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One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification (Unitas) Paperback – November 1, 2004
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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.
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.
For me, as one who is neither Orthodox nor Lutheran, I found this to be a very helpful discussion of theosis/deification, a concept or doctrine that could be transformative for Protestant churches who struggle with traditional Western paradigms that are rooted in legal concepts. Theosis essentially is union with God. It is not that we become gods, but that in union with Christ we are drawn into union with God. That, the author believes, is the goal of most all religions. What is helpful as well is the way in which we discover that the concept is already present in Wesley and Anabaptist theology, as well as Luther's own writings.
All in all, a very helpful read!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, a professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, a Pentecostal ordained minister, and an expert on the "Finish Lutheran... Read morePublished on July 13, 2013 by ed
This is a good, quick read. I know a number of friends who have it and everyone seems to like the bookPublished on October 25, 2012 by Eric O
This was a pretty good book. It was useful in breaking down the eastern orthodox doctrine of "theosis" which was something that was completely foreign to me. Read morePublished on November 25, 2010 by Chris Woznicki