Inhabiting the Cruciform God–summary (pt. 1)


Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology

This book (Eerdmans, April 2009) is the logical continuation of my work on Paul, especially an earlier monograph, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (Eerdmans, 2001), with a focus on the implications of the central claim of Cruciformity’s first chapter: that for Paul, God is cruciform. If that is true, then cruciformity is really theoformity or, as the Christian tradition (especially in the East) has sometimes called it, theosis—deification or divinization. It is conformity to Christ, or holiness, understood as participation in the very life of God. The book unpacks the claim that cruciformity is theosis. It also argues that Paul has only one soteriological model, justification by co-crucifixion, which is itself theosis. The book unfolds in four closely connected chapters. Each chapter includes theological reflection on the contemporary meaning of Paul’s participationist soteriology. One major theme of the book is that many of the theological distinctions we make in analyzing Paul (justification-sanctification; declaration-transformation; faith-works; faith-love; spirituality-politics) are foreign to Paul’s way of thinking and maintaining them actually contributes to serious misunderstandings of Paul. A subtext of the book is that Paul has been over-Protestantized and that it is time to re-discover a more ecumenical Paul.


Context (others with similar interests; convergence of themes, trends)

·         Paul and participation: A. Schweitzer, A. Deissmann, E.P. Sanders, R. Hays, M. Hooker (“interchange”), D. Campbell (“Trinitarian participationism”; PPME: “pneumatologically participatory martyrological eschatology”)

·         Paul and narrative: R. Hays, S. Fowl, N.T. Wright, B. Longenecker, K. Grieb, S. Keesmaat

·         Debates about justification: New Perspective, “traditionalist” reactions; question of two soteriological models in Paul (forensic/juridical/legal and participationist); 2009 books on justification (in order of length): Gorman, Wright, Campbell

·         Unity of justification and participation: R. Hays, R. Tannehill

·         Growing interest in reformers and participation; renewed interest in theosis

·         Paul and theosis: R. Hays (we should read Paul via the early Fathers), B. Blackwell (Durham diss.), S. Finlan (theosis in Paul as three-stage process = dying to sin, moral transformation, eschatological transformation), M.D. Litwa (JTI article on 2 Cor 3:18), N.T. Wright

2 Responses to “Inhabiting the Cruciform God–summary (pt. 1)”

  1. Joseph Jaffa says:

    Dr. Gorman, you’ve got to have your books published for the Kindle!

  2. MJG says:

    That may happen, Joe. I think Apostle is available for Kindle.

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