The life of theology and the Church is vulnerable to all sorts of dangers. Some people, deeply impressed by danger, are fearful of taking any new step lest they fall victim to it. One is reminded of the Preacher’s description of people who are getting old: “They shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way … (Eccl. 12:5).” The time of fear is a hard time of life.

We must remember that, in theology and the Christian life, we are not permitted to be driven back by fear of danger, as wide-eyed as we ought to be to its reality. Danger is not a theological term. The man who is afraid of danger is disqualified for creative action in the tension-ridden times that Church and theology are now going through. Hemmed in by fear, we are held to a stalemate. And this is never God’s intention for our lives.

Our task and calling must take us straight through danger. If we are possessed by fear, we are unable to do the job and follow the calling. This is true in the ordinary affairs of life and particularly in our Christian endeavors. We need only think of Paul and his own apostolic task. He fulfilled it in an environment of very practical dangers—things like rivers to cross, robber bands, the desert and the sea, raving mobs. The lesson is elemental: dangers may never keep us back from our job in life.

Tempted to act, or to fail to act, in fear, one is well served if he remembers Jeremiah 12:5: “If thou hast run with the footman, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustest, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”

One consequence of exaggerated fear of danger is the absence ...

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