Can non-monks be saved?

Hesychasts started to believe that whoever had not shared their special experience was not among the saved.   “Those who have not seen this Light, have not seen God; for God is light,” Symeon wrote.  “Those who have not yet received this this light have not yet received grace, for in receiving grace, one receives this divine light and God himself” (98).

William Placher, A History of Christian Theology.

St Symeon the New Theologian, Homily 129.2, quoted in Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 218.

No one can accuse me of quoting unrepresentative Orthodox texts.   St Symeon is one of the few Orthodox to receive the vaunted title “The Theologian.”  This means he is more representative and authoritative than other Orthodox.

Looking at all of this I have to ask, “Where is the Gospel?”   If this is how we are to be saved–meditating and achieving the divine light, then what need to Jesus have to die?  This is the difference between covenant religion and magic/chain of being/estrangement ontology.

A life of Antony by Athanasios

Finished reading St Athanasios’ Life of Antony.   Rather than being a monastic drillbook, it read like a fast-paced fantasy novel.   I will give a longer review of it after I finish Khaled Antolios’ Athanasius: The Coherence of His Thought.  Some initial thoughts:

  • While the Schaff editors might be Christians who believe in the supernatural when it applies to Jesus’ divinity, they are utterly modernist beyond that.  Their worldview explicitly denies God operating in the realm of space and time.   They go to huge lengths to deny the narratives where St Antony battles demons–you can read the footnotes and easily tell they are blushing with embarrassment as they deny these narratives. (For even more crass unbelief, see the volume on the life of Martin of Tours).
  • St Athanasios (or Antony) believed in toll-houses. I still don’t understand the hysteria in which people reacted to Fr. Seraphim Rose on this point (actually, I think I do).  Does that mean toll-houses are thereby dogma for the church?  No, for one man doesn’t establish dogma.   It does however show fathers who believed in toll-houses (interestingly, in his book on toll houses Fr Seraphim doesn’t refer to Antony’s narrative in any great detail, even when it provided stronger evidence for his case).
  • Monasticism predated Constantine.  Therefore, the argument that monasticism arose as a response to Constantine’s secularization of the church is false.