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2 Peter as “early Orthodoxy”

Should 2 Peter be seen as an example of “early catholicism”? According to Harink, maybe not. The themes of participation in the divine nature, the transfiguration of Christ, and a radical apocalyptic transformation of the world are all strikingly characteristic of Eastern Orthodox theology. Thus, perhaps we should see 2 Peter as a form of “early Orthodoxy”, the forerunner of this specific emphasis within the Christian tradition.

This also posits the possibility that the “exotic” — in Western eyes — themes of Eastern Orthodoxy have a far deeper connection to the New Testament witness than most Western Christians, particularly Protestants acknowledge.


  1. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    My relatives who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy out of a certain church whose logo resembles the golden arches might say that OF COURSE Peter has to be understood in light of Orthodoxy because that’s how it is. ;) I’m not entirely sure the concept of “theosis” and progressive sanctification in the Protestant tradition are necessarily as diametrically opposed as either side imagines, personally.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink
  2. Hill wrote:

    One has to look pretty hard to find the Protestant traditions of theosis and progressive sanctification. I’m not saying they aren’t there… just that lots and lots of Protestants resist both of those concepts outright. That’s the sense in which they are diametrically opposed.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink
  3. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    My Orthodox convert relatives say that original sin is unbiblical and un-Christian. Compared to sanctification saying original sin is totally wrong while simultaneously denying any possibility of Pelagian probably constitutes a larger breach than the application of sanctification on anything else.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  4. Hill wrote:

    I think the emphasis on the heretical nature of the doctrine original sin is in many cases a modern innovation. Sources on this issue escape me, but I’ve read in several places that there is a reactionary character to the anti-Augustinianism prevalent in some wings of Orthodoxy that is motivate more by a desire to be polemical than anything else.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  5. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    Yeah, anti-Augustinian rhetoric seems like overcompensation. Not all Orthodox authors even think the problem was with Augustine as with later applications of his thought.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

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