Posts Tagged ‘Theological Word of the Day’

(Also, “Marks of the Church”)

The Four Marks describe a belief in Christendom that the body of Christ—the church—is characterized by four “marks” or distinctives. These marks are found in the early church and found their way into the Creed of Constantinople in 381, “‘[We believe] In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.’” 1) One: this describes the unity of the body of Christ. It is not many, but one. 2) Holy: This describes its nature as being “set apart” unto God, his possession. It also describes its aspiration to be like God in its character. 3) Catholic (universal): this describes its universality. The body of Christ is not limited to a time, place, race, or culture. 4) Apostolic: This describes its origin and beliefs. The church’s teaching are apostolic in that they find their roots in the teachings of the Apostles.


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(Gk. katholikos, “universal”)

The word Catholic can refer to the Roman Catholic church or, in general, to the universal Christian church. Protestants believe that from the earliest times, the word “catholic” referred to the church made up of all believers of the “invisible” and “visible” church in all places of all times. Roman Catholics believe that it refers to the church established by Christ and all its institutional authority, namely the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants believe that one is in communion with the catholic church to the degree that they are in communion with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of tradition or denomination. Roman Catholics believe that one is in communion with the catholic church to the degree that they are in communion with the Roman Catholic church. Therefore, both Protestants and Roman Catholics (as well as the Orthodox) believe that they are catholic (although most Protestants have conceded the term based on common usage and association). As well, all Christian traditions believe in the Nicene Creed’s statement of the four marks of the church, “And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”


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Lat. beatus, blessed

In the Roman Catholic church, beatification is the fourth step in the canonization process of a saint. It amounts to a statement or a “blessing” which allows the church to believe that this person is indeed in heaven. Once the blessing has occurred, the beatified person may be called “Blessed” (abbr. BI).


Note from Keith  – saying “bless you” after a sneeze doesn’t count for anything in the long run apparently.

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(Latin duo, “two”)

Early philosophical system which sees the universe in terms of two antithetical forces which are continually at odds. These two forces are responsible for the origin of the world. Often the dualist worldview produced a metaphysical separation between the spiritual and physical, with the spiritual being good and physical being evil. Christianity has rejected all forms of a dualism yet its assumptions often find their way into the church.

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hapax legomenon

[hap-aks luh-gawm-uh-nawn]


(Greek hapax, once + Greek legein, to count or to say = ”once said”)

This is a word that only occurs once in a particular body of literature. With regards to the Scriptures, exegetes will often find a word that only appears one time. In the New Testament alone, there are 1,932 words that occur only once (USB). When this happens, it is often difficult to determine the exact meaning of the word because there are no other usages with which one can compare it.

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 dei gratia


Lat. by Gods grace

A phrase used in recognition that all of life, sustenance, power, and hope are found in God’s unmerited bestowal of favor upon the undeserving. This phrase in used on the official coins of Britain and Canada with the abbreviation D.G.


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I used to really be interested in dispensationalism. Not because of the theology,, I couldn’t really care less, but what really interested me was the cool charts. Covenant theology people, like me,  don’t get maps made by the special effects people at Indiana Jones movie.  But for the sake of the fairness doctrine….



A biblical interpretation paradigm common in conservative fundamentalist and Evangelical Christian theology. Originating from the Plymouth Brethren in the nineteenth century and popularized in the Scofield Reference Bible in the twentieth century, dispensationalism has three primary characteristics: 1) the call for a consistent literal or “normal” hermeneutic, particularly regarding biblical prophecy, 2) the separation of Israel from the church, 3) the separation of human history into several distinct epochs, “economies,” or dispensations in which God relates to mankind in distinct ways. With regard to soteriological history (history of salvation), dispensationalism teaches that salvation has always been by faith alone, by grace alone, yet the content of the Gospel has been progressively revealed through biblical history. Dispensationalism has a variety of forms and has gone through some recent developments.

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(French egal, “equal”)

Theological position held by many Christians (contra complementarianism) believing the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold positions in society, ministry, and the family according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Prominent egalitarians include Doug Groothuis, Ruth Tucker, William Webb, Gorden Fee, and Linda Belleville.

Does anyone have an opinion on this? As someone about to be married, what is your perspective on complementarianism /egalitarianism?  What advice can you give me?

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(Latin trinitas, “three”)

The doctrine or belief that there is one God who eternally exists in three distinct persons—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all of whom are fully God, and all of whom are equal. While the principles behind this doctrine are found in Scripture, the term “Trinity” itself is never used. Tertullian, a third-century church father, was the first to use the word in reference to God. The doctrine of the Trinity was further articulated and defended at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. Those who hold to the doctrine of the Trinity are called “Trinitarians.” A trinitarian understanding of God is an essential hallmark of orthodox Christianity.

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(Greek dokeo, “to seem”)

Early Christian heresy heavily influenced by Gnosticism that affirmed Christ as God, but not man. Because of their dualistic philosophy (i.e., spiritual is good, physical is evil), docetism promoted that Christ could not have been truly man, for that would mean that he was physical, and hence, evil. Therefore, it only “seemed” that Christ was man. It would seem that a seed form of this heresy existed in the first century and may be evidenced in the epistle of 1 John (1:1-4).

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