Thursday, March 10, 2011

Theology Thursday


[muh-nar''-kee-uh-niz''-um] (Greek mono, “one” + Greek arche, “ruler”) Monarchianism represents a type of teaching in the early Church which sought to preserve the uniqueness of the rulership of God through the preservation of an extreme monotheism and the essential denial of a plurality within the Godhead (i.e., the Trinity). There were two main types of monarchianism: 1) The Adoptionists or Dynamic Monarchians believed that Christ was not truly God in essence, but became God sometime during his life or at the resurrection. 2) The Patripassionists or Modalistic Monarchians (modalists) believed that God was one who revealed himself in different ways or modes. Sometimes he would be the Father, sometimes the Son, and sometimes the Holy Spirit. To the modalist, God is not three persons, but one person who wears three different masks. Both types of Monarchianism were condemned in the early church since they did not recognize the plurality within the Godhead and therefore denied the Trinity. Modern day modalists are represented by those of the Oneness traditions.


(Latin, “analogy of faith”) A principle of interpretation which believes that Scripture can never contradict itself, and therefore Scripture is the primary interpreter of Scripture. The assumption behind the analogia fidei is that since the Scriptures have one ultimate author (God), consistency and relevance in light of other Scriptures will be found. This principle, with regard to hermeneutics (theory of interpretation), was popularized by the Reformers. The Westminster Confession 1.9 put it this way: “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” Some would object to this principle, believing that progressive revelation does not allow for such a subjective approach in interpretation. The principle is taken from Romans 12:6 (kata tes analogian tes pisteos- “according to the analogy of the faith”).


(Latin, “analogy of being”) Also, “analogy of imitation” or “analogy of participation.”
The belief that there exists an analogy or correspondence between the creation and God that makes theological conversation about God possible. While many would say that finite beings with finite language cannot describe an infinite God, theologians of the medieval era discussed this problem, seeking to resolve it by developing a theory which allotted the communication of words into three separate categories. Some words are univocal (always used with the same sense), some were equivocal (used with very different senses), and some were analogical (used with related senses). It is this third sense that the analogia entis finds meaning. While finite man cannot describe an infinite God perfectly (univocally), he can do so truly, as God has created man in his image and hence, has provided an analogical way of communicating himself. To deny the analogia entis is thought by some to be a self-defeating proposition since it would present the situation where an all-powerful God is not powerful enough to communicate himself to his creation.


(Latin, “A place for writing”)
Additions to medieval libraries and monasteries that were designed for the reproducing of ancient texts by scribes and copyists. Many biblical texts were copied in the scriptorium, but the scribes” assignments were not limited to the Scriptures.


[pay''-doe-kuh-myoon''-yun] (Greek paidos, “infant” or “child” + Latin communio, “common union” (communion) or “fellowship”)
Paedocommunion describes the practice of allowing infants or small children to the Lord’s communion table. This practice was common in the early church. Today, the Eastern Orthodox church allows for all baptized children to receive communion. This practice is not common in the Protestant or Catholic church.


(Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis) November 13, 354 – August 28, 430

One of the most notable and important figures in the history of the church, Saint Augustine was a western theologian and philosopher who has shaped the way that theology is understood for most of Christendom (especially Protestants and Catholics). After his conversion from a life of carnality, Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Because of his view on election, sovereignty, grace, and sin, Augustine is often considered by Protestants as the father of Reformation thought. He is most well known for his autobiography, Confessions, his polemics against the heretic Pelagius concerning the nature of sin and man, and his work On the Trinity, which is often considered one of the greatest theological works of all time.


Refers to the five arguments for the existence of God given by Saint Thomas Aquinas. 1) Argument from Motion: if things are in motion, they must have been moved by an ultimate mover. 2) Argument from Efficient Causes: if there are effects, there must be an efficient cause for the effects. 3) Argument from Possibility and Necessity (Reductio argument): if contingent things exist, there must be a non-contingent explanation for them. 4) Argument from Gradation of Being: if there is gradation in being (some things are better than others), there must also be something perfect, a standard which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection, including their perception of these things. 5) Argument from Design: if there is purpose and design to all things, then there must be a sufficient designer which births, guides, and directs all purpose and ends.

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