“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.”
“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. They are positive where revelation is silent, and they venture to lift the veil which hangs over the future, where apostles and prophets, who should know the most, profess to know the least.”
“If we are asked for a simple test to distinguish between first thoughts and afterthoughts, we should say that first thoughts are few and afterthoughts many. The first thoughts touch life and conduct, and are “according to godliness.” Afterthoughts, on the other hand, make up the body of what is known as polemical divinity.”
“Theology, rightly considered, is the knowledge of God in His relation to us, the cardinal point of which lies in the truth which the old Greek poet had glanced at. “For we are also his offspring” – this is the true keynote; and theology, setting out from this kinship between us and God, we at once soar, as on wings of a spiritual intuition, across the abyss between creature and Creator.”
“But when we say God is love, we predicate of Him not one attribute out of many, as the old Deist school supposed. We affirm His inner essence, the fontal origin of all His perfections to be love.”
“It is these first thoughts which alone are lasting, which reveal Christ, which satisfy the conscience, and in the end wean us from our unbelief.”
“An inadequate conception of God, obscuring of His fatherly by His magisterial character, began as soon as Roman, or rather Carthaginian, conceptions of God had replaced those Greek and Alexandrian concepts which faded away at last in mysticism. It was towards the end of the second century that Christendom was called on at last to develop itself, and, as we venture to think, [in the West] it took the wrong turn.”
~John B. Heard, excerpts from Alexandrian and Carthaginian Theology Contrasted. (Bold Italics mine)
The First Thoughts Blog is intended for contemporary Roman Catholic and Protestant readers; especially those in the “Charismatic Renewal Movement” (CRM). Its purpose is to re-acquaint or perhaps introduce these Spirit-filled believers to the little-known ancient Christian theology and doctrine, the Doxis, that perfectly complements their already charismatic Christian walk, or Praxis.
This enlightened Doxis was lost to the Western Latin (Roman Catholic/Protestant) Church long before the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, so it does not exist in the Protestant tradition at all. This is not Far Eastern Mysticism or New Age crystal gazing; it is foundational ancient Christianity that energized the followers of the Way and the Christ-communities of the Apostles.
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 Protestants have never even heard of the nous. It’s simply not part of our Protestant tradition.
In another series of posts (Category: “Contemplative Christian Prayer”) I discuss the contemplative Primitive Christian Prayer tradition, lost to Western Latin Christianity more than 500 years ago. John Cassian (c. 350 – c.435), Christian mystic and Desert Father, tells us that contemplative prayer went well past the types that we recognize today: “The various kinds of prayer [petition, promise, intercession, pure praise] are followed by a higher state still… it is the contemplation of God alone, an immeasurable fire of love.” This tradition was virtually lost to the Roman church by the time of the Protestant Reformation, so we Protestants never had it at all!
These are but two examples. Intrigued? Look around. I categorized some of the series of related postings, such as “Contemplative Prayer” and the “The ‘Nous'”, so that you can find them all in one spot. Feel free to read, think about it, ask questions, make comments. Let’s get a dialogue going. It’s not like it’s not important… it’s just about your soul and your Christian walk!
This Blog is based on the revelations that led me to write First Thoughts, a short, tightly packed little book that describes my 40-year search for the theology and doctrine that animated the early Christian Church. You can read more about this by clicking on the “About” tab above.
I pray that you find both the Blog and First Thoughts to be of value to you in your journey of theosis, or union with God.Dallas Wolf Owasso, Oklahoma