Understanding Jesus Christ: Our Relationship (3 of 3) by Ed Rowell

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Understanding Jesus Christ: Our Relationship (3 of 3)
Ed Rowell
Philippians 4:7-14
December 19, 2001

In the early sixties, the University of Chicago of Divinity hosted a series of events to introduce their new professor of Theology, Dr. Paul Tillich. Tillich was the world-renowned German existentialist who had a phenomenal impact on liberal theology. He had come to the United States to teach at Union Divinity School, then at Harvard and was finally lured to the U of C where he taught just a few years until his death.

One of those special events was called, "Baptist Day." All the local Baptist churches and their pastors were invited to the campus on a beautiful spring day, where a picnic lunch was served on the lawn. (No doubt they hoped to attain Baptist dollars and Baptist students to study with great thought-leaders like Tillich.) The highlight of the afternoon was to be a lecture by Dr. Tillich.

Tillich took the platform, and in his heavy German brogue, spent the next 2 ½ hours setting out to prove that the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ was utterly false. In a dazzling display of brilliance, he quoted scholar after scholar, book after book without a single note in front of him. He concluded by stating that this so-called personal faith was nothing more than religious mumbo-jumbo, and that no thinking person could possibly base their life on such a simplistic myth. He then asked his audience if they had any questions.

After about thirty seconds of silence, an old black preacher with a head of white stood. Nervous, he clutched his sack lunch in front of him. "Dr. Tillich, I got just one question." He reached into his sack and took out an apple, from which he took a bite. (Note: I carried a paper sack with an apple in it to the pulpit and ate the apple as I told the story)

(Take a bite.)
"Dr. Tillich, My question is a simple question."
(Take a bite.)
"I ain't never read those books you read."
(Take a bite.)
"I can't recite the Script ...


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