Omniscient: possessed of universal or complete knowledge
Omnipresence: presence everywhere or in many places especially simultaneously.
Omnipotent: having virtually unlimited authority or influence.
Contemplation: concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion b : a state of mystical awareness of God's being.
Theo: god : God *theism* *theocentric*
Inerrancy: : exemption from error : INFALLIBILITY *the question of biblical inerrancy.
INFALLIBILITY: 1 : incapable of error : UNERRING *an infallible memory*
2 : not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint : CERTAIN *an infallible remedy*
3 : incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals
Liberation Theology: a religious movement especially among Roman Catholic clergy in Latin America that combines political philosophy usually of a Marxist orientation with a theology of salvation as liberation from injustice
–liberation theologian noun
Calvinism: : the theological system of Calvin and his followers marked by strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of mankind, and the doctrine of predestination
–Cal£vin£ist \-v*-nist\ noun or adjective
Pantheism: 1 : a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe
2 : the worship of all gods of different creeds, cults, or peoples indifferently; also : toleration of worship of all gods (as at certain periods of the Roman empire)
–pan£the£ist \-th*-ist\ noun
Polytheism: belief in or worship of more than one god (plurality of gods)
–poly£the£ist \-*th*-ist\ adjective or noun
Theism: : belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically : belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world
–the£ist \-ist\ noun or adjective
Deism: : a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe
–de£ist \*d*-ist, *d*-\ noun , often capitalized
Terms & Definitions I should Know
A teleological argument, or argument from design, is an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design and/or direction in nature. The word "teleological" is derived from the Greek word telos, meaning end or purpose. Teleology is the supposition that there is purpose or directive principle in the works and processes of nature.
The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, or a first mover of the cosmos. It is traditionally known as an "argument from universal causation," an "argument from first cause," and also as an "uncaused cause" argument. Whichever term is used, there are three basic variants of this argument, each with subtle but important distinctions: the argument from causation in esse, the argument from causation in fieri, and the argument from contingency. The cosmological argument does not attempt to prove anything about the first cause or about God, except to argue that such a cause must exist. This cause is known in Latin as "causa sui."
Black theology is a Christian theology of liberation. Methodist James Cone is still considered its leading theologian, though now there are many scholars who have contributed a great deal to the field. One of its major concerns is with the perceived historic and present racism in "Western civilizations" (especially within Christendom) and the ways in which Jesus urged his disciples to seek freedom for all people.
As with all liberation theologies, black theology focuses on those who are perceived as oppressed and/or poor. Through its intentionally particular lens, black theology seeks to contribute to the liberation of black peoples.
In Christianity, liberation theology is a school of theology that focuses on Jesus Christ as not only the Redeemer but also the Liberator of the oppressed. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism. Some elements of certain liberation theologies have been rejected by the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_Theology
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically-informed religious movements and moods within late 18th, 19th and 20th century Christianity. The word "liberal" in liberal Christianity does not refer to a leftist political agenda or set of beliefs, but rather to the freedom of thought and belief associated with the philosophical and religious paradigms developed during the Age of Enlightenment.
The theology of liberal Christianity was prominent in the biblical criticism of the 19th and 20th centuries. The style of scriptural hermeneutics within liberal theology is often characterized as non-propositional. This means that the Bible is not considered an inventory of factual statements but instead documents the human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing—within an historic/cultural context. Thus, liberal Christian theologians do not discover truth propositions but rather create religious models and concepts that reflect the class, gender, social, and political contexts from which they emerge. Liberal Christianity looks upon the Bible as a collection of narratives that explain, epitomize, or symbolize the essence and significance of Christian understanding.
Methodism is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity. The Methodist movement traces its origin to the evangelistic teaching of John Wesley. It originated in 18th century Britain, and through vigorous missionary activity, spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond. Originally it appealed especially to workers, agricultural workers, and slaves. Theologically most Methodists are Arminian or sometimes moderately Calvinist, emphasizing that Christ accomplished salvation for every human being, and that humans must exercise an act of the will to be saved (as opposed to the traditional Calvinist doctrine of monergism); and low church in liturgy (although this varies greatly in individual chapels; the Wesleys themselves greatly valued the Anglican liturgy and tradition). There are also a number of Calvinistic Methodists in Wales. In 2006 Methodism claimed some seventy-five million members worldwide.
The Methodist revival originated in England, and began with a group of men, including John Wesley and his younger brother Charles, as a movement within the Church of England in the 18th century, focused on Bible study, and a methodical approach to scriptures and Christian living. The term "Methodist" was a pejorative term given to a small society of students at Oxford, who met together between 1729 and 1735 for the purpose of mutual improvement. They were accustomed to receiving communion every week, fasting regularly, and abstaining from most forms of amusement and luxury. They also frequently visited the sick and the poor, as well as prisoners.
John Wesley came under the influence of the Moravians and Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, while Whitefield adopted Calvinistic views. Consequently, their followers separated, those of Whitefield becoming Calvinistic Methodists. Wesleyan Methodists have followed Arminian theology.
Traditionally, Methodism has believed in the Arminian view of free will, via God's prevenient grace, as opposed to absolute predestination. This distinguishes it, historically, from Calvinist traditions such as Presbyterianism. However, in strongly Reformed areas such as Wales, Calvinistic Methodists remain, also called the Presbyterian Church of Wales. Also, more recent theological debates have cut across denominational lines, so that theologically liberal Methodist and Reformed churches have more in common with each other than with more conservative members of their own denominations.
John Wesley was not a systematic theologian, though Methodist ministerial students and trainee local preachers do study his sermons for his theology. The popular expression of Methodist theology is in the hymns of Charles Wesley. Since enthusiastic congregational singing was a part of the Evangelical movement, Wesleyan theology took root and spread through this channel.
Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought in Protestant Christian theology founded by the Dutch theologian Jacob Hermann, who was best known by the Latin form of his name, Jacobus Arminius. Its acceptance stretches through much of mainstream Protestantism. Due to the influence of John Wesley, Arminianism is perhaps most prominent in the Methodist movement.
Arminianism holds to the following tenets:
Arminianism is most accurately used to define those who affirm the original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself, but the term can also be understood as an umbrella for a larger grouping of ideas including those of Hugo Grotius, John Wesley, Clark Pinnock, and others. There are two primary perspectives on how the system is applied in detail: Classical Arminianism, which sees Arminius as its figurehead, and Wesleyan Arminianism, which sees John Wesley as its figurehead. Wesleyan Arminianism is sometimes synonymous with Methodism. Additionally, Arminianism is understood by some of its critics to also include Pelagianism, though supporters from both primary perspectives deny this vehemently.
Within the broad scope of church history, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines in common. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as archrivals within Evangelicalism because of their disagreement over the doctrines of predestination and salvation.
Systematic theology is the study of Christian theology organized thematically (as opposed to historically, as in Historical Theology or Biblical Theology - according to some uses of the latter term).
Systematic theology is the attempt to formulate a coherent philosophy which is applicable to the component parts of a given faith's system of belief. Inherent to a system of theological thought is that a method is developed, one which can be applied both broadly and particularly. While a systematic theology must take into account the sacred texts of its faith, it also looks to history, philosophy, science, and ethics to produce as full a view and as versatile a philosophical approach as possible.
Biblical Theology is the a discipline of theology (in distinction from systematic theology, practical theology, apologetics, etc.) which studies the Bible as a whole to help interpret and understand individual portions of it. That is, Biblical Theology attempts to put individual texts in their historical context since what came before them is the foundation on which they are laid and what comes after is what they anticipate. ...
Biblical Theology is a discipline within Christian theology which studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing God's self to humanity following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. It particularly focuses on the epochs of the Old Testament in order to understand how each part of it ultimately points forward to fulfillment in the life mission of Jesus Christ.
Biblical theology seeks to understand a certain passage in the Bible in light of all of the Biblical history leading up to it. It asks questions of the text such as:
Biblical Theology puts individual texts in their historical context since what came before them is the foundation on which they are laid and what comes after is what they anticipate. Biblical Theology is sometimes called the "History of Special Revelation" since it deals with the unfolding and expanding nature of revelation as history progresses through the Bible.
The motivation for this branch of theology comes from such passages as Luke 24.27: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, (Jesus) explained to (the disciples) what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." The assumption of this text seems to be that the Old Testament anticipated the Messiah and that Jesus fulfilled those prophecies. Thus, Biblical Theologians suggest that, in order to understand the intended meaning of a Biblical text, one must understand what the text points toward or back to. For instance, when reading about the sacrificial system in the Old Testament, Biblical Theologians follow the trajectory the Bible lays out for that system (namely, pointing to Jesus as the true sacrifice), and likewise, when a New Testament text refers back to the Old Testament (for example, Jesus being the son of David and heir of his covenant), they try to understand that text against its proper, specified background.
Biblical theology can be compared with and is complemented by systematic theology in that the former focuses on historical progression through out the Bible while the latter focuses on thematic progression. Systematic theology deals with a single topic in each place it is dealt with, whereas Biblical Theology seeks to follow the flow of "redemptive narrative" as it unfolds. In this way, Biblical Theology reflects the diversity of the Bible, while systematic theology reflects its unity.
Natural theology is the attempt to find evidence of a God or intelligent designer without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. The expression 'natural theology' (theologia naturalis) seems to have been first used by Augustine of Hippo with reference to the deepest theological insights of the classical philosophers. Natural theology (or natural religion) is theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning (see Immanuel Kant et alia).
Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Church launched the Protestant Reformation and, though it was not his intention, left Western Christianity divided.
The split between Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church arose mainly over the doctrine of justification before God. Specifically, Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone," distinct from the Roman Catholic view. Lutheranism is also distinct from the Reformed Churches, another major church which arose during the Reformation. Unlike the Reformed Churches, Lutherans have retained many of the sacramental understandings and liturgical practices of the pre-Reformation Church. Lutheran theology differs considerably from Reformed theology in its understanding of divine grace and predestination to eternity after death.
Today nearly 70 million Christians belong to Lutheran churches worldwide; furthermore, the world's 400 million Protestant Christians can trace their tradition, at least in part, back to Luther's reforming work
Calvinism is a theological system and an approach to the Christian life that emphasizes the rule of God over all things. Named after John Calvin, this variety of Protestant Christianity is sometimes called the Reformed tradition, the Reformed faith, or Reformed theology.
The Reformed tradition was advanced by theologians such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Huldrych Zwingli and also influenced English reformers such as Thomas Cranmer and John Jewel. Yet due to John Calvin's great influence and role in the confessional and ecclesiastical debates throughout the 17th century, the tradition generally became known as Calvinism. Today, this term also refers to the doctrines and practices of the Reformed churches, of which Calvin was an early leader, and the system is best known for its doctrines of predestination and total depravity.
Neo-Orthodoxy can also refer to a form of Orthodox Judaism following the philosophy of "Torah im Derech Eretz", and can additionally refer to the ideas of late 20th century Eastern Orthodox theology, e.g. by Christos Giannaras
Neo-orthodoxy is an approach to theology that was developed in the aftermath of the First World War (1914-1918). It is primarily associated with the Swiss Protestant Karl Barth (1886-1968) and theologian Emil Brunner (1899-1966). Some theologians believe that two brothers, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) and H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), did more to introduce neo-orthodoxy to America than anyone else.
There is a strong emphasis on the revelation of God by God as the source of Christian doctrine. Natural theology states that knowledge of God can be gained through a combination of observation of nature and human reason. Barth totally rejected natural theology. Brunner believed that natural theology still had an important role and this led to a sharp disagreement between the two men.
Transcendence of God
There is a stress on the transcendence of God. Barth believed that the emphasis on the immanence of God had led human beings to imagine God to be ourselves writ large. He stressed the infinite qualitative distinction between the human and the divine.
The neo-orthodox theologians made use of existentialism and in particular Christian existentialism. Barth was strongly influenced by the writings of the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard was a critic of the liberal Christian modernist effort to rationalise Christianity. Instead, under pseudonymous names such as Johannes Climacus, he maintained that Christianity is absurd (transcends human understanding) and presents the individual with paradoxical choices. The decision to become a Christian is not a rational decision but a leap of faith. This was the foundation of Barth's theology of crisis.
Relation to Other Theologies
Neo-orthodoxy is distinct from both liberal Protestantism and fundamentalism. This can be seen in Barth's understanding of the Bible. He rejected the fundamentalist claim that the Christian scriptures are inerrant. He rejected the modernist liberal Christian claim of that time, that God could be known through human scholarship. He believed that the Bible was the key place where the Word of God can be revealed to human beings, and that an existential leap of faith is required by the individual to hear what God has to say.
Important Figures of the Movement
Feminist theology is a movement, generally in the Western religious traditions (mostly Christianity and Judaism), to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting the male-dominated images of God, and including more female imagery among the myths and language of the faith.
Feminist theology is a movement, generally in Christianity and Judaism, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of their religion from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts.
Feminists have attempted to counter perceptions of women as morally or spiritually inferior to men; as a source of sexual temptation; as dedicated to childbearing, their homes, and husbands; and as having a lesser role in religious ritual or leadership because of such inferiority or dedication.
Feminist theology attempts to consider every aspect of religious practice and thought. Some of the questions feminist theologians ask are:
Covenant Theology is not to be confused with the Covenanters
For Covenantal Theology in the Roman Catholic perspective, see Covenantal Theology (Roman Catholic).
Covenant Theology (also known as Covenantalism or Federal theology or Federalism) is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. Covenantalism uses the theological concept of "Covenant" as an organizing principle for Christian theology.
Typically, Covenant Theology views the history of God's dealings with mankind in all of history, from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Consummation, under the framework of three overarching theological covenants:
These three covenants are called "theological covenants" because they are not explicitly presented as such in the Bible, but are thought to be theologically implicit, describing and summarizing the wealth of Scriptural data. Within historical Reformed Christian systems of thought, Covenant Theology is not merely treated as a locus of doctrine, neither is it treated as a central dogma. Rather, Covenant is viewed as the Architectonic Principle of Scripture: the structure by which the Biblical text organizes itself.
The Covenant of Redemption is the eternal agreement within the Godhead in which the Father appointed the Son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to redeem the elect from the guilt and power of sin. God appointed Christ to live a life of perfect obedience to the law and to die a penal, substitutionary, sacrificial death as the covenantal representative for all who trust in him. Some covenant theologians have denied the intra-Trinitarian Covenant of Redemption, whether the notion of the Son's works leading to the reward of gaining a people for God, or the covenantal nature of this arrangement. Those who have upheld this covenant point to passages such as Philippians 2:5-11 and Revelation 5:9-10 to support the principle of works leading to reward; and to passages like Psalm 110 in support that this is depicted in Scripture as a covenant.
The Covenant of Works was made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam who ultimately represented all mankind in a covenantal sense. (Romans 5:12-21) It promised life for obedience and death for disobedience. Adam and all mankind in Adam failed to live as God intended and stood condemned. Adam disobeyed God and broke the covenant, and so the Covenant of Grace was made between God and all of mankind.
Though it is not explicitly called a covenant in the opening chapters of Genesis, the comparison of the representative headship of Christ and Adam, as well as passages like Hosea 6:7 have been interpreted to support the idea. It has also been noted that Jeremiah 33:20-26 (cf. 31:35-36) compares the covenant with David to God's covenant with the day and the night and the statues of heaven and earth which God laid down at creation. This has led some to understand all of creation as covenantal: the decree establishing the natural laws governing heaven and earth. The Covenant of Works might then be seen as the moral law component of the broader creational covenant. Thus the Covenant of Works has also been called the Covenant of Creation indicating that it is not added, but constituitive of the human race; the Covenant of Nature in recognition of its consonance with the natural law in the human heart; and the Covenant of Life in regard to the promised reward.
The Covenant of Grace promises eternal blessing for all people who trust in the successive promises of God, ultimately accepting Christ as the substitutionary covenantal representative fulfilling the Covenant of Works on our behalf, in both the positive requirements of righteousness and its negative penal consequences (commonly described as his active and passive obedience). It is the historical expression of the eternal covenant of redemption. Genesis 3:15, with the promise of a "seed" of the woman who would crush the serpent's head, is usually identified as the historical inauguration for the covenant of grace.
The Covenant of Grace became the basis for all future covenants that God made with mankind such as with Noah (Gen 6, 9), with Abraham (Gen 12, 15, 17), with Moses (Ex 19-24), with David (2 Sam 7), and finally in the New Covenant fulfilled and founded in Christ. These individual covenants are called the "biblical covenants" because they are explicitly described in the Bible. Under the Covenantal overview of the Bible, submission to God's rule and living in accordance with his moral law (expressed concisely in the Ten Commandments) is a response to grace - never something which can earn God's acceptance (legalism). Even in his giving of the Ten Commandments, God introduces his law by reminding the Israelites that he is the one who brought them out of slavery in Egypt (grace).
As a framework for biblical interpretation, Covenant Theology stands in direct contrast to Dispensationalism in regard to the relationship between the Old Covenant with national Israel and the New Covenant in Christ's blood. Regarding the theological status of modern day Jewish people Covenantalism is often referred to by its detractors as "Supersessionism" or "Replacement theology" due to the perception that it teaches that God has abandoned the promises made to the Jews and has replaced the Jews with Christians as His Chosen People in the earth. Defenders of Covenant Theology deny that God has abandoned his promises to Israel, but see the fulfillment of the promises to Israel in the person and the work of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who established the church in organic continuity with Israel, not a separate replacement entity.
Covenant theology is a prominent feature in Protestant theology, especially in churches holding a reformed view of theology such as the Reformed churches and Presbyterian churches and, in different forms, some Methodist churches and in some Baptist churches.
Covenant Theology and the biblical covenants
Covenant theology first sees a Covenant of Works administered with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Upon Adam's failure, God established the Covenant of Grace in the promised seed (Gen 3:15), and shows his redeeming care in clothing Adam and Eve in garments of skin -- perhaps picturing the first instance of animal sacrifice. The specific covenants after the fall of Adam are seen as administered under the overarching theological Covenant of Grace and include:
Covenant Theology and the sacraments
Since Covenant Theology today is mainly Protestant and Reformed in its outlook, proponents view Baptism and The Lord's Supper as the only two sacraments, which are called "church ordinances" by some to avoid some of the sacerdotal connotations of the word "sacrament." The sacraments are a sign and a seal of the Covenant of Grace. Along with the preached word, they are identified as an ordinary Means of Grace for salvation. The benefits of these rites do not occur ex opere operato (working in and of themselves), but through the power of the Holy Spirit as they are received by faith.
The Lord's Supper
The Eucharist or the "Lord's Supper" was instituted by Jesus at a Passover meal, to which he gave a radical reinterpretation. The festival of Passover commemorates the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt - specifically, how the lamb's blood which God commanded them to place on their door posts caused the Angel of Death to "pass over" their dwellings, so that their firstborn might be spared from the final plague. The New Testament writers understand this event typologically: as the lamb's blood saved the Israelites from the plague, so Jesus' substitutionary death saves God's New Covenant people from being judged for their sins. Covenant Theology has generally viewed the Eucharist as a mysterious participation in the Real Presence of Christ mediated by the Holy Spirit (i.e. Real Spiritual Presence or Pneumatic Presence). This differs from Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism which believe in the Real Presence as an actual bodily presence of Christ, as well as from the generally Baptist position that the Supper is merely a memorial commemoration.
Paedobaptist Covenant theologians see the administration of all the biblical covenants, including the New Covenant, as including a principle of familial, corporate inclusion or "generational succession." In The Acts of the Apostles 2:38-39, the promise is seen to extend to the children of believers as it was in the Old Covenant. The biblical covenants between God and man include signs and seals that visibly represent the realities behind the covenants. These visible signs and symbols of God's covenant redemption are administered in a corporate manner (for instance, to households, cf. Acts 16:14-15; 16:31-34), not in an exclusively individualistic manner.
Baptism is considered to be the visible sign of entrance into the New Covenant and therefore may be administered individually to new believers making a public profession of faith. Paedobaptists further believe this extends corporately to the households of believers which typically would include children, or individually to children or infants of believing parents (see Infant baptism). In this view, baptism is thus seen as the functional replacement and sacramental equivalent of the Abrahamic rite of circumcision and symbolizes the internal cleansing from sin, among other things.
Credobaptist Covenant theologians (such as the Baptist John Gill) hold that baptism is only for those who can understand and profess their faith, and they argue that the regulative principle of worship, which many paedobaptists also advocate and which states that elements of worship (including baptism) must be based on explicit commands of Scripture, is violated by infant baptism. Furthermore, because the New Covenant is described in Jeremiah 31:31-34 as a time when all who were members of it would have the law written on their hearts and would know God, Baptist Covenant Theologians believe only those who are born again are members of the New Covenant
Dispensationalism is a form of premillennialism which teaches biblical history as a number of successive "economies" or "administrations", called "dispensations", each of which emphasizes the discontinuity of the Old Testament covenants God made with His various peoples.
1. Inspiration of the Bible
Biblical Faith: Doctrines Every Christian Should Know