Thursday, March 3, 2011

Theology Thursday


(Latin credo, “I believe”)
A definitive statement or summary of the faith that normally represents a belief that is held by a majority within a faith system. In Christianity, creeds are recognized as official statements of faith either for the historic tradition as a whole (e.g., the Nicene Creed) or a denominational traditional confession. The most important creeds in the Christian faith are generally those known as the “Apostles” Creed,” the “Nicene Creed,” and the “Statement of Chalcedon.”


[hair'-uh-see] (Greek hairesis, “choose”)
Describes a deviation or departure, doctrinally speaking, from the Christian faith, usually of a significant variety. This deviation must be from an established doctrine, dogma, or canon of truth that has been historically accepted as a defining characteristic of the faith. Arguably, the most common and serious heresies center on the person of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.


[dye-cawt'-uh-mee] (Greek dicha, “two parts,” and Greek temnein, “to cut”)
The philosophical teaching about the constitution of man that humans are made up of two essential parts: material and immaterial. Material: all that is physical (body). Non-material: all that is non-material (spirit/soul/heart/mind). Adherents include Augustine, John Calvin, Hodge, along with most of historic orthodox Christianity. This belief is in contrast to trichotomy, the belief that man is made up of three essential parts: body, soul, and spirit.


[kil''-ee-az-um](Greek khilioi, “one thousand”)
Also, “millennialism.”The belief in a future return of Christ and a subsequent thousand-year reign on the Earth. This reign follows the present age and is followed by the judgment and the creation of a New Heaven and New Earth. This belief was held by most in the early centuries of the Church including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Commodian, Lactantius, Methodius, Melito, and Apollinaris of Laodicea.  However, most began to shift in their theology during the fourth century to an amillennial stance (the belief that we are in the millennium). This was primarily due to the influence of St. Augustine who thought the idea of a future earthly reign of Christ was carnal-minded. In the nineteenth century the term premillennialism began to describe chiliastic theology more precisely and eventually developed beyond the basic beliefs of the early Church. From the time of Augustine to the nineteenth century, chiliasm was generally condemned. Today it is held by the majority of pastors and lay people in Evangelicalism, but is still rejected by much (if not most) of Evangelical scholarship.

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