The liturgical books used in Orthodox worship are replete with references tothe redemptive work of Christ on Calvary. Most Western Christians areaccustomed to catechisms, and while they do not play as great a role inOrthodoxy, they nonetheless exist, and easily provide corroboration of this.For example, in
A New Style Catechism on the Eastern Orthodox Faith for Adults
, after quoting 1 John 2:2—
‘He is the expiation of our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world’
"The Sacrifice of Christ is offered because of His love for mankind. Hereplaced the penalties of man, and by His Sacrifice reconciled man withGod. Man’s finite mind cannot comprehend the ‘economy’ of this God- saving deed, which remains a mystery of the ages in that the highest penaltywas imposed on the Innocent One instead of the guilty."
Orthodoxy, in discussions of redemption, employs many other salvificmetaphors besides theosis, and in doing so follows an eclectic approach thatwas operative in the early Church. Evangelical Professor and scholar DanielClendenin offers some much needed corrective to the distorted picture given by some Evangelical commentators:"Theosis and other biblical metaphors for the work of Christ need not beunderstood as contradicting one another. There is no reason that they cannot be seen as complementary. The East emphasises the crucial idea of mysticalunion and divine transformation, while the West tends to stress the believer’s juridical standing before a holy God. Both conceptions, andothers beside, find biblical support and deserve full theological expression."
Christian themes of theosis and justification not only are not mutuallyexclusive, but in fact flow one from the other.
Despite the fact that "Deification, as God’s greatest gift to man and theultimate goal of human existence, had always been a prime consideration inthe teachings of the Church Fathers on salvation,"
one could read someEvangelical theologians and commentators and remain unaware that the
Mastrantonis, George, A New-Style Catechism on the Eastern Orthodox Faith for Adults. The OLOGOSMission, 1969, p. 90.
Clendenin, Daniel, Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective. Baker Books, 1994, p. 159.
Mantzaridis, Georgios I., The Deification of Man. SVS Press, 1984, p. 12.