Thursday, February 3, 2011

Theology Thursday


[iye-rehn''-iks or iye-ree''-niks] (Greek eirene, “peace”)
Irenics is a method of discourse in which a peaceful approach of engagement is sought as opposed to a more polemic, war-like approach. In theology, this involves seeking to accurately understand and represent all positions, even when there is strong disagreement among them. The irenic method seeks to engage in disputes with a gentle, peaceful spirit, educating rather than indoctrinating. Also “irenic theology” or “the irenic method.”


[puh-lehm''-iks] (Greek polemos, “war”)
Polemics is to engage in conversation, debate, or argumentation with a very aggressive approach. Sometimes this will involve an attack on (or refutation of) the opinions or principles of another. In the church, this often takes place when one argues for a particular theological position about which he or she is passionate. This is to be contrasted with the peaceful approach of “irenics.”


[kray''-doe-bap''-tiz-um] (Latin credo, “believe”)
The belief that baptism should only be administered to those who are professing believers. According to credobaptists, baptism is an outward sign of faith and repentance, and an obedient response to a command of Christ in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Because it is a sign of belief, credobaptists do not practice infant (or paedo-) baptism since an infant cannot believe. While the majority throughout church history has practiced paedobaptism as a sign of the covenant, credobaptists argue that baptizing infants is unbiblical, citing examples in Scripture which seem to demonstrate baptism occurring only among believers.


[iye-kawn''-uh-klast] (Greek eikon, “image” + Greek klastes, “breaker”)
In church history, iconoclasts were people who believed that creating any visible representation of Christ or the saints was idolatry and in direct violation of the second commandment (according to the enumeration of Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Judaism; the Roman church numbers this prohibition as part of the first commandment).
The Iconoclastic controversy took place in the Middle Ages as many sought to rid the church of any and all images. The controversy began as Byzantine Emperor Leo III ordered the destruction of all icons throughout the empire in AD 726 . In 754, the Iconoclastic Conciliabulum declared, “If anyone ventures to represent the divine image of the Word after the Incarnation with material colors, let him be anathema! …. If anyone shall endeavor to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colors which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, let him be anathema!”
Those who revered icons were known as “iconophiles” (icon lovers) or “iconodules ” (servers of images). They argued that the second commandment was divinely superseded as Christ, through the Incarnation, was the exact representation of God. Therefore, images of Christ were not idols, but valid representations of a self-revealed God. John of Damascus argued that to deny the use of icons was to deny the Incarnation. Both the Eastern and the Western church condemned the Iconoclasts.
In a more general sense, the term iconoclast can be a reference to anyone who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional beliefs and/or institutions.

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