The Fathers and Theosis
27-04-2009, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the feedback! And, now that I have a toehold on this, I think I would like to try for a fingerhold. And, I would like to share that as it relates to the three points above:
It occurs to me that I can do away with all research and consideration of the first two points here because it doesn't matter what one's conclusion is about Gregory, a Hellenistic influence, or Origenism. Whether or not these things are true just doesn't matter.
Because at the end of the day, point #3 still comes into play and regardless of how or why it is explained that these two approaches (theopoiesis and theosis) have been arrived at, these two schools of thought exist and compete.
Does this make any sense? :?: I'm not trying to cut any conversation(s) short, but more moving to the heart of the matter as I see it. As you say Marc, regardless of which doctrine one agrees with . . . to bring both "sides" into the discussion (on the first two points) would be to bring about a running in circles on the issues in the first two points above. Based on my past experience, in discussions of religious ways/systems, things that serve to primarily to explain and buttress one's own point of view, or the view or a particular group, while at the same time dismantling another's point of view, or the view of their particular group, there is not much fruit to be found or a changing of one's mindset to be experienced . . . especially as it relates to some points which are really unnecessary features.
In my mind, the heart of the matter is to be found in an understanding of point #3.
And, if any have the appetite for this, I would like to mention that these two ways, or these two approaches represent mindsets that are not unique to Orthodoxy at all. In fact, after coming to a better understanding of what is being said, and while this distinction that is being drawn here seems to be one that every Orthodox person that I have communication with has never heard of . . . what lies at the center of this distinction is a very old and well worn path in Protestantism/Evangelicalism.
In short, this is a controversy that is "old hat" to many non-Orthodox Christians from the days of the German Pietists (early 1600's) and forward. In fact, it is interesting that much of what is presented about theopoiesis (which is considered to be the ancient teaching) is exactly what is behind the charge, of some, that the ancient teaching/true doctrine of the Church was corrupted and perverted shortly after the days of the persecution of the Church ended . . . and it was only in the days of the Reformation that the true teaching of Christ and the Apostles was recovered.
So without me running out to sea with this any further . . . I think what I am wondering now falls into two categories. And, I understand that any answers provided here will contain a significant degree of subjectivity; however:
I.) Of those representing the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria who desire to bring about a correction (or even just simple awareness of the issues), in the assertion that theopoiesis and theosis are two different doctrines . . . how many of these individuals are converts, how many of these have protestant or evangelical backgrounds?
II.) After searching for a couple of weeks through my EO friends/contacts I cannot find anyone who has ever heard of this distinction that is being drawn here--they feel this is a distiction that does not exist in reality, but is an artifical separation that is politically motivated, or one that would require an inner knowledge of what is purcolating in Coptic Orthodoxy today. So, if we were to make a list of Coptic writing theologians who speak directly to the issue of the reality/validity of the charge of corruption of the doctrine of theopoeisis and the resulting doctrine of theosis . . . how many names would be on this list?
Thanks again very much Marc for your williness to discuss!
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 - Rick Henry - 27-04-2009 11:59 AM