Now it is the greatness of the New Testament that it is able to use words, concepts, symbols, which have developed through the whole history of religion, insofar as it has influenced the Old and New Testaments, and that in using these terms the New Testament at the same time preserves the picture of him who is interpreted by these symbols, namely Jesus. The spiritual power of the New Testament was great enough to take all these concepts into Christianity, with all their pagan and Jewish connotations, without losing the basic reality, namely the event Jesus as the Christ, which these concepts were supposed to interpret. Now it is very important for all your preaching, for your whole theology, for your personal piety, always to distinguish these interpretative categories from the event itself. I always give here, as an example, something many of you might have experienced, e. g., suddenly somebody comes to you and asks: “Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God?” Now this question is an absolutely inescapable threat, if you accept it as a question. You cannot get out of it, because whether you say yes or no, it is absurd. But you can do something else. You can ask back: What do you mean by this term “Son of God” ? — And then the fear and trembling is on the other side of the fence. Then he looks at you and asks you to help him, and then you can help him and can say: “Son of God” is a very largely used symbol for a special intimate relationship between God and a human being. In paganism this relationship was mostly a relationship by propagation. In Judaism it was the relationship by election. But in any case it is a symbol which interprets such a relationship, and your question, my dear friend, can only mean: “Are we justified in using such a symbol for the event Jesus as the Christ?” And to this answer I answer fully affirmatively.

Then you have escaped the threat and have at the same time given a very important instruction. And I think those of you who deal with children in religious instruction should do the same thing, very consciously and very carefully.