Thursday, March 24, 2011

Theology Thursday


(Latin raptus, “to take” or “to seize”)
The doctrine of the rapture describes the belief among many Christians that Christ will return for the Church prior to a time of judgment called the tribulation. Upon Christ’s return, Christ will take all those who are his to heaven while he judges those who remain on the earth for seven years. The primary passage to which adherents refer is 1 Thess. 4:17, “We who are alive and remain shall be caught up [Lat. raptus] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Those who subscribe to this doctrine can be divided into three groups: Pre-tribulationalist, Mid-tribulationalist, and Pre-wrath. Many Christians do not ascribe to this doctrine believing that all references to Christ’s return are to his second coming which immediately precedes judgment. They would also argue that the doctrine of the Rapture is too novel to be orthodox since it was virtually unknown until the nineteenth century.


[hawm''-uh-let''-iks] (Greek homilos, “to assemble together”)
The study of the proper method of delivery of a religious message. In Christianity, homiletics is focused on the delivery of a sermon. Involved in homiletics is exegesis of the text of Scripture, finding the abiding theological principles, narrowing the subject into a deliverable form, rhetoric and style, and application of the sermon to a contemporary audience. Normally, a seminarian will take courses on homiletics in order to train them as communicators of the Gospel.


[hehn''-uh-thee-iz''-um] (Greek heis, “one” + Greek theos, “god”)
Coined by Max Müller, henotheism is the belief in one primary god while also believing in the existence or possible existence of other gods. Normally the henotheist will have primary devotion for the ultimate deity, while leaving room for secondary allegiance to the lesser gods. It would seem that the Israelites, during the post-Davidic kingdom years, were henotheists in belief and practice as they had Yahweh as their primary God, but also followed after lesser deities. Also: inclusive monotheism and monarchical polytheism.


[thee-awd'-ih-see] (Greek theos, “god” + díke, “justice”)
A term coined in 1710 by German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz in a book entitled Theodicic Essays on the Benevolence of God, the Free will of man, and the Origin of Evil, theodicy refers to the justification of God. Most specifically, theodicy is an explanation of why evil can exist in a world where a good God rules. Therefore, theodicies are put forward by Christian theists to vindicate the justice of God.


[thee-awl''-uh-gee] (Greek theos, “God” + Greek -logia, “speaking”)
A reasoned study of God. Theology is a set of intellectual and emotional commitments with regard to God and man which dictate one’s beliefs and actions. Theology is intellectual in that it provides for a reasoned study and defense of one’s beliefs about God. Theology is emotional in that we approach the subject as humans with deep subjective commitments to our personal experiences and feelings about God.


[ab-suh-loo-shun] (Latin ab-, “from” + Latin solvere, in “free”)
A practice that varies in many Christian traditions, but is primarily emphasized in the Roman Catholic church. Absolution involves the act of a priest pronouncing the remission of sin upon the confessor. This remission normally comes after repentance and penance have been fulfilled. For Roman Catholics, absolution is an important part of the sacrament of penance. According to Catholics, the observing duty was given to the Church by Christ in John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.” Most Protestants do not believe in or practice absolution believing that there is no mediating human agency for forgiveness (1 Tim. 2:5). Roman Catholic prayer of absolution: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen


‘Gk. dia, “through” + tessaron “four”
An early compilation of the four New Testament Gospels into a single narrative by Tatian, a Christian apologist, created about A.D. 150. In this harmony, Tatian attempted to resolve all apparent conflicts as well as remove repeated narrative material. It contained most of the Gospels’ material except for, according to Theodoret, the two different genealogies of Jesus (one in the Gospel of Matthew and one in the Gospel of Luke). As well, it lacked the pericope adulterae (John 7:53 – 8:11). It was the standard Gospel text in the Syrian Middle East until about ad 400, when it was replaced by the four separated Gospels.

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