Many average Americans know who Joel Osteen is. Few know who PaulTillich was.
Osteen is a one of the most popular Christian preachers of the 21st century. Paul Tillich was one of the most influentional Christistian theologians of the 20th century.
The differences between the two are huge. Osteen preaches a gospel of prosperity; in other words one that says, if you practice the simple directives of faith, you will prosper.
By contrast, Tillich vigorously attacked the evils of German facism in the 1930s and was forced to leave his home country. But he did eventually became one of the two or three most infuential theologians of the 20th century. Many pastors who studied his work in seminary were highly inluenced by Tillich's attempts to interpret faith in modern terms. They know well the significance of "the ground of our being ," and of "our ultimatum concern," and of "love, power and jsutice" as values to be lived out, not just discussed.
About a year before his passing, I was in a luncheon seminar with Paul Tillich . Durng the conversattion that followed Tillich was aked what was the most important thing he had learned during his distinguished career.
"How little I know," replied the Harvard university professor.