ACTIVE OBEDIENCE - Christ
voluntarily enters into the covenant of
redemption. His supreme desire is to be
in harmony with the Father.
ADIAPHORA - Literally,
"matters of indifference." Beliefs or practices
which the sixteenth-century Reformers
regarded as being tolerable, in that
they were neither explicitly rejected
nor stipulated by Scripture. For
example, what ministers wore at church
services was often regarded as a
"matter of indifference." The concept
is of importance in that it allowed
the sixteenth-century reformers to
adopt a pragmatic approach to many
beliefs and practices, thus avoiding
AD HOMINEM ABUSIVE - An
informal fallacy where the opponent attacks
the man rather than the argument.
AD BACULUM - An informal
fallacy in logical argumentation that is no more
than an argument by intimidation. The
strength of the argument is on the basis
of "might makes right."
AD MISERICORDIAM - An
informal fallacy where the opponent appeals to pity.
AD VERECUNUDIAM - An informal
fallacy where the opponent appeals to the
* - A heretical doctrine
that states that Jesus was an ordinary man
of extraordinary virtue who was
"adopted" by God the Father into divine Sonship at
AGENTS OF REVELATION - God
uses humans as agents of revelation. Prophets
in the Old Testament and Apostles in
the New Testament.
AGNOSTICISM - The belief that
there is insufficient evidence either for or against
the existence of God, therefore the
only sound decision is not to decide.
* - (Also called Cathars, or Cathari) A medieval cult centered
in Albi in
southern France which held to dualistic
and gnostic beliefs in a god of light (associated
with the spiritual) and a god of
darkness (associated with the material). This ascetic sect
was wiped out by a civil war in the
AMILLENNIALISM - Adherents
follow the Augustinian interpretation that the
millennial reign of Christ is the age
of the church, from the resurrection to His second
coming. This was the dominant view of
orthodox Christianity from the time of Origen
through much of the Middle Ages.
AMYRALDISM - Named after it's
foremost proponent, French Reformed theologian
Moise Amyraut (1596-1664), Amyraldism
is basically a Calvinistic theology that denies
limited or definite atonement (the "L"
in the Tulip acrostic) replacing it with a Universal
atonement of limited application.
ANABAPTISM - A term derived
from the Greek word for "re-baptizer," and used
to refer to the radical wing of the
sixteenth-century Reformation, based on thinkers
such as Menno Simons or Balthasar
ANALOGY OF FAITH - This is
the foundation for biblical interpretation
according to the Reformers. It states
that difficult passages of Scripture
must be interpreted in light of other
clear passages. "Scripture interprets Scripture."
ANGLICANISM - A branch of
theology especially associated with the churches
historically derived from the Church of
England. In the past, characteristic emphases
have included the recognition of the
relation between liturgy and theology, and an
emphasis upon the importance of the
doctrine of the incarnation.
* - The belief that an individual spirit resides in anything,
animate or inanimate. The historical
critical school believed everything
moved from the simple to the complex.
ANTHROPOMORPHISM - The
tendency to ascribe human features (such as
hands or arms) or other human
characteristics to God.
* - (from Latin anti + Greek nomos "law") The
belief that under
the gospel dispensation of grace the
moral law is of no use or obligation because faith
alone is necessary to salvation
ANTINOMY - The mutual
contradiction of two principles resting on premises
of equal validity. This is against the
law of non-contradiction.
APOLOGETICS - That branch of
Christian theology which has as its aim the
reasoned advocacy of the Christian
faith. It includes both positive
arguments for the truth of Christianity
and rebuttals of criticisms leveled at it.
A POSTERIORI - (from the
latter) a term applied to those proofs of the
existence of God that begin with the
finite order and ascend toward the
APOSTLE'S CREED - An ancient
statement of belief in the early Church
summarizing the teachings of the
scriptures and the twelve apostles.
APOSTOLIC ERA - The period
of the Christian church, regarded as definitive
by many, bounded by the resurrection of
Jesus Christ (c.AD 35) and the
death of the last Apostle (c.AD 90?).
The ideas and practices of this
period were widely regarded as
normative, at least in some sense or to some
degree, in many church circles.
APPROPRIATION - A term
relating to the doctrine of the Trinity, which
affirms that while all three persons of
the Trinity are active in all the
outward actions of the Trinity, it is
appropriate to think of each of those
actions as being the particular work of
one of the persons. Thus it is
appropriate to think of creation as the
work of the Father, or redemption
as the work of the Son, despite the
fact that all three persons are present
and active in both these works.
A PRIORI KNOWLEDGE - This is
innate knowledge. It is built in before
* - A major early Christological heresy, which treated Jesus
as the supreme of God's creatures, and
is thus appropriately referred to as
god, but not the God, and denied his
divine status. The Arian controversy
was of major importance in the
development of Christology during the fourth
ARMINIANISM - Named after
Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). Arminians
remonstrated against (denied) the main
points of Calvinist soteriology, leading them to set
forth 5 points or articles: 1.
Conditional Election, 2. Universal Atonement, 3. An inherent ability
to respond to grace 4. The
resistability of grace 5. The ability of the saints to fail to
These articles were condemned at the
Synod of Dordt. The answers the Synod gave were
to become the basis for the so-called
"5 points of Calvinism" (TULIP). Arminianism is often
associated with Semi-Pelagianism
because of the similarities between the two systems.
ARTICULUS STANTIS ET CADENTIS
ECLESIAE - (the article by which the church
stands or falls) The article is
justification by faith alone.
ASCETICISM - The practice of
self discipline, especially the renunciation of
certain bodily pleasures. Asceticism
usually involves an unscriptural
elevation of the spiritual over the
ASEITY - Refers to God's self
existence. God has the power of being. He is
not dependent, contingent, or derived.
ASSENSUS - This is the second
part of the reformers concept of faith.
A simple assent to a truth by the
intellect or intellectual assent to data.
ATOMISTIC EXEGESIS - This
refers to the mistreatment of Scripture where
one is concerned with each particular
word without considering the relationship
to the whole of Scripture.
ATONEMENT - A term originally
coined by William Tyndale to translate the
Latin term reconciliatio, which has
since come to have the developed
meaning of "the work of Christ" or "the
benefits of Christ gained for
believers by his death and
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD - Refers to
the character of God or quality of God which
constitutes who he is. They are
inseparable from his being.
AUGUSTINIANISM - The theology
of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) teaches
that man is morally unable to embrace
the gospel because of the Fall and that
the Fall is absolute and total. The
Holy Spirit monergistically changes the
heart of fallen man and enables man to
understand and believe the gospel.
According to Augustinianism
regeneration precedes faith in the
(order of salvation) and actually
AUTONOMY - Freedom and
independent of all external constraint. The quest
for autonomy is the initial sin of the
BAPTISM - A sacrament of the
Roman Catholic and Protestant Church. It
represents cleansing from sin, and our
entrance into the visible church. A
symbol of death and resurrection of
regeneration, and faith.
BEZA, THEODORE (1519-1605) -
Calvin's Succesor as the leader of the Reformed
community at Geneva and one of the
leading theologians of the Reformation.
- The theologian of the 16th century Reformation who wrote
the first systematic theology from a
Reformed perspective. He understood
and articulated the majesty and
sovereignty of God better than any other
theologian during his time.
CALVINISM - An ambiguous
term, used with two quite distinct meanings.
First, it refers to the religious ideas
of religious bodies (such as the
Reformed church) and individuals (such
as Theodore Beza) who were
profoundly influenced by John Calvin,
or by documents written by him.
Second, it refers to the religious
ideas of John Calvin himself. Although
the first sense is by far the more
common, there is a growing recognition
that the term is misleading.
CALVIN'S DEFINITION OF FREE WILL
- He believed man has the ability to
choose that which he wants.
CANON - The Greek word means
"rule". It is a term used to describe the
books of Scripture. A collection of
individual inspired books contained in
CATECHISM - A popular manual
of Christian doctrine, usually in the form of
question and answer, intended for
CATHOLIC - Literally means
"universal." Refers to the whole Christian
church- the universal, orthodox,
institutional body of believers. Now
generally refers to the Roman Catholic
CAUSALITY - The relationship
between cause and its effect. It is a
practical application of the law of
CHALCEDON - A council held in
451 to define orthodox
than any other. Described Christ as
truly man and truly God without confusion,
mixture, or separation. (See
CHALCEDONIAN FORMULATION -
The Chalcedonian Formulation
affirmed the unity of the two natures
of Christ- vere home, truly man and
vere deus, truly God. The unity of the
two natures of Christ was defined as-
Without mixture - directed at the
Without confusion - directed at the
Without division - directed at the
Without separation - directed at the
The Chalcedonian Formulation states
that each nature, the human and divine,
retains its own attributes.
CHARISMA, CHARISMATIC - A set
of terms especially associated with the gifts
of the Holy Spirit. In medieval
theology, the term "charisma" is used to
designate a spiritual gift, conferred
upon individuals by the grace of God.
Since the early twentieth century, the
term "charismatic" has come to refer
to styles of theology and worship which
place particular emphasis upon the
immediate presence and experience of
the Holy Spirit.
CHILIASM - A belief that
Christ's return will begin a thousand year reign
CHRISTIAN - A follower of
Jesus Christ. The name first given to the
disciples of Jesus in the city of
Antioch (Acts 11-26).
CHRISTOS (LATIN, CHRISTUS)
- Literally refers to the anointed one or the
Messiah, who is anointed to the office
of Mediator. Specifically a title.
CHRISTOLOGY - The section of
Christian theology dealing with the identity
of Jesus Christ, his person,
particularly the question of the relation of
his human and divine natures, and his
CHURCH - All believers who
confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
and who are united in one body with
Christ as the head are called the
church of Christ. The word also refers
to the local congregation of believers,
or a denomination.
CLASSICAL APOLOGETICS - A
view that a knowledge of God and His divine
attributes can be known from creation
by using the classical arguments used
throughout church history.
COMMUNICABLE ATTRIBUTE -
Attributes of God for which corresponding
characteristics can be found in human
nature. (i.e. God loves and man loves)
CONCURRENCE - It literally
means to run together with. Used in connection
with the doctrine of God's providence,
it is used when describing the
primary and secondary causes and that
they operate concurrently. God's
purpose is brought to pass by his
sovereignty even though he uses human
means (i.e. The brothers of Joseph
(Gen. 37-50) did evil, but God meant it
CONFESSION - Although the
term refers primarily to the admission of sin, it
acquired a rather different technical
sense in the sixteenth century - that
of a document which embodies the
principles of faith of a Protestant
church. Thus the Augsburg Confession
(1530) embodies the ideas of early
Lutheranism, and the First Helvetic
Confession (1536) those of the early
Reformed church. The term
"Confessional" is often used to refer to a church
which defines itself with reference to
such a document. Confessions (which
define denominations) should be
distinguished from creeds (which transcend
CONSUBSTANTIATION - A term
used to refer to the theory of the real
presence, especially associated with
Martin Luther, which holds that Christ's
body and blood are present "with, in
and under" the bread and wine, instead of
replacing them as in the Roman Catholic
CONTRA NATURAM - (works
against the laws of nature) - A term used to show
that miracles attest the authority of
CONTRA PECCATUM (AGAINST
SIN) - The argument that only God can act against
sin. Describes the limitation on Satan.
CONTRADICTION - The belief
that two ideas at the same time in the same
relationship cannot be both be true.
Something cannot be A and not A at
the same time and in the same
- Same in substance
COOPERARE AND ASSENTIRE -
Latin words meaning "cooperate and assent."
Semi-peligians use these terms to
explain that man must cooperate with and
assent to prevenient grace to bring
regeneration. This view teaches
that faith precedes regeneration.
COSMOLOGY - A study of the
order and harmony of the world. God is ordering
the principles of the universe.
COUNCIL OF TRENT - a Roman
Catholic council of the counter reformation in
1550. They repudiated justification by
faith and accepted the two source
theory of revelation.
COVENANT OF WORKS - This was
the first covenant God initiated for man to
keep. This covenant involved God's
promised blessing and rules for man to
obey to secure God's promised blessing.
CREATION EX NIHILO (CREATED
OUT OF NOTHING) - The idea that God created
without the use of previously existing
materials, but it comes from God.
God has the power of being and thus the
power to create.
CREED - From the Latin word
credo meaning "I believe," a formal
definition or summary of the Christian
faith, held in common by all
Christians. The most important are
those generally known as the "Apostles'
creed" and the "Nicene creed."
CRITERIA FOR CANONICITY -
1) Written or endorsed by an Apostle
2) Accepted by the church
3) judging conformity of the
unquestionable against the questionable
CREDULITY (EASY BELIEVISM) -
In theology this refers to accepting
information without much examination.
DECRETIVE WILL OF GOD -
Francis Turretin defines the decretive will of God
as that "which God wills to do or
permit himself." It refers to the eternal
decrees of God.
* - A term used to refer to the views of a group of English
especially during the seventeenth
century, the rationalism of which
anticipated many of the ideas of the
Enlightenment. The term is often used
to refer to a view of God which
recognizes the divine creatorship, yet
which rejects the notion of a
continuing divine involvement with the world.
* - An approach to theology especially associated
with the German theologian Ruldolf
Bultmann (1884-1976) and his followers,
which rests upon the belief that the
New Testament worldview is "mythological."
In order for it to be understood
within, or applied to, the modern situation, it is
necessary that the mythological
elements should be eliminated.
DENOMINATION - An
organization within the Body of Christ of uniform belief
and practice. (A group of Christians
who all believe the same way, such as
Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists,
* - Human choices are determined by outside forces or causes
which are blind impersonal forces. We
have no choice. This was John L.
Girardeau's false charge against
Jonathan Edwards and his work on the
Freedom of the Will.
DIALECTIC - This comes from
the word dialogue which means back and forth.
Hegel developed Dialedctical Idealism
and the dialectic is a tension,
struggle, and conflict.
DIALECTICAL IDEALISM -
Hegel's philosophy in a three stage operation.
1) Thesis; 2) Antithesis; 3) Synthesis.
This a process to understand how
history moved and progressed.
DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM -
Marx's philosophy which stated that the conflict
in history is not over ideas but over
DISPENSATION - This refers to
the ordering of God's economy. It is the
sequence of events in the history of
DISPENSATIONALISM - A
Protestant movement which began in the 19th century,
especially associated with North
America, placing emphasis upon the various
divine "dispensations" with humanity,
and stressing the importance of
*- An early
Christological heresy, which treated Jesus Christ as a
purely divine being who only had the
"appearance" of being human.
DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS THEORY
(JEDP INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE) The
theory that a dynamic revelation is
applied to Scripture. This essentially
denies plenary verbal inspiration of
Scripture. Dynamic revelation was
popularized by the neo-orthodox
scholars who taught that the Bible becomes
the Word of God through some kind of
encounter with Scripture.
DONATISM - A movement,
centering upon Roman North Africa in the fourth
century, which developed a rigorist
view of the church and sacraments.
Donatists objected to the reinstatement
of Christians who had surrendered
the Scriptures by "traditio" (traitors)
under persecution. In opposition
to the Donatists, Augustine developed
the concept of the invisible church.
They were named after Donatus, their
bishop in Carthage from 313 to 355.
DOUBLE PREDESTINATION -
Arminians, anti-Calvinists, and hypo-Calvinists
misconstrue this term as teaching that
God actively chooses some to be
saved and actively chooses some to be
lost and consequently works faith in
those who will be saved and unbelief in
those who will be lost. The
Biblical doctrine of
Double-Predestination actually teaches that all men
would be lost unless God chose to save
some, thus He mercifully saves some
and passes over others who receive
DOUBLE TRANSFER - Sin is
transferred to Jesus on the Cross and merit of
Christ's righteousness is transferred
* - Two substances or powers, neither of which is reducible to
DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCY - Bible
translation which conveys thought for thought
instead of word for word. The New
International Version (NIV) uses this
* - An early
Christological heresy, which treated Jesus Christ as
a purely human figure, although
recognizing that he was endowed with
particular charismatic gifts which
distinguished him from other humans.
ECCLESI- (Latin ecclesia,
from Greek ekklEsia)- assembly of citizens,
church, from ekkalein to call
forth, summon, from ex- + kalein to call
ECCLESIOLOGY- The section of
Christian theology dealing with the theory of
EFFICACY - That it actually
EKKLESIA - a Greek term
referring to the "called assembly." Orthodox
Christianity uses it to describe the
EFFECTUAL CALLING - A term
used to describe that part of the
(order of salvation) in which the
people of God are graciously summoned into
the fellowship of Christ and united to
Him by faith. In effectual calling God calls
them whom he has predestinated to
eternal life by his Word and Spirit, out of
their state of sin and death. They are
regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit
and their wills are renewed and made
willing and able to answer the call to come
to Christ, which they will most
certainly do. The basis of effectual calling is God's
grace and not any perceived quality in
the individual called.
EMPIRICISM - A philosophical
view that teaches the source of all knowledge
is sense experience. It is based on the
common perception that our senses
provide us with knowledge. Experience
therefore is the sole source of
knowledge. A reaction to Rationalism.
ENLIGHTENMENT - The
philosophy of European rationalists during the 18th
century. It rejected supernatural
revelation and man's sinfulness. Reason
was its god.
EPISTEMOLOGY - The science of
knowledge. It answers the question- How do we
know what we know?
* - A view of God's decrees where God is creating good, but
is also actively creating evil.
ESCHATOLOGY - The section of
Christian theology dealing with the "last
things," especially the doctrines of
resurrection, the second coming, hell, and eternal life.
ESSE - (the act of existing,
essence) This means something is essential to
the faith. (ie. justification by
ESSENCE - The being or power
of a thing which comes from the Greek word
ousia (being). In the ancient
world essence was pure being. God is
therefore pure being.
EUCHARIST - A term used to
refer to the sacrament variously known as "the Lord's
supper," and "holy communion." From the
Greek Eucharizesthai "to show thanks."
EVANGELICAL - A term
initially used to refer to the nascent reforming
movements, especially in Germany and
Switzerland, in the 1510s and
1520s. The term was later replaced by
"Protestant" in the aftermath of the
Diet of Speyer. In modern times, the
term has come to be used of a major
movement, especially in
English-language theology, which places especial
emphasis upon the supreme authority of
Scripture and the atoning death of
EVIDENTIALIST - one who
attempts to present valid evidence that man is morally
obligated to God. Also called a
EVIL - The negation of good.
It is wicked, real, and experienced, and that
which is morally bad or harmful.
EX NIHILO - (out of nothing)
- The divine creation of the world out of
EX OPERE OPERATO ( BY THE WORK
PERFORMED) - When the
sacraments are administered, they are
effective to act positively upon
the believer or unbeliever. The Roman
Catholic position on the
EXEGESIS - The science of
textual interpretation, usually referring
specifically to the Bible. The term
"biblical exegesis" basically means
"the process of interpreting the
Bible." The specific techniques employed
in the exegesis of Scripture are
usually referred to as "hermeneutics."
* - A particular approach to the atonement, which
stresses the moral or religious example
set to believers by Jesus Christ.
EXISTENCE - This comes from a
Latin term meaning to stand out of.
The ancient Greeks would say this is
becoming. It refers to the realm
of creaturely being, not in the realm
* - The source of knowledge are sensations as they
"exist" in our consciousness. It denies
EXISTERE - (to stand out of)
Could be referred to as a state of becoming.
The realm of creaturely being, but also
is used to refer to the being of God.
EXOUSIA - Greek word meaning
authority or right. It comes from the Greek
preposition ex which means out
of and ousia which means being or essence.
EXPIATION - This a work of
Christ directed to man for removal of guilt.
Christ removes the penalty of sin from
FABRICUM IDOLARUM - (AN IDOL
John Calvin taught
that "everyone of us is, even from his
mother's womb, expert in inventing
idols" (Calvin's Commentary on the Book
of Acts, Vol. 19, page 413).
FIDEISM - This means to
believe something by faith without any rational
evidence. The ultimate ground for
accepting the claims of the Bible is the
testimony of the Holy Spirit received
FIDES VIVA - (a living faith)
This is associated with the Reformers view of
justification by faith alone.
FIDUCIA - This means trust.
It fits in the reformers view of faith to
include notitia (knowledge)and assensus
(to affirm or to agree).
FINITUM NON CAPAX INFINITUM -
(the finite is incapable of the infinite).
Man (finite) cannot totally comprehend
God who is infinite.
FUNDAMENTALISM - A form of
American Protestant Christianity which lays
especial emphasis upon the final
authority of an inerrant Bible.
GENERAL REVELATION - God's
Revelation of Himself and His divine
attributes in His creation. This
knowledge is sufficient for it's purpose
(i.e. to convict man of the certainty
of God's existence) but is not sufficient
to save, nor is it intended to be
*- A movement placing especial emphasis upon a contrast
between the material and spiritual
realms, which became of major importance
during the second century. Its most
characteristic doctrines include redemption
apart from the material world, a
dualist worldview which held that different gods
were responsible for creation and
redemption, and an emphasis upon the
importance of "knowledge" (gnosis) in
GOSPEL - Literally, "Good
News". The message of Jesus, his coming, his
Kingdom, and salvation through his
sacrifice on the cross for us.
GRACE - Blessings, favor, and
life sustaining providence that God gives
freely, as an undeserved gift, for us.
Salvation is by grace.
- The hermeneutical (method of
interpretation) method used to
determine the intended meaning of words in
Scripture. The question must be asked-
what did the writer intend to say?
Words in Scripture are to taken
literally unless they are obviously figurative.
The history (context) of Scripture must
be considered in biblical interpretation.
The goal is an objective understanding
of the Word of God.
HERESY - False teaching.
HERMENEUTICS - The science of
interpretation. It deals with rules of
exegesis, particularly of Scripture,
and its purpose is to understand the
intended meaning of a communication.
HOLY - Pure, undefiled,
separated, set apart from what is common, as God
himself is. People are made holy by
faith in Jesus Christ.
HOLY COMMUNION - Another name
for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
HOMO MENSURA - A term coined
by the Greek Philosopher Protagoras which
means man is the measure of all things.
It is the battle cry of the humanist.
HOMOOUSION - A Greek term,
literally meaning "of the same substance,"
which came to be used extensively
during the fourth century to designate the
mainstream Christological belief that
Jesus Christ was "of the same
substance as God." The term was
polemical, being directed against the
view that Christ was "of similar
substance" (homoiousion) to God.
HUMANISM - A complex
movement, linked with the European Renaissance.
At the heart of the movement lay not
(as the modern sense of the word might
suggest) a set of secular or
secularizing ideas but a new interest in the
cultural achievements of antiquity.
These were seen as a major resource for
the renewal of European culture and
Christianity during the period of the
HYMN - A song used in
HYPOSTASES - This is the
Greek word for subsistence. Hypostatic union
means the substantial union. There are
three persons but only one essence.
HYPOSTATIC UNION - The
doctrine of the union of divine and human natures
in Jesus Christ, without confusion of
their respective substances.
ICONOCLASM - Literally,
"image breaking," the practice of destroying
images in an effort to eradicate
idolatry. In 754 the Council of Constantinople
gave legal sanction to iconoclasm. The
Reformation practiced a more
positive form of iconoclasm by
emphasizing the Scriptures and the
priesthood of believers. The term is
also used figuratively of opposition
to commonly held views.
ILLUMINATION - The process by
which God's Holy Spirit enables us to
understand His word and apply it to our
IMAGO DEI (IMAGE OF GOD) -
The uniqueness of human beings as
created by God, not physically like
God, but having personalities able
to respond to God and to his love.
God's image in human beings is
marred by sin.
IMMEDIATE GENERAL REVELATION
- Revelation comes directly from
God to us. Everybody has a sense of the
divine. Certain knowledge of God
which man can know by innate sense
which puts in man. God's self disclosure
without any medium. Found in Romans
2-15ff. This knowledge is never
sufficient to save.
INCARNATION - A term used to
refer to the assumption of a human
nature by God, in the person of Jesus
INCOMMUNICABLE ATTRIBUTE -
Something God has that He does not give to His
creatures. There is no corresponding
characteristic found in human nature,
such as immutability, omniscience, or
INCOMPREHENSIBILITY OF GOD -
The first doctrine of Reformed Theology. We
cannot understand God totally, because
we are finite and He is infinite. We
are not only limited, but God has
* - In Roman Catholicism, remission of the temporal (especially
purgatorial) consequences of previously
INFRALAPSARIANISM - Comes
from doctrine of predestination. God
created Adam righteous, but he had the
ability to sin. The infralapsarian
believes that God's decree of election
came logically after the decree of
the fall. Thus God considered men as a
"perishing mass" when he
mercifully elected some to salvation.
INSPIRATION - God in His full
power used men and their full power for the
writing of Scripture and so
superintended the work by His power and protection
that the final results in the original
manuscripts are without any error.
INTERNAL TESTIMONY OF HOLY SPIRIT
Calvin used this term to describe the
testimony of God's Spirit through His
Word which convicts the world of sin,
righteousness, and judgments.
INERRANT - A term meaning
"without error." Usually used to indicate that
the Bible was without error in the
INFALLIBILITY - A term
meaning "incapable of error." Usually used to
indicate that the Scriptures cannot
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH, DOCTRINE
OF - The section of
dealing with how the individual sinner
is able to enter into fellowship
with God. The doctrine was to prove to
be of major significance at the time
of the Reformation.
JUSTITIA ALIENUM - (an alien
righteousness) The Father declares one
righteous on account of the
righteousness of Christ imputed to them.
KATAKEIN - A Greek meaning to
hold down or suppress. It describes man's
suppression of the knowledge of God in
Romans 1. Truth is being suppressed
in a way that takes an effort to
KAIROTIC MOMENTS - This
refers to a specific event in time which has great
significance for the rest of time.
(i.e. the incarnation of Christ)
KRISIS - The Greek word for
judgment. This ultimately refers to the last
judgment, the day of the Lord.
KURIOS/KURION - Lord of
lords. This N. T. term indicates that Jesus Christ
is in a class by himself. He is not
merely a king of human lords. (Jesus O
Kurios - This was the confession used
by the early church. This concept of
Savior/Lord is to be divided.)
KUYPER, ABRAHAM - Kuyper
(1837-1920) was a Dutch Reformed theologian,
Prime Minister (1900-1905), and founder
of the Free University and the independent
Reformed Church. Kuyper's theology was
influential in the development of both
the modern concept of the Reformed
worldview and Presuppositional Apologetics.
LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION - A
law of logic that states that contrary
properties cannot belong to the same
thing, at the same time, and in the
LAWS OF IMMEDIATE INFERENCE -
Describe the relationship between
words like all, each, every, etc.
* - A movement, especially associated with
nineteenth-century Germany, which
stressed the continuity between religion and
LIMITED ATONEMENT - An
approach to the doctrine of the atonement,
especially associated with reformed
writers, which holds that Christ's
death is only effective for those who
have been elected to salvation. Also
called Definite Atonement, the doctrine
stresses that Christ died to definitely
save the elect rather than creating a
"possibility of salvation" for all men without
actually saving anyone.
LITURGY - The written text of
public services, especially of the eucharist.
LOGICAL PRIORITY -
Regeneration must come before faith even when at the
same time. A necessary condition.
LOGOS - Greek term indicating
discourse or reason. It is used to describe
Jesus as the second person of the
Trinity as the revealer and revelation of
LORD'S SUPPER - One of two
sacraments in the Protestant branches of
Christianity (Baptism being the
other). The Lord's Supper (also known as
the Eucharist, or Holy Communion) uses
bread and wine as commanded
by Jesus to remember Jesus' sacrifice
and suffering in taking the punishment
for our sin. In participating in the
Lord's Supper we not only have communion
with Jesus, but with each other as
LUTHERANISM - The religious
ideas associated with Martin Luther,
particularly as expressed in the Lesser
Catechism (1529) and the
Augsburg Confession (1530). A series of
internal disagreements within
Lutheranism after Luther's death (1546)
between hardliners (the so-called
"Gnesio-Lutherans" or "Flacianists")
and moderates ("Philippists"), led to
their resolution by the Formula of
Concord (1577), which is usually
regarded as the authoritative statement
of Lutheran theology.
LXX - The Standard
abbreviation for the
Septuagint version of the Old Testament.
MAGISTERIAL REFORMATION - A
term used to refer to the Lutheran
and Reformed wings of the Reformation,
as opposed to the radical wing (Anabaptism).
- A form of Gnosticism established by the Babylonian Heretic Mani
which survived in various forms until
the 16th century. Manichaeism posits a dualistic battle
between the powers of Light and
Darkness, with a typical gnostic emphasis on the corruption
of that which is material and the
goodness of the spiritual. Augustine was initially attracted to this
cult before his conversion to
MILLENARIANSISM - See
MILLENNIALISM - Belief in a
millennium (a thousand-year period of Gods
blessing). The belief comes from Rev.
20-4-6 and interpretations differ as
to how and when a millennium will take
place. See also Amillennialism,
Postmillennialism, and Premillennialism.
MEDIATE GENERAL REVELATION -
The revelation of God which comes
through some medium, such as the
* - A heretical doctrine of the Trinity. The three parts of the
trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) are
modes of God's activity rather than
three distinct persons. A typical
modalist approach is to regard God as
active as Father in creation, as Son in
redemption, and as Spirit in
* - Stresses the unity of God. Christ was the
manifestation of God in he Old
Testament and the Holy Spirit after Pentecost.
MODERNITY - A world and life
view that links the character and system of
the world to the forces of
modernization that produce it.
* - The doctrine that Jesus had only one nature rather than
two. It usually takes the form that the
humanity of Jesus was absorbed or
fused into his deity forming one entity
* - The doctrine that the human and divine wills in Christ
were fused into one will (thelesis)--a
proposition obvious to Monophysites and
attractive to some Chalcedonians of the
school of Leontius of Byzantium.
MUNUS TRIPLEX - A
Christological term referring to the threefold work of
Christ as prophet, priest, and king.
This concept was most clearly defined
MURATORIAN COUNCIL - A church
council in 398 A.D. that determined what
books belonged in the canon.
MYSTERY - (Gk. musterion)
That which God has chosen not to reveal. Luther
said it was God's inscrutable will.
*) - A form of religious practice which seeks a direct
knowledge of God rather than a
discursive or intellectual knowledge of him.
Mystics sought after an ecstatic
experience or union with God which transcends
the usual understanding of the
relationship between the believer and God.
Some mystics believe that this union is
perpetual, others that it
NATURAL THEOLOGY - The
proposition that a knowledge of God can be
derived from the natural world. Natural
theology is insufficient for salvation. The
knowledge of God and His divine
attributes which can be known from creation.
* - Nestorius separated the divine and human natures
so that two persons existed in a dual
personality. It was condemned at
Ephesus in 431 A. D.
NICEA - A church council in
325 A.D. which condemned
formulated the doctrine of the Trinity.
NICENE CREED - The creed
adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381
A.D. It was formed from earlier creeds
including a statement created at the
first church council at Nicea in 325
A.D. It is essentially the Apostles
Creed with a few more additions and
clarifications to combat the heresy of
Arianism that taught that Jesus was a
NOETIC EFFECT OF SIN -
noetic means of or pertaining to the mind, so the
question must asked - to what extent
did the fall of man affect the mind?
NOMINAL - existing or being
something in name or form only
NOTITIA - (KNOWLEDGE) The
Reformers used this word to explain sola fide
(faith alone). Faith must have content,
therefore the mind must be involved. The
knowledge content of true faith need
not be comprehensive, but it must be true.
- Term coined by Immanuel Kant describing that which cannot
be apprehended through the senses. Kant
puts God, self, and essences in the
OMNIPOTENT - This comes from
two Latin terms meaning all and potent thus
all powerful. This term describes that
attribute of God who has sovereign
power and authority over all creation.
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON - Term
referring to Jesus as God's Son, being in the
position of highest authority and equal
with the Father. "Only begotten"
does not mean that there was a time
when the Son was born or created, but
that existed from eternity past as
God's Son and was born into the world as
Jesus when he was "made flesh."
ONTOLOGY - That part of
philosophy that deals with the nature of being as
being. It is a rational analysis on the
necessary and universal aspects of
ORDO SALUTIS - (order of
salvation) It refers to the causes and effect
which produce salvation. Election,
regeneration, conversion (including
repentance and faith), justification,
ORTHODOXY - A term used in a
number of senses, of which the following are
the most important- Orthodoxy in the
sense of "right belief," as opposed to
heresy; orthodoxy in the sense of a
movement within Protestantism,
especially in the late sixteenth and
early seventeenth centuries, which
laid emphasis upon need for doctrinal
PARADOX - (appears to be
something else) This refers to something that
seems to be contradicting, but under
close scrutiny is not so.
PAROUSIA - A Greek term,
which literally means "coming" or "arrival," used
to refer to the second coming of
Christ. The notion of the parousia is an
important aspect of Christian
understandings of the "last things."
* - Pelagius (383-410) argued that the fall of the human race
nothing more than a historical event
that affected Adam alone. Humans are
born free of sin and they are able to
sin or not to sin.
PERCEPTIVE WILL OF GOD - To
obey what God commands through His revealed will.
PERSPICUITY OF THE SCRIPTURES
- (to see through or be transparent)
This refers to the clarity of
Scripture. Does not mean that each part of
Scripture is equally clear, but the
meaning is discernible.
PERSUASION - An experience
that is distinct from proof. (i.e.- conversion
- (appears to our sensation) Kant says we can't move
from the visible to the invisible. This
is the world we live in and understand
from our senses. The other world, the
noumenal world includes God, self,
PIETISM - An approach to
Christianity, especially associated with German
writers in the seventeenth century,
which places an emphasis upon the
personal appropriation of faith, and
the need for holiness in Christian
living. The movement is perhaps best
known within the English-language
world in the form of Methodism.
* - Theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds
of ultimate reality. A dominant
philosophy of the late 20th century.
* - Historical critical school believed everything moved from
simple to the complex. This is the
second stage where god has his or her
own area of influence or particular
function. Also the belief in multiple deities.
POSTMILLENNIALISM - The
belief that a 1000-year reign of Christ
will come after a gradual
evangelization of the world and the total triumph
of the church and the Christian message
after which the second advent of
Christ will occur. This progressive
outlook of the church was a persistent
view in 19th-century U.S. history.
POSTMODERNISM - A general
cultural development, especially in North
America, which resulted from the
general collapse in confidence of the
universal rational principles of the
PREMILLENNIALISM - A
chiliastic belief that Christ's second advent will
usher in a period of apocalyptic
upheaval that will precede His thousand year
reign upon the earth. This is the
dominant belief of Protestant
Fundamentalism in the 20th-century
- The basic idea is that biblical revelation
is the presupposition upon which any
coherent system of truth must be built.
PRIMARY CAUSE - God is the
cause of everything that occurs. God ordained
everything that comes to pass.
PRIVATIO ACTUOSA - The
reformers concept of man acting out of his lack of
goodness. Sin is a real privation
clearly stated in Westminster Confession.
* - God is the process of change. The central idea is that
reality is a process of becoming.
PROCRUSTEAN BED - An allusion
to a character in Greek mythology
named Procrustes who was put in a bed
that was too short for him. To
solve the problem, Procrestes' feet
were cut off. The concept is to force
something to fit specific criteria when
it really doesn't.
PROGRESSIVE REVELATION -
Classical orthodox view on revelation
which is basically progress of
redemption. The concept of soteriology in
progressively expanding through out
PROOF - It is a fact and
distinct from persuasion. (i.e.- regeneration is
PROPITIATION - This is a
satisfaction of divine justice. Jesus Christ
satisfied God's divine wrath against
PROTESTANTISM - A term used
in the aftermath of the Diet of Speyer (1529)
to designate those who "protested"
against the practices and beliefs of the
Roman Catholic church. Prior to 1529,
such individuals and groups had
referred to themselves as
PROVIDENCE - (to provide) God
has ordained events so that good will be
produced. May be applied to the
collection of the canon.
PURE ACTUALITY - Refers to
the inherent powers a thing possesses
by virtue of its being the kind of
things it is. (i.e. God is pure actuality and has
*- In Catholic eschatology, a place to which persons go
who have sinned, but who die in a state
of grace. Through a process of
purging experiences, they will have the
remaining "stains" of sin removed
until they are holy enough to enter
heaven. Time in purgatory is normally
computed in terms of thousands of
years, but may be reduced through
masses and prayers offered for the
* - A theological emphasis often encapsulated by the phrase
"Let go and let God". Quietists teach
that the believer must become
totally passive in order that God might
raise his soul into union with Himself,
this usually also involves the
rejection of the means of grace and
communal worship with other believers.
RADICAL REFORMATION - A term
used with increasing frequency to
refer to the Anabaptist movement - in
other words, the wing of the Reformation
which went far beyond what Lutheran and
Calvinist reformers considered
RATIONALISM - A theory of
philosophy in which the criterion of truth is not
sensory but intellectual and deductive.
The opposite of empiricism.
RECIPEMUS - This was a key
word used at the Muratorian council to explain
that the church received the
books of Scripture. The church acknowledge its
subordination to the Bible and the
REDUCTIONISM - A term used
when one aspect of something is taken and
all of reality is reduced to that one
REFORMATION - The religious
movement towards a recovery of
Biblical Christianity and away from the
errors of the Roman Catholicism
that began in the 16th century. Two
chief causes of the Reformation
1) Formal cause - Sola Scriptura -
Luther asked by what authority he
would debate the issue of justification
by faith. Only Scripture alone is
infallible and no authority can bind
2) Material cause - Sola Fide - The
argument of justification by faith with
no mixture of human effort to
REFORMED - A term used to
refer to a tradition of theology which draws
inspiration from the writings of John
Calvin (1510-64) and his successors.
The term is generally used in
preference to "Calvinist."
REGENERATION - The creative
act of God so that the elect are given new life
in Jesus Christ and enabled to
understand the law and the gospel for the
saving of their soul.
REVELATION - refers to the
disclosure or unveiling of something. There are
two ways God reveals Himself to us -
* - Sabellius (3rd Century) taught a
modal Trinity where
God is one being or person, but He
takes the form of three different modes.
This makes the Trinity one unified
* - The real instrument of salvation is the church. The power
is vested to the church by Christ and
the church gives authority to the
priests who administer the sacraments.
SACRAMENT - An outward action
or sign commanded by Jesus to express an
inward grace. Protestants generally
believe that only Baptism and the Lord's
Supper are sacraments, while Roman
Catholics believe there are seven. The
sacraments are a means of grace the
Lord gives through signs and seals for
the covenant community. The impact of
the sacraments affect how Christians
relate to God and to each other.
SANCTIFICATION - The ongoing
spiritual process whereby the regenerate
believer is more and more conformed to
the image of Christ by the work of the
Holy Spirit indewlling him. While all
believers will steadily grow in holiness, only
after death will they be glorified and
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE - The
theory, especially associated with
theologians, that the practices and
beliefs of the church should be grounded
in Scripture. Nothing that could not be
demonstrated to be grounded in
Scripture could be regarded as binding
upon the believer. The phrase sola
scriptura, "by Scripture alone,"
summarizes this principle.
SECONDARY CAUSES - God
ordains and His will is brought to pass
through the actions of secondary causes
which have real causal power
and are responsible for everything they
do. i.e.- Acts 2-23
SELF AUTHENTICATING SCRIPTURE
Calvin says the Bible has within
itself overwhelming evidence of its
nature, antiquity, and prophecy. The Word
of God would not make a false statement
SELF DETERMINATION - It says
the choice is mine and therefore it has a
moral dimension. Since our choices are
our own there is a determinate
factor which is within us.
SENSUS DIVINATATUS - (sense
of the divine) A term used by
explain that man is capable only of
leaving himself without excuse in his
rejection of God's truth.
SEPTUAGINT - The Greek
translation of the Old Testament, dating from
the third century BC. The abbreviation
LXX is generally used to refer to this
SIMUL JUSTUS ET PECCATOR -
(at once righteous and a sinner) This
Reformation concept explains the
relationship between regeneration,
justification, and sanctification and
the human sinful condition. (i.e.
Prof. John Murray has said "sin
remains, but sin does not reign.")
SIMPLE BEING - This means God
is not a compound being or made up of
distinct parts. This refers to God's
being, not His personhood.
SOCIAL GOSPEL, THE
* - A Form of Theological Liberalism which replaces the
distinctives of the Historic Christian
Faith with an emphasis on service and charity.
The Social Gospel emphasizes Jesus as
an exemplar to be copied, rather than as
a Savior who atones for Sin..
SOLA FIDE - (by faith alone)
The article of the Reformation by which the
gospel stands or falls. Salvation is by
SOLA SCRIPTURA - (by
Scripture alone) The Reformation cry that Scripture
alone is the authoritative Word of God.
SOTERIOLOGY - The section of
Christian theology dealing with the doctrine of
salvation (Greek- soteria).
SOVEREIGNTY - It relates to
God's authority and power.
SPECIAL REVELATION - God
reveals Himself as defined in the Bible and
demonstrated through the person of
* - A system of philosophy that teaches self salvation through
knowledge. A pantheistic doctrine. The
Stoics believed in the subduing
of the passions (emotions) and
submission to "fate."
Calvin used this term to say that something stands under
something else. He said there was an
essential unity in the Godhead, but
only one divine Being.
SUMMUM BONUM - (the highest
good) A concept of the teleological ethic as
people are confronted with goodness,
wisdom, and power of God through his
* - A term used in Romans Catholic doctrine to
explain that one may receive more merit
than is needed to enter into heaven.
The extra merit goes into the "treasury
SUPRALAPSARIANISM - Comes
from predestination. Supralapsarians
believe that God's decree to elect
logically preceded the decree of the
fall. Thus in electing some to
salvation God considered men as "creatable"
rather than fallen.
*- The combination of different forms of belief or practice;
particularly, the assimilating of the
views of one religion into those of
SYNERGISM - The idea that man
works together with God in certain aspects
of salvation, for example, faith or
regeneration. Reformed theology holds that
salvation is wholly of God (monergistic)
and not the result of a synergistic
cooperation between man and God.
SYNOPTIC GOSPELS - A term
used to refer to the first three gospels
(Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The term
(derived from the Greek word
synopsis, "summary") refers to the way
in which the three gospels can be
seen as providing similar "summaries"
of the life, death, and resurrection
of Jesus Christ.
SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY - The
science of systematizing Biblical truth.
Theology is spiritual, devotional, and
TELEOLOGY - The science of
purpose or ends. Relates to order and
apparent design of the universe. Design
presupposes a designer with
TELOS - A Greek word meaning
end, goal, or purpose. Jesus uses this word
(verb form) in John 19-30- "it is
finished" to indicate he accomplished his
TEMPORAL PRIORITY - Order of
Ordo Salutis. It deals with the
THEODICY - A term coined by
Leibnitz to refer to a theoretical
justification of the goodness of God in
the face of the presence of evil in
THOMISM - The system of
thought inspired by Aquinas' synthesis of Christian
doctrine and the philosophy of
Aristotle. It includes an emphasis upon
rational evidences for the existence of
TRANSCENDENT - Means that God
is higher than the created universe. He is
the only Being who is self existent. He
is the only One with the power of
Being within Himself.
TRANSUBSTANTIATION - The
Roman Catholic doctrine that the bread and the
wine in the mass actually change into
the substance of Christ's body and
blood, while retaining their outward
TRINITARIANISM - The belief
in the doctrine that God is one essence and yet
exists eternally in three persons.
TRINITY (HOLY TRINITY) - The
expression used to designate the three
persons of God's one essence. The
doctrine of the Trinity clearly expresses
God's oneness (there is only one God),
but emphasizes God's three persons -
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
(Spirit). These three persons are
equal and eternal (existing without
beginning or end). These three distinct
persons make up the essence of the one
and only God.
*- Belief in three separate gods
TWO NATURES, DOCTRINE OF - A
term generally used to refer to the
doctrine of the two natures, human and
divine, of Jesus Christ. Related terms
definition" and "hypostatic
UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION - This
Calvinistic doctrine teaches that mans
election is not based on any condition
such as forseen faith or having free will
UNGODLINESS - used in
connection with Romans 1 to describe the condition
of man. Man is very very bad and God is
very very mad.
UNRIGHTEOUSNESS - a general
statement about mans evil condition found
in Romans 1-18.
VERBUM DEI (THE WORD OF GOD)
Calvin referred to this as the
inspired word of Holy Scripture.
VIA NEGATIONIS (THE WAY OF
NEGATION) - Sometimes we define
something by saying what it is not. A
method of defining the divine attributes
by negating the attributes of the
finite order. (i.e. - creatures are measurable,
God is immeasurable.)
VOX DEI (THE VOICE OF GOD) -
Calvin referred to this as the Word of God
but not inerrant or infallible. Calvin
said, "among the many excellent
gifts with which God has adorned the
human race, it is a singular privilege
that he deigns to consecrate to himself
the mouths and tongues of men in
order that his voice may resound in
them" (Inst. 4.1.5)
VULGATE - The Latin
translation of the Bible, largely deriving from Jerome,
upon which medieval theology was
largely based. Strictly speaking,
"Vulgate" designates Jerome's
translation of the Old Testament (except the
Psalms, which was taken from the
Gallican Psalter); the apocryphal works
(except Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, I and II
Maccabees, and Baruch, which were
taken from the Old Latin Version); and
all the New Testament. The
recognition of its many inaccuracies
was of fundamental importance to the
WARFIELD, B.B. - Warfield
(1851-1921) was one of the last great reformed
theologians of the conservative
Presbyterians at Princeton.
ZWINGLIANISM - The term is
used generally to refer to the thought of Swiss
Reformer Huldrych Zwingli (1484 -
1531), but is often used to refer specifically to
his views on the sacraments, especially
on the "real presence" (which for
Zwingli was more of a "real absence").
* Indicates a heresy or system of
beliefs that is opposed to or incompatible with
CREDITS: Material for this Glossary
was culled from the definitions of -
Tony Parker, Alistair McGrath,
Webster's, Martin Murphy, & Andrew Webb.