between Karl Barth’s Christian theology and Islamic theological perspectives in the Indonesian context, focusing specifically on the concept of universal salvation. The primary interlocutors are Nurcholish Madjid, interpreting Ibn Taymiyya, and Karl Barth’s theology. Barth’s universalism envisions an inclusive future for humanity, elaborated in Barth’s exposition of the theme “Jesus is Victor,” suggesting a universal reprieve from divine eschatological judgment. Correspondingly, Madjid’s interpretation of Islamic theology proposes a universally hopeful future, recognizing the broad spectrum of divine revelation across various religious traditions, thereby fostering a sense of shared hope among diverse religious followers. Ibn Taymiyya, often misconceived as a figurehead for radical elements, is depicted in this essay as advocating a form of universalism where divine mercy ultimately triumphs over retribution. This article contends that this mutual anticipation of universal salvation can pave the way for meaningful Christian-Islamic interactions in the Indonesian milieu, contributing significantly to interfaith dialogue and understanding.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Denni Boy Saragih, Universitas Kristen Krida Wacana

Denni Boy Saragih received a Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Edinburgh, UK, under the supervision of Prof. David Fergusson and Prof. Paul Nimmo. He is a lecturer in Religion and Social Ethics at Krida Wacana Christian University. His fields of interest include systematic theology (especially Karl Barth’s Theology), religion in Indonesia, theological ethics, Chinese-Christian interactions in Indonesia, and Islam-Christian theological engagement.


Abrahamov, B. “The Creation and Duration of Paradise and Hell in Islamic Theology.” Der Islam, Vol. 79 (2002): 87-102.

Azra, Azyumardi. “Distinguishing Indonesian Islam: Some Lessons to Learn.” In Islam in Indonesia: Contrasting Images and Interpretations. Eds., Jajat Burhanuddin and C. van Dijk, 63-74. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013.

Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics, 13 vols, eds., G.W. Bromiley, T.F. Torrance. London: T & T Clark, 2009.

_______. Ad Limina Apostolorum: An Appraisal of Vatican-II. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2016.

Berkouwer, G. C. The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth. London: Paternoster Press, 1956.

Bettis, Joseph Dabney. “Is Karl Barth a Universalist?” Scottish Journal of Theology, Vol. 20, No. 4 (1967): 423-436.

Chestnutt, Glenn A. “Karl Barth and Islam.” Modern Theology, Vol. 28, No. 2 (2012): 278-302.

Cook, A. B. S. “Soteriological Semiotics within the Qur’an.” Darulfunun Ilahiyat, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2020): 419-433.

Cooper, Barry. New Political Religions, or, an Analysis of Modern Terrorism. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2004.

Crisp, Oliver D. “I Do Teach It, but I Also Do Not Teach It: The Universalism of Karl Barth (1886–1968).” In “All Shall Be Well”: Explorations in Universal Salvation and Christian Theology, from Origen to Moltmann. Ed., Gregory MacDonald, 305-324. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co, 2014.

Dempsey, Michael T. Trinity and Election in Contemporary Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011.

Fergusson, David. “Will the Love of God Finally Triumph?” In Nothing Greater, Nothing Better: Theological Essays on the Love of God. Ed., Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2001.

Greggs, Tom. Barth, Origen, and Universal Salvation: Restoring Particularity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

_______. “Jesus Is Victor: Passing the Impasse of Barth on Universalism.” Scottish Journal of Theology, Vol. 60, No. 2 (2007): 196-212.

_______. “Pessimistic Universalism: Rethinking the Wider Hope with Bonhoeffer and Barth.” Modern Theology, Vol. 26, No. 4 (2010): 495-510.

Hermansen, Marcia. “Eschatology.” In The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. Ed., Tim Winter, 308-324. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Hoover, Jon. “Against Islamic Universalism.” In Islamic Theology, Philosophy and Law: Debating Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya. Eds., Birgit Krawietz and Georges Tamer. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013.

_______. Ibn Taymiyya’s Theodicy of Perpetual Optimism. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

_______. “Islamic Universalism: Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya’s Salafi Deliberations on the Duration of Hell-Fire.” The Muslim World, Vol. 99, No. 1 (2009): 181-201.

Hunsinger, George. Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2004.

Imawan, Sukidi. Teologi Inklusif Cak Nur. Jakarta: Penerbit Buku Kompas, 2001.

Irwan, Mohammad Noer. Qur’anic Soteriology, Doktrin Teologis Tentang Keselamatan dan Nasib Pemeluk Agama Lain dalam Perspektif AlQur’an. Semarang: RaSAIL Media Group, 2019.

Jüngel, Eberhard. God’s Being Is in Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth: A Paraphrase. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2001.

Kersten, Carool. Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam. London: Hurst, 2011.

_______. Islam in Indonesia: The Contest for Society, Ideas and Values. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

_______. “Khilafa as the Viceregency of Humankind: Religion and State in the Thought of Nurcholis Madjid.” In Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts. Eds., Madawi Al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, and Marat Shterin, 165-184. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Khalil, Mohammad Hassan, ed. Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

_______. “Salvation and the ‘Other’ in Islamic Thought: The Contemporary Pluralism Debate.” Religion Compass, Vol. 5 (2011): 511-519.

_______. Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

_______. Islam Dan Keselamatan Pemeluk Agama Lain. Bandung: Mizan, 2016.

Kull, Ann. Piety and Politics: Nurcholish Madjid and His Interpretation of Islam in Modern Indonesia. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2008.

Majid, Nurcholish. Islam: Doktrin Dan Peradaban. Jakarta: Yayasan Wakaf Paramadina, 1992.

_______. Ibn Taymiyya on Kalam and Falsafa: A Problem of Reason and Revelation in Islam. PhD Diss. The University of Chicago, 1984.

McCormack, Bruce. “Grace and Being: The Role of God’s Gracious Election in Karl Barth’s Theological Ontology.” In The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth. Ed., John B. Webster, 127-142. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Saragih, D. B. “Disruptive Presence: The Ontology, Theology and Ethics of Reading the Bible as Scripture in Karl Barth’s Theological Exegesis.” PhD Diss. The University of Edinburgh, 2016.

_______. “Reading Karl Barth in Indonesia: Retrospect and Prospect.” Exchange, Vol. 47, No. 2 (2018): 109-127.

Sirry, Mun’im A. Scriptural Polemics the Qur’an and Other Religions. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Smith, Jane Idleman, and Yvonne Haddad. The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Ibnu Taimiyah, Karimi Izzudin, al-Jazzar Amir, and al-Baz Anwar. Fatwa-Fatwa Ibnu Taimiyah. Jakarta: Puataka Sahifa, 2008.

Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Radd ‘ala man qala bi-fana’ al-janna wa al-nar. Trans. Hassan Radwan. London: 2020.

Ulfa, Maria. “Mencermati Inklusivisme Agama Nurcholish Madjid.” Kalimah, Vol. 11, No. 2 (2013): 238-250.



How to Cite

Saragih, D. B. (2024). Engaging Karl Barth’s Theology with Nurcholis Madjid and Ibn Taymiyya: A Discourse on Universal Salvation and Divine Mercy. Indonesian Journal of Theology, 12(1), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.46567/ijt.v12i1.477