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Is Deification compatible with Lutheranism?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by zippy2006, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    In his post here @FireDragon76 links to Lutheran theologian David Wagschal's critique of the traditional Christian doctrine of Deification or Theosis. In beginning to explicate the doctrine of Deification, Wagschal tells us:

    This is the teaching that salvation is the progressive and gradual sanctification or “divinizing” of the person, the church, and the cosmos. It is the idea that God saves or redeems us by permeating the creation and transforming it into its own (properly) divine form. -The Problem with Deification
    Here is a quick outline of Wagschal's basic criticisms:
    1. Deification creates the notion that God's love rests on our future, deified selves rather than on ourselves as we exist in the here and now, namely as sinful.
    2. Deification creates the notion that salvation is progressive ladder-climbing rather than gratuitous and radical gift.
    3. Deification leads to political theologies.
    4. Deification leads to an appearance- and performance-based focus.

    What do you think? Is Deification compatible with Lutheranism? Feel free to completely ignore Wagschal's analysis if you have thoughts different from his on the topic.
     
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  2. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    No.
     
  3. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No. It is not compatible with Scripture either. We are not progressing toward being deified, but being conformed to the image of Christ, who is Deity. We are not deity. We will be like Him but we are not Him. Man was originally created IN the likeness of God, but man was not THE image of God, Christ is THE image of God the Father.

    Our new creation IN CHRIST (not as Christ) is created IN the likeness of God in true righteousness & holiness; but again it is not created AS 'very God of very God, begotten not made.' It is created to be a reflection of our Lord not the 'outshining' of God Himself. We are created beings; He is not.
     
  4. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I have read Orthodox writings that sound like what you describe, but I've never asked for clarification. Maybe the question would be better for the Orthodox forum.
     
  5. Monk Brendan

    Monk Brendan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    **...but being conformed to the image of Christ, who is Deity.**

    Just what do you think Theosis is all about, anyway?
     
  6. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Right, and that is the doctrine of deification. The traditional Christian teaching is not that we become God essentially, but rather that we become divinized through a participation in God's own life. The OP includes links for those who are unfamiliar with this doctrine.
     
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  7. David Neos

    David Neos Catechumen

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    Right, becoming like God by grace what Christ is by nature.
     
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  8. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    It's a conflation. The word divine is synonymous with deity. To become divine is to become a god. So attempting to use that word to describe our process of becoming like Christ is an oxymoron. It is an attempt to say, "I am becoming a god, but I'm not God," which is blasphemous. It stems from the constant mysticism of people who want Christianity to be more than it is (as if it needs to be more than it is), from feeling that being like Christ doesn't sound wonderful enough, so we have to attach words that sound wonderful.

    Some will point to 2 Peter 1:4 where we are called "partakers of the divine nature". But that doesn't mean we become divine. Hebrews 3:14 says we are "partakers of Christ", and we most certainly do not become Christ. It can't mean we are divine in one verse and that we merely enjoy the benefits in another verse.
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    What you are attempting here is an argument from etymology, which is incredibly weak. The words deification and theosis have been used for thousands of years to refer to a specific Christian doctrine. This thread is about that doctrine. No one believes we become God essentially. That is a misrepresentation and a strawman, not to mention a distraction from the topic of this thread.

    This thread is about the traditional Christian doctrine of deification. If you don't understand that doctrine, feel free to follow the links of the OP and read about it. If you wish to talk about the idea that we become God essentially, find a different thread that is about that topic or seek out some Mormons.
     
  10. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    If you're going to get snippy about the rules, I'll point out you posted in a Lutheran forum, and do not identify yourself as Lutheran. Therefore, you are only allowed to ask questions, not debate.

    The meaning of divinity still conveys an idea of deity today. Choosing that word to explain a philosophy places that meaning upon said philosophy. As I indicated in my post, Lutherans do not subscribe to such a philosophy. It is largely an Eastern Orthodox idea. Trying to appropriate Lutheran references to becoming like Christ into that philosophy is inappropriate. As I understand it, our usage of such terms is distinct from the EO. Therefore, as I recommended, you'll need an EO member to clarify the meaning for you.

    If you're interested in how Lutherans differ in our understanding from that EO understanding, then, yeah, we can discuss that here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  11. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    Interesting question since I'm an exLutheran aka cradle Lutheran


    The common wisdom I've heard fits with the naysayers on the thread. However, I inadvertently stumbled on something that said potentially yes. Basically on the Eastern Orthodox side, I over the decades have read critiques of western Justification that attack it for being "virtually reality" Justification. Basically a kind of Quasi- Gnostic, Docetic like idea. There is a famous quote by Luther that mentions our sin like being "Snow covered dung" Basically its still present with our justification but God overlooks it etc. (The Western inputed righteous also largely fits in with this, since righteous can often be looked at as simply a kind of accounting trick etc. and not something that actually fixes out nature from the Fall).



    Anyway one writer I heard of really took issue with that depiction of things. He analyzed the full context of the snow covered dung statement and did so in light of some other statements by Luther. He actually proved by quoting some other more detailed comments by Luther that showed that he did believe in some kind of spiritual healing theosis, that a persons soul etc. is corrected by being in Christ etc. And more or less depicted EO apologists of doing a bit of a hatchet job on taking him out of context etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  12. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I would say "similar but different".
     
  13. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I am asking you not to derail the thread based on blatant misrepresentations of the OP. That is very different from debating.
     
  14. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    You asked a question. I answered it. What you are objecting to is the way I, as a Lutheran, hear what the EO is saying and why I disagree with it. I further offered that we may need an EO member to better clarify the idea.

    If I'm not to suggest that the EO clarify an EO idea and not to express how a Lutheran hears the EO idea, what exactly is it you want? To discuss an idea that has nothing to do with Lutherans in a Lutheran forum? To prevent discussing the word "divine" and how different traditions understand it when the title borne by the idea uses that very word? Odd.

    But, whatever. I'll sign off and leave you to it.
     
  15. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Thanks. There is actually plenty of scholarly evidence affirming the fact that Luther held to something very close to the traditional doctrine of deification. I guess I was actually more interested in what Lutherans think, for I have often been told that Luther's beliefs are not equivalent to Lutheranism.

    CF Lutherans such as ViaCrucis are on the same page:

     
  16. Tigger45

    Tigger45 St Francis Supporter

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    Dr. Jordan Cooper a confessional Lutheran pastor put this video out about the subject of Deification.


     
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  17. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pr. Cooper's book, Christification, is a good work to read on the subject. Don't take a non-theologians word for it, go to an expert.
     
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  18. Tigger45

    Tigger45 St Francis Supporter

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    Absolutely, already acquired and read my copy :oldthumbsup:
     
  19. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Thanks. This would be a helpful video for the Lutherans in this thread who are convinced that deification is blasphemous, for Dr. Cooper addresses that idea in some detail.

    He only touches on Wagschal's first two points by saying that Lutheran salvation is primarily concerned with justification rather than sanctification and that justification is more or less distinct from deification (or 'Christification').

    I take it, then, that you are very much convinced that deification is compatible with Lutheranism?
     
  20. Tigger45

    Tigger45 St Francis Supporter

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    Yes I do but you have to keep in mind there are different sects within Lutheranism so you will get different answers to that question. Keep in mind Lutheranism is very earthy or grounded if you will, which has its positive points but it seems to me through time and development it kinda neglected its more spiritual roots of not only Martin himself but the EFC’s also. I would like to add I am officially a member of a Lutheran congregation and believe it presents the purest Gospel and has many great teachings to offer particularly its clarity on biblical topics. I just feel Christification is under developed in Lutheranism and Pr Cooper is a bit of an outliner when it comes to this subject and I appreciate it about him.
     
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