A Brief A-Z Of Theological Jargon image

A Brief A-Z Of Theological Jargon

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Theological jargon can take some getting used to. Here's a selective and somewhat facetious guide to some of the most common terms we use here at whatyouthinkmatters...

Anglican
Someone who likes short sermons, long dresses, tea and Henry VIII.
 
Arminian
1. A synergist with respect to salvation.
2. A resident of Arminia, a small country adjacent to Azerbaijan.
 
Baptist
A person who thinks you shouldn’t baptise people into Jesus until they can at least say the word “Jesus”.
 
Calvinist
1. A monergist with respect to salvation.
2. Someone who claims to follow John Calvin but actually follows Theodore Beza.
 
Cessationist
1. Someone who believes the miraculous gifts ceased with the apostles.
2. A person who thinks charismatics are wacky and unbiblical.
 
Charismatic
1. Someone who believes the miraculous gifts continue today.
2. A person who thinks cessationists are starchy and unbiblical.
3. Someone for whom “worship” involves closing their eyes, raising their hands, and singing a song written in the last thirty years.
 
Complementarianism
1. The belief that men and women are complementary.
2. The antiquated and repressive notion that wives should submit to their husbands, and women should not teach or have authority over men.
3. The attempt to disguise (2) by referring to (1).
 
Confessionalist
A Protestant who is aware that there was such a thing as Christianity before the twentieth century.
 
Egalitarianism
1. The belief that men and women are equal.
2. The modern and liberating notion that women can do everything a man can, sister, including wearing trousers, leading the home, leading churches and teaching and having authority over men.
3. The assumption that (1) necessitates (2).
 
Evangelical
A person who believes Jesus was nice, the Bible is nice, and we should be nice.
 
Evangelistic
Committed to preaching the gospel.
 
Evidentialist
Someone who thinks you can prove Christianity if you have enough time and enough paper.
 
Five point Calvinist
Someone who presses points to their logical conclusions, even if (and sometimes especially if) unwarranted by Scripture.
 
Four point Calvinist
Someone who wouldn’t recognise a logical conclusion if it bit them on the nose.
 
Methodists
Heirs of John Wesley, a very impressive building in Westminster, and a large number of small chapels in the middle of nowhere.
 
Missional
A cooler word for evangelistic.
 
Paedobaptist
A person who believes you should get in there quick, and baptise people before they have a chance to decide that they don’t want to be Christians.
 
Pentecostal
1. Someone who believes that the baptism in the Spirit is a second experience, marked by speaking in tongues.
2. A muscle in between the ribs that hurts when you laugh in the Spirit.
 
Presbyterianism
1. Government by elders.
2. A total mystery: a group of largely cessationist, paedobaptist churches that has produced biblical church government structures and Tim Keller.
 
Presuppositionalist
Someone who makes a virtue out of arguing in circles.
 
Reformed
1. See Calvinist.
2. Pertaining to the view that the church got it wrong once, and is very unlikely to do so again.
 
Restoration Churches
The first people since AD 90 to do church like they did it in the Bible.
 
Roman Catholicism
The belief that the church is universal, apart from Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and pretty much everyone except Roman Catholics.
 
Sacramentalism
The naive and superstitious belief that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper actually do something.
 
Soft Complementarian
Someone who thinks the Bible is complementarian but wishes it wasn’t.
 
Theologian
Someone who claims to talk about God, tries to talk about what the Bible says about God, usually ends up talking about what other people have said about what the Bible says about God, and still seems to have time to write facetious blog posts like this one.

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