Thursday, April 21, 2011

Theology Thursday


‘The belief that salvation is exclusive to Christianity and that all other religious beliefs, no matter how seemingly noble, do not have a message that can bring about the needed redemption that is only found in Christ. Exclusivism can be further broken into two sub-categories: inclusivism and restrictivism. The inclusivist believes that salvation is only in Christ”s redeeming work, but that God can and may save people without their explicit knowledge of the Gospel. The restrictivist, on the other hand, believes that salvation comes only through Christ and the only way to Christ is through the Gospel message. Exclusivist reference much biblical support including Rom. 10:14-15 and John 4:6.


Describes the basic rational foundation to all knowledge that cannot be reduced by logical methodology but are presupposed in order to form any conclusion. These are often referred to as universal axioms because knowledge of them is universal and because of their assumed validity. Among the first principles of logic are the law of non-contradiction (A cannot equal -A at the same time and the same relationship), the law of identity (A=A), and the law of excluded middle (something is either A or -A). It is argued that these basic principles are not laws created by God to create a rational universe, but are representative of the very character of God himself (i.e. he is rational therefore rational first principles exist). If one were to deny, for example, the law of non-contradiction, then he or she could not have a basis for trust in God as his revelation could sustain contradictory truths at the same time and in the same relationship (note the serpent”s deception “You shall not surely die” would be true). Therefore, to be a Christian, believing that God has revealed himself in an intelligible and faithful manner, presupposes the reality of a first principle.


(Greek kanon, “rule” or “measuring rod”)
In Christian theology, the term canon is used to describe the accepted books of the Old and New Testament. Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox all have the same twenty-seven book New Testament canon, but will differ with regard to the Old Testament canon. Catholics universally accept what are called the Deuterocanonical books (often called the Greek Canon or the Apocrypha) while Protestants have rejected it, accepting only the so-called proto-canonical books numbering thirty-nine. The Orthodox church is not settled as to the status of the Deuterocanonical books.


[hyoo-ris''-tik] (Greek heuriskein, “to discover”)
A theological method that seeks to learn truth in a non-dogmatic fashion. In heuristics, learners are encouraged to explore ideas without the use of a set formula that will necessarily lead to presupposed conclusions. It will often involve a setting aside of traditional understanding in order to think “outside the box.” Heuristic theology is not anti-presuppositional or anti-traditional, but a method of discovery in which pupils are given the tools to learn for themselves even if they are lead back to their prior convictions. More technically, heuristic theology is used to describe a theology of ideas, discussing new metaphors for truth that open the conversation up more broadly.


Named after Luis de Molina, a 16th century Jesuit theologian, Molinism is a proposed reconciliation of the problems introduced in the tension between human freedom and divine sovereignty. Molinism seeks to retain both a true libertarian freedom without sacrificing divine providence or sovereignty by introducing the idea of “middle knowledge.” In this proposal God knows not only all actual situations, but all possible situations (middle knowledge). These possible situations are known as “possible worlds.” We live in the actual world, but there are countless other possibilities of how things could have turned out. God chose the possible world that allowed for libertarian freedom where people freely chose that which God ordained to occur. Therefore, libertarian freedom and sovereignty are reconciled. Those who object to Molinisism do so on the basis that middle knowledge has no metaphysical grounding and because such a philosophical solution is far too extensive. Also, many would argue that the introduction of libertarian freedom is an impossibility since libertarian freedom lacks the grounds for the choices it proposes to preserve. Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig are well-known Molistists today.


(Latin, “arise Lord”)
This refers to the papal bull written by Pope Leo X on June 15, 1520. The bull intended to bring an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther and his rebellion to a halt by the threat of excommunication from the Church. In it, the demand was made that Luther retract 41 errors within 60 days. From the first paragraph, “Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. . . . The wild boar [Luther] from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.” On December 10, 1520 Martin Luther burned the bull in front of his students at Wittenberg. It is reported that he uttered these words at the burning, “Because you have confounded the truth [or, the saints] of God, today the Lord confounds you. Into the fire with you!” Some would suggest that this is the formal day on which the Great Reformation began. On January 3, 1521, Leo excommunicated Luther issuing another bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.


[hag''-ee-aw''-gruh-fee, also hay''-jee-aw''-gruh-fee] (Greek hagio, “saint” + Greek graphe, “writing”)

Hagiography refers to a writing about a saint who is revered in the Christian community. The early centuries of the church saw glorified biographies written to honor those saints who had died a martyr”s death. The term also has a pejorative nuance describing those who write biased histories intent on glorifying their subjects at the expense of historic objectivity. The early hagiographies served as one of the many steps in the veneration of saints.


The view of the Lord’s supper believing that the taking of the bread and wine represents a symbolic memorial or a remembrance of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross. This view has its most articulated foundation in the theology of Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531). Memorialism is in contrast to all forms of the ‘real presence’ view which hold that Christ is physically present in the taking of the bread and wine. Memorialism argues that when Christ said “this is my body . . .” that he was speaking symbolically. One of the primary arguments for this view would be that to take it literally would have to mean that the bread and wine were Christ’s body at the time of the first Lord’s Supper, while Christ was yet living, not only following the passion. Most Protestants hold to this view with the exception of Lutherans.

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