Pop Quiz

Okie dokes, Sports Fans!

This, actually, as you will quickly see, covers a serious topic – one especially actively discussed among the LCMS, although but a few even understand what it is all really about, and why confusion often reigns, as well as points of comparison for those inclined toward ecumenical matters.  The article itself is a delightful read, and well worth your time.

So – to the quiz . . .

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Quote # 1

The chief New Testament reference to theosis or deification is 2 Peter 1:4: “θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως” (AV: “partakers of the divine nature”; NEB: “come to share in the very being of God). Certainly John 1723 is to the point: “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given to them, that they may be one, as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, may they be perfectly one” (NEB, upper case added). This at once suggests the divine nuptial mystery (Ephesians 5:25-32; one may compare 2:19-22 and Colossians 1:26-27), with its implied “wondrous exchange.” That the final “transfiguration” of believers into “conformity” (σύμμορφον) with Christ’s glorious body (Philippians 3:21; one may compare 1 Corinthians 15:49) has begun already in the spiritual-sacramental life of faith, is clear from “icon” texts like Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10, and especially 2 Corinthians 3:18: “thus we are transfigured into His likeness, from splendor to splendor” (τὴν αὐτὴν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα, ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν).

Quote # 2

It is worthy of note that the flesh of the Lord is not said to have been deified and made equal to God and God in respect of any change or alteration, or transformation, or confusion of nature: as Gregory the Theologian says, “Whereof the one deified, and the other was deified, and, to speak boldly, made equal to God: and that which anointed became man, and that which was anointed became God.” For these words do not mean any change in nature, but rather the oeconomical union. . . , and the permeation of the natures through one another, just as we saw that burning permeated the steel. For, just as we confess that God became man without change or alteration, so we consider that the flesh became God without change. For because the Word became flesh, He did not overstep the limits of His own divinity nor abandon the divine glories that belong to Him; nor, on the other hand, was the flesh, when deified, changed in its own nature or in its natural properties. For even after the union, both the natures abode unconfused and their properties unimpaired. But the flesh of the Lord received the riches of the divine energies through the purest union with the Word. . .

Quote # 3

As the Word became flesh, so it is certainly necessary that the flesh should also become Word. For just for this reason does the Word become flesh, in order that the flesh might become Word. In other words: God becomes man, in order that man should become God. Thus strength becomes weak in order that weakness might become strong. The Logos puts on our form and figure and image and likeness, in order that He might clothe us with His image, form, likeness. Thus wisdom becomes foolish, in order that foolishness might become wisdom, and so in all other things which are in God and us, in all of which He assumes ours in order to confer upon us His [things]. We who are flesh are made Word not by being substantially changed into the Word, but by taking it on [assumimus] and uniting it to ourselves by faith, on account of which union we are said not only to have but even to be the Word.”

The words above in the three quotes are written by three different men.  If you do any reading outside of the Small Catechism, two of the three have enough clues to identify the author.  One does not necessarily supply much of a clue.  By a process of elimination, this is ace-able.  The names of the three men are:

1.  John of Damacus

2.  Martin Luther

3.  Kurt Marquart

Comments are open if you think you have them identified. The honor system applies, since the article from which they were taken is referenced below.  If you can’t get them, you will have to read the article closely to get them.  The article shall reward you either way.

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On our scene is a discussion popping up from time to time, but one of special importance to us all – The Third Use of the Law and Sanctification.  Although the issue should be settled forever among us, given the clear exposition and explanation of Third Law found in The Formula of Concord, SD VI.  Likewise, that deals with the issue of sanctification, as do the Confessions in numerous other places.

How does that tie into “ecumenical matters?”

Not including the “partially true” quip about LCMS flocks needing to have “ecumencial discussions among themselves” – a topic of interest of late has been that of “swimming” – be it the Tiber, or the Bosporus.  For most Lutherans, the Tiber is ruled out.  We supposedly did that once, going west.   But discussions have often swirled around “going east” – and thus “swimming the Bosporus.”  A number of Pastors once in our midst have done so, to their stated delight, and likewise, to the expected stark comments from our side.  Most often – the focus of negativity on the Lutheran side is the subject of “theosis.”

The article goes into some the matter in some depth, and remarkably, from Luther’s perspective exclusively.  Could it be that our problems pinning down Third Use/Sanctification firmly, lead to a shallow understanding of theosis, one which brushes aside the ecumenical possibilities between East and West almost casually?

You be the judge.  The last quote is worth the price of admission!

*Hat Tip to “Da Abstress!”*



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