Wednesday, May 30th 2007
Mar/Apr 2003

John Owen -Puritan theologian who lived from 1616-1683 and was committed to the congregational form of church government. While an educator and statesman, Owen is remembered primarily today for his prolific theological writings. He wrote on major themes of Calvinism (including particular redemption and divine election), of traditional Catholic orthodoxy, of church polity, and the pursuit of holiness. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 811)

Richard Baxter -Considered among the top rank of Puritan theologians, Baxter (1615-1691) is remembered for his exemplary ministerial work, as well as his approximately 200 writings. His work "The Saint's Everlasting Rest" (1650) underscores "the blessed state of the Saints in their enjoyment of God in glory." It remains a classic of devotional literature. Largely self-instructed, Baxter was ordained in the Church of England in 1638 and was minister at Kidderminster from 1641-1660. He sought to increase cooperation among Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Independents. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 129)

Huguenots -The popular name for the Calvinist French Protestants, officially the Reformed Church of France. The word was often used to describe the French Protestants as both a religious movement and a political faction. The Huguenots' religious rights were gradually withdrawn during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715) and abolished in 1685 with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. With Protestantism illegal in virtually all of France, more than 400,000 of the more than two million Huguenots immigrated to Prussia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the British Isles, and North America. (Dictionary of the Presbyterian and Reformed Tradition in America, 12)

Heidelberg Catechism -A German Reformed catechism published in 1563. Frederick William III commissioned the principal formulators of this catechism, Casper Olevianus and Zacharius Ursinus, to create a work that would bridge the differences among Lutheran, Calvinist, and Zwinglian disciples during the Reformation. Historian Max Goebel characterized the resulting catechism as a harmonious blend of "Lutheran inwardness, Melancthonian clearness, Zwinglian simplicity, and Calvinistic fire." It has been the most widely accepted doctrinal standard among Reformed denominations in America up to the present day. (Dictionary of the Presbyterian and Reformed Tradition in America, 119)

Theodore Beza -A German Reformer, born in 1519, who became Calvin's successor. He was considered very successful in bringing peace to the Church of Geneva.

Typology – The interpretation of Old Testament events, persons and ceremonies as signs which prefigured Christ's fulfillment and new covenant with the Apostolic Church. An example of typology is Jonah's three days in the fish typologically parallels Christ's three days in the tomb.

Perichoresis -A Greek word referring to the way the persons of the Trinity relate to each other as a mutual interpenetration. It was first articulated by church Father St. Gregory Nazianzus, in the fourth century.

Apostolic Kerygma -The faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

Eschatology – Traditionally defined as the doctrine of the "last things," in relation to human individuals (comprising death, resurrection, judgment, and the afterlife) or to the world. Eschatology denotes the consummation of God's purpose whether it coincides with the end of the world (or of history) or not. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 362)

Antinomianism – The doctrine that it is not necessary for Christians to preach and/or obey the moral law of the Old Testament. Some have taught that once persons are justified by faith in Christ, they no longer have any obligation toward the moral law because Jesus freed them from it. The Gnostics, in the first centuries of the Christian era, on the other hand, discounted the moral law because they felt it came from the Demiurge, not the true God. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 57)

Schism and Heresy – Two different terms which cannot be used interchangeably. Schism is opposed to charity and is not doctrinal at heart. Heresy is, at its base, doctrine, and is opposed to the Christian faith itself. While some have called Reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin guilty of schism, from the Roman Catholic perception, they were heretics because their objections had to do with doctrine. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 979)

Gnosticism – The Gnostics believed that they were privy to a secret knowledge about the divine. They differentiated the evil god of the world (who is identified with the god of the Old Testament) from a higher more abstract good revealed by Jesus Christ. Gnosticism is considered a religion that regards this world as the creation of powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in the evil physical body.

Simul justus et peccator – Luther's term for the normal Christian life: "at the same time justified and yet sinful."

Adiaphora – Refers to matters not regarded as essential to faith, which might therefore be allowed in the church. (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 12)

Nicene Creed – The Nicene Creed, which came out of the first ecumenical council convened by the church (325), affirmed the unity of God. The Son is said to be "true God from true God." Although confessing that the Son is begotten, the creed adds the words, "from the Father" and "not made." It is positively asserted that he is "from the being of the Father" and "of one substance with the Father." (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 774)

Wednesday, May 30th 2007

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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