As theologians we are obliged to speak of God. But we are men [and women], and, as such, we cannot speak of God. We must be aware both of our obligation and our inability, and thus give glory to God. This is what oppresses us. Compared to this everything else is child’s play.
Karl Barth (The Word of God and the Task of the Ministry)
God is not only greater than our mind, he is also greater than our heart, and just as we have to avoid the temptation of adapting God to our small concept we also have to avoid adapting him to our small feelings.
Henri Nouwen (Reaching Out)
Man cannot receive an answer to a question he has not asked.
Paul Tillich (Systematic Theology)
Keep love in your heart. A life without love is like a sunless garden where flowers are dead.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘(...) When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV)
Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.
Jaroslav Pelikan (The Vindication of Tradition)
Putting it crudely, it [i.e., church history] is to stop you going mad. Those who have no history are always on the verge of insanity. When individual people lose their memory, they find it a very distressing experience; (…) When a nation forgets its history, or worse still, invents a history to take the place of the facts, the consequences are tragic.
Diarmaid MacCulloch (Groundwork of Christian History)
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Psalms 39:7 (NIV)
Christianity is final only in so far as it has the power of criticizing and transforming each of its historical manifestations; and just this power is the Protestant principle.
Paul Tillich (The Protestant Era)
הן־אמת חפצת בטחות ובסתם חכמה תודיעני
(Behold, you desire truth; in the dark and hidden things, teach me wisdom.)
Psalms 51:8 (MT)
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
In the business of theology, it is hard not to be controversial.
Jürgen Moltmann (Experience in Theology)
All of these traditions [i.e., biblical traditions, heretical traditions, mainstream denominational traditions, non-Christian Near Eastern and Greco-Roman traditions, and critical post-Christian traditions] are sexist. All provide intimations of alternatives, equivalence and mutuality between men and women, between classes and races, between humanity and nature.
Rosemary Radford Ruether (Sexism and God-talk)
When you talk about God you are talking about two ‘impossible’ options… the ‘void’ [and] the ‘open’.
David Tracy (The Impossible God)
The God who lets us live in the world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we stand continually. Before God and with God we live without God. God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way, in which he is with us and helps us. (…) Here is the decisive difference between Christianity and all religions. Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world: God is the deus ex machina. The Bible directs man to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
Reinhold Niebuhr (The Irony of American History)
Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
Reinhold Niebuhr (Children of Light and the Children of Darkness)
I don’t write a book so that it will be the final word; I write a book so that other books are possible, not necessarily written by me.
Michel Foucault (Dits et écrits II)
Now it is your task to be Christian theologians in your new, different and special situation. You truly do not need to become “Europoean, Western men,” not to mention “Barthians,” in order to be good Christians and theologians. You may feel free to be South East Asian Christians.
Karl Barth (Letter to Souteast Asian Christians)
There is no such thing as ‘theology’; there is only contextual theology.
Stephen B. Bevans (Models of Contextual Theology)
The problem is not changing people’s consciousnesses—or what’s in their heads—but the political, economic, institutional regime of the production of truth.
Michel Foucault (Power/Knowledge)
The Gospel makes men free of history. However it makes free of history within history.
Josef L. Hromádka
Maybe the target nowadays is not to discover what we are but to refuse what we are.
Michel Foucault (The Subject and Power)
Because of his measureless love, He became what we are in order to enable us to become what He is.
Irenaeus (Against Heresies, 5.preface)
In general my position has developed theologically to the right and politically to the left of modern liberal Protestantism.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
2 Corinthians 5:4 (NIV)
ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἡρῴδης ἐταράχθη καὶ πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα μετ’ αὐτοῦ
(When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him)
Matthew 2:3 (NRSV)
The God who lets us live in the world without the working hypothesis of God is the God before whom we continually stand. Before God and with God we live without God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)