Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ecumenical Ascesis: Giving and Taking Away with the same hand

My recent studies in philosophy of mind and consciousness have brought me back to the desert fathers.  I think they have some profound insights on depression and wholeness.  Of course, their understanding of salvation and the work of Christ is an utter disaster.  

The more friendly-minded Eastern Orthodox will say that “The Spirit is working in other Christian traditions,” and that is nice of them to say so.  However, they will also say that true healing of the nous (it’s hard to find an evangelical equivalent of that phrase.  Picture a midway point between justification and sanctification and call it salvation) can only happen within the life of the Church.

But if the Spirit is working outside the boundaries of the church, can it not be that true healing is happening there?  If so, then what of the other claim that healing of the nous can only happen within the liturgical and ascetical life of the church?

Further, what of the Evangelicals who have engaged in healing ministries?  I don’t mean specifically bodily healing, though that’s included, but healing of the psyche.  John Wimber comes to mind.  Unless one wants to say “he does it by demons,” one is forced to conclude that the power of Christ--never separated from his body--is operative in Evangelicalism.   Therefore, Evangelicals are part of the Body of Christ.  


  1. Therefore, Evangelicals are part of the Body of Christ.

    We need to go beyond this, however, and say, "Evangelicals constitute the largest part of whatever part of the Body of Christ that we see in the world today". Talk about "visible church". Eastern Orthodoxy (as well as Roman Catholicism) has given up being Christian ("heir understanding of salvation and the work of Christ is an utter disaster").

    And I don't think we need to "work our way up to that position". I think this is where we need to start. Put them in a position to prove somehow that the are still "church".

  2. John, I agree. I was simply running an internal critique.