Theological Terms

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THEOLOGICAL TERMINOLOGY
DICTIONARY

The following are terms used in religious circles and in writings about religious subjects.
Some terminology may have slightly different meanings depending on the point of view, but every effort has been made to make the definitions as clear and accurate as possible.


A


Abaddon (Hebrew) – Apollyon (Greek)
Destruction, abyss. In Job 26:6, the place of the dead. In Revelation 9:11 the angel of the bottomless pit, perhaps the chief of Satan’s angels.absolution (Latin)
Freeing from guilt or obligation, remission of sin or its penalty. The Catholic doctrine of releasing a person from sin by God, through the means of a priest. An aberrant doctrine in relation to orthodox belief which asserts that only God and Jesus Christ may forgive sins.

adoption (Latin)
The process by which an individual gains entry into the family of God.
Resources On This Site: ADOPTION

Advent (Latin)
Meaning to come. Applied to Jesus Christ in that His first Advent, or first coming, was His birth in Bethlehem. His second Advent will be to receive His church. His third Advent will be to establish His kingdom and millennial reign on the earth. His fourth Advent will be in the skies to fight the battle of Armageddon and judge the wicked, Satan and his angels.

agnostic (Greek)
A term coined by Professor Huxley in 1869. The meaning being that a person cannot know. An agnostic is a person who claims that God cannot be known personally and that it cannot be known that a god even exists. Therefore, in claiming that God cannot be known or verified, most agnostics act as if He does not exist, and in the process affirm that they believe He does not exist and are no different than those who are atheists.

amillennialism (Latin)
The belief that the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ, described in the book of Revelation, is spiritual or symbolical and that it pertains to the current time. This current time will end with the return of Jesus Christ.
Resources On This Site: AMILLENNIALISM

Amyraldism (Latin)
A particular view in relation to the logical order of God’s decrees regarding salvation. It has to do with the order of the decrees and not their timing because God made his choice before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. The Amyraldism order is as follows:
1. Create.
2. Permit the fall of man.
3. Provide salvation for all men.
4. Elect some men, reject or pass over the rest.
5. Call the elect to salvation.
See: infralapsarianism
See: supralapsarianism
See: Arminianism

animism (Latin)
The belief that all natural phenomena have souls that exist independent of the physical.

anthropomorphism (Greek)
The assigning of human physical characteristics to that which is not human. In relation to God, it is the description of Him as having eyes, arms. legs, hair, etc.

anthropopathism (Greek)
The assigning of human emotions or responses to that which is not human. In relation to God, it is the description of Him as showing regret, grief, remorse, happiness, etc.

antinomian (Latin – Greek)
Literally, against law, opposition to law or regulation by law. The belief that an individual can become a Christian through faith, but continue to act as if no moral or spiritual laws require obedience, and, anything and everything is permissible, without penalty, restraint or law. Considered a heretical belief.

Apollyon (Greek) – Abaddon (Hebrew)
In Revelation 9:11 the angel of the bottomless pit, perhaps the chief of Satan’s angels.

apologetics (Latin – Greek)
A formal defense or vindication. The branch of theological study concerned with the defense and proof of Christian doctrine.

a priori (Latin)
Before the fact, prior to a determination being made based on an evaluation of the evidence. An assumption or belief held prior to confirmation based on fact, reality or reasoning.

Arminianism
The doctrine of Jacobus Arminus aka Jacob Harmensen, 1560-1609, Dutch theologian. The belief that God overcomes the depravity and fallen nature of man by granting a “common grace” which enables an individual to choose salvation of his own free will. This is in opposition to Calvinism which states that man has no ability to choose salvation on his own but, it is granted solely on the basis of the sovereignty of God. Arminianism is a form of Pelagianism. Arminianism is considered incorrect doctrine, but has not necessarily been granted the status of heresy as has been done to its parent, Pelagianism. Arminian belief has been adopted by the majority of Christian churches, including most Baptists and Methodists.

The logical order of God’s decrees in Arminian theology are as follows:
1. Create.
2. Permit the fall of man.
3. Provide salvation for all men.
4. Call all men to salvation.
5. Elect those who choose to believe.
See: infralapsarianism
See: supralapsarianism
See: Amyraldism
See: Pelagianism
Resources On This Site:
ARMINIAMISM
PELAGIANISM

B


Baptism (Latin)
An ordinance commanded by Jesus Christ. It is a procedure that should be performed by all Christian believers. It is an affirmation of faith in Jesus Christ. There are two views regarding the method:
(1) Sprinkling of water on the top of a person’s head.
(2) Immersion of the entire body in water.
In spite of claims that sprinkling is the preferred manner, it is clear in Scripture that immersion was the procedure used.
See: paedobaptism – baptism of infants
See: credobaptism – believer’s baptism
Resources On This Site: BAPTISMC


Calvinism
The system of doctrines and belief of John Calvin aka Jean Caulvin or Cauvin or Chauvin, 1509-1564, French Protestant Reformation leader. The beliefs dominated by predestination and election to salvation of an individual solely on the basis of God’s sovereign will and grace. The beliefs being signified by the acrostic, TULIP, meaning: Total depravity of man, being dead in sins and unable to respond to the spiritual, Unconditional election or choice of men to salvation by God, Limited atonement for sins for the elect only, Irresistible grace which man cannot reject, Perserverence of the saints (the elect), continuing in the faith until death.
Resources On This Site: JOHN CALVINcatechism (Latin)
A system by which religious principles and beliefs are taught through a series of questions and answers, many answers accompanied by references to Scripture verses.
Resources On This Site: CATECHISMS & CREEDS

charismatic (Greek)
Pertaining to the charismata or gifts. Having a connection with or pertaining to the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. Churches or groups who emphasize or believe that certain of the spectacular gifts are in operation today, namely those of tongues, healing, words of knowledge and prophecy, among others, and these gifts are given through a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Such churches or groups having a greater emphasis on emotions and feeling, to validate their belief, rather than on teaching and doctrine.
Resources On This Site: CHARISMATIC BELIEF

Christian Reconstructionism
See: Reconstructionism

communion (Latin)
Known as the “Lord’s Supper”. An ordinance commanded by Jesus Christ to his disciples at the last supper when they celebrated the Passover prior to His death. It is a religious service of observance and remembrance of the death of Christ. Two elements are used, bread and wine or grape juice. The bread signifies the body of Christ that was to be crucified on the cross. The wine or grape juice signifies the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for sin on the cross. The elements are eaten and drunk by the congregation in concert. cf. Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-21; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34.
See: consubstantiation
See: transubstantiation
Resources On This Site: COMMUNION

consubstantiation (Latin)
To be of the same or unite in one substance. In theology, the doctrine that the body and blood of Jesus Christ exist on earth and are consumed with the wine and bread at the eucharist (communion). Proposed as a replacement for the doctrine of transubstantiation which proposed that the wine and bread were actually transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ while inside the human body. Consubstantiation was proposed by Martin Luther and adopted into the Lutheran church. It is a doctrine rejected by most Protestant churches and by the Catholic church.
See: communion
See: transubstantiation
Resources On This Site:
COMMUNION
Francis Turretin on Consubstantiation

covenant theology
The system of belief that the major theme of the Bible is the revelation of the continuous redemptive plan of God by means of the various covenants that He made with man. Such covenants asserting the grace of God and are all connected to each other, with elements of the previous being represented by elements in the new.
Resources On This Site: COVENANT

credobaptism (Latin)
Of a creed or belief. Baptism as a result of belief and a statement of that belief. Baptism that occurs after a person has become a Christian and can understand the meaning and significance of the salvation message. Almost exclusively applied to adults, but also of children who are capable of understanding the significance of the salvation message and have become a Christian by belief.
See: baptism
See: paedobaptism – baptism of infants
Resources On This Site: BAPTISM

D


deism (Latin)
A system of religious belief that assumes the existence of a god who created the heavens, earth and man and then withdrew himself from that creation. The god of the Deist cannot be known in a personal manner and the revelation of God claimed by Christians is rejected. Deists base many of their beliefs on Christian principles, but do so without foundation because they assume beliefs that they deny can be known.dispensationalism (Latin)
The system of belief that God has dealt with humanity through various “dispensations” or divisions of time in which certain elements are present in one dispensation and not in another. Dispensations are related in kind, but not in content and various elements of one dispensation do not relate to those of another dispensation unless Scripture specifically states the fact. Such dispensational divisions are subject to definition by the proponent of belief and may differ from one teacher, group or church to the other. Some dispensational divisions might include but are not limited to: Dispensation of Innocence (Adam), Dispensation of Conscience (Pre-flood), Dispensation of Government (Noah), Dispensation of Law (Moses), Dispensation of Grace (Current day).
Resources On This Site: DISPENSATIONALISM

doctrine (Latin)
Something taught. Principles, tenets, creeds or beliefs. Usually presented in some type of official form but also may not be stated in an organized manner. Doctrine is usually considered to be a systematic and carefully worked out principle or belief.
Resources On This Site: DOCTRINE

dogma (Latin)
Something taught. Principles, tenets, creed or beliefs. Usually an official, established belief or principle that is handed down from a higher authority and declared to be true or binding. It is similar to doctrine, however it may be more arbitrary and not have any relationship to a systematic or carefully worked out principle or belief. The term connotes a decree or order, as an arbitrary or arrogant belief, that is imposed on adherents rather than accepted by them.

Dominion Theology (Latin)
To have control or power over. In relation to theology, the belief that the Christian church is to exert power and control over secular institutions and will eventually establish a theocratic rule over the governments of the earth. There are various views regarding Dominion Theology, the two most prominent groups are represented by Christian Reconstructionism (Reconstructionism) and Kingdom Now.
See: Reconstructionism (Christian)
See: Kingdom Now

dualism (Latin)
The belief that there are two gods, one god is good and one god is bad. Expressed in the beliefs of Zoroastrianism (Zarathustra). A form of this belief is represented in current popular media through the messages of the films of Stars Wars in which the “force” (as some form of a god) is represented as having both a good side and bad side which human beings can choose to embrace.

E


ecclesiology (Greek)
The study of the assembly. In theology, the study of the church, defined as the body of those who believe in Christ, and all of the various aspects of that body.
Resources On This Site: CHURCHeffectual calling
Those who are called by God, will and must come to salvation by faith. Similar to the irresistible grace taught by John Calvin.

eisegesis (Greek)
A methodology of textual study in which a meaning is assigned or “read into” a passage of text.
See: exegesis

election (Latin)
A decision and action by God, at some time prior to the creation of the universe, by which He chooses some persons to receive salvation by His sovereign will and by-passes the rest. These chosen people, God will bring to a saving knowledge of faith, justify and glorify them through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Resources On This Site: ELECTION

eschatology (Greek)
The study of end times, namely the future coming of Jesus Christ, the catching away of the church, the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the battle of Armageddon, the final judgment of Satan and his angels and the new heaven and the new earth.
Resources On This Site: ESCHATOLOGY

exegesis (Greek)
A methodology of textual study in which the meaning of a passage is explained from within the passage itself. To analyze and interpret a passage by what it says.
See: eisegesis

expiate (Latin)
To make a satisfaction, appeasement or atonement. To make amends for a wrongdoing. Specifically in relation to Jesus Christ who made an atonement to God for the sins of humanity. Such atonement being His death on the cross. providing the means by which believing Christians can be cleansed of their sins.
Resources On This Site:
ATONEMENT
SIN

G


glorification (Latin)
To exalt and honor. In relation to Jesus Christ, His exaltation to the right hand of the Father after His resurrection. In relation to the believing Christian, their exaltation to heaven and into the presence of God.gnostic (Greek)
Meaning knowledge. A system of religious belief in which elements from various religious systems are combined into one. The adherents claiming that intuitive knowledge is all that is necessary to obtain their definition of salvation. Gnosticism is the parent of rationalism in which a person claims that God can be known through the rational thinking of a person rather than through revelation. Because of its rejection of revelation and the definition of God in the Scripture, Gnosticism is considered heresy.

Gospel of Inclusion
A doctrinal teaching regarding the nature of salvation, stating that all men are going to heaven, even if they do not know it. It is not necessary to have faith in Jesus Christ or even know Jesus Christ in order to go to heaven. It is a version of the “Wider Mercy Doctrine” and is based on Universalism. The doctrine was originated by Bishop Carlton Pearson. It is a heretical teaching.
Resources On This Site:
Bishop Carlton Pearson – review of the Gospel of Inclusion
The Wider Mercy Doctrine – review of a discussion between Billy Graham and Robert Schuller.
SALVATION – articles listing

grace (Latin)
The kindness or favor of God toward His creation and toward His elect which is unmerited by either. The granting of salvation by His sovereign choice to His elect through no worthiness or right standing of their own. A sovereign, unmerited act of mercy on the part of God.
Resources On This Site: GRACE

H


hermeneutics (Greek)
To interpret. The interpretation of Biblical texts. The study of the principles of Biblical exegesis. The standards by which Biblical texts are studied and their meanings determined through exegesis – meaning from within the text. A specific hermeneutic is determined by a specific set of principles which are applied to that hermeneutic. There are many hermeneutics, depending on who wishes to do the interpretation and the principles applied which suit the interpretation that is wished to support. A hermeneutic based on principles applied from outside the text is an eisegetical hermeneutic, in which the text itself looses its own authority and integrity, and meaning is assigned based on elements from outside the text which it is claimed apply.hypostasis (Greek)
To cause to stand, a supporting or foundation. In theology, the unique nature of the Godhead, pertaining to any of the three Persons of the Godhead. In relation to Jesus Christ, his personality as distinguished from His two natures, divine and human. i.e. hypostatic union: the unity of the Godhead as to three Persons in One.

I


illumination (Latin)
To brighten, clarify or explain. In relation to religion, it is not a direct revelation from God, but is a result of careful study, prayer and the action of the Holy Spirit in which a believer is given the ability to understand the spiritual matters. Illumination is given in measure to every believer.incarnation (Latin)
The process and means by which Jesus Christ, as Deity, entered the stream of humanity and took on the nature of humanity through His birth.
Resources On This Site: JESUS CHRIST

infralapsarianism (Latin)
Also known as sublapsarianism. A particular view in relation to the logical order of God’s decrees regarding salvation. It has to do with the order of the decrees and not their timing because God made his choice before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. The infralapsarian order is as follows:
1. Create
2. Permit the fall of man.
3. Elect some, pass over all the rest.
4. Provide salvation for those who were elected.
5. Call the elect to salvation.
See: supralapsarianism
See: Amyraldism
See: Arminianism

inspiration (Latin)
Literally, a breathing in. Generally applied to the method by which Scripture was written. Revelation is the message that is given, and inspiration is the power or method by which the message is communicated. It is the prompting or influence on the prophet, causing him to write that which was made known.

J


justification (Latin)
The act of God in which He pardons sinful men and declares them just and guiltless. It is a judicial act and pronouncement, assigning the righteousness (rightness) of Jesus Christ to the sinful believer who has believed in Christ for salvation, and thus the individual is placed in a right relationship with God.
Resources On This Site: JUSTIFICATIONK


kenosis (Greek)
An emptying. In theology, the act of Jesus humbling himself through the inclusion of the nature and form of a human being.Kingdom Now
In relation to theology, a version of Dominion Theology, teaching that the Christian church will eventually dominate all secular institutions of government. Having its roots primarily in Pentecostal beliefs, it has embraced much of the teaching of E.W. Kenyon plagiarized by Kenneth Hagin, and is now incorporated into the Positive Confession, Word of Faith doctrines taught by Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Bishop Earl Paulk, Robert Tilton, Charles Capps, Benny Hinn, Frederick K.C. Price and popularized on TBN by Paul Crouch. A basic premise is that the church will become mature and united under apostles and prophets (such as Bishop Earl Paulk) at which time it will display its power and take control of governmental authority worldwide, even asserting that the members of the church will eventually attain to immortality as a result of the maturity obtained. Most of the above mentioned proponents adopt the “little gods” belief, teaching that Christians can, at maturity, become “little gods” or members of the “God-class”. Because of its belief in the ascendancy of man, the idea that the church is the incarnation of Christ on earth and the adoption of the belief that human beings can become gods, Kingdom Now Theology is considered heretical.
See: Dominion Theology
See: Kingdom Now Theology
See: Reconstructionism – Christian

L


lordship (Old English)
The belief that unless a person is willing to acknowledge and accept the Lordship of Christ over their life, they cannot be a Christian. Known also as “Lordship salvation”. The subject is a major point of difference among Christians today.
Resources On This Site:
JESUS CHRIST
LORDSHIP
M


Modalsim
Similar to Sabellianism or Monarchianism. The belief that the persons of the Godhead are modes or manifestations of one God. It is a belief that there is one God, but there are no separate persons of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. The second and third persons of the Godhead are modes or manifestations of the one God, in which God reveals Himself in different forms which take on different characteristics or appearances. Because Modalism, Sabellianism and Monarchianism deny the existence and personality of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, they are considered to be heretical beliefs.
See: Sabellianism
Resources On This Site: TRINITYmonotheism (Greek)
Meaning a singular god. As applied to Christianity and Judaism, it is the belief that God is one singular entity expressed in three persons (Trinity). Monotheistic belief can be expressed in relation to the true God or in relation to a false God.

O


omnipotent (Latin)
The state of being all powerful. In relation to God, He has all power in heaven and earth. His power is not diminished by any accomplishment including the creation of the heaven and the earth. He can do and accomplish anything that He chooses at any time and in any manner.omnipresence (Latin)
The state of being all present. In relation to God who is everywhere in the universe at the same time. The Scripture states that He fills the heavens and the earth. God does not have boundaries or limitations and He is wherever there can be found a place.

omniscience (Latin)
The state of knowing all things. Applied to God who knows every possible point of information or understanding, past, present or future.

open theism
A theology that came into vogue around 1980, proposing a different definition of God. The God of open theism is defined in the image of a man, being limited in abilities. The God of open theism does not control the future and is also unable to know the future, the claim being made that even a God cannot know what has not yet happened. This theology is not a new approach, the god of the Mormon church was once just a man and is limited in power, knowledge and presence, and the god of the Positive Confession and Word of Faith proponents is subject to laws greater than himself, such as words and faith which Christians can use in order to cause him to grant their wishes. Open theism is a heretical doctrine.
Resources On This Site:
OPEN THEISM

ordinances (Middle English)
Commands regarding the establishment and practice of certain religious rights instituted by Jesus Christ. There are two ordinances: (1) The Lord’s Supper – communion (2) Baptism.
See: baptism, communion
Resources On This Site:
BAPTISM
COMMUNION

P


paedobaptism (Greek)
Baptism (sprinkling) of children, usually as an infant soon after birth. Practiced by Reformed churches and the Catholic church. Practiced by Reformed churches as a result of an interpretation of covenant belief that the baptism confers, to the child, entry and identification with the covenant, the church and, in some beliefs, grants salvation. Based on the theory that circumcision in the Old Testament corresponds to baptism in the New Testament. This belief is rejected by other protestant churches, including most Baptist churches, as being a belief based on a fundamentally flawed view of covenant theology and connection of circumcision to baptism that is not supported by the Scripture.
See: baptism
See: credobaptism – believer’s baptism
Resources On This Site: BAPTISMpantheism (Greek)
Meaning all. A term coined in by J. Toland in 1705, expressing the idea that God is not a personality, but that all things are god and part of god. Therefore god is all and all is god. It is a false system of belief.

paraclete (Greek)
Being one who is called, summoned or judicially as an advocate, pleader, intercessor. In the New Testament applied to the Holy Spirit who is also a comforter.
Resources On This Site: HOLY SPIRIT

paradigm (Greek)
Meaning a pattern, example or model. An overworked and overused word that is part of the vocabulary of individuals attempting to boost their sense of importance in the eyes of other persons. The word is used as “new paradigm” and “paradigm shift”. It is used extensively by New Age writers and speakers and by the new breed of hyper-Charismatics and Dominion Theology believers to indicate that they believe a new mode of operation and thinking is in order.

parthenogenesis (Greek)
Meaning virgin in origin. Pertaining to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ in which He was conceived without the aid of a human father.
Resources On This Site: JESUS CHRIST

Pelagianism
The doctrine of Pelagius, 360?-420?. British monk who denied the doctrine of original sin and maintained that humanity has complete freedom of will to choose in matters of salvation. Arminianism is a form of Pelagianism. Because Pelagianism denies the sinful condition of mankind and the force of God in the granting of salvation to the unbeliever, it is considered to be heresy.
See: Arminianism
Resources On This Site: PELAGIANISM

polytheism (Greek)
Meaning many Gods. The belief that there is not one universal God, but that there are many gods at many levels. Current belief is expressed in teachings of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and many forms of Eastern religions. Also expressed in the beliefs of current Word of Faith teachers, Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn and their many offspring. Polytheism is heresy.

post-millennial (Latin)
Meaning after the millennium. Specifically applied to the return of Jesus Christ after the “symbolic” reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. Also part of amillennialism.
Resources On This Site: POST-MILLENNIALISM

post-tribulation (Latin)
Meaning after the Tribulation mentioned in Revelation. Specifically applied to the return of Jesus Christ for His church, which it is believed goes through the Tribulation period on this earth.
Resources On This Site: POST-TRIBULATIONISM

pre-incarnate (Latin)
Meaning before incarnation. As applied to Jesus Christ, it is any reference to Him in His pre-existent form prior to His Incarnation or birth in Bethlehem. It also refers to the theophanies in the Old Testament which are considered to be appearances by Jesus Christ prior to His birth.

pre-millennial (Latin)
Meaning before the millennium mentioned in Revelation. There are several applications of this term:
(1) The church is raptured (taken away to heaven) by Jesus Christ prior to the start of the seven year Tribulation period mentioned in Revelation – also prior to the millennium. This belief is pre-tribulation, pre-millennial.
(2) The church is raptured (taken away to heaven) by Jesus Christ half way through the seven year Tribulation period mentioned in Revelation – also prior to the millennium. This belief is mid-tribulation, pre-millennial.
Resources On This Site: PRE-MILLENNIALISM

preterism (Latin)
The belief that certain prophetic events in the New Testament, namely the appearance of the anti-Christ and the tribulation period were fulfilled in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Some proponents go so far as to claim Nero, emperor of Rome, as the anti-Christ.
Resources On This Site: PRETERISM

propitiation (Latin)
To cause to become favorably inclined, to win or regain good will, to pacify, to appease or conciliate through offerings or sacrifices. Used in relation to the wrath of God directed toward sinful man that was poured out on Jesus Christ in His death on the cross, thus satisfying the payment of death required of all sinners by God. Jesus Christ was the perfect offering (the propitiation) that satisfied the payment required for the sins committed by humanity.
Resources On This Site: JESUS CHRIST

providence (Latin)
Foresight, preparation and provision for. Applied to God as the “providence of God”.
(1) In relation to humanity, it is the provision and care of God for His creation. A general or common benevolence that is given to all humanity, both good and bad. A preserving of the creation through natural gifts such as food, rain, sunshine and good weather for growing food. (2) Also a sense in which situations and events occur through the direct work of God. As such they are “providential” in nature, being decreed or caused by God.
Resources On This Site: PROVIDENCE OF GOD

R


Reconstructionism
To rebuild, reform or make over. In relation to doctrine, to redefine traditional and orthodox doctrine by a different set of criteria or definitions. To adopt eschatological views based on Theonomy, Dominion Theology or Reconstruction Theology, in which these groups claim that it is the duty and goal of the Christian church to recapture every human institution and government agency by means of the establishing of Christian individuals in leadership. This “reconstruction” of human social institutions will result in the gradual establishment of a world-wide Christian society and will cause the world to become better and better, morally and spiritually, eventually ushering in the return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom. Reconstruction Theology began in the mid-1960’s and has been popularized by individuals such as Rousas John Rushdoony (Chalcedon Foundation, California), Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics, Texas), Dr. Greg Bahnsen, Rev. Joseph Morecraft, David Chilton, Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry. Reconstructionism is not to be confused with Kingdom Now Theology, although they have much in common and also significant differences, however they are both classified under the label of Dominion Theology. Reconstruction Theology is not necessarily heretical, but is to be considered doctrinal error.
See: Theonomy
See: Dominion Theology
See: Kingdom Now Theologyredemption (Latin)
In the sense of a buying back from the possession of another or a release from an obligation or contract. A payment made by which such a release is obtained. Applied to Jesus Christ as the “Redeemer” of mankind from judgment for their sins, by His death on the cross in payment for the penalty of those sins. The redemption payment is validated through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which guarantees and assures that the payment by Jesus Christ was sufficient and acceptable to God.
Resources On This Site: REDEMPTION

reformed (Latin)
A system of theological belief tracing its roots to the Reformation leaders. Views are based on the covenant agreements between man and God vs. the dispensatonal view, and emphasizes the sovereignty of God over His creation and in matters of salvation as opposed to the sovereignty of man. Considers Calvinism and the Westminster Confession to be the core of doctrinal belief.

regeneration (Latin)
The sovereign act of God in changing the nature and character of a person by renewing the heart (mind) and affecting a new set of beliefs and desires by which the person can relate to God in a personal manner.
Resources On This Site: REGENERATION

revelation (Latin)
Disclosure, exposure, unveiling or telling of something that was previously hidden or unknown. As applied to religious matters, it is the making known the previously unknown character, nature and precepts of God that can only be understood by those attributes being spoken by God through a prophet appointed by Him. Revelation is usually applied to the miraculous disclosure of information to a prophet by God, rather than through the results of study in which knowledge is acquired that was not previously understood.
Resources On This Site: REVELATION

S


Sabellianism
A type of Modalism or Monarchianism. The belief that the persons of the Godhead are modes or manifestations of one God. It is a belief that there is one God, but there are no separate persons of Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. The second and third persons of the Godhead are modes or manifestations of the one God, in which God reveals Himself in different forms which take on different characteristics or appearances. Because Sabellianism, Modalism and Monarchianism deny the existence and personality of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, they are considered to be heretical beliefs.
See: Modalism
Resources On This Site: TRINITYsanctification (Latin)
To set apart, cleanse or purify. It is that action which God performs within the believer as to changing the nature and character of the person. There is instantaneous sanctification which occurs at the point of salvation, by which God sees the believer as clean and pure because of the covering work of Jesus Christ. There is progressive sanctification by which a believer, through a continual process is transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, through dedication, study of the Bible, consciousness of sin and action by the Holy Spirit. There is final sanctification, in which the believer will be mature in character, body and spirit and occurs at the coming of Jesus Christ, whether that happens at the death of the person or the actual second coming of Christ for His church.
Resources On This Site: SANCTIFICATION

semi-Pelagianism
A variation on the doctrines of Pelagianism and Arminianism. Men are given the ability, by God, to accept salvation when they hear the message of the gospel. Original sin does have some affect on humanity, but they are considered to be corrupted by sin, not actually “dead” in sin. Because it denies the basic sinfulness of the human character, it is considered to be heresy.
See: Pelagianism
Resources On This Site:
PELAGIANISM
ARMINIANISM

separation (Latin)
In relation to the Biblical admonition to “come out from among them and be separate”. Not having a worldly mindset, but having a view toward the spiritual and godly. Not being a part of the system of the world as to immoral and irreverent conduct. Not being a part of the world view as to the importance of things, possessions, money, prestige and power but as to the things of the spiritual world such as meekness, godliness, prayer and a transformed life. Resources On This Site: SEPARATION

sine qua non(Latin)
An essential component, condition or qualification. An indispensable part or absolute prerequisite.

sola fide (Latin)
By faith only. Applied to salvation by the Reformation leaders, signifying that salvation is by faith only granted by God, as opposed to salvation by works or human effort.
Resources On This Site:
FAITH
FAITH ALONE

sola gratia (Latin)
By grace only. Applied to grace by the Reformation leaders, signifying that salvation is given by the grace of God and not by any merit on the part of the recipient.
Resources On This Site:
GRACE
GRACE ALONE

sola scriptura (Latin)
Scripture (Bible) alone. Applied to the scriptures by the Reformation leaders, signifying that the Scriptures alone are the revelation of God leading to salvation and are the only true and authoritative guide to human conduct and means by which salvation can be obtained. Claims of persons to additional revelations and the acceptance of traditions as being authoritative are rejected.
Resources On This Site:
SCRIPTURE – BIBLE
SCRIPTURE ALONE

soli Deo gloria (Latin)
To God alone be glory. Applied to the worthiness of God by the Reformation leaders, signifying that only God is worthy of honor and worship in relation to all things.
Resources On This Site:
GOD
GOD ALONE GLORY

solo Christo (Latin)
Christ alone. Applied to Jesus Christ by the Reformation leaders, signifying that Jesus Christ alone is the only way by which salvation can be obtained. There is salvation in no other name.
Resources On This Site: CHRIST ALONE

soteriology (Greek)
The term designating the study of Christian salvation as revealed in the Scriptures.
Resources On This Site: SALVATION

sovereignty (Middle English, Old French)
Above all others, chief, greatest, superior; supreme in rank, power or authority; of or holding that position as a ruler; independent of all others as a singular entity. As applied to God, it is the ability of God to act and accomplish His will, independent of any other source or influence. As noted by Jonathan Edwards, “The sovereignty of God is His absolute, independent right of disposing of all creatures according to his own pleasure.”
Resources On This Site: GOD

sublapsarianism (Latin)
See: infralapsarianism

supralapsarianism (Latin)
A particular view in relation to the logical order of God’s decrees regarding salvation. It has to do with the order of the decrees and not their timing because God made his choice before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. The supralapsarianism order is as follows:
1. Elect some people, reject or reprobate the rest.
2. Create.
3. Permit the fall of man.
4. Provide salvation for those who were elected.
5. Call the elect to salvation.
See: infralapsarianism
See: Amyraldism
See: Arminianism

T


theodicy (Greek)
Word coined in 1710 by Baron Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716), German philosopher and mathematician. The study of the origin of sin in relation to the Divine justice of God in allowing it to exist.Theonomy (Greek)
Known also as “Dominion Theology” and “Christian Reconstructionism” and is a theological interpretation regarding ecclesiology and eschatology. Primarily asserts that all governments will be progressively dominated by Christians, at some point that domination being so complete that it will usher in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The church builds the kingdom and Jesus Christ simply appears to sit on the throne. There are various levels of belief in this theology, some stating that the world will become progressively better and more Christian through the proclamation of the gospel, and others adopt the view that Christians must become more militant and take positions in government in order to establish religious morality through law. Virtually all proponents of these theological views also adopt a post-millennial stance regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ for the church and propose some type of amillennial or spiritual millennial interpretation of the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ.
See: Reconstructionism – Christian
See: Dominion Theology

theophany (Latin – Greek)
Meaning god appearing. The appearance of Jesus Christ, in human form, prior to His incarnation or birth in Bethlehem.

therianthropic (Greek)
Meaning animal and man. In relation to religion, the worship of gods that are half man and half animal. Especially prevalent in Egyptian religious depictions.

transubstantiation (Latin)
To transform one substance into another. Applied in Catholic theology to the bread and wine used in the communion service. The belief that the bread and wine, when ingested by the recipient, is transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the participant literally consumes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This belief is not supported by scripture and is incorrect doctrine at best and heresy at worst.
See: communion
See: consubstantiation
Resources On This Site: COMMUNION

Trinity (Latin – Greek)
Applied to a description of the Godhead as a condition of being three persons in one God. Pertaining to God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. All are separate entities but all are one God. “The doctrine of the Trinity does not say that God is one person and three persons, or one being and three beings.” “There is within the one being that is God, three co-equal and co-eternal Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Resources On This Site: TRINITY

END OF THEOLOGICAL TERMINOLOGY

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