Friday, April 26, 2013

Sacraments and Secularism

Paul Tillich, of all people:

The classical combination "word and sacrament" means, in the first place, "the word as well as the sacrament." Next it signifies, "the sacrament through the word." And it has often been used, especially in Protestantism, as "word without sacrament." ...
The phenomenal growth of secularism in Protestant countries can be explained partly as a result of the weakening of the sacramental power within Protestantism. For this reason the solution of the problem of "nature and sacrament" is today a task on which the very destiny of Protestantism depends. 
From Shaking of the Foundations.

His actual argument is far more ... Tillichian ... than these excerpts.  Still, though, it is worth thinking about.


Brant Clements said...

Do you mean to suggest that the Tillichian is not worth thinking about?

Father Anonymous said...

Oh, heavens no. The whole book is a classic, and this idea is fascinating, at least so far as I can follow it.

I just wouldn't want readers to imagine that Tillich, who is so very abstract, was somehow changing direction and staking out a more concrete sacramental-realist position. He's a German Protestant to his core, for better and worse.

Brant Clements said...

That's good. I like the quote a lot. But I loves me some Tillich.