Forum Advent Series Continues with Rev. Daniel J. Peterson, Ph.D. 

November 25, 2014

Rev. Peterson took a few moments to talk a bit about his upcoming Forum, at 10 am, this Sunday. Please join us!

Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. As a Tillich scholar, what will be the gist of your talk this Sunday? 

Advent is the season of hope, waiting and expectation. Why do we find ourselves waiting as people of faith and for what? We might respond by saying we wait for the birth of Christ, but what does Christ's appearance in history really bring? How is Christ the answer to that for which we long? Paul Tillich's theology offers us a resource for responding to such a question in a deep and meaningful way. My presentation will invite us to explore the question of what we wait for in Advent and how, from a Tillichian perspective, Christ serves as the answer – not merely a conceptual one, but a potentially transformative one.

How do Tillich’s writings speak to today’s secular society and what does it mean to us as followers of Christ? 

Tillich insisted that people on the margins of church-life as well as those beyond its walls were experiencing challenges that the Christian faith had largely failed to address. Sure, it had answers – but the answers it offered, Tillich said, were given to questions that modern people simply were not asking! The question, then, was how to meet people where they are. What questions are we asking as modern (and now post-modern people) and how might the message of Christ as a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:18) be relevant for us as Christians, for our ministry and to the people with whom we come in contact in our secular city? Our discussions in this forum will answer these questions.

How would you summarize a ‘Tillich’ Christmas message for the layperson? 

Tillich's Christmas message is the Christian message. "Christianity," he says, "is what it is through the affirmation that Jesus of Nazareth, who has been called 'the Christ,' is actually the Christ, namely, he who brings the new state of things, the New Being." What Tillich refers to here is the power of renewal, one we glimpse by grace, a power that breaks into our lives to transform them – however partially, however incompletely. We know the old, Tillich writes, the sense that "year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades." The promise of the new and its appearance in Jesus Christ – that is the message of Christmas, and that is the message of Christianity.

Suggested Reading List

Tillich’s sermon, The New Being

Tillich’s article The Lost Dimension in Religion (read online only)

Tillich: "Waiting"


Topics: Church Life, Events


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