Class 4 – A.D. 313 – 1054, The Church of the Romans: Topic 2, Theology
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. - the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:32-33
As the Prophets beheld, as the Apostles taught, as the Church received, as the Teachers dogmatized, as the Oikoumene agreed, as Grace illumined, as the Truth revealed, as falsehood passed away, as Wisdom presented, as Christ awarded: Thus we declare, Thus we assert, Thus we proclaim Christ our true God and honor His saints...This is the Faith of the Apostles. This is the Faith of the Fathers. This is the Faith of the Orthodox.This is the Faith which has established the Oikoumene. - The Synodikon of Orthodoxy (A.D. 843)
In our last class, we discussed the nature of genuine, undeceived spiritual life, as taught by the Orthodox Church. This week, we will try to summarize the fundamental characteristics of genuine, undeceived teaching, called, loosely speaking, “theology.” Strictly speaking, the word “theology” refers only to the teaching about God in Himself, the inner life of the Most Holy Trinity. Over the centuries, however, the term, more loosely applied, has come to signify also all of the sacred truths about God's acts ad extra, towards His creation, which the Holy Fathers call not “theology” but “economy.” For the sake of convenience, we will follow this less formal convention. But let us keep this distinction in mind.
Remember, in our course we are attempting to recapture and to interiorize the way that our Fathers in the Faith saw, or, rather, see, everything, to acquire their mindset, their phronema. This is not an idle academic exercise, not an “objective” examination of one view among many, but rather a process of conversion of mind, will, and feeling. We come to the Church not merely for information but for catechesis and metanoia, to become that new man that God wishes us to be. To acquire the “filter,” the “prism” through which to view history, the “meta-historical” outlook peculiar to the Church, we have to think as Her Saints and Fathers think, reason as they reason, and have the same instinctive responses they have. Our minds must be transformed.
- Religion & Spirituality