My good friend at Lutheran Enigma has left a "teaser-post" in which in promises a "series of blog posts under the title 'Sanctification, Third Use of the Law, and Theosis.'" His fear is that the "primacy of justsification" is sacrificed by those who embrace the patristic principle of theosis; that one can "go down the path of theosis away from the primacy of justification."
As he ponders and constructs these posts, I make bold to offer my friend a few suggestions:
* A definition of the term "primacy of justification" would be helpful. In other words, how does justification take primacy over sanctification, especially considering that several Lutheran theologians describe the two concepts as two sides of the same coin.
* On the surface it is easy to think that the patristic/Orthodox view of theosis is a subcategory of the Western/Lutheran view of sanctificatio. However, it is not; and, in fact, has many aspects that line up nicely with the best understanding of justificatio.
* In the Lutheran Book of Concord, it seems that what drives both justification and sanctification is Christology. Christology is also key to understanding theosis. I suggest that this is the "common ground" and, therefore, a good place to begin.
* It took me a while to understand that the patristic/Orthodox view of theosis is not a dogma or doctrine (one bit among many; one spoke in the wheel), but rather is something akin to a governing or foundational principle. In this regard, theosis is akin to Christology; and, in fact, I will be so bold as to state that theosis is simply Christology applied (potentially) to every man. (Of course, the essence/energy distinction is crucial in understanding this claim correctly.)
The above point did not become clear to me until I read more carefully and understood more fully the key writings of St Maximos the Confessor and the issues at stake in the fifth and sixth ecumenical councils. Until then, I willingly conceded the premises my friend has staked out; namely, that theosis is simply a Greek term for a different or fuller view of sanctificatio.