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.” Continue reading

An Old Preacher’s Prayer: I don’t know how to relate all you do, O God!

For the anonymous Psalm 71, The New Century Version has a funny title: “An Old Person’s Prayer.”

I have a snippet from Psalm 71 posted on my door along with cartoons and other potent sayings.

New Century Version translated Psalm 71:15 like this:

I will tell how you do what is right.
I will tell about your salvation all day long,
even though it is more than I can tell.

NIV reads like this:

My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.

My point of posting this is not about the title. What caught in my throat is the old person’s tenacity to keep opening the mouth God gave and proclaiming the mighty acts of Yahweh, even though as the psalmist says, these might acts are “more than I can tell.”

I can relate about not being able relate everything that’s in my heart for God. The task of preaching is a daunting daily honor to relate the un-relatable God’s incredible deeds. Like spokespersons of old, I too am slow of speech, get my words twisted up, struggle to know how in the world I can share what’s in my heart for God.

Yet, to paraphrase the psalmist in verse 18, “till I’m old and gray, I won’t give up opening my mouth and trying to relate the un-relatable.”

Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.