Concepts and Definitions

A-Z Listing of Religious Concepts and Definitions


Note: Definitions are not on this page. Please click on the words and phrases for details.
- A -
Amillennialsm
The theory that there will be no thousand-year period of great spiritual blessing before the Lord Jesus returns, and no thousand-year reign of Christ on earth after His return. - Dr. A. Cairns
Anglicanism
The system of doctrine and government of the Church of England. - Dr. A. Cairns
Arguments for God's Existence
The evidences produced, by the use of logic, in favour of God's existence.
Arianism
Named after Arius, this heresy maintained that God the Father alone is eternal and made His Son to be the first creature He created ex nihilo. - Dr. A. Cairns
Arminianism
A system of doctrine, named after a Dutch theologian Jacob Hermann Arminius. - Dr. A. Cairns
Are There Any Atheists?
Speculative or practical atheism. - F. Turretin
- B -
Baptism
Christian baptism was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ after He had finished the work of atonement* and had risen from the dead. - Dr. A. Cairns
Baptismal Regeneration
The theory that regeneration is effected by the means of baptism, or that it cannot be effected without baptism. Some modify these positions to allow for exceptions in extreme cases. - Dr. A. Cairns
Biblical Theology
In the general sense, this term describes a theology that draws its material from the Bible and. - Dr. A. Cairns
Blasphemy
A word used to denote all forms of evil speaking against God or His perfections, such as slander, defamation, detraction, reproach, or cursing. - Dr. A. Cairns
- C -
The Call of God
God produces both creation and new creation by his Word and Spirit. - H. Bavinck
Calvinism
A short definition. - Dr. A. Cairns
Christophany (See Theophany)
Manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ that is tangible to the human senses. - Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology
The Doctrine of the Church and the Means of Grace
The principal Old Testament word for Church is derived from a verb meaning 'to call', and the principal New Testament word, from a verb meaning 'to call out'. - L. Berkhof
The Government and Power of the Church
Christ is the Head of the Church and the source of all its authority. - L. Berkhof
Covenant of Grace
The plan of salvation is presented under the form of a covenant. - Charles Hodge
What is Creation?
The works of nature are creation and conservation. - F. Turretin
- D -
The Day of the Lord (advanced)
The day of our Lord's return brings about the resurrection of believers, the judgment of unbelievers, and the renewal of creation. - H. Bavinck
Dead Sea Scrolls
While manuscripts and scrolls have been unearthed in three different locations near the Dead Sea. - Dr. A. Cairns
The Decrees of God
“God’s eternal purpose according to the counsel of His will, whereby for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass” - Dr. A. Cairns
Demons
The English transliteration of a Greek term (daimōn) originally referring to any one of numerous, vaguely defined spirit beings, either good or bad. - The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary
Dispensationalism
The false system of Bible interpretation represented by the writings of J. N. Darby and the Scofield Reference Bible, which divides the history of mankind into seven distinct periods or ‘dispensations. - L. Boettner
- E -
Effectual Calling
The term used by the Westminster Confession and catechisms to cover the subject of regeneration. - Dr. A. Cairns
Egalitarianism
A major Christian view on gender roles that holds that women and men properly have equal and interchangeable roles in the home, - The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Eternal Election
By Which God Has Predestined Some to Salvation, Others to Destruction - John Calvin
Eternal Generation
The establishment from all eternity of the filial relationship of the second person in the ontological Trinity. - Dr. A. Cairns
Eternity
The infinitude of God relatively to space, is his immensity or omnipresence; relatively to duration, it is his eternity. - Charles Hodge
Exegesis
A Greek word meaning "narration" or "explanation." - Dr. A. Cairns
- F -
Faith
Long document - The first conscious exercise of the renewed soul is faith; as the first conscious act of a man born blind whose eyes have been opened, is seeing. - Charles Hodge
Federal Theology
All mankind are viewed in Scripture in relation to the two Adams. - Dr. A. Cairns
Form of God
The expression in Phil. 2:6 is of great importance in discussion of the subjects of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. - Dr. A. Cairns
Free Will
Short - Free will has been variously defined. - Dr. A. Cairns
The Free Will of Man in a State of Sin
Long, 28 pages - Whether the term "free will" or self-determining (autexousiou) power should be retained in the Christian schools. And to what faculty of the soul does it properly belong—the intellect or will? - F. Turretin
- G -
Gap Theory
The belief of many Bible students that there is a great period of time between the first and second verses of Genesis. - Dr. A. Cairns
The Knowledge of God is Innate
A. What is meant by Innate Knowledge - Charles Hodge
B. Proof that the Knowledge of God is Innate - Charles Hodge
Of God, and of the Holy Trinity
From the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Good Works
From the Westminster Confession of Faith

Gnosticism

Greek gnosis, "knowledge"; a second-century heresy that challenged and sought to subvert the early church. - Dr. A. Cairns
- H -
Hades
The Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol. Sheol is translated in the AV "hell," "grave," and "pit," while Hades is ten times translated "hell," and once "grave." - Dr. A. Cairns
Hermeneutics
Greek hermeneuo, "to explain, interpret"; the science of Bible interpretation. - Dr. A. Cairns
Homosexuality
It is significant that the word "homosexuality" did not enter the English vocabulary until the early twentieth century. The word, and with it the concept of lifelong primary sexual orientation toward members of one's own gender, was unacknowledged and probably unknown in the biblical world. - Thomas E. Schmidt
The Humanity of Christ
The doctrine that the Lord Jesus had a true human body and a reasonable human soul. - Dr. A. Cairns
- I -
Immanence
A word used to convey the idea of God indwelling His creation and its processes. - Dr. A. Cairns
Immortality
The noun athanasía, "deathlessness," denotes the immunity from death enjoyed by God (1 Tim. 6:16) and by resurrected believers. - M. Harris
Imputation
A forensic term that denotes the reckoning or placing to a person’s account the merit or guilt that belongs to him on the basis of his personal performance or of that of his federal head. - Dr. A. Cairns

Incarnation

The coming of the Logos, or “Word,” in the flesh. John 1:14 is the key text: “The Word was made [became] flesh and dwelt among us.” - Dr. A. Cairns
- J -
Jerusalem Council
Also called the apostolic council, a meeting of early Christian leaders to discuss the proposal that Gentile converts to the faith should become circumcised and keep Jewish law if they wish to be saved (Acts 15:1–35). - Mark Allan Powell
Jesuits
A Roman Catholic society formed in 1534 by Ignatius Loyola. - Dr. A. Cairns
Justification
The establishment of a sinner in a righteous standing before God. - Dr. A. Cairns
- K -
Kenosis, Kenoticists
The term kenosis comes from the Greek verb kenoo, used in Phil. 2:7 and translated “made Himself of no reputation” by the AV. - Dr. A. Cairns
Power of the Keys
The power Christ has invested in His church for its government and discipline.
Kingdom of God, or of Christ
There are few more complex themes in Scripture than that of the kingdom. - Dr. A. Cairns
- L -
Law of God
The Westminster Confession of Faith sets forth the classic Reformed view of the law of God as follows:
Legalism
A term used with various meanings.
Linited Atonement
The term inappropriately employed to define the Calvinistic view of the extent of the atonement made by Christ.
Logos
The title given to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord's Supper
The memorial feast instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ “the same night He was betrayed.”
- M -
The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God
Man in his original state, the state of sin, and in covenant with God. - L. Berkhoff
Means of Grace
Those institutions which God has ordained to be the ordinary channels of grace.
- N -
Names in the Bible
Biblical narratives preserve a wide variety of personal and geographic names. - The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary
Names of God
The names of God in Scripture are divine self-revelations. They are not human attempts to describe Him... - Dr. A. Cairns
Natural Law
Moral principles that allegedly exist in the very nature of things, discernible by human reason and self-evidently commended to human conscience, apart from the revelation of Scripture. - Dr. A. Cairns
Nicene Creed
The name is taken from Nicea in Bithynia where the first ecumenical council was held in a.d. 325. - Dr. A. Cairns
- O -
Original Sin
Original sin is the natural sinfulness of Adam's descendants, by natural generation. - Dr. A. Cairns
- P -
Polytheism
As the word implies, Polytheism is the theory which assumes the existence of many gods. - Charles Hodge
Postmillennialism
Postmillennialism is that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world. - L. Boettner
Predestination
The doctrine of Predestination in 28 particulars. - A. A. Hodge
Preterism
A method of interpreting the book of the Revelation as a description of conditions in the 1st century a.d. - Dr. A. Cairns
Of Providence
From The Westminster Confession of Faith
The Actual Providence of God - (Note: This document is 55 pages long.)
Being 6 Questions and Answers by - Francis Turretin.
- Q -
- R -
Regeneration
The subjective change wrought in the soul by the grace of God, is variously designated in Scripture. - Charles Hodge
Of Repentance unto Life
From The Westminster Confession of Faith
- S -
Plan of Salvation
The Scriptures speak of an Economy of Redemption; the plan or purpose of God in relation to the salvation of men. - Charles Hodge
Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath-day
From: The Westminster Confession of Faith, Capter XXI.
Of the Holy Scripture
From the Westminster Confession of Faith
The States of Christ (Brief Overview)
When we speak of the states of Christ, we use the word 'state' in a more specific sense, to denote the relation in which He stood and stands to the law. - L. Berkhof
- T -
Outlines of Theology - Chapter I
Christian theology; its several branches; and their relation to other departments of human knowledge. - A. A. Hodge
Theophany (Christophany)
Manifestation of God that is tangible to the human senses. - Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology
Transcendence
The theological term that emphasizes the distinction of God from His creation, and His sovereign exaltation over it. - Dr. A. Cairns
The Trinity
An overview with Scripture proofs. - Dr. A. Cairns
- U -
Unitarianism
Antitrinitarianism. Rooted in the ancient heresies of Monarchianism, Arianism, and Sabellianism, - Dr. A. Cairns
- V -
Virgin Birth of Christ
The word of God, in setting forth the doctrine of the incarnation, emphasizes the fact that the humanity of Christ was produced in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit. - Dr. A. Cairns
- W -
The Will of God
The Meaning of the Term. - Charles Hodge
- X -
- Y -

Some of the definitions on this page are from the excellent book by Dr. Alan Cairns: Dictionary of Theological Terms. Over 800 terms. Get it at Amazon.com

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