Sunday, February 20, 2011

Theology Thursday


[ik-yoo‘-muh-niz’-um or ek‘-yuh-muh-niz’-um] (Latin ecumenicus, “universal”; Greek oikoumene,“entire world”)
The term ecumenicism can mean many things depending on the context. In general, it refers to those who seek to promote cooperation and unity among the various traditions and denominations in Christianity by setting aside many doctrinal distinctions in order to promote a common good. This type of ecumenicism is not readily accepted among conservative Christians who believe that it amounts to compromise for the sake of unity. There are also more modest ecumenical movements within Christianity that seek limited unity and cooperation while still recognizing the divisions. The World Council of Churches, started in 1937, represents one of the most well-known and distinguished modern ecumenical movements and is represented by 349 churches and denominations with over 560 million members.


(Latin trinitas, “three”)
The doctrine or belief that there is one God who eternally exists in three distinct persons—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all of whom are fully God, and all of whom are equal. While the principles behind this doctrine are found in Scripture, the term “Trinity” itself is never used. Tertullian, a third-century church father, was the first to use the word in reference to God. The doctrine of the Trinity was further articulated and defended at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. Those who hold to the doctrine of the Trinity are called “Trinitarians.” A trinitarian understanding of God is an essential hallmark of orthodox Christianity.


(Greek ana, “again” or “twice” + Greek baptizo, “baptize”)
A term derived from the Greek for “re-baptizer,” and used to refer to those groups associated with the so-called “Radical Reformation” of the 16th century. The Anabaptists were labeled according to their belief in believers’ baptism, but this practice has deeper roots in their general rejection of tradition altogether. Groups associated with the Anabaptist movement include: Amish, Hutterites, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Brethren in Christ. Early leaders of the movement include Menno Simons, Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and Müntzer. Because of their rejection of infant baptism and because many of those in the movement were less than orthodox, Anabaptists were heavily persecuted during the 16th and into the 17th century.


[hye''-puh-stat''-ik] (Greek hupo-, “under” + Greek stasis, “standing” = “underlying reality” or “essence”)
A Christological term used to describe the union of natures in the person of Christ during the incarnation. According to the definition of the Council of Chalcedon, Christ’s constitution is that of God and man, with the nature of each being fully represented in one person. This understanding is often referred to as a dyophysite (two natures) understanding of the Union while those maintaining that the person of Christ is made up of a single nature hold to what is termed monophysitism.


(Latin beatus, “blessed”)

In the Roman Catholic church, beatification is the fourth step in the canonization process of a saint. It amounts to a statement or a “blessing” which allows the church to believe that this person is indeed in heaven. Once the blessing has occurred, the beatified person may be called “Blessed” (abbr. BI).


 [trye-cawt'-uh-mee] (Greek trikha, “three parts,” and Greek temnein, “to cut”)
The philosophical teaching about the constitution of man that humans are made up of three essential parts: body, soul, and spirit. Body: all that is physical. Soul: reason, emotions, will, memories, personality, dispositions. Spirit: the seat of our being, that which relates to God. Adherents include Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Watchman Nee, Bill Gothard, C.I. Scofield. This belief is in contrast to dichotomy, the belief that man is made up of two essential parts: material (body) and immaterial (soul/spirit).

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