The Bible Man Converts: Understanding Theosis

We cannot relinquish our grasp on sound doctrine because if we do we place ourselves in very perilous circumstances.

In recent days, Hanegraaff’s conversion to Orthodoxy has caused quite a stir because of the seoteriogoly of the Orthodox church. Theosis is the possibility that we can acquire, in this life, that state that we will have as resurrected, glorified persons in eternity. Evangelicals are right to have serious concerns about theosis. The process of theosis is anchored in a vague way in God’s grace. For Orthodox Christians, God is at the forefront of theosis. We need to make it clear that the New Testament has a salvific structure that the Greek Orthodox Church does not emphasis. Jesus himself, along with his apostles, are telling us that our central need is to be born again (John 3). Evangelical soteriology doesn’t boil down to one concept alone but we do not believe that our central need in life is the deification of our being.

One of the key doctrines of soteriology is union with Christ. It is not the case that we need to work our way into Christ; this is something God does. God either unites the sinner to Christ by faith or he doesn’t. If God saves us then he does unite us to Christ. If God grants you saving faith, you are kept by God and Jesus is your savior. The truth of objective salvation is that our feelings don’t really matter at all. We cannot know anyone’s heart, we are responsible as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ for preaching and teaching the truth. Theosis falls short of the biblical standard; it does not do full justice to biblical salvation. The defining note of biblical Christianity is different than the defining note of Orthodox faith. We cannot relinquish our grasp on sound doctrine because if we do we place ourselves in very perilous circumstances.

‘Bible Answer Man’¬†Converts to Orthodoxy by¬†Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra