THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR MINISTRY / 讲道的神学基
BY RAY SHERMAN ANDERSON
This is a collection of essential passages on the ministry of the church. By selecting significant sources which share a common assumption concerning the nature of theology and its methodology, the editor presents a single constent theology of ministry. The book is carefully organized to allow a thorough exploration of the different aspects of ministry. Contributors include Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hans Kng, Helmut Thielicke and Thomas F. Torrance.
Come, Creator Spirit, for Renewal, Pg 373
At this point let me plead for a reconsideration by the Reformed Church of what the Greek fathers called theosis. This is usually unfortunately translated deification, but it has nothng to do with the divinization of man any more than the Incarnation has to do with the humanization of God. Theosis was the term the Fathers used to emphasize the fact that through the Spirit we have to do with God in his utter sublimity, his sheer Godness or holiness; creatures though we are, man on earth, in the Spirit we are made to participate in saving acts that are abruptly and absolutely divine, election, adoption, regeneration or sanctification, and we participate in them by grace alone. Theosis describes man’s involvement in such a might act of God upon him that he is raised up to find the true centre of his existence not in himself but in Holy god, where he lives and moves and has his being in the uncreated but creative energy of the Holy Spirit. By theosis the Greek fathers wished to express the fact that in the new coming of the Holy Spirit we are up against God in the most absolute sense, God in his ultimate holiness or Godness.
As I understand it, this is the antithesis of the nineteenthcentury notion of the “the divine in man” which imprisons him in the depth of his own being, or of the mancentred emphasis of so many modern Protestants upon their own existential decisions or their own creative spirituality. Let us not quarrel about the word theosis, offensive though it may be to us, but follow its intention, not to allege any divinization of man but to speak of the fact that man in the weakness and lowliness of creaturely human being is by God made free for god through the power of the Creator Spirit who is not and will not be limited in his acts by man’s weakness or creaturehood or his lack of capacity. Theosis is an attempt to express the staggering significance of Pentecost as the coming from on high, from outside of us and beyond us, of divine power, or rather as the coming of Almighty God, the maker of heaven and earth, to dwell with sinful mortal man, and therefore as the emancipation of man from imprisonment in himself and the lifting of him up to partake of the living presence and saving acts of God the Creator and redeemer. Is there anything we need to regain more than this faith in the utter Godness of God the Holy Spirit?
By Thomas F. Torrance