For an Evangelical Theosis: A Historical Theology of Theosis in Athanasius's De Incarnatione Verbi De
"If Protestants truly desire to have fellowship with Catholics and engage in ecumenical dialogue, integrating theosis into our atonement theories is a significant first step.
"The second major area that I believe theosis will benefit modern Evangelical theology is providing a rehabilitation for what may be potentially a flawed soteriological model. I say that it is flawed not so much because the components of the model are incorrect. Rather, it seems to me that they are incomplete."
"....it seems to me that they [their theology] are incomplete."
If theosis was never lost to Protestants and Evangelicals then why are they trying to rehabilitate their beliefs to fit with this ancient belief?
First, Mormons are berated for believing that "man can become a god." When shown that this ancient Christian doctrine is taught in the Bible we get accused of misrepresenting the Bible. When it's shown that the Church Fathers also taught this doctrine then we were accused of quoting the Church Father's in the wrong context. When shown that the Greek Orthodox have preserved this doctrine as did the Catholics only with less emphasis we are accused that their doctrine of theosis is different than our doctrine of thosis (exaltation) by using a completely different subject of the trinity to blur the issues which the Mormons do differ in this area...apples and oranges. Now we get Protestants and Evangelicals proving the claims of the Mormons and writing today on how they are missing this ancient Christian doctrine.
These quotes speak to this thought that this ancient doctrine is missing from the traditional Protestant and Evangelical Christian Churches.
…the concept of deification has been a popular one from the beginning of the Christian church. And modern writers are in fact beginning to ask why their church is not teaching it as doctrine. Lutheran scholar Robert Jenson, in an article in a Lutheran journal on the very topic of theosis, concludes by asking:“Perhaps the question has at least become a bit more urgent: The patristic church proclaimed deification; why do not we?”(Robert W. Jenson,“Theosis,” in Dialog: A Journal of Theology 32 (St. Paul, Minn: 1993): 108-112, at page 112.)
Robert Rakestraw, writing in the journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, after covering some of the evidence from the Greek fathers, as well as from Luther, and Charles Wesley, then writes:“Perhaps the most obvious deficiency is the terminology itself. To speak of divinization, deification, and human beings ‘becoming God’ seems to violate the historic Christian understanding of the essential qualitative distinction between God and the creation…. The strengths of theosis theology outweigh these weaknesses, however. The most significant benefit is that the concept as a whole, if not the specific terminology, is Biblical.”(Rakestraw, op. cit., 266-7.)
It's perfectly ironic that Protestants and Evangelicals today are now beginning to reach back into their own history to show that they have indeed "had" a past in the belief of theosis in their theological tradition that "man can become god." It's unfortunate that this has been one of the issues anti-Mormons have used to berat the LDS Church as a false gospel.
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