Questions tagged [terminology]

questions regarding the meaning or usage of Christian terminology

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32
votes
3answers
14k 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 ...
18
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6answers
2k 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 ...
23
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14answers
22k 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 ...
20
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5answers
13k 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 ...
17
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3answers
6k 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"?
27
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3answers
36k 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 ...
15
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4answers
2k 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?
14
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4answers
4k views

Heaven/Paradise/Sheol, Hell/Hades/The Lake of Fire [closed]

What is the difference between Heaven/Paradise/Sheol How about Hell/Hades/The Lake of Fire? Are they synonyms, are they different places?
11
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3answers
8k 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 ...
46
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6answers
111k 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?
22
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4answers
10k 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
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1answer
366 views

At what point did the Roman See start self-identifying as the Catholic Church?

The Great (East-West) Schism was a massive trainwreck centuries in the making and centuries in its outworking. At what point in the process did the Roman see start identifying itself as the Catholic ...
3
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4answers
2k 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 ...
80
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13answers
43k 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 ...
12
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5answers
8k 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 ...
13
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5answers
2k 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 ...
16
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3answers
3k 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 ...
15
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3answers
5k 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
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4answers
668 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
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5answers
206k 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.
16
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2answers
3k 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 ...
11
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1answer
440 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 ...
5
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1answer
161 views

At what point did the Eastern Church start self-identifying as the Orthodox Church?

The Great (East-West) Schism was a massive trainwreck centuries in the making and centuries in its outworking. At what point in the process did the Eastern Church start identifying itself as the ...
17
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3answers
19k views

What is the biblical meaning of “sanctification”? [closed]

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 ...
10
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
525 views

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

What are the main differences between the Catholic and Protestant definitions of Biblical inerrancy? Please include a summary of both the Catholic and Protestant definitions in the answer.
2
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2answers
3k views

What are the main differences between Reformed Protestant Biblical Theology and Covenant Theology?

I have mostly studied theology by people who have their views labeled as Covenant Theology, by the label makers. Recently, I have studied views of some who prefer the label, Biblical Theology. I have ...
2
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0answers
113 views

What is the Roman Catholic view on using the term 'orthodox', particularly in regard to Eastern Orthodoxy?

The terms orthodox and catholic have immense significance to those that seek to make exclusive truth claims about their particular Christian Tradition. Both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox trace ...
10
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2answers
539 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 ...
5
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2answers
624 views

How do the Eastern Orthodox view using the term 'catholic', particularly in regard to Roman Catholicism?

The terms orthodox and catholic have immense significance to those that seek to make exclusive truth claims about their particular Christian Tradition. Both Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox trace ...
11
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4answers
1k 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 ...
22
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3answers
925 views

What are the main tenets and/or beliefs of the 'Emergent' Church?

'Emergent' is a word I see gets thrown around a lot. Is there any definition to what is and what isn't emergent? Is it a catch-all for certain points of view? Are there people out there that ...
18
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5answers
32k 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 the ...
19
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1answer
53k 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 ...
15
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3answers
27k 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?
15
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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 ...
12
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2answers
43k 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 ...
8
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2answers
36k views

In Catholicism, 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 ...
6
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3answers
213 views

When the early church was formalising the canon, what did they understand by the word 'Inspired'?

When the early church was formalising the Biblical canon, what specific definition of the word 'inspired' did they have in regard to the biblical literature? I'm curious about how this relates to the ...
15
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3answers
11k 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
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3answers
387 views

What is Messianic Judaism?

What are the main differences between Messianic Judaism and Christianity? How does the idea of the Trinity differ? Hopefully this can be answered by someone who considers themselves to be Messianic ...
9
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2answers
5k 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 ...
8
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2answers
227 views

What is the origin of the term Prima Scriptura and the background against which it was defined?

Prima Scriptura is the doctrine that canonized scripture is "first" or "above all" other sources of divine revelation. Implicitly, this view acknowledges that, besides canonical scripture, there ...
8
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1answer
6k views

What is the distinction between a sacrament and an ordinance?

I have observed that Catholics and some other denominations call certain things they do "sacraments", and Protestants call certain things they do "ordinances". I am not a Christian, but as an ...
8
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1answer
468 views

Creed, Encyclical, Decretal, Canon, Bull, etc - What's the difference?

In Catholicism, what is the difference between a Creed, an Encyclical, a Decretal, a Canon and a Papal Bull? Are there any other decrees or formal or informal outlines of official church doctrine used ...
7
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1answer
235 views

Has the term “born again” always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church?

Has the term "born again" always been synonymous with baptism with the Christians of the Early Church? St. Irenaeus (202) wrote the following in 185, which many claim it refers to infant baptism: ...
4
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2answers
15k views

What is temptation? [closed]

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 ...
19
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4answers
29k 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
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2answers
277 views

Can Christianity be objectively defined? [closed]

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 ...
12
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4answers
1k 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?