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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. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I get the impression the OP is only looking for confirmation and doesn't want to hear comments to the contrary.

    I didn't so much object to the essence of what Cooper said, as to the terms used to frame it. Cooper agreed the Lutheran view differs from the EO view, that terms such as "deification" are EO terms, and that those terms are confusing to the extent he had to identify a new label for the Lutheran view. But I still don't like the label he uses. It's a simple repackaging of the same terms he acknowledges are misleading.

    Why not use the Biblical phrase? "partakers of Christ" If he has to Greekify the phrase to make it opaque so he can sell books, then call it metokhoi or something.
     
  2. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I like your phrasing.
     
  3. Tigger45

    Tigger45 The Good Shepherd Supporter

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    I do prefer the term Christification because it intrinsically carries a physical element that we are not only in now but culminates in its perfection at the resurrection. Where the term theosis might not only be helpful in demonstrating the process it’s would also be useful when utilizing the ECF writings. Not forgetting Luther’s input whether we retain all of what he wrote or only portions.
     
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  4. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Among certain kinds of Christians looking to fill a perceived void in spirituality, deification is a concept with some currency so it is not arbitrary that Pr. Cooper is seeking to address it within a Lutheran context.
     
  5. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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  6. Tigger45

    Tigger45 The Good Shepherd Supporter

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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  7. Tigger45

    Tigger45 The Good Shepherd Supporter

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  8. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    Thanks for posting this; a quote from Luther from the link you provided sums it up:
    The difference in terminology between Luther and the Formula should not seduce us into the optical illusion of a difference in doctrine. Luther insists just as rigidly, as does the Formula, on a radical differentiation between imputed and inchoate righteousness, only his terms for this are "passive" and "active" righteousness. Luther devotes a whole introductory section to this topic, under the title, "The Argument of St. Paul's Epistle to the ~Galatians."~~ The distinctively "Christian righteousness," by which alone we are justified and saved, "is heavenly and passive," that is, All the various forms of earthly, active righteousness are excluded from this.
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    So deification is a form of inchoate or active righteousness and is therefore not the righteousness by which one is saved?
     
  10. Tigger45

    Tigger45 The Good Shepherd Supporter

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    Exactly, I’m looking forward to further exposition of Christification through a monergestic hermeneutic where the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit is the result of God’s relationship with believers.
     
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  11. A Shield of Turquoise

    A Shield of Turquoise New Member

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    I'm surprised no one brought up the Lutheran theologian Tuomo Mannermaa and his "New Finnish interpretation of Luther" which argues that Luther taught a kind of theosis. He of course has his critics among Lutherans but there is not a unanimous Lutheran position on this.
     
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  12. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    I vote yes. Where I probably disagree with, at least some perspectives on it, is how I've seen Theoria described--it's that interior-mystical dimension that is probably going to give Lutherans a hard time. But, if we understand Theosis as our being conformed to Christ, and our sharing in the Divine Nature through our union with Christ, I don't see how we can avoid it. It's fundamentally part of what big picture salvation means.

    Not a gradual ladder-climbing toward God; but rather the Self-giving of God in Christ through Word and Sacrament; our identity in Christ, now ours through faith and, in the resurrection, in full.

    "Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." - 1 John 3:2

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  13. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Tigger45 posted some articles that reference him.
     
  14. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Thanks. Out of curiosity, how is the idea of Theoria problematic for Lutherans?

    Would "little picture salvation" just be justification?
     
  15. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

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    From Orthowiki:

    "Theosis ("deification," "divinization") is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamartía ("missing the mark"), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-Holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

    This is not to be confused with the heretical (apothéōsis) - "Deification in God’s Essence", which is imparticipable."

    I think that when most of us see the word "deification", we automatically think apotheosis ("I shall be like the most high!"), not theosis which is probably more akin to the protestant concept of sanctification. So my personal opinion as an orthodox (little o) Christian with Orthodox (capital o) sympathies and a confessional traditional Lutheran is that it is compatible.

    It's also important to know the biases of individuals who make such critiques. David Wagschal is a graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary who apostasized from Eastern Orthodoxy to embrace progressive Lutheranism of the ELCA flavor.

    This is his church: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Toronto

    This is what they are doing per their website: "The rainbow flag is flying over the church!"

    He is not a reliable source on orthodox Christianity, whether that o is lower case or capitalized.
     
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  16. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Similar to, yes. But are they the same?

    Right. What, then, are we talking about here? Are we:
    1) Trying to apply the term "theosis" (or "deification") to a Lutheran concept already known as sanctification (or justification)?
    2) Trying to place the concept of "theosis" into a gap left by the concepts of sanctification and justification?

    Is there a distinction between theosis and those other terms? If so, does that mean there is something lacking in Lutheran concepts of justification or sanctification that is filled by theosis? Or is it some practice - a bit of adiaphora - where we can take it or leave it? Or is it prone to constant misunderstanding and abuse?
     
  17. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    That we can achieve Theoria or the Beatific Vision in this life, i.e., we can attain perfection, glory, etc in this life is problematic; because it promotes a Theology of Glory, a theology of our attaining glory here, especially through our own efforts.

    Theoria, that is the glory of the vision of God, in the Age to Come certainly isn't a problem, as that is biblical, as St. John says, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:2).

    I'd say that sure we could say "little picture salvation" would be our individual salvation, that is our justification; by big picture I mean the over-arching working of God, bringing about all things into the fullness of His purposes for creation, such as the renewal of all things. In the end, "He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." (Revelation 21:3) This perfect, glorious, state of all things toward which God is and has purposed us and all of creation. Our justification, forgiveness of sins, being intricately and intimately part of this larger work; that we have peace with God, participate in God, are purposed in God, to ultimately share in God and in the glory that is to come.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  18. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    I'd see Theosis as part of the now and not yet, and as such it is now in our sanctification, God's gracious work in our lives now, conforming us to Christ, the renewing of our mind, et al; and then in full in the future--the resurrection, and the sharing of the fullness of glory in the Age to Come. Theosis being our sharing in God, which is both now through the indwelling of the Spirit as grace through faith, and in the resurrection and the life of the Age to Come the full transformation of the human person in God's glory--i.e. "Glorification".

    I don't think Theosis should be regarded as foreign to Lutheran thought, as Theosis is thoroughly part of the biblical language of salvation.

    -CryptoLUtheran
     
  19. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    This doesn't really get at what I was asking, but I'll let it be.
     
  20. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    That is good to know, though sometimes former adherents represent their old traditions accurately. In fact I don't think he misrepresented the concept of theosis in his article. If anything he overemphasized the Lutheran doctrine of justification, an error which may not be so common from ELCA Lutherans.

    I still find his core criticism interesting, especially for laymen who are unable to make more subtle distinctions regarding justification, sanctification, and deification. Deification is foreign to Lutheranism at least on a certain level. Deification--or even sanctification--is apparently something that is not commonly preached from Lutheran pulpits. It is part of the broader tradition, but a lack of attention seems to eclipse it in favor of other doctrines which are more characteristically Lutheran.
     
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