Glossary of Terms ‘L-O’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14, 2010 at 6:23PM. Copyright 2010.

Laity
The members of the church who are not in the clergy. Though, in my opinion, we are all part of a royal priesthood.

Law
The Law is God’s instructions concerning the moral, social, and spiritual behavior of His people found in the first five books of the Bible. The Law is the very reflection of the nature of God because God speaks out of the abundance of what is in Him. Therefore, since God is pure, the Law is pure. Since God is holy, the Law is holy. The Law consists of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), rules for social life (Exodus 21-23), and rules for the worship of God (Exodus 25-31). It was a covenant of works between God and man and was (and is) unable to deliver us into eternal fellowship with the Lord because of Man’s inability to keep it. The Law is a difficult taskmaster because it requires that we maintain a perfect standard of moral behavior. And then when we fail, the Law condemns us to death. We deserve death even if we fail to keep just one point of the law: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). The law made nothing perfect (Heb 7:19). That is why the Law has shown us our need for Jesus and the free gift we receive through Him (Gal 3:24).

Law of Non-Contradiction
The Law of non-contradiction is the law that something cannot be both true and not true at the same time when dealing with the same context. For example, the chair in my living room, right now, cannot be made of wood and not made of wood at the same time. In the law of non-contradiction, where we have a set of statements about a subject, we cannot have any of the statements in that set negate the truth of any other statement in that same set. For example, we have a set of two statements about Judas. 1) Judas hung himself. 2) Judas fell down and his bowels spilled out. Neither statement about Judas contradicts the other. That is, neither statement makes the other impossible because neither excludes the possibility of the other. The statements can be harmonized by stating: Judas hung himself and then his body fell down and his bowels spilled out. In order to make the set of statements contradictory, we would have something like: 1 Judas hung himself. 2 Judas did not hang himself. Since either statement excludes the possibility of the other, we would then have a contradiction.

Laying On of Hands
Physical contact by touching of the hands. In the OT and NT it was sometimes used in reference to doing physical harm (Gen. 22:12; Luke 20:19). In the NT it is also used to signify an attempt at healing (Acts 9:12) and commissioning of Holy Work (1 Tim. 4:14). Usually, during the ordination of an elder, hands are laid on him as symbolic of a transfer of authority and power.

Liberalism
In Christianity, the movement away from traditional orthodoxy often in an attempt to harmonize biblical teachings with science, humanism, or other secular fields. The result is often a denial of essential biblical doctrines such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, His virgin birth, His resurrection, and salvation by grace.

Liberal Protestantism
A movement, especially associated with nineteenth-century Germany, which stressed the continuity between religion and culture. See pp. 92-6.

Liberation Theology
Although the term could designate any theological movement laying emphasis upon the liberating impact of the gospel, it has come to refer to a movement which developed in Latin America in the late 1960s, which stressed the role of political action and oriented itself toward the goal of political liberation from poverty and oppression.

Liturgy
The written text of public services, especially of the eucharist.

Lutheranism
The religious ideas associated with Martin Luther, particularly as expressed in the Lesser Catechism (1529) and the Augsburg Confession (1530). A series of internal disagreements within Lutheranism after Luther’s death (1546) between hardliners (the so-called “Gnesio-Lutherans” or “Flacianists”) and moderates (“Philippists”), led to their resolution by the Formula of Concord (1577), which is usually regarded as the authoritative statement of Lutheran theology. Limited atonement
The teaching held in Reformed (Calvinist) circles of Christianity that Jesus bore only the sins of the elect, and not that of the entire world. It maintains that the sacrifice was sufficient for all, but intended for the elect.

Logic
From the Greek “logos” meaning “word.” Logic is study of the principles of reasoning. A set of premises that are examined and arranged so as to bring a conclusion. If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Deductive logic is the method of validating a claim by means of supportive information where both the claim and the information are necessarily true. For example, People exist. All people breath. Therefore, all people breath. Inductive logic is the method of drawing a conclusion from a set of supportive information, yet the conclusion has not yet been verified. For example, each night I get tired at 10 PM. Therefore, I conclude that tonight, I will be tired at 10 PM.

Logos
The Greek word for “word.” Mentioned only in the writings of John. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word [logos] and the Word [logos] was with God and the Word [logos] was God.” The Logos is sometimes used to refer to the second person of the Trinity as the Son in pre-incarnate form. Jesus is the word [logos] made flesh (John 1:1,14). The word also means “Reason” “Wisdom” “Thought” and “Sophia” – which means Knowledge.

Lord’s Supper
See Communion

Man
Man is the creation of God. It is man alone who reflects God. The first man, Adam, was made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27), and placed in the Garden of Eden for the purpose of enjoying the fellowship of the Lord and fulfilling the purpose of God’s creation. He was told to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28). When Adam and Eve sinned, all of humanity fell with them (Rom. 5:12-21). Adam represented all humanity: “In Adam all die…”(1Cor 15:22). As a result of Adam’s disobedience, condemnation resulted to all men (Rom. 5:18). Therefore we are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3). We do not seek God (Rom. 3:11) nor can we understand the spiritual things of God (1Cor 2:14). Since this is the condition of man in his natural state, salvation is then impossible for us to achieve (Matt 19:26). That is why we need the free gift of salvation (Rom 6:23) given by God to Christians through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Manuscript
A document or a copy of an original writing. There are thousands of existing manuscripts of the biblical documents ranging from vellum (animal skins) to papyri (plant material) upon which the original and copies of the original writings were made.

Martyr
Someone who dies for a belief or cause. A Christian martyr would be a person who dies because of his or her faith in Christian principles.

Mass
In Catholicism, a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ cross in a ceremony performed by a priest. This ceremony is symbolically carried out by the priest and involves Consecration where the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus.

Materialism
The position that only material things exist and that all other things can be explained in terms of matter and the physical properties of matter.

Means of Grace
This is associated with sacramental theology. A means of grace is a manner in which the Lord imparts grace to a believer as he partakes in the sacrament. A sacrament is a visible manifestation of the word. The bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper are considered sacraments in that they are visible manifestations of the covenant promise of our Lord: “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'” (Luke 22:20). Generally, the means of grace are considered to be the Gospel, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. The Catholic church has seven total: baptism, confirmation, communion, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony.

Mediation, Mediator
A mediator is someone who intervenes, someone who conveys and conciliates. The word “mediator” is not found in the O.T., but its principle is. God gave the Law to the people through a mediator, Moses (Gal. 3:19), who was a type of the true mediator, Jesus. The word occurs only a few times in the N.T.: 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. It is in the N.T. that the true nature of mediation is understood in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the mediator of a better covenant (Heb. 8:6). He was able to become our mediator by becoming man (John 1:1,14) and dying as our substitute (1 Pet. 1:18,19; 2:24). He reconciled us to God (Eph. 2:16).

Mercy
Mercy is the act of not administering justice when that justice is punitive. Because of our sinfulness we deserve death and eternal separation from God (Rom. 6:23; Isaiah 59:2), but God provided an atonement for sin and through it shows us mercy. That is, He does not deliver to the Christian the natural consequence of his sin which is damnation. That is why Jesus became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and bore the punishment due to us (Isaiah 5345). It was to deliver us from damnation. (Compare with justice and grace.)
God saved us according to His mercy (Titus 3:5) and we can practice mercy as a gift (Rom. 12:8). “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Messiah
Messiah is a Hebrew word. It means “anointed one.” It is the equivalent of the N.T. word “Christ” which also means “anointed.” Jesus, as the messiah, was anointed by God (Matt. 3:16) to carry out His three-fold ministry of Prophet, Priest, and King. As the messiah He has delivered the Christian from the bonds of sin and given to him eternal life. In that sense, messiah means deliverer, for He has delivered us. The Messiah was promised in the O.T. in the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15).

Metaphysics
the branch of philosophy involved with examining and discussing the ultimate nature of reality. The term comes from “meta” which means “after” and “phusika” which means “physics.” Around A.D. 70 Andronicus applied to the section of Aristotelian writings that came after the physics section; hence, metaphysics.

Middle Knowledge
That knowledge of God dealing with what individuals will do in a given set of circumstances. God has an infinite set of potential circumstances that could exist and knows all actual choices that would be made by individuals in each set. (See also Free Knowledgeand Natural knowledge.)

Millennium
Literally, this word means 1000 years. In the study of end times doctrines (eschatology) the millennium is the duration of Christ’s rule over the earth. The debate has been over when the millennium will take place and what it actually is. The terms that have arisen out of this debate are Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and postmillennialism. Premillennialism teaches that the millennium is yet future and that upon Christ’s return He will set up His earthly kingdom. Amillennialism teaches that the millennium is a figurative period and that Christ’s rule began when He first became man. Postmillennialism teaches that through the preaching of the Word of God, the world will be converted and will then usher in Christ and the kingdom of God. There are good arguments for each position.

Minuscule
The Greek characters of lower case: abgde, etc. Different copies of Greek manuscripts appear in minuscule form. By contrast, uncials are the Greek characters in upper case.

Miracle
A miracle is an out-of-the-ordinary direct and divine intervention in the world. Examples would be the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water, the resurrection of Lazarus, etc. Some hold that it is a violation of the natural order of physical laws. Others maintain that there is no such violation upon God’s part but only a natural manifestation of His work. They are also known as powers and signs (Mark 9:39; Acts 2:22, 19:11) and mighty works (John 10:25-28). They are a manifestation of the power of God over nature (Joshua 10:121-14), animals (Num. 22:28), people (Gen. 19:26), and illness (2 Kings 5:1014). They are produced by God’s power (Acts 15:12), Christ’s power (Matt. 10:1), and the Holy Spirit’s power (Matt. 12:28).

Modalism
The error that there is only one person in the Godhead who manifests himself in three forms or manners: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monarchianism
Monarchianism (mono – “one”; arche – “rule”) A belief concerning the nature of God that developed in the second century A.D. It arose as an attempt to maintain Monotheism and refute tri-theism. Unfortunately, it also contradicts the doctrine of the Trinity. Monarchianism teaches that there is one God as one person: the Father – revealed Himself as not only Father, but also; Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monergism
The teaching that God alone is the one who saves. It is opposed to synergism which teaches that God and man work together in salvation. Christianity is Monergistic.

Monism
The view that there is only one basic and fundamental reality, that all existence is this one reality even though we perceive different aspects of this reality.

Monophycitism
This is an error regarding the two natures of Jesus (See Hypostatic Union). It states that Jesus’ two natures are combined into one new one; the problem here is that neither God nor man was represented in Christ but a new third thing. (Other errors regarding the two natures of Christ are Nestorianism and Eutychianism.)

Monolatry
The belief that there is more than one God, but only one is served and worshiped. Mormonism is an excellent example of monolatry. Mormonism teaches the existence of many Gods of many worlds, yet worships only the one of this planet. Therefore, monolatry is a division of polytheism, the belief in many gods. It is a false teaching contrary to Scripture. See Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5-6.

Monotheism
The belief that there is only one God in all places at all times. There were none before God and there will be none after Him. Monotheism is the teaching of the Bible (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 4:89).

Moral Government Theology
A theological error that maintains that God is not immutable but changes His mind, that He does not exercise sovereign control over earthly matters, that He does not know all future events – particularly the free-will choices of individuals, etc.. It denies that the atonement pays for our sins, denies Jesus’ substitutionary death, and denies the imputed righteousness of Christ to the believer. It asserts that people are capable of keeping the whole Law of God, that there is no depravity of human nature, and that salvation is up to a person’s free will choice.

Mortal Sin
In Catholicism, a serious and willful transgression of God’s Law. It involves full knowledge and intent of the will to commit the sin. If left unrepentant, according to Catholicism, can damn someone to eternal hell. Mortal sin is not as serious as venial Sin.

Natural Knowledge
A term used in describing a type of knowledge possessed by God. Often it is raised in discussions dealing with individuals’ free will and God’s infinite knowledge. God’s natural knowledge would be His knowledge of all things of potential existence influenced by individuals though not necessarily in actual existence. God knows this set of knowledge from all eternity, before the creation of the universe. It is called natural because it is a natural attribute of God’s existence. See also See also (See Hypostatic Union Nestorianism and Eutychianism.)

Naturalism
The belief that all of human experience can be described through natural law. It asserts that biological evolution is true and that there are no supernatural realities.

Neo-Orthodoxy
A focus on existential and psychological aspects of religious experience and denounces the literalism of the Bible. Experience with the divine is what makes Scripture real, not Biblical revelation, not reason. Neo-Orthodoxy is subjective and selective in its “orthodox” positions.

Neo-Orthodoxical Position
A term used to designate the general position of Karl Barth (1886-1968), especially the manner in which he drew upon the theological concerns of the period of Reformed orthodoxy.

Nestorianism
States that the two natures of Christ were so separated from each other that they were “not in contact”; the problem here is that worship of the human Jesus would then not be allowed. (See Hypostatic Union Nestorianism and Eutychianism.)

Nominalism
Strictly speaking, the theory of knowledge opposed to realism. The term is, however, still used occasionally to refer to the via moderna.

Nun
Especially in the Roman Catholic Church, those women who consecrate their lives to spiritual service and various religious orders. They do not marry and are normally virgins.

Objectivism
A branch of philosophy that asserts that reality exists apart from the human mind and that the knowability of this reality based upon observation.

Occam’s Razor
The philosophical rule that the simplest explanation is preferred over the more complicated one and that explanations should be first proposed in relation to concepts that are already known. Another way of seeing it is to say that the fewer assumptions that need to be made to support an explanation of something, the better. The principle is attributed to William Occam of the fourteenth century.

Occult
Occult means “hidden.” It covers practices that are not approved of by God e.g., a deviant form of astrology (Isaiah 47:13), casting spells (Deut 18:11), consulting with spirits (Deut 18:11), magic (Gen. 41:8), sorcery (Exodus 22:8), witchcraft (Deut 18:10), and spiritism (Deut 18:11). Occultist practice their arts using Ouija boards, tarot cards, astrology charts, contacting the dead, séances, etc. To some, they are to be considered dangerous and should be avoided.

Omnipotence
An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all power (Psalm 115:3). He can do all things that do not conflict with His holy nature. God has the power to do anything He wants to.

Omnipresence
An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of being present in all places at all times (Jer. 23:23.4). He is not bound by time and space. This does not mean that nature is a part of God and is, therefore, to be worshiped. Creation is separate from God, but not independent of Him.

Omniscience
An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all knowledge (Isaiah 40:14). Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience represent the nature of God concerning His relation to the creation.

Ontological Argument
An attempt to prove God’s existence first postulated by Anselm. In brief, it states that God is a being of which no greater thing exists or can be thought of. Therefore, since we can conceive of God as the greatest of all things that exist, then God must exist.

Ontology
The study of the nature of being, reality, and substance.

Oracles
Oracles are the divine revelations given to God’s people. God’s method of communicating these oracles varied from dreams and visions (Num. 12:6-8), to wisdom (Prov. 30:1), and even the Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21; 1 Sam. 14:337).

Ordination
In Christianity it is the ceremony of consecration to ministry. It is usually administered by a commissioning and a laying on of hands.

Ordo salutis
Latin for “order of salvation.” Theologically it is the order of decrees by God in bringing about the salvation of individuals. In the Reformed camp, the ordo solutis is 1) election, 2) predestination, 3) calling, 4) regeneration, 5) faith, 6) repentance, 7) justification, 8) sanctification, and 9) glorification. In the Arminian camp, the ordo soluits is 1) calling, 2) faith, 3) repentance, 4) regeneration, 5) justification, 6) perseverance, 7) glorification.

Original Sin
This is a term used to describe the effect of Adam’s sin on his descendants (Rom 5:12-23). Specifically, it is our inheritance of a sinful nature from Adam. The sinful nature originated with Adam and is passed down from parent to child. We are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).

Orthodoxy
Belief in the standards of accepted and true doctrines taught in the Bible (see Heterodoxy).

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