Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About confusing words and Theological terms!
Glossary of Theologically
useful Terms

The following is a list of some of the frequently used Theological terms which I have compiled, and which some students of theological papers and literature may not fully understand. I have included a brief description of each word as it is used in Christianity.

-Tony Warren

[A priori]
[Adamic Covenant]
[Ad Baculum]
[Ad Hominem]
[Ad Nauseum]
[Covenant Theology]
[Kenotic Theology]
[New Covenant Theology]
[Straw Man]

A priori

A priori is from the Latin [a'priori], which means "from the former or earlier," and is used in epistemology to distinguish factual knowledge that can be derived from the proof of self-evident propositions or reason alone, from other knowledge. E.g. if Queen Elizabeth reigned over 3 years, she reigned more than 1 year--This is something that one knows "a priori."

Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant is also sometimes called the covenant of works. This is the covenant or oath God made with Adam promising him life or death according to his abiding by God's law of the garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, satisfied this covenant or through His human obedience and propitiation.


Adiaphora is a Greek word [adiaphora] literally, [a] meaning not, and [diaphora] meaning different. It implies an indifference by not really being against whatever is in view. In a theological debate or discussion, it means a matter of moral indifference, or that which has neither moral merit, nor which lacks moral merit. i.e., that regarded as something which is tolerable. For example, doctrines which are neither explicitly condemned by scripture, nor explicity stipulated. Often used in connection with religious tolorance of what is sometimes called, 'the non-essentials.'

Ad Baculum

Ad Baculum means the appeal 'to force,' using the fallocy of relevance. It is any argument which resorts to the threat, or implied threat of some force to cause the acceptance of the conclusion. As an example, the statement, 'Any scholar which doesn't support my position, I will write letters comdemning their ministry,' is ad baculum.

Ad Hominem

Ad hominem is from the Latin meaning "to the man." In a theological debate or discussion, it is the act of attacking the person or oppenent rather than debating the issues.

Ad Nauseum

Ad Nauseum means the appeal 'to repitition,' using the fallocy of familiarity. It is any argument which asserts or implies that something is more likely to be true, the more often it is repeated.


The word Agnostic derives from the negation of the Greek word [gnosis], which means esoteric knowledge of higher things. Thus, a'gnostic means No-knowledge or not knowing.

Agnostics generally believe that no one can not know whether or not God exists. Some take a more liberal approach, saying "they" do not know, but that existence of a Deity might be possible.


Amillennial is from the Latin [mille], meaning thousand, and [annum], meaning years. The article "a" in Greek (yes Greek) negates the word following it, thus a-millennium literally means no millennium. In Theological terms Amillennialism is the doctrine of no "earthly" millennial reign, or no "earthly" 1000 year reign. It identifies the belief that Christ established His Kingdom by His Death, Resurrection, and ascension to the throne of God in heaven, and thus that the kingdom of God is now being extended throughout the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. this doctrine does not hold that Christ must come to a worldly throne in earthly Jerusalem. Rather, it teaches that Christ reigns now and that after this present kingdom reign is over, Christ will return in judgment of the quick and the dead.


Anabaptist is from the Greek [ana] meaning again, and [baptismos] meaning baptism. i.e., to re-baptize. The anabaptists were a radical sect that prospered during the start of the Reformation (1520-1580) who taught that infants should not be baptized, denied predestination, and believed that Christ had a celestial flesh, and He did not develop from the mortal flesh of Mary. The term was used in a Pejorative fashion.


Angelology is from the Greek [aggelos] meaning angel, and [logos] meaning word or discourse. By extension, the discourse or the study of angels. The words translated angel appears over 200 times throughout the scriptures. In the Old Testament it is the Hebrew word [malak] and in the new testament it is the Greek word [aggelos], from where we get the actual word Angel. In both the Hebrew and Greek (Old and New Testament) the words mean, a messenger. It can either refer to a human, or a divine messenger, depending upon the content and context of the passage. The study of angels usually centers upon the divine messengers, rather than the human ones.


The word antediluvian comes from two Latin words. [ante] which means 'before' and [diluvium] which means 'deluge' or massive influx of water. In theological terms, the period before the deluge or flood of Genesis chapter 7 is spoken of as the antediluvian period.


Anthropology is from the Greek [anthropos] meaning human, and the Latin [centralis] which pertains to the center. It is simply the doctrine that man is the center of all things, and the central fact of all existence, therefore he has no cause for God. It is the view that man is autonomous, and therefore everything must be understood in terms of how it relates to him.


Anthropology is from two Greek words [anthropos] which means human or man, and [logos] which means word or discourse. Anthropology is therefore the study of man or human beings.

In theological terms, anthropology is the discourse or study of human existence, origin, behaviour, and the nature of his creation in the image of God. It often centers on the revelation of the special position in creation God has placed him in, and his divergence from animals.


Anthropomorphism is from the Greek [anthropos] meaning human, and [morphe] which means form. It is the doctrine of ascribing human form or human attributes to a deity. In Christianity it is when people ascribe human features like hands, legs, feet, or other such human characteristics, to God.


Anthropopany is from the Greek [anthropos] meaning human, and [pothein] which means suffer. It is the doctrine of attributing human feelings or human attributes to a deity. In Christianity when God reveals Himself in Human form, or when God ascribes to himself feelings similar to those of humans, it is called an anthropathy. For example, when God says (Genesis 6:6) that he repented of having made man. Anthropopanies in scripture are often called the messengers (translated angels) of God.


Antinomianism is from the Greek [anti] meaning opposed to, and [nomos] meaning Law. In Theological terms it denotes those who oppose God's law. Theologians generally hold that there are two types of Antinomians. "Explicit" Antinomians are obvious reprobates who disregard the laws of God, and "implicit" Antinomians are professed Christians who falsely construe that they have New-Testament "liberty" from the law of God. That is to say, because they believe they are saved by Grace and not works, they surmise that it doesn't matter how they live in transgression of laws.


Antithesis is a Greek term taken from the words [anti] meaning to be opposaed to, or against, and [thesis] meaning to set or lay down. By implication thesis refers to a dissertation, viewpoint, or proposition which is being set down or argued.

In theological terms, antithesis refers to a direct opposite, or a figure or type in which thoughts or words are balanced in contrast. The concept in antithesis means that a belief or thesis is 'opposed' to another belief or thesis. It is often used to illustrate that God's people are to be distinct and in contrast to (the antithesis of) the people of the world, or God's law in contrast to man's disobedience.


Apologetics is from the Greek [apologia] which means to make a plea for, or make a defense of whatever is in view. In theological terms that defense is "Reasons To Believe" (-1st Peter 3:15). Apologetics is the science of the defense of the doctrines of God, His divine nature, and cause. This reasoned advocacy takes on both positive arguments for the truth of Christianity, and also uses rebuttals of criticisms of it. Theologians usually break Apologetics into two groups called Evidential Apologetics, and Evangelical or presuppositional Apologetics.


Apostasy is from the Greek [apostasia], which means a departing or separating (2nd Thessalonians 2:3). In Christianity it is a forsaking or departing from the faith, principles, or truth, to which the Church previously held (1st Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 3:12). This abandonment or falling away from the faith is an opposite of the protestant reformation, which was the returning to the faith, principles, and truths which the Church formerly held.


Arianism is the Heretical doctrine of fourth century theologian Arius, which was of major importance in the development of Christology during this time. This doctrine that denies that Christ is God, and treated Him only as the highest of God's creatures. The basis of this teaching was that since the Son was begotten of the Father, it meant that there was a time when Christ didn't exist. They hold that He was therefore created, and is a creature existing only as an inferior deity.


The Reformed churches at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) condemned this doctrine which is held by followers of late sixteenth-century Theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). The 5 points or articles which this doctrine holds to is, 1. Conditional Election, 2. Universal Atonement, 3. Inherent will to respond to grace 4. The resistability of grace 5. And the ability of the saints to fail to perservere. His followers became known as the Remonstrants, or the Deniers because they believe that man is not totally depraved, but is inherently good, so that God elects people to be Saved on the basis of His foreseeing something good in them, that they repent and believe. This view is antithetical to the Reformed Doctrines of Grace.


Atheism is from the Greek [a] a negation of the word following, and [theos] meaning God. i.e., No God, or the belief that there is no God.


The word Atonement was coined by English Reformation leader William Tyndale (1494-1536). It was how he translationed the latin word [reconciliatio], which means to bring together again, conciliate, or restore to union. It's where we get the word reconcile. In Theological terms it has more commonly come to mean, 'the work of Christ on the cross' in making amends for the enmity and the crimes comitted by man, against the laws of God. It is this reparation which allows man, by Christ's death and resurrection, to eternally benefit.


The word Axiology is from the Greek [axios], meaning worthy, and [logy], meaning discourse. Axiology is thus the discourse or study of the philosophy or system of value judgments or worthiness. In Christianity, Axiology is the branch of Theology dealing with the nature and types of value, such as law, ethics, conduct, order, and morality.


Christology is from the Greek, [christos] meaning "anointed one," and [logos] meaning "word." By extension the words or discourse about the anointed one. This is the doctrine that deals with the person of Jesus Christ. It encompasses the theological study of both the divine and the human nature of the Saviour, and the roles they play in Christianity.


Christophany is from the Greek words [christos] meaning anointed one, and [phaninomai], meaning manifestation or appearance. Thus a Christophany is the appearance of Jesus Christ (the anointed), the second person of the Trinity come to earth in another form (an angel, man, etc.). That is to say, Christ appears to man in a form which they can visibly see. For example, Christ's appearance to his disciples after His crucifixion and death, or His appearance in the furnace of fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Concupiscence is from Latin, [com] being the intensifying prefix, and [cupere], which means to long for, or to desire. Thus, this word refers to a intense desire. When used in Christian theology, it means the intense desire that people have for carnal or sinful things.


Consubstantiation is from the two Latin words [con], being the intensifying prefix meaning "with," and [substantia], which means substance. This is the teaching of the communion supper often attributed to Martin Luther, wherein the body and blood of Christ coexist or are present "with" the elements or "substance" of the bread and wine. The prefix "con" means "with," hence consubstantiation refers to those who believe that they receive the body and the bread alongside each other. i.e., as the word indicates, "a combination of two substances." This is in contrast to Transubstantiation where the bread and wine are believed to actually transform into the actual the body and blood of Christ. In Consubstantiation they are still literally bread and wine. Though attributed to Martin Luther, many Lutheran minister today object to the use of the term consubstantiation.


Covenant is from the Hebrew [ber-eeth] meaning to cut, and by extension means an agreement (or more accurately a "promise" or pledge) to do something. In Theological terms, Covenants such as the the Old Covenant (or Testament), and the New Covenant, are promises made by God to His people.

Covenant Theology

Covenant is from the Hebrew [ber-eeth] meaning to cut, and by extension means a promise or pledge to do something. Covenant Theology is the Reformed belief that the old Covenant (or Testament) and New Covenant promises made by God to His people, are particular aspects of a single Covenant relationship, and that there is continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. As opposed to "New Covenant Theology" which believes that the New Covenant law of Christ stands in contrast to the Old Covenant law of Moses.


Cult is from the Latin [cultus] meaning to cultivate, and by extension, any group or sect which cultivates, or 'promotes growth' through their beliefs to make proselytes. In modern Theological terms, the word is generally reserved for religious groups which (in contrast to classical Christianity, of having God's Word as their authority) blindly give authority to their leader. These leaders are often venerated, and manipulate and control the group through their charisma, deception, fear, and even perceived power. Anyone having a fanatical veneration of, or loyalty to, a human leader, animal, or thing.


Deism is derived the latin word [deus], which means God, and has come to mean, "the belief in the existence of God strictly by the use of logic, common sense, and reason." This is as opposed to the historical belief in God's existence based upon revelation, scripture, and Church or congregational teachings.

In general, Deists believe that God has not shown himself through scripture or any religious texts, but is revealed by logic and rational thought. They look at their philosophy as being a 'natural' belief, as opposed to what they see as religions which are artificially created by humans. In Deism, God is simply the initial creator, not one who is actively involved in His creation. Deism constitutes a secularization of religious thinking.


Diaconate is from the Greek [diaconos], meaning a servant. In theological terms it pertains to the ministry of the deacons in the Church. While all Christians are called in service to others, the deacon is an official office of this service, and the solemnly duty of those appointed to this office is to be a living example of such service to others.


Dispensation is from the Greek [oikonomia] meaning an administration. In theological terms it means an administration of time of epocs. Premillennial dispensationalism is a method of interpreting scripture popularized by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), and the notes in the Scofield Reference Bible.

This system divides history into epocs (eras) or extended periods called "dispensations," in which God deals with man in different economies for the presenting of His world program. In dispensationalism it is believed that ethnic Israel and the Church are separate and unequal bodies in God's dispensations.


Donatism is a movement which began in North Africa around 312 CE as the result of the persecution of Christians that was ordered by Diocletian in 303 CE, in which all sacred scriptures were commanded to be destroyed. A group following their Bishop Donatus broke from the Roman Catholic Church when Caecilian was elected bishop of Carthage. This schism began because one of Caecilians' consecrators had been one of those who gave up copies of the sacred scriptures during the great persecution, and was considered a traitor to Christianity.

The Donatists view of the Church and sacraments was that the effectiveness and validity of the sacraments were dependant on the holiness and moral character of the minister or celebrant. They thus objected to the reinstatement of Christians who had surrendered copies of the Scriptures to the persecutors. Augustine spoke out against the doctrine of the Donatists, preaching of the invisible church. The teaching of Donatism remained in North Africa until the seventh century, when it (and indeed all of Christianity) was overcome by the Islamic religion.


Doxology is from the two Greek words [doxa] meaning glory, and [logos], meaning to speak. By implication the word logos can mean "word." These are the same Greek words found in your Bible that are translated "word" and "glory." So very literally, doxology means "words to glorify." When Christians speak or sing words of praise, it is called the doxology. In Church services it is usually songs/psalms that encourage everyone on earth, and in heaven, to praise God. Example of a popular Doxology:
"Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."



In it's theological meaning, Dualism is the theory that there are two independent and opposing forces (God and the Devil) in continual conflict, and that the outcome of that conflict is not decided until the end. This theory is considered heresy by some because it denies the Omniscience and Sovereignty of God, over all things.


Ecclesiology is from the Greek [ekklesia] meaning Church, and [logos] meaning word. By extension the word or discourse of the Church. It is the study of the Church and it's origins. the purpose is to produce a deeper understanding of the body of Christ as seen in the light of divine revelation of God, received in faith.


(also ecumenical, ecumenicity, ecumenism) Ecumenical is from the Latin [ecumenicus] meaning universal or of the whole. In theological terms it means promoting a universal or united Church. Any movement which fosters Christian unity or encourages cooperation between different faiths, denominations or churches, is called ecumenical. It is the beliefs or practices of those who want worldwide unity or cooperation between Churches.


Egalitarianism is the doctrine which holds that all of mankind is equal, or that everyone (including men and women) are to be looked upon as equals. In some Theological circles Egalitarianism is also used to identify the doctrine of those who promote wealth redistribution or economic equality.


Eisegesis is from the Greek [eicegesis] meaning 'a bringing in.' It's root is from the two Greek words [eis], meaning 'into,' and [hegeisthai], meaning 'to lead.' i.e., to lead into. In Christian Theology, by implication, it means the interpretation of a text by reading extraneous ideas into it. Eisegesis is said to occur when the reader reads his or her own ideas, bias, understanding or interpretation into the text. This system of explaning scripture often makes the text subject to more than one interpretation. It is a hermeneutic that reflects and expresses the personal or private viewpoint of the interpreter, rather than what is actually in the text. This is a direct contradiction to sound exegesis.


Epiphany is from the Greek [epiphaneia] meaning "to show," and by implication, an appearance or reveling. It is when something becomes clear in a way not known before. It is used to illustrate a sudden manifestation of the essence of divine revelation. A discovery of God in some before unexpected or unknown way. When Jesus Christ was visited by the Magi and His divinity was revealed to the world, this was an epiphany. A revealed moment that brought to light the treasure of the heart.

Traditionally the word has always had specific religious association, but in our day it has grown to become used in referencing non-divine or secular forms of revelation or clarity of thinking.


Eschatology is from the Greek [eschatos] meaning last, and [logos] meaning word or discourse. It is the theological Doctrine of the discourse of the last things, such as life after death, immortality, judgement, the coming of Christ, and the end time events preceding that second advent.


Exegesis is from the Greek [exegsis] meaning 'lead out of.' It's root is from the two Greek words [ex], meaning 'out,' and [hegeisthai], meaning 'to lead.' In christian theology, by implication, this term means gleaning a explanation from "out of" the pertinent text of scripture (as opposed to eisegesis). It is the critical analysis and defense of an understanding of a text of scripture by getting the interpretation from 'out of' the scripture itself. This can be better understood by contrasting it with the system of eisegesis, which means to read your own ideas and interpretation into a text of scripture.


Gnosticism is from the Greek [gnosis], meaning knowing or knowledge, and implies a esoteric knowledge of higher things. It is not a system, but more a school of thought, or philosophical ideas which are generally related to mystery religions.

In first 3 centuries A.D., many different groups believed men (Gnostics) were saved through this transcendental higher knowledge, which came not through God, but through self awareness and understanding. Basically, salvation by knowledge.


Heresy is from the Greek [hairesis] meaning, choose, and by extension in Theological terms, "doctrines of men who have chosen to follow their own views." In general, heresy is a self-chosen doctrine not emanating from God's word. Any doctrine or teaching which is contradictory to established Church doctrine based on the Holy Bible is called a heresy. For example, Jesus being the Son of God is established Church doctrine based on the Bible. To forsake the word and choose to believe he is not, would be heresy!


Hermeneutics is from the Greek [hermeneutikos], which is derived from the name of the Greek god Hermes (the Roman god mercury also stems from hermes), who was said to be the interpreter and messenger of the gods. In Christianity, hermenutics means the science or art of the structured biblical exegesis of scripture, and usually denotes certain principles or rules by which sound interpretation is measured. for example, one form of hermeneutics might be strict sola scriptura (scripture interpreting scripture), while another might be Historical, or by using secular history to interpret. Sound hermeneutics demands a sola scriptura hermeneutic.


Hyperbole is from the two Greek words [hyper], meaning "over," or "above," and [ballein], meaning "to throw." [hyperballein] meaning to throw beyond or to excess. By extension, it means to go beyond, or take farther, as to excess or exageration. In theology, a hyperbole is a word or statement deliberately exagerated, and not intended to be understood literally. It is often a type of figurative language, metaphor, or rhetorical trope. e.g.

Matthew 23:24
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."
In this oft used example, the word camel is a hyperbolic expression of largeness. You can know this is a hyperbole or figurative exageration because it is not humanly possible to swallow a camel.


[Hyper] is a Greek word literally meaning to throw beyond, and by extention, to take farther, or to go beyond.

Hyper-calvinism is a theological system which goes beyond Calvinism. It is based on the unscriptural conclusion that because God has predestinated who will be Saved, only the elect should be called to repentance to believe the gospel. It is an non-evangelistic approach to the gospel, and a view which inherently denies all human responsibility, or what is called 'duty faith' and 'duty repentance.'


Hypenation is a term sometimes used to illustrate when a Church makes judgment on the orthodoxy or the theological development of people on the basis of their adherence to tradition which has been lifted to the status of essential precepts. When these traditional precepts become a litmus test, that is called, Hyphenation.


Iconoclasts (iconoclastic, icomoclasism)
Latin [iconoclastes], from Middle Greek [eikonoklastEs], meaning image destroyer. It has come to refer to someone who destroys religious images, or who attacks established beliefs or institutions.
    In Christianity it means one who opposes any image or icon worship or reverence. Iconoclasts hold that such respect of graven images is contrary to biblical worship, and that the veneration thereof is strictly forbidden by the scriptures (Ex. 20:4), and a form of idolatry.


Latin [idima], from Greek [idiousthai], meaning "to make one's own." It is a specific grammatical phrase or combination of words in a given dialect or language that has a figurative meaning that would have been naturally understood in its region by its native speakers (Linguistics).


Infra-lapsarianism from the Latin term [infra] meaning after and [lapsus] meaning fall (after fall), is the doctrine that God created the world first, and then after foreseeing that His creation would fall into sin, he then declared the Election. As opposed to Supra-lapsarianism which is the doctrine that God chose the election solely for His own glory "prior" to the decision to let sin enter that there be a fall. In other words, infra-lapsarianism means that God first foresaw His people as fallen and after foreseeing, ordained that some of them, according to His will alone, would be Saved.

Kenotic Theology

Kenotic is from the Greek [Kenosis] meaning to empty (Philippians 2:7). In this theory it is hypothesized that Jesus was not both on earth as man and in heaven as God simultaneously. The contention is that Jesus was divine before He came to earth as man, but gave up His divine properties, (excluding His moral attributes) and became a mere man.


Metonymy from the Greek words [meta] meaning 'change,' and [onoma] meaning 'name.' Thus it is a name or figure of speech which represents something else which is associated with it in some fashion. For example, if we're drinking water, and we ask if we can 'have another glass,' the word glass is a metonymy for more water.

Metonymy is similar to Synecdoche, but uses substitutes for things which are more commonly related to it. In other words it is a replacement word which stands in for some concept on the basis of it's relationship. For example, when we read in scripture, 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands,' the word 'lands' is a metonymy for all the people of world. Or when Christians say that 'we were saved by the cross,' we are using a metonymy (the cross) to stand in for the whole work, atonement and suffering of Christ for our sins. It is thus a linked substitute term, and thus a metonym. What makes a synecdoche and metonymy different is that in metonymy, the word you use is linked to whatever you are really talking about, but isn't actually a part of it. In Synecdoche it is a part of it.


The word Millennium is from the Latin words [mille] meaning thousand, and [annum] meaning years. It is not a biblical term, other than it is used by many Christian Theologians to identify the thousand year reign spoken of in Revelation Chapter 20. The Word Millennial is referring to that period of time when God says Satan is bound and the Kingdom of Christ goes forth. For all practical purposes, in theology the words Millennium or Millennial is synonymous with the "one thousand years" of revelation Chapter 20.


Monarchianism is from the Greek [monarchia] meaning "uniqueness of one." It was a heretical doctrine of the second and third centuries which grew out of an attempt to explain the person of Jesus so that it preserved the unity of God. Unfortunately what it actually did was effectively teach against the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. there were basically three types.
Adoptionist: They believed that Christ was originally just a man (born of Mary and the Holy Spirit) but was adopted by God, and was only deified after his resurrection.
Modalistic or Sabellianism: They believed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were simply three ways in which God revealed himself, and not the three persons of the trinity.
Patripassianism: They believed that there was no difference between God the Father, and God the Son, and that it was God the father who was born of Mary and went to the cross.
Monarchianism in general is simply the belief that the Godhead was singular, consisting of one (monarchia). Though the name has faded, there are many today who hold to a similar Oneness theology, denying the three persons of the Godhead.

Moniker or Monicker

The word Moniker is derived from the Irish word [munnik], which is actually the modified form the word ainm. Moniker means a title, name or a nickname. When used in Christianity it is usually referring to titles such as Calvinists, Monotheists or Paedobaptists, signifying that people are of that particular family of beliefs.


Monotheism from the Greek [mono] meaning one and [theos] meaning God. It is the doctrine applied particularly to religions like Judaism or Christianity which believe in only one God.

New Covenant Theology

Covenant is from the Hebrew [ber-eeth] meaning to cut, and by extension means a promise or pledge to do something. New Covenant theology declares that the New Covenant (testament) clearly characterizes itself as superior to the old, and therefore this means that the law of Christ stands in contrast to the law of Moses. As opposed to "Covenant Theology" which declares that the old Covenant and New Covenant are particular aspects of a single covenant relationship, and that there is continuity between the Old and the New Covenant.


Orthodox is from the Latin [ortho] meaning right, and [doxus] meaning doctrine or belief. In Theological terms it means sound theological doctrine as represented by the strict adherence to the law of God's Word, the Bible. Many Orthodox Churches still use forms of worship that were practiced in the first centuries, as they were based to a great degree on passages of Scripture.


Paedobaptism is from the Greek [paidos] meaning child, and [baptisma] meaning Baptism. It is the doctrine of baptizing infants or children in the Church.


Paedocommunion is from the Greek [paidos] meaning child, and from the Latin [communio] meaning common union (communion) or fellowship. The Theology of Paedocommunion is the practice of admitting infants or small children to the Lord's communion table.


Patriology is from the French [pater] meaning Father, and the Greek [logos] meaning word or discourse. In theological terms it is the discourse or study of the personage of the Father. It encompasses the theological study of His position in the Godhead, the essential attributes which make up what it means to be God, such as election, omniscience, omnipotence, etc., and how He is revealed both in the Old and New Testaments.


Pedantic is comes from the french [pédant] and Italian [pedante], and probably originated from the Greek [paiduein] meaning "to instruct." The word originally meant a holder of a degree or school master, but has since become pejorative to mean a person who presents his knowledge pretentiously or to excess. It is also used to describe those who hold leaning from books to such a vaunted status that they forsake practical logic and common reasoning.


Pejorative [peior] is from the Latin and means to be or get worse, or to depreciate. Prejorative in Theological terms means that whatever word or expression it is referring to, has a disparaging meaning.


Pelagianism was a 5th-century heresy taught by Pelagius and his followers which stressed that humans have the ability to fulfill the commands of God apart from Sovereign grace, and which denies original sin. Pelagius' teachings were opposed by the Church and it's leading figure (Augustine) in particular.
Simi Pelagianism: Later, John Cassian's doctrine in a compromise between the Pelagius view and the Augustine view surfaced. This doctrine taught man was not dead in tresspass and sin, just sick. That man was only weakened by the fall and that man had the ability to save himself by accepting or rejecting of his own will, Christ's offer.
Pelagius himself was excommunicated, and his theology condemned by a series of church councils, though the issues of the doctrine of free will have remained a sore point for the Church even to our day. The Church looks on the three positions as, St. Augustine regarding natural man as dead, Pelagius regarding him as alive and well, and Cassian regarding him as being merely sick. Augustine's position being the only one that leans entirely on the Sovereign mercies of God.


The word Peregrination is derived from the Latin terms [per], meaning "through" and [ager], meaning land. As used in Theological terms, it means traveling from one place to place, such as from country to country. It is often used to illustrate a wandering or sojourning in foreign countries.


Piety is from the Latin [pietas] meaning dutifulness. In Theological terms it means dutifulness to God, as in being devout in having reverential commitment to the Lord, which is expressed in the Christian life. The virtue of acting in devotion, duty, and worship to God, is called Piety.


Pneumatology is from the Greek [numa] meaning breath (and by extension Spirit), and [logos] meaning word or discourse. In Theological terms, it is the discourse or study of the Holy Spirit of God. It encompasses the study of His person, work, gifts, and ministry. The Spirit of God being manifested in many ways including teaching (John. 14:26), restraining sin (Genesis 6:3, 20:6), Revelation (matthew 11:27), and interceding (Romans 8:26), Pneumatology is the study of these things.


Polemics is from the Greek [polemikos], meaning of war. In Theological terms by implication it has come to mean an aggressive attack on (or refutation of) the opinions or principles of another. As in the disputation or argument with another over a controversial issue in the Church.


Polytheism is from the Greek [polus] meaning many and [theos] meaning God. It is the belief in more than one God. In this system each deity is distinguished by special purposes. These gods are particularly synonymous with religion in coutries such as India or Greece. For example in India, Indra is the storm god and Agni the fire god. Or in Greece Zeus was god over weather and sky, and Venus the god of love.


Postmillennium is from the Latin [postis] meaning after, [mille] meaning thousand, and [annum] meaning years. Literally, after the thousand years. It identifies the belief that the kingdom of God is now being extended throughout the world through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. In this respect only is it similar to historic Amillennialism. But in contrast to Amillennialism, the belief is that the world will eventually become Christianized, and that the Millennium (1000 years) is this golden age or period of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on earth. Post-millennial, meaning that they believe Christ comes "after" this golden age or millennial period.


Premillennium is from the Latin [pre] meaning before, [mille] meaning thousand, and [annum] meaning years. This is a doctrine very similar to the Messianic expectations of the first-century Judaizers in that it teaches that sometime in the future Christ will return to establish a literal political and earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem and will reign 1000 years on earth. Pre-millennial, meaning that Christ comes to establish this Kingdom pre or "before" the millennium.


Presuppositionalism is a method defense of the gospel which mandates that we first presuppose or assume that Christianity is true. This doctrine is that Christianity must be presupposed as true first, or man cannot discover it's riches or understand the meaning of Life.


(Praeterist, preterist) Preterism identifies Christians who believe that most or all of Bible Prophecy has already been fulfilled in Christ, by 70 A.D., or the on-going expansion of His Kingdom. The word Preterit is Latin and means Pre (before) in fulfillment. i.e., [L. praeteritus, gone by]. It is expressing time fulfilled. It is the doctrine of Past-fulfillment of most of the prophesy of scripture.


Sacerdotalism is from the latin [sacerdotalis] meaning priesthood. The modern Protestant doctrine of Sacerdotalism is that of recognizing institutional Church officers. As opposed to Roman Catholic Sacerdotalism which is of Church ordination of Priests in the establishment of an office hierarchy which serves as liaisons between God and man. It is believed that grace is administered through the one so ordained by the Roman Catholic Church.


Selah is the Hebrew word [celah] whose origin and meaning is unknown. Conjecture and historical speculation regarding it's meaning is rampant, but the best guess is that it means to lift up, or to accenuate. Assumed used as a musical term showing pause. This word is found seventy-three times in the Psalms, and three times in the book of Habakkuk. The psalms being a sort of hymnbook of Israel.

Straw Man

The 'Straw Man Argument' is one which is untenable because of certain dishonest or erroneous assumptions embedded within them. When an irrelevant thesis is inaccurately claimed to be someone's position, it is said to be a 'Straw Man' argument, meaning, it will not stand. When done deliberately, this fallocy of presumption is both unethical and unchristian.


The word is of Greek origin, meaning [of socrates]. It pertains to the methodology of the Greek Scholar and Philosopher Socrates, who often attempted to elicit truth by question and answer. In Christian circles it is used in the same fashion, defining a method of debate or discussion wherein one would try to elicit truth by means of question and answer.


Soteriology is from two Greek word [sozo] meaning Save, and [logos] meaning word. By extension the word or discourse of Salvation. It is the doctrine of the study of God's work in Salvation. How through the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, man's redemption is accomplished.


Supra-lapsarianism from a Latin term, [supra] meaning before and [lapsum] meaning fall, is the doctrine that God chose the election for his own glory prior to the decision to let sin enter into creation. As opposed to Infra-lapsarianism which is the doctrine that God created the world first, and then having foreseen that His creation would fall into sin, He declared the Election.


Synecdoche is from the Greek word [synekdechesthai], taken from the root words [syn] meaning 'together' or 'joined,' [ek] meaning 'out of', and [dechesthai] meaning to receive. Thus the word indicates 'receiving out of that which is together.' By implication, it simply means to 'receive out of the whole.' One is using a Synecdoche when they speak of 'a part of something,' but are referring to the whole thing. For example, if someone says they need 'some wheels to get to New York,' the word wheels is a synecdoche meaning a car.

In theological terms, Synecdoche is the metaphorical substitution of a part of something, in place of the whole, or vice versa. For example when Christians refer to the 'eyes' of God, they are allowing a part (the eyes) to represent the whole omniscient or all knowing being of God. Or when the Bible says eight souls were saved by water in Noah's ark, the word 'soul' is a synecdoche representing whole human beings.


Synergism is from the Greek word [synergia], meaning, to cooperate with, or to work together. In Christian theology it is the teaching that man's will works together or cooperates with God to accomplish our Salvation. It is based upon one or more of the theories of prevenient grace, all of which are deficient and biblically unsound.


Theology is from the Greek [theos] meaning God, and [logos] meaning word or discourse. It is is the discourse or study of God and the revelation of His omni-perfect attributes, such as His Word, omnipresence, mercy, justice and purposes.


Theonomy is from the Greek [theos] meaning God, and [nomos] meaning law. It simply means, God's law. The term is often thought of as difficult to define because it means so many different things to so many people. However, in general, it is understood as taking on a narrower connotation. It is basically understood today as holding that Godís moral Laws of the Old Testament have a continuity, and are thus still binding today. As such, it is thus presumed to be authoritative over all areas of life, including politics.
Theophany is from the Greek words [theos] meaning God, and [phaninomai], meaning manifestation or appearance. A Theophany is the Pre-Incarnate appearance of the God of heaven on earth in the likeness of a human, a angel, a messenger or some other form. That is to say, God appears to man in a form which he can visibly see.
Transubstantiation is from the two Latin words [trans], being the intensifying prefix meaning "across," or by extension, "through," and [substantia], which means substance. Thus in the communion service it means the bread actually transforms through the substance of the body. Mainly recognized by Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Churches, this is a teaching of the Christian communion supper wherein they believe that the bread and wine very literally transform into the actual substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is in contrast to Consubstantiation, where Christians believe that the bread and body are "a combination of two substances." Transubstantiation is the belief that the Eucharist becomes the actual flesh and blood of Christ.


Tritheism is from the Greek [theis] meaning three and [theos] meaning God. It is the Heretical doctrine that there are three Gods, or that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three different or distinct Gods.
Typology is from the Latin [typos] meaning a figure of, or image of, and [logos] meaning word or discourse. Typology is thus the discourse of figures, and the true things they represent. In Theology, typology is the discourse of the types in scripture which were (or are) fulfilled in the realities they typify. For example, Old Testament ceremonial laws God gave Israel, apart from the obvious moral implications, were symbols which prefigured coming dispensation, activity, grace, and the suffering of Christ. The old Testament ceremonial laws (The types now fulfilled), are no longer physically observed, but the substance of them are forever observed by us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have their completion.
Unction is from the Greek [chrisma] meaning an ointment or unguent. An unction is thus a type of oil, salve or balm used for example as a medicine or to relieve pain or discomfort. In Theology, an unction from God is a spiritual annointing or healing.

Copyright ©2005 Tony Warren
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