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Glossary

by
04 March 2016

Andrew Davison supplies some useful definitions

Apologetics: art and act of giving a defence (Greek, apología) for one’s faith (1 Peter 3.15).

Arminianism: theological outlook framed by James Arminius (1560-1609), in rejection of tendencies in Calvinism; places relative emphasis on human freedom.

Deification/theosis: approach to salvation that stresses participation in divine nature (2 Peter 1.4).

Kerygma: Greek “preaching” or “proclamation” — used especially of kernel of early Christian message. Limited atonement: proposal within forms of Calvinism that Christ died only for those chosen for salvation by God.

Pelagianism: heresy associated with Pelegius (c.360-418); downplays effect of sin; condemned at the Council of Ephesus (431).

Praeambula fidei: Latin “preliminaries to faith” — what reason can offer as pointing towards faith in God.

Pre- and Post-lapsarian: before and after the Fall (Latin lapsus).

Prevenient grace: grace of God that “comes before” (Latin prae- plus venire) human response to God, preparing the way.

Purgatory: temporary state between death and final judgement, during which transforming work of grace is brought to perfection; so that redeemed may be presented to God “without spot or wrinkle. . . holy and without blemish” (Ephesians. 5.27). Rejected by the Church of England in corrupt form found in the late-Middle Ages (“Romish” form of doctrine, Articles of Religion 22, as now also rejected by the Roman Catholic Church), but widely accepted by Anglicans in chastened form (see Doctrine Commission, 1938 report).

Semi-Pelagianism: heresy presented as a weakened form of Pelagianism, with some room for grace, but still seeing first step in salvation as coming from human turn to God (see prevenient grace), with divine grace as simply aiding the human being.

Session of Christ: sitting of Christ (Latin sessio, “I sit”) at the right hand of Father following Ascension.

Seven deadly sins: more properly seven capital sins (Latin caput, head) — sins particularly liable to lead to (stand at the head of) other sins.

Soteriology: doctrinal consideration of salvation

Substitution (of various sorts): accounts of atonement that stress Christ standing in our place, at first to offer penance (Aquinas) or honour (Anselm) to God, but later, and especially in Protestant theology, to receive punishment.

Mortal and venial sins: sins that do not, and do, respectively, cut off life of grace (on the basis of 1 John 5.17).

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