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KARL BARTH was a German theologian who dominated the theology of the 20th century. In 1962, six years before his death, he made his only visit to the United States. One night he lectured at a seminary in Virginia, and after the lecture he met with students in the coffee shop for some informal dialogue. Someone asked him if there was any way he could summarize his vast theological findings. A student asked, "What in your judgment is the essence of the Christian faith?" Barth paused for a moment. No doubt the others waited for some profound insights from this theological giant. They got their pens and paper out and were poised. Then Barth answered, "Yes, I can summarize in a few words my understanding of the Christian faith. Let me put it this way: "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, for the Bible Tells Me So."

Needless to say, these students were dumbfounded. They expected some deep theological statement and instead heard that which Barth learned at his mother’s knees.

I believe Barth was right. At the heart of the Christian gospel is this simple affirmation: JESUS LOVES ME!

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