Monday, June 28, 2010

Plug: Beyond Justification

Here is a snippet from an excellent article by Valerie A. Karras entitled, Beyond Justification.
To the Orthodox, the Western Church’s convulsions over the nature of justification, and particularly the relationship between faith and works, are largely incomprehensible because the presuppositions underlying the debates are often alien to the Eastern Christian mind. The Christian East espouses a different theological anthropology from most of Western Christianity – both Catholic and Protestant – especially with respect to two elements of fallen human nature: original guilt and free will. The differences in these two anthropological concepts, in turn, contribute to differing soteriological understandings of, respectively, how Jesus Christ saves us (that is, what salvation means) and how we appropriate the salvation offered in Christ.

Therefore, we must examine these key concepts in Orthodox anthropology and soteriology, and their nexus in Christology, vis-à-vis their counterparts in traditional Western Christian theology. This will necessarily involve comparing different traditions’ definitions and understandings of some key theological terms: sin, faith, salvation. Two contrasts recur: 1) the juridical approach of much of the West regarding sin and redemption, or restoration, versus the more existential and ontological approach of the East; and 2) the Western tendency to define, differentiate, and compartmentalize, as opposed to the Eastern tendency to theologize apophatically and, when cataphatically, primarily in a holistic and organic fashion. At the same time, some current trends are bringing the Catholic and especially the Lutheran communions closer to an Eastern Christian approach in these important areas.

Read the full article.

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