The Waiting Father: Sermons on the Parables of Jesus

By Helmut Thielicke

A collection of sermons by the German theologian and preacher, Helmut Thielicke, illuminating the meaning of the parables and giving them a new relevance.

ISBN: 9780718893668


The Waiting Father is a collection of sermons by Helmut Thielicke, the great German preacher and theologian, which offer deep insights into the spiritual message of Jesus’s fifteen major parables. These were originally preached in Michaelskirche, Hamburg, in the mid-1950s.

Thielicke approaches the parables in novel ways. In treating the prodigal son, for instance, he concentrates more on the loving father than the rebellious son, emphasising the centrality of forgiveness. Similarly on the pharisee and the publican, he shows that the publican is guilty of spiritual pride and arrogance, drawing attention to the dangers for the faithful.

Both among expositions of the parables and among books for preachers, The Waiting Father stands in a class of its own. Great scholars are often poor preachers, and great scholars are rarely good preachers, but Thielicke manages to combine distinguished scholarship with fine preaching.

Translated and with an Introduction by the American Lutheran theologian John W. Doberstein.

Additional information

Dimensions 220 × 140 mm
Pages 192

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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 Introduction
To the Reader

I. The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Part One
II. The Parable of the Prodigal Son: Part Two
III. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
IV. The Parable of the Seed and the Soils
V. The Parable of the Mustard Seed
VI. The Parable of the Tares among the Wheat
VII. The Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly
VIII. The Parable of the Dishonest Steward
IX. The Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
X. The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
XI. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
XII. The Parable of the Pounds
XIII. The Parable of the Cost of Building a Tower
XIV. The Parable of the Good Samaritan
XV. The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens
XVI. The Parable of the Marriage Feast


Endorsements and Reviews

This is an exciting book, full of the fire of great preaching and full also of the careful exegesis of the scholar … These sermons should be studied by the preacher who desires to discover how best to get his message over to a modern congregation, as well as by the student who wishes to know how the parables apply to life today.
The Life of Faith

For freshness, power, vitality and application you would go far to match this volume.
Church of England Newspaper

Here we have expository preaching at its best … full of fresh and profound thought, couched in our contemporary idiom, challenging our everyday life at many points.
Methodist Recorder

A great preacher, able to speak with tremendous power in the language of the ordinary people so that it seems that the very Word of God is being uttered to this generation.
Baptist Times