Re: On Tillich

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Sat May 24 2003 - 08:55:38 EDT

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    >From: John W Burgeson <>

    > I had said my books were packed away for the move, but I was mistaken;
    > Tillich's DYNAMICS OF FAITH was still on my night table. Here are a few
    > passages from this book -- a primary source on Tillich:
    > "Reason is the precondition of faith; faith is the act in which reason
    > reaches ecstatically beyond itself. ... Reason is not bound to its own
    > finitude. It is aware of it and, in so doing, rises above it." (Pg. 87)
    > "Reason can be fulfilled only if it is driven beyond the limits of its
    > finitude, and experiences the presence of the ultimate, the holy." (Pg.
    > 88)

    Some discussion re the character of faith has followed from this.

    A couple of years ago Marcus Borg preached a sermon in our church titled:
    "The Meaning of Faith: Relationship, Not Belief."

    In this sermon he distinguished among several ways in which the word 'faith'
    is employed. These could be helpful in clarifying some of this discussion.
    As I recall, his distinctions were:

    1) faith as assensus -- to give mental assent to the truth of some

    2) faith as fidelitas -- to be faithful to a relationship.

    3) faith as fiducia -- to trust in God -- not in mere statements about God,
    but in God.

    4) faith as visio -- a way of seeing the whole of reality

    I believe -- "credo" -- means, "I give my heart to .... "

    "Believing" could mean "beloving" -- assuring fidelity, practicing trust,
    seeing life positively.

    Howard Van Till

    PS: Anyone wishing to see the full text of this sermon can find it at:

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