Tag Archives: Eastern Orthodoxy

the divine feminine: a trinitarian perspective: a series

Let’s be upfront. There’s probably no way for me to write a series like this and not be called the dreaded “H” word: “heretic.” Earlier this year, fellow Southern Baptist Owen Strachan farewelled Rachel Held Evans for a post she WROTE TWO YEARS AGO. I really don’t expect Strachan and the like to change their views. However, there are a lot of Christians who are earnestly seeking to partake in the larger tradition of historic Christianity. Orthodox historic Christianity does NOT BEGIN AND END with The United States of America.

What I am looking for in a Trinitarian theology is a theology that includes both Western and Eastern Christianity, that can reconcile the two, as well as witness to the reconciliation that Christ has brought between men and women.

Now, there are some Christian writers that claim that people who refer to God as She/Her have left orthodox Nicene-Chalcedonian Christianity altogether. Is there a theological surplus that makes room in Nicea-Chalcedon that makes room to discuss the divine feminine? Also, what are the trajectories and ethical implications of including the divine feminine in our liturgical practices and sermons? This I will discuss and more in dialogue with early Christian communities and church historians.

Here is the order of the plan series:

the divine feminine: God the Father

the divine feminine: God the Son

the divine feminine: God the Holy Spirit

the divine feminine: Trajectories and Ethics

the divine feminine: Conclusion

Patristics Carnival XXXIV: Easter Edition

Patristics Carnival XXXII

Happy Glorious Resurrection Day everyone! And what better way to celebrate Easter and our Risen Savior than the return of the ONLY blog carnival that highlights the Church Fathers and the apostolic tradition?

Miscellanies

Speaking of Easter, Bible Belt Catholic (Fr. James Melnick) shared a portion of an Easter homily by Athanasius of Alexandria.

Jim West pointed us to a book on Philip Melanchton’s reception of the Greek Fathers.

William Weedon (not to be confused with Joss Whedon!) shared some of his favorite quotes from John Chrystosom, Leo the Great, and St. Ambrose: here, here, here, and here.

Gabe Martini did a book review of On The Divine Liturgy (Popular Patristics Series)

Nathan A. Finn informed us of Southeastern Seminary’s new PhD program in Historical Theology, which will include researching the Church Fathers.

Tom and Dwayne hosted a guest post by Father Al on Open Theism and the Church Fathers’ commitment to God’s ineffability.

E Lawrence of Woman In Theology wrote a post on Teresa Of Avila and spirituality.

Father Antonio Kaldas posted part 7 and part 8 of his Being Orthodox series: Apostolic and Patristic and Connecting Past, Present and Future

Mike Skinner has aMaundy Thursday reflection with Cyril of Alexandria as well as a post on theological interpretation, Cyril and Luke 10:23-24.

A Patristic Explanation of the Symbolic Imagery of the Coming Judgement By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

What Do You Know About The Gnostics?

This all started with Larry Hurtado making claims that the Gnostics were goofy heretics, not intellectuals. April DeConick made the case that the Gnostics weren’t really outliers of ancient thought, but serious thinkers. Larry Hurtado replied to her post. Phillip Tite add his viewpoint on the topic as a social historian. Adam Kotsko asked if we lost the term “Gnostic” to heretics because of anti-Marcionite struggles. Wayne Coppins also wrote a post on Gnostic teachers.

(Honestly, for what it’s worth, I am of the impression the term “Gnostic” was a fluid term, used for “mystic”: for more see Joel Watts‘s Praying in God’s Theater: Meditations on the Book of Revelation

What You Say About Jesus Having a Wife Now?

The New York Times tells us that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife isn’t a fake, but really really old. April DeConick hopes that the fragment is a remain from a Valentinian Gnostic community. Katie asks why are people freaking out about all of this. Micael Grenholm asks why are people believing this document over the Gospels which are way older.

Other News and Notes of Interest:

In September of this year, St. Andrews’ Patristic Symposium will happen the 26th and 27th and the topic will be “From Alexandria to Cappadocia and Back Again”.

Elissa reflected on what it’s like to be called to do historical theology.

Charles A. Sullivan has revised Origen On The Dogma of Tongues.

Roger Pearse shares an account of the fall of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria

Joel Willits wants us to add The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity to our personal libraries.

Divorce and Remarriage

Cardinal Walter Kasper gave a speech challenging the rules about denying Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried. Some responses included references to the Patristics such as the notion of Confession as a life raft. Father John Zuhlsdorf offered his insights.

On This Here Blog, from Yours Truly:

A few posts on Clement of Alexandria, his take on Romans 8, the Parable of the Shining Pearl, and Christus Victor Atonement in Clement’s theology. I also added a post on James Cone and the Church Fathers, and the first 2 of 3 posts on my Race-ing Towards Nicea series: Part 1 on the Incarnation, and Part 2 on Constantine and W.E.B. DuBois.

Well, that’s all for this Patristics Carnival; the next Patristics Carnival will be held on or around June 8th during the day of Pentecost and hosted by Jonathan.

And don’t forget Jonathan’s Ancient Languages Blog Carnival which has a deadline of April 30th.

The Good Shepherd: Clement and Christus Victor

I have mentioned briefly on here the work of Gustav Aulen, and while I concede he needed more biblical exegesis for his case for Christus Victor, and a tighter grip on Church history, overall, I think he was right. Right smack dab in the middle of Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, Aulen only briefly mentions the image of God as the Good Shepherd rescuing the sheep from the three big bad wolves named Sin, Death, and Satan. At the same time, Aulen dismisses Clement of Alexandria as a theologian who dwelled too much on philosophy and not enough on atonement. This is why Aulen stakes his claims with Athanasius of Alexandria.

This may have been an error on Aulen’s part because the prevailing metaphor for Clement when it comes to the LORD’s sacrifice for us is the biblical image of The Good Shepherd.  For example:

“But it has been God’s fixed and constant purpose to save the flock of men: for this end the good God sent the good Shepherd.  And the Word, having unfolded the truth to men the height of salvation, that either repenting they might be saved, or refusing to obey, they might be judged.  this is the proclamation of righteousness: to those that obey, glad tidings; to those that disobey, judgment.  The loud trumpet, when sounded, collects soldiers, and proclaims war.  And shall not Christ, breathing a strain of peace to the ends of the earth, gather together His own soldiers, the soldiers of peace? He has gathered the bloodless host of peace, and assigned to them the kingdom of heaven.  The trumpet of  Christ is His Gospel.”

– Clement of Alexandria, Sermon to the Greeks, Chapter 11

Or consider this other example:

” ‘All Wisdom is from the Lord, and with Him forevermore’;—with authority of utterance, for He is God and Creator: ‘For all things were made by Him, and without Him not anything made [John 1:3]–and with benevolence, for He alone Himself a sacrifice for us; ‘For the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep;'[John 10:11] and He has so given it.  Now, benevolence is nothing but wishing to  do good to one’s neighbor for his sake. “

-Clement of Alexandria, The Pedagogue (The Instructor/Educator), Book 1, Chapter 11

Now, there are well-meaning Christians who remain skeptical about Christus Victor because of the little work done on it, plus its rise in popularity.  If something seems like it’s new or something ancient that is recovered, I would say there should be criticism, especially with very few works that focus on Scripture and Christus Victor atonement. The thing about Penal substitution is not that it is violent in God’s wrath towards us, but that it makes our human depravity the center of the doctrine rather than God’s goodness.  PSA translates very well into US American Christianity and our self-centered individualism.  What I am seeing in Clement of Alexandria’s atonement theology is that the doctrine that is founded on God’s benevolence, and making our Good Lord Jesus Christ the Center.

“As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

– Ezekiel 34:12 (NRSV)