Wise Words for Today

English: A woman walking a prayer labyrinth

English: A woman walking a prayer labyrinth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The incarnational model of the ancient church is relational. God relates to humanity by becoming one of us. We relate to God because, through the incarnation, we are lifted up into a relationship with the divine. In this ancient depiction of incarnational spirituality there is a divine indwelling of God, a mystical union between God and man, a relationship of continuous prayerful dependence. Contemplation of God and his wondrous story is characterized by the delight of the heart, an inner reality that proceeds from a union with God that is real…..By contrast, a justification/sanctification spirituality is less relational and more intellectual…..In summary, ancient spirituality is placed within the whole story of God and maintains the dynamic relational aspect of spirituality that is in union with God. On the other hand, the impact of the Enlightenment emphasis on justification and sanctification separates spirituality from the story of God (especially the incarnation in which humanity is lifted into God) and creates an intellectual spirituality that not only affirmed a forensic standing before God but one that equated spirituality with “right belief.” Spirituality ceased to be a “lived theology” and became faith as an intellectual construct.

Robert Webber

(from The Divine Embrace)

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