Glossary of Terms
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- Abrahamic Covenant
- The covenant God made
with Abraham and his Seed in Genesis 15 and 18.
- Adamic Covenant
- The Adamic Covenant is
often called the covenant of works or the covenant of
refers to the covenant God made with Adam promising him
eternal life or eternal death according to the success of
his priestly kingship during his probation period in the
garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, the last Adam, satisfied
this covenant through His human obedience.
is derived from the Latin prefix a- meaning
"no" plus the word mille meaning
thousand and annus meaning year. Amillennialism
is the belief that the history between Christ's ascension
and His second coming is the period referred to in
Revelation 20 as the millennium in which Christ presently
reigns with the church of triumphant saints in heaven
over all things to the glory of God.
is derived from the two Latin words ante meaning
"before" and diluvium meaning "a
flood." The period before the great deluge of
Genesis 7 is referred to as the antediluvian world.
- Antinomy is
derived from the two Greek words a)nti/(anti) meaning "over
against" and no/moj (nomos) meaning
"law." An antinomian is one who denies that
there is any objective law or standard of obedience in
the New Testament age to which the believer is
- Antithesis is
derived from the Greek words a)nti/(anti) meaning "over
against" and ti/qenai (tithenai) meaning "to
set." Antithesis in literary terms refers to the
scheme in which the author juxtaposes two
contrapositional tenets in order to demonstrate a
dialectic. In philosophical terms antithesis is
that utter dialectic opposition of two
is derived from the two Greek words a/)nqrwpoj(anthropos) meaning "man"
and lo/goj(logos) meaning
"word." Biblical anthropology deals with the study of
the Bible's revelation of the nature of man both before
and after the fall and both before and after regeneration. A fundamental idea in
Biblical anthropology is the image of God.
is derived from the Greek word a)pologi/a(apologia) meaning
"defense" or "answer." Apologetics is
a reason for the hope of Christianity and a
defense of the gospel. Because of the identity of
Christians with the One true God, the Christian worldview
is antithetical with the world of unbelievers who hate
their Maker and thus Christianity as well. Christian
apologetics serves its Creator by affirming Him as the
basis and purpose of rationality before men, and showing
that the basis of other worldviews cannot account for the
reality they live in. The goal of reformed apologetics is
to defend the gospel from the wisdom of the world by
silencing its foolishness and offering the only possible
interpretation of reality in light and hope of Jesus
first [to last]" A priori is a Latin phrase
which designates deduction; from cause to effect; from
generalization to peculiars. Opposed to a posteriori.
heretic Arminius led a revolt in the reformed church in
1616. His denial of the Christian doctrines of God's
sovereignty and human depravity have since been
controversial in the protestant church.
Greek word basilei/a means "kingdom."
Hebrew word yÙityir:B-te) (berith) means "covenant."
theology is the discipline which traces the organic
self-revelation of God through the history of Special
Caulvin (1509-1564) was a prominant French reformer and
pastor in Geneva. His teachings have remained
foundational in the reformed church over the ages. In
1619 the Synod of Dordtrecht systematized his teachings
on soteriology in response to the remonstrance of James
Harmenz (Latin Arminius). Since
then, Calvinism has been identified with the five creedal
doctrines which the Synod of Dort laid out.
is a derivative of the Latin word chatechismus
meaning a handbook of questions and answers. To
catechize is to teach or instruct using the repetition of
questions and answers.
is derived from the two Greek words Xristo/j(Christos)
meaning "anointed one" or "messiah"
meaning "word." Christology is the study of
the Messiah. Traditionally this deals with the
science of Christ's incarnation, seeking to understand
the relationship between the divine and human nature of
Christ. As a theological discipline, Christology is that
study of the Messianic content of a passage of Scripture.
- Coram Deo
- Latin, literally:
"in the presence of God."
- Corporate personality
is the doctrine of collective identity
of the church or the people of God within the covenant . In other words, being
joined to Christ is induction into the membership in
Christ's body and no longer does one find his identity in
himself apart from the body; but as a part of the body,
his existence serves the church. It is the church for
whom Christ died, and He died for individuals as they are
part of that body. The doctrine of corporate personality
is provisional and eschatological. God's covenant
dealings with His people are always corporate and
collective. The biblical language describing God's
covenant people likewise is always collective.
- Cosmonogy is
derived from the two Greek words ko/smoj(cosmos) meaning "order" or
"universe" and go/noj (gonos) the base of gign=hsqai/(gignesthai) meaning "to
produce." Cosmonogy is the origin or generation of
the universe; or the account of the creation of the
- Cosmology is
derived from the two Greek words ko/smoj(cosmos) meaning "universe"
or "order" and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Cosmology is the study of the universe, (or cosmos). This study
encompasses not only the physical, but the metaphysical
means by which God governs and sustains creation. Cosmology
therefore deals with time, and seeks to understand the
Creator's relationship with His creation, from the
beginning, to the end of time.
covenant is an agreement upon the promises concerning the
relationship between two or more parties. In Biblical terms the
covenant is the prime agency of God's self-revelation in
history. God reveals Himself to be the covenant God. The
essence of the covenant between God and man is "I
will be your God, and you will be My people." The
probationary covenant of life by which man was to keep
God's commandments perfectly was ultimately and
consummately fulfilled by Christ, God in the flesh. The
covenant of grace is that by which God's elect are
attributed Christ's satisfaction by faith. An
understanding of the covenant is central to understanding
the history of redemption.
- The hermeneutical approach is based on
the presupposition that God works through progressive
covenants which reflect His eternal covenant nature and
purpose of redemption.
theology is that system of theology which
recognizes the successive covenants of Scripture as a
unity, and the means by which God orders His creation and
brings about redemption for His elect.
everlasting kingship covenant God made with David and his
Seed in 2 Samuel 7.
Greek word diaqh/kh(diatheke) means
is derived from the Greek word didaktiko/j
(didaktikos) meaning "apt to teach." Didactics
is the art of science of teaching; pedagogy.
historical age or cosmos, in which God provides the
environment through which men relate with Him, and His
righeousness and love. The Old Testament is best
interpretted as the history foreshadowing the coming of
the Messiah. Because the history before Christ could not
perfectly represent God to men, God's people belonged to
a burdensome age looking forward to the one who could
mediate the promises of God, and could uphold their
obligations to God. Following the coming of Christ, we
now experience an age where the promises of God have been
realized historically in Jesus Christ, and historically
belong to all those who believe in His name and eagerly
await His return.
- Doctrine is
derived from the Latin word doctrina meaning
"teachings." Something taught as a the
principle or creed of a religion.
- Dogma (Greek do/gma, literally "decree") is a
doctrine of practice or a body of doctrines formally and
authoritatively affirmed. Dogmatics is the study of
- The Greek word e)kklhsi/a(ecclesia) means "church"
is derived from the two Greek words e)kklhsi/a(ecclesia) meaning
"assembly" or "church" and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Ecclesiology is the science of the church.
from the Greek oikou=mehni/koj,derives from the Greek words
oikos (oi)=koj) meaning "house"
and me/nw (meno) meaning "to
remain." In general ecumenical means simply
"universal." In religious terms, ecumenical
refers to the Christian church as a whole. Ecumenism is the doctrine
of the universal (holy catholic) church.
is derived from the two Greek words e)pisth/mwn(epistemon) meaning
"understanding" and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Epistemology is the science of knowledge.
Epistemology seeks to find the true assumptions that
account for reality. Biblical epistemology acknowledges
that apart from God's personal self-revelation in His
word and by His Spirit, no man can make right judgments
about God, himself, or any of God's creation.
is derived from the two Greek words e/)sxatoj(eschatos) meaning "final"
or "last" and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Formally, eschatology means "the study of the last
things". In a broad sense, eschatology seeks to
understand the relationship between the eternal decisions
or decrees of God through time, which were made before
time, and were revealed to us at the fullness of time in
Jesus Christ. In a corporate sense, eschatology is
catagorized by those who are in Christ, clothed with His
righteousness and obedience, and those who are in Adam,
clothed in his wickedness and disobedience. Eschatology
concerns itself with the judgement confirming
righteousness, and the judgement condemning wickedness.
- Etymology is
derived from the Greek word e/)tymon(etymon) meaning "a sense"
and logo/j(logos) meaning
"word." Etymology is the study of
the original meaning and development of a word tracing its meaning back as
far as possible.
- Exegesis is
derived from the Greek word e)cege/sij(exegesis), and means simply
"explanation." As a theological discipline,
exegesis is the study, including critical
anaylisis, of a passage of Scripture in order to derive
the authorial intent of the relevant word of truth for
Exegetical preaching, then, deals with the verse-by-verse
explanation of a text.
- Broadly existentialism
is the philosophy of existence or
More specifically, existentialism is the philosophical
cult of nihilism, that is that each man exists as an
individual in a purposeless universe, and that he must
oppose this hostile environment through the exercise of
his free will.
- Federalism is
derived from the Latin word foederis, meaning
"by contract or treaty." Federalism was a term
used by previous generations of reformed scholars to
refer to the doctrine of the covenant.
- Form Criticism
- Framework Model
- The framework model is
the theory that the Genesis one creation account follows
a pattern of two triads of day-frames, and that those
day-frames are not necessarily 24 hour periods.
- The Greek word ginw/skw(ginosko) means "to know"
and carries connotations of personal covenant knowledge;
even marital, one-flesh intimacy.
- The hermeneutical
approach which is aimed at descrying the intent of the
human authors of a text to their immediate audience. That
intent, grammatico-historians insist, is the sole intent
of God for all generations of readers in that passage.
- German; literally
"sacred history." (see Redemptive-history)
- Hermeneutics is
a technical term derived from the Greek n)rmeneu=ti/koj(hermeneutikos) meaning "the
science of interpretation," In biblical terms
"especially the branch of theology dealing with the
principles of exegesis." The science of
understanding a message or complete thought, especially
that which is communicated through written text. In other
words, hermeneutics seeks to know how
to interpret the actual intended conveyence of a
- Homiletics is
derived from the Greek word o(mi/lhtiko/j(homiletikos) which means
"conversation." More specifically, homiletics
deals with the art of writing or delivering
sermons as a
means of communication of God's truth to His church.
- Imago Dei
- Imago Dei is
Latin for image of God.
- Concerning the order
of the divine decrees before creation infralapsarianism
is the belief that God decreed to redeem
mankind after God decreed the fall of mankind. Thus the fall brought
about a proliferation of human life on the earth, all
those whom God had not elected.
- (see Maximalism)
- The fourth tenet of
Calvinism, the doctrine of irresistible grace teaches
that all those for whom Christ died are those in whom the
Holy Spirit works regeneration, and that the Holy
Spirit's working is irresistible, that is no human being
who is engaged by the Holy Spirit rejects His working.
- Limited Atonement
- (see Particular Atonement)
in literature is the scheme in which the author invests
each character, image, section, and chapter of the
narrative with a reflection of the entire plotline of the
story. When we
speak of interpretive maximalism with reference to
Scripture we mean that principle of hermeneutics by which we recognize that
the Author of Scripture has invested reflections of his
plan of redemption in each of the many characters,
passages, themes, and sections of the Bible; and thus we
recognize God's sovereignty and gracious self-revelation.
Interpretive maximalism is a difficult chore, because a
thorough understanding of the plot-line is pre-requisite.
Thus, any error in one's understanding of the plot-line
is multiplied exponentially in each sub-section.
- Mosaic Covenant
- (see Sinaitic Covenant)
- The heretical system
of theology/philosophy represented by Karl Barth which
teaches among other things that the Scriptures do not
contain truth, but are merely a means of accessing truth
in the individual and that truth is relative to the
individual. Neo-Orthodoxy drives a wedge between the
ontological God and the redemptive-historical (objective)
- Noahic Covenant
- The covenant God made
with Noah and his descendents and with the whole new
creation after the destruction of the antediluvian world in the flood.
- Ontology is
derived from the two Greek words o/)ntwj(ontos) meaning "to be" and
"word." Ontology is the science or study of
- Ordo Salutis
- Latin, "the order
of salvation." The ordo salutis is the doctrine
that deals with the logical sequencing of the various
elements of redemption.
- Organic (nature of
- When we speak of the
organic nature of Biblical theology, we refer to that
quality of redemptive revelation which is complete and
sufficient in all of its stages of development. That
concentrated truth develops as subsequent redemptive acts
and covenants bring to light those multifarious aspects
of redemption which were periphery or indistinguishable
earlier, but were nonetheless present. The organic nature
of Biblical theology means that at every stage of
development the full substance of redemption present,
though early on many elements are indistinguishable. New
revelation does not "add" to previous, but
rather develops or brings to light the multiformity of
what was latently present earlier. Affirming the organic
nature of special revelation via history is a defense
- The third tenet of
Calvinism, the doctrine of particular atonement teaches
that Christ died not for all men, but for only those whom
the Father gave Him.
- The Greek word, parousi/a, meaning "presence" or
"appearance." The term is used almost
exclusively to indicate Christ's second coming.
- The heresy of
Pelagius, a 4th century British monk, which denies
original sin and maintains that man has absolute free
- Pronounced pehr·i´·coh·pee
- Perseverance of
- The fifth tenet of
Calvinism, the doctrine of perseverance of the saints
teaches that all those who are truly redeemed are
sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit unto the day of
is derived from the two Greek words fainw=mh/non(phainomenon) and logo/j(logos) meaning "word."
Phenomenology is the branch of existentialism which deals
with phenomena with no attempt at explanation.
- The covenant of
everlasting priesthood which God made with Phinehas in
derives from the two Greek words pneu=ma(pneuma) meaning "spirit"
and lo/goj(logos) meaning
"word." Generally the study or science of
things spiritual. In Christian theology pneumatology is the doctrine
of the Holy Spirit.
- The belief that the
millennial reign takes place as the world becomes
Christianized and the operates according to Christian
principles while sin is reduced to a minimum.
- The belief that
Christ's second coming inaugurates an earthly millennial
- From the Greek presbute/riwn(presbyterion) meaning "body of
elders." Presbyterianism is the form of
church government in which hierarchical groups or courts
of elders gather to determine cases of church polity,
dogma, discipline, and doctrine. The presbyterian form of government
finds biblical precendent in Acts 15.
are the foundational assumptions, basic committments, or
heartfelt convictions which determine how a person
interprets reality. In other words, a presupposition
provides the metaphysical basis by which a person claims
to understand sensation, experience, and reason. Not all
presuppositions are true, and thus those who base their
lives on false presuppositions, live a life of error, no
matter how consistent they are with respect to those
presuppostitions. Presuppositionalism is a philosophical
approach which states that a person's presuppositions
determine his Weltanschauung.
derives from the Latin word praeteritus meaning
"to go beyond." When we speak of preterism with
reference to Biblical prophesy we refer to what
extent that prophesy has been fulfilled. Thus a hyper-preterist
would believe that all of the prophesies of Scripture
have already been fulfilled and that we now have our
resurrection bodies and are in heaven. (Such people
(full-preterists) do exist.) More common, however are
full preterists, who contend that a majority of the
prophesies of the New Testament were exhausted in the
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
- Prophetic Idiom
derives from the Greek words prw/toj(protos) meaning "origin"
and lo/goj(logos) meaning
"word." Protology means the science
or truth of the origin of beginning of things.
is a translation of the German term Heilsgeschichte
(heil meaning "sacred" and geschichte
meaning "history" or "story"). History
understood as God's self revelation to mankind in the
person of Jesus Christ, through whom God purposed to love a
people as His own, even to the point of sending His Son
in their likeness, being tempted and suffering death on
the cross, bearing the full penalty of their sins, that
they may live in Him through His resurrection from the
dead. The life, death, and resurrection of the Savior,
being the means of God's redemptive purpose, was
foreshadowed in all of history, specially revealed in the
Bible, that those who follow after Christ by His death to
the age of His resurrection might know God as faithful to
His promises, and have complete access to fellowship with
Him without fear of condemnation.
is a combination of the Latin word sacramentum
meaning "sacred oath" or "sacred
place" and the Greek word lo/goj(logos) meaning "word." Sacramentology
is the study of the sacraments (divine, covenant ordinances of
- Semper Reformanda
- The motto of the
reformed church. Latin meaning "always
- Sinaitic Covenant
- The covenant God made
with Israel and their descendents at Sinai mediated by
Moses, also known as the covenant law.
- Sola Dei Gloria
- Latin meaning
"For God's Glory alone."
- Sola Fide
- Latin meaning
"faith alone." The reformed doctrine of the means of salvation.
- Sola Gratia
- Latin meaning
"grace alone." The reformed doctrine of the basis of salvation.
- Sola Scriptura
- Latin meaning
"The Scriptures alone." The reformed doctrine
of infallible authority. Scripture alone is the
infallible and final authority in the Church for matters
of doctrine and practice.
- Solus Christus
- Latin meaning "of
Christ alone." The reformed doctrine of the merit of salvation. Closely
related to the doctrine of Solus Christus is the
doctrine of imputation.
is derived from the two Greek words swthri/a(soteria) meaning salvation and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Soteriology, then,is the science of salvation. Salvation
is not only an "A-Okay" from God. It involves
not only the forgiveness of sins, but the power over
them. Soteriology studies God's historical
deliverence of His people from the bondage of sin and
death and affliction, to the promise of an eternal life with God in His holy love,
through His Son Jesus Christ.
- With reference to the
pre-creation decrees of God,supralapsarianism is
belief that God's decree of election came before He decreed the
fall. Thus, God
chose people for hell and hell free from any influence of
what man might do.
- Summum Bonum
- Summum Bonum
is Latin meaning "highest good." Scripture
presents God Himself to be man's summum bonum.
- In ancient times,
particularly in the Persian world, the sovereign or
"suzerain" would enter into treaty with his
subjects or "vassals" in which he would agree
to protect them and be their king so long as they
submitted to his laws and ordinances. Meredeth Kline
points out that the Sinaitic Covenant fits into this ancient
- Systematic theology is
that branch of theology which deals with the logical
categoration of Biblical truths.
- Teleology is
derived from the two Greek words, te/loj(telos) meaning "purpose or
end" and lo/goj(logos) meaning
"word." Teleology is the study of the end or
purpose of things.
- Theism is
derived from the Greek Qeo/j(Theos) meaning "God" plus
-ism. Theism for our intents and purposes is the belief
in the true and living God who is Creator and sovereign
Ruler of the universe and known by voluntary revelation.
- Theocracy is
derived from the two Greek words Qeo/j(Theos) meaning "God" and kra/tein (cratein) meaning "to
rule." Theocracy is the civil rule of God. The
government of the people of Israel until the inauguration
of Saul is termed a theocracy.
- Theology is
derived from the two Greek words Qeo/j(Theos) meaning "God" and lo/goj(logos) meaning "word."
Formally, theology means "the study or science of
God." Informally, theology is the means by
which God gives us understanding to the things concerning
Himself and our relationship to Him. In a broader sense, theology is
Christ living out His life in our lives through His
Spirit that we may know God as He knows God, and be One
with the Father, as He and the Father are One. Theology
properly understood is not just mental knowledge
of the Bible. God is a living God, and His word is
living. We know His word through a relationship with Him
and a daily hunger and feeding on His word.
- Theonomy is
derived from the two Greek words, Qeo/jmeaning "God" and no/mojmeaning "law." Theonomy is
the belief that all laws, civil, economic, and social,
should be patterned after the particulars of the Sinaitic covenant which God gave to Israel in
the wilderness for her politico-civil government
including in the punishment of criminals.
- Total Depravity
- The first tenet of
Calvinism teaches that mankind in its original state is
utterly unable to choose God, but rather chooses only to
rebel against his Creator continually. In this state he
can do nothing good and worthy of God's grace. Every area
of his life is affected and infected with sin and death.
- Typology is
derived from the two Greek words tu/pojmeaning "type" and lo/gojmeaning "word." Typology in
Biblical and literary terms denotes the authorial use of
allusion employing ectypal figures or conditions
to represent an archtypal figure or condition.
- The second tenet of
Calvinism, unconditional election is the doctrine that
God's choice (or election) of men to eternal life is not
based on any merit of their own but solely on His
- After the teaching of
Cornelius Van Til.
- After the teaching of
is the combination of the German words Welt
meaning "world" and anschauen meaning
"to view." One's weltanschauung is one's
fundamental beliefs about the world and life. In English
the term is often represented by the phrase "world
and life view."
- German for Zoroaster.
- Also Sprach
Zarathustra is a book on philosophy by Friedrich
Nietzsche, the self-attested nihilist and persecutor of
existentialism, in which he affirms "God is
dead." Nietzsche's attack on Christianity as
"herd mentality" is profound and continues to
haunt the popular modern concept of faith in evangelical
circles His concepts of the übermensch
(superman) and "will to power" became standard
- Zeitgeist is
a German word. Zeit meaning "time" and
Geist meaning "ghost," Zeitgeist means
spirit of the age or times. The trend of thought and
counter-thought specific to a certain temporo-spatial
- Zoroaster was a
Persian philosopher and pagan prophet of the 7th century
B.C. who taught that there were two deities who were in
eternal struggle; one, Spenta Mainyu, who was the god of
good and light and the other, Angra Mainyu, who was the
god of evil and darkness. Zoroastrianism is the belief
that there are two equal and opposite deities or powers
at work in the universe, and that the affairs of men are
the result of the conflict between the two.
- Ulrich Zwingli
(1484-1531) was an early Swiss reformer who developed the
doctrine of memorial sacramentology (i.e.
we simply remember Christ's once-for-all sacrifice) over against the
Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation (i.e. in the ceremony the
substance of the elements
are transformed into the physical body of Christ, so that his body is
again physically broken and blood poured out). Thus, Zwinglian refers
to the teachings of Zwingli. [In counterdistinction
to Zwingli, Calvin taught
that the Lord's Supper is not simply a remembrance of the Lord's death,
but the ceremony in which God raises participants to heaven through
faith to specially commune S/spiritually with the Christ who is clothed
with the immutable fulness of his physical resurrection body.]
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