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Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Introduction

Gorman’s goal for Inhabiting the Cruciform God is to unpack “the claim that cruciformity is theoformity, or theosis” (2).

Behind it are a couple of other claims developed elsewhere:

1. God is cruciform.

2. Christian spirituality, holiness, conformity to Christ is cruciformity, or a step further, it is inhabiting the cruciform God.

3. And thus, cruciformity is theoformity, deification, divinization, or theosis.

We can read a series of conditional sentences in Gorman’s unpacking of his ultimate claim in subsequent chapters:

1. If kenosis reveals God’s character and if God is cruciform then kenosis summons us to theosis.

2. If justification is by co-crucifixion or participation in the cruciform narrative of Christ, which, you will recall is God’s character, then justification is theosis.

3. If holiness is conformity to God’s cruciform character, and if justification is theosis, then holiness is the actualization of justification and is appropriately referred to as theosis.

Gorman focuses the better part of the introduction introducing his readers to theosis—”Kenosis is familiar to us, and justification we know, but what in the world is theosis?” (3)

“[T]he burden of this book,” Gorman writes, is “to make it clear that Paul’s experience of Christ was precisely  an experience of God in se, and that we must either invent of borrow theological language to express that as fully and appropriately as possible” (4). Theosis as “transformative participation in the kenotic, cruciform character of God through Spirit-enabled conformity to the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected/glorified Christ” is language that expresses Paul’s experience of Christ as an experience of God, according to Gorman. And with that, Gorman in the following chapters sets about to argue for the protasis and thus the apodosis of each of the conditional sentences above.

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