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Biblical Terms And Definitions


(And Atheistic Terms Used By Atheists)

ADIAPHORA = Actions or beliefs which are neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture, and thus left to the liberty of the conscience; issues of theology or morals to which scripture does not speak definitively.


ADOPTIONISM = A heretical teaching that denies the pre-existence of the Son, claiming that Jesus was an ordinary human being until he was adopted by God and became divine by adoption.  This adoption took place either at the baptism of Jesus or the resurrection.  Also called “Dynamic Monarchianism.”


AGNOSTICISM = A system of belief which claims that God cannot be known, either in full or in part.  Unlimited agnosticism claims that God and all reality is completely unknowable.  Limited agnosticism claims only that God is partially unknowable because of the limitations of man’s finitude and sinfulness.


AMANUENSIS = A scribe or secretary employed to assist an author of Scripture or other texts by writing down what is dictated and sometimes helping with syntax and grammar.


A-MILLENNIALISM = The position in theology which denies the existence of a literal, thousand-year reign of Christ.


AMYRALDISM [AMYRALDIANISM] = A system of theology introduced by Moise Amyraut, in which the Calvinist doctrines of total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints are affirmed, along with (contrary to Calvinism) the teaching that Christ died savingly for all people, making salvation hypothetically possible for all, while only the elect are brought to faith and actually saved.  Sometimes called “Amyraldianism,” which is hypothetical redemption, hypothetical universalism, or four-point Calvinism.


ANNIHILATIONISM = The teaching that after death unbelievers suffer the penalty of God’s wrath for a time, and then are “annihilated,” or destroyed, so that they no longer exist. Some forms of this teaching hold that annihilation occurs immediately upon death.


ANTHROPOLOGY = The branch of theology that studies what the Bible teaches about humanity; i.e., The study of Man, including his origin, nature, purpose, and relationship to God, angels, and the World System.


ANTHROPOPATHISM = A figure of speech in which human feeling or emotions are ascribed to God.  Sometimes “Anthropopathism” is contrasted with “Anthropomorphism,” with the term “Anthropomorphism,” defined narrowly as the attribution of human form to God; but when “Anthropomorphism” is defined more broadly as any language that speaks of God in human terms, then “Anthropopathism” is seen as a special kind of “Anthropomorphism.”


APOCALYPTIC = End time; usually used in reference to end-time events.


APOLOGETICS = The explaining and defending the truthfulness of the Christian faith.


ANTHROPOMORPHISM = Ascribing some human physical characteristic to God that He does not actually possess, such as “eyes of the Lord,” Proverbs 5:21, “hand of God,” Psalm 118:15-16, “arm of the Lord,” Isaiah 51:0, Etcetera.  An anthropomorphism is a figure of speech using human language to accommodate Divine Revelation.  Such language helps man to comprehend God’s Divine policy, character, and function.


ANTHROPOMORPHISM = Ascribing human feeling or emotion to God such as “repentance,” “grief,” “anger,” Etcetera.  See anthropopathism, which is a figure of speech using human language to accommodate Divine Revelation.


ANTINOMIANISM = Antinomianism has come to represent that particular perversion of the Gospel that implies that, since believers are saved by the free grace of God, and that the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ, therefore they are not responsible to live according to the Moral Law of God, or even to live in holiness.




APOLLINARIANISM = A Christological heresy taught in the fourth century by Apollinaris of Laodicea, who maintained that Christ had a human body and a human soul, but not human mind.  Rather, Christ’s mind came from the Divine nature of the Son of God; in place of the human mind was the Divine Logos.  This teaching declared to be heretical by the First Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.


ARIANISM = The heretical teaching that the Son and the Holy Spirit are not full Deity in the same sense that the Father is and are not co-eternal with the Father, but are, rather, created beings.


ARMINIANISM = A system of belief based on the teachings of Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius regarding salvation, developed as a reaction against Calvinism, and summed up by his followers in the “Five Articles of Remonstrance,” which deny the unconditionality of election and the particularity of redemption.


ATHEISM = See my Bible Study:  “ATHEISM.”  The basic premise (or better, purpose) of Atheism, without getting into all the different aspects, is to insist that there is no God (no Supreme Being); and that “nothing” is objectively right or wrong.


AUGUSTINIANISM = In this view of the nature of humankind since the fall, all human beings are corrupted by original sin, and this corrupted nature controls the human will and inclines it toward evil so that no person has ever or will ever take the first step toward a right relationship with God.



BAPTISM = See my Bible Study:  “BIBLICAL BAPTISM.”  The word “Baptism” originally carried with it an entirely different meaning then is now ascribed to it (500 years before Christ).   Originally a “Baptist” was a person who had different mixtures of colors and dies, and a person would bring a particular cloth to the “Baptist” in order to change its color.  The “Baptist” would take the cloth of a certain color, totally immerse it in his colors and dies, and then bring it forth in its new color.  The corresponding implication is now obvious.  When a person is totally, and it must be totally immersed in water, their identity is changed and they are a new creature in Christ Jesus.


BIBLICAL THEISM = Biblical theism is the figuring out of Who God is from the Bible.  It is the function of Biblical Theism to recognize, classify, and exhibit the truth about God as set forth in His revelation of Himself as recorded in the Scriptures.



CATECHISM = A systematic instruction of the basic doctrine and beliefs of the Christian (Catholic) faith, usually written in the form of questions with answers to be memorized.


CESSATIONISM = The view that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit (healing, tongues, prophetic revelations) ended with the apostolic age, and that while God still does do miracles, He does not gift individuals with the miraculous spiritual gifts.


CHALCEDONIAN DEFINITION = The statement produced by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A. D. that has been regarded by most branches of Christianity as the orthodox definition of the Biblical teaching on the Person of Christ (see below); also called the “Chalcedonian Creed.”


Text of the Chalcedonian Definition:  “We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess One and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in One Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but One and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”


CHRISTIAN = One who believes in a literal historical personage of Jesus, The Christ; with logic and absolute provable truth that has answers to everything (morality; science; mathematics; material; etcetera).


CODEX = An ancient book created by taking a stack of papyrus or parchment leaves, folding them in half, and binding them at the spine.


COMPATIBILISM = This is the view that God’s exhaustive sovereignty (or His predetermination and meticulous providence) is compatible with morally responsible human choice.


COMPLEMENTARIANISM = The view that men and women are equal in value before God but that their God-given roles in the family and the Church are distinct, with “some governing and teaching roles in the Church are reserved for men.”


CONCURRENCE = An aspect of God’s providence whereby He cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do.  God’s working in all things to accomplish His will in all events “without violating the nature of things, the ongoing causal processes, or human free agency.”


CONSEQUENT ABSOLUTE NECESSITY = The view that the atonement was not absolutely necessary, but as a “consequence” of God’s decision to save some human beings, the atonement was absolutely necessary.


CONTEXTUALIZATION = In the best sense, taking the unchanging truth of the Gospel and tailoring the presentation of it to a specific cultural context in order to achieve greater understanding; but also used to refer to changing the message of the Gospel (always unjustified and inexcusable) in order to make it more palatable in a specific cultural context; also often used ambiguously.


CONTINUATIONISM = The view that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit (healing, tongues, prophetic revelations) continue after the apostolic age, and are available for the believer today.


CREDOBAPTISM = The view that baptism is appropriately administered only to those who give a believable profession of faith in Jesus Christ; also called “Believer’s Baptism.”


CULPABILITY = The important principle from the Mosaic Law which states that each person is responsible for his own sins (see Deuteronomy 24:16).


CULTURAL MANDATE = God’s Command for the human race to fill the earth and rule over it.  Also called “Creation Mandate; Dominion Mandate; or “Stewardship Mandate.”



DECRETIVE WILL = That the Will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever shall come to pass, whether He wills to accomplish it effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His rational creatures.  The plan of God which contains everything He has determined to bring to pass.  Also called “Sovereign Will, Secret Will, or Will of God’s Good Pleasure.”


DIASPORA = Diaspora means “Dispersion.”  Diaspora is the scattering of the twelve tribes of Israel (Leviticus 26:33; John 7:35; First Peter 1:1; James 1:1).  Also called the “Dispersion.”  Later in the New Testament, “Diaspora” is used to refer to Christians, both Jew and Gentile, who were scattered throughout the world.


DEIST = Deist’s believe that there is a God; but He created everything and then left it to do as whatever it will.

DISPENSATIONALISM = Adherence to or advocacy of a system of interpreting history in terms of a series of God’s dispensations.  Defined traditionally as a period of time during which a particular revelation of God’s mind and God’s will is operative; and during which man is tested as to his obedience to that specific manifestation of God’s will, plan, and purpose.  Each Divine administration, or Dispensation, is related to a definite period of human history.

DOCETISM = The heretical teaching that Christ only appeared to be human, but that He was not really human, since He did not have a real human body.


DOUBLE IMPUTATION = The doctrinal teaching that in justification, there is a two-way transfer:   believer’s sin is credited to Christ and Christ’s righteousness is credited to the believer.



ECCLESIOLOGY = Ecclesiology is the study of the Doctrines of the [a particular] Church

ECUMENISM = The principle or aim of promoting unity among the world's Christian Churches.

EFFICACIOUS GRACE = A ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby the faith of an unbeliever is acknowledged and made effective for Salvation.


EGALITARIANISM = The view that men and women are equal before God and “all the functions and roles in the church are open to men and women alike.”


EISEGESIS = The process of reading into a text of scripture a meaning that is not there.


ELECTION = God’s choice in eternity of certain persons to fulfill His purposes; most often used specifically to refer to His choice of some persons out of fallen humanity “whom He would redeem, bring to faith, justify, and glorify in and through Jesus Christ.


EMPIRICISM = The philosophical theory attributing the origin of all knowledge to experience (derived from the senses), observation, and experiment.  Once you have any “experience,” then everything is truth based upon that “experience.”


EPISTEMOLOGY = The theory of knowledge.  The study of “How do you know what you know?”


ESSENCE = What God is; His nature; the stuff of Deity.


ESCHATOLOGY = The Biblical Study of last day events.  Eschatology comes to us from a Greek word, “eskhatos,” that means “last.”


ETERNALITY = That perfection of God whereby He transcends “all temporal limits and all successions of moments; the infinity of God in relation to time; also called “God’s Eternity.”


EUTYCHIANISM = A Christological heresy taught in the fifth century by Eutyches of Constantinople, who maintained that Christ had only one nature, a nature that was a mixture of Divine and human nature, resulting in a third kind of nature.  Sometimes called “Monophysitism.”  This teaching was declared to be heretical by the Council of Chalcedon in 453 A.D.


EVANGELISM = “One beggar telling another beggar where food is.”  The faithful delivering the message of the Gospel to non-Christians.


EVIDENTIAL APOLOGETICS [EVIDENTIALISM] = An approach to apologetics that seeks to demonstrate the reasonableness of the Christian faith from positive evidences drawn from history and experience; a method of apologetics that seeks to show the truth of Christianity by demonstrating its factuality using arguments based on archeology, textual criticism, fulfilled prophesies, miracles and more.  Also called “Evidentialism.”


EXCLUSIVISM = The teaching that Jesus Christ is the Only Saviour and faith in Him is necessary for salvation.


EXEGESIS = The process of searching out or drawing out the original meaning that the author intended for the meaning of a text or series of texts in Scripture.  Ideally, as an example, this would be the job of the American Supreme Court to interpret the U.S. Constitution in its original setting.


EXPIATION = That aspect of Christ’s work on the Cross that canceled the debt for the penalty of sin.



FAITH = The Bible defines this term in Hebrews 11:1:  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”


“Faith is trusting God -- believing that He Loves us and knows best what is for our good.  Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way.  In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness.  Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing.”  ED:253.


FINITE GODISM = The view that there is a personal God Who created and directs the world, but He is a finite being and is limited in significant ways by factors external to Him.



GENERAL REVELATION = God’s self-disclosure to all humanity found in the external creation and internal human experience.


GRACE:   Mercy is not getting what you deserve; Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.


“Grace is unmerited favor.”  1SM:331.


“Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God.  He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Who stands in the courts of Heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety.” 1SM:398.


GOSPEL = The Gospel = First Corinthians 15:1-4 = Verses 3 & 4 is the Gospel.


1) “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2) “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3) “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;

4) “And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”



HAMARTIOLOGY = The Doctrine of Sin.


HERMENEUTICS = The science and art of interpretation of Scripture.  Hermeneutics establishes the rules to which one must agree to a true analysis of the Scriptures for objectivity and accuracy in producing the intent and meaning of the original autograph.


The Greek word “hermeneuo,” from which the English word “hermeneutics” (Biblical interpretation) is derived from, originated from the Greek god “Hermes.”  Hermes was considered to be an emissary and messenger of the gods, and as such was responsible for, among other things, translating Divine messages for the people.


Hermeneutics is a fancy word meaning “The Study Of, Or Interpretation Of Scripture.”  This implies that you believe that our God says what He means and means what He says.  However, one of the things that you do not want to do when discussing the Bible with antagonists is to say that you take the Bible “literally.”  Otherwise, you will have “sick handkerchiefs,” as in Acts 19:12, or even worse problems, such as Jesus being a physical “door,” and so forth.

HISTORIA SALUTIS = The unfolding in history of God’s plan for the salvation of the world; the events in space and time by which God brings salvation.


HOPE = Biblical Hope Is A Reality.  It’s Not, “I Hope.”  It’s, “I Know.”


HYPOSTATIC UNION = The presence of two natures.  The undiminished Deity of Christ along with His true humanity, all in One Person; both natures being inseparably united, without loss or mixture of separate identity, without loss or transfer of properties or attributes; the union being personal and eternal.


HYPOTHETICAL UNIVERSALISM = the belief that Christ died in some sense for every person, but his death effected salvation only for those who were predestined for salvation.



ILLUMINATION = The work of the Holy Spirit within us, enabling us “to grasp and to love the revelation that is in the Biblical text” as we hear and read It, and as It is explained to us by teachers and writers.


IMMANENCE OF GOD = The Doctrine that God is not distanced from us in a way that renders personal attention and communication with Him impossible.


IMMUTABILITY = An absolute attribute of God.  God is not capable of or susceptible to change, either by increase or by decrease, by development or by self-evolution.  He is unchangeable, invariable, and permanent in His essence and character (First Samuel 15:29; Psalm 102:24-27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 1:11-12; 6:17-18; 13:8; James 1:17).


IMPARTED = Given To (You Own It).


IMPECCABILITY = Used of Christ, it refers to the doctrine that Jesus Christ was incapable of sinning.


IMPUTED [IMPUTATION]= Accounted As If One Owned Whatever Is Being Discussed.


INCLUSIVISM = The view that while Jesus Christ is the only Saviour and everyone who is saved is saved by the work of Christ, explicit knowledge of Christ and faith in Him is not necessary to be saved, because it is possible for someone to be saved by responding rightly to the light of general revelation or by sincerely believing and practicing in accordance with the bits of truth found in a non-Christian religion.


INCOMMUNICABLE ATTRIBUTES = Those attributes of God that belong to Him alone, such as his simplicity, aseity, immutability, impassibility, and eternality.


INFINITUDE = That perfection of God whereby He is not subject to limitation or defect and is unmeasurable and unsearchable in all that He is; God’s transcendence of the creation.


INFRALAPSARIANISM = The view that in the plan made by God in eternity, His decree to permit the fall logically preceded His decree of election, so that when God chose some people to receive eternal life, He was choosing them from the whole mass of humanity, all regarded as fallen creatures.


INSCRIPTIONAL CURSE = A warning included in ancient treaties pronouncing judgment on anyone who changed the wording of a covenant document.


IRRESISTIBLE GRACE = The teaching that God’s saving grace is effectually applied to those whom He has chosen to save, causing their natural enmity toward Him to disappear so that they willingly repent and believe in Jesus.


ISAGOGICS = The interpretation of Scripture strictly within the framework of its cultural or historical setting.  See Hermeneutics.

JUSTIFICATION = The judicial act of God in which He pardons sinners, accepting (or seeing) them as righteous because of the Work of Christ on their behalf.  In other words, “Declared Righteous.”  The popular saying, “Just-As-If-I-Never-Sinned” is incorrect.  Justification is a legal term a literally means, “Declared Righteous.”


JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH = Just-Living-Because-Of-Faith.  Or better, Righteous-Living-Because-Of-Faith.


“What is justification by faith? -- It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.  When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  When they begin to praise and exalt God all the day long, then by beholding they are becoming changed into the same image.”  SpTA09:62; FLB:111; GW:456; TM:456; 20MR:117.


JUSTIFIED = Just-As-If-I-Died / Just-As-If-I’d-Never-Sinned.  However, once again this is a legal term and literally means, “Declared Righteous.”



KENOSIS = The doctrine where our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use or expression of and attributes of His Deity; especially when that independent expression would violate the Father’s plan for the incarnation and Salvation of man (Philippians 2:5-8).  At no time did our Lord employ His Deity in order to resist a temptation or pass a test in His humanity (Matthew 4:1-12).  Our Lord voluntarily took upon Himself true humanity in order to become the true Mediator between God and man, reconciling mankind to God and becoming man’s example (Hebrews 2:18; 4:12-16).  This doctrine is taught by phrases such as, “But He deprived Himself of the proper function of Deity, when He had received the form of a servant, although having been born in the likeness of mankind.”  Philippians 2:7-8 (translation by R. B. Thieme, Jr.).



LEGALISM = Relying on self-effort as a way to gain the favor of God.  The belief that a sinner can do some work to obtain salvation.


LIBERTARIAN FREE WILL = A conception of freedom that proposes that a moral agent is free so long as, for whatever choice he makes, he could have chosen differently; that is, given all the conditions that are true of the situation in which he makes his choice, the agent is free so long as he could have chosen differently within that identical situation in which he makes the choice.  The ability to choose with equal ease between alternatives out of pure contingency and no necessity; which, according to the proponents of libertarian freedom, is necessary for moral responsibility.


LIMITED ATONEMENT = The teaching that God’s design and intent in sending Christ to die on the cross was to pay for the sins and secure the redemption of those whom God has predetermined to save.  Therefore, the primary benefits of His death (especially as an atonement) were designed for and accrue only to believers.  Also called “Definite Atonement,” or “Particular Redemption.”


LITURGY = An established or customary pattern for a public religious service.


LOGIC = A particular method of reason or argumentation; A system of principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study; The use of reason or sound judgment; Using convincing forcefulness to prove a point with inexorable truth or persuasiveness.


LORDSHIP SALVATION = The doctrinal stance that saving faith includes not only trust in Christ as Savior but also repentance (defined as a change of heart that results in turning from sin) and commitment to Christ as Lord, and that saving faith always produces a changed life.


LOVE = To Determine If The Term “Love” Applies To God, Ask The Question:  “Is That How Love Operates?”



MARCIONISM = The teaching of the second century heretic Marcion, who made a distinction between what he believed was the inferior God of justice, the God of the Old Testament, Who was the Creator and the God of the Jews, and the God of the New Testament, the Supreme God of goodness, of Whom Christ was the Messenger.  Accordingly, he rejected the Old Testament; in fact, his canon included only Luke and Paul’s writings, which he edited to remove whatever he disagreed with, especially the quotes from the Old Testament found in them.


MATERIALISTS = The belief that “Nothing exists beyond the material realm.”


MERCY = Mercy equals “Not getting that which we deserve,” while Grace equals, “Getting that which we do not deserve.”


MIDDLE KNOWLEDGE = A (supposed) third type of Divine knowledge posited in Molinism, knowledge that exists logically between God’s natural knowledge and His free knowledge.  It consists of God’s knowledge of what every possible creature would do in any possible set of circumstances, but because it’s logically prior to God’s free knowledge, it is independent of His Will or decree.  Also called “Scientia Media.”


MIRROR-READING = A way of reading a New Testament passage that assumes that what the author writes reflects a problem or situation confronting the original audience.


MODALISM = The unorthodox teaching that God is only One Person Who has revealed Himself at different times in three different modes (or manifestations, forms, and roles), rather than a Trinity consisting of three distinct Persons Who are coexistent.  Sometimes called “Modalistic Monarchism,” “Sabellianism,” and “Patripassionism,” which are types of “Modalism.”


MOLINISM = A philosophical system named after Jesuit theologian Luis De Molina, a system which sought to maintain both the autonomy of human beings and the sovereignty of God by claiming that God’s knowledge of the free decisions of any human beings in any given circumstance was logically prior to His decree of what would happen in the world He would create.


MONERGISM = The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the Only efficient Agent in regeneration -- that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration.


MONOPHYSITISM = A Christological heresy taught in the fifth century by Eutyches of Constantinople, who maintained that Christ had only one nature, a nature that was a mixture of Divine and human nature, resulting in a third kind of nature.  Sometimes called “Eutychianism.”  This teaching was declared to be heretical by the Council of Chalcedon in 453 A.D.


MORALITY = What is right and what is wrong.  Depends upon ones “world view.”



NATURALISTIC THEISM = While it is the function of Biblical Theism to recognize, classify, and exhibit the truth about God as set forth in His revelation of Himself as recorded in the Scriptures, it is the function of Naturalistic Theism to establish arguments for the existence of God based solely on the grounds of reason in the mentality of one’s soul.  In other words, you can know God or know of Him through your own spiritual meditations.


NESTORIANISM = A Christological heresy that taught that Jesus was two distinct Persons, a human Person and a Divine Person.  This teaching was declared to be heretical by the Council of Chalcedon in 453 A.D.


NON-LORDSHIP SALVATION = The doctrinal position that what is necessary for salvation is faith (defined primarily as being convinced of the facts of the Gospel) and an appeal to Jesus for salvation at some point of time in one’s life, and that repentance (defined as turning from sin) is not necessary for salvation.  Also called “Easy-Believism,” or “Free Grace Theology.”



Note: For Omnipotent; Omniscient; Omnipresence; Transcendent; see my Bible Study:  “GOD, WHO IS HE.”


OMNISCIENCE = God’s perfection whereby He knows Himself and all things possible and actual in one eternal and most simple act.


ONEISM = Oneism is defined by the “Lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries” as, “An egocentric theory,” or “system; egoism.”


ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT = The reasoning that God must be an absolutely Perfect Being, IF He does exist, and argues points related to being perfect.  An example would be:  “Existence of a Divine Being is an attribute of perfection, because an otherwise perfect Being who does not exist would not be as perfect as a perfect Being Who does exist.”  Let me break that down.  A dead God is perfect because he does not sin; whereas a Live God that does not sin is the ultimate in perfection.


ONTOLOGICAL TRINITY = The Trinity as it exists apart from any relation to creation.  Viewing the Trinity “ontologically” puts the emphasis on the equality of the nature and attributes of the three Persons.  Also called “The Essential,” or “The Immanent Trinity.”


OPEN THEISM = A movement emerging from within evangelicalism that denies the historic Christian view of God’s omniscience; teaching instead that God does not know the future exhaustively, since He cannot know for certain the choices and actions of free creatures until the choices are made and the actions are done in time.  The future then, is not certain, but “open,” for both God and His creatures.  Also called “Free Will Theism,” “Open Theology,” or “Openness of God Theology.”


ORDINATE POWER (OF GOD) = That power whereby God doth that which He hath decreed to do, that is, which He hath ordained or appointed to be exercised.  God’s ability to do what He has ordained, decreed, and willed to do.  God’s ordinate power is a subset of His absolute power. 



PAEDOBAPTISM = The view that baptism is appropriately administered to all infant children of believing parents.  Also called “Covenant Infant Baptism.”


PANENTHEISM = The view that God encompasses everything that exists, including the universe we inhabit, yet there is more to God than just the universe, so that the universe is part of God.


PANTHEISM = The belief that God is [in] everything and that everything is God.


PARADIGM = A framework within which you interpret evidence.  In this framework then, “science” isn’t about “evidence.”  I’s about how you interpret the “evidence.”


PAROUSIA = Another term for the Second Coming of Christ, from the Greek word “Parousia,” meaning “Coming” or “Presence.”


PARTICULAR REDEMPTION = The teaching that God’s design and intent in sending Christ to die on the cross was to pay for the sins and secure the redemption of those whom God has predetermined to save.  Therefore, the primary benefits of His death (especially as an atonement) were designed for and accrue only to believers.  Also called “Definite Atonement,” or “Limited Atonement.”


PASSIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST = Jesus Christ’s satisfaction of the claims of justice on behalf of those who believe in Him; accomplished by His bearing all the sanctions of the Law due to their transgressions.  Christ’s receiving in His Own Person the penalty due for our sins.  Also called “Penal Obedience.”


PELAGIANISM = A kind of theism that claims to be Christian but has been condemned as heretical throughout Christian history.  In this view, human beings are not born sinful, but are able to live good moral lives and thus receive eternal life as a reward.


PENAL SUBSTITUTION = The teaching that in His death Christ substituted for sinners, atoning for them by bearing the just penalty of God for their sin in their place.  Also called “Substitutionary Atonement.”


PENTATEUCH = The first five Books of the Old Testament, i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Also known as the “Torah,” the “Law,” or the “Books of Moses.”


PENTECOST = The day on which Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on His people gathered in Jerusalem, fifty days after the Passover on which He was crucified.


PERFECTIONISM = The Wesleyan teaching that after the new birth, there may be a distinct second transforming work of grace in which God roots all sinful motivation out of a Christian’s heart, so that the whole of his mental and emotional energy is henceforth channeled into love for God and others:  love that is free from any contrary or competing affection whatsoever.  Also called “Entire Sanctification.” 


PERICHORESIS = A term (from the Greek) used to express the intimate union of the three Persons in the Trinity as They mutually indwell or interpenetrate each Other.  Also called “Circumincession,” or “Coinherence.”


PERSPICUITY OF SCRIPTURE = The teaching that the ordinary reader can understand from Scripture what God requires as long as they are willing to seek God’s help to understand and obey it.  It does not mean that the Scripture contains no passages that may be difficult to understand or that all passages are equally clear.  This is the older term for what is now most often called “The Clarity of Scripture.”


PHILOSOPHY = A rational investigation of accepted or questionable truths and principles.


PRECEPTIVE WILL = God’s revealed Law or Commandments; what God has declared that we should do.  Also called “Revealed Will; Moral Will; Will of Command; Expressed Will; or Signified Will.”


PLURALISM [RELIGIOUS PLURALISM] = The view that no one religion has an exclusive claim on the truth, and that there are many valid paths to God and salvation.


PNEUMATOLOGY = The study of the Holy Spirit.


POLYTHEISM = The teaching that there is more than one god.


PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS = An approach to apologetics that starts with the foundational axioms of the existence of God and His Divine revelation to us in Scripture, and seeks to show that the Christian faith built on these presuppositions makes sense of life and reality and that any other belief system built on other foundational axioms does not.  Also called “Presuppositionalism,” or “Biblical Apologetics.”


PREVENIENT GRACE = The synergistic (or Arminian or Wesleyan) doctrine that there is a universal grace of God that counteracts the universal spiritual death that resulted from the fall, sufficiently restoring lost human freedom so that every person is able to choose to cooperate with saving grace.  Also called “Preventing Grace.”


PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION = An ongoing inner transformation in which the Holy Spirit works to make the believer more and more like Christ in every way; including desires, thoughts and actions.  Most frequently simply called “Sanctification.”


PROPITIATION = A sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God and thus averts God’s wrath toward sinners.


PROVIDENCE = The work of God in which He actively preserves and directs all His creation and all His creatures so that His purpose for creation is fulfilled.



QUICKENING = An act of God whereby a soul, previously dead to Him, experiences a spiritual resurrection into a new sphere of life, in which he is alive to God.  An inner work of the Spirit in which new spiritual life is implanted so that a person’s whole nature is changed and he or she can respond to God in faith.  Also called “New Birth; Rebirth; Spiritual Birth; Born Again; or Regeneration.”



RATIONALISM = Knowledge that is based upon pure reason.  Truth would have to be logical, consistent, reasonable, in order to be rationalized out.


RECAPITULATION THEORY OF THE ATONEMENT = The view, first emphasized by Irenaeus, that Christ Came to the earth to reverse the curse of Adam by living the perfect human life; remaining obedient through all the phases of human life; succeeding where Adam failed, and thereby restoring those united with Him to the state in which Adam existed before the fall.


RECONCILIATION = The restoration of peaceful relations between parties who are in conflict with each other.  Used in regards to of the work of Christ on the cross, it points to the removal God’s enmity toward the sinner and the sinner’s enmity toward God and the establishment of blessed and abundant fellowship through the death of Christ.


REDACTION CRITICISM = The study of the role of the redactor (editor) in the final composition of the Biblical Text.


NOTE:  “Evangelical Redaction Criticism” presupposes the Supernatural nature of Scripture, and is used to zero in on the particular theological objectives of a Biblical author.  But more commonly, “Redaction Criticism” is done from anti-supernatural presuppositions, and used to confirm the (supposedly) human origin of Scripture.


REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE OF WORSHIP = The teaching that everything done in corporate worship should be Divinely warranted; that tenet that public worship should follow the directions and examples given in Scripture.


RELATIVISM = The view that, “There is no objective truth,” but rather, “What is called truth is always relative to something else.”


RELIGIOUS PLURALISM = The view that no one religion has an exclusive claim on the truth, and that there are many valid paths to God and salvation.


RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM = The incorporation of different and sometimes conflicting practices and beliefs from one religion into another religion, forming a hybrid religion that is fundamentally different than the original one.


REPENTANCE = A God-worked change within the sinner whereby he hates his sin and becomes genuinely sorry for it, turns from his sin to Christ, committing himself to walk in obedience to Him.  A complete “Turn Around” of one’s life.


REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY = A theological system which believes that the Church has replaced the failed and unrepentant Israel in God’s Plan.


REPROBATION = That eternal decree of God whereby He has determined to pass some men by with the operations of His special grace, and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of His justice.


REVELATIONAL EPISTEMOLOGY = God is the source of all knowledge.  Specifically through the Words in the Bible.

RIGHTEOUSNESS = Righteous-Living.  The Bible Defines “Righteousness” as:  “ My tongue shall speak of Thy Word: for all Thy Commandments are righteousness.”  Psalm 119:172.  “Righteousness is obedience to the Law.  The Law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the Law.”  1SM:367.





SACRAMENT = A rite or ceremony instituted by Jesus, and observed by the church as either a testament to inner grace or a means of grace.  Various Protestant denominations differ on whether sacraments should be considered to be only testaments to inner grace, or also means of grace, but all agree that there are two:  “Baptism” and “The Lord’s Supper.”  Some prefer to call these rites or ceremonies “Ordinances,” in an effort to differentiate themselves from Roman Catholic implications.


SALVATION = We Do What We Can And God Does The Rest.


SANCTIFICATION = Power To Obey.  An ongoing transformation in allowing the Holy Spirit to make oneself more and more like Christ.


SANDEMANIANISM = The system of beliefs of a sect founded by John Glas and his son-in-law Robert Sandeman in Scotland in the mid-18th century, which included the distinguishing tenet that justifying faith is no more than “Bare belief of the bare truth,” or mere mental assent to the facts of the Gospel.  Also used loosely of any system of beliefs that teaches that saving faith is no more than mental assent to certain propositions about Christ.


SECRET WILL = That Will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever shall come to pass, whether He Wills to accomplish it effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His rational creatures.  The plan of God which contains everything He has determined to bring to pass.  Also called “Decretive Will; Sovereign Will; or Will of God’s Good Pleasure.”


SEMI-PELAGIANISM = A modified form of “Pelagianism” that does not deny original sin; however, in this view, original sin does not keep people from taking the first step toward a right relationship with God by an exercise of the will.  This view was condemned as heretical by the Council of Orange in 529 A.D.


SENSUS DIVINITATIS = The innate true knowledge of God that all human beings have because they are created in the image of God.  Also called “Sensus,” for short, or “Sense of Deity.”


SKEPTICISM = The view that even if there is objective truth, none of us can know what that truth is.


SOLA FIDE = Literally, “Faith Alone.”  Unbiblical in regards to Salvation.


SOLA GRATIA = Literally, “Grace Alone.”  Unbiblical in regards to Salvation.


SOLA SCRIPTURA = Literally, “Scripture Alone.”


SOLUS CHRISTUS = Literally, “Christ Alone.”


SOLI DEO GLORIA = Literally, “Glory to God Alone.”


SOTERIOLOGY = Soteriology is “The Study of, or Doctrine of Salvation.”


SOURCE CRITICISM = The field of Biblical studies that seeks to establish the literary sources the Biblical author/editor drew upon.


SOVEREIGN WILL = That Will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever shall come to pass, whether He Wills to accomplish it effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His rational creatures.  The plan of God which contains everything He has determined to bring to pass.  Also called “Decretive Will; Secret Will; or “Will of God’s Good Pleasure.”


SOVEREIGNTY (OF GOD) = God’s dominion over the whole universe that He has created.  His rule over all things so as to secure the accomplishment of the Divine purposes.”


SPECIAL REVELATION = God’s self-disclosure in direct, supernatural revelation, disclosing truths, including the good news of salvation, that could not be known through general revelation.


SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE = The principle that the Words of Scripture contain everything we need to know from God in order for us to be saved and to be perfectly obedient to Him.


SUPRALAPSARIANISM = The view that in the plan made by God in eternity, his decree of election logically preceded His decree to permit the fall, so that when God chose some to receive eternal life and rejected all others, He was contemplating them as unfallen.

SYNCRETISM = Syncretism simply put, is worshiping God in two different ways.  The full definition is the practice of combining different beliefs and various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.

SYNERGISM = The view that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the Divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate, and that, therefore, humankind has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives.


SYNOPTIC GOSPELS = The first three gospels in the New Testament -- Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- which are quite similar in Their content, and all very different from John’s Gospel.


SYNOPTIC PROBLEM = The question of why the “Synoptic Gospels” -- Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- are so similar; the need to find a relationship between the three “Synoptic Gospels” that accounts for their similarities and differences.


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY = The theological discipline that seeks to summarize what the whole Bible teaches us on any particular subject.



TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT = An argument for the existence of God that begins with evidence of order, complexity, pattern and purpose in the universe and argues from that evidence that the universe must have an intelligent and purposeful Designer.


TETRAGRAMMATON = A reference to the four letters that make up the nominative “JHWH,” translated as “Jehovah” or Yahweh.”


THEANTHROPIC PERSON = Jesus Christ is the only Theanthropic Person of the universe:  Theos, meaning “God,” and “Anthropos,” meaning, “Man.”  The word “Theanthropic” connotes the presence of two natures, i.e., undiminished Deity and true Humanity, in the One Person of Jesus Christ.


THEODICY = The Study of the Vindication of God’s Character.  The assertion and defense of the goodness and justice of the sovereignty of God in spite of evil in the world.


THEOLOGY = The Study of Divine things or religious truth.  Each church has its own theology.  Thus the different denominations [Demon-Nations].


THEOLOGY PROPER = The branch of theology that studies what the Bible teaches about God, and includes the study of God’s existence, His attributes, His works, and the Trinity.


THEONOMY = The state of an individual or society that regards its own nature and norms as being in accord with the Divine nature..


THEOPHANY = The manifestation of God in visible and bodily form before the incarnation of Christ.


TRADUCIANISM = The theological view that the human soul is transmitted through human procreation. This view was originated in the early Church by Tertullian (160-230 A.D.).


TRANSCENDENCE = Transcendence emphasizes that the superior state or form of existence in which God lives is different from and superior to that of human beings.


TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD = The argument which attempts to prove God’s existence by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose the Christian worldview, and that God’s absolute nature is the source of logic and morals.


TRICHOTOMY = The teaching that mankind or man consists of three component parts:  Body, Soul, and Spirit.


TAOISM = See my Bible Study:  “TAOISM (And Traditional Chinese Medicine).”  The belief that life should be lived in its complete simplicity and naturalness of noninterference with the course of natural events.


TYPOLOGY = A method of Biblical interpretation that arises from the concept that in God’s plan, elements found in the Old Testament (Laws, institutions, and historical people or events) prefigure the things God purposed to accomplish in later times, especially in the work of Christ.



UNIFORMITARIANISM = The concept tha the earth’s surface was shaped in the past by gradual processes.


UNIVERSALISM = The view that all persons will ultimately be saved, even those who die in unbelief.



VERACITY = God’s absolute attribute of truth; i.e., He cannot lie.


VOCATION (DOCTRINE OF) = The teaching that all labor is a Divine calling and a means by which God works His providential care for creation, so that all work has meaning as service to Christ.  The teaching that all of life submitted to God is sacred and all honest work is holy.



WORLDVIEW = A network of ultimate beliefs, assumptions, values, and ideas about the universe and our place in it that shapes how a person understands their life and experiences (and the lives and experiences of others) and how that person acts in response.

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