Key Washington pulpits saw abandonment of traditional year-end sermons in deference to delegates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which held its 125th annual meeting in Washington, December 26–31.

Nation’S Capital

At Washington Cathedral—“In thinking be mature,” Dr. Paul Tillich counselled 500 scientists. “Such an admonition one would hardly expect in the context of apostolic writing. But here it is [1 Cor. 14:20], appearing in the same letter of Paul in which he contrasts sharply the wisdom of the world with that foolishness of God which is wiser than the wisdom of men.”

Tillich, eminent Harvard University theologian, centered his guest sermon on the topic of mature thinking and what he continually referred to in approving terms as “divine foolishness.”

His definition of a “mature man”: “One who has reached his natural power of life and thought and is able to use it freely. He who is mature in thinking has not reached the end of his thinking, but he has reached the state in which the human power of thought is at his disposal.”

Having thus intimated that maturity is divorced from moral connotation or dimension, Tillich continued:

“[Christians] often bury their power of thought because they believe that radical thought conflicts with the divine foolishness which underlies all wisdom. But this is not so, certainly not for biblical thinking. Radical thought conflicts with human foolishness, with spiritual infancy, with ignorance, superstition and intellectual dishonesty.”

“The decisive step to maturity,” he said, “is the risk to break away from spiritual infancy with its protective traditions and guiding authorities. Without a ‘no’ to authority, there is no maturity. This ‘no’ need not be rebellious, arrogant, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.