Popular books on religion keep pouring from our presses. Professional tomes on theology crowd one another. But the former usually are not solid, while the latter are seldom intelligible to the general public. The Marcia E. Wertsch Lectureship, of which this volume was the opening series, was dedicated to fill the gap between popular and professional theology. Its purpose is to make solid theology generally available. I have made a prayerful attempt to do so, especially in view of the fact that the money for the lectureship was given by a laywoman who cared for the intellectual welfare of the Church.
I feel deep gratitude to President Lewis B. Carpenter, and to the faculty and students of the National College for Christian Workers in Kansas City, Missouri, where the lectures were given. I am indebted, too, to my wife, who has listened to the reading of the manuscript and who has made innumerable suggestions as to its improvement. Few occasions have offered more delight than this working together on the final draft of a book. Dr. Everett Tilson of Vanderbilt University Divinity School has made constructive suggestions on the second draft of Chapter Four. The successive drafts have been typed by Mrs. Harold Kieler of Vanderbilt University, and Mrs. Richard Olson and Mrs. Wayne Johnson of Andover Newton Theological School. To them, thanks!
No book has caused me more pain of authorship than this one. Those who heard the lectures perhaps will not recognize them! But the substance of thought is the same, only radically rewritten to make the thought more readily available to the larger circle of readers. If harder writing makes for easier reading, without forfeit of content, the pain is worth while. As with all my books, I now leave this one in the hands of the final Judge to be used as is needed.
N. F. S. F.
Newton Centre, Massachusetts