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Henry Nelson Wieman

The Relevant Reverend, by Rev. Dr. Herbert F. Vetter

Henry Nelson wieman

An American philosopher of religion and minister, Henry Nelson Wieman provided an answer a full generation before the cover of Time magazine posted in bold red letters a single question on a field of black—Is God Dead? Dr. Wieman was freshly answering modern man’s death-of-God declaration with a double declaration of his own: God is a fact, an indubitable fact; whatever is supremely worthful for all human living is God. In presenting such a positive vision of God, Wieman was a firebird of freedom who interpreted both God and human religious experience as affirming that religion is creativity. Not without good reason has his work been included among those evaluated by Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders in the Library of Living Theologians dealing with such Europeans as Barth and Brunner, as well as such Americans as Niebuhr and Tillich. Not without cause has Professor Robert Bretall, co-editor of this series said that Henry Nelson Wieman might well be “the most comprehensive and most distinctively American theologian of our century.” His distinctive interpretation of religious experience was a formative factor in the life and thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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