Theological Glossary

As words come up in the course of the blog, I’ll be adding them here. If there is ever a word I use that isn’t clear, suggest I put a definition here. If, in your personal reading, you come across a theological word you don’t understand, please ask and I’ll try to put up a short useful definition.

Hermeneutics: The art and science of biblical interpretation. This is process we use translate the bible in its cultural idiom to our culture today.

Immutability: The idea that God never changes in any respect at all, ever, because doing so detracts from God’s perfection somehow. Rejected by many theologians in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Impassibility: Drawn from immutability, it argues that God doesn’t experience any emotion, because experiencing emotion would somehow detract from God’s perfection. Almost universally rejected by theologians in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Judaizers: A group of Jewish Christians in the first century church who argued that in order for Gentiles (non-Jews) to become Christian, they first had to become Jewish. This was accomplished primarily by circumcision, observance of food laws, and observance of Jewish Sabbath and holy days. We know they were the primary problem in the Galatian church, but it seems likely they were present in other churches as well. Paul, in particular, was adamant that they were mistaken because this added something to Grace under Christ and if there was something other than grace required for salvation, grace was no longer present. At root, what seems to be the problem is the understanding these Jewish Christians had of the mosaic law. They failed to recognize it as an intermediary grace, and instead took adherence to it (the law) as the primary means of salvation. The church at large rejected this teaching very early on.

NOMA: Non-Overlapping MAgisteria. The term created by Stephen Jay Gould to describe interaction between Science and Religion. According to him, they don’t interact because they have different areas of authority.

Theodicy: A “defense” or account of God and God’s existence, particularly of how God can be good, all powerful, and yet allow for horrendous evil

Sin: Action or inaction, done or not done by people, that is out of step with what is best. See these posts (1, 2)

Septuagint: The primary Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible that was in use at the time of the writing of the New Testament.


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