Tabor and Hermon

In the celebration of the Feast of the Transfiguration in the Orthodox Church, much attention is paid to the revelation of Christ’s glory as uncreated light.  This is fitting, as this element of the event and of the feast became critically important to later doctrinal disputes within the East and ultimately between East and West.  There are, however, other important elements of the event and feast relating to the revelation of Jesus as not only Christ but as God which may be all too quickly passed over as a result of this emphasis.  Certain liturgical elements of the feast and of scriptures telling of the event give clues to these other elements if they are followed through attentively. One of…

Atonement for the Whole World

First John 2:2 states that Christ has offered himself as an atoning sacrifice “not only for our sins but also for the whole world.”  For most of Christian history, this verse has been used as a football in various theological disputes.  First, it was used as a proof text against the Donatists who saw their churches in North Africa as the totality of the church of Christ.  Second, it was debated in regard to the condemnation of apokatastasis or universalism.  Beginning in the period of the Protestant Reformation, it became a key text in the debate surrounding the Calvinist doctrine of limited or particular atonement.  While what St. John has to say to the Johannine community in 1 John may…