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One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification (Unitas) Paperback – November 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

. . . it would certainly open the door to valuable ecumenical discussions among scholars in very diverse branches of Christianity.
Catholic Library World


The great service of the slim volume by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. . .fills in some valuable pieces of the justification-as-deification puzzle by providing a very helpful chapter on the doctrine of deification in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
The Christian Century

About the Author

Veli-Matti Karkkainen, D.Theol. Habil., is associate professor of systematic theology at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California, and docent of ecumenics at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The author of several books, he has also published nearly 100 articles in international theological journals.
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Product Details

  • Series: Unitas
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814629717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814629710
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By matt on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another book from the Helsinki Theological School that is finding common ground between traditional Lutheranism, not to be confused with the modern Lutheran trend in the U.S. to go more and more Protestant, and the Eastern Orthodox theological tradition. In particular, this book examines the doctrine of deification (theosis), so prevelant in the East.

The typically Lutheran forensic understanding of justification is called to account as an imbalance of the biblical message. Its history and rise within Lutheranism is detailed, contrasted to Luther's own theology. A clear explination of Eastern Orthodoxy and its emphasis on union with Christ as deification is given. After this, deification in other Protestant traditions is outlined, followed by an attempt (I think a working solution) to restore a more holisitic approach to the doctrine of justification.

THis is an excellent analysis of the subject and should be read by anyone intersted in serious ecumenism, and not the wishy washy rainbow coalition.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ecclesial hypostasis on June 4, 2008
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This is very helpful for Protestants interested in how our traditional emphasis on justification can be joined with the Eastern approach of theosis. Very hopeful book for the future of a united church.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on September 16, 2007
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"..., if our salvation consists in finding ourselves in God, it means finding ourselves to be as God is. But we only do this by being what God is and acting as He acts, which, of course, is impossible without His direct intervention. 'You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly father is perfect... Abide in me and I in you.' " Thomas Merton, The New Man

Prologue to our Union:
"If this book inspires ecumenical and systematic reflection on the doctrine of salvation within and between christian churches, its ultimate goal has been more than achieved." This is what the author and Helsinki ecumenics docent sets, in the Preface, as the goal of his ecumenically probing study. This pursuit of unity is supported by Unitas books, and shared by the Liturgical press, confirming that "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi."

One With God:
The books title takes the reader to Athanasius philanthropic Christology expressed in the 'Sarx-Logos' Alexandrine sotereology based on the Johannine verse of the union with God in Christ, "And the Word became flesh and lived among us" John 1:14. So he emphasizes the prominence of deification for salvation, affected through the incarnation which starts the role of the Holy Spirit whose grace makes humans participants in divine life. He quotes Cyril of Alexandria who defended the Hypostatic Union, on page 26, "Christ filled his whole body with the life giving power of the Spirit... it was not the flesh that gave life to the Spirit, but the power of the Spirit that gave life to the flesh.
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I cannot recommend this short work enough. Absolutely any Christian who is interested in concepts like justification and deification should study this work. Given its short length, do not expect it to cover things in great detail. This is a work to use when starting to think about the ecumenical ramifications of these concepts.

Obviously the author takes the scholar Tuomo Mannermaa's Finnish School of Luther Research quite seriously. As well as Eastern ideas. And the 40+ year history of ecumenical discussions between various Lutheran and Orthodox bodies.

I believe the greatest value of this work is in regard to approaching the subject from the perspectives of many different Churches. So while an emphasis is clearly on Lutherans and Orthodox, the work is much broader in scope. One appreciates this best in two wonderful chapters.

First, Chapter 5's discussion of "Later Protestant Theologies". Here we see convergences with Anabaptism, Methodism, and general "Evangelical Theology". These groups often get overlooked in regard to both their own thoughts as well as how they related to the thoughts of others. Not so here. Quite informative.

Second, I found Chapter 6's discussion "Towards an Ecumenical Convergence" to be most interesting. He looks at the Lutheran-Orthodox "conversations". Then the Roman Catholic-Lutheran conversations. And finally the Orthodox-Pentecostal perspective. So we get a good sense of how these ideas can come to unite rather divergent schools of thought.

Overall, the work excels at reminding us that sometimes we just need to look carefully to see real potential convergences of theological thought that can and should unite us all. So read this as an introduction. Then delve deeper into the various schools of thought. The excellent footnotes and citations will give you many other works to consider.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, a professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, a Pentecostal ordained minister, and an expert on the "Finish Lutheran School" (whose main aim is to reconsider Luther's heritage), presents an attempt to balance classical Lutheran forensic justification with Roman Catholic transformational justification and predominantly - but not exclusively -the Eastern Orthodox notion of deification.
A short introduction to reconsideration of justification and righteousness of God in contemporary New Testament research (represented by such scholars as E. P. Sanders, J. D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright) is followed by an historical survey of theosis in both Eastern Orthodox and contemporary Finnish Lutheran research. It is true that different emphases in Eastern and Western branches of Christianity brought them to different conclusions on the issues of man's primordial vocation, original sin and the reason for Jesus' death on the cross. Juridical and forensic notions of the West are juxtaposed with the ideas of mortality and corruption of the East (30). Mannermaa's school in Finland initiated a reconsideration of the traditional view on justification in Luther's writings and discovered that the Reformer was much in favour of theosis.
The author engages often-ignored Protestant Soteriologies of the Radical Reformation in the dialogue with, what Norris called, "an ecumenical consensus" (9). An Anabaptist, Dirk Phillips, indeed sounds Eastern when he deals with participatory relationships of the believers with "the divine nature" of 2 Pet. 1:4 (70). In a similar vein, John Wesley, it is said, was more inclined to the Orthodox view on sanctification as union with Christ and perfection, rather than Lutheran forensic justification.
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