questions asking for clarification of a theological term

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22
votes
2answers
10k views

From a Fundamentalist standpoint, what does the phrase “Inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God” mean?

Many denominations teach that the Bible is the "inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God." Detractors of Christianity, and even some denominations within Christianity, disagree with all or some of ...
21
votes
14answers
17k views

What exactly does it mean that Jesus Christ is the son of God?

What does it mean to a Christian that Christ is the son of God? On the one hand, obviously, the normal biological meaning of son does not apply. On the other hand, "we are all children of God", but ...
17
votes
6answers
941 views

What is “faith?” [closed]

The Bible and Christians talk about faith a lot. Matthew 12:32 talks about "faith as a mustard seed" for instance. I've heard many Christians say things like "I don't have enough faith," or "I want ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

What is meant by “God is Omnipotent”?

I'm questioning my own understanding of the term "Omnipotence" in response so a comment on one of my answers. In the comment, the poster included a definition of Omnipotence taken from the Wikipeda ...
34
votes
5answers
67k views

Why are Matthew, Mark, and Luke called the synoptic gospels?

The first three gospels are sometimes known as the "synoptic" gospels. What does this term mean, and how does it differentiate them from the gospel of John?
21
votes
3answers
15k views

What is the difference between Evangelical and Protestant?

Just the other day, I heard somebody talking politics and contrasted the Roman Catholic church's political influence with "the Evangelical vote". In this sense, as is often done in US media, the word ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Heaven/Paradise/Sheol, Hell/Hades/The Lake of Fire

What is the difference between Heaven/Paradise/Sheol How about Hell/Hades/The Lake of Fire? Are they synonyms, are they different places?
1
vote
4answers
606 views

What is the difference between original sin and original guilt?

This is a question that every convert to Eastern Orthodoxy always asked. The question can be stated differently: Does the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin include Original Guilt? Fr. John Romanides ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Do Jehovah's Witnesses use different language for theological reasons?

They don't have churches: they have Kingdom Halls (though it's not wrong to refer to a Kingdom Hall as a type of church). They don't have hymns: they have Kingdom Songs (though it's not wrong to ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

What does “scripture” mean in NT writing?

This is slightly a take-off from: What does it mean that all scripture is God-Breathed? The Bible as we know it today wasn't canonized and compiled into a single volume until much later. In ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

When talking about the Trinity, what does “persons” mean?

The triune God is defined as three persons equal in nature. What does "persons" mean in this statement? Can the word "persons" be replaced with "personalities" or "roles"?
19
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the difference between 'Biblical' and 'Systematic' theology?

Particularly among Protestant traditions, it is common to classify books and classes that cover broad looks at theological issues as either 'Biblical' or 'Systematic'. Sometimes this is even extended ...
12
votes
5answers
898 views

In what different ways is the word “cult” used as a label inside Christianity?

The word "cult" gets bandied about quite a bit, but is there an official definition or some kind of formula which can be used to consistently identify whether a group is a cult or not? Baring an ...
66
votes
12answers
16k views

When the Bible talks about wine does it mean alcoholic wine?

In discussions I have had in the past over the acceptability of a Christian drinking alcohol I have heard that some 'dry' believers say that the wine in the Bible was not wine as we know it commonly ...
13
votes
3answers
890 views

What is an apostle?

Often the apostles are referred to as "the twelve apostles" - the twelve disciples called by name by Jesus. But Paul called himself and Barnabus apostles. Were Paul and Barnabus really apostles?
10
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the difference between a dogma, a doctrine, an infallible statement, an ex cathedra statement, etc.?

There are a variety of terms used in the Catholic Church to refer to particular statements or beliefs. Here are a number of some such terms: Dogma Doctrine Infallible statement Infallible papal ...
7
votes
4answers
334 views

What is “heresy”?

I have seen the word "heresy" used on this site a lot recently (and have used it myself a couple of times in jest) but I was wondering if someone could explain the meaning of this term as it is used ...
15
votes
5answers
140k views

What is the difference between a pastor, a priest, and a minister?

No, this is not the start of a joke about a bunch of people walking into a bar. Rather, I thought it would be helpful to clarify various titles that people give to leadership roles in churches.
10
votes
4answers
978 views

What is the Biblical support for Hell as a singular concept?

One of the common tenets of Christian Universalism (as well as Annihilationism) is the non-existence of Hell as an eternal punishment for non-Christians, that everyone has been granted salvation ...
16
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the biblical meaning of “sanctification”?

I understand that sanctification is used as a post-reformational theological term to refer to the ongoing process of Christian growth. But, biblically speaking, is this always what is meant? I know ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

What does it mean to “be saved” [closed]

It seems common in Christian communities (and in questions on this site) for people to say they have been saved. What does someone mean by this when they say it? How would I know that I have been ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the significance of the Bible to Christianity? [closed]

What exactly is the significance of the Bible to Christianity? Is Christianity defined by the Bible? If so, is belief in the Bible the most important (or foundational) belief in Christianity? Is ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “catholicism” and “catholic”?

In the Apostle's Creed, the term "catholic" is used in describing the reciter's belief: I believe ... in the holy catholic church This creed is used by a wide variety of denominations, and ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the Catholic concept of grace?

This question reminded me of a question I've had for a long time: What is the Catholic concept of grace? A look at the dictionary says: grace [greys] noun favor or goodwill. Synonyms: ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How does the New Testament define a Christian and a non-Christian, a brother in Christ and not a brother in Christ? [closed]

How does the New Testament define a brother in Christ? According to the New Testament, what makes a human a brother in Christ? And also, according to the New Testament, which people are definitely not ...
12
votes
4answers
871 views

What does “predestination” mean? [closed]

What is the concept of predestination? Are there different denominations that believe in predestination but have differences in what they believe about it? If so, what are the differences?
13
votes
3answers
18k views

What does it mean to “Bless the LORD”?

Psalm 103:1-2 (KJV) Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits What does it mean to say "Bless ...
9
votes
1answer
338 views

Is veneration worship?

I answered this question calling adoration and veneration honor given to God and the saints accordingly. If you look at the edits for my answer, I think I had some confusion as to the terminology ...
8
votes
1answer
628 views

How are prayer and asking the saints to intercede distinguished?

The Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches encourage us to ask the dead saints to intercede for us. To quote from Software Monkey's answer to another question: First off, it's useful to understand ...
7
votes
3answers
21k views

What is the difference between Natural Law and Divine Law?

In Catholic understanding, there is a divine law and a natural law. Based on my reading, it seems like Divine Law = Revelation (as a Protestant would call it) and Natural Law = what you could deduce ...
5
votes
3answers
351 views

What are the main differences between the Catholic and Protestant definitions of Biblical inerrancy?

Given the Protestant definition in this selected answer to From a Fundamentalist standpoint, what does the phrase “Inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God” mean? | @DavidStratton, What are the ...
17
votes
4answers
13k views

What is the difference between Reformed and Presbyterian

I feel like this is a dumb question, but maybe, just maybe, I'm not the only one confused by this. Maybe if I'm willing to stick my neck out and look stupid, the answer will be here for those poor ...
13
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the difference between “infallible” and “inerrant”?

As with many others I know, I believe in both the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. But what is the difference between these two important terms? If something has no errors (inerrant), then ...
12
votes
3answers
19k views

What does INRI stand for?

On the crucifix there is sometimes a plate above Jesus' head that has the letters INRI. What does INRI mean or stand for? Why is it there?
9
votes
2answers
299 views

What's the basic premise behind “restorationist” movements?

To the untrained ear, the labels used in Christian circles for some groups of churches as either "reformational" or "restorationist" don't seem that different. If the label "reformed" is a direct ...
9
votes
2answers
21k views

Is there a difference between prayer and petition?

Philippians 4:6 uses two words, possibly implying a difference between prayer and petition. Can someone explain what this difference is? Philippians 4:6 (NIV) 6  Do not be anxious about ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Are “sin” and “transgression” different in LDS terminology?

I noticed in the opening address at the October 2012 General Conference, that -- at least in the context of a speech -- the terms "sin" and "transgression" were stressed independently and each more ...
14
votes
2answers
221 views

Can Christianity be objectively defined?

Orthodox Christianity is considered to be what comes from the Old and New Testament but many denominations/religions call themselves Christians without adhering strictly to the Bible as we know it ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

What does the Good News refer to?

What is the Good News? Is there a different meaning when Jesus mentions it and when Paul does? Edit: I'll clarify my question. Jesus mentions the Good News (or "gospel" in some translations) in ...
6
votes
1answer
370 views

Who is Ba'al from the Old Testament?

Judges 6:31 NIV But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If ...
5
votes
4answers
337 views

Catholic view of Biblical saints

Saints are present throughout the Bible. In my understanding, Protestant use of this word applies to all believers, which I understand is the New Testament (and OT?) meaning of the word. In my ...
16
votes
1answer
27k views

Why do Mormons use the term “elder” for their missionaries?

Most of the Mormon missionaries I've encountered are young men doing a couple year stint. They are typically identified as "elders", but my understanding is that this designation is only temporary ...
5
votes
4answers
352 views

Does Catholicism confound the role of “elder” and “priest”?

I am somewhat interested in joining the Roman Catholic Church, but there are some things that I've had to further investigate, one of which is the role of "elder" and "priest" in the Roman Catholic ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

What is temptation?

Temptation, in the common secular sense, seems to indicate an attraction to something. Temptation The act of tempting The condition of being tempted. Something attractive, tempting or ...
16
votes
2answers
71k views

When did “tithing” come to mean “giving 10% of your gross income to the Church”?

I know the word "tithe" has "tenth" built into it, and so some Christians assume that every usage of the word "tithe" in Scripture is referring to "giving 10% of your gross income to the church." But ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the reasons for calling oneself a “follower of Jesus” rather than a Christian?

In the last several years, I've noticed a trend of people who reject the label "Christian," and instead prefer to use terms like "Christ follower" or "follower of Jesus." (Not to be confused with ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

What do Christians mean by “holy”?

What is the meaning of the word holy from a Christian viewpoint? I observed that the term is used for the gods, especially the Holy God (Father) and Holy Ghost; persons, such as the holy apostles, ...
10
votes
3answers
307 views

What is fundamentalism?

John Piper provides a list of traits that he respects about fundamentalists, yet he does not consider himself one. In the context of Christianity (of course), what is a fundamentalist? And ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it fair to say that Baptists have a liturgy?

One distinctive of Baptists and many other congregational churches is that they have no prescribed method of worship. Unlike, say, an Episcopalian or a Roman Catholic, there is no prayer book and no ...
9
votes
2answers
820 views

What is the difference between 'Hell', 'Sheol', 'Hades' and 'Gehenna'?

In Western imagination, Hell is a place of everlasting torment and suffering for the wicked. Brunlesschi's painting in Florence's Duomo illustrates it well: The word 'Hell' itself, however, doesn't ...