I Believe: The Christian’s Creed, by Helmut Thielicke (Fortress, 1968, 256 pp., $2.50), is reviewed by Wayne E. Ward, professor of theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

The reading public has come to expect something very special in a book by the great German preacher-theologian, Professor Helmut Thielicke of Hamburg. From the evangelical appeal of the “waiting Father” in the parable of the prodigal son to the profound interpretation of the doctrine of creation, this man’s writings combine popular expression with technical excellence.

At last we have his exciting interpretation of that epitome of historic Christian doctrine, the Apostles’ Creed. In a series of doctrinal sermons, delivered with all the illustrative power and vital interaction of the preaching situation, he unfolds the meaning of these central affirmations of the Christian faith. He does so with a keen sense of the questioning, even negative, response of many in his modern congregation. In fact, he joins the doubters at many points and shows the necessity of passionate doubt in coming to a serious understanding of the meaning of the faith.

The translation was begun by Thielicke’s friend John W. Doberstein, professor of pastoral theology at the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. As early as 1961, Thielicke had mentioned in his Christmas letter to friends that he had found a translator of “remarkable creative power.” The same letter announced the beginning of Thielicke’s work on the Apostles’ Creed, and these sermons were preached in Hamburg during the following years. In 1965 they were published in Germany under the title Ich Glaube (“I Believe”), and Doberstein began his translation almost immediately. At the time of his death ...

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