Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What does it mean to be “saved”...?

'What does it mean to be “saved” in and by Christ? Now it’s tempting to make a series of sharp contrasts. It’s tempting to say that Evangelicals emphasize the Cross—Orthodox, the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Evangelicals speak of atonement by penal substitution. Orthodox think of Christ the Victor over death. Evangelicals say “Christ for me”, where the Orthodox say “Christ in me”. The Evangelicals make a distinction between justification, sanctification and glorification, although they are not separated. In Orthodoxy, there is no clear distinction here. Salvation is seen as a continuing process. In the words of Metropolitan Anthony, whom I’ve already quoted, “Conversion begins but it never ends.” Orthodox, thinking of salvation, emphasize that it is primarily theosis, deification. We become, as St. Peter says (or whoever wrote 2 Peter 1:4), “Partakers of the divine nature.” Evangelicals, it is said, in their attitude toward salvation by Christ, tend to be transactional and forensic, using legal categories; whereas, the Orthodox are more organic and therapeutic, using images of healing. Orthodox, or so it is said, put an emphasis on love as the motive for the Incarnation; where, Anselm and Calvin in the West rather stress the justice of God and his honor. Evangelicals tend to be twice born and put clear emphasis on conversion. Orthodox, on the whole, are once born, though I would certainly say that I could mark out in my life a moment of conversion to Christ that came some time before I actually joined the Orthodox Church. But for Orthodox, conversion is seen, as I’ve said, as a lifelong process.'

- Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia