Thursday, May 5, 2011

Theology Thursday


(Greek scholastikos, “schooled” or “educated”)
Scholasticism was a school of thought which sought to reconcile the established Christian belief within a body of reason or rational thought, especially that of Greek philosophy. The “scholastic period” primarily refers to the period during the late middle ages (eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries) in the West when Christianity was experiencing a renaissance of learning and education and was being challenged by the rational thought of Islam. Early Christian scholastics include Anselm, Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and Thomas Aquinas. The term can also refer to any system of thought which seeks a reconciliation of their beliefs with rationality and philosophical inquiry (i.e., Protestant scholaticism).


The annual holiday observed by most Christians on December 25 celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He was likely born somewhere between 7 and 2 BC. Though December 25 is probably not the actual date when Christ was born, it was designated as such in the 4th century in order to substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. The designation “Christmas” comes from a combination of “Christ” with “Mass.” Often the Greek X (Chi) is substituted for “Christ” making “Xmas” (as was the custom in the early church when abbreviating Christ’s name). Although there is no command in Scripture to celebrate Messiah’s birth, Christians believe the Incarnation is the foundation to salvation and, according to many, the greatest miracle in the history of mankind.


[ag-noss''-tih-siz''-um] (Greek a-, “no” + Greek gnosis “knowledge”)
Properly speaking, agnosticism is the theological suspension of belief in God or a creator. An agnostic can be “hard” or “soft.” The “hard” agnostic does not believe that anyone can know whether or not there is a God. A “soft” agnostic is one who has not personally made a decision about God’s existence but does not believe that others cannot come to solid conclusions about the matter. The term agnostic can be used more generally in other contexts in which people do not take a definite stand. For example, a person can be agnostic with regard to their belief in the age of the earth, which simply means that they personally don’t know how old the earth is.


[huh-mar''-tee-awl''-uh-gee] (Greek hamartia, “sin”)
The study of the doctrine of sin. Hamartiology includes an investigation into the origin and effects of sin on all creation. Included in this study is the doctrine of imputed sin, inherited sin, and personal sin. Imputed sin refers to the belief that all mankind is held guilty for the sin of Adam. Inherited sin speaks to the transfer of the sin nature from generation to generation. Personal sins are the individual acts of sin that each person engages in.

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