Day: May 11, 2009

who’s afraid of theosis?

There’s a buzz around the blogosphere — or at least on the blogs I subscribe to (like THIS and THIS) — about theosis. It’s fascinating to observe this groundswell towards rehabilitating the much-maligned way of describing salvation as participation in the divine nature (cf. 2 Peter 1.4). It’s big in the Orthodox tradition of course. But an increasing number of Pauline scholars (including some evangelicals) seem to be embracing it.

Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St Andrew

Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St Andrew

I guess it’s about trying to do justice to the significance and priority of the union with Christ motif in Paul’s thought.

What’s more, as the value of imputation language is increasingly contested — whether you want to throw it out or just sound some very stern warnings about the danger of a ‘book keeping’ mindset — scholars are beginning to take seriously ideas like justification by co-crucifixion and theosis.

But there’s a lot of resistance to it too — at least in the circles I move in. And what I want to know is why? What are we afraid of?

I’m genuinely keen to hear what people feel are the dangers and dead ends are in talking this way about the saving significance of what God achieved in the cross and resurrection of the Messiah. Am I missing something?