Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Athanasius on theosis

Athanasius exhorts his flock to 'imitate the deeds of the saints,' but warns immediately thereafter that 'when we render a recompense to the Lord to the utmost of our power...we give nothing of our own, but those things which we have before received (accepimus) from Him, this being especially of His grace, that He should require, as from us, His own gifts.' What we have received by grace is necessary for our salvatin, but not in such a way as to obviate the equally critical necessity of human response. Athanasius even views Christ's exhortations to the imitation of God as acts of grace themselves...Far from being incorporated into the Logos automatically or mechanically, then believers must be vigilant over the conduct of their lives by cooperating with this didactic grace of Christ if they hope to have a divinizing share in Him.”&mdashTheosis, pages 112-113

<idle musing>
All grace, all the time! Never by human effort! Self-help christianity never was an option for the Patristic theologians; it was always by the empowering presence of God.

How far we have strayed. Look at the top sellers on the Christian Booksellers Association list. Whatever isn't entertaining fiction, is almost without exception self-help spirituality. You don't need the blood of Jesus or the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that stuff. Of course, it is all a facade that is shown to be such by the first passing storm.
</idle musing>


Josh McManaway said...

You've sold me - I'm going to have to buy this book now. Do you know when Eisenbrauns will have more copies?

jps said...

I was going to say we have one, but I see now that it just sold. I will order more tomorrow and it should be back in stock within a week.