What are “First Thoughts“?
“A lifetime has taught me the same sharp contrast between two theologies, the one setting out with the first thoughts of God, the other with man’s interpretation of these thoughts which I describe as second thoughts or afterthoughts. The first thoughts, which are God’s thoughts, all address themselves to the conscience – they enter in, and they lodge there… The unerring mark of the first thoughts of God is that they come, as all Christ’s teaching came, with authority to the conscience.”
“Now, contrast with this theology of God’s first thoughts the afterthoughts of man, which make up our dogmatic, deductive systems built up on scattered texts and inferences of the hereafter all grounded in our ignorance. These second or afterthoughts all want this true note of authority, and they make up for it by the mock thunder of dogmatism.”
~ excerpts from Alexandrian and Carthaginian Theology Contrasted, by John B. Heard, 1893 (Bold Italics mine)
The First Thoughts blog is intended for all Christians; most especially those coming from Western Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. It may be of particular interest and value to those of the “Charismatic Renewal Movement” (CRM). It can serve to introduce, or perhaps reacquaint believers to the ancient and nearly forgotten Christian theology and doctrine that perfectly complements a charismatic Christian walk. Fortunately, this ancient Christianity I speak of can be found today, intact in the mystic theology and doctrine of Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. This tradition has been faithfully recorded, carefully maintained, and consistently transmitted since first received from the Apostles of the first century.
This is not Far Eastern Mysticism or New Age crystal gazing; it is the foundational ancient Christianity that energized and inspired the followers of the Way in the Christ-communities of the early church. This enlightened mystic Christianity was lost to the Western Latin Church (Roman Catholic/Protestant) a century before the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. So, it has been virtually lost to the Roman Catholic Church for more than 500 years and was never a part of the Protestant tradition, at all.
For example, in a series of posts (Category: “The ‘Nous‘”) I discuss the healing and restoration of our nous (νοϋς), our intuitive spiritual faculty, ‘the eye of the soul’. Most Western Christians have never even heard of the nous. It’s simply not part of our Western Christian tradition.
In another series of posts (Category: “Contemplative Prayer“) I discuss the contemplative Christian prayer tradition, virtually lost to Western Latin Christianity so long ago. John Cassian (c. 350 – c. 435), Christian mystic and Desert Father, tells us that contemplative prayer goes well past the types that we recognize today: “The various kinds of prayer [e.g., petition, promise, intercession, pure praise] are followed by a higher state still… it is the contemplation of God alone, an immeasurable fire of love.”
In our series on the Logos (Category: “The Logos Doctrine“) you will find a discussion absolutely essential to an understanding of John’s Gospel and theology. “In Latin, such is the poverty of the language, there is no term at all equivalent to the Logos.”
In the series of posts (Category: “Christian Anthropology – East and West“) we examine “What it Means to be Human” in both the Eastern Greek and the Western Latin theological traditions. We determine whether these views are positive and optimistic or negative and pessimistic, and why.
This is but a sample of the topics covered on this blog. They are the result of my personal 40-year quest (or what I might describe as my “running gun battle”) to find the authentic theology and doctrine that animated the early Christian Church. My hope is that it will stimulate, inform, and perhaps initiate comments and dialogue. At the very least, I hope it serves to save you some time and effort on your own personal spiritual journey to theosis; union with God.Dallas Wolf, lay Christian Owasso, Oklahoma