Religious Terms Defined

Fundamental theological definitions.

As a result of Vos' eagerness for accessibility and clarity, each issue of The Blue Banner Faith and Life offered the reader a list of "Religious Terms Defined". His lists progressed alphabetically, so in one issue, there might only be words that begin with "s," and the next, words that begin with "t."

When he had exhausted the alphabet, he started over, refining and revising definitions and adding new terms, as appropriate.

The list offered here is a compilation of his lists, with no attempt to combine different editions of a definition. The parenthetical numbers at the end of each definition tell from which volume and number of the Blue Banner Faith and Life that it came.


In theology, the term "ability", means the power of man, in his fallen, sinful condition, to do what God requires of him; especially his power to repent and believe the Gospel. Scripture teaches that sinful man does not possess this ability, and that only by experiencing the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit does he become able to repent and believe. (16.2)

Accommodation of Scripture

The practice of taking a phrase or text of Scripture out of its context, and employing it otherwise than according to its proper meaning, to apply to some other matter which its words seem to fit; for example, when the words of 1 Samuel 9:13 are applied to the Christian's approach to the communion table in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. (5.1)

Accommodation of Scripture

An improper use of Scripture, by which a text or passage is applied to some matter to which, in its true meaning, it is not relevant. For example, the use of the last clause of Sam. 21:8 ("the king's business required haste") as a plea for diligence in Christian service, is an accommodation of the text. (9.3, 16.2)


Things inherently morally indifferent; that is, matters which in themselves are neither sinful nor righteous, but which may be either sinful or righteous according to circumstances. (Rom.14:1-12). (5.1, 13.1)


(A Greek plural form; the singular is adiaphoron). Things which in themselves are morally indifferent, because neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. For example, the remarriage of widows is an adiaphoron, being neither commanded nor forbidden (Rom. 7:2, 3; 1 Cor. 7:39). (9.3)


This is a Greek word which means literally "things indifferent". (The singular is adiaphoron). It is used in theology to designate that class of actions which in themselves are morally indifferent, that is, neither commanded nor forbidden by God. When Paul in Rom. 14:14 says that "there is nothing unclean of itself," he is dealing with adiaphom or "things indifferent." The Christian is free under God to use or abstain from "things indifferent," but is under obligation to avoid injury to others by his use of this freedom. (16.2)


"Adoption is an act of God's free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God." (S.C. 34). (16.2)


The act of reverently contemplating the divine; majesty and glory, and rendering loving worship to God for His own sake. (5.1, 13.1)


The view that it is impossible for man to attain sure knowledge concerning God, His will and man's relation to Him. In practice, agnosticism borders on atheism, for the agnostic lives as if there were no God. (9.3)


The denial of the possibility of knowledge concerning God, absolute religious truth, eternal life, etc. This is practically the same as atheism, although technically it does not go quite so far. The atheist says that there is no God, while the agnostic says that we can never know whether God exists. The term Agnosticism was invented by Thomas Huxley in 1869. (16.2)

Alpha and Omega

The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used symbolically in the Book of Revelation to assert the eternity of God and Christ. (9.3, 16.3)


A table or raised structure upon which sacrifices were offered. Sacrifices having been fulfilled and abolished for ever by the true sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, there remains no need for altars, and the communion table in a Christian congregation’s place of worship should not be called an altar, for no sacrifice is offered upon it. (5.1)


In the ritual of the Old Testament, a raised platform or structure on which sacrifices were offered to Jehovah. The communion table in Christian places of worship is not an altar and should not be so designated (Heb. 9:24-26). (9.3, 16.3)


A table or raised structure upon which sacrifices were offered. Sacrifices having been fulfilled and abolished forever by the true sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, there remains no need for altars, and the communion table in a Christian congregation’s place of worship should not be called an altar, for no sacrifice is offered upon it. The use of the phrase “family altar” to mean the practice of family worship is improper and misleading and should be avoided. (13.1)


That view of the Last Things which holds that the Bible does not predict a “Millennium” or period of world-wide peace and righteousness on this earth before the end of the world. Amillennialism teaches that there will be a parallel and contemporaneous development of good and evil—God’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom—in the world, which will continue until the Second Coming of Christ. At the second coming of Christ the resurrection and the judgment will take place, followed by the eternal order of things—the absolute, perfect Kingdom of God, in which there will be no sin, suffering nor death. Amillennialists emphasize the idea that time (or “history”) is the realm of that which is relative, incomplete and imperfect, whereas eternity (or that which is “beyond history”) is the realm of that which is absolute, complete and perfect. (13.1)


A theological view named after Moses Amyraldus (Amyraut), a French Reformed theologian of the 17th century. Also called Post-Redemptionism and Hypothetical Universalism. Amyraldism is an inconsistent form of Calvinism. It teaches that God gave Christ to render the salvation of all men possible on condition that they believe, and that from the whole number of those whose salvation has been rendered possible, God has elected some to actual salvation and eternal life. Amyraldism regards the work of Christ as universal, but the work of the Holy Spirit as particular. (9.3, 16.2)


A sect which arose in Germany at the time of the Reformation, which practiced the re-baptism of persons who had been baptized as infants. The more extreme type claimed to have founded a new and perfect church, to have the power to work miracles, that human government and magistrates are unnecessary among Christians, and even that polygamy is legitimate. (5.1)


A sect which arose in Germany at the time of the Reformation, which practiced the re-baptism of persons who had been baptized as infants. (13.1)

Analogy of Scripture

The teaching of the Bible as a whole, on any subject, considered as a key to the interpretation of a particular portion of Scripture. (11.3)


The word angel means literally “messenger.” Angels are purely spiritual beings of the supernatural realm, created by God for His service. They are assigned special functions in connection with the salvation of the elect (Heb. 1:14). Some of the angels fell into sin (Jude 6). (9.3, 16.3)

Angel of Jehovah, The

A term used in Scripture to designate, not a created angel, but a Theophany or appearance of God to His people (Gen. 16:7; Ex. 3:2-6). Revelation by Theophany accompanied events of great importance in the work of redemption. (9.3, 16.3)


A form of false religion in which natural objects are regarded as indwelt by souls or spirits, which are regarded with superstitious awe. (9.3, 16.3)

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The belief, which exists in various forms, that human beings shall or may altogether cease to exist. Annihilationism is chiefly important because it denies the truth of the Scriptural doctrine of eternal punishment. (16.2)


One who is against Christ. There are many antichrists (1 John 2:18), and also a spirit of antichrist in the world (1 John 4:3). Many orthodox Reformed theologians believe that 2 Thess. 2:3,4 and Rev. 13:1-10 predict the appearance of an individual, personal antichrist, who will be utterly against Christ, before the second coming of the Lord. (5.1, 13.1)


A term that occurs in Scripture only in the first and second Epistles of John, meaning "opponent of Christ." In theology, the term Antichrist is used to designate the great future enemy of Christ in whom the power of evil will reach its climax. Many scholars interpret the "man of sin" of 2 Thess. 2:3-10 and "the beast" of Rev. 13 as the antichrist. (9.3)


A term which occurs in Scripture only in the first and second Epistles of John, meaning "opponent of Christ." In theology, the term Antichrist is used to designate the great future enemy of Christ in whom the power of evil will reach its climax. Many scholars interpret the "man of sin" of 2 Thess. 2:3-10 and "the beast" of Rev. 13 as identical with the antichrist of John's Epistles. (16.3)


The false teaching that the Christian, by reason of Christ's atonement and obedience to God's law, is freed from the obligation of personal obedience to the moral law of God. The truth is that the Christian, while freed from the penalty of the law, is still under the precept of the law as his rule of life. (13.1, 16.2)


A collective name for all those views which reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, that the one God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. (9.3, 16.3)


That which corresponds to a type, the fulfillment of a type. Thus Adam, Moses and David are types of Christ, or divinely planned portrayals of certain truths about Christ; whereas Christ is the anti type of Adam, Moses and David. (5.1, 13.1)


That which corresponds to a type; the fulfilment of a type. A type is the appearance on a lower plane, or smaller scale, of something which will later appear on a higher plane, or on a larger scale. Thus the Flood is a type of the Judgment Day; the Judgment Day is the anti-type of the Flood. Melchizedek as priest-king is a type of Christ; Christ is the anti-type of Melchizedek. In dealing with supposed types and anti-types, caution is necessary, for many have indulged in fantastic identifications, far beyond what a sober study of Scripture warrants. For example, it is unwarranted to say that the dove released from the ark by Noah was a type of the Holy Spirit, or to say that the inn to which the Good Samaritan took the wounded man was a type of the Church. (16.2)


Those books excluded from the Bible because of lack of divine inspiration. "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the, Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings" (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.3). Some parts of the Apocrypha have some value for scholars as historical sources, but the books of the Apocrypha are not Scripture and should not be treated as Scripture. (5.1, 13.1, 16.2)


Forsaking the truth of God, by word or by actions, on the part of an individual, a church or a nation; especially, falling away from those truths which are essential to the existence of Christianity, such as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ and the substitutionary atonement. The Bible predicts an apostasy before the second coming of Christ, 2 Thess. 2:3. (5.2, 13.2)


Forsaking the truth of God, by word or actions, on the part of an individual, a church or a nation; especially, falling away from those truths which are essential to the existence of Christianity, such as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ and the substitutionary atonement. The Bible predicts an apostasy before the second com-ing of Christ (2 Thess. 2:3). In our day there are large denominations which formerly were Christian but which today proclaim a message which is not Christianity, but only "high ideals," "character building," "positive thinking," "spirit-ual values" and the like, while the heart of Christianity - the substitutionary atonement -is omitted. Such denominations, when efforts to reform them have been seriously made and have failed, are to be regarded as apostate. (See Reformed Presbyterian Testimony, XXII. 6). (16.2)


A person sent upon a commission; especially, one of the group of men chosen by Jesus Christ as official witnesses of His resurrection and ordained as His official representatives for establishing the doctrine, worship, government and discipline of the New Testament Church. (5.2, 13.2)


Literally, "one sent." The Twelve Apostles were commissioned by Christ to be His representatives in organizing the New Testament Church, and official witnesses of His resurrection. (9.3, 16.3)

Apostles Creed

The most ancient Christian creed, which, however, was certainly not composed by the Apostles of our Lord. Its origin is unknown; it reached its present form only by a long and gradual process of development. (9.3, 16.3)


The scientific investigation of ancient civilization and culture by excavation and study of their remains. Archaeology is of use to confirm written history where the latter exists, and to fill gaps in our knowledge where no written history exists. (9.3)


The scientific investigation of ancient civilization and culture by excavation and study of their remains. Archaeology is of use to confirm written history where the latter exists, and to fill out gaps in our knowledge where no written history exists. Many statements of the Bible, which had been questioned by skeptics, have been shown to be true by archaeological discoveries, and much light has been shed on statements of the Bible which were formerly obscure. (16.3)

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A heresy in the ancient Church that denied the true deity of Jesus Christ. Named after Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, Arianism taught Christ existed before the creation of the world, but denied that He is the eternal Son, of the same substance with the Father. Arianism was opposed by Athanasius, and rejected as a heresy by the Church at the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325. (9.4, 16.4)


The doctrinal system derived from the teachings of the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, which regards the sovereignty of God as limited by the free will of man, and which conceives of the work of salvation as divided between God and man, with the decisive factor in the hands of man. (5.2, 13.2)


That theological system which regards the sovereignty of God as limited by the free will of His creatures. Arminianism teaches that God's decree of election proceeded from God's advance knowledge of men's free decisions to repent and accept Christ, so that it is really man, and not God, that determines who shall receive eternal life. (Named after Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived 1560-1609). (12.4)


The tendency, which came into the Christian Church from pagan sources in the early centuries, to seek a higher type of holiness by withdrawal from human society and renunciation of the ordinary pleasures and comforts of life which are not necessarily sinful. In practice, asceticism led to the notion that it is a sin to be comfortable and enjoy life. It sought holiness by self-decreed misery. (9.4, 16.4)


The denial of the existence of God. (11.3)


That perfect, finished work of Jesus Christ by which He offered Himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile sinners to God. There are many false theories of the atonement; the true doctrine of the atonement is that Christ, as the sinner's substitute, bore the wrath and curse of God. (9.4, 16.4)

Attributes of God

Those qualities of God’s nature that make Him the kind of Being He is. (11.3)

Incommunicable Attributes of God

Those attributes of God alone can possess, such as to be almighty, infinite, unchangeable. (11.3)

Communicable Attributes of God

Those attributes of God which can be bestowed God's nature which make Him the kind of Being on angels and men, such as wisdom, holiness, He is. (11.3)


"Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our engrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's" (S.C. 94). (9.4, 16.4)


Also called Theology of Crisis, Dialectical Theology, and Neo-Orthodoxy, with approximately the same meaning. A new variety of theology originally developed by the Swiss theologians Karl Barth and Emil Brunner. Barthianism, is a reaction against Modernism, but it is based on modern philosophy rather than on the Bible as the infallible Word of God. It denies the possibility of a direct, real revelation of God in human history, accepts the conclusions of the "higher critics" concerning the Bible, rejects the true doctrines of the verbal inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, and teaches that the Bible provides no ethical principles of universal applicability. (12.4)


An overseer; one of the titles used in the New Testament for the pastor of a Christian congregation. In the history of the Church the title "bishop" came to be used for an officer higher than pastors and elders, having jurisdiction over many congregations—something unknown in the New Testament. (5.2, 13.2)


The sin of speaking or writing reproachfully or slanderously against God or the things of God, such as the Bible, the sacraments, the Sabbath, divine worship, etc. (5.2, 13.2)


A modern religious movement led by the Rev. Frank Buchman, called "A First Century Christian Fellowship", "The Oxford Group Movement", "Moral Rearmament", etc. The movement is characterized by a false type of mysticism, emphasis on personal confession of sins to other "Group" members, fellowship between Bible-believers and modernists, and lack of concern about sound doctrine. (5.2, 13.2)


The list of books recognized as Holy Scripture. (10.1)

Canon of Scripture

The list of the books that are recognized as Scripture. (11.3)


Consistent Biblical Christianity, called "Calvinism" because it received its classic doctrinal formulation in the writings of the Reformer John Calvin. Calvinism is that system of Christian doctrine which recognizes the absolute, unlimited sovereignty of God, and man's complete dependence on God for every factor of his life, faith and salvation. Also called the Reformed Faith. (5.2, 13.2)


That system of Christian doctrine which, holding to the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Holy Scripture as the rule of faith and life, recognizes God's absolute sovereignty and complete control over all things, and man's absolute dependence on God for every factor of his salvation, faith and life. (Named after John Calvin, the author of the system's classic formulation, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, A. D. 1536). (12.4)

Catholic Church, The

The Universal Church of God, as distinguished from a particular branch, congregation or denomination of that Church. The Church of Rome has wrongly appropriated to itself the term "Catholic"; it is self-contradictory to call a body "Roman" (which is particular) and at the same time "Catholic" (which means "universal"). (5.2, 13.2)

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Celibacy of the Clergy

The sectarian requirement of the Roman Catholic Church that its ordained officers abstain from marriage. This requirement, which is without Scriptural warrant, was not generally enforced until more than 1,000 years after Christ. (5.2, 13.2)


The act of judging and blaming others for their faults. Censure may be private or official, and it may be just or unjust. (10.1)


An event which comes to pass by the divine foreordination and providence, which is of such a nature that the human mind cannot calculate or predict its occurrence, or assign a definite cause to it. Proverbs 16:33. (5.2, 13.2)


The moral quality of a person's inner nature or "heart," from which the issues of life spring, and by which decisions and conduct are determined. (12.4)


A state of mind, free from gloom or dejection. It is the duty of every Christian, by faith in the goodness, power and love of God, to cultivate a cheerful frame of mind. (10.1)


The doctrine of a thousand year reign of Christ; commonly used as equivalent to Premillennialism, or the doctrine of a thousand year reign of Christ on earth after His second coming. (5.2, 13.2)


One who believes on Christ as his Saviour from sin, and obeys Christ as the Lord of his life. It is improper to speak of Jesus as a Christian. (10.1)

Christian Ethics

The branch of theological science which deals with what the Bible teaches concerning the motive, standard and purpose of human action. (12.4)


The system of faith and practice revealed in the Word of God, in which Jesus Christ occupies the position of Mediator between God and sinners. (10.1)


The day commonly observed as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no historical evidence that our Saviour was born on the 25th of December, nor is there any trace in the New Testament of the observance of His birth as a holy day. (5.2)


The day commonly observed as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no historical evidence that our Saviour was born on the 25th of December, nor is there any trace in the New Testament of the observance of His birth as a holy day. Rather, the evidence which exists indicates that the religious observance of December 25 was connected with the ancient pagan god Mithras and that the Christian Church adopted it as the anniversary of Christ's birth. (13.2)


That branch of Christian doctrine which sets forth the truth about Christ, His Person and work. (10.1)


The science of calculating periods of time, and dates of historical events. (10.1)


A book giving a continuous exposition of the Bible, or of some portion of it. (10.1)


Communion means sharing or mutual participation. It is used in this sense in the phrase "the communion of saints." In 1 Cor. 10:16 the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper are spoken of as the communion of the body and blood of Christ; that is, the Lord's Supper involves a sharing or mutual participation in the benefits of Christ's atonement. From this text the Lord's Supper has come to be called the Communion, or the communion service. (10.2)

Conception, the Immaculate

The false Roman Catholic doctrine, made a dogma in 1854, that the Virgin Mary was born without original sin. The term "Immaculate Conception" is often incorrectly used by Protestants when they mean the virgin birth of Christ. (5.2, 13.2)


A body of Christian people of common faith, united under the same officers, and assembling together for public worship. (5.3, 13.2)


That system of church government which recognizes no authority having jurisdiction over more than a single local congregation. (Held by Congregationalists, Baptists and some others; opposed to the Papal, Presbyterian and Episcopal forms of church government). (5.3, 13.2)


That function of the human soul which registers approval when a person's actions are in accordance with what he believes to be right, and disapproval when his actions are not in accordance with what he believes to be right. (5.3, 13.2)


That aspect of the human personality which registers disapproval when the person violates his moral code, and approval when he acts in harmony with his moral code. Conscience itself is not the standard of right and wrong; it only registers the person's relation to whatever moral code he believes in. Conscience needs to be enlightened by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. It is wrong to speak of Christians. people as living "according to the dictates of their own conscience." Conscience is not to be a dicta-tor. Christians are to live according to, the dictates of God revealed in Scripture. (10.2)


The power of the human personality to judge its own dispositions and conduct, which registers approval when these are in conformity with the moral standard which the person accepts as valid, and registers disapproval when they are contrary to the moral standard which the person accepts as valid. (12.4)


Agreement or harmony between a person's vows, or profession of faith, and his words and deeds. (5.3, 13.2)

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The Lutheran doctrine of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper, which teaches that in the sacrament there is present "the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink. . . " (Luther's Small Catechism). (Opposed to the Roman Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation, which holds that the bread and wine are miraculously changed into the real body and blood of Christ). (5.3, 13.2)


A Covenant of God with man is an arrangement made by God and imposed on man, for the purpose of bringing man into religious communion with God, involving certain promises on God's part and certain obligations on man's part. (5.3, 13.2)


Violation of the tenth commandment; a sinful, inordinate desire for something which is our neighbor's, not our own. (10.2)


"The work of creation is, God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good." (S.C. 9) (5.3, 13.2)


A formal statement of religious belief. Creeds may be long or short; they may be orthodox or erroneous. The word creed is used today chiefly in a contemptuous and disparaging sense, as if creeds are necessarily bad and to be shunned. But there can be no real Christianity without creed, either written or unwritten. There are great advantages—such as clarity and definiteness or precision—in having a written creed. When we hear people speak contemptuously of creeds we should realize that they are treating precise statement of truth as something contemptible. (10.2)


Religious practices sanctioned by long usage; may be either good, bad or indifferent. (Customs based on long usage are often confused with practices based on principles having divine authority. It is a sign of decadence when customs are treated as unalterable, while principles are regarded as mere human customs). (5.3, 13.2)


The Ten Commandments, Ex. 20:1-17. (5.3, 13.2)

Decrees of God

"The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass." (S.C. 7) (5.3, 13.2)


The false system that holds that God created the universe and then left it to function automatically without divine providential control. (11.3)

Deity of Christ

The truth that the historical person Jesus Christ, by reason of His divine nature, was and is the only true God, Creator of the universe, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (1 John 5:20. John 1:1-3. Col. 2:9). (5.4, 13.3)

Demonism, Demon Possession

An activity of demons or evil spirits described in the New Testament, by which one or more of them gained control of a human personality and dominated it for Satanic purposes. (In the New Testament this is distinguished (a) from ordinary insanity or mental disease; and (b) from bodily disease; Matt. 4:24). (5.3, 13.2)

Depravity, Total

The truth that the unsaved sinner is corrupted by sin in every part of his personality, including both body and soul, so that apart from the special work of the Holy Spirit he cannot choose to love God, nor do anything spiritually good in God's sight. (5.4, 13.3)

Devil, The

The chief of the fallen angels, who, by the providential permission of God, heads the kingdom of evil in opposition to the kingdom of God until the time appointed by God for him to be cast into hell (Rev. 20:10). (5.4, 13.3)


A particular manner of God's dealing with His creatures, or the period of time that coincides with the same. In the Bible, three dispensations are distinguished: (1) The Covenant of Works, from the creation of mankind to Adam's fall. (2) The Old Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace, from Adam's fall to the crucifixion of Christ. (3) The New Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace, from the crucifixion of Christ to His second coming. These three are dispensations of HISTORY. Beyond them is "the age to come" or ETERNITY. (5.4, 13.3)


The false system of Bible interpretation represented by the writings of J. N. Darby and the Scofield Reference Bible, which divides the history of mankind into seven distinct periods or "dispensations," and affirms that in each period God deals with the human race on the basis of some one specific principle. Dispensationalism denies the spiritual identity of Israel and the Church, and tends to set grace and law sharply against each other as antithetical and mutually exclusive principles. (13.1)


A truth of the Bible set forth in logical form in its relation to other truths of the Bible. True doctrines consist of (1) facts, plus (2) the divinely revealed meaning of the facts. (5.4, 13.3)


A separatist sect of North African Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries A. D., which held that the validity of a minister's official acts depends upon his personal piety, and that those who had denied Christ under persecution could never be restored to good standing the Church. These errors were strongly opposed by the North African bishop Augustine of Hippo. (5.4, 13.3)

Dort, Synod of

A synod summoned by the authority of the government, at Dort in the Netherlands, 1618-1619, for the purpose of settling the Arminian controversy. It was attended by delegates from Holland, England, Scotland, Switzerland and Germany. The Synod condemned the five leading propositions of the Arminians as false, and affirmed the contrary propositions of Calvinism as Biblical truths. The Westminster Assembly of Divines, 25 years later, built upon, this foundation. (5.4, 13.3)


That which human beings ought to do, by reason of some relationship. (12.4)

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Originally the festival of the Saxon goddess of springtime, Eostre. The name was taken over by the Church for a day to commemorate Christ's resurrection. Easter observance is not even mentioned in the Bible, and must be regarded as a corruption of the appointed worship of God. The word "Easter" occurs once in the King James Version (Acts 12:4), but it is incorrect, and should be translated "Passover" (see American Revised and Revised Standard versions). (5.4, 13.3)


An officer of a Christian congregation ordained to participate in the government of the Church. All elders share in governing the Church, but some, called "ministers" or "pastors" also preach the Gospel. I Tim. 5:17. In the New Testament the word "bishop" is used interchangeably with "elder"; every elder is a bishop, and every bishop an elder. (5.4, 13.3)


An unscriptural form of Church government in which bishops are regarded as a distinct office higher than pastors or elders, each bishop having jurisdiction over a number of congregations and their officers. The New Testament knows nothing of bishops as officers distinct from, and superior to, ministers and elders. (5.4, 13.3)


The doctrine (named after Erastus,. a Swiss physician of the 16th century) which teaches that the State should be supreme over the Church and should support, manage and legislate for the Church. (5.4, 13.3)

Erastian Toleration

An act or policy of a government which claims a totalitarian supremacy over the Church, by which a limited freedom of worship or other activity is allowed to religious bodies which are willing to recognize the State's supremacy in principle and to comply with the State's rules and regulations concerning religious matters. Erastian Toleration is a base counterfeit of religious liberty, proceeding from the false notion that the State is supreme in matters of religion. (5.4, 13.3)


The doctrine of the Last Things. The name comes from the Greek word "eschatos," meaning "last." Eschatology includes the state of man after death, the second coming of Christ and related matters, the resurrection, the judgment, heaven, hell and eternity. (13.1)

Eternity of God

God’s mode of existence without beginning, without end, and independent of all limitations of time, so that all events in the history of the created universe are equally present to Him at once. (6.1, 13.4)


The science that deals with the motive, standard and purpose of human action. (12.4)


A name for the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; literally, “giving thanks.” (6.1, 13.4)

Exaltation of Christ

“Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day” (S. C. 28). (6.1, 13.4)


The final censure of church discipline, by which the offending person in solemnly excluded from the visible Church until he gives evidence of repentance. (6.1, 13.4)


The drawing out of the meaning of a text of Scripture by a painstaking, accurate study of its words, grammar, context, historical background, etc. The too common usage of the word exegesis as if it meant opinion or subjective personal preference is entirely wrong. The exegesis of a text of Scripture is not a matter of personal preference or subjective opinion any more than the solution of a problem in mathematics is a matter of personal preference or subjective opinion. Every text of Scripture means just what it means, neither more nor less. Exegesis is a scientific method of finding out what it means. (10.2)


Drawing out the meaning of a text or portion of Scripture by a painstaking, accurate study of its words, context and historical setting. (11.3)


The act of presenting to a person motives calculated to move him to action in the performance of duty. Christian doctrine is to be accompanied and followed by Christian exhortation, that the hearers may be stirred up to a practical profession of Christianity. (6.1, 13.4)


The canceling of sin through a sacrifice offered to God, involving the shedding of blood and the death of the victim. Under the Old Testament ceremonial law expiatory sacrifices were offered to God as an atonement for men's sins. These, however, could not in themselves be effective to cancel sin. Their effectiveness was due to the fact that they prefigured Christ's sacrifice of Himself, which truly and effectively cancels sin. (10.2)

Extreme Unction

One of the non-Biblical sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, in which those about to die are anointed with oil and prayed for by the priest. (6.1, 13.4)


The dependence of a person on the truthfulness and reliability of another person. (6.1, 13.4)

Object of Faith

That on which faith terminates and rests. All faith has an object, and this object is, ultimately, a person. The immediate object of faith may be a proposition or a doctrine (Heb. 11:3), but the ultimate object of faith is the person on whose testimony we believe the proposition or doctrine. Thus faith in the Bible is ultimately faith in God whose revelation the Bible is. (6.1, 13.4)

Faith in Jesus Christ

“Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel” (S.C. 86). (6.1, 13.4)

Historical Faith

A mere assent to the facts of the Gospel as a matter of history, as that Christ was born in Bethlehem, crucified on Calvary, etc., without personal trust in Christ for salvation. Historical faith is necessary for salvation, but not sufficient without personal trust. (6.1, 13.4)

Temporary Faith

A faith which superficially resembles saving faith, but which does not proceed from a heart renewed by the Holy Spirit, and which therefore cannot endure persecution or tribulation for Christ’s sake. Such temporary faith often results from artificial “high pressure” methods of evangelism, which induce many to profess faith in Christ who later fall away from this profession to their former worldly life. (6.1, 13.4)


The historical event by which the human race, which God had crated morally good, became evil. (10.3)

Fall of Man

The lapse of the human race from its original state of moral perfection to a state of sin and misery, which took place by the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in eating the forbidden fruit. (6.1, 13.4)

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The heathen notion that all events are determined by a blind, impersonal, irresistible force which operates regardless of the free agency of men. This is very different from the Calvinistic doctrine of foreordination, which teaches that the infinitely wise, loving, righteous, personal God has determined all that comes to pass, including the motives, decision, and acts of all free agents such as angels and men. (6.1, 13.4)

Five Points of Calvinism

Five truths of the Calvinistic system of theology which were affirmed by the Synod of Dort (Netherlands, A. D. 1618-19), in contradiction to the five articles of the Remonstrants or Arminians. The "Five Points of Calvinism" are: 1. Unconditional election; 2. Limited or particular atonement; 3. The total depravity of the sinner; 4. The irresistibility of saving grace; 5. The final perseverance of the saints. These "five points" are NOT a brief summary of Calvinism, as they are often wrongly said to be; they are merely five truths by which Calvinism is distinguished from Arminianism. (6.2, 13.4)


The term "flesh" is used in Scripture in various senses, as: (1) a part of the bodily organism of man, Gen. 2:21. (2) Man in his human weakness, in contrast to the power and permanence of God, Isa. 40:6. (3) Man in his present mortal condition, in contrast to the immortality of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:50. (4) Man as totally depraved and corrupted by sin, man in his condition old enmity against God, man's sinful nature, Rom. 8:8. When the term "flesh" is used with a bad meaning, it does not mean the human body, but the entire sinful nature of man, including the soul or spirit. (10.3)

Foreknowledge of God

The knowledge of God by which, from all eternity, He has known all things that will ever come to pass. This foreknowledge of God is based upon His own decrees of foreordination, and is not in any way contingent or dependent upon acts of His creatures. (See Westminster Confession of Faith, 11.2). (6.2, 13.4)


God's determination, from all eternity, of every fact in the universe, including every event that takes place in time. (God's foreordination is not based upon His foreknowledge, but upon the counsel of His own will. Eph. 1:11. Westminster Confession of Faith, 111.1,2; Shorter Catechism, 7). (6.2, 13.4)

Forgiveness of Sins

That act of God (included in JUSTIFICATION), by which the sinner's guilt is no longer imputed (reckoned) to him, and the corresponding penalty is therefore not inflicted upon him. Forgiveness of sins is possible only because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the sinner's Substitute, to whom the sinner's guilt was imputed by God, and by whom the sinner's penalty was vicariously borne. (6.2, 13.4)


That perversion of Christianity in which emphasis is placed upon the mere external observance of the ordinances of worship, while the heart remains unaffected by the power of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5). Formalism affects all churches, not only those with an elaborate ritualism, but also those which insist upon Scriptural purity of worship. (6.2, 13.4)

Free Agency

The capacity of rational beings, including man, for making decisions and performing actions in accordance with their own nature or character, without constraint from outside their personality. (The term "free agency" is more correct than "free will", for the latter may imply that the will can choose independently of the person's nature or character, which is not true. Free agency means only freedom of the personality from EXTERNAL constraint; it does not mean freedom of the will from the personality as a whole. The unsaved sinner is a free agent, but because his nature is sinful, his free decisions and acts are always sinful too). (6.2, 13.4)

Free Agency

The human personality's freedom of choice and action, by reason of which a person's decisions and conduct proceed from his inner character, not from external constraint. (12.4)

Free Will

A misleading and incorrect term for free agency. Man is a free agent, but his will is not free from the rest of his personality. The will is free in the sense that it is not determined by anything outside of the person; but it is not free in the sense that it can operate independently of motives and character. (12.4)

Future Life

The "world" or "age" to come, which will follow the present age in which we are now living. The present world is the world of HISTORY; the future world will be the world of ETERNITY. Scripture divides the life of man into "this world (age)" and "the world (age) to come" Matt. 12:32; Eph. 1:21; etc. The future life is "the life which is life indeed" (1 Tim. 6:18, ARV). (6.2, 13.4)


Literally, "nations"; used in the Bible to designate all people who are not Jews. (10.3)


A mountainous district east of the Jordan River, occupied by the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. In later times it was called Perea. (10.3)


The general name given to the teachings of a number of sects, in the time of the early Church, which claimed possession of a deeper knowledge of truth than was possessed by the orthodox Church and its members. Gnosticism was largely derived from heathen religion and philosophy. It taught that the God who created the world was not the Supreme Being, and that evil is identified with matter. (6.2, 13.4)


The end or purpose for which something exists, or toward which it should move. (12.4)

Goal of Christian Ethics

The Kingdom of God, as man's highest good and purpose of life. "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever" (S.C. 1). (12.4)


"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." (S.C. 4). (11.3)


The good news of salvation provided for sinners by the grace of God through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ the Mediator. (1 Cor.15:1-4). (6.3)

Grace of God

The Favor of God bestowed on human beings who deserve His wrath and curse on account of sin. (6.3)

Special Grace of God

That grace of God which is bestowed on His elect only, and which brings about their eternal salvation. (6.3)

Common Grace of God

That grace of God which is bestowed on all mankind alike, both the elect and the reprobate, bringing certain benefits during this life, but not bringing about eternal salvation. (6.3)

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A city of northern Syria, in the valley of the Orontes River, often referred to in the Old Testament. (10.3)

Harmony of the Gospels

A book which combines the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into one continuous narrative, avoiding repetition, or which arranges the contents of the four Gospels in such a way that the reader can easily see what parts are peculiar to a particular Gospel and what parts are common to two, three or all four Gospels. (6.3)


(1) The sky (Gen. 1:1). (2) That place in the created universe where the presence and glory of God are specially revealed (Matt. 6:9). (3) The eternal home of the redeemed (2 Cor.5:1; Heb.10: 34). (6.3)


The place of eternal punishment, originally prepared or the devil and his angels, where all human beings who are out of Christ will for ever be isolated from the favorable presence of God and from all that is good (Matt. 25:41, 46). (6.3)


(1) In the New Testament, originally a party or sect (translated "sect" in Acts 5:17; 15:5); later, false doctrine stubbornly adhered to (2 Pet. 2:1). (2) In church government today, false doctrine which is definitely contrary to the accepted creed or doctrinal standards of a church. (Note: doctrine which is alleged to be contrary to the Bible, but not contrary to definite statements of the Church's creed, is called "error", whereas doctrine which is not only alleged to be contrary to the Bible, but is also contrary to definite statements of the Church's creed, is called "heresy"). (6.3)


A person who adheres to a heresy. (6.3)


A Jewish party of the time of Christ, who supported the political power of the Herod family and favored the Romans, thus being opposed to the Pharisees (Matt. 22:16; Mark 3:6). (6.3)


Unsound or erroneous; the opposite of orthodox (used of either a doctrine or a person). (6.3)


The state of freedom from sin, with the heart in conformity to God; a state of the heart which is manifested in the life. (6.3)


God's holiness is (1) His infinite separation from all created being; (2) His infinite separation from all moral evil. Man's holiness consists in separation from evil and conformity to the image of God, in which he was originally created. (10.3)

Holiness of God

(1) God's supreme majesty and exaltation far above and beyond the universe and all created beings. (2) God's infinite, absolute separation from all that is sinful. (6.3)


The Christian's sure expectation and eager anticipation of the supreme glory and blessing which shall be his in the life of eternity, following the second coming of Christ and the resurrection (Rom.8:18-25; Heb.6:18-20). (6.3)


In the Bible, a symbol of power, or of vigorous, flourishing health and growth. (10.3)


A name, originally given in contempt, for the Reformed or Calvinistic Protestants of France. (6.3)


The false system that regards the human race as existing for its own sake, considers man's chief end to be his own welfare, and looks upon God and religion as means for promoting the progress of humanity. (11.3)

Humanity of Christ

The human nature of Christ, consisting of body and soul, which He took into union with His divine person and nature. "Christ, the Son of God, became man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable, soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin" (S.C. 22). (6.3)

Humiliation of Christ

“Christ’s humiliation consisted of his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time” (S.C. 27) (6.4)


A reforming party in the Church in Bohemia (Czecho-Slovakia) in the 15th Century and later. Named after their leader John Huss who was burnt at the stake in 1415 for his faith. (6.4)


(1) In the narrower sense, the religious worship of idols, that is, images or pictures. (2) In the wider sense, all religious worship other than that offered to the true God. (6.4)


The progressive work of the Holy Spirit in the mind of a Christian, whereby he is enabled to see and understand the truth revealed in the Scriptures (Eph. 1:18). (Illumination is the intellectual counterpart of sanctification. By sanctification a Christian is made to love and practice holiness; by illumination he is made to know and understand the truth). (6.4)


An activity of God the Holy Spirit in the mind of a human being, by which the latter is enabled to understand the true meaning of the Scriptures. (11.3)

Immanence of God

The truth that God is everywhere in the universe, and that absolutely nothing great or small could exist without His continual presence in it. (11.3)

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Implicit Faith

That faith by which a person accepts on the authority of another some doctrine or system which he has not himself considered, or of which he is personally ignorant. (Cf. Westminster Confession of Faith, XX.2. When a person says that he accepts the doctrines of the Westminster Confession and catechisms, yet admits that he has never read those documents, he is guilty of the sin of accepting them with an “implicit faith,” that is, “sight-unseen”, by a blind faith). (6.4)


The condition of the unsaved sinner, by reason of which he is unable, not merely to save himself from sin, but even to desire salvation. (Note: Inability is not inconsistent with free agency. The unsaved sinner is free to turn to God, but not able to turn to God, just as a bird with a broken wing is free to fly, but not able to fly). (6.4)


The act by which God the Son took to Himself a human nature (body and soul) and thus became man, to accomplish the work of redemption. (John 1:14). (6.4)

Independence of God

The truth that God is in no sense whatever dependent upon, limited by, or in need of anything or anyone in, the created universe, but is absolutely self-sufficient and self-existent. (It is wrong to use the verbs “cannot” and “needs” in connection with God. Mark 10:27; Acts 17:25). (6.4)

Inerrancy of Scripture

The doctrine that the Bible is free from errors. (11.3)

Infallibility of Scripture

The doctrine that it is impossible for the Bible to contain any errors. (11.3)

Infinity of God

That quality of God by which He is absolutely perfect and boundless, without any limits, both in His being and in all His attributes. (7.1, 14.2)


An activity of God the Holy Spirit by which the writers of the books of the Bible were so influenced that the product of their writing is truly the Word of God. (11.3)

Verbal Inspiration

The doctrine that the actual written words of the Bible, in the genuine text of the original Hebrew and Greek, are themselves all truly the Word of God. Also called Plenary (Full) Inspiration. (11.3)

Inspiration of Scripture

An activity of God the Holy Spirit by which the writers of the books of the bible were so influenced that the product of their writing is truly the Word of God. (7.1, 14.2)


A plea or prayer for another, especially a prayer to God for benefits or blessings to be granted to another. (10.3)

Intercession of Christ

The heavenly ministry of Christ as the High Priest and Advocate of His people, whereby He pleads the merits of His own shed blood and perfect righteousness for each and every one of the elect, for whom He died and to whom he has given His Holy Spirit. (7.1, 14.2)


A clear statement of the meaning of something. The common notion that we may interpret the Bible in any way we see fit is wrong. An interpretation is valid only so far as it sets forth the true meaning of the text being interpreted. (10.3)


A party of Jewish Christians in the Early Church, who regarded Christianity as a branch of Judaism, and taught that salvation is partly based on the work of Jesus Christ and partly on man’s obedience to the requirements of God’s law. (Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was written to refute the errors of Judaizing teachers who had confused and misled the Galatian Christians). (7.1, 14.2)


“Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” (S. Cat.Q.33). (7.1, 14.2)

Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

The authority of church government and discipline committed by Christ, the Head of the Church, to the lawful officers of His Church. (Matt. 16:19; 18:17,18. Westminster Confession o Faith, XXX.1,2). (7.1, 14.2)


The false notion that salvation, or a righteous standing before God, is attainable, in whole or in part, by human works of obedience to the law of God. (All legalists lack a proper conviction of sin; consequently they vainly imagine that their external and mechanical compliance with the commandments of God is the righteousness which God requires of man. Legalism was the blight of the Pharisees, as it is the terrible error of modern Judaism). (7.1, 14.2)


The period of 40 days ending with Easter, observed by Roman Catholics and some Protestants as a special period of self-denial and humiliation. (The observance of Lent is a mere human custom based on ecclesiastical tradition; there is no warrant for it in Scripture). (7.1, 14.2)


Excessive lightness of spirit, or frivolity, which is inconsistent with Christian soberness, seriousness and earnestness, and which is a base counterfeit of true Christian happiness and cheerfulness. (Those who try to drown the voice of conscience by constant levity and jesting may be laughing themselves to hell). (7.1, 14.2)


That type of religion which denies or minimizes the supernatural character of Christianity (denying the reality of supernatural miracles, supernatural redemption and supernatural Christian experience), and holds that salvation is essentially a matter of culture or "character building" rather than a matter of redemption, and that Christianity, as a product of the evolutionary development of the human race, differs from other religions only in degree, not in essential nature. (12.4)

Liberty, Christian

The freedom of a Christian from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law, and the bondage of sin and Satan, as well as his future deliverance from all evil of every kind. (Westminster Confession of Faith, XX.1). (7.1, 14.2)

Liberty of Conscience

The freedom of the human conscience from all doctrines and commandments of men which are in any respect contrary to the Word of God, and the freedom of the conscience from all requirements in matters of faith or worship which are in addition to the Word of God. (Westminster Confession of Faith XX.2). (7.1, 14.2)


"A mutual agreement to determine an uncertain event, no other way determinable, by an appeal to the providence of God, on casting or throwing something" (Buck's Theological Dictionary). (7.1, 14.2)


(1) A witness. (2) A person who suffers death rather than renounce or compromise his religious faith. (7.1, 14.2)


The false doctrine that nothing exists except material substance and energy. (Materialism denies the existence of God and of the human soul, and the reality of life after death). (7.1, 14.2)


The false doctrine that nothing exists except material substance and physical energy (a form of atheism). (11.3)

Means of Grace

"The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, Sacraments and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation." (S. C. 88) (7.2, 14.3)


One who intervenes between two parties who are at enmity against each other, and brings about reconciliation between them. "It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man" (Westminster Confession of Faith, VIII.1) (7.2, 14.3)

Mercy, Christian

The Christian virtue and duty of endeavoring to relieve, in the name of Christ, the sufferings and distress of those who are miserable, whether from sin or from its consequences. (7.2, 14.3)

Mercy of God

That attribute of God by which He is inclined to pardon the guilty, and to relieve the distress of the miserable. God's mercy is free, being bestowed according to His sovereign choice; and it is gracious, being bestowed upon those who not only have no merit of their own, but have offended against Him. (7.2, 14.3)


That which is earned or deserved. This is contrasted with grace or mercy, which is not earned or deserved. It is not by his own merit, but by the merit of Jesus Christ, that the Christian receives eternal life. (7.2, 14.3)


A Hebrew term meaning "Anointed", equivalent to the Greek "Christos" or "Christ". In the Old Testament, kings and high priests were anointed with oil to set them apart to their office; the oil symbolized the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ as the perfect, final prophet, priest and king, is pre-eminently the Messiah. (7.2, 14.3)


The thousand year period of restraint of Satan and of the reign of Christ, which is spoken of in Revelation 20:1-10. (There are various views as to the meaning and the fulfillment of this prophecy). (7.2, 14.3)

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The adherents of a heresy in the early Church which denied that Jesus Christ has two distinct natures, divine and human, and held that these two are united so as to form only one nature. (7.2, 14.3)


An event in the external world, for the purpose of bearing witness to the truth of God, which has no other cause than the wild of God. (In God's ordinary providence He works through the sequence of cause and effect in the realm of nature; in the case of miracle, God works directly, by His supernatural power, to produce an effect which lacks an efficient cause in the natural order. A miracle has natural effects, but no natural cause). (7.2, 14.3)


The task of the Church, in obedience to Christ's Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) to undertake the establishment of the Christian Faith throughout the world, which involves three elements: (1) Evangelism, or preaching the Gospel; (2) the establishment of the Visible Church and its ordinance; (3) the teaching of the entire system of truth revealed in the Bible. (7.2, 14.3)


The adherents of an ancient heresy which denied that Jesus Christ has two wills, a divine and a human, and held that He has only one will. (This was condemned as heretical by the sixth general council, A. D. B80, on the ground that it was contrary to the full and true humanity of Jesus Christ). (7.2, 14.3)


A sect of Christians which sprang up in the second century after Christ as a reaction against worldliness and deadness in the orthodox or catholic Church. The Montanists were named after their founder, Montanus, a Phrygian by birth, who claimed divine inspiration and the gift of prophecy. They were much more strict than the catholic Church in their insistence upon holiness and separation from the world. The most famous Montanist was the great Tertullian, who insisted upon a clean, clear separation of Christians from everything pagan. (7.2, 14.3)

Moral Obligation

Man's duty to do the will of God, by reason of his relation as creature to his Creator. (12.4)


The consideration or state of mind which determines the human will to some decision. (12.4)

Motive of Christian Ethics

The desire to do the will of God, which determines the Christian's will to decisions in conformity with the will of God. (12.4)


A truth which could never be discovered by human reason, but can be known only by special divine revelation (such as the truth stated in 1 Cor. 15:51). (7.3, 14.3)


The belief that God and His will can be known by a direct intuition of the human soul, and that religion therefore is independent of historical facts, and both historical revelation and historical redemption are unnecessary. (11.3)


The theological and philosophical basis of Liberalism. Naturalism denies the reality of the supernatural in the Bible and in Christian experience, and holds that all religion and religious experience is the product of the operation of universal impersonal natural laws. The "God" of Naturalism is really only a part of nature, or an aspect of the universe. (12.4)


The orderly, uniform system of the universe, operating according to the law of cause and effect as ordained by God, against the background of which God's miraculous acts stand out in sharp contrast to the ordinary course of events. (7.3, 14.3)


The ancient heresy which taught that in Christ there are not merely two natures (divine and human), but two persons, one divine, the other human. (7.3, 14.3)


A sect of heretics mentioned in Rev. 2:6, 15, who taught that Christians are free to indulge in the lusts of the flesh. (7.3, 14.4)


"A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth, or promiseth; and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth". (Westminster Confession of Faith, XXII.1) (7.3, 14.4)

Ordinances of God

Those institutions or practices which are of divine authority in human society, such as the family, the church and the state; baptism; the Lord's Supper; church government and discipline; etc. (7.3, 14.4)


The act of setting a person apart to office in the church by prayer and the laying on of hands. (The ordained officers of the New Testament Church are ministers (pastors, bishops or teaching elders), ruling elders, and deacons). According to the Presbyterian form of church government, ordination is the act of a "presbytery" or plurality of presbyters (teaching and ruling elders). (7.3, 14.4)


Literally, "straight teaching"; that religious doctrine which conforms to a fixed and recognized standard. The true standard of orthodoxy is the Word of God, by which all teachings are to be tested and measured. Subordinate standards of orthodoxy, such as Confessions of Faith and catechisms, are valid and proper in so far as they are in accord with God's revelation, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. (7.3, 14.4)


The religious belief and practice of those who worship false gods. (7.4, 14.4)


The false system which holds that everything is divine, or that God is the soul of the universe, and that God attains personality and self-consciousness only in man. (7.4, 11.3, 14.4)


A story told for the purpose of teaching or emphasizing a point of religious truth. (7.4, 14.4)

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The garden of Eden, which was the home of the human race before the Fall. Also used to mean heaven (Luke 23:44). (7.4, 14.4)


Originally, a park or garden. The Septuagint (earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament) calls the Garden of Eden the Paradise of Eden (Gen. 2:8). In the New Testament, the word Paradise means heaven, as shown by 2 Cor. 12:4 compared with 12:2, and Rev. 2:7 compared with 22:2. (11.1)


That act of God, included in justification, by which the guilt of the sinner is remitted, that the corresponding penalty be not inflicted. (7.4, 14.4)


The forgiveness or remission of sin. It is a mistake to use the term pardon as equivalent to justification, as is often done. Justification is a broader term and includes more than pardon. Pardon includes only the remission of sins; justification includes also the imputation of righteousness to the person. (11.1)

Passion of Christ

Our Saviour's sufferings culminating in His death upon the cross. (7.4, 14.4)

Passion of Christ

A term designating the sufferings of Christ as our Saviour, especially His death on the cross and the sufferings which shortly preceded this. (11.1)


"That calm and unruffled temper with which a good man bears the evils of life" (Buck's Theological Dictionary). (7.4, 14.4)

Patience of God

God's long-suffering or forbearance, by reason of which He waits long before visiting His judgments on men, that they may have opportunity to repent, or be left without excuse. (7.4, 14.4)


The practice, which caused long controversy and great evil in Scotland, by which a Christian congregation is deprived of the right of choosing its own pastor, the minister instead being appointed by some person holding the right of patronage pertaining to that congregation. (14.4)


Heads of families, especially those who lived before the time of Moses, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (7.4, 14.4)


The practice, which caused long controversy and great evil in Scotland, by which a Christian congregation is deprived of the right of choosing its own pastor, the minister instead being appointed by some person holding the right of patronage pertaining to that congregation. (7.4)


A heresy named after Pelagius, a British monk of the fourth century. Pelagianism denied the doctrines of original sin and total depravity, and held that man is saved, not by the sovereign grace of God, but by his own free will. This ancient heresy is akin to the modern heresy of Arminianism. (11.1)


A heretical sect which arose late in the fourth century after Christ, which denied the doctrines of original sin, total depravity, and salvation by free grace alone. (Founded by Pelagius, a British monk; opposed by Augustine, bishop of Hippo in North Africa). (7.4, 14.4)


The five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. (7.4, 11.1, 14.4)


A feast of the Jews, celebrated fifty days after the Passover (Levit. 23:15). (7.4, 14.4)


The taking of an oath in order to tell or confirm a falsehood. (7.4, 14.4)


The doctrine that it is possible for a Christian, in this life, to reach a state where he no longer commits sin. Perfectionists almost invariably define what they mean by “perfection" as something short of the absolute moral ideal which God requires man to live up to. Thus they lower the moral standard of the Bible, in order to hold that the Christian can attain it. In other words, perfectionism teaches that it is possible to reach an imperfect perfection. (11.1)

Perseverance of the Saints

The doctrine that "They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved" (Westminster Confession of Faith, XVII.1). (7.4, 14.4)

Perseverance of the Saints

The Biblical doctrine that those who are truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit can neither totally nor finally fall away from the grace of God, but shall be preserved therein by the power of God and shall certainly inherit eternal life. (11.1)

Personality of God

The truth that God is a Being possessing freedom and self-consciousness, who can call Himself "I" and whom we can call "Thou." (11.3)


A sect of the Jews in the time of Christ which held with zeal to "the traditions of the elders", regarding these as of equal authority with the Scripture itself. They were characterized by religious earnestness and zeal, accompanied by legalism, formalism and hypocrisy. (7.4, 14.4)


Originally a religious awakening in the Lutheran Churches of Europe in the latter part of the 17th century. This movement tended to set up an antithesis between personal Christian experience, on the one hand, and creeds, doctrinal orthodoxy and church organization, on the other hand. Today the term Pietism is used to designate a type of religion which strongly emphasizes the regeneration and sanctification of the individual Christian, while it regards "the world" not as something which the Christian should influence for righteousness, but as something from which the Christian should withdraw lest his holiness be contaminated by contact with it. (12.4)

Pious Frauds

"Those artifices and falsehoods made use of in propagating the truth, and endeavoring to promote the spiritual interests of mankind" (Buck's Theological Dictionary). (Pious frauds are forbidden by Scripture: Rom. 3:8). (7.4, 14.4)

Plenary Inspiration of the Scripture

The doctrine that the Scripture is fully inspired of God, so that not only the ideas but the very words of the genuine text in the original Hebrew and Greek are the Word of God, completely free from errors of whatever kind. (8.1)


The state of having more wives than one at the same time. This is contrary to the original institution of marriage (Gen. 2:24). During the Old Testament period polygamy was temporarily tolerated but not actually sanctioned by God; its worst features were restricted by God's law, pending its complete elimination. (8.1)

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Belief in many gods. (8.1, 11.3)


The title claimed by the Bishop of Rome as supreme earthly head of the Roman Catholic Church. ("Pope" originally meant "father"). (There is no other head of the Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof...."—Westminster Confession, XXV.6). (8.1)


The system of doctrines and practices maintained by the Roman Catholic Church. This system is chiefly summarized in the Decrees of the Council of Trent, A. D. 1545-1563. It is a mixture of truth and error; giving false answers to the crucial questions about the way of salvation, it must be adjudged, as a system, to be false. (8.1)


The system of philosophy which holds that the only real knowledge is knowledge of phenomena, that is, knowledge of facts obtained through our senses, such as sight and hearing. This philosophy is destructive of Christianity because it teaches that it is impossible to have any real knowledge of God or of the human soul. (11.1, 19.2)


That view of the Last Things which holds that the second coming of Christ will take place following the close of a long period of world-wide peace and righteousness (but not absolute perfection without sin or death) called "the Millennium" or "the Kingdom of God." Orthodox Postmillennialism accepts the supernatural Christianity of the Scriptures, and holds that the Millennium will be brought about by the power of God, partly, at least, through evangelism, missionary work, the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men, and the application of Christian ethical principles to society. (13.1)


"Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies" (S.C. 98). (8.1)


The public proclamation and application of the Word of God, by one who has been duly approved and called to the office of the ministry of the Word. (See The Larger Catechism, Q. 158, 159. Strictly speaking, preaching is a function of ordained ministers and licentiates, in distinction from exhorting which may properly be done by other Christians). (8.1)


A prehistoric race of human beings held by some to have existed before the creation of Adam and Eve. There is no Biblical basis for such an idea, and the Biblical data which are alleged to support it have, when legitimately interpreted, no such implication. (11.1)


"The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass" (S.C. 7). (8.1)


That view of the Last Things which holds that the second coming of Christ will be followed by a period of world-wide peace and righteousness, before the end of the world, called "the Millennium" or "the Kingdom of God," during which Christ will reign as King in person on this earth. Premillennialists are divided into various groups by their different views of the order of events associated with the second coming of Christ, but they all agree in holding that there will be a millennium on earth AFTER the second coming of Christ but BEFORE the end of the world. (13.1)


Literally, an elder. Presbyters are officers of the New Testament Church, of two classes: (1) those who only rule (today called "elders" or "ruling elders"); (2) those who in addition to ruling also teach or preach (today called "ministers"). All ministers and all ruling elders are presbyters. (8.1)

Pre-existence of Jesus Christ

The doctrine that Jesus Christ, before his birth of the Virgin Mary, existed from all eternity as the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. ( See Shorter Catechism, Q. 21,22). (8.1)


That form of church government in which the church is governed by a plurality of presbyters (ministers and ruling elders) in a series of graded courts of which the highest is a synod or general assembly. (See article "Bible Authority for Sessions, Presbyteries and Synods", by the Rev. Frank D. Frazer, in "Blue Banner Faith and Life", July-September 1952, pages 119-123). (8.1, 19.2))


A trial or test of someone or something. The situation in which God placed Adam and Eve, commonly called the Covenant of Life or Covenant of Works, was essentially a test or probation with regard to their obedience to God. (11.1)


"Any person who makes an open acknowledgment of the religion of Christ, or who outwardly manifests his attachments to Christianity. All real Christians are professors, but all professors are not real Christians" (Buck's Theological Dictionary). (8.1, 19.2)


A satisfaction of the violated holiness of God by the sacrifice of a Substitute provided by and acceptable to God. Christ by His death on the cross is the propitiation for our sins. (11.1)


Those who adhere to the evangelical religion of the Bible over against the doctrines and claims of the Roman Catholic Church. The name "Protestants" was first given in Germany in 1529 to the adherents of the Reformer Martin Luther because they protested against a decree of the emperor Charles V and the Diet of Spires, and appealed to a general council of the church. (8.1, 19.2)


"God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions" (S.C. 11). (8.1, 19.2)


"God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions" (S.C. 11). Providence is God's constant support and control of the universe and all it contains so that God's eternal purpose for the whole and for every part is infallibly accomplished. (11.1)


An optimistic belief in human betterment and progress which serves Modernists and Liberals as a substitute for belief in the Biblical prophecies concerning the Last Things. Pseudo-Postmillennialism believes that the Kingdom of God will be achieved gradually through a NATURAL process by which social institutions will be reformed and "Christianized." This differs from orthodox Postmillennialism in that it regards the coming of the Kingdom of God as the product of the operation of natural laws in an evolutionary process, whereas orthodox Postmillennialism regards the coming of the Kingdom of God as the product of the SUPERNATURAL working of the Holy Spirit in connection with the preaching of the Gospel and the expansion of Christianity in the world. (13.1)


According to Roman Catholic theology, purgatory is the state in which persons who die guilty of venial (slight) sins, or have not fully satisfied for the punishment due on account of their sins, suffer for a period of time. According to this doctrine, all souls in purgatory will eventually enter heaven. (The doctrine of purgatory is wholly without Scriptural support, and is contrary to the Bible truth that the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. See the Westminster Confession of Faith, XXXII.1, which, after speaking of heaven and hell, adds: "Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.") (8.1, 19.2))


That party in the Church of England in the 17th Century that sought a greater degree of reformation and purity of the Church than had yet been attained. (After the passing of the Act of Uniformity, 1662, the Puritans were commonly called Nonconformists, and later Dissenters). (8.1, 11.1, 19.2)


A religious sect, properly called the Society of Friends, which arose in England in the 17th century and soon spread to various countries of Europe and to America. The chief distinguishing characteristics of the Friends are (1) their Mysticism, by which their highest authority is the "inner light" rather than the written Word; (2) their rejection of Baptism and the Lord's Supper as unnecessary; and (3) their Pacifism, or conscientious refusal to participate in war. There are now in America four associations of Friends, with a total of 639 local societies and 88,383 members. (8.2)


The doctrine that the human faculty of reason is the supreme authority for faith and life. (11.3)

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The great religious movement of the 16th century, beginning with the work of Martin Luther, by which the original truth and purity of Christianity, which had become corrupted by grievous error during the Middle Ages, were in large measure restored. The Protestant churches, which arose out of the Reformation, are not new churches, as maintained by Roman Catholics, but a return to the true Christianity set forth in the Word of God. The fact that the Protestant bodies do not have a formal history before Luther's time does not prove that they are new and therefore false. What counts is not mere continuity of organization, but identity of teaching with that of the apostles. (8.2)

Reformed Faith

That interpretation of Christianity which gives full recognition to the absolute sovereignty of God and to man's absolute dependence upon God for every factor of his faith, salvation and life. Also called Calvinism. (11.1)

Reformed Theology

The theology which sets forth the Reformed Faith, or Calvinism. (11.1)


That supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which a sinner is instantaneously changed from being dead in trespasses and sins to being a new creature in Christ Jesus. In regeneration the dominant bent or tendency of the soul is, by the almighty power of God, recreated holy and good. In Scripture this is also called being "born again", "the washing of regeneration", the "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), being "begotten of God", etc. (8.2)


The act of God the Holy Spirit by which a Human person, previously dead in trespasses and sins, is supernaturally made spiritually alive. Logically considered, faith in Christ is the effect, not the cause, of regeneration, though in point of time the two may be almost simultaneous. (11.1)


"Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, cloth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience" (S.C. 87). (8.2)


That element in the eternal decree of God by which those whom He has chosen to pass by and not elect unto eternal life, are foreordained to eternal dishonor and wrath to be inflicted on them as the just punishment of their own sin. (See Westminster Confession of Faith, III.7). (8.2)


That act of justice by which we restore to our neighbor whatever we have unjustly deprived him of (Buck's Theological Dictionary). Our repentance will not be accepted by God unless we make proper restitution where it is possible to do so. (8.2)


The supernatural event which will immediately follow the second coming of Christ, in which the bodies of all the dead shall be raised to life and reunited with their souls for ever. (8.2)

Resurrection Body

The body as raised from the dead at the Last Day, in some way identical with the body that died and was buried yet different in its properties; in the case of the redeemed, a body spiritual, incorruptible, like Christ's glorious body. (8.2)

Resurrection of Christ

Christ's rising from the tomb on the third day following His death, according to the Scriptures, in the identical body in which He suffered, but glorified. (8.2)


An activity of God by which He communicates truth to men. (8.2, 11.3)

Natural Revelation

God's communication of truth to men through the world of nature, including the human heart and conscience. Also called General Revelation. (11.3)

Supernatural Revelation

God's communication of truth to men directly, apart from His natural revelation. Also called Special Revelation. (11.3)


Moral perfection, uprightness or virtue. (8.2)

Righteousness of God

The infinite moral perfection of God's being and of all His relations to His creatures. Also called the justice of God. (8.2)

Rule of Faith and Life

"The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him." (S.C. 2). (11.3)


The day appointed by God to be kept holy unto Himself, which is, since the resurrection of Christ, the first day of the week, to continue unto the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath. (8.2)


The sin of treating something sacred or pertaining to God as if it were common or profane. (8.2)


A sect of the Jews in the time of Christ, who had control of the priesthood and temple worship, and opposed the principles of the Pharisees. They denied the resurrection of the body, the existence of angels and spirits, and the doctrine of foreordination or predestination. They were materialistic, worldly and self-satisfied. (8.2)


The name applied by the New Testament to all Christians, meaning "holy person". (8.2)


This term is used in the general sense of preservation or deliverance from any kind of trouble or danger (as I Sam. 19:5); but more particularly, it is used to describe that work of God, through the mediation of Christ and the application of the Holy Spirit, by which His people are delivered from sin, wrath and hell, and brought into union and communion with Himself. (8.3)


"Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness" (S.C. 35). (8.3)


(also spelled Sanhedrin). The highest Jewish governmental assembly in the time when Jesus Christ was on earth. In the King James Version the word "council" is used. (8.3)


Literally, "adversary." Satan is that spiritual being who is the chief adversary of God and His people. He is called in Scripture Apollyon (Destroyer), the devil (slanderer), the prince of this world, the father of lies, the old serpent, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience, the god of this world. Scripture teaches that Satan is real, personal, intelligent, desperately ,wicked, utterly contrary to God, and of great but strictly limited power. (8.3)


The head and ruler of the kingdom of evil, also called the devil. The Bible teaches the real existence and personality of Satan. (11.1)


One who saves. In the general sense a saviour is anyone who saves from any evil or danger (1 Kings 13:5; Neh. 9:27). In the general sense, God is called "the Saviour of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10). Specifically, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14). The New Testament, as well as the Old, often speaks of God as our Saviour. Of course God is Our Saviour from sin and wrath only through the mediation of Jesus Christ. (8.3)


One whose religious attitude is that of doubt rather than that of faith; in particular, one who doubts the existence of God, the truth of the Bible, the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, etc. (8.4)

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An unjustifiable division in the Visible Church. (In every case of denominational division, at least one party is guilty of the sin of schism. The guilt does not necessarily rest upon the minority or separating party; it may rest upon the party separated from, which by defection from the truth may have made the separation necessary. (See R. P. Testimony, XXI.5). (8.4)


"One who treats any person or thing with contempt" (Buck's Theological Dictionary). A common form of religious scorning is the contemptuous rejection of some doctrine or principle which the scorner does not understand, and will not take the trouble to study. Those who say that, no matter what the Bible teaches, they will not believe in the doctrine of predestination, are religious scorners. (8.4)


The Christian duty of calling ourselves strictly to account, in the light of God's Word, for our attitudes, thoughts, actions and neglects. It is a Scriptural duty (2 Cor. 13:5), and to be specially exercised in connection with the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:28). (8.4)

Self-existence of God

The truth that God exists of Himself, independently of all other beings, without a cause, without an origin, and without a purpose outside of Himself. (The same truth is sometimes expressed by saying that God is a self-contained Being). (11.3)


One of the forms or manifestations of sin, by which a person seeks to please himself without regard to the needs or rights of others. It is sometimes stated that selfishness is the essence of sin, but this is an error. The essence of sin is not selfishness, but enmity to God. An act may be unselfish, and yet sinful, as for example when someone gives his life as a martyr for a false religion. (11.1)


The Greek translation of the Old Testament, made in Egypt about 285-150 B.C. It is called the "Septuagint" from the Latin word for "seventy" because of a tradition that the work of translation was done by 70 scholars (more precisely, 72, but 70 was preferred as a round number). This version of the Old Testament is often designated by the abbreviation LXX. (8.4)


The sin of obtaining, or attempting to obtain, any church office by bribery or other corrupt practices. The name "simony" is derived from Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24), who attempted to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit with money. Simony is a violation of the Second Commandment; see Westminster Larger Catechism, 109. (8.4)


"Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God" (S. C. 14). (9.1, 15.4)


A heresy founded by two Italian theologians, Laelius Socinus and his nephew Faustus Socinus, in the Reformation period. Socinianism was quite similar to the Modernism of the present day, denying the Deity of Jesus Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the imputed righteousness of Christ, original sin and predestination, and teaching that salvation is a matter of following the example of Jesus Christ. This heresy flourished especially in Poland in the 16th century. (9.1, 15.4)

Sorrow for Sin

True sorrow for sin, or godly sorrow, is that contrition produced by the special work of the Holy Spirit in the soul, which leads to real and hearty repentance and to salvation. It is a sorrow, not merely for the consequences or penalty of sin, but for the sin itself, as something hateful and contrary to the holiness of God. Godly sorrow is distinguished from "the sorrow of the world" or mere remorse, which does not spring from the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul, and does not lead to salvation. (9.1, 15.4)


The non-material component of the human personality, also called spirit. Man is a composite being consisting of a body formed from dust and a soul or spirit that can never die. (9.1, 15.4)

Sovereignty of God

God's absolute, unquestionable, unchallengeable right and power to deal with, determine and dispose all His creatures as seems good in His sight. By the sovereignty of God is meant not merely that God possesses this power and right in the abstract, or potentially, but that He actually determines and controls all that ever comes to pass, in all matters both great and small, throughout the entire created universe. (9.1, 15.4)

Sovereignty of God

The absolute, unchallengable authority of God over the entire universe, by which He orders everything for His own glory, according to the counsel of His own will. (11.3)

Spiritual Man

A man who is indwelt and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Holy Trinity. The very common notion that a spiritual man is a man in whom the human spirit controls the rest of the personality is false and unscriptural. In Paul's Epistles, from which the term "spiritual man" is derived, the adjective "spiritual" refers to the Spirit of God, not to the spirit of man. In the Bible "spiritual" does not mean "religious" or "devotional", as many people wrongly suppose. (9.1, 15.4)


The authority by which something is measured, regulated or directed. (12.4)

Standard of Christian Ethics

The revealed will of God, in the Scriptures, by which right and wrong are to be distinguished and known. (12.4)

Supererogation, Works of

The Roman Catholic concept of good works performed over and above what it is one's duty to do. It is held that many "saints" in the history of the Church have done much more good than what God required of them, and that Christians today may do the same. This whole notion is false and unscriptural. When Christians have done their utmost they still fall far short of what God requires of them. (9.1, 15.4)

Textual Criticism

That science which, by a methodical comparison of manuscripts and other ancient evidence, seeks to eliminate errors which have occurred in the process of copying, and thus to determine the genuine text of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. (11.3)


The truth that there is a personal, almighty God, who is the Creator and Ruler of all things and is distinct from the universe. (11.3)


That science which deals with God, His being, attributes and works. Many people today speak contemptuously of theology, but it is sinful to do so. When people regard theology with contempt, they are regarding the knowledge of God with contempt. (9.1, 15.4)


The allowance, by authorities of church or state, of religious beliefs or practices which are not fully approved. (9.2)


Something handed down from generation to generation. In theology, tradition is distinguished from Scripture. For example, we know from Scripture that Paul was an apostle; but the idea that he was beheaded under Nero rests on tradition. (9.2)

Transcendence of God

The truth that God is not only distinct from the universe, but also far above, behind and beyond it, and that there is absolutely nothing beyond God. (The Bible expresses this by saying that God dwells on high). (11.3)


(1) God's act of taking Enoch and Elijah to heaven without their dying (Heb. 11:5). (2) The reproduction of the Bible, or any other writings, in a language different from that in which they were originally written. The product of translation is called a Version. (9.2)

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The dogma of the Roman Catholic Church which teaches that in the Lord's Supper the elements of bread and wine are miraculously changed into the true body and blood of Christ. (9.2)

Trinity of God

The truth that the one God exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. (11.3)


That which is in harmony with the nature of God, and is therefore the opposite of falsehood. (9.2)


An embodiment, in an earlier stage of sacred history in a limited way, of some truth which is embodied in a later stage of sacred history in absolute fulness. The fulfillment of a type is called the Antitype (that which corresponds to the type). Thus David was a type of Christ as King; Christ is the anti-type of King David. (9.2)


Refusal to give assent to testimony; especially, the refusal of a sinner to accept the testimony of God's Word concerning His Son Jesus Christ and the way of salvation. In a more general sense religious unbelief includes all refusal to accept as truth anything taught in the Bible. (9.2)


A religious denomination which denies the doctrines of the Trinity, and teaches that there is only one person in the God-head, namely the Father. Unitarians deny the true deity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Unitarian views are held by many Modernists who are not members of the Unitarian Church. (9.2)

Unity of God

The truth that there is only one living and true God. (11.3)


A religious denomination which holds that all human beings will ultimately be saved and inherit eternal life. This is of course contrary to the plain teaching of the Bible. (9.2)


A solemn promise made to God. (See Oath). (9.2)


A sect of Christians, chiefly of Italy and France, which originated in the later Middle Ages, and adhered to many teachings of Biblical Christianity, over against the corresponding errors of the Roman Catholic Church. (9.2)

Wrath of God

God's holy and righteous indignation against sin and sinners as being utterly contrary to His own nature, and therefore deserving of punishment. (Rom. 1:18). (9.2)


A passionate, burning enthusiasm or earnest desire to support any person or cause. Zeal may be either sinful or righteous, depending on the character and motives of the zealous person, and the object of his zeal. (9.2)

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