13 definitions by theologist

Something that is much underrated in our society. Friendship is actually a form of love (here I'm not talking exclusively about erotic love). It's not a lesser form of love than erotic love, only a different form of love. In fact, the ancient Greeks had a word, "phileos", more or less equating to fraternal/brotherly love (friendship). Friendship seems to have no observable biological necessity(unlike parental love, necessary for humans to grow, and erotic love, necessary for humans to reproduce), and not much of a marketable appeal (as opposed to the millions/billions of dollars worth of things sold to people trying to better their marriages or parenting skills), yet without such a form of love as friendship our societies would be unbearably dull and alienated from one another. One can love their friends as well as their "significant other", just not in the same way (the difference here is quality, not necessarily quantity).
Friendships are not monogamous by necessity. Two people in a friendship don't need to exclude other people from their relationship. A friendship can best be thought of as two people side by side looking forward toward a common goal. It's an odd form of love in which people develop a relationship without relationship as a goal. Scientific achievements have come out of tight-knit friendships (Watson and Crick), as have works of literary genius (J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis), as well as victories in wars (due to the tight camaraderie and mutual trust of soldiers).
by Theologist March 08, 2006
'Tis my SUPREME HONOR to be the first to write a definition...er, brief biography...of C.S. Lewis on urbandictionary.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898 - 1963) - Better known as "Jack" Lewis by his circle of friends the Inklings (which included J.R.R. Tolkien, among others) and his family, C.S. Lewis was described by those who knew him best as "a man in love with the imagination". Fellow and Tutor in English at Magdalen College, Oxford University (1925-1954) and later Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University (1954-1963), Lewis devoted his life to being influential on the world through his intellectual/literary pursuits. He authored the prolific Chronicles of Narnia children's fantasy series, The Space Trilogy(a science fiction series), Till We Have Faces(a modern telling of the Psyche myth), theology-based fictions such as The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and The Pilgrim's Regress, and now time-honored works on Christian reflection such as Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, The Four Loves, Reflections on the Psalms, and A Grief Observed. Though he considered himself "only a layman" of the Anglican Church, Lewis wrote with the theological know-how and incisive wit of a man with years of seminary education. Though he passed away on the same day as President Kennedy and is now asleep in the Lord, every year Lewis continues to deeply influence millions who discover the joy of reading his works for the first time.
"Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask -- half the great theological and metaphysical problems -- are like that."
- A Grief Observed
by Theologist May 03, 2005
In Christian belief, one of the three Theological Virtues(Faith, Hope, and Love) bestowed by God's grace upon the believer.
And now these remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
by Theologist May 02, 2005
(Latin: "creation from nothing")

The Judeo-Christian doctrine which acknowledges ABSOLUTE creation. This dogma, which distinguishes Judaism and Christianity (and perhaps Islam) from all other religious cosmologies about the "beginnings", holds that a transcendent, eternal, uncreated, self-existent God created everything that is the natural universe(and every angelic spirit) out of nothing. It differs from the Hindu idea that God created the universe out of Him/Her/Itself and from the ancient quasi-pantheistic Greek idea that creation "emanated" from God/the gods. The concept of absolute creation is extremely difficult to grasp(perhaps impossible), since it assumes that God "invented" or "thought up" matter, time, and energy and set them in motion by His own will(that is, He had NOTHING with which to create, but really created entirely NEW things which were not already pre-existent). The Church has held to this dogma(NOT a particular VERSION of this dogma, i.e. young earth creationism, old earth creationism, theistic evolution) which has never been directly challenged (and seems to even be supported) by modern science, since most physicists agree that the universe had a beginning.
Whether a Christian accepts a 15-billion-year-old universe or a 6,000-year-old universe as found in a historical/scientific interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis, ALL believers are agreed on the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo.
by Theologist May 04, 2005
The theological dogma that the Person of Jesus Christ was fully God and fully Man. This holds that Christ's humanity and divinity are not mixed, but are united without loss of separate identity. The doctrine of the hypostatic union is an attempt to explain how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time. It is ultimately, though, a doctrine that human minds are incapable of understanding fully. It holds that there is no mixture or dilution of Christ's Human or Divine nature, and that He is one united Person. The doctrine of the hypostatic union was made dogma at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., in response to the need to clearly define the Church's position in the face of heretical teachings, and further articulated at the fifth general council at Constantinople in 533 A.D. The latter council declared that the union of two natures is real (against Arius), not a mere indwelling of God in a man (against Nestorius), with a rational soul (against Apollinaris), and that in Christ’s divine nature remains unchanged (against Eutyches).
Doctrines which stand in opposition to the doctrine of the hypostatic union include: Docetism, Arianism, Apollinarianism, Ebionism, Eutychianism, and Nestorianism. The Church eventually declared all of these doctrines heresies by the end of the Sixth Century A.D.
by Theologist May 04, 2005
Amyraldianism is the system of Reformed theology propounded by the French theologian Moise Amyraut and associates at the Saumur Academy in the seventeenth century. Its distinctive teachings vis-a-vis other systems (e.g., orthodox Calvinism, Arminianism, Lutheranism) focused on the doctrines of grace, predestination, and the intent of the atonement.

Fundamentally Amyraut took issue with contemporary Calvinists who shaped their system of theology around the decree of predestination. The entire body of divinity in much of seventeenth century Reformed theology was subsumed under the doctrines of sovereign election and reprobation. Amyraut insisted that the chief doctrine of Christian theology is not predestination but the faith which justifies. Commitment to justification by faith as the overarching theme denoted a theology as truly reformational. Moreover, Amyraut rightly argued that Calvin discussed predestination not under the doctrine of God but following the mediation of salvation blessings by the Holy Spirit. For Amyraut predestination is an inscrutable mystery, which offers an explanation of the fact that some accept Christ whereas others reject him.

Amyraut also developed a system of covenant theology alternative to the twofold covenant of works, covenant of grace schema propounded by much of Reformed orthodoxy. The Saumur school postulated a threefold covenant, viewed as three successive steps in God's saving program unfolded in history. First, the covenant of nature established between God and Adam involved obedience to the divine law disclosed in the natural order. Second, the covenant of law between God and Israel focused on adherence to the written law of Moses. And finally the covenant of grace established between God and all mankind requires faith in the finished work of Christ. In Amyraldianism the covenant of grace was further divided into two parts: a conditional covenant of particular grace. For actualization the former required fulfillment of the condition of faith. The latter, grounded in God's good pleasure, does not call for the condition of faith; rather it creates faith in the elect.

Amyraut's covenant theology, particularly his division of the covenant of grace into a universal conditional covenant and particularly undiconditional covenant, provided the basis for the unique feature of Amyraldianism, namely, the doctrine of hypothetical universal predestination. According to Amyraut there exists a twofold will of God in predestination, a universal and conditional will, and a particular and unconditional will. Concerning the first, Amyraut taught that God wills the salvation of all people on the condition that they believe. This universal, conditional will of God is revealed dimly in nature but clearly in the gospel of Christ. Implicit in this first will is the claim that if a person does not believe, God has not, in fact, willed his or her salvation. Without the accomplishment of the condition (i.e., faith) the salvation procured by Christ is of no avail. Amyraut based his doctrine of hypothetical universal predestination on such biblical texts as Ezek. 18:23; John 3:16; and 2 Pet. 3:9.
Amyraut contended that although man possesses the natural faculties (i.e., intellect and will) by which to respond to God's universal offer of grace, he in fact suffers from moral inability due to the corrupting effects of sin upon the mind. Thus unless renewed by the Holy Spirit the sinner is unable to come to faith. Precisely at this point God's particular, unconditional will, which is hidden in the councils of the Godhead, comes to bear. Since no sinner is capable of coming to Christ on his own, God in grace wills to create faith and to save some while in justice he wills to reprobate others. Amyraut underscored the fact that God's particular, unconditional will to save is hidden and inscrutable. Finite man cannot know it. Hence the creature must not engage in vain speculation about God's secret purposes of election and reprobation. In practice the Christian preacher must not ask the question whether a given individual is elect or reprobate.

Rather he must preach Christ as the Savior of the world and call for faith in his sufficient work. Only the universal, conditional will of God is the legitimate object of religious contemplation. Amyraldianism thus involves a purely ideal universalism together with a real particularism.

The issue of the intent or extent of Christ's atonement is implicit in the foregoing discussion. Amyraldianism postulated a universalist design in the atonement and a particular application of its benefits. The salvation wrought by Christ was destined for all persons equally. Christ legitimately died for all. Nevertheless only the elect actually come into the enjoyment of salvation blessings. Amyraldianism thus upheld the formula: "Jesus Christ died for all men sufficiently, but only for the elect efficiently."

Amyraut believed that his teachings on the twofold will of God and twofold intent of the atonement were derived from Calvin himself. He viewed his theology as a corrective to much of seventeenth century Calvinism, which denied the universal, conditional will of God in its preoccupation with the unconditional decree. And he disputed with Arminianism, which failed to see that a person's salvation was effectively grounded in the absolute purpose of God conceived on the basis of his own sovereign pleasure. And finally Amyraldianism provided a rapprochement with Lutheranism and its interest in justification by faith and the universality of Christ's atoning work. Some later Reformed theologians such as Charles Hodge, W G T Shedd, and B B Warfield insisted that Amyraldianism was an inconsistent synthesis of Arminianism and Calvinism. Others, however, such as H Heppe, R Baxter, S Hopkins, A H Strong, and L S Chafer maintained that it represents a return to the true spirit of Holy Scripture.
by Theologist May 02, 2005
The term “soteriology” comes from two Greek terms, namely, so„ter meaning “savior” or “deliverer” and logos meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” In Christian systematic theology it is used to refer to the study of the biblical doctrine of salvation. It often includes such topics as the nature and extent of the atonement as well as the entire process of salvation, conceived as an eternal, divine plan designed to rescue lost and erring sinners and bring them back into eternal fellowship with God. Many regard it as the primary theme in Scripture with the glory of God as its goal.
Throughout the history of the church a number of different views regarding the nature of the atonement (i.e., the theological significance of Christ’s death) have been advanced. The Recapitulation view was advanced by Irenaeus (ca. 120-ca. 200). In this view Christ sums up all humanity in himself in that he went through all the stages of human life, without succumbing to temptation in any way, died, and then rose from the dead. The benefits of his life, death, and resurrection are then available to all who participate in Him through faith.

The Example or Moral Influence (or “subjective”) view has been advanced by theologians such as Pelagius (ca. 400), Faustus and Laelius Socinus (sixteenth century), and Abelard (1079-114233). Though there are certainly different moral example views,34 their essential agreement consists in arguing that the cross demonstrates how much God loves us and this, then, awakens a response of love in our hearts; we then live as Jesus himself lived. While there is biblical support for this idea (e.g., Phil 2: 6-11; 1 Pet 2:21), it is incomplete as it stands and fails to recognize the more crucial aspects of scriptural teaching on the issue.

Another theory of the atonement advanced in the early church—and really maintained as the standard view in the early church until Anselm—is the Ransom to Satan view. Origen (185-254) was one of the chief proponents of this understanding which asserts that Christ’s death was a ransom paid to Satan to secure the release of his hostages, i.e., sinful men and women. While ransom language is used in Scripture to refer to the atonement (e.g., Mark 10:45), it is probably incorrect to include in this the idea that a “price” was paid to Satan, for nowhere in Scripture is such an idea suggested.

In his work Christus Victor, the Swedish theologian Gustav Aulén (1879-1977) argued for a Divine Triumph or Dramatic view of the atonement, similar to the ransom theories of Origen and the early church. In the dramatic view God overcame all the powers of hell and death through the cross and in doing so made visible his reconciling love to men. This too has some biblical support, but it is unlikely that it adequately summarizes all of scriptural revelation on this issue.

The Satisfaction or Commercial view of Anselm (1033-1109) argues that man has dishonored God by his sin and that through the death of the perfect, sinless God-man, Jesus Christ, that honor and more—including Satan’s defeat—has been restored to God. This theory also finds support in scripture, but more than God’s honor was restored through the death of his son.

The Governmental view of the atonement, advanced by Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), places a high value on the justice of God and the demand of his holy law. In this view, the death of Christ upholds God’s moral government in that it demonstrates His utter commitment to His holy law. He could have forgiven men, however, without the death of Christ, but this would have left men without the true knowledge of His commitment to His Law. The death of Christ, then, is not as a substitute for us, but rather God’s statement about what he thinks about his moral government of the universe. This view has much to commend it, but as a global theory it simply cannot account for the tight connection between three important facts in Scripture: (1) the reconciliation of the believing sinner; (2) the forgiveness of sin; and (3) the death of Christ. Peter says that “Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18; cf. Rom 5:8).

The Penal Substitution view of the atonement35—the view most often associated with the Reformers, in particular, Calvin—argues that Christ died in the sinner’s place and appeased the wrath of God toward sin. Thus there are a cluster of ideas in this view including redemption (ransom), sacrifice, substitution, propitiation, and reconciliation, Though there are tensions in this view, and though the other views each contribute important insights to the idea of Christ’s atonement in the NT, this one perhaps rests on the best scriptural support, and brings together the holiness and love of God, the nature and sacrifice of Christ, and the sinfulness of man in a way that all are properly maintained. It is important, however, that the valid insights from the other views not be lost or eclipsed by this model.
by Theologist May 02, 2005

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