Friday, June 22, 2007

Keeping Up Appearances

Since the beginning of this year, I have been keeping myself busy with several projects -- translating a 300-year-old (Latin, German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Old English) book, preparing two new classes for CUW's Beloit Adult Education Program, and preparing a presentation for the Augustana Ministerium -- along with trying to keep up with the two parishes I am serving. To say the least, I have been doing quite a bit of reading. As a slow reader, the amount has been daunting and at times overwhelming.

Because of this high demand, I have tried to stay clear of other issues (although they might be very important), so that I can get these other projects completed. I have not been too successful because I am a delegate to this year's LCMS convention and have been trying to make myself as informed as possible on the key issues. And then another issue has drawn me out -- the discussion of Sanctification and the Third Use of the Law.

As I have been pondering this matter, I believe another item can be thrown into the mix -- Theosis.

Theosis (deification) is a key theological issue among the Eastern Orthodox. And those who speak of theosis as the shape of the Christian life sound so much like some Lutherans who are discussing Sanctification/Third Use of the Law. I have seen some dear friends go down the path of theosis away from the primacy of justification. Likewise, in my discussions (heated arguments) with fellow confessional Lutherans, I hear some speaking of sanctification in a way that sounds like 'theosis' to such an extent that it sounds to me that they are moving away from the primacy of justification.

And so, I am planning another series of blog posts under the title "Sanctification, Third Use of the Law, and Theosis."


Fr John W Fenton said...

I've posted a reply on my blog ( because (a) I had difficulty with teh comments feature using Firefox and (b) I think you hit on a worthy topic.

Anonymous said...


As you discuss theosis, sanctification, etc..., would you please provide us with a clear definition of what Lutherans understand when they speak of the "mystical union." I'm not sure I fully understand the nature of and the parameters of this union.


Tom Fast

Anonymous said...


I mis-wrote my above request. I had two different questions in mind for you and they melded into one. Let me set one of them aside and focus on the other. The issue I hope you can offer some reflections on is the issue of the relationship between justification and our union with Christ.

Now, I realize this is your blog and that the idea of a blog is that you get to write what YOU want to write about and not what I want you to write about. Nevertheless, I am hoping that as you opine regarding Theosis/justification/Third Use, etc.., you will offer some comments relating to justification and our union with Christ.

Hope that makes more sense.

See, this is what you get when you open up your blog for comments from anyone. Wasn't it Forrest Gump who said something about life being like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get?


Tom Fast