April 8, 2010 5 Comments
By: Jay Dyer
As is evident in conversations with both unenlightened Catholics and Calvinists (but especially Calvinists), the starting point of theology – the ordo theologiae is radically different. The West starts with the nature and “attributes” of God for the most part, which are attributes of God’s simple essence. This is clear in Berkhof, Hodge, Reymond, Dabney and the various confessions. Apparently, some Calvinist buds of mine were not aware that this is standard western theology. I have yet to see a Calvinist theologian who doesn’t hold to the standard western views of divine simplicity.
The basis of all of this is the confusion of nature and Person in God and all the multifarious implications that flow from this. The implications flow out into Christology and soteriology. It should be obvious that our soteriology has to match up with our view of Christ and our view of the Trinity. But my western friends don’t seem to catch on to this. In other words, I cannot accept some view of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and then come up with a soteriology that does not comport with that.
Eastern theology does not begin with 17th century polemics about “justification” (as does the West). The starting place for theology is the Trinity and Incarnation as exemplified at the Ecumenical Councils of the first 1,000 years. All theologizing then flows from this. This is the reason for the vast dfference in Trinitarian theologies between the two. The west’s universal acceptance of the Augustinian filioque is proof of this, and the filioque is based on ADS. No western theologians accept the Cappadocian/Ecumenically accepted theology on this matter. And they are two different views. Read more of this post