Now both of these statements have something difficult. The unregenerated Orthodox theologian is able to say what the Church or the Bible says is necessary for salvation; but he is not able to do it in terms of the application of the present situation. The function of the Orthodox theologian is independent of his religious quality. He may be completely outside. But now what about the Pietist theology? He can say of himself, and others may say of him, that he is regenerated, converted, a real Christian. But then he has to state this with certainty; but is there anyone who can do this, and who can say, “I am a real Christian.”? In the moment anyone does it, he has ceased to be in any way a real Christian, because to say it of oneself means to look to oneself in order to have the certainty of the relationship to God.

And this certainly is impossible. Therefore this fight goes on through all Protestant churches, today too, and it is going on in you. Some of us would certainly say: “We are unregenerated, but we can understand what you say in systematic theology.” And that is all right; otherwise he will say, or feel, that they are regenerated, and that they should have a good conscience, to make theology. How can we decide this problem? It is very important for students of theology because there may be very few, if anybody, who ever could say of himself that he is regenerated. On the other hand you feel that if you are not in the theological circle, existentially, you cannot be a real theologian. Now in my “Systematic Theology,” I have solved the problem in the following way: I have said that only he who experiences the Christian message as his ultimate concern is able to be a theologian, but after this nothing else is demanded. And it might be that he who is in doubt about every special doctrine is a better theologian as long as this doubt about doctrine is his ultimate concern. So you don’t need to be converted in order to be a theologian – whatever this term may mean. You are not requested to test whether you are good Christians or not, and then to say: “Now since I am a good Christian, I can be a theologian.” – All this is completely impossible. But the fight is going on in a very important way, even today, and I think that every Pietist would “First, you must be converted before you can be really a theologian.” Answer him: “The only thing which is first is that the ultimate concern coming from god has grasped me so that I am concerned about Him and His message; but more than this I cannot say, and even this I cannot say in these terms because even the term ‘God’ disappears, in some moments, and then I cannot use it as the basis for my belief that I am a good Christian and therefore a possible theologian. ” The Orthodox doctrine of inspiration takes some of Calvin’s elements and makes it more radical and primitive. The theologians are the hands of Christ, the notaries- public of the Divine Spirit, the “pens” with which the Spirit has written the Bible.