Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nels F. S. Ferré, fully Nels Fredrick Solomon Ferré

Swedish-American Theologian, Abbot, Professor of Christian Theology at Andover Newton Theological School

"A person [man] who experiences no genuine satisfaction in life does not want peace. People court war to escape meaninglessness and boredom to be relieved of fear and frustration."

"Emotionalism never finds depths of truth, but depth of truth cannot be had apart from a full and free emotional response."

"God comes to each man with a pattern for him, his own image that can be realized only through a process of understanding, acceptance and growth, in both encounter and indwelling."

"God made us for fulfillment through freedom. In making us for himself, he created us for unconditional and universal love. We are free only as we find this kind of love from, for, in, and through God. The anxiety of the loveless is a chain of fear."

"God, the Ground of Being, the Spirit Creator of all being, creates because he is love. Therefore he creates finite persons who are spirits, but have being, that they might learn to love. To learn to love man needs genuine self-being, genuine freedom; therefore man is put in an indirect relation to God within a pedagogical process where he can go his own partial, rebellious and faithless way until he discover, through fear and frustration, indeed through all the opposite experiences from Love, that God’s way, the way of love, is alone in accordance with man’s deepest nature and alone can satisfy his deepest needs."

"No man can build a bridge to God. But God never forces man to cross the bridge he builds for him. God never drags man across unwillingly to a relationship of love and communion. Even man’s obedience, in order to be real, must be from the heart; it must be willed by man."

"Reason and revelation cannot be in conflict because they are on different sides of the gap; revelation is part of that to which we react while reason is part of our reaction."

"To face God and eternal life aright, each person must accept reality. Flight from God is the flight of fear. Acceptance of God is the acceptance of the love that involves the acceptance of self and others. It is the acceptance of life."

"Religion is the way we react to what we cannot evade."

"The first general rule for friendship is to be a friend, to be open, natural, interested; the second rule is to take time for friendship. Friendship, after all, is what life is finally about. Everything material and professional exists in the end for persons."

"Children can have no better inheritance than believing parents. Religion can become real in the midst of the family as in practically no other way. Many of us have inherited great riches from our parents - the bank account of their personal faith and family prayers."

"We must be willing to forgive without limit even as God forgives; otherwise we cannot be forgiven."

"There are no incorrigible sinners; God has no permanent problem children."

"Fundamentalism, as the defender of supernaturalism, has... a genuine heritage and a profound truth to preserve... We shall some day thank our fundamentalist friends for having held the main fortress while countless leaders went over to the foe of a limited scientism and a shallow naturalism."