Category Archives: Grace, Justification & Theosis

The Scandalous Injustice of Grace: St Isaac the Syrian and Pope John Paul II

Back in 2008, “60 Minutes” interviewed the Boston button man John Martorano. The inter­view is unsettling. In a quiet, detached, matter-of-fact tone, Martorano describes the twenty confessed murders he committed during his years as an enforcer for the Winter Hill … Continue reading

Posted in Grace, Justification & Theosis, Isaac the Syrian, Preaching | 26 Comments

The Nothing of Grace and the Apokatastasis of Justification by Faith

My adult Christian life, both pre- and post-seminary, has been marked by theological pas­sions. Holy Trinity, Incarnation, Eucharist, feminist language for divinity, ecclesial authority—at any given point in time these topics have captured and monopolized my intellect. I would buy … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology, Grace, Justification & Theosis, Preaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Baptized into the Eschatological In-between

For in Christ Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by … Continue reading

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Grace Ain’t Cheap–It’s Free!

When pastors become troubled by the pre­sence of so many nominal believers in their congregations, they typically begin to preach Bonhoeffer’s distinction between cheap and costly grace: “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus … Continue reading

Posted in Grace, Justification & Theosis, Preaching | 18 Comments

Becoming a New Creation with the Apostle Paul

Shortly after I graduated from seminary, I “tried on,” if you will, the penal substitutionary view of atonement as articulated in the writings of J. I. Packer. Some of you may have read his classic book Knowing God. I read … Continue reading

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Justified by Salvation History: Israel, Covenant and the Apostle Paul

An increasing number of biblical scholars are finding the justification by faith model (JF) unpersuasive as a way to understand the theology of the Apostle Paul. This first came to my attention early in my seminary education (back in the … Continue reading

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Justifying Justification by Faith

Let’s assume that integrating justification by faith into a comprehensive understanding of salvation would be a constructive and positive thing for Eastern theology to do. I can think of several reasons why: Justification is an important theme in the New … Continue reading

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Eastern Orthodoxy and the Apostle Paul: Where is Justification by Faith?

Where is justification by faith in Orthodox theology and preaching? Absolutely nowhere at all. It just doesn’t make an appearance. It’s a curious omission, given the importance of justification by faith in the epistles of the Apostle Paul. How does … Continue reading

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