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By Paul; Edited by Braaten, Carl E. Tillich

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Everyone who dwells within a system feels after some time that it becomes a prison. If you produce a systematic theology, as I have done, you try to go beyond it in order not to be imprisoned in it. Nevertheless, the system is necessary because it is the form of consistency. I have found that students who express the greatest misgivings about the systematic character of my theology are the very ones who are most impatient when discovering two of my statements that contradict each other. They are unhappy to find one point in which the hidden system has a gap.

In this light we can understand why Tillich's thinking was thoroughly sacramental; the decisionism of existentialist theology, on the other hand, leaves no room for the sacramental aspects of religion. The main body of this volume deals with the great prophetic voices of the nineteenth century. Many of these were on the fringes of the Christian tradition, some even among its most bitter opponents. Tillich's selective treatment of this period focuses on the critical thrust from the philosophical side.

In this way the mystery of the performances was protected against profanation. Later in the Christian congregations a similar thing took place in order to protect against betrayal to the pagan persecutors. F. T H E M E T H O D OF T H E N E W TESTAMENT All of the elements we have discussed were a preparation for the rise of Christianity. The decisive preparation, however, was the event which is documented in the New Testament. Here we cannot present a New Testament theology, but we can show, by means of a few examples, how the New Testament received from the surrounding religions categories of interpretation and transformed them in the light of the reality of Jesus as the Christ.

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