Friday, December 31, 2010

Theology Thursday


[tran’-sub-stan’-shee-ay‘-shun] (Latin transsubstantiati, “change of substance”)
The Roman Catholic doctrine that refers to the change by which the substance (not the appearance) of the bread and wine in the Eucharist becomes the actual body and blood of Christ. That is, Jesus is not merely symbolically or figuratively present, but is really (or actually) present in what was previously just bread and wine. In 1551 the Council of Trent defined this, “by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.” (Session XIII, chapter IV). Eastern Orthodox Churches agree that the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Christ, but they don”t seek to define how the change takes place the way Roman Catholics have. They are content to call it a mystery. Protestant churches all deny this doctrine.


[ee''-van-jel''-ih-kul] (Greek euangelion, “good news” or “gospel”)
A transdenominational term that finds roots in the historic church, but most commonly, from a theological standpoint, represents those who identify with historic Protestantism and are committed to 1) the necessity of conversion to Christ, 2) the authority of Scripture, 3) the spread of the Gospel message, 4) a belief in the Five Solas of the Reformation, 5) a belief in the Nicene Creed and Chalcedonian statement of faith. Evangelicalism is not represented by any leader or institutional structure, but is representative of an ethos the permeates many Christian traditions.


[uh-nak''-ruh-niz''-um] (Greek ana, “against” + Greek chronos, “time”)
The fallacy when one misplaces a contemporary usage of something (words, events, customs, etc.) and enforces it upon the past. In theology, this is often done with word usage and can cause great misunderstanding. For example, the word “catholic” today carries a connotation associating it the current Roman Catholic Church. Often when one reads early church documents they will see the word “catholic” and enforce their current understanding of what it means to be catholic into their understanding when, in truth, the word meant something much different.


[aw’-mih-len''-ee-uh-liz’-um] (Latin a-, “before” + Latin mille, “thousand” + Latin annum, “years”) norInaugurated Millennialism
A particular view of Christian eschatology that teaches the
Kingdom of God was inaugurated at Pentecost and will conclude at Christ”s Second Coming. Unlike premillennialism, the amillennial view asserts there will not be an established period in which Christ “physically” reigns upon the Earth. Rather, He reigns as King in Heaven at the right hand of the Father through his established church. The most notable early church father to accept [and systematize] this position was St. Augustine.


The “emerging church” is a representative designation for a growing ethos or way of thinking among many dissatisfied Christians (primarily those in Protestantism). While there is no primary leader or credal unity among those in the emerging church, there are certain characteristics that stand out among “emergers,” as they are called. These characteristics are not necessarily found in all emergers, but are representative of the emerging ethos.
1. Epistemologically, they are less optimistic about our ability to come to know “the” truth, but find value in many perspectives.
2. Theologically, they are prone to questioning traditional theological dogma.
3. Politically, they call for change and social activism and often a disassociation with the Republican party.
4. Sociologically, they call on the church to reach out to those in need with love and compassion.
5. Missionally, they focus on “mission” as the everyday role of Christians that should permeate every aspect of their life.

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