Defining Religion


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Semipelagianism

the belief that human beings have only been weakened by the fall into sin and can make an effort to help God in their conversion and salvation. The Bible, however, teaches that by nature we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1) and are saved entirely by God's grace (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Sheol

Sheol is a Hebrew term that can mean either the realm of the dead (Genesis 37:35, English: grave or "the hereafter") or the place where the wicked (unbelievers) suffer after they die (Psalm 49:14-15).

Sin

Any thought, word, or action that is contrary to God's will. Actual sin involves either a failure to do what God has commanded or doing what God has forbidden. Original sin is the state or condition of sinfulness which we inherit from our parents.


Smalcald Articles

the confession that Luther wrote for a meeting at Schmalkalden in 1537 in preparation for a possible general council of the church. Since Luther was ill and thought he might die, he intended this to be a clear statement of the truth he taught and his theological legacy to the church. This confession was included as one of the official Lutheran Conrfessions in the Book of Concord of 1580.

Social Gospel

the false teaching that the church's mission is to change society through mass or group action rather than to win souls for eternity. The social gospel involves the attempt to reform the economic, political, and social structures of the world rather than proclaiming the forgiveness of sins purchased by the redemptive work of our Savior.

Son of God

the second Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19) who is of one being with the Father (John 10:30), and the true God over all (1 John 5:20, Romans 9:5). God the Son became man to redeem the world (Galatians 4:4-5, John 3:16-18).

Son of Man

a messianic title (Daniel 7:13) that Jesus applied to himself indicating that he was the Son of God who became fully human in order to redeem the world (Matthew 16:13-16, Mark 2:28, Luke 9:22, Luke 19:10, Matthew 26:63-64).

Soteriology

Soteriology is the doctrine of salvation. In Lutheran theology, soteriology is that part of Christian doctrine that deals with the personal appropriation of the merits of Christ by a sinner and includes the biblical teachings of conversion, justification by grace through faith, the means of grace, etc.

Soul

the soul is the divinely created, non-material part of a human being which is the seat of life, center of self-consciousness, and seat of an individual's thinking, willing and feeling. The soul will never cease to exist. At death it returns to God to enter eternal joy or eternal torment. On the last day a person's soul will be reunited with his resurrected body to continue eternally in heaven or hell.

Sovereignty of God

God's supreme, autonomous power and rule over the universe. Everything is ultimately subject to him and he makes everything work out for the the benefit of his people (Psalm 115:3, Ephesians 1:19-23, Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 8:28).

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