Between Heaven and Earth: Conversations with American Christians

By Helmut Thielicke

A series of conversations between Thielicke and American Christians, covering a wide range of biblical, theological and ethical themes.

ISBN: 9780718894542


Between Heaven and Earth grew out one of Helmut Thielicke’s visits to the United States in 1963, during which he travelled across the country preaching and lecturing. The conversations recorded here are the fruit of his more informal discussions with small groups of ministers, students and laymen. “You have disturbed our peace and upset our doubts,” said one pastor to Thielicke after a lecture. “You have freed the fettered and bound the wandering spirits,” said another. These passionate reactions speak eloquently for the controversies raised in this book.

The questions that American Christians asked of Thielicke are direct and wide-ranging, concerned not only with the fundamental problems of faith but with its bearing on issues of social and political morality. Thielicke’s answers, though equally direct, are neither simplistic nor dogmatic. His approach is refreshingly open and his conclusions emerge from a reasoned consideration of the evidence and alternative possibilities. Above all, Thielicke’s answers reveal the warmth and deep concern for humanity’s spiritual welfare that is at the root of his teaching and writing.

Originally translated and edited by the American Lutheran theologian John W. Doberstein, this reprinted edition of Between Heaven and Earth was published to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Helmut Thielicke’s death.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 138 mm
Pages 206

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Helmut Thielicke was one of the most outstanding preachers and theologians of the German Lutheran Church. Dismissed by the Nazi regime from his post of Professor of Theology at Heidelberg in 1940, he came to prominence in Stuttgart where, during the worst of the bombing raids and in spite of continuing Nazi opposition, he continued to preach to a congregation of several thousand each week.

After the war, he joined the faculty of the University of Tübingen as a Professor of Systematic Theology, later becoming Rector at the University of Hamburg, the first Protestant theologian to hold this position. During this time, he also became a world traveller, lecturing and preaching in the United States, South Africa, Australia and Latin America. He died in Hamburg in 1986.


Translator’s Note
Preface: A Brief Orientation for the Reader

I. The Bible and God
The question of verbal inspiration.

II. Historical Criticism of the Bible
The historical-critical study of the Scriptures. A conversation with fundamentalism.

III. Understanding the Bible
The nature and importance of hermeneutics.

IV. The Virgin Birth
On the bindingness of dogmas. The significance of miracles. True and false faith.

V. Speaking in Tongues
What is meant by “filled with the Holy Spirit”? An encounter with advocates of glossolalia.

VI. The Fate of Unbelievers
What about those who cannot believe?

VII. Racial Integration and the Christian
The problem of the political engagement of the church.

VIII. The Nazi Regime
An interpretation of recent German history.

IX. What Is the Most Important Question of Our Time?
A discussion with journalists and students.