© John S. Romanides
- [ A paper delivered during W. C. C. Orthodox Consultation Damascus, 5-9 February 1982.
“Jesus Christ-The Life of the World” was publised in English Finland in XENIA OECUMENICA VOL. 39, pp. 232-278. ]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Christ in the Old Testament and the Ecumenical Councils
- Initiation into the Life and into all the Truth of Christ by the Spirit of Truth on Pentecost
- Diagnosis and Therapy
- The Body of Christ
- Prophesying and Theologizing
- Implications and Conclusions
The primary purpose of faith in and theology and dogma about Christ and His relation to the Father and the Holy Spirit is to lead humanity:
- to the purification and illumination of the heart, i.e. the therapy of the center of human personality, and
- to glorification (theosis), which is the perfection of personhood. In the vision of the uncreated glory and rule (vasileia) of Christ in and among His saints, the members of His Body, the Church. Faith, prayer, theology, and dogma are the therapeutical methods and signposts on the road of illumination to perfection which, when reached, abolishes faith, prayer, theology, and dogma, since the final goal of these is their abolishment in glorification and selfess love (1 Cor. 13, 8, 10).
The subject “Jesus Christ – The Life of the World” is, therefore, primarily and essentially therapeutic and perfectionist in nature, and in this sense ecclesiological. Only the illumined and glorified are members of the Body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. In this respect purification and illumination have some parallels in the therapeutical sciences, especially psychiatry, but glorification (theosis) is known and preserved only at the core of the Christian tradition and possibly in Judaism also. They are related to the social sciences not as an ethical or moral principles, but as therapeutic asceticism. As one cannot separate psychiatric knowledge from practice, similarly faith, prayer, theology, and dogma cannot be separated from their therapeutical application. As one cannot transform psychiatric knowledge into an abstract or metaphysical system, in the same way one cannot do this with the Orthodox tradition either. The relationship between knowledge and therapy is about the same for patristic theology as it is for medical science. Truth is measured by the success of therapy, and successful therapy establishes the descriptive analysis of the ways and means it was and is accomplished.
We shall deal with our subject under the following headings: a) Christ in the Old Testament and the Ecumenical Councils, b) Initiation into the Life and into all the Truth of Christ by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, c) Diagnosis and Therapy, d) The Body of Christ, e) Prophesying and Theologizing, and f) Implications and Conclusions.
- Christ in the Old Testament and the Ecumenical Councils
There is an essential aspect Of the theological presuppositions of all Ecumenical Councils concerning the Person of Christ which is either missing or has been rejected by those following Augustine. This raises the question of whether those who do so really accept these Councils.
With the sole exception of Augustine, the Fathers maintain that Jesus Christ, before His birth from the Virgin Theotokos, in His uncreated Person of the Angel of God, Angel of the Great Council, the Lord of Glory, the Lord Sabaoth, is He who revealed God in Himself to the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. Both the Arians and Eunomians agreed that it was Christ who did this in His person or hypostasis which existed before the creation of the ages, but they insisted that He was created from non-being and is therefore not of the same nature (consubstantial or co-essential) with God, who is alone truly God by nature.
In order to prove their points the Arians and Eunomians argued, as did the Jew Trypho with Justin Martyr, that it was not the Angel of the Lord in the burning bush who said “I am He Who Is” (Ex. 3, 14), but God Himself by means of the created Logos Angel. The Fathers insisted that the Angel-Logos revealed this about Himself also, and not only about God. The Angel of the Lord spoke in His own right also when to Moses He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 3, 6).
Against the Arians St. Athanasius argues that the name ‘angel’ is sometimes applied to the uncreated Logos and sometimes to a created angel. He insists that there can be no confusion on whether one sees a created angel or the uncreated Son of God sometimes called ‘angel’ in the Old Testament. He insists that “when the Son is seen, so is the Father, for He is the Father’s radiance; and thus the Father and the Son are one… What God speaks, it is very plain He speaks through the Logos and not through another… And he who hath seen the Son, knows that, in seeing Him, he has seen, not an angel, nor one merely greater than angels, nor in short any creature, but the Father Himself. And he who hears the Logos, knows that he hears the Father; as he who is irradiated by the radiance, knows that he is enlightened by the sun (Against Arians III, 12-14). As a key to the Old and New Testaments, St. Athanasius states that “there is nothing that the Father operates except through the Son…” (Ibid. III, 12).
This means that the Old Testament is Christo-centric since Christ is the pre-incarnate Angel of the Lord and of the Great Council, the Lord of Glory, and the Lord Sabaoth in Whom the patriarchs and prophets see and hear God and through Whom they receive grace, succor, and forgiveness.
That the Orthodox and Arians agreed that it was the Angel-Logos Who appeared to and revealed God to the prophets and the very same person who became man and the Christ should be taken very seriously as the key to understanding the decisions of the First and subsequent Ecumenical Councils. It is important to realize that the Orthodox and Arians were not arguing speculatively over an abstract Second Person of the Holy Trinity whose identity and nature one allegedly deciphered by mulling over biblical passages with the help of Hellenistic philosophy and the Holy Spirit. What they were discussing was the spiritual experience of the prophets and apostles; specifically whether it is a created or uncreated Logos who appears in glory to them and reveals in Himself as Image God the Father as Archetype.
Because the Eunomians held the same positions as the Arians on the appearances of the allegedly created Logos-Angel to the prophets, this same discussion was carried to the Second Ecumenical Council, St, Basil the Great with a bit of loss of patience accosts Eunomius as follows: You atheist, are you not going to cease calling Him who is really He Who Is – the source of life, the one who gives to all that exist their being – non-being? Him who found, when giving an audience to His own servant Moses, His proper and meet appellation for His eternity, naming Himself ‘He Who Is.’ For He said ‘I am He Who Is. And that these things were said by the Person of the Lord no one will gainsay; that is, no one who does not have the Jewish covering lying over against his heart in the reading of Moses (2 Cor. 3. 15). For it is written, that an angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in fire of flame from the bush (Ex. 3, 2). Whereas the Scripture presents in the narrative an angel, the voice of God follows: ‘He said to Moses, I am the God of your father Abraham’ (Ex. 3, 6). And a bit later again, ‘I am He Who Is.’ Who then is He Himself both angel and God? Therefore, is it not He about whom we learned, that He is called ‘the Angel of the Great Council’? (Is. 9, 6).” After summarizing the same observations about the encounter between the Angel-Logos and Jacob, which one finds in St. Athanasius the Great and the earlier Fathers, St. Basil gives expression to the same interpretative principle as we saw in the bishop of Alexandria. It is clear to all, that wherever the same person is called both angel and God, it is the Only-Begotten who is declared, who manifests Himself to human beings from generation to generation and announces the will of the Father to His saints. Thus He who to Moses gave Himself the name ‘He Who Is,’ is to be thought of as none other than God the Logos, who in the beginning is with God (John l. I – 2)’ (Refutation Of Eunomius Apology II, 18). Eunomius answered these arguments of Basil by claiming that the Son is the angel of “Him Who Is” but not “He Who Is Himself. This angel is called god to show his superiority over all the things created by him, but this does not mean that he is He Who Is. Thus Eunomius claims that, He who sent Moses was Himself He Who Is, but he by whom He sent and spake was the angel of Him Who Is, and the god of all else (Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius XI. 3).
The sophistic subtlety of the argument may seem strange but it is nevertheless important as a witness to the fact that the identity of the Angel, called God in the Old Testament, with Christ, the OnlyBegotten Son of God and Creator, was so entrenched in the tradition that the Eunomians could never think of getting rid of it as Augustine, a younger contemporary, was about to do in North Africa in spite of the fact his alleged teacher Ambrose and all the rest of the Western Fathers agreed with the tradition herein described.
St. Basil could not reply to Eunomius answers to his arguments since he had passed away, so his brother Gregory did so in his twelve books Against Eunomius which he communicated to St. Jerome during the Second Ecumenical Council in 381.
St. Gregory among other things argues that “if Moses begs that the people may not be led by an angel (Ex. 33, 15; 34, 9), (which God had announced He would send to lead His people to freedom; Ex. 32, 34; 33, 2) and if He who was discoursing with him consents to become his fellow-traveler and the guide of the army (Ex. 33, 17), it is hereby manifestly shown that He who made Himself known by the title ‘He Who Is’ is the Only-Begotten God. If anyone gainsays this, he will show himself to be a supporter of the Jewish persuasion in not associating the Son with the deliverance of the people. For if, on the one hand, it was not an angel that went forth with the people, and if, on the other, as Eunomius would have it, He Who was manifested by the name of ‘He Who Is’ is not the Only-Begotten, this amounts to nothing less than transferring the doctrines of the synagogue to the Church of God. Accordingly, of the two alternatives they must needs admit one, namely either that the OnlyBegotten God on no occasion appeared to Moses, or that the Son is Himself ‘He Who Is,’ from whom the word came to His servant. But he contradicts what has been said above, alleging the Scripture itself (Ex. 3, 2) which informs us that the voice of an angel was interposed and that it was thus that the discourse of ‘He Who Is’ was conveyed. This, however, is no contradiction but a confirmation of our view. For we too say plainly, that the prophet, wishing to make manifest to men the mystery concerning Christ, called ‘Him Who Is, an ‘Angel,’ that the meaning of the words might not be referred to the Father, as it would have been if the title ‘He Who Is’ alone had been found throughout the discourse (Against Eunomius, XI, 3).
These passages from mainstay Fathers of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils should be sufficient indications that for the Council Fathers the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was identical to the appearances of Christ the Logos without flesh to the prophets and in His human nature to the apostles. No one within the tradition, except for Augustine, ever doubted this identity of the Logos with this concrete Individual who revealed in Himself the invisible God of the Old Testament to the prophets and who became man and continued this same revelation of God’s glory in and through His own human nature taken from the Virgin.
The controversy between the Orthodox and Arians/Eunomians was not about who the Logos is in the Old and New Testaments, but about what the Logos is and what His relationship is to God the Father. The Orthodox maintained that the Logos is uncreated and unchangeable having always existed from the essence or hypostasis of the Father who eternally and by nature causes His Son’s existence before the Ages. The Arians and Eunomians insisted that this same Angel-Logos is a changeable creation of God who derives His existence before the Ages from non-being not by God’s nature but by His will.
Thus the basic question was, did the prophets and apostles see in God’s uncreated glory (Orthodox and Arians) or created energy (Eunomians) an uncreated or a created Logos, a Logos who is God by nature and has therefore all the energies and powers of God by nature or a God by grace, who has some but not all the energies of God the Father and then only by grace and not by nature. Both Orthodox and Arians/Eunomians agreed in principle that if the Logos has every power and energy of the Father by nature then He is uncreated, if not He is then a creature.
The question at issue was the experiences of revelation or glorification or theosis which God gives in His Spirit through His Logos Angel-Christ to the prophets. apostles, and saints. These experiences or these lives of saints are recorded primarily in the Bible but also in the post-biblical continuation of Pentecost in the Body of Christ, the Church. Therefore, both sides appealed to the Fathers of all ages, beginning with their lives recorded in Genesis and extending to their own day. They could not agree on the authority of the witnesses of their own time, but they did have a common ground of debate in the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as in the earlier patristic tradition.
Thus Orthodox and heretics use both the Old and New Testaments indiscriminately in order to prove whether the prophets and apostles saw a created or uncreated divine hypostasis or person of Christ. The argumentation is simple. Both sides make a list of all the powers and energies of God recorded in the Bible. They do the same for the Angel-Logos- Only-Begotten Son. Then they compare them to see if they are identical or not. They must not be simply similar but identical.
Both Orthodox and Arians fully agreed with the inherited tradition of the Old Testament witnessed to by the apostles and saints to whom God reveals His glory in His incarnate Son that creatures cannot know the uncreated essence of God, and that between the uncreated and the created ex nihilo there is no similarity whatsoever. Thus, in order to prove that the Logos is a creature, the Arians argued that He knows neither the essence of God nor His own essence and is not in all respects similar to God. The Orthodox argued that the Logos does know the essence of the Father and is in every respect similar to the Father, having all that the Father has by nature except Fatherhood or the being the cause of the existence of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Orthodox and Arians were in agreement that what God is in Himself by nature and what He is or does by will are not identical, but they differed sharply in the application of this distinction between the divine essence and will or energy. Thus the Orthodox argued that God causes the existence of the Logos by nature and the existence of creatures by will, whereas the Arians argued that both the Logos and all other creatures are products of the divine will.
Against these positions the Eunomians argued that the essence and uncreated energy of God are identical, that the Logos is a product of a created energy of God, that the Holy Spirit is the product of a created energy of the Logos and that each created species is a product of separate or distinct created energies of the Holy Spirit. If each species did not have its individual energy of the Holy Spirit, there would be only one created species and not many, according to Eunomius.
Eunomius is here actually mimicking in his own way the biblical and patristic witness to glorification Wherein each creature partakes and each saint communes with the Logos who is present to each by indivisibly multiplying His uncreated glory which is in toto, and not as part to each. present to and in each, as taught by Christ (John 14, 2-23) and experienced in Pentecost (Acts 2, 3-4) and which bears in the Logos both the Father and the Holy Spirit. This means that there are no unversals in God and that God sustains not only species but every single part of existence in all its multiple forms. Thus the individual is never sacrificed by Christ for a supposedly common good. but at the same time the common good is the good of each individual. As a result of the mystery of the Ascension of Christ in His own proper glory and His return to His disciples in the Spirit of glory in Pentecost, He is now all of Him present to and in each in the states of’ illumination and glorification (theosis). For this reason each communicant of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist receives not a part of Christ, but the whole human nature of Christ which since Pentecost multiplies itself indivisibly in each member of His Body. Thus by partaking of the eucharistic bread, which is one, and the cup, which is one, each member of the Body of Christ receives not part but the Whole Christ and becomes what he already is, a temple (naos) or a mansion (moni) of the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Logos Incarnate in common with the other members of Christ’s Body.[ Return ]
- Initiation into the Life and into all the Truth of Christ by the Spirit of Truth on Pentecost
All the distinctions developed and refined during the debates revolving around the First and Second Ecumenical Councils were carried through to all subsequent Ecumenical Councils, which in reality were extensions of the First. Their terminological expressions, however, must not be separated from their terminological presuppositions. There may be variety in terminological expressions but not in terminological presuppositions.
The terminological presuppositions of theological expression are to be found in the spiritual states of 1) the purification of the heart, 2) the illumination of the heart, and 3) the glorification or theosis of the heart and the whole being of the one to whom the Logos appears in His Spirit and in Himself reveals His Father. He who by the Spirit sees Christ in glory sees the Father. This experience is the cornerstone of the doctrinal formulations in the patristic tradition.
We have quoted some patristic passages which show clearly that the Fathers of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils took the inherited tradition for granted that in their experiences of glorification they, the prophets, apostles, and saints had a real vision of God in His uncreated Angel-Logos before and after His incarnation. Christ revealing the uncreated glory or rule (vasileia) of the Father as His own natural glory during His Transfiguration, e.g. to His three disciples in the presence of Moses and Elijah, is a repetition of the same appearances of Christ as Lord of Glory in the Old Testament but now through His human nature. St. Peter’s blunder in offering to pitch tents for the event (one for Christ, one for Elijah, and one for Moses) in imitation of the tent of witness in which Moses communicated with God’s glory was due to the fact that the human nature of Christ had itself replaced Moses’s tent of witness and the temple of Solomon and made them redundant, and that Christ Himself is the one who reveals His glory which He has by nature from the Father.
According to the Fathers of the Church, the discourse and prayer of Christ recorded in john 13,31-17,26, including the promise that when the Spirit of Truth comes “He…will guide you to all the Truth” (16, 13) were fulfilled in Pentecost which became the continuous experience of those whο since have joined the communion of those glorified.
This does not mean that the prophets had not been led to the Truth, nor that the apostles had not been led to the Truth, some by illumination, others by glorification also, but that the apostles were about to be led to all the Truth in the Pentecostal revelation. In no way did this mean that a church would be led in stages to either a fuller understanding of all the truth or to the restoration or creation of unity among disunited churches. Christ’s discourse about and prayer for unity is for the unity of the apostles and the faithful in the experience of glorification, i.e. vision of the uncreated glory of the Holy Trinity in the human nature of Christ (John 17, 24) bestowed in its fullness for now in the Pentecostal experience.
Pentecostal glorification followed the stages of purification and illumination of the disciples of Christ as clearly reflected in the Synoptic and Johannine gospel traditions. The state of illumination is that in which selfish love is transformed into selfless love and prepares the disciples to see in Christ the divinity of the Holy Trinity as glory and not as consuming fire. The acquisition of the gift of selfless love is a precondition of being led into all the truth by the Spirit of Christ. This means that doctrine and spirituality are inseparably united at the stages of purification and illumination. At the stage of glorification, however, doctrine or knowledge about God is replaced by the uncreated reality it serves to point to but cannot express.
St. Gregory the Theologian, who appeals to his own experience of glorification in refuting the Eunomian claim that man can conceive the essence of God ( Theological Oration II,3) makes this point very clearly. He points out that Plato claims that it is difficult to conceive God, but to express Him in words is an impossibility. Gregory disagrees emphasizing that “it is impossible to express Him, and yet, more impossible to conceive Him. For that which may be conceived may perhaps be made clear by language, if not fairly well, at any rate imperfectly”, ( Theological Oration II, 4). This means that to conceive and express God is not only impossible to nonbelievers but even to the friends of God who have reached either illumination or glorification. God remains a mystery even when seen.
Nevertheless, those who reach illumination and glorification do use concepts and words in speaking about God. Indeed these words and concepts are inspired by the experience of glorification. Spiritual fathers use words and concepts to lead others via purification to illumination as the prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself had done. However, to use these words and concepts as mean of speculating philosophically about God is to misuse both, and automatically leads to error which cuts one off from the possibility of being purified in heart and reaching illumination. This misuse of concepts and words about God is the source of all heresy.
Pietistical or philosophical meditation on the Bible and biblical criticism conducted within such frames of reference are deadend streets which do not lead to the realities pointed to by Christ in both Old and New Testaments. The Bible is not revelation or the Word of God, but about these. Revelation and the Word of God are communicated to humans only via purification in the states of illumination and especially glorification or theosis, wherein Pentecost is carried from generation to generation as the foundation and pivotal point of apostolic tradition and succession.
In the Old Testament we have the appearances of God to the prophets in His Angel-Logos who continues in His incarnate state to appear in glory to certain of the apostles, e.g. during His Transfiguration. He explains to His disciples that in a little while they shall no longer see Him for He must go to the Father but in a little while they will again see Him (John 16, 11, 16-33). This was preliminarily fulfilled in the post-resurrection appearances of Christ to His disciples, appearances in which the world at large could not participate. Then we have His final disappearance In His Ascension and His reappearance in Pentecost in the Holy Spirit who since then forms all of Christ in each of the disciples and faithful who had become and become reconciled with Christ and friends of God (John 16, 27), having passed the state of being slaves (John 15, l4-15). The Pauline term for the Church as the Body of Christ is the result of the new manner in which Christ’s human nature participates in the mystery of the presence of God in His Angel-Logos to the illumined and glorified by His multiplying Himself indivisibly in His glory. Thus since Pentecost the human nature of Christ is also multiplied indivisibly so that it is in toto present in each of the reconciled friends of God. This is exactly what Christ explained would happen in John 14, 23. Thus each friend of God becomes the bearer of the whole Body of Christ and at the same time all the friends of God are one Body of Christ gathered in the same place (epi to afto) sharing in one bread and one cup. This is the Mystery of the Church established in Pentecost and all the truth that Christ promised that the Paraclete will lead His friends to. Thus the Body of Christ is being built up by the addition of the illumined and glorified of each generation until the consummation.
Before the death and resurrection of Christ even those glorified, like the patriarchs and prophets, died both a physical and spiritual death and awaited their spiritual and physical resurrection – what the Fathers call first and second resurrections. Spiritual death is either not to see the glory of God or to see this same glory as the consuming fire and outer darkness of hell. The first resurrection is to have permanent and uninterrupted vision of creation in God’s glory in Christ, as is the case with the communion of saints the other side of death ever since the death and resurrection of Christ. They have consummated their marriage to Christ which will be completed by the general resurrection and restoration of all. On this side of death the faithful are engaged to be united permanently with the glory of Christ. They have the αρραβώνα του Πνεύματος, the peldge of the Spirit in their hearts (2 Cor. l, 22, 5, 5; Eph. l, 14). There can be no reconciliation apart from the Mystery of the Cross which in turn is identical to glorification. No one can become a friend of God unless he voluntarily takes up his own cross and follows Christ. To be glorified means to be crucified, which in turn means to have the power of God transform selfish and self-centered love into the God-like love which does not seek its own. This reconciliation of man to God was operative in the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles before the crucifixion because they participated in the Mystery of the Cross. For this reason they became friends of God and received the gift of boldness to argue with God on behalf of the salvation of others.
The Mystery of the Cross is the uncreated reconciliatory power of God which cures the ills of those who are willing to undergo treatment in obedience unto death to the will of God the Logos, the giver of the law to Moses and of the beatitudes to the apostles. The voluntary crucifixion of the Lord of Glory is the complete but not the only manifestation in history of the power of the Mystery of the Cross. Each glorification of a friend of God both before and after the crucifixion of Christ is also a manifestation of the power of this Mystery. (On the Mystery of the Cross, justification, and reconciliation, see my “Original Sin” (in Greek). Athens, 1957, pp. 60-91, especially 82ff.)[ Return ]
- Diagnosis and Therapy
The patristic tradition was obliged to use the philosophical language of its times in order to make itself understood and in order to combat heretical distortions of the Church’s tradition. This does not, however, mean that philosophy was used in order to understand the teachings of Christ. In any case, the Fathers rejected abstract speculations about God and His relation to creation and insisted on the empirical approach to union with God by means of the cleansing and illumination of the heart. It is within this context that their terms praxis (action, deed) and theoria (vision) are to be understood. This is not the medieval western distinction between the active and contemplative life. Praxis is the cleansing of the heart and theoria is the vision of glory that the heart has either by the inner faith of illumination or by glorification or theosis. Theosis is the vision of God’s glory in Christ. Theosis is not illumination nor simply participation in the Holy Eucharist as some Orthodox today seem to think.
These distinctions presuppose the fact that the heart and not the intellect is the center of spirituality and the place where the theologian is formed and also the fact that the heart does not usually function properly. Those whose hearts only pump blood naturally think that the brain and the nervous system are the centers of man’s awareness and analysis of one’s internal and external relations to realities, so that when they read how in the Old and New Testaments the heart seems to be taken as such a center, they naturally conclude that this is so because of primitive and inaccurate understanding. However, the Orthodox tradition is aware that the heart, besides pumping blood, is, when conditioned properly, the place of communion with God by means of unceasing prayer, i.e. unceasing memory of God. The words of Christ, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5, B), are taken very seriously because they have been fulfilled in all those who were graced with glorification both before and after the Incarnation.
Pastoral theology and dogmatic theology are for the Fathers one identical reality and are learned properly when the intellect or reason observes the actions of the Holy Spirit in the heart and works toward the expulsion of thoughts, both good and bad, which do not belong there, and their replacement by only the unique thought-prayer-memory of God (monologistos efchi).
In time some Fathers gave the name νούς (nous) to the faculty of the soul which operates within the heart when restored to normal and reserved the names λόγος (logos) and διάνοια (dianoia) for the intellect and reason, or for what many would today call the brain and its nervous system. Other Fathers would include the praying function of the heart under the term νούς (nous) which then also includes the intellectual and rational functions of the soul centered in the brain. In order to avoid confusion, we use the terms noetic faculty and noetic prayer to designate the activity of the νούς (nous) in the heart called νοερά ευχή (noera efchi).
Prayer in the heart can become unceasing, whereas prayer lodged in the intellect or brain operates by decision of the one praying and at times chosen by him. The one with this gift of unceasing prayer in the heart prays also with his mind or intellect when he prays with others and for others in their presence and for their edification. He literally at such times prays himself with his intellect and at the same time prays in his heart with the Spirit, with the Pentecostal tongue or word given to him by God in Christ. The one is man’s prayer to God, the other the prayer of the Holy Spirit in Christ to God in him. St. Paul takes such a double prayer for granted as a normal phenomenon in the Church of Corinth, but reprimands the Corinthians with this gift for not praying also with the intellect for the benefit of others present who are able to pray only with the mind (I Cor. 14, l4ff). Indeed Paul tells us that when the faithful reach sonship or adoption in Christ this means that “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying: Abba, Father, so that you are no longer a slave, but a son; if then a son, then also an heir of God through Christ’ (Gal. 4, 6-7). When speaking about this prayer by the Spirit or by tongue (glossi) St. Paul is not referring to prayer audible to others. For he who speaks by tongue does not speak to humans but to God. For no one hears (ουδείς γάρ ακούει), since he speaks mysteries by the Spirit” (I Cor. 14, 2). “If I come to you speaking by tongues what will I benefit you, if Ι will not speak to you…” (Cor. 14, 6). This is not to be confused with the apostles being understood the day of Pentecost each in his own dialect. St. Paul is speaking about those without the prayer of the Spirit in their hearts who do not know what is being prayed because they do not hear anything.
St. Paul considers this prayer by the Spirit or by tongues in the heart as the presupposition of the gift of prophecy. He insists that those gifted by God with this prayer are indeed obliged to prophesy. “I want you all to speak in tongues but indeed that you may prophesy. For he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks by tongues, unless he interprets that the Church may receive edification” (I Cor. 14, 5). This gift of prayer by the Spirit is the coming of God in Christ into the heart and lifting from it the veil which obscures the correct reading of Moses (2 Cor. 3. 15). However, this gift of prophecy no longer foretells the coming of the Angel of the Great Council but interprets Old Testament prophecy as having been fulfilled in the Lord of Glory made Christ by being born as man from the Virgin whose work was brought to perfection by His death, resurrection, ascension and return in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. This is so because he who prays by tongues or by the Spirit knows Christ resurrected personally dwelling in his own heart with the Father (John 14, 23), having become a temple of God and not simply by reading about Him in Scripture.
Prayer by the Spirit or noetic prayer is also called unceasing memory of God. It is this which was obliterated by the fall, causing the darkening of the noetic faculty and the hardening of the heart.
There are now two generally known memory systems in living beings: 1) cell memory which determines the development and function of the individual in relation to itself and 2) brain cell memory which determines the functions and relations of the individual to itself and to its environment. In addition there is in humans a non-functioning or sub-functioning memory of God in the heart which when restored to its intended function results in the normalization of all other relations by transforming selfish and self-seeking love based on fear into selfness love liberated from anxiety (1 John 4, 18).
The fall of man or the state of inherited sin is a) the failure of the noetic faculty to function properly or to function at all, b) its confusion with the functions of the brain and the body in general and c) its resulting enslavement to anxiety and the environment. Each individual experiences the fall of his own noetic faculty in varying degrees as he becomes exposed to an environment of nonfunctioning or sub-functioning noetic faculties. The reverse is usually true when the environment is dominated by illumination in Christ, again in varying degrees.
The result of malfunctioning noetic faculties are abnormal relations between God and man and among men and the use of both God and fallen man for one’s own understanding of security and happiness. The god or gods man imagines to exist outside of illumination are psychological projections of his need for security. Because of fear and anxiety, his relations to others and to God are utilitarian. Nevertheless, every individual is sustained by the uncreated creating and sustaining glory, light, power, grace, etc. of God, even when not members of the Body of Christ, having not been led to illumination by purification of the noetic faculty in the heart. Reaction to this direct relation or communion with God ranges from the hardening of the heart (i.e. the snuffing out of the spark of grace) to the experience of the glorification of the saints. This means that all human beings are equal in possession of the noetic faculty but not in quality or degree of function.
It is important to note the clear distinction between spirituality which is rooted primarily in the heart’s noetic faculty and intellectuality which is rooted in the brain. Thus we have the following four categories of people: 1) those with little intellectual attainments who rise to the highest level of noetic perfection, 2) those with the highest intellectual attainments who fall to low or even the lowest level of noetic imperfection, 3) those who reach both the highest intellectual attainments and noetic perfection and 4) those of meager intellectual ability and attainments with a hardening of the heart.
These factors are the key to understanding patristic and biblical doctrine and the formulation of the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils. They have nothing to do with philosophy and metaphysics and are much more akin to modern Psychiatry. Man has a malfunctioning noetic faculty which should be functioning in the heart. The cure for this malacy, called original sin, is unceasing memory of God, otherwise called unceasing prayer or illumination which has nothing to do with Augustinian or Platonic understandings of illumination via intuition or knowledge of universals.
Proper preparation for the vision of God in His common glory with Christ is to become a temple of the Holy Spirit by the transformation of selfish and utilitarian love into selfless non-utilitarian love. This transformation takes place during the higher level of the stage of illumination called theoria, literally meaning vision in this case the vision of the uncreated reasons or energies of God in creation by means of unceasing prayer and uninterrupted memory of God. The noetic faculty is liberated from its enslavement to the intellect, passions, and environment and is influenced solely by this memory of God which functions simultaneously with the normal activities of daily life. When the noetic faculty is in such a state man has become a temple of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit.
St. Basil the Great writes to Gregory the Theologian that “the indwelling of God is this – to have God established within ourselves by means of memory. We thus become temples of God, when the continuity of memory is not interrupted by earthly cares, nor the noetic faculty shaken by unexpected sufferings, but escaping from all things this (noetic faculty) friend of God retires to God, driving out the passions which tempt hirn to incontinence, and abides in the practises which lead to virtues (Ep. II). St. Basil is not saying here that a person becomes a temple of God by ceasing to occupy himself with earthly cares and by thinking uninterruptedly only about God, but that memory of God continues simultaneously with occupation with daily affairs and especially while one undergoes sufferings.
St.Gregory the Theologian, the recipient of this letter, points out that “we ought to remember God even more often than we draw our breath; and if it suffice to say this, we ought to do nothing else… or, to use Moses s words (Deut. 6, 7), whether a man lie asleep or rise up or walk by the way or whatever else he is doing, he should also have this impressed in his memory for purity” (Theological Oration I, 5).
St. Gregory insists that to philosophize about God “is permitted only to those who have passed exams and have reached theoria, and who have been previously purified in soul and body or at least are being purified” (Ibid. I, 3).
This state of theoria has the two stages already mentioned: a) the relating to one’s environment by unceasing memory of God in the heart and b) the vision of one’s environment and oneself saturated in the glory of God and of the indwelling human nature of Christ. Glorification or theosis is a gift of God which one does not seek but which God gives to His friends according to their needs and the needs of others.
During this latter state of glory unceasing prayer, prophecy, and knowledge about God (theology) are terminated, having been replaced by vision of God’s glory in Christ when only love remains. “Prophecies will be abolished… tongues will cease… knowledge will be abolished … when the perfect arrives …” (I Cor. 13, 8-9) But “love never falls” (Ibid.). “For we now see by means of a mirror dimly, then [we see] face to face. I know yet in part, but I will then be known as also I was known (I Cor. 13, 12). St. Paul is here speaking about a future experience which he has already had – “as also I was known.”
When in turn glorification in Christ by this face to face encounter is terminated, noetic prayer, prophecy, and knowledge about God (theology) resume. Thus even though these had been abolished in Paul during his theosis, he returned to praying by the Spirit, prophesying and knowing. awaiting the repetition of this experience either in its intermediate or final form in the universal appearance of Christ in glory.
Glorification before Pentecost was of a temporary nature which did not continue after death. Now in the Body of Christ theosis is again a temporary experience this side of death, but a permanent experience of the saints in Christ after the death of their bodies. Now in the Body of Christ glorification is not limited to the heart and manifested only in the face as with the prophets whose glory had been abolished (2 Cor. 3, 7ff.), but is now extended to the whole body of those glorified. Thus even the bodies of the saints manifest their owners’ permanent glorification by being inalienably inspired by their own permanent glorification (theosis), having become holy relics.
During glorification the normal functions of the body, such as sleeping, eating, drinking, and digestion, are suspended. In other respects the mind and the body function normally, once one becomes acclimated to seeing himself and his surroundings saturated by the glory of Christ which is both darkness and light and neither, since not like anything created. Unlike illumination, theosis is not knowledge because it is above knowledge ( I Cor. 13, B). One’s first glorification is accomplished by a loss of orientation because initially one sees only the uncreated, but by acclimation one begins to re-see his created surroundings in this light which is the day of the Lord which has no end. Thus, although unceasing prayer and knowledge about God are terminated, knowledge and awareness of one’s surroundings are not.
Justification by faith alone is the teaching of the Bible. But this saving faith is the state of the illumination of the heart, thus far described and sometimes called internal faith (ενδιάθετος πίστις). “For you are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”. (Gal. 3, 26-27). “Because you are sons God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father. Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, if then a son, then also an heir through Christ” (Gal. 4, 6-7). Sonship; justification, and the prayer of the Holy Spirit in the heart are one identical reality. There is no justification by the law or works, but only by Christ Who gave the law. The law does not give life. Only Christ gives life. “For had a law been given which has the power to make life, indeed justice would be from the law” (Gal. 3, 21). It is the faith formed in those who have the gift of prayer by the Spirit in their hearts which gives the assurance of God’s love in Christ and results in love which, seeks not its own (I Cor. 13, 5).
This therapy and transformation of the human personality in its relation to humanity at large makes the difference between those being cured and those not being cured very clear. Faith in Christ without undergoing cure in Christ is not faith at all. Faith in one’s doctor without undergoing the cure prescribed by him would be exactly the same kind of contradiction in terms.
In order that this therapy be seen in proper perspective in relation to the world at large, it should be pointed out that had prophetic Judaism and its successor Christianity made their appearance in the twentieth century they would perhaps have been classified not as religions but as medical sciences akin to psychiatry with a wider impact on society due to its success in curing in varying degrees the malady of partially functioning human personalities. In no way could they have been confused with religions which by various magical practices and beliefs promise escape from an alleged material world of evil or of ‘false appearances to an alleged world of security and happiness.
Another way of looking at this is to concentrate a bit further on the implications of the biblical and patristic understanding of heaven and hell. God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All human beings have been created to unceasingly see God in Christ’s uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment depends on man’s response to God’s love in Christ and his acceptance of the prescription for transforming his selfish and self-centered love into God-like love which does not seek its own.
This means that no religion or church can claim for itself the power of deciding who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, since all will sooner or later see God’s glory in Christ either as light or as consuming fire. The true life in Christ is such preparation by purification and illumination of the heart that this vision will be heaven and not hell. The primary responsibility of those in the state of illumination is to illuminate others so that by selfless and non-utilitarian love they may live and work together in society and at the same time prepare themselves and others for an eternal experience which everyone will have.
The moment that one separates heaven and hell and imagines that these conditions are different places, or that hell is a lack of vision of God, one automatically introduces aspects of magic into the biblical understanding of therapy. Thus vision. of God becomes heaven for everyone who by one way or another gains this state. This magic can take the form of predestination, salvation by faith alone, or by good works also, or by participation in sacraments and priestly absolutions or by a combination of these. These varieties of tradition invariably shift the need to change from man to God, whose saving attitude to the former is determined by a slavish obedience to His will. They do not know that God loves all his creatures indiscriminately (including the devil himself) with the same love, that God was and is always a friend of all men, and that it is man and not God who is in need of reconciliation, i.e. therapy of the malfunctioning part of his personality.[ Return ]
- The Body of Christ
That Christ came with the Holy Spirit and the Father after His resurrection, ascension, and return to dwell in the faithful is a fundamental presupposition of both St. Paul and St. John. Given St. Luke’s relation to Paul, the Pentecostal event recorded by Luke most probably has a Pauline ecclesiological background. However, in an important respect, i.e. in regard to speaking in tongues, Luke has in fact become the key to Paul instead of vice versa.
It should be noted that Paul’s epistles are directed to those already initiated into the mysteries of the Church. John’s Gospel is a post-baptismal book of catechism intended for those who already have the Spirit. The Gospel of Luke, however, like those of Mark and Matthew, is a pre-baptismal catechism, and Acts are intended for an audience not initiated into the esoteric life of Christ. However, since Luke was a student and companion of Paul, his writings presuppose and reflect this esoteric life in Christ.
For John the coming of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to prepare a place where, upon his return, He will receive His disciples unto Himself so that they may be wherever He is (John 141 2-3). By Christ’s intercession the Father will give His disciples another Advocate whom they know because He dwells in them and will be in them (John 14, 16-17). In that day the disciples will know that Christ is in the Father and that they are in Christ and He in them (John 14, 20). They will see Christ because He lives and they will live (John 14, 19). Christ will appear to him who loves Him (John 14, 21). Christ and His Father will come and make a dwelling with him (John 14, 23). When the Holy Spirit comes He will teach them all things and remind them of everything He said to them (John 14, 26). When the Spirit of Truth comes sent by Christ from the Father, He will witness concerning Christ and the disciples will witness, because they are with Christ from the beginning (John 15, 26-27). When the Spirit of Truth comes He will lead the disciples into all the truth for He will not speak from Himself, but He will speak whatever He hears and will declare to them things coming. He will glorify Christ because He will receive these things from Christ and will declare them to the disciples. Christ said this because everything that the Father has is His. For this reason the Spirit of Truth will take from Him and declare to the disciples. Then Christ repeats that in a little while the disciples will not see Him, but again in a little while they will see Him (John 16, 13- 16). Then he reaches the climax of chapters 14-17: “Father, those whom you gave me I want that they also be with me wherever I am, that they see my glory which you gave to me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17, 24).
For John the ascension of Christ’s human nature is an absolute prerequisite for Christ’s sending the Holy Spirit, as it is obviously for Luke and by extension for Paul. “New I go to Him Who sent me.. .It is in your interest that l depart. For if I do not depart, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I will depart, I will send Him to you (John 16, 5-7). That John does not confuse the post resurrection appearances of Christ with His return in His Spirit on Pentecost is clear from his recording of Christ’s statement to Mary Magdalene. “Do not touch me for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” But in the next recorded appearances Christ told Thomas Didymus to put his hand to His side. Thomas believed by seeing rather than by touching. “Because you saw me you believed” (John 20, 29).
The place of common dwelling of him who loves the Father in Christ is the human nature of Christ, the Temple of the Logos by nature. and its natural glory that Christ as Logos received from the Father and by nature shares with the Holy Spirit. By becoming a member of the Body of Christ one becomes the temple of God and at the same time dwells in God as his temple. Pentecost is the birth of the Church because the human nature of Christ is present and by grace is united to each member of His Body, not as part of Christ in each, but by grace the whole Christ in each member. Christ departed so that He might return in the Holy Spirit by a new presence of His human nature which, like God’s uncreated glory, is divided indivisibly among many faithful so that Christ is present within and united by grace to each of the members of His Body. At the same time the Body of Christ remains one so that its members are one with each other in the glory and rule (vasileia) of the Holy Trinity.
According to Acts Christ told His disciples before His ascension that they would shortly be baptised in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1,5; compare Matt. 3, 12). On Pentecost “divided tongues appeared to them and sat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began speaking with other tongues when the Spirit gave them to announce (Acts 2, 1). In view of John’s association of the coming of the Holy Spirit with His own appearance again to His disciples, as we saw, and the actual appearances of Christ after Pentecost, e.g. to Stephen (Acts 7, 55-56) and to Paul (Acts 9, 3ff; 22), 6ff, 17ff), there are some grounds to entertain the possibility or even probability that Acts 1, 11 is to be taken as fulfilled by Acts 2, 1ff. While Christ was ascending two men dressed in white appeared to the apostles saying that Christ “will come in the manner that you saw Him going to heaven.”
In any case speaking by other tongues and announcing (αποφθέγγεσθαι) are not to be confused. Announcing in Acts 2, 4 means prophesying as is clear from the whole of St. Peter’s discourse in Acts 2, l4ff. One first receives the gift of tongue in the heart and then one is inspired in the mind to understand the prophets and Christ in order to prophesy. These distinctions are clear in St. Paul and it would be unlikely that Luke was not conversant with them. Once the person receives this gift of tongue then the Spirit may or may not create such conditions as in Acts 2, 6-13.
In any case, baptism in the Spirit is identical to the reception of the gift of tongues and is clearly distinct from baptism by water. Paul was first glorified in his vision of Christ in glory and then was baptised (Acts 9, 18; 22, 16). When he received the gift of tongues is not recorded, although that he possessed it is. The twelve disciples of Appolos who had received John’s baptism of repentance, were “baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and Paul having laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and they prophesied 7,(Acts 19, 5-6). In the case of the centurion Cornelius and his companions, they were first baptised in the Spirit by receiving the gift of tongues by or in glorification, and then were baptised by water when Peter could thus no longer resist. “While Peter was still speaking these words the Holy Spirit fell upon all those listening to the discourse, and the circumcised faithful, who came with Peter, were astonished that the girt of the Holy Spirit was also poured upon the gentiles, for they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can one forbid water that they who have also received the Holy Spirit like us be not baptized?’,, (Acts IO, 44-47). In his apology for what he did Peter recalls what Christ said before His ascension about receiving baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts l, 5) and concludes, “if then God gave to them the same gift as also to us…Who was I? One with power to stop God?” (Acts ll, 17). The Greek word for same in this text is “ίσην” which also means equal. So the gift here received is not only the same as Pentecost but also equal. It is this idea of equality which lay at the core of the problems in Corinth where many with only the gift of tongues believed themselves to be equal to the others. not understanding that this is so only when tongues are preceded or followed by glorification since during vision of God all charismata are abolished except love.
This baptism in the Spirit which results in the gift of tongues, and which normally is accompanied with the charisma of prophecy, is evidently the origin of chrismation, the mystery by which one becomes a member of the Body of Christ and a temple of God. For St. Paul the gift of tongues seems to be the minimal requirement for membership in the Body of Christ. It is the foundation not only of prophecy, but of all charismata. Below those who speak in tongues are the private individuals (ιδιώται) and those lacking in faith (άπιστοι). They are neither members of the body of Christ, nor charismatics. The ιδιώται have a special place in the assembly and say amen at the proper times during prayers (I Cor. 14, 16).
The fact that they say amen to thanksgiving prayers means that they were probably baptised by water and were awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit in their heart, i.e. the gift of tongues, and may have participated in eucharistic communion as the apostles had also done before Pentecost. They evidently were the baptised laymen of the apostolic community.
The άπιστοι, the lackers of faith, are evidently catechumens of pagan background who could not be handled like Jews. Jews were still considered as faithful so long as they did not completely reject the Lord of Glory made flesh.
Those with the charismata in I Cor. 12, 4- IO (which charismata include the διακονίαι and ενεργήματα listed, as is clear in I Cor. 12, 28-31) and those with the charismata in these latter verses are all members of the clergy listed according to spiritual gifts, but not strictly according to liturgical function and ordination. They are called directly by God, who gives the gin of praying by tongue after proper preparation by a spiritual father. Paul says that the Corinthians may have many teachers In Christ, but not many fathers. I gave birth to you in Christ by means of the Gospel,, (I Cor. 4, 1415). However, Paul thanks God that he baptised none of the Corinthians except for a few (I Cor. l, 14, 16). This means that Paul gave birth to them in the realm of the charismata of which speaking or praying in tongues is the foundation. In other words, the charismata are products of being baptised in the Holy Spirit and the sign of having become a member of the Body of Christ. “For also in one Spirit we all have been baptised into one body… and we all drank in one Spirit” (I Cor. 12, 13). This is clearly the baptism of the Holy Spirit. From all that follows, the Body Christ includes only those who have been thus baptised.
Like in Acts, so in Paul, speaking in tongues is a fundamental sign of being baptised in the Spirit. But in I Cor. 12, 10 and 12, 28, 30 γένη γλωσσών- kinds of tongues – at first sight seems to be detached from the higher charismata, giving the impression that the Church can do without them. However. the statement “all do not speak in tongues, (I Cor. 12, 30) does not mean that the higher charismatics do not, but rather that the ιδιώται and άπιστοι do not, as is clear in I Cor. 14, 16, 23, 24. When Paul lists those placed by
God within the Church, he begins with the apostles in first place and ends with the γένη γλωσσών(kinds of tongues) in the last place (I Cor. 12.28). The ιδιώται are neither included here, nor in the ordering of the assembly in I Cor. 14, 26ff. The reason for this is that they do not yet have the gift of the Holy Spirit praying unceasingly in them and therefore have not been placed by God in the Body of Christ.
That the higher charismata include the lower, but not the lower the higher, is clear from what St. Paul says about himself. “I thank God speaking by tongues more than au of you, but in church I prefer speaking five words with my intellect, that I may also catechize others, than ten thousand words in tongue” (I Cor. 14, 18-19). This does not mean that St. Paul does not pray in church by tongue, i.e. by the Spirit, but that in church he is obliged to pray also with his intellect for the edification of others. “I will pray with the Spirit, but I will also pray with the intellect” (I Cor. 14, 15).
By “kinds of tongues” St. Paul evidently means praying, reciting psalms, and singing spiritual hymns and oodes (Eph. 5, 18-20). So some have kinds of tongues and others in addition have interpretation of tongues (I Cor. 12, 10, 29). “Yearn after spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy . .. I want you all to speak in tongues, but rather that you may prophesy, for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks by tongue, unless he interprets, that the Church may receive edification (I Cor. 14, I, 5). As in Acts, so here, prophecy exists because of the gift of tongue, but the latter may not always result in prophecy. There is no record that Cornelius and his associates prophesied, although they spoke in tongue as a result of their glorification. However, speaking in tongue may result in inteipietation instead of prophecy,and the former is equal to the latter.
However, inspite of this equality prophets are more important. Besides being listed at the bottom of the charismata those who spoke or prayed only in tongues were virtually forced by Paul into a silence in Church, more befitting an ιδιώτη. Those who speak only tongues are to keep quiet and are to be spoken for by the interpreters, who will each speak for two or three of them in succession. “If there is no interpreter let him be quiet in church, but let him speak to himself and to God,, (I Cor. 14, 27-28). In other words, he should continue to pray by tongue inaudibly, and let the others conduct corporate worship and instruction by the use of their intellect, which in this case conveys its thoughts by the formation of words with the created tongue and mouth.
This group whose spiritual formation had been limited to the charisma of praying in tongues or by the Spirit was evidently the main source of the disorders in the church of Corinth. They may have been a majority which democratically imposed the practice of inaudible corporate prayer in tongue, in order to demonstrate their equality. The most probable reason why they neither interpreted nor prophesied was that they were illiterate, and could not expound their authentic experience coherently in an organized and concise manner. They were probably mostly of pagan background7 neither accustomed to synagogue procedure nor readily at ease with the world of the Old Testament. The most that many of them could progress to, or were willing to, was to interpret or to teach prayer to others. Among them were evidently many wives, giving Paul an opportunity to apply time-tested rabbinical wisdom. The charisma of interpreter was evidently required to keep this group silent in church. The remark “if there is no interpreter” seems to mean that interpreters would be appointed when this group is brought under control.
St. Paul became exceedingly irritated because a group of Corinthian charismatics had evidently convinced the others to conduct corporate worship without giving audible expression to the Holy Spirit’s prayer in their hearts. For Paul this is in itself well done. “For indeed you give thanks well, but the other is not edified,” (I Cor. 14, 17). “Since if you bless in the Spirit, how will he who occupies the place of a private individual say amen to your thanksgiving since he does not know what you say?” (I Cor. 14, 16). It is obvious that to pray in tongue or by the Spirit are interchangeable terms.
St. Paul discusses the kinds of sounds that exist in the world, both that of lifeless things like flutes, harps, and trumpets and that made by humans. That Paul is speaking about the sounds themselves which are being made and not about confused sounds not understood. seems clear from the term άδηλος φωνή in I Cor. 14, B which means unmanifested or unrevealed sound. In 14, 9 Paul is speaking about the impossibility of understanding speech unless conveyed by words formed by the tongue. Then he goes on to say that “These many, if correct, are the kinds of sounds in the world, and none is soundless. If then I do not know the force of the sound (την δύναμιν της φωνής), I shall be to the speaker a barbarian and he shall be a barbarian to me (I Cor. 14, 10-11).
It seems clear that chapter 14 of I Cor. at no point contradicts what is literally set forth as the subject under discussion from the very beginning. For he who speaks by tongue does not speak to humans but to God. For no one hears, since he speaks mysteries by the Spirit” (I Cor. 14, 2). “If I come to you speaking by tongue, what will I benefit you, if I will not speak to you… (I Cor. 14, 6).
The very fact that certain Corinthians were speaking in tongues, but neither expounding nor prophesying, should be the determining proof that this was not the announcing (αποφθέγγεσθαι) of Acts 2, 1ff. On the other hand, Paul gives not the slightest hint that those with the gift of tongues had any problem understanding each other. It seems that only the ιδιώται and άπιστοι could not participate in what was transpiring. However, when the whole body of charismatics engages in prophecy then both the private persons and those lacking in faith find themselves with the hidden things of their heart becoming manifest by scrutiny and examination (I Cor. 14, 20). This is the diagnosis we spoke about in the last chapter. They acquire the conviction that the prophets truly have God within themselves. The resulting confidence and submission to these spiritual fathers therapy leads to their adoption in the Spirit and union with the Body of Christ, i.e. the reception of the gift of tongues.
Thus, diagnosis of one s spiritual heart ailment by therapists with the charisma of the discernment of spirits (I Cor. 12, IO) is the most fundamental presupposition of acquiring the therapy of the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart which alone gives understanding of those things pertaining to Christ and the Body, the Church. This is why “tongues are a sign not to those who have faith, but to those who do not have faith. but prophecy not to those who do not have faith but to those who have faith,, (I Cor. 14, 22). In other words, tongues are not a sign to those who have the gilt of inner faith within the heart since they have the gift of tongues, but to those who lack this gift. Prophecy, on the other hand, is a sign not to those who do not have this faith, since they do not have the gift of tongues which makes both prophecy and its understanding possible, but to those who have faith, since having this gift of tongues they understand prophecy. Thus one must begin by the outward faith of accepting the authority or competence of the therapist. To remain in the state of praying and reciting psalms in the heart without advancing to at least interpretation which edifies others, is a stultification of spiritual growth and will not lead to love which does not seek its own. For this reason there are many among you who are weak and ill and some are asleep (I Cor. ll, 30).
Speaking in tongues is not a phenomenon peculiar to Corinth. St. Paul speaks to the Romans about intellectual worship (λογικήν λατρείαν) and transformation by the renewal of the intellect (Rom. 12, I-2). This is made possible by the liberation of the intellect from the law residing in one s members which wars against the law accepted by the intellect and holds one captive to the law of sin (Rom. 7, 23). “I myself subject myself by means of the intellect to the law of God, but by flesh to the law of sin. Therefore there is no condemnation now for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus liberated me from the law of sin and death,” (Rom. 7, 25-8, 1-2). “But if Christ is in you, the body is indeed dead for sin, but the Spirit is life for righteousness (Rom. 8, 10). “For as many as are led by the spirit of God. they are sons of God, for you have not received a spirit of slavery again for fear. but you received a Spirit of adoption. in which we cry Abba. Father. This Spirit itself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8, 14-16). In other words. one knows of his justification and adoption in Christ by the Spirit when he hears the Spirit’s prayer in his heart unceasingly.
That this law of the Spirit of life in Christ is the gift of tongue of I Cor. and Acts is clear from the climax of Paul’s exposition. For what we shall pray as we should, we do not know, but this Spirit itself intercedes on our behalf with unspoken groans. But He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, that according to God it intercedes on behalf of the saints (Rom. B, 26-27). In other words to be a member of the body of Christ is to have this gift of tongues. If one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (Rom. B, 9). One can see why John calls the Holy Spirit another παράκλητος which literally means advocate or one who intercedes.
Perhaps one of the most striking passages on the γένη γλωσσών is Eph. 5, 18-20. “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves (λαλούντες εαυτοίς – the εαυτώ δε λαλείτω καί τώ Θεώ of I Cor. 14, 28) in psalms and spiritual hymns and odes, singing and reciting psalms in your heart to the Lord, always thanking God who is also Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is certainly an amplification of the “I will recite psalms by the Spirit,” of l.Cor. 14, 15, and to be distinguished from “I will recite psalms by the intellect.” This is also a clear reflection of what Paul told us about himself in I Cor. 14, 18, as well as testimony to the unceasing nature of γένη γλωσσών.
In the light of ‘this one may turn to I Thess. 5, 16-21: “Always rejoice, pray unceasingly, at all times give thanks. For this is God’s will in Christ Jesus unto you. Quench not the Spirit, do not disregard prophecies, but test all, hold fast the good, stay away from every kind of evil.” This is the summary of everything we looked at thus far.
The law Of the Spirit of life in Christ is thus not in opposition to the created Torah, but that which makes its fulfillment possible. One can see why the Fathers did not think in terms of the Old Testament as simply law and the New Testament simply as grace. For Paul faith is not simply an acceptance of doctrines, but the girt of tongues in the heart. The same categories are clearly underlying Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. The law became our guide to Christ when we were children that we may be justified by faith. Faith having come, we are no longer under guidance as children (Gal. 3, 24). Paul is not here making an historical contrast between the Old and New Testament in terms of law supposedly being abolished by grace with the coming of Christ. He is speaking about the distinction between catechumens under the guidance of law and those baptised in the Spirit in his own time. The Galatians were as spiritual children under the guidance of the Torah, but now having received the baptism in the Spirit they are no longer ιδιώται or άπιστοι because they have the uncreated law of the Holy Spirit of Christ in their hearts. Faith here is not simply belief or confidence in Christ, but inner faith which comes as the gift of tongues. For you are all sons of God by faith in Christ, because all who have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ as a garment…. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father, so that you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then also an heir by Christ” (Gal. 3, 26-27; 4, 6-7). Justification by faith, the gift of tongues, baptism into Christ, reconciliation, and adoption are one identical reality.
It is within this realm of life in Christ that there are neither Jews nor Greeks, neither slaves nor free, neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3, 28). At the level of praying in tongues and prophesying, all are one in Christ. So we have “every man who prays or prophesies” and, “every woman who prays or prophesies” of I Cor. ll, 4-5. However, men should do this with their heads uncovered and women with their heads covered, because “the head of every man is Christ, but of woman the man, and of Christ God”, (I Cor. ll, 3). Since one prophesies for the edification of others (I Cor. 14, 2) and the Church (I Cor. 14, 4), one would expect that women prophesy in church also. For you may all prophesy one by one that au may learn and all be comforted” (Cor. 14, 31). However Paul forbids women to speak in Church (I Cor. 14, 34-36). On the other hand, Paul’s injunction that women should prophesy with their heads covered seems to be a reference to their attire at the assemblies of the Church. That women prophesy along with men is the very first fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy reported by Peter in his Pentecostal discourse (Acts 2, 17).
The prophets mentioned in Ephesians 2, 20 are evidently not those of the Old Testament, but of the Church, as in the case of Ephes. 3, 5. Christ “was not made known to other generations to the sons of men as He now was revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in Spirit….” This seems to be a clear reference to the fact that those who held second place in the Church after the apostles (I Cor. 12, 28) did so because Christ revealed Himself in glory to them as he had done to the apostles. In other words, they did not only prophesy because of the gift of tongues, but they had also been glorified in Christ by the Spirit. On arguing that all members of the Body of Christ are not the same. Paul concludes by saying and if a member is glorified, all the members rejoice with him for you are the Body of Christ and members in part. And those whom God placed in the Church are first apostles, second prophets, third teachers… (I Cor. 12, 26-28). In the light of Ephes. 3,5 this means that the prophets were called in the same manner as the apostles. It is evidently within such a context that Ephes. 2, 19 ff is to be understood. “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints and of the family of God. having been built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus being its corner stone….”
What we have before us is a ladder of perfection which culminates in love which does not seek its own (I Cor. 13.5) and which alone does not fall (I Cor. 13.8). when all the charismata are abolished with the coming of the perfect. i.e. glorification. or the vision of God in the face to face encounter with Christ in Glory (I Cor. 13.10. 12). However. after this encounter love remains along with faith and hope and the accompanying charismata.
What has become known as eucharistic ecclesiology is a structural phenomena whose original context was the Pauline reality of the Body of Christ. At the heart of the structure was the diagnosis of the malady of the heart and its therapy by means of the charismata of which the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart was the sine qua non and glorification the foundation. When the local community was the Pauline Body of Christ. eucharistic ecclesiology was its normal or natural structural expression. However with the various stages of the weakening of this heart of the local congregation. the structure of the church underwent an evolution which was the result of the determination of those who passed on the tradition of the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart from generation to generation. since this is the heart of apostolic tradition and succession.
The clergy is supposed to be elected from the faithful. i.e. those in the state of either: glolification or illumination. Election was a recognition of the mastership of spirituality to which one had attained. The historical process whereby it became possible for certain patriarchs and metropolitans to ordain bishops who had not reached the spiritual experience to which dogmas point, but whose mystery they cannot express, is described by St. Simeon the New Theologian (d. 1042), recognized as one of the greatest fathers. This means that his historical analysis is an integral part of the Orthodox Church’s self-understanding.
In a work on confession, once attributed to St. John of Damascus, St. Simeon explains how those who in an earlier period were laymen in the church began to be ordained as bishops by simulating illumination which they did not have. It is from these non-illuminated that heresies appeared within the Church. However, this does not mean that one is Orthodox because he does not introduce novel dogmas, but because he is illuminated. Unable to find such candidates, or having found them preferring unworthy ones, certain patriarchs and metropolitans ordained bishops who were not in the state of illumination. In the place of this state they required only that they expound the Creed of the faith in writing and accepted only that they neither have zeal for the good, nor contest against anyone for evil, safeguarding in this area peace in the Church, which is worse than all enmity and great disorder (Migne, P.G. 95: 300). In the person of St. Simeon one can clearly detect the centuries old conflict between the apostolic tradition of diagnosis and therapy and those who would reduce salvation to faith and confidence in dogmas and the merits of good works and morality.
Whatever the reasons may actually be for the rise of monasticism, the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart became its heart and soul. From the very beginning of his Life of Anthony St. Athanasius informs us that, “he was constant in prayer. knowing that a man ought to pray secretly, unceasingly” (Chapter 3). St John Cassian informs us that unceasing prayer is the practice of every monk in his progress towards continual recollection of God…” (Collations X, 10).
This tradition was very much alive in the Merovingian Kingdoms. However, the episcopacy was transformed into an administrative tool of the Frankish kings. Thus, although Gregory of Tours was a great admirer of Cassian and Basil the Great and their spiritual descendants in Gaul, he did not understand what they were really doing. In his description of the life of Patroclus the recluse, Gregory writes that his diet was bread soaked in water and sprinkled with salt. His eyes were never closed in sleep. He prayed unceasingly, or if he stopped praying for a moment, he spent the time reading or writing (History of the Franks V, 10). Gregory thinks that to pray unceasingly one would have to somehow stay awake unceasingly. Also, since Patroclus was known to spend time reading and writing, this means for Gregory that he had to stop praying to do so. His claim that Patroclus’s eyes were never closed in sleep is highly unlikely. Only when Patroclus was in the state of glorification did he not sleep. But he did not eat bread or drink water either, and more importantly during this state he stopped praying (γλώσσαι παύσονται – I Cor. 13, B). When he was not in this state of glory, he prayed unceasingly while awake, while asleep, and while reading and writing.[ Return ]
- Prophesying and Theologizing
What we thus far observed are strong indications that prophesying and becoming a prophet in St. Paul is similar, if not identical, to theologizing and becoming a theologian in the patristic tradition. The disappearance of the term prophet and prophecy may have been due to the rise of the New Testament canon, the prevalence of the terms presbyter and bishop and the rarification of the experience of glorification, and therefore of the prophet, with an ensuing rarification of the gift of tongues. However, the realities of the gifts of tongues and of glorification themselves did not disappear and were especially preserved in the monastic movement, Which became the main center of this tradition which supplied the Church with her metropolitans, archbishops, and finally bishops also.
What we are confronted with in I Cor. 12- 14, and especially in I Cor. 14, 26 ff. is the Apostolic Church’s theological school. This is the school in which the Fathers of the Church were formed. We call to mind the most important argument that St. Gregory the Theologian threw at the Eunomians, that to theologize or to philosophize about God is permitted only to those who have reached theoria, which means the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart, i.e. the unceasing memory of God interrupted from time to time by glorification. Thus to prophesy or to theologize is to interpret Scripture under the guidance of the gift of tongues and to become a prophet or theologian is to have reached glorification.
However, this theology is purely therapeutic and an expression of health. To be travelling uphill to glorification on the vehicle of noetic prayer is the process of cure, and to reach glorification is the taste of the beginning of health and perfection. At the same time this glorification is the revelation of all truth by the Holy Spirit.
According to the Fathers, the prophets also had unceasing prayer, which was their normal road to glorification. However, these experiences included neither membership in the Body of Christ, nor the permanent overcoming of death. They were not yet the gift of the Pentecostal tongues. Thus, the latter gift includes the former, but not vice versa. So he who has the latter knows the mind of the former. He who has the gift of tongues or noetic prayer but without glorification, can develop in the discernment of the prophetic mind. But he who does not, can not. “But we have received the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been given to us by God as gifts (I Cor, 2, 12).
It is within such a context that during assemblies each Corinthian charismatic expounded either a psalm, or a point of instruction, or an experience of revelation, or had something to say or interpret or teach about the gift of tongues (I Cor. 14, 26). “And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others discern. If to another who is sitting [a more accurate meaning] is revealed, let the first [the one speaking] be silent. For you may au in turn prophesy, that all may learn and au be interceded for. And the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets, for not of disorder but of peace is God,, (I Cor. 14, 29-33). In other words, the prophets know the method of prophesying, so all instruction and interchanges among those who prophesy, but have not yet become prophets, are to be subject to their direction. It is the glorified in Christ who judge all and are judged by none. But he who has the Spirit indeed examines all things, but he is examined by none. For who has known the mind of the Lord, who will reconcile it? But we have the mind of Christ’, ( I Cor. 2, 15- 16). In other words, the minds or the intellects of the apostles and prophets have become that of Christ because of glorification, the result of which is that they no longer live, having been crucified and having died to sin, but Christ lives in them (GaI.2, IB-20). These are the friends of God par excellence.
What we have in I Cor. 14, 26-33 is an interchange of one’s own experience of the Holy Spirit under the direction of the prophets for edification and growth in understanding and perfection. This is the apostolic form of congregational confession as is clear also from I Cor. 14, 24, where prophecy leads to the cross-examination of the ιδιώται and άπιστοι and the manifestation of the hidden things of their hearts. It seems quite clear that Paul’s prophecy and the patristic understanding of theology are the same. The prophet and theologian are formed by the cleansing, illumination, and glorification of the heart in which the Spirit’s operation saturates and overpowers the intellect and the passions, thus transforming selfish love into selfless love which does not seek its own.
What is significant is that the Christ whom the charismatics experienced within themselves and occasionally saw by the Spirit in God’s glory is the same Christ they found in the Old Testament in the glorification of the prophets. Paul reveals in a passing remark the basic structure of the worship and faith of the apostolic communities. “For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (I Cor., 2, 8). The very manner in which this statement is interjected and its uniqueness in the letters of Paul is testimony to its being taken for granted by his readers. There can be no doubt about the meaning since a bit further on Paul says that it was Christ who led the Hebrews out of Egypt and sustained them while sojourning in the desert, “for they drank from the accompanying spiritual rock, but the rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10, 1-5). The Galatians have accepted Paul “as the Angel of God, as Christ Jesus (I Cor. 4, 14) – probably a comparison with Abraham’s reception of the Angel of Glory. Paul does not see Christ in the Old Testament as any kind of heavenly or earthly Messiah, but as the Lord of Glory Himself who became the Messiah by His birth from the Virgin.
The very name prophet in Pauline usage means he who saw the same Lord of Glory as the Old Testament prophets did. This is the key factor in the experience of the gift of prophecy and constitutes the center of the worship and study of the Pauline assembly of ‘ charismatics. The Scripture which they used is the Old Testament in which by the witness of their own experience of tongues they saw Christ everywhere in the lives of the prophets as the Lord and Angel of Glory. Had they been reading the Old Testament with the presuppositions of Augustine and his theological descendants there would have been neither Arians and Eunomians, nor the historical Ecumenical Councils, not because there would have been no heretics, but because there would have been no Arians, Eunomians, and no Orthodox. To theologize about an abstract monotheism one imagines to find also in the Old Testament, or about a philosophical idea of God, is like doing astronomy with one’s imagination instead of with telescopes under the direction of specialists. In this regard the Arians and Eunomians belonged to the patristic and biblical tradition of empirical theology, whereas Augustine wandered off into the realm of Neoplatonic mysticism and abstract monotheism. That St. Paul believed that God in Christ by His Spirit reveals all the truth in glorification is clear from the exposition of the distinction between being a child and being a man. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child. When I became a man, I abolished the things of the child. For we now see by means of a mirror dimly, then face to face. I know yet in part, but I will then be known as I was known (I Cor. 13, II-12). One goes from childhood under the law (GaI.3, 24) to manhood by faith, having the girt of tongues wherein the created Law is replaced by the uncreated law in His human nature in the heart. During this time one sees by means of a mirror dimly and knows yet in part and prophesies in part (I Cor. 13, 9, 12). Paul is speaking about those who prophesy as a result of the gift of tongues. When the perfect comes, that which is in part will be abolished. ….Then… I will be known as also I was known (I Cor. 13, 10, 12). What Paul is saying is that one is not a prophet ( I Cor. 12, 29) simply because by tongues he prophesies. Higher than prophesying is its abolition in glorification, which is the coming of thc perfect, when one is known as Paul was known by God. It is this experience which makes apostles and prophets.
That St. Paul would be completely shocked at the idea that the Church is either led into all the Truth or to a better understanding of all the Truth is clear from the following: And as it is written, the things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and did not arise within the heart of man – as many as God prepared for those who love Him – God therefore revealed to us by the Spirit” (I Cor. 2, 9-10). For Paul, God reveals to each of the glorified “as many” of the “things” “as God prepared for those who love Him.” In other words, “all the Truth” (John 16, 13) which those who love God will participate in.
It seems quite clear that nowhere in the New Testament do we find the idea that all the Truth is revealed to the Church, or that the Church is being led into an understanding of all the Truth. All the Truth, which is Christ, is revealed by His Spirit, or the Spirit of Truth, to those glorified in His Body. The other members of the Body of Christ, who are so because they have the gift of the Holy Spirit’s prayer unceasingly in their hearts, know and prophesy or theologize in part. It is they who see by means of a mirror dimly and ‘know yet in part and prophesy in part” (I Cor. 13, 12). The rest of those who believe in Christ are children under the law. That they should prophesy or theologize would indeed be a ridiculous idea to Paul as it was to the Fathers in their confrontation with laymen or heretics who pretended to be theologians.
Since it would be safe to assume that the prophet was in Paul’s mind a necessary part of the structure of the Body Of Christ (Ephes. 2, 19-22; 3.5-6; 4, 11- 13; I Cor. 12.28), being an essential part of its foundation, along with the apostles, it would also seem to follow that without them there is no Church. This of course is true so long as it is realized that the name prophet means he who like the apostles experienced glorification. Thus whether they are called prophets or fathers o f the Church is secondary. The important thing is that those with unceasining prayer who reach glorification are the central core of Holy Tradition since without them there is no Body of Christ. Whether one has such fathers in concrete local congregations, or in monasteries does not change the fact they are the specialists for producing members of the Body of Christ. Without them the mysteries (sacraments) of the Church become a system of hocus pocus. St. Paul does not say that the Body of Christ is being built up by baptism, chrismation, eucharist, etc., but by apostles and prophets, meaning apostles and fathers who give birth to others in Christ by preparing them for the reception of the Holy Spirit’s prayer in their hearts. It is only within such a context that the sacraments of baptism, chrismation, eucharist, ordination, confession, penance, etc. are not hocus pocus.
Given the presupposition herein presented, it should be clear why, except for Augustine, no Father of the Church ever imagined himself as being engaged in an alleged attempt by the Church to understand the mystery of God and the incarnation better and better with the passage of time. The formulation of dogma had nothing whatsoever to do with any attempt to understand these mysteries. All the Fathers agree with St. Gregory the Theologian, so called because he had reached glorification, that “it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him. Theology is not conceiving God and dogma does not express God. Theology is to know about God in unceasing prayer and the study of scripture and dogma is a guide to God in an ocean of superstitions and misunderstandings about Him. Both are abolished in vision of Christ in His Father’s glory by the Spirit, an experience which transcends concepts and expressions about Him, and at the same time inspires concepts and expressions which will lead others to Him. This means that one must make a clear distinction between doctrine and the mystery of God. Augustine confused the two and thought that by accepting the one he could by faith understand the other. However, the purpose of doctrine is not to be understood, but to be abolished in glorification, which is above understanding, since God is a mystery and remains a mystery even to those who see Him in Christ. Yet one does understand doctrine but only when one knows its purpose and does not confuse it with God Himself.
The formulation of dogma in the Creed and in definitions of Local and Ecumenical Councils of the Orthodox tradition has in every single case been a reaction to heresy and never a part of an alleged process of transforming speculation or that famous, but non-existent theologoumenon into dogma. The Fathers theologize by means of the conformity of their reasoning to 1) their unceasing prayer, 2) scripture within the tradition of their own Fathers, and 3) to their own glorification if such be their case or to that of others, but not by speculation.
In concluding this chapter we note that Origen (circa 185-255) identifies speaking in tongues of I Corinthians with unceasing prayer of the Holy Spirit in the heart and sees this tradition operative in the Old Testament since this is what makes prophets. The Cappadocian Fathers show no signs of disagreement with Origen on this as far as I have been able to ascertain. By the time of St. John Chrysostom (344-407). however, the tradition had prevailed in Antioch that speaking in tongues is the gift the apostles had of speaking the languages of the people they were evangelizing. Nevertheless, this gift of languages was supposed to have accompanied the gift of unceasing prayer which, according to Chrysostom, St. Paul refers to in I Cor. 14, 14-16. St. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444) seems to follow a middle road on Paul’s speaking in tongues since he notes, as we also pointed out, that, no one hears (I Cor. 14, 2). He does not seem as sure as Chrysostom that this means no one understands. It is clear that the attitude had fully developed that the apostles were in a class all by themselves so that in comparison with their’s, the surviving gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church are of a lower order. What is important, however, for the scope of this paper is that the gift itself of unceasing prayer in the heart and glorification (theosis) never ceased being understood as the core of the tradition from the time of the Old Testament prophets.[ Return ]
- Implications and Conclusions
1) It would seem that consistency with the Pauline, early Christian, and patristic understanding of Jesus Christ as the Life of the World would require that one approach the subject from the side of empirical or experiential theology which overlaps with the therapeutical sciences. Perhaps one can methodologically separate the experience of the Holy Spirit’s prayer in the heart from concern for life after death for the purpose of treating this phenomenon in conjunction with those sciences related to the medical profession. The very existence of the noetic faculty and its functioning or nonfunctioning cannot be the concern of theologians alone. indeed, its cure makes the tradition which knows how to bring this about more of a positive science than psychiatry in its present form. In any case the cause of the reunion of Christendom may be served by getting scientists involved in the study of this approach. It should be noted that neither the Bible nor the Fathers consider glorification as an experience only for life after death. Normative therapists are those who not only have the unceasing prayer of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, but who have also experienced glorification in this life. They are the chief bearers of the tradition of the therapy of the noetic faculty.
2) This means that tradition for the prophets, Apostles, and Fathers is not much different from tradition within today’s scientific societies. Hypotheses and theories cannot be separated from the tradition of empirical verification. Medicine cannot be separated from diagnosis and therapy. Diagnosis and therapy cannot be reduced to ceremonial acts which produce no attestable restoration of health. In the same way, sacraments and liturgy cannot be separated from the purification and illumination of the noetic faculty, nor can faith, prayer. theology, and dogma be separated from the empirical verification of the unceasing prayer of the Holy Spirit in the heart and from glorification.
3) In fact, however, both faith, prayer, theology, and dogma on the one hand and sacraments and liturgy on the other have been separated from the diagnosis and therapy of the maladies of the noetic faculty. This has happened not only outside the Orthodox tradition, but happens also within. Indeed in some cases this has happened to large segments of synodical churches and for extended periods of time when traditional or patristic monasticism has or had for a time been suppressed or shunted off to a siding.
4) One can readily discern from the: relationship between illumination and glorification or dogma and mystery that much latitude exists for the development of the conceptual and linguistic means used to assist in preparing one to receive the gift of unceasing prayer and inner faith in order to become a temple of the Holy Spirit and a member of the Body of’ Christ. However, this conceptual and linguistic development is not a sign of deeper understanding. The highest understanding is participation in glorification which transcends understanding. Pentecost is never surpassed and is continuously operative in illumination and glorification. Neither illumination nor glorification can be institutionalized. The identity of this experience of illumination and glorification among those gifted does not necessarily entail identity of doctrinal expression, especially when those gifted are geographically separated for extended periods of time. However, when they do meet they readily agree on uniformity of doctrinal expression of their identical experience. The great impetus to identical doctrinal expression was given during the time Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire and accommodated the government’s need to distinguish genuine therapists from quack therapists in the same manner that government agencies have the responsibility to distinguish genuine members of the medical profession from quack doctors and tribal medicine men for the protection of its citizens. Orthodox spirituality was believed to be and indeed is an identifiable and verifiable phenomenon.
5) The biblical tradition as preserved by the Fathers cannot be identified with or reduced to a system of moral precepts or Christian ethics. It is rather a therapeutical asceticism which is not daunted by any degree of malady of the heart or noetic faculty short of its complete hardening. To take the shape of this asceticism without its heart and core and to apply it to a system of moral precepts for personal and social ethics is to produce a society of puritanical hypocrites who believe they have a special claim on God’s love because of their morality, or predestination, or both. The commandments of’ Christ cannot be fulfilled by any simple decision to do so or by any confidence in having been elected. A person with broken legs cannot run in the race no matter how much he wants to. One can do so only when one’s legs have healed and have been restored to a competitive degree of power. In the same way, one cannot fulfill the commandments unless he undergoes the cleansing and illumination of his noetic faculty and reaches the threshold of glorification.
6) The patristic approach to the 1983 Vancouver WCC Assembly theme as outlined in this paper should be a clear indication that attention should also be diverted to a careful study of the identity of the Old and New Testaments in both their therapeutical asceticism and Christo-centricism. This may prove to be the key for dialogue with Judaism. Christ in the Old Testament is not the Messiah but the Angel of the Lord and Great Council, the Lord of Glory. It is not a Messiah who was elevated to divine status by early Christianity. On the contrary, it was the Lord of Glory who became man by His birth from the Virgin Mary and thus became Messiah.
7) At no time in its history did the Orthodox tradition understand that believers are a society of esoterics who do not extend their concern to society at large. On the contrary, Orthodox Christianity penetrated every aspect of society, especially by means of its therapeutical asceticism which was engaged in by emperors, civil servants, the military, intellectuals, merchants, farmers, laborers, young and old alike, who looked upon monasticism as the training center par excellence of their therapists.
8) The concern of the Orthodox tradition for all aspects of society, civilization, and culture also stems from the realization that all human beings not only have noetic faculties, but also the uncreated glory or grace or rule of God within them, although in a low operational or an almost inoperational form because of its maladies and its enslavement to the intellect, the passions, and the environment with its resultant dominance by fear, anxiety, and beliefs cut off from reality. The Orthodox also act under the assumption that (1) God Himself operates directly in every human being regardless of his mistaken beliefs and therapeutic status, (2) loves all creatures with the same love, and (3) all will see the uncreated glory of Christ, some as light, others as fire and outer darkness, depending on whether their hearts are illumined or hardened.
9) There is no other unity in Christ other than that which is effected by purification, illumination, and glorification in this life. The visible structure of the Church is both an expression of this unity and the guarantor that all who wish may have access to this therapy offered by Christ through His saints.
10) The criteria for the reunion of divided Christians cannot be different from those for the union of associations of scientists. Astronomers would be shocked at the idea that they should unite with astrologers. The latter would have to become astronomers in order to be accepted. Members of a modern medical association would be equally shocked at the suggestion that they should become one with quack doctors and tribal medicine men. In the same way the Fathers would be shocked at the idea of a union between their tradition and churches which have little or no understanding about the therapy of purification, illumination, and glorification, and have, placed institutional authority in the hands of quack therapists. The question of reunion resolves itself into the success of churches in producing the results for which they are supposed to exist. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
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