Thursday, March 31, 2011

Theology Thursday


[am''-er-awl''-diz-um or am''-er-ul-diz''-um] Also, amyraldianism.
Named after Moses Amyraut, a theologian of the 17th century, Amyraldism is a form of Calvinism that distinguishes itself by a belief in universal atonement. Its variation from the traditional Calvinistic understanding of limited atonement comes in its formulation of divine decrees. Whereas traditional Calvinism places God’s decree to elect before his decree to atone for the sins of the elect (thereby making the atonement limited to the elect), Amyraldism places God’s decree to atone for the sins of all mankind before his decree to elect some (thereby making the atonement universal in its application). While this view is sometimes referred to as “four-point Calvinism,” most traditional Calvinists more often label it as “inconsistent Calvinism” or “hypothetical universalism.” Amyraldism holds to the traditional Calvinistic view of unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, irresistible grace, and total depravity.


[sass''-er-dote''-uh-liz''-um] (Latin sacerdos, “priest”)
Sacerdotalism is the belief in an established hierarchy that separates man from God. In such a system the priesthood stands as an essential mediator between God and man. This priesthood, according to sacerdotalists, is a necessary component in worship, receiving communion, confessing sin, baptism, and other acts of administering grace. This “caste” system is generally rejected by Protestants who traditionally hold to the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” (1 Pet. 2:5). Protestants believe that the only mediator between God and man is Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). Advocates of sacerdotalism reference the priesthood established in the Old Testament which was sacerdotal. Opponents will emphasize the difference between the New Testament church and the Old Testament theocracy, believing that the Old Testament sacerdotal system is completely fulfilled in Christ and, therefore, no longer necessary (Heb. 10:19-20).


(Latin, “received text”)
The Textus Receptus (TR), or “received text,” refers to the first published Greek New Testament edited by Desiderius Erasmus in 1516 and later, with some changes, by Stephanus, Beza and Elzivir. This text was initially compiled using only seven late Greek manuscripts (11th-13th centuries). The TR became the underlying text for many important translations including the King James Version. While most scholars would not consider the TR as the best representation of the Greek text, it, nevertheless, is an extremely important text in the history of the Bible.


A method of Christian apologetics normally employed by Reformed theologians that seeks to give a defense of the Christian faith by offering an offensive method of engagement. Presuppositionalists believe that one must presuppose the Christian worldview and the Scriptures in order to dispel the worldview of the unbeliever. Presuppositionalist criticize “evidentialists” for seeking to give credence to the unbelievers worldview by meeting them on neutral ground. The presuppositionalist believes that there is no such thing as neutral ground. As well, while the evidentialist will attempt to give arguments to increase the probability of their beliefs, presuppositionalist believe that one must have absolute certainty, not merely probability. Presuppositionalism is often accused of circular reasoning, e.g., “You should believe the Bible is God”s word because it authoritatively says it is God”s word.”


(Latin, “appeal to the people”)
This type of argument is an oft-used fallacious argument where one will appeal to the popularity of a position as evidence of its truthfulness. For example, one may say that aliens must exist since so many people believe in them. This does not mean that one should not take into account the opinion of informed people and weigh their opinions into a decision, it simply means that it would be a logical fallacy to say that since so many people believe something, this makes it true. The argumentum ad populum is also an appeal to the emotions by creating enthusiasm and comfort in a belief while neglecting objective data.


(Latin ad, “to” + Latin hominem, “the man”)
In rhetorical argumentation, an ad hominem is a method of argumentation in which a person attacks the character of the opponent(s) instead of dealing with the evidence or the substance of the argument. If someone were to attack the credibility of Reformation appealing to the character of Martin Luther as neurotic and incapable of making valid judgments, this would be an attack on his character in order to discredit his argument and, therefore, an example of an ad hominem.


[awm''-nih-prez''-intz] (Latin omni, “all” + Latin praesent, “present”)
The belief among theists (Christians, Muslims, Jews) that God, being transcendent above time and space is present everywhere. This is not to be confused with pantheism which believes that God is “in” everything since the theistic God is completely separate from all of creation. Some have described this as the belief not so much that God is everywhere, but that everything is necessarily in God’s immediate presence. This understanding seems to be the most consistent with Christian theology and philosophy and avoids the common mis-identification with pantheism. (See Psalm 139:7-10.)

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