Paul Tillich and Biblical Theonomy

Written By
William O. Einwechter

When Christians in the Reformed and Evangelical church hear the word “theonomy” they think of men like Greg Bahnsen and R. J. Rushdoony, and of a perspective on biblical reformation called “Christian Reconstruction.” This is quite understandable, given the fact that these men have made a considerable impact on the contemporary debate over the nature and basis of Christian ethics. Rushdoony’s seminal work, The Institutes of Biblical Law[1] and Greg Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics[2] provide a comprehensive exposition of theonomic ethics.

However, these men were not the first to use “theonomy” in a distinctive way. Paul J. Tillich (1886-1965) adopted the term theonomy as a significant element in his system of thought many years before it became associated with the views of Bahnsen and Rushdoony. Tillich used “theonomy” in conjunction with “autonomy” and “heteronomy” to designate the various ways that men think and act, both individually and socially. He also used these three concepts as the basis for his interpretation of history.

Paul Tillich was certainly no champion of biblical orthodoxy.[3] He has been described by many as a neo-liberal and a dialectical theologian. And though he was a philosophical theologian who at times employed biblical language and the biblical text, it is questionable if the term “Christian” can be properly applied to him.[4] Emil Brunner characterized the views of Tillich as “Hegelianism with a veneer of Christianity.”[5]

Nevertheless, Christians can profit from an analysis of Tillich’s use of theonomy, autonomy, and heteronomy. Tillich had a brilliant mind,[6] and his sometimes penetrating insights can have value when his work is read critically. By considering Tillich within the framework of biblical presuppositions, one is able to find the wheat amongst the chaff. The purpose of this essay is to consider how Tillich’s conception of theonomy might assist those who hold to a biblical and Reformed view of theonomy to better understand and apply their own theonomic thesis. This writer believes that Tillich’s views can help to delineate a true Christian view of theonomy.

Tillich’s Views on Autonomy, Theonomy, and Heteronomy

As already stated, Tillich used theonomy in concert with the ideas of autonomy and heteronomy. These three terms, he believed, summarize the way men think and how they approach the problem of ethics.

1. The meaning of autonomy.

“Autonomy” is derived from two Greek words, autos (self) and nomos (law), and it means, simply. “self-law.” Tillich states that, “The law is not outside of us, but inside as our true being.”[7] Hence, autonomy is man living according to his own rational nature. The autonomous man follows the universal law of reason which is the structure of reality within him.[8] That man follows the law of reason is not in itself a negative feature to Tillich. In fact, Tillich has no higher standard of ethics than “natural law.” Tillich states that, “In autonomy one follows the natural law of God implanted in our own being. . . .”[9]

The problem of autonomy, says Tillich, is not dependence on reason, but the divorce of reason from the religious dimension. When divorced from the divine ground of being, autonomy becomes nothing more than “empty critical thought,”[10] that “degenerates into mere humanism.”[11] Braaten describes Tillich’s view of autonomy as “a situation which cuts itself off from the transcendent source and aim of life.”[12]

2. The meaning of theonomy.

“Theonomy” comes from two Greek words, theos (God) and nomos (law), and it refers to the rule of God’s law. For Tillich, however, theonomy does not mean the law of God revealed to man in the Bible. Rather, theonomy is an autonomy that “is aware of its divine ground.”[13] This means that theonomy is the realization that divine being is the ground of man’s being, and, therefore, the law of reason that governs man cannot be separated from religion. For Tillich, theonomy is an attitude of reliance on the uncreated, divine inner light in the human soul.[14] Theonomy is divine law, and it “implies our own personal experience of the presence of the divine Spirit within us, witnessing to the Bible or to the church.”[15] Tillich states:

This theonomous way means acknowledging the mystery of being, but not believing that this mystery is an authoritarian transcendent element which is imposed upon us and against us, which breaks our reason to pieces. For this would mean that God would be breaking his Logos to pieces, which is the depth of all reason. Reason and mystery belong together, like substance and form.[16]

And so autonomy and theonomy belong together: theonomy is the form, and man’s rational nature is the substance. Autonomy is a necessity for theonomy, but when autonomy cuts itself off from the mystery of being it becomes a proud humanism that sets itself against theonomy.

3. The meaning of heteronomy.

“Heteronomy” comes from two Greek words, heteros (another of a different kind) and nomos (law). According to Tillich, heteronomy signifies law that is foreign to man’s nature and being; it is law that goes “against the will of our own created goodness.”[17] Tillich explains it as follows:

Heteronomy imposes an alien law, religious or secular, on man’s mind. It disregards the logos structure of mind and world. It destroys the honesty of truth and the dignity of the moral personality. It undermines creative freedom and the humanity of man. Its symbol is the “terror” exercised by absolute churches or absolute states.[18]

Heteronomous law “involves willfulness and arbitrariness.”[19] It “ignores and destroys all creativity in man, and stifles the expression of man’s reason.”[20] Heteronomy means coercion, authoritarianism, and enslavement.[21]

Heteronomy is contrary to both autonomy and theonomy. Tillich contends that heteronomy rejects the courage of autonomy and the divine law awareness of theonomy, and seeks to escape danger by subjection to an authority that will give security.[22] Fear is the driving force behind the acceptance of heteronomy. Thus, heteronomy appeals to those who are willing to surrender their liberty for the security promised by a central power, and to those who would control others for their own ends.

Tillich’s Interpretation of History

Because autonomy, heteronomy, and theonomy represent the fundamental expressions of man’s response to the human situation, Tillich contends that they also provide the proper key for interpreting human history. In his approach to history, Tillich shows his dependence on Hegel. Hegel taught that history is the unfolding of the Absolute Mind through a dialectical process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The triad of autonomy, heteronomy, and theonomy express for Tillich a kind of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis for analyzing the historical process.

The basic fact of history is man’s autonomy through his participation in the ground of being (“God”). However, man is prone to use his autonomy—the law of reason within him—in a self-centered way that ignores the transcendent element of life. When this happens, society becomes increasingly fragmented as each man desires to be a law unto himself. This leads, more and more, to social chaos. Then, in the moral anarchy of “mere humanism,” confusion and fear lead men to seek the order and security that comes from a centralized power. Therefore, a heteronomy may arise in reaction to the period of autonomy. But the suppression of human freedom and the rule of terror that characterizes heteronomy makes men yearn, in time, for a restoration of their autonomy. Yet, the decisive question is: What type of autonomy will they seek? Will it be a return to an autonomy cut off from the ground of being, or will it be an autonomy that recognizes transcendence? That is, will it be the way of theonomy?

It is possible for autonomy and heteronomy to interact back and forth before a period of theonomy finally brings man deliverance. The fact is, as Hordern observes, “When men have been subjected to a heteronomy, sooner or later they rebel, and usually they rebel in the name of autonomy, the rule of self by the self.”[23] The role of religion, argues Tillich, is to call on men to break the cycle of autonomy and heteronomy by embracing theonomy.

A theonomous period may end with either a resurgence of heteronomy or autonomy. In fact, the complexity of the human situation and the existence of competing spheres may lead to circumstances where the struggle between autonomy, heteronomy, and theonomy creates a period where no single perspective holds sway. For example, Tillich, commenting on the end of the theonomy of the Middle Ages, states:

The original theonomy of the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition has been broken into complete scientific autonomy on the one side, and complete ecclesiastical heteronomy on the other side. This is the situation which prevailed at the end of the Middle Ages.[24]

According to Tillich’s view of history there have been only two periods of theonomy in the West after the theonomy of the early church era. These periods are the early Middle Ages and the Protestant Reformation. Tillich is particularly attracted to the theonomy of the Medieval period. But the theonomy of one age cannot be reproduced in another, therefore, what each era needs is a “new theonomy.” Hordern provides a helpful summary of Tillich’s interpretation of history:

As Tillich looks back over history he finds that different historical periods have been charac- terized by one or the other of these forms. The early Middle Ages and the early Reformation were periods of theonomy when the ultimate depth of life, God, shone through everything. Religion is a natural expression of life in the theonomous period. There is no division of life into sacred and secular, for all life is seen in its relation to the divine. In such a society religion does not stand over man giving him orders; rather it is the life-blood of one’s existence, the presupposition of all thought. Men are not even consciously religious. In theonomous periods men do not feel split; instead they feel whole, centered, and at home in the universe.

When a theonomous period loses its power, it normally sinks into heteronomy. When the religious life is no longer that which comes naturally, the religious authorities try to force men to be religious. Thought must be censored, misdeeds punished, and the law of God enforced by proper authorities. Thus the late Middle Ages and the later period of the Reformation both developed heteronomies. Orthodoxy became a strict rule to be enforced; religious persecution became common.

The reaction to a heteronomous period is often a period of autonomy. The Renaissance reacted autonomously to the late Middle Ages, and Rationalism, in the eighteenth century, reacted to the heteronomous orthodoxy of later Protestantism. There is no doubt that Tillich welcomes the autonomous revolt; it is perfectly proper against the demands of heteronomy. Autonomy fights heteronomy for the freedom and dignity of the individual. The autonomous period throws aside all external rule. It sets up principles such as “Art for art’s sake,” “Business is business,” and “One man’s religion is as good as another’s.”

Although Tillich applauds the reassertion of autonomy against heteronomy, he finds that the autonomous period cannot satisfy the deeper needs of man. It leaves him without any depth or cohesion in life. We stand today in the midst of a disintegrating autonomous order. An autonomous age loses both its view of the world as a whole and a center to life. Life is split into a series of unrelated activities with no depth or meaning. The autonomous man becomes bewildered, with no direction to life. He is no longer self-assured and creative, but disturbed, frustrated, and often in despair. In short, autonomy gives man no certainty, no security, and no foundation for life.

When an autonomous period breaks down, as it is doing today, it may go in one of two directions. The lure of heteronomy is strong at such a time. Religions of authoritarianism offer man a sense of security and strength if he will give up his autonomous freedom. On the other hand, secular heteronomies arise in the form of totalitarian states, whether Nazi or Communist, offering men the sense of a unified life, a meaningful goal for the future, and above all security. We live in an age that leads many to “escape from freedom.” The other alternative is that a new theonomy may arise. Men on the borderline of despair may, instead of abandoning their freedom, find the wholeness, meaning, and depth of life in God.[25]

Tillich’s Insights and Biblical Theonomy

Paul Tillich  would certainly not agree with Greg Bahnsen’s definition of theonomy: “The word of the Lord is the sole, supreme, and unchallengeable standard for the actions and attitudes of all men in all areas of life; this word naturally includes God’s moral directives (law).”[26] Bahnsen explains the difference between himself and Tillich as follows:

I would question why Tillich, in rejecting any authoritatively revealed law from outside of man, should want to speak of “God’s law” (“theonomy”) at all; he could just as well speak of a qualified, indeed a vaguely religious, autonomy. Tillich fully admits that “actual theonomy is autonomous ethics under the Spiritual Presence.” . . . In terms of the theoretical framework of this treatise, Tillich's scheme would still be considered self-law. By “theonomy” I mean that verbalized law of God which is imposed from outside man and revealed authoritatively in the words of Scripture. While the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures and must enable our obedience to them, He is not the law itself. Men who were carried along by the Spirit of God spoke the law from God. This law cannot be identified with self-law but is genuine “theonomy.”[27]

So how can Tillich be of any assistance to those who hold to the definition of theonomy given above by Bahnsen? The following suggests six ways that Tillich’s insights can be appropriated by biblical theonomy.

1. Natural law ethics is a form of human autonomy.

Tillich had no higher standard of ethics than natural law. He defined natural law as the universal law of reason. But Tillich taught that this law of reason becomes the vehicle of human autonomy if it is not in conscious submission to God. In fact, natural law without this element of dependence on God is nothing more than “mere humanism” and “empty critical thought.”

Those who adhere to biblical theonomy have long argued that man's natural law speculations are, in essence, the expression of man’s rebellious claim to be autonomous. So theonomists think that Tillich is correct when he teaches that the independent use of human reason in ethics is “mere humanism.” Tillich argues that autonomous ethics leads to moral anarchy and social chaos, and that the only answer to this situation is theonomy; biblical theonomy teaches the same thing. The difference between the theonomy of Tillich and the theonomy of the Bible is that in the place of Tillich’s call to submit to a vague “divine ground of being,” biblical theonomy calls for submission to the Word of God in Scripture.

Tillich rejects autonomous natural law for theonomy, but his theonomy is nothing more than another formulation of human autonomy. The only kind of theonomy that makes a clean break with the “empty critical thought” of autonomous natural law ethics is a theonomy that is grounded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.   

2. Theonomy is a logical result of the doctrine that man is created in the image of God.

One of Tillich’s main points in defense of his theonomic view is that the divine being is the ground of man’s being. Tillich’s understanding of the metaphysics of man’s being is unbiblical and flawed. Nevertheless, he shows that theonomy is the logical outcome of man’s true being; it is an acknowledgment of his true being that causes a man to abandon autonomy for theonomy.

The Bible teaches that man is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). The image of God in man is not physical, but metaphysical, i.e., it refers to man's moral, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities; it also refers to man’s calling to exercise dominion in the world. Theonomy is a logical deduction from the biblical doctrine of man’s creation. If man is made in God’s image, and if he is charged to take dominion in God’s name, then he is under the rule of God’s law. Tillich’s metaphysics are problematic, but his logic is correct: When a man realizes his true being (a creature made in God’s image), he will repent of his autonomy and embrace theonomy.

3. Theonomy does not negate the use of reason in ethics.

Tillich insists that reason is central to Christian ethics. Theonomy, in his view, is not the denial of reason, rather, it is the use of reason within the bounds of the religious dimensions of man’s true being. In theonomy, a divine consciousness overcomes the secular and becomes the basis through which reason arrives at divine law. Stated in another way, theonomy is not the negation of reason, but is a life of reason under the influence of the divine Spirit.

Biblical theonomy, while differing with Tillich’s conception of reason and its place in ethics, also insists on the use of reason in Christian ethics. The power to think and reason is part of the divine image in man and absolutely necessary for fulfilling his task of dominion. Reason is one of the intellectual gifts that God has bestowed on man. As such, human reason is dependent on God for its right use in at least two ways.

First, for reason to accomplish its God-intended function man must begin with the presupposition of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . .”; reason can only work rightly (i.e., according to the Creator’s design) when a man believes that God is the Creator, the Lord of all, and the source of all truth and knowledge. Any other faith turns reason from being a tool of godly dominion into a tool of devilish rebellion. Second, if reason is to carry out its God-appointed task man needs divine revelation. Reason can only work within the context of the information it has at hand. Reason does not operate in a vacuum, and can “only deal with that which is given to it.”[28] God’s revelation (particularly the revelation in Scripture) provides man with all the ethical knowledge (i.e., doctrines and moral principles) his reason needs to serve God and His kingdom.

These two aspects of reason are expressed in biblical theonomy in the following ways. First, since man is fallen, he needs regeneration by the Holy Spirit before he can use his reason rightly. Regeneration is, among other things, a radical change of mind in terms of ultimate presuppositions. The presuppositions and worldview of a man dead in his trespasses and sins are based on his deliberate attempt to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18-22). The Spirit of God must change this rebellious predisposition before man’s reason will be employed in a search to know God and His righteous law. Regeneration does not give man the power of reason; he has that by nature. What regeneration does is enable man to use his reason rightly. The process of sanctification that follows regeneration is based on the renewing of the mind through the Word of God (Eph. 4:17-23). This renewal of the mind is essential for the Christian to be able to discern (reason properly so as to know the difference) between good and evil (Heb. 5:14). 

Second, the Bible, therefore, provides man with all the moral principles that his reason requires to determine what is good and what is evil. Biblical law (torah) is the foundation of all Christian ethics, not in the sense that it explicitly addresses every conceivable ethical situation, but in the sense that it provides all the moral instruction necessary for reason to deduce right and wrong in every conceivable ethical situation. Reason begins with biblical law, and, within that framework, seeks to determine moral law for each circumstance. Using the statutes and case laws of the Bible as the foundation of all ethical reasoning (Deut. 4:1-7), the man of God seeks to discern the will of God in all situations and cases (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). In this sense, theonomy is a life of reason lived under the direction of God’s Spirit and God’s revealed law.

4. All forms of law that are contrary to the Bible are a form of heteronomy.

In Tillich’s scheme, heteronomy is any law that is alien to man’s being. Heteronomy subjects man to the authoritarian dictates of secular or religious authorities, and destroys man’s freedom. The goal of a heteronomous order is to impose an arbitrary “law upon the autonomous structures of life, demanding unconditional obedience to finite authorities, splitting the conscience and the inner life.”[29]

Biblical theonomy sees moral law as an expression of the righteous being of God. Man, who is made in God’s image, finds the expression of his own created nature in the righteousness of the law of God. Therefore, any moral law (personal, civil, or ecclesiastical) that departs from the righteousness of God’s law is a law that is alien to man’s true being; it is heteronomous. Law that is contrary to God’s law is the arbitrary dictate of human authority. Hence, heteronomous law is not an innocent attempt of rational man to establish a just social order or godly church life; rather, these man-contrived laws are designed to enslave other men. Religious legalism and secular statism are an expression of heteronomy, and they both seek to destroy the liberty of the Christian man (Gal. 5:1). It is only in the law of God that true liberty can be found (Ps. 119:45) because man was created in righteousness and true holiness; i.e., the law of God is law of man's created being.

Tillich’s view of heteronomy is filled with problems for those who believe in the infallibility and full authority of Scripture, but his recognition of the category of heteronomy in Christian ethics is important and useful when applied in the context of biblical revelation. All law that departs from Scripture is arbitrary, tyrannical, and alien to man's created nature.

5. History is a witness to the struggle between autonomy, theonomy, and heteronomy.

Tillich’s interpretation of history in terms of the conflict between the worldview and ethics of theonomy and the rival worldviews and ethics of autonomy and heteronomy is not only intriguing, it is also insightful—when these terms are defined biblically. Since autonomy and heteronomy are both expressions of man’s rebellion against God and His law,[30] and theonomy is the manner of man’s submission to God and His law, the interaction between autonomy/heteronomy and theonomy is the outworking in history of the conflict between righteousness and unrighteousness, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, and the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.

Scripture provides a significant parallel to the theonomy, autonomy, and heteronomy cycle in the historical portions of the Old Testament. The time of Judges began with the theonomy of the days of Joshua. But the people later turned from God and descended into a period of autonomy where each man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 17:6). Because of their rebellious autonomy, the Lord judged Israel and brought them under the rule of alien powers who oppressed them, i.e., Israel was subjected to a time of heteronomy. Deliverance from the heteronomous rule of heathen gods and pagan kings came when Israel returned to God and served Him, i.e., when they returned to a theonomic way of life.

When David was king, Israel was a theonomic society, but with the apostasy of Solomon in his later years and the division of the nation into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam and Jeroboam, Israel entered into an eventful season where it swung back and forth between autonomy and theonomy. The great apostasy of Israel’s periods of autonomy eventually led to the heteronomy of the captivity and deportation of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria in 722 B.C. and the overthrow of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Babylon in 586 B.C. The heteronomy of the Babylonian captivity ended with the return of a remnant to Judah and the theonomic period of Ezra and Nehemiah. The theonomy of that era declined into the heteronomy of Judaistic legalism by the time of the New Testament. That heteronomy was gloriously replaced by the theonomy of Jesus and the apostles.

Church history and the history of the Christian West have also exhibited a similar pattern of change between theonomy, autonomy, and heteronomy. Today, the West and the Christian church are in a time of man-centered autonomy. The question is, where will we go from here? Will it be into the tyranny of statist and religious heteronomy or the liberty of biblical theonomy?    

6. It is the duty of the church and every Christian to call men individually and collectively to live by the ethics of theonomy.

Tillich believed that the church had an important role to play in human society. When men have lost their way in following secular autonomy or have lost their liberty because of heteronomy, the church must be there to point them to the superior path of a theonomous way of thought and life. It is particularly important that the church fulfill this task at those crucial times (kairoi)[31] in history when society is ripe for change due to the breakdown of the established autonomous or heteronomous order. Tillich taught that “[w]ith an era decaying around us, we have an opportunity to build a new theonomous period.”[32]

Biblical theonomists agree with Tillich’s assessment that we are at a crucial time in history. The autonomous reaction to the heteronomy of totalitarian fascism and communism is leading America and the West into moral chaos and social disintegration. Therefore, the West confronts the possibilities of heteronomy either in a new resurgence of statist totalitarianism or in a heteronomy of Islamic religious and political tyranny.

We stand at a pivotal moment, “an old age is dying, and . . . a new one is waiting to be born.”[33] How will the church respond to this historic opportunity? Will Christians squander it, or will they issue a clarion call to embrace Jesus Christ, His redemption, and the theonomic way of life that He came to make possible? In Jesus Christ, man can have an abundant life of freedom in living according to the good and perfect will of God (John 8:31-36).

In this critical hour, God has raised up a testimony to biblical theonomy to provide the church with the answer to the moral and ethical dilemmas that confront modern man. Will the church embrace this testimony and become a light to the nations? Or will the church follow the autonomy of the age and be swallowed up in a heteronomy that shall enslave the once Christian West?

1. ^ Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1973).

2. ^ Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, 2nd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1984). The first edition was published in 1977.

3. ^ Van Til states that Tillich “shares the bitter hostility of modern existentialism against every form of orthodox thought.” Cornelius Van Til, The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1971), p. 157.

4. ^ Grounds writes that Tillich’s great synthesis of the theological and the philosophical “has been variously designated a system of gnosticism, naturalism, pantheism, and atheism; and all these designations are more or less accurate.” Vernon C. Grounds, “Radical Theologians of the Sixties and Seventies,” in Tensions in Contemporary Theology, eds. Stanley N. Grundy and Alan F. Johnson (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1976), p. 95.

5. ^ Emil Brunner, The Divine Imperative, trans. Olive Wyon (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1947), p. 614.

6. ^ While differing with him sharply, Van Til nonetheless recognized that Tillich was “a profound philosopher as well as a profound theologian.” Ibid., p. 157.

7. ^ Paul Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, ed. Carl E. Braaten, 2 vols (New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1968), II:25.

8. ^ Ibid., I:289.

9. ^ Ibid., II:26-27.

10. ^ Ibid., II:238.

11. ^ Ibid., II:27.

12. ^ Carl E. Braaten, “Paul Tillich and the Classical Christian Tradition,” in Paul Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, II:xxiii.

13. ^ Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, II:27.

14. ^ Ibid., I:185.

15. ^ Ibid., II:26.

16. ^ Ibid., I:160.

17. ^ Ibid., II:26.

18. ^ As cited by Donald Musser in “Polanyi and Tillich on History,” p. 28; at http://www.missouriwesternedu/org/poloanyi.

19. ^ Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, II:26.

20. ^ William Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology (New York, NY: The MacMillian Company, 1955), p. 168.

21. ^ Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, II:238.

22. ^ Ibid., II:26.

23. ^ Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology, p. 169.

24. ^ Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, I:188.

25. ^ Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology, pp. 169-171.

26. ^ Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, p. xvi.

27. ^ Ibid., pp. 34-35.

28. ^ William Hordern, The Case for a New Reformation Theology (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1959), p. 37.

29. ^ Braaten, “Paul Tillich and the Classical Christian Tradition,” p. xxiii.

30. ^ Autonomy is the individual expression of man as his own lawgiver, while heteronomy is the institutional expression of man's claim to be the source of law.

31. ^ Tillich used the concept of kairos to designate these strategic opportunities in history; those moments of destiny ripe for a unique act of God in history. Hordern, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology, p. 182.

32. ^ Ibid., p. 183.

33. ^ Ibid.

This article was originally published in The Christian Statesman, vol. 150, no. 2, March - April 2007.