By Helmut Thielicke
Advent by way of Martin E. Marty
A veteran theologian and minister deals his clever tips to newbies within the box at the problems of training theology in a church frequently skeptical of theological pursuit. Thielicke stresses the significance of retaining one's religious healthiness during technical theological inquiry.
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Extra resources for A Little Exercise for Young Theologians
Wherever one went multitudes came flocking to hear the good news. Almost every Monday I would have 20 to 100 anxious enquirers - Baptisms large and frequent - scarcely any exclusions - all at peace in the Mission. 44 The manifestations of waning influence were clear. Attendance at preaching services remained large where they could be reached and where Sunday best clothes, if not finery, could be afforded. The Sunday service was a social institution. What declined early was membership and the large classes of "enquirers" and "candidates" preparing for formal admission to the chapels and churches.
Dwindling support from Britain and failing resources in Jamaica ensured that they could at best save existing chapels and stations; consistent proselytism in new districts was now impossible. The European missionary had become a minister for a minority who could sustain him, and his family, in a lifestyle which, however reduced, required European standards in the domestic sphere. Similarly, the teacher/catechists who maintained the day schools and the alternative Sunday preaching were too few in number to reach a widely scattered population; they too did little more than save the existing congregations.
Reverend David King, on a visit from the Scottish Missionary Society in 1850, was uncompromising in his view that former missionaries had greatly overrated their success and that Jamaica still remained very much a field for missionary endeavour. "47 It was the "loose and general profession of religion" that disturbed the missionaries most. Even their faithful chapel attenders no longer apparently repented for their many sins or prepared themselves for salvation. The prevalent failings were, in missionary opinion, covetousness, a love of finery, litigiousness, quarrelsomeness, addiction to rum shops and of course the "carnal sins" and "fornication" amongst those who "heard" but did not follow the preachers.