Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 11th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Salvation from an Orthodox perspective

Anselm of Canterbury was the first to attempt ...

Anselm of Canterbury was the first to attempt an ontological argument for God’s existence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Combatting St. Anselm, since the 4th century….

Salvation is not merely a juridical change in our status from guilty under the law to justified in God’s sight (though it includes that). It is not accomplished just by the substitution or sacrifice of the wholly innocent God-man for sinful humanity. More important, a ruined, mortally wounded humanity needs to “be sanctified by the Humanity of God” in order to be restored to wholeness and perfected in God’s true likeness. First and foremost, salvation is an ontological event in our human nature that re-establishes the “original” possibility; the inherent, ingraced capacity of the human person for unobstructed communion with God.1

The bit about the “ontological event” sounds a lot like Wesley’s view that we are called to Grace in order to have free choice — that “‘original’ possibility.”

  1.  Vigen Guroian, The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010), 48–49.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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