Christians confess that Christ came to save us from sin and death. But what did he save us for? One beautiful and compelling answer to this question is that God saved us for union with him so that we might become “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Pet 2:4), what the Christian tradition has called “deification.” This term refers to a particular vision of salvation which claims that God wants to share his own divine life with us, uniting us to himself and transforming us into his likeness. While often thought to be either a heretical notion or the provenance of Eastern Orthodoxy, this book shows that deification is an integral part of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and many Protestant denominations. Drawing on the resources of their own Christian heritages, eleven scholars share the riches of their respective traditions on the doctrine of deification. In this book , scholars and pastor-scholars from diverse Christian expressions write for both a scholarly and lay audience about what God created us to be: adopted children of God who are called, even now, to “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
Jared Ortiz is associate professor of religion at Hope College.
1.The Whole Christ: Deification in the Catholic Tradition Jared Ortiz
2.Eucharistic Personhood: Deification in the Orthodox Tradition Nikolaos Asproulis
3.Justification as Union and Christ’s Presence: Deification in the Lutheran Tradition Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen
4.The Gospel’s End and Our Highest Good: Deification in the Reformed Tradition Carl Mosser
5.God’s Transforming Grace: Deification in the Anabaptist Tradition Brenda Colijn
6.From Offspring of God to Sons of God: Deification in the Anglican Tradition James Salladin
7.“As Far as Our Capacity Allows”: Deification in the Baptist Tradition Myk Habets
8.The Royal Way of Love: Deification in the Wesleyan Tradition Michael Christensen
9.Theosis That Means Something: My Journey Stephen Finlan
10.Living into the Fullness of God: A Protestant Pastoral Perspective on Deification Wyndy Corbin Reuschling
11.More Than You Could Ever Imagine: A Catholic Pastoral Perspective on Deification Bernie Owens, S.J.
This erudite yet accessible book assembles an impressive array of experts from different Christian traditions to present convincing arguments for the deification of the Christian in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox thought. It will meet a pressing need on the academic level but beyond that also has the potential to nourish the Christian reader's faith.
This mature study of deification, the work of scholars who have “dug deep” to render their own tradition’s view of deification, is a both a gift and a provocation to all seeking greater unity among Christians.
The doctrine of deification has been alternately championed or impugned as a unique feature of Eastern Orthodox theology and practice. In fact, Roman Catholicism and many Protestant traditions have developed this soteriological motif from scripture as well: in various ways, they worshipfully confess how in the eternal Son, God has freely adopted a people to unite with himself in communion. This welcome volume deepens the ongoing conversation about salvation and deification in a wide range of Christian traditions.