A Little Exercise for Young Theologians

by Helmut Thielicke

Helmut Thielicke.

Thielicke says some have “theologian’s disease” and use truth not to build their congregations by instruction but to tear them down.  Destroying a church in this way is the “starkest possible contrast with love,” Thielicke writes.  (31)

Thielicke says the greatest danger of knowledge about God is that you may lose sight of the Almighty in the process.

Says the first germ that causes theologians to catch this disease that infects congregations is when a minister no longer treats Holy Scripture as a means to come near to God but only as an end in itself of “exegetical endeavors.”

He warns against being disciples of men and not Jesus Christ. Gospel texts are a testimony of faith, not mere ”records of biographical and historical interest.” (23)

He says students of the Bible often study it like a mineralogist studies rocks, without ever truly stepping back and looking at the mountain from which the minerals come. When I was in seminary, I wrote in a journal, “Most of my life, I have studied the Bible like the mineralogist: by analyzing minerals, and I have rarely stepped back and stood in awe of the mountain.  I pray my hit and miss  approach at nearing to God changes.”

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