Paul Tillich’s Concept of Theology

  • Antoni Nadbrzeżny The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Theology
Keywords: Paul Tillich; systematic theology; apologetics; Christian message; existential situation; method of correlation


Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a modern theologian whose work remains very interesting today. His primary objective in teaching and writing was to make his understanding of Christianity relevant to the modern mind. This paper presents Tillich’s concept of theology. The key to understanding Tillich’s theology is what he calls the “method of correlation.” Theology must be an answering theology. Tillich called it apologetic theology. Christian answers should be offered in response to questions asked by modern man. It is an approach that correlates insights from Christian revelation with the issues raised by existential, psychological, and philosophical analysis. The theological answer is determined by the sources of theology, our experience, and the norm of theology. There are three main sources of systematic theology: the Bible, Church history, and the history of religion and culture. Experience is not a source but a medium through which the sources speak. And the norm of theology is the content of the biblical message. Tillich’s concept of theology has been directly influential on many catholic theologians as well (E. Schillebeeckx, J. Haught, T. Halík).


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