This glossary of Biblical definitions focuses on words that are important to the concept of a Biblical and Christian worldview and to personal salvation. 1) The latter focus is not comprehensive, but we have chosen those words that Christians commonly misuse and thereby limit their experience to honor God, His blessing in their lives, and affect the world for change. We strongly believe that neither fullness in worldview nor fullness in the Christian life can be achieved without focused attention on definitions. After all, salvation and obedience are foundational to a sound Biblical and Christian worldview! Of special importance are these words: emotions, ethic, ethics, evangelical, heart, law, justice, philosophy (and all its synonyms), regeneration, righteousness, salvation, and truth. 2) The glossary is a mini-overview of a Biblical and Christian worldview. To know these definitions and many of their nuances is to have a basic understanding of worldview! 3) This glossary is concerned with establishing definitions that are consistent throughout this website. 3) My research has shown that The Creation (Cultural) Mandate, The Kingdom of God, Biblical Worldview, Biblical Ethics, The Gospel, and The Great Commission are one and the same.

Multiple definitions. Readers should keep in mind that almost every word has more than one definition. We usually list only the one here that is most relevant to worldview and salvation. See more about biblical definitions.

Sources of definitions. Many of the definitions are my own, with priority given to Biblical uses. Some are direct quotes of references cited. Some are compilations of several sources. All are designed to give the reader the best definition within all the considerations of a Biblical worldview.

Also see: Definitions in Philosophy



A priori: knowledge that precedes or is otherwise given prior to, or apart from, experience. This knowledge may be innate or given supernaturally later, as in “your faith (notitia component) has made you well” (Matthew 9:22). “Every non-Christian has an a priori. And the a priori of every non-Christian is different, radically different, from that of the Christian.” (Van Til quoted in Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, page 107). It is regeneration that accounts for this “radically different” a priori—Ed. Kant relegated his “synthetic” a priori over the a posteriori, but William Van Orman Quine in recent times demonstrated the fallacies of Kant’s argument.

Abduction: see hyothesizing, imagination. Charles Sanders Peirce should be read on this subject.

To communicate sufficiently, we give expositions about abduction as guessing, inspired guessing, inference to the best explanation, retroduction, hypothesis of convergence to immutable truth, affinity of mind to nature, intuition, analysis, fallibility, logic, feeling, faith, reason, immersion, surprise, suspect, belief, habit, doubt, attitude, expectation, attention, intention, context, pragmatism, architectonic, triadic relations, semiosis, commens, consensus opinion, truth, reality, percept, perceptual judgment, imagination, archetype, structure for meaning-making, scientific method, problem framing, problem solving, Humble argument, Scientific argument, Musement, model-based reasoning, valorization, uberty, security, justification, warranted assertion, discovery, creativity, economy, hypothesis, syllogism, enthymeme, transformation, duration, etc…(Reference here.)

Abortion: the intentional killing of unborn life. Spontaneous abortion is sometimes applied to pathophysiological losses of the unborn, but miscarriage does not carry the connotations of “abortion.” Abortion is the most serious and most heinous ethical issue of modern times. It is one of the most serious economic issues of modern times for various reasons: loss of talent, labor, creativity, and spending. It is the ultimate strike against the image of God in persons.

Absolute, absolutes: “The exact opposite of relative. The context is very important for understanding the meaning of this term. (1) As a noun, it is sometimes used with reference to God. (2) More often, the noun refers to a concept (in particular, a moral value) that is not modified by cultural circumstances; a concept[t that is universal and unchanging. An absolute is not limited by anything outside itself. (3) As an adjective, it describes that which is unconditional, uncaused, and is totally independent. (4) In Hegel’s philosophy, the Absoluteis a term that conveys Hegel’s idea of the greatest, most complete concept of ultimate reality. Hegel’s Absolute can and does grow, but it cannot diminish. It is the impersonal sum of all thought and being. (5) Biblical philosophy is built upon the affirmation that all truth is God’s truth. God is (and His Word reveals) the absolute standard for truth and morals. God’s knowledge is complete, exhaustive, infallible, and perfectly true. God’s knowledge is the standard by which a Christian defines truth. Therefore, truth itself cannot change. Truth is always and forever the same. Thus, truth is an absolute.”

“What God has revealed is to be believed because it is God’s truth. The fact that ‘God has spoken and thereby revealed some of His knowledge’ is a central affirmation of all Christian theology. The Bible, as God’s Word, may be said to have truth without mixture of error for its matter. In other words, God’s revealed character and his eternal purpose has not and will not change. The cultural situation, however, is constantly changing. The culture of the Biblical world is very different from the culture of the modern world. Truth speaks of the universal and the unchanging. We must be careful that we do not hastily identify our ever-changing cultural opinions and interpretations with God’s absolutes. God has spoken to particular people at particular times in particular places. Recognition of God’s truth, which is eternally valid at all times and in all place, is the primary hermeneutical task of the Biblical expositor. We must seek to discover cultural situations (to which to apply the absolutes of Scripture).” (L. Rush Bush, A Handbook for Christian Philosophy, 215-6)

Abstract idea, abstraction, abstract art: “The process of forming a general concept by omitting every distinguishing feature from our notions of some collection of particular things; thus, substantively, an abstraction is the concept or idea that results from this process.…. Thus, for example, the idea of “green” could in principle be derived by abstracting from one’s specific experiences of a summer lawn, the leaves of trees, and emeralds.” See abstraction. A synonym would be a universal or concept. Abstraction is supposed to exist apart from the concrete, as Locke’s triangles. And, the debate between abstraction and concrete continues. However, it seems clear to me that an abstraction does not really exist. While there are categories (chairs, for examples) and universals (green), they are only applied to actual objects. If I envision a chair in my mind, it is quite specific—I could draw it on paper or describe it to someone else. I cannot picture “green” as just a color; it is always a green object (for example, a tree) or green splotch which is still a concrete picture in my mind.

Even ideas that seem “abstract” are not. For example, “justice” seems abstract. But one person cannot talk to another or write about the subject without reference to specifics of right and wrong. For example, it is always wrong to steal from others. Even if one thinks that there are exceptions to stealing, these are concrete, definable exceptions, not abstractions. The number “two” does not exist apart from “two” objects. Even as printed or painted, the number two is just a symbol that has no meaning apart from application to two objects. Finally, there is abstract art. But what does one do with abstract art? Just listen to conversations in an art gallery. As spectators look at the splay of paint on a canvas, they inevitably say, “That looks like ____.” Or, “Down there in that corner, that looks like a ____.” A thought of nothing that exists is not possible. The idea of abstraction, as it is usually used, is really an idea of nothing. Sometimes, it may even be a conscious or unwitting attempt to avoid being concrete! For the mind to think, it must have content. An “abstraction” of something that does not exist concretely simply does not exist. Nay, it cannot exist either for idealists or materialists. An abstraction is simply a universal that is common to two or more things or propositions. A thought is always intentional—thought about a particular object, term, or concept.

There was a vigorous debate between Locke and Berkeley about abstraction which the reader can research on his own. This Ed thinks that Berkeley demolished Locke’s arguments.

Acts 17:22-32, Paul at the Aeropagus: Paul’s speech to the Athenians at the Aeropagus is possibly the most focused encounter between Biblical and pagan philosophy. It can also serve as a model for apologetics. For a more substantive review of Paul’s speech by Greg Bahnsen, see here.

Addiction: a term used by professionals (physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.) and laymen to refer to problems of a repetitive nature that dominate a person’s life, usually in a severely destructive way. The term is used so loosely as to be of little value. Its modern denotation began with addiction to heroin, and as such, included a physical dependence on a drug, as well as its severely habitual nature. However, it is now commonly used for such things as “sexual addiction” and “gambling addiction” that clearly have no drug dependence inherent to the problem. Apart from the drug dependence, addictions are better labeled as “besetting sins.” Also, see Additional Comments. For a comprehensive exploration of philosophical, theological, medical, and psychological issues, see this book, Addiction and Virtue: Beyond the Models of Disease and Choice by Kent Dunnington.

Aeropagus: the hill where Paul addressed Greek philosophers and theologians. See Acts 17:22-32 above.

Affection: While I would not quibble too much with “affection” as a synonym for emotion, affection has a more permanent, deeper presence: joy, hope, peace, patience, etc., i.e., Biblical values or “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). For a more complete discussion of affection and emotion, see A Definition of Emotions

Agapeo (verb), Agapé (noun): to love and love, respectively. See sub-section of Love.

Agnostic: one who withholds belief in a god or the orthodox God of Christianity. Actually, an agnostic believes that he himself is God, as he considers himself (at least at the time of his statement of agnosticism) that he able to discern that there is not god which is a claim of omniscience—a claim that only God can make.

Agreed-upon Bible: the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures that is “agreed-upon” by the orthodox Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox churches. While translations differ, and apart from modernistic and fanciful influences in them, they are based upon the same surviving documents. That God has superintended these documents is demonstrated in the almost 100 percent agreement of these old texts as “the word of God written.”

Aided reason: a term that dates back to the Enlightenment which intended for mankind to achieve his fulfillment and destiny without knowledge from the Bible (God’s revelation) or the Church, that is, without that “aid.” Essentially, this move was a conclusion that man did not need God or the church to achieve his highest ambitions; an acknowledgement that he was not a sinner in need of salvation or sustenance by the Church.

All (persons, places, etc.): Yes, you see correctly, “all.” A pesky word that has wreaked havoc in Biblical theology. Sometimes, “all” does not mean all. We use it in a limited way in everyday conversation. “All” people everywhere watched the Super Bowl. Well, not “all” even have TVs or neighbors with TVs. Caesar Augustus decreed that “all” the world should be taxed—were the American Indians or Indian Indians taxed? I Timothy 2:4 says that God desires that “all” men should be saved—is universalism then inescapable? Could Paul mean only the elect? Dear readers, that “all” is not “all” is basic language usage, but what havoc has been wrought by trying to make all every particular of a class in the universe.

“All truth is God’s truth”: a frequent term among Christians in philosophy, psychology, and other areas who believe that truth is found outside of Scripture. There are at least two major problems with this approach. (1) All knowledge outside of Scripture is empirical, and empiricism (induction) is by definition a fallacy. (See A Critique of Empiricism.) (2) Scripture is the ultimate authority on all areas of knowledge. While the Bible does not speak in detail to all areas, it is the controlling authority for all study. Far and away, the common error among Christians in the “academy” and in churches is to limit the breadth and depth of Biblical knowledge by either by assuming its limitations or by not investigating it comprehensively. Almost without exception, those who use “all truth is God’s truth” restrict the application of Scripture and give false truth-claims to knowledge outside of the Bible.

American Association of Christian Scholarship: see Dooyeweerd.

Amsterdam philosophy: see Dooyeweerd and the Word of God.

Analogy: “Analogy … must depend on some sort of similarity; but if so, that similarity can be designated by a single term, however broad in meaning; and unless this broad term has one meaning equally applicable to the two things in question, the similarity does not exist and there is no analogy at all.” Gordon Clark, Thales to Dewey, page 278.

Anarchism: see scientific anarchism.

Anathema: statements in the Council of Trent and other church councils (most particularly Roman Catholic) remind us of the great importance of theological and other propositional statements. If such a statement is believed to be true, the consequences of an opposite belief is to be condemned to Hell! See Galatians 1:8-9, where Paul the Apostle sets the example. In today’s world, these issues are rarely taken seriously, but truth has consequences for earthly life and for eternity. At the very least, “anathema” demonstrates how series one’s beliefs are.

Angel of Light: This description of Satan is given in II Corinthians 11:14. The danger of Satan and his fallen angels is not in their evil, grotesque appearance, but when they come masquerading with kind and good ideas. Satan’s first words in the Bible are “has not God said,” distorting God’s Word to Eve and seducing her. This disguise has great implication for those trying to understand a Biblical worldview: principles may come quite close to being God’s Word, but be the actual word of Satan. So, we must be diligent in our study of God’s Word systematically that our theology, ethics, and worldview are clearly and soundly Biblical.

Animal brain to human mind: “It is quite natural to expect that a concern for language will remain central to the study of human nature, as it has been in the past. Anyone concerned with the study of human nature and human capacities must somehow come to grips with the fact that all normal humans acquire language, whereas acquisition of even its barest rudiments is quite beyond the capacities of an otherwise intelligent ape – a fact that was emphasized, quite correctly, in Cartesian philosophy. It is widely thought that the extensive modern studies of animal communication challenge this classical view; and it is almost universally taken for granted that there exists a problem of explaining the “evolution” of human language from systems of animal communication. However, a careful look at recent studies of animal communication seems to me to provide little support for these assumptions. Rather, these studies simply bring out even more clearly the extent to which human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world. If this is so, it is quite senseless to raise the problem of explaining the evolution of human language from more primitive systems of communication that appear at lower levels of intellectual capacity. The issue is important, and I would like to dwell on it for a moment.” The quote from Noam Chomsky is found here.

Anthropology: the study of the origins, nature, and destiny of man. Any study of man must begin with the study of God (the Bible) or it will be incomplete, erroneous, or falsely understood. This science must be controlled, directed, and filtered through Scripture. Psychology is a major division of anthropology. In fact, by our definition here, psychology is anthropology, separated (mostly) from the history (origins) and future (destiny) of man. Thus, theology (the study of God) and psychology (the study of the mind of man) are central to anthropology. This identity is the reason that Psychology comprises a large section of our Worldview Areas. Men and women’s relationships to each other is Sociology. The Christian will, then, connect God, man, and his social life with The Two Great Commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). (Note the “psychological” terms of heart, soul, mind, and Luke adds, “strength.”) As these Two Commandments are a summary of the Ten Commandments, and indeed, all the commandments of Scripture, Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology are central themes of God’s Word to man. See our Areas of Psychology and Sociology.

Anthropomorphism: human characteristics that are ascribed to God. “God is spirit” (John 4:24). Thus, any description of God having body parts (eyes, hands, head, etc.) is an anthropomorphism. It is correct to identify characteristics of the human mind, where man corresponds to the image of God. A common error is to ascribe emotions to God. Very simply, God is immutable or unchangeable, “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Emotions are a precondition to change (past, present, or future) and, often, particular thoughts, speech, or behavior occur because of the effect of these emotions. For a short discussion, see Feelings in Body and Soul. For a more complete discussion, see A Definition of Emotions.

Antinomianism: literally, “against law.” Usually, the word is used by those who defend Biblical law as having application as the normative principle for Christian and social behavior against those who claim to be “under grace and not under law.” Practically, antinomianism cannot exist with total chaos and anarchy. So, the dilemma is not really no law or total law, but which laws will be applied to what situation. See the discussion, Law, Love, … Justice.

Antithesis: (1) the dialectic of Hegel and Marx: thesis-antithesis-synthesis. (2) The opposite of truth—the application of the law of noncontradiction—the opposite of truth is falsity. Lack of antithesis is one of the great errors of many 21st century Christians in philosophy. There is philosophy of religion which blurs the boundaries between Christianity and other religions. There is classical theism which posits a god not of the Bible, but a “god of the philosophers.” There is little talk of regeneration which structures a human mind to become “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16). Instead, the Bible posits “light” and “darkness”—an antithesis for which there can be no synthesis!

Apocrypha: etymologically, “hidden or obscure.” Protestants use this word to refer to the books that the Roman Catholic Church believes are Spirit-inspired, but we do not. Roman Catholics, then, would not refer to these books as Apocrypha, since to them they are indeed the Word of God. Thus, the proper designation of the Canon is “the 66 books of the Protestant Bible.”

Apologetics: the development of any worldview area that gives evidence (defense) of Biblical truth: archeology, creation science, philosophical consistency (coherence, correspondence, epistemology, etc.), agreement of over 40 Biblical authors, positive changes in history (individuals, groups, and nations) because of the life of Christ and His effect on people, etc. Apologetics are exceedingly beneficial to Christians themselves, to complete their faith and to see a complete Biblical worldview. Apologetics conferences are wrongly named because they inevitably involve instruction to Christians and are, thus, not a defense of the faith to unbelievers.

Art and The Arts: See Art and The Arts.

Autographs: see Inerrancy, Infallibility, and Evangelical.

Axiom: see First Principle



Baptismal regeneration: simply, the sacrament of baptism by an official of the Church is the equivalent of being “born from above” in John 3. It is one of the most far-reaching errors of the Christian Church. John 3 says that the Spirit operates unpredictably—that statement alone means that He is not tied to a scheduled event, even a sacrament. Baptismal regeneration welcomes into membership, and even offices within the Church, those who remain, not only unregenerate, but as such, are actually enemies of the Church. Granted, his issue is more complicated than my singular statements here. However, all Biblical texts that refer to “baptism” should be evaluated by the possibility that each refers to regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and not to the sacrament. For example, Titus 3:5 is not the sacrament, but baptism by the Holy Spirit (not in the Pentecostal sense, either). See the chapter on baptism in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Belief: synonym of faith. See Faith below.

Believe: verb form of faith. See Faith below.

Bible-believer, or Bible-believing Christian: synonym of Evangelical (below).

Biblical counseling: See Nouthetic counseling. The two terms are equivalent.

Biblical ethics: See Ethic and Ethics.

Biblical psychology: see Psychology below.

Biblical theology: Study that is principally concerned with the overall theological message of the whole Bible. It seeks to understand the parts in relation to the whole and, to achieve this, it must work with the mutual interaction of the literary, historical, and theological dimensions of the various corpora, and with the inter-relationships of these within the whole canon of Scripture. Biblical Theology

Biblicism: simply, the belief that the Bible is man’s only source of truth and that the Bible governs and defines all areas of knowledge. Biblicism is often used, derogatorily and falsely, to those who believe and work from this premise, that they are narrow-minded and do not value other sources of knowledge (especially, natural revelation) and that they do not use other sources of theology. True Biblicism uses all sources of knowledge, but always allows Scripture to be the controlling authority. For a more complete discussion of this word, see Biblicism Applied to the Study of History.

Bondage of the Will: the title of a book written by Martin Luther in which he responds to the “free will” of Desiderius Erasmus. While the will is not coerced, it is in “bondage” to its being Regenerate or Unregenerate.

Born-again, Born from above: See Regeneration.



Calvinism: beliefs that are essentially consistent with those of John Calvin. Reformed and Presbyterian are very close, but not necessarily identical with Calvinism. Calvinists would differ primarily in the areas of mode of baptism, infant or adult baptism, and form of church government. While TULIP (Total Depravity or Total Inability, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints) is often used as a summary for Calvinism, it is focused on personal salvation. Calvinism more broadly includes God’s Sovereignty, Providence, and Predestination of “everything that comes to pass,” whether great or small. Thus, STULIPPP (adding Sovereignty, Providence, and Predestination) would be a better mnemonic for Calvinism.

Canon: “canon” is derived from the Hebrew word “qaneh” which means a reed used as a measuring stick It was the term used by the early church fathers to denote which books were true Scripture, inspired by God. Believers in the early centuries had to decide which manuscripts were Spirit-inspired and those that were not. Protestants and Roman Catholics differ on what is the true Canon.

Career: a modern word meaning the Work or Vocation in which one is engaged to produce income and to which one has committed many years or an entire lifetime. Career is not a proper concept for Christians because it divorces this area of work from Vocation, the “calling” of God. See Job, Work, and Vocation.

(The) Catholic Church: the universal church, as in The Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the holy catholic church.” This term is not to be confused with the Roman Catholic Church. See The Church.

Charity: voluntary giving to a specific need, wisely, within Biblical parameters (for example, “if a person will not work, neither shall he eat,” II Thessalonians 3:10), to anyone that has true needs. For more see principles of charity and do a Search of “charity” on this website. Charity, as a Biblical concept, never includes any form of government welfare.

Christian: one who believes in the Scriptures as Truth and the very Word of God, trusts in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation, and is obedient to the commandments of both the Old and New Testaments. Everything that Christians think, say, and do is not necessarily “Christian.” For more, see “Christian”.

Christendom: a synonym for The Kingdom of God and The City of God.

Christianity: the only true religion consisting of Christians who believe in the 66 books of the Protestant Bible. It includes both The Church and The Kingdom of God.

(The) Church: consists of both the visible and the invisible church. The visible church are those true Christians who are alive on earth at any one time and profess the basic truths of the Gospel. The invisible church are those who are true believers and those who have died and are already in heaven. In The Apostles’ Creed, “holy catholic church” refers to this concept of The Church, not the Roman Catholic Church. The invisible, not the visible, Church will be the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-33), as the visible Church includes “tares among the wheat.”

(The Local) Church: a local body of The Church, founded upon some form of agreement among its members.

City of God: Augustine’s concept of the Kingdom of God which is opposed by the City of Man. See Kingdom of God. Tertullian referred to these individually as Athens and Jerusalem. The Scriptures refers to these as the Kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of Light. In modern times, we see this conflict in secular humanism and Biblical Christianity.

City of Man: see above, City of God.

Civil Government: see (The State).

Civilization: “the sum total of a society’s spiritual, intellectual, ethical, and institutional values, which in varying degrees will permit those living in it to develop as completely and harmoniously as possible.” See What Is Civilization? Civilization is a concept which must be re-thought within a Biblical worldview. Great architecture, substantive writing, structured government, and other entities (the commonly accepted criteria of “civilization”) along with the presence of human sacrifice and child abandonment (as was present in “the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome”) does not qualify as being “civilized.” A civilization must have some consistent application of Biblical justice.

Coherence Theory of Truth: the test of truth that all statements (judgments, propositions) must be consistent or harmonize with other statements that are known to be true. (Also known as the test of consistency of truth.) The great problem is what each individual or group is willing to accept as “true.” The Bible provides the only such system for mankind. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One!” “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” For more on this idea, go to Truth and do a word search for “cohere.”

Common Grace: God’s benefits to mankind for both the regenerate and the unregenerate. These benefits are far greater than might be recognized at first glance. Not only does He send the rain, sunshine, and harvest, He has structured the universe with fixed properties that are discoverable by man’s mind and investigation and that are always predictable for man to construct his life and design his inventions for his own benefit.

Conciliarism: the concept that doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church resided more in official church councils, than in the interpretation of the Pope. This difference in doctrine was a major conflict in the Roman Catholic Church during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Conscience: that faculty of the mind that makes judgments about whether a thought, spoken word, or action is right or wrong. Because of man’s being finite and sinful, as well as having imperfect Biblical understanding, the conscience may be in error on specific judgments. As Christians mature and become more knowledgeable in the Word, they have “their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14), that is, their consciences are more consistently aligned with the Scriptures. The violation of the conscience is always wrong, even when the judgment of the conscience is wrong (Romans 14:5, 23; James 4:17)!

Councils, Church: see the name of the council, for example, Trent, Council of.

Counseling: See Biblical counseling.

Covenant: a contract made between a higher authority with a lesser one that sanctions benefits for obedience and penalties for disobedience. In theology there is the Covenant of Works that God had with Adam and the Covenant of Grace that God has with His people because of the merits of Jesus Christ. The Covenant of Grace began with the promise to Adam and Eve that her seed would “bruise the head” of Satan, as Christ presented Himself as the perfect atonement. Thus, all believers of the Old Testament were under the Covenant of Grace, not a Covenant of Works. See Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 7.

Creation: “it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, IV:1). See Westminster Confession of Faith.

(The) Creation Mandate: the sum of God’s decrees given to mankind before his Fall. These are (1) “the procreation of offspring, (2) the replenishing of the earth, (3) subduing the same, (4) dominion of the creatures, (5) labor, (6) the weekly Sabbath, and (7) marriage” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, page 27). The Creation Mandates should be linked to The Great Commission, which includes “make disciples of all the nations” and “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you… all authority in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:19-20). They can also be linked to The Lord’s Prayer in “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). See Cultural Mandate. In essence, The Creation Mandate, The Great Commission, The Kingdom of God, and The Two Great Commandments are one and the same. See discussions on this website for the equivalence of these concepts.

Creationism (of the soul): the belief that the soul of each individual is immediately created by God at conception (fertilization of the egg of the mother by the sperm of the father). Perhaps the strongest argument against this view is that God would create a soul that is corrupted by sin. The alternative and consistently Biblical view is traducianism. For a discussion of these views, see here.

Creed: for the Christian, a creed is any statement that represents Biblical knowledge other than the original Hebrew and Greek texts. That is, any statement other than the original text is a representation of it. Translations, in particular, involve detailed choices of words and nuances to represent what was said. While “creed” is usually associated with creedal statements, such as, The Apostles’ Creed, any translation of the Bible is also a creed. The Christian who claims “No creed but Christ” or “No creed but the Bible” has not understood how language communicates from one person to another, one generation to another, and one culture to another. See No Creed But Christ.

(The) Cultural Mandate: another designation of The Creation Mandate. This phrase has more emphasis on all the cultures of the earth being brought under the dominion of Christ. That is, the culture is “transformed by the renewing of minds” through application of a Biblical worldview. This Mandate is repeated in The Great Commission to “go and disciple all nations.”



Death: the Biblical definition of death is separation from a former state of existence. There are four types of death. 1) Separation from self, other people, and God because of the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:17, 3:7, 9-11, 23) and one’s own sins. 2) Separation from this sinful way of life (the “flesh” or “old man”) upon regeneration, profession of faith, and repentance. 3) Physical death, when our soul/spirit is separated from the physical body. 4) The Second Death, the most terrible punishment of being separated from God and the fellowship of any other living person forever (Revelation 20:14, 21:8). Man’s greatest fear is the fear of death (I Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:15). “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26). Thus, in heaven there will be no separation from our true selves, others, and God Himself.

Deduction: the process of Logic (see definition below).

Deism: “… the belief or system of religious opinions of those who acknowledge the existence of one God, but deny revelation: or deism is the belief in natural religion only, or those truths, in doctrine and practice, which man is to discover by the light of reason, independent and exclusive of any revelation from God. Hence deism implies infidelity or a disbelief in the divine origin of the scriptures.” (From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, below) Deism is sometimes described as God created the universe, but then let it continue to exist on its own without His intervention, as a clock is started by a clock-maker. Miracles are not allowed in this system because they require supernatural intervention into those “self-continuing” motions.

Democracy: a nation governed by the majority of people who are actually controlled and manipulated by people of power. (Joe Morecraft on American in 1776)

Determinism: “the view that human choice is entirely controlled by previous conditions. The realm of nature, including man, is an unbroken chain of cause and effect.” Titus, Living Issues…, page 429. See Predestination.

Dialectic: “process of thinking by means of dialogue, discussion, debate, or argument. In ancient Greece, the term was used literally… Dialectic is questioning and conversation for Socrates… but Plato regarded it as a systematic method for studying … suprasensible reality… German philosophers of the modern era applied the term “dialectic” only to more narrowly-defined patterns of thinking … for Hegel, (dialectic is) the fundamental process of development—in both thought and reality—from thesis to antithesis to synthesis.” See “dialectic” in Philosophical Dictionary… below.

Dialectical Materialism: “Philosophical doctrine expounded by Engels and Marx. By emphasizing the independent reality of matter and the primary value of the natural world, they rejected the idealism of Hegel. But they fully accepted his notion of dialectic as an inexorable process of development in thought, nature, and history.” See “dialectical materialism” in Philosophical Dictionary… below. “(Dialectical materialism) “holds science in high esteem and claims that the sense perceptions of science provide our only real knowledge, (but) is an approach from the point of view of politics and history, rather than from that of the natural sciences… and (on) a view of historical development in which matter in the form of the economic organization of society is regarded as basic. (Synonyms are) “historical materialism and economic determinism.” Titus, Living Issues…, page 257.

Dichotomy: the belief that a person consists of two parts, the material and immaterial. The material component is the physical body. The immaterial is variously called the spirit, soul, heart, and mind, depending upon the context in which it is used in Scripture and the particular function which is being discussed. See Heart and Mind.

Divine Right of Kings: the same as Rex Lex.

Dominion Mandate: same as Creation Mandate and Cultural Mandate.

Dualism: the philosophy, religion, or cosmology that forces of both good and evil exist in the universe. In some ideologies, one is more powerful than the other. In some, they are equal. In at least one, they collaborate. The victory of one or the other may be certain or uncertain, being in doubt until the end of time.



Education: the life-long pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, necessarily dependent upon one’s Christian or non-Christian beliefs. That most Christian parents turn their children over to an anti-Christian, public school system is startling evidence of their not understanding what education is. Education is inescapably, unavoidably, necessarily dependent upon one’s “religious” beliefs. See Summary Principles of Education.

Emotion(s): “negatively, the momentary (acute) and ongoing (chronic, continuous) disturbance within the mind (soul, spirit) caused by the discrepancy between perceived reality and one’s desires.” (From A Definition of Emotions.) Positively, emotions result from the fulfillment of one’s desires. Acute emotions fluctuate considerably in intensity and may cause sudden, not-thought-out reactions which are often harmful to self and others. Chronic emotions are more stable and given to attitudes and actions that are more thought-out and purposeful.

Empiricism: “reliance on experience as the (only) source of ideas and knowledge. More specifically, empiricism is the epistemological theory that genuine information about the world must be acquired by a posteriori means, so that nothing can be thought without first being sensed.” (From online dictionary of terms below.) Contrast with Rationalism.

Empirical method: the process of drawing conclusions from various observations. It differs from the scientific methods in that it is a more casual and not well-defined process. See Scientific Method.

Epistemology: simply, how does one know what one knows? Profoundly, how can one know with sufficiency to answer the most serious questions of life. How can one know truth? It is the great dilemma of all the great philosophers of history. It is also the essence of faith and belief—on what basis can I be certain of what I am to do in this life and what I can hope for after death? Christians who think about the basic questions of epistemology will strengthen their faith immeasurably. See Philosophy below.

Equity:1) a synonym of justice (see below). 2) Fairness. 3) Most importantly, a body of legal doctrines and rules, developed to enlarge, supplement, or override a narrow, rigid system of law, as in the history of English common law which had a settled and formal body of legal and procedural rules and doctrine to protect rights and enforce duties that had been fixed by substantive law. Equity provided remedies in situations in which precedent or statutory law might not apply or be fair. In this sense, all laws and commandments of the Bible are to be applied to governments at all levels (self-government and all duly organized bodies (guilds, cities, counties, states, nations, and world). See Law, Love, and Justice…

Ethic: 1) When used to describe one’s foundational views, that is, “My ethic is …,” this word is equivalent to “worldview.” 2) It may also refer to one ethical principle, for example: “Abortion is the killing of an innocent child before birth.” As such, ethic is equivalent to a worldview principle. See Ethics, Godliness, Law, Justice, Righteousness. All these terms are intimately related to the other. “Morality is not a mere aggregate of separate virtues. Only in the context of the whole do single virtues (ethics) acquire meaning.” (Henry Stob, Ethical Reflections, page 184.)

Ethics: the application and study of right and wrong to all activities of life. It may also be used consistent with “ethic,” 1) above, as in “Biblical ethics” or the “Biblical worldview.” Both of these would then be the same as the Biblical concept of “righteousness” or “godliness.” Ethic may be thought of as a synonym of a general concept of worldview, while ethics are more particular in their application. See Ethic above.

Evangelical: one who believes that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and fully authoritative Word of God in every area of personal life and worldview. Evangelical is a synonym of “Christian” or “Bible-believer,” when these words are used correctly. The doctrinal statement of the Evangelical Theological Society is, “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs.”* “God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory” (Evangelical Theological Society). Christians commonly wrongly interchange “evangelical” with “evangelistic.” See “evangelistic” below.

*The autographs are the original texts as they were written by the various writers of the Old and New Testaments. None are extant today, but examinations of thousands of manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, affirms that Christians today actually have “the very Word of God written,” as the Holy Spirit has preserved the inspired text for His people from the time of its first being written.

Evangelistic: traditionally, the preaching or sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, it may be used for attempts to spread the teachings of any belief.

Evolution: the theory that “the process that all natural reality (organic and inorganic) develops irreversibly in a direction of increasing complexity and order by inherent physico-chemical processes” (John R. Reed, Plain Talk about Genesis, Word Ministries, Inc. and Deo Volente Publishing, 2000).

Existentialism: “the only truth is … the dictates of one’s own being as expressed without the influence of God, man, society, morals and mores, or anything external to the biological impulses of the man” (Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, page 15). This approach is the only one, even if the process itself is meaningless.

Expert: a person with advanced training and education in some area. The great problem with experts is that their “advanced training and education” is “foolish,” if not governed by the laws of Scripture. This foolishness can have seriously negative consequences. For example, God says that children are to be punished corporally, in contrast to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which stands opposed to that directive. “You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:14).



Fact or Facts: 1) a synonym for truth, “what is” or reality itself. For a fact to be true, it must be placed within the Biblical framework that defines its existence. A “fact” does not exist apart from a philosophical or religious system. See Sir Fred Hoyle’s quote under scientific method. 2) Knowledge of a situation, object, or person that is sufficiently and commonly known among enough people to be acted upon with considerable reliance and a relatively predictable outcome, but it is not necessarily true. For example, that the sun will rise tomorrow is a fact. It is not true because sometime in the future, the sun will not rise. By virtually all philosophies and worldviews, time and the universe will not continue, as we know it, forever—whether one’s belief system is Bible-based or naturalism.

Feudalism: the system that predominated in the Middle Ages, called Medieval Feudalism. It had these characteristics: (1) principles and laws that came primarily from the Bible, (2) a covenantal structure of society where relationships were governed by agreements (covenants) between people, not only by civil governments but voluntary associations and guilds, (3) the overwhelming emphasis of government was at the local level with loose ties at higher levels, (4) each association and level of civil government had a written constitution, and (5) the free self-government of men, rooted in their responsibility to govern themselves and their families.

Faith: action taken, based upon one’s knowledge (by reflex, experience, study, advice from others, etc.), with a specific outcome expected (hope). Reality (God’s laws of design and His Sovereignty) determine whether that expectation occurs. See The Relevance of Faith and my book Without Faith It Is Impossible to Please God.

Generic Faith: faith applied to matters not directly applied to matters of salvation. In the most strict sense, nothing is outside “salvation,” but the term, “generic faith,” helps to show that faith is commonly and unavoidably necessary to all activities of life. The mechanism of application to “salvation” is no different than in everyday life.

Saving Faith: faith applied in matters of salvation for Christians, whether in conversion and justification or sanctification. See The Relevance of Faith, above.

Faith and Truth: Faith does not determine truth, but an individual’s faith determines what he is willing to accept as true.

First principles: like axioms in geometry, these are the unproven presuppositions that form the basis for anyone’s worldview. Synonyms are religion, philosophy, worldview, ethic, reality, ultimate reality, value, fact, ontology, metaphysics, cosmology, epistemology, faith, knowledge, being, critical philosophy, essence, existence, monism, speculative philosophy, substance, and ground of meaning (not all of which are listed in this Glossary).

(The) Flood: a worldwide covering of the earth with water, as God’s judgment on the earth. Not only was there a deluge of rain, the “deeps” and the “heavens” were opened, as part of this event. There were definitive changes in the earth’s geology and likely other changes in the processes of nature, as well. See Uniformitarianism.

Fool, Foolish: these English words carry from Scripture the idea of atheism and humanism. “The fool has said in his heart that there is no God.” So, when the Scripture uses “fool” or any of its forms, God is speaking of a conviction that a man or mankind is God, and not God Himself. This position is that of the Unregenerate.

Free Will, Freedom of the Will: 1) philosophical sense: the mistaken notion, thought to be necessary to moral responsibility, prevalent among philosophers and many Christians, that man is “free” to make any choice that he desires. The error in this thinking is that some form of predestination is unavoidable. No man makes decisions without being pre-conditioned by his physical capacities and his accumulated knowledge over which he had no choice in his early years. See Predestination. 2) The Biblical concept is that man is not forced to make any particular choice. His “freedom” is to choose consistent with what he is and what he desires without external compulsion. See Responsibility. Also, see Chapter IX of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Freedom: the fullest implementation of God’s laws that allows an object or person to function at his highest level. The total absence of law in the natural world is nothingness, as even atoms, the most basic unit of matter are subject to strict laws that allow them to function, as they were designed. The universe functions, as it does, in all its glory, according to its laws of design. The absence of law in a society is total chaos, in which nothing or no one is safe from destruction. Thus, the choice of no law is never an option for anything or anyone to function at any level. The application of God’s law to all physical and spiritual (individual, family, social organizations, and the State) spheres allows the highest level of function of all His created objects. Thereby, freedom of these objects is achieved. For a complete discussion, see G. C. Berkouwer, Human Freedom.

Functional Knowledge or Functional Value: a synonym of 2nd definition of Fact.



Galileo-Church Controversy: This historical event has been portrayed as a conflict between modern science and religion (Christianity), when in fact it was a controversy over the same facts which were interpreted differently by the each side. Those representing the Church held to the geocentric system, not because of the Bible, but the interpretations of Aristotle and Ptolemy. Galileo and others held to the heliocentric interpretation of Copernicus. Both sides had the same facts, but interpreted them differently. This historical controversy is factually presented by Michael Polanyi in Personal Knowledge, Part One, Chapter One. For a varied and interesting discussion of his issue, see Does the Sun Rise?

Church-science conflict: While there is a widespread belief that there are numerous church-science conflicts, there are really very few. As discussed, the above “controversy” was not church against science but one scientific interpretation against another. Even the Creation-Evolution is mostly about so-called “creation science” vs. “evolutionary science”—a science-science controversy.

Geocentricity: the belief that the earth is the center of the solar system and the universe. While this position has been laughed at, there are strong arguments for its truth, particularly Einstein’s theory of relativity (that is, where does one choose his reference point). While the argument has its evidential difficulties, the reality that it has any substantial evidence at all, belies the naivité and extreme bias of its opponents. See Galileo-Church controversy. For a varied and interesting discussion of his issue, see Does the Sun Rise?

General revelation: that which God has revealed about Himself in nature (for example, Romans 1:18ff). General revelation should be governed by Special Revelation because of its “generality.”

Gifts: see Talents and Spiritual Gifts.

God’s will: (1) God’s revealed will, that is, all the instructions and commandments in the Scriptures. (2) God’s decretive will, that is, His hidden purposes working in all lives and throughout history to His own glory (Ephesians 1:11).

“God’s will for my life”: usually, the interest of a young Christian as to what vocation, “calling,” or career that he or she should choose. This choice cannot be made until God’s revealed will is thoroughly understand, so that all choices can be made within that which is important to God and ethical (righteous) for that person. See Summary Principles of Vocation.

Godliness: see ethic, ethics, law, love, righteousness.

Good Work(s): any action by a regenerate person that is prescribed by God’s Word. While the same “work” by an unregenerate may have a “good” effect on himself and on society, God cannot accept it as good because it comes from a sinful heart with selfish motives. See Chapter 16 of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

(The) Gospel: the full Gospel includes individual salvation (past, present, and future), discipline (preaching, teaching, sacraments, and investigation of overt sin—process of Matthew 18:15-19), and a Biblically complete worldview and ethics. Most churches leave out the fullness of what salvation is, the process of dealing with overt sin, and worldview and ethics. The Gospel is the same as The Great Commission (see below).

Government: the exercise of authority and rule over a person or group. Government starts with self-government. If fact, if self-government in all people were perfect, then there would be no need of the other governments: family, church, voluntary associations, and the levels of state government (city, county, state, and nation). Jesus Christ governs all these areas and has given specific laws for their governance in Scripture. Unfortunately, “government” today is equated with civil government, distorting and wrongly directing actions that are needed to correct societal wrongs and injustice.

Grace: an act of benevolence from one being to another that is freely given and which is without any merit or claim by the recipient. The greatest example of grace is God’s gift of salvation and all the great blessings (faith, hope, spiritual fruit and gifts, adoption, etc.) that come with it. There are many similarities of grace to Love. See Common Grace.

Special Grace: those excellent gifts to the Regenerate which include special revelation (The Bible), saving faith, fruits of the Spirit, spiritual gifts, the church (local and universal), and much more.

(The) Great Commission: “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). The Great Commission is the same as The Gospel, The Creation Mandate, The Kingdom of God, Biblical Ethics, Biblical Worldview, and Christian (Biblical) philosophy.

Guilt feelings: true guilt, as defined above, is not always felt. For example, one may have no feeling about any instruction of God of which he is ignorant. But, he may feel guilty about some parental instruction to himself as a child. For example, you must eat everything on your plate. The goal of the Christian is to align his feelings with God’s instructions. Thus, when he commits sin, he will see and feel his guilt, and can confess it as such. Feeling are a poor guide for guilt, but they can stir one to examine the Bible to see whether what he feels is indeed guilt or not!

At various times in church history and in some localities, a subjective type of mind has claimed to be superior in spirituality. This “pietism” has found representatives in the late twentieth century. They put emphasis on the intensity of believing and minimize the object of belief. In come cases the object virtually disappears. “Guilt-feelings” are a cause of concern, while (true—Ed) guilt is rather ignored. The New Testament is more objective. Just as grace is the favor bestowed by God on his people, so too peace is not any subjective “peace of mind,” but an objective peace with God. We were once His enemies; now God has established peace. It is the objective peace with God that Paul asked God to bestow on the Colossians. (Gordon Clark’s Commentary on Colossians 1:2)



Hamann, Johann Georg (1730-1785): known in his own time as The Magus of the North; a friend, contemporary, and fellow-town citizen in Königsberg of Immanuel Kant, but a main proponent of the sturm and drang (storm and stress) movement which opposed the tenets of the Enlightenment from its beginning; had a dramatic conversion (regeneration) experience in 1758 at the age of 28 years; strong Biblical apologist; renowned philologist; developed theory of language that was prescient and still being appreciated; a relatively unknown Biblical Christian who should be studied by all Christians engaged in scholarly activities. See References for books on Hamann by Isaiah Berlin and John R. Betz.

Health: (1) Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (the first Paradise) before the Fall. (2) The regenerate in heaven (the last Paradise). (3) The fullest implementation of God’s instructions (commandments) to an individual’s or group’s lives. All three of these definitions include both physical and spiritual health, as they cannot be divorced from one another. An unregenerate person cannot be “healthy” in the Biblical sense, although he may achieve some level of health of mind and body by some humanistic standard. See Physician and Pastor as Co-laborers, Part I and Part II.

Heart: one of the spiritual (non-material or non-physical) aspects of a person (others are soul, spirit, mind, will, and conscience); the life that we live within ourselves, unknown to anyone except God; the thought-life of a person; the source of all motives and desires. Thinking and understanding, rather than emotions, is the predominant activity of the heart. See The Biblical Heart, Soul, Mind, and Spirit.

Hermeneutics: the rules by which Scripture is interpreted. See Hermeneutics.

Historical method: that which comprises the techniques and guidelines that historians use as primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. (Slightly altered from Wikipedia, referenced below.)

History: the highly selective study of people of the past and the events in which they were involved, according to some philosophy of life or worldview. For the Christian, God’s hand or His Providence must be seen as the controlling force, working all things according to His own purposes (“according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,” Ephesians 1:9). In particular, the interpretation of events is highly dependent on one’s motives in studying the past at all. Much, if not most of history written during and after the 20th Century, is extremely biased against its portrayal of Biblical Christianity as having any significant role anywhere at any time.

Historiography: the critical evaluation of how history is written, including method, bias of philosophy, accuracy with other sources, and theory of human behavior used (to name only a few).

Homosexuality: the sexual desire of a man or woman for a person or persons of the same sex. Today, it is a “cutting edge” issue that generally divides Christians whose ethics are defined by the Bible and those who choose other standards. Homosexuality is the second most important ethical issue for Christians after abortion. Because it is a Biblical issue, it is also a political issue. Until 1973, with a decision of the American Psychiatric Association, homosexuality was unnatural, anti-social (in most societies), unethical, and sometimes illegal. Diseases and injuries associated with a promiscuous homosexual lifestyle are manifold, as documented in psychological, sociological, and medical literature. While genetics may give a propensity to same-sex attraction, its causes are likely to be familial or social.

Humanism: a word with a complex history and application which rejects any positive contribution from a supernatural source (most frequently the Bible) as solutions to the problems of mankind. Today, humanism usually means Secular humanism. In essence, there are only two religions (philosophies or cosmologies): Biblical Christianity and humanism. It has been so since Satan asked the question to Eve, “Has God not said…” Since then, the greatest issue for any human decision has been either “what God has said” or “what man has said.” For more on the history and complexity of this word, see “humanism” at the Wikipedia reference below.

Religious humanism: “the branch of humanism that considers itself religious (based on a functional definition of religion), or embraces some form of theism, deism, or supernaturalism, without necessarily being allied with organized religion, frequently associated with artists, liberal Christians, and scholars in the liberal arts. (They may be) subscribers to a religion who do not hold supernatural assertions as a necessary source for their moral values may be religious humanists” (from “Religious humanism” at Wikipedia–reference below).



Idealism: “the theory which asserts that reality consists of ideas, thought, mind, or selves rather than of matter” (Titus, page 431). The opposite of idealism is realism.

Image of God, Imago Dei: the mind of man created to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” The ability to store knowledge and process it through the intellect and the will. See The Image of God.

Induction: a method of reasoning in which “the truth of the premises merely makes it probable that the conclusion is true.” (See
Dictionary of Philosophical Terms… referenced below.) Induction proceeds from observations to conclusions about “probable” consistency and coherence in those observations. Deduction within the laws of logic render true conclusions if the premises are true. Induction does not render true conclusions, only “probable” ones.

Inerrancy: the belief that the Bible contains no errors except possibly those of type-setting or copying. Inerrancy is sometimes limited to the autographs, that is, the original texts that the Biblical authors wrote on the “paper” of their day. However, examinations of thousands of manuscripts, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, affirms that Christians today actually have “the very Word of God written,” as the Holy Spirit has preserved the inspired text for His people from the autographs themselves. See Autographs and Infallibility and The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

Inescapable concept: a conclusion that is logically necessary. An inescapable concept simplifies and narrows debate within and among worldviews and opinions. For example. Predestination is an inescapable concept. Synonyms would include unavoidable or inevitable concept.

Infallibility: a synonym of inerrancy. The author realizes that some distinguish infallibility and inerrancy, for example in limiting Biblical truth to areas of “faith and practice.” Over the centuries the Bible has been challenged by archeology, anthropology, numerology, evolutionary science, historiography, and other areas of study. With proper research and understanding, the Bible has always been proven to be God’s truth in everything to which it speaks. “Proper understanding” means that the words and concepts of modern knowledge, for example, natural science, and the words of Scripture are not equivalent, even though they may be spelled the same or seem similar. See Autographs and Inerrancy.

Integration: the attempt to merge the “truth” of nature with the truth of Scripture; that is, natural revelation and special revelation. This approach should raise considerable alarm to those who adhere to Biblical Christianity. However, this process is impossible procedurally, because some authority other than Scripture must be chosen to decide how this integration is to take place. That authority is usually the person who attempts the integration and who does not have either the training or the education for this process. Almost always, “integration” is used in association with “All truth is God’s truth,” another phrase that should raise warning flags when a Christian uses it.

Intelligent Design: an alternative to Biblical creationism that is an attempt to provide an alternative to evolution in the public schools. However, it misrepresents Christianity, as the only choice is between Biblical creationism and an impersonal, godless universe. Intelligent Design represents Islam, as well as Christianity, and any other “intelligent” creator.



Job: the task at which one works for income. Job should be distinguished from vocation and career.

“Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1): One of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible. Its explanation follows in the context, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (verse 2). Verse 1 does not say that we are not to judge, for judgment is unavoidable in human interactions. We are to judge others, as we are to judge ourselves, according to the “canon, the measuring stick of Scripture.” Therefore, we are to judge with grace and truth, justice and mercy, and the spirit and the letter of the law to ourselves, families, social groups and culture, and in politics and government. The Apostle Paul explains judging further in I Corinthians 6:1-11.

Jurisprudence: the study or science of legal theory and philosophy. “The study of jurisprudence, next to that of theology, is the most important and useful to men.” (Quote is from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.) The modern concept and practice of law is amorphous, virtually whatever judges and jurists want it to be. See Summary Principles of Government, Law, etc.

Justice: the application of Biblical law in the appropriate situation or each person getting his just due, both reward and punishment, by the same criteria. Why designate the appropriate situation? God’s justice has the range of application from the individual’s conscience in society (social justice), to the laws of church government that require correction (discipline) of its members, and to the taking of a life in capital punishment after due process of state law. Properly applied, justice is always merciful, even to its ultimate application on earth in capital punishment. Final and perfect justice will be executed in the Last Judgment.



Keynesian economics, Keynesianism, and Keynesian Theory: an economic theory based upon the ideas of twentieth-century British economist John Maynard Keynes. It promotes a mixed economy in which both the state and the private sector have important roles. It is virtually the opposite of Misian economics. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)

The) Kingdom of God: “a community of persons animated by … the Spirit of God… set down in an environment completely serviceable to righteousness, peace, truth (justice and mercy), and every other value that began with the giving of the Holy Spirit and that will be fully established in the future. A work separate from the Church, although She is the living, burning center of the Kingdom, a witness to its presence and power, and a harbinger of its final coming.” Augustine’s City of God. The Kingdom of God is The Great Commission, Biblical ethics, and biblical worldview. See The Kingdom of God. Quotes from Henry Stob, Ethical Reflections, pages 67-69. The Kingdom of God is what Augustine called the City of God which was antithetically opposed to the City of Man.

(The) Kingdom of Heaven: equivalent to The Kingdom of God (above) and The Great Commission (above).



Laissez-faire economics: economics theory which advocates that markets and the private sector operate best without state intervention. This approach is consistent with Misian economics and a Biblical approach to economics. It is the opposite of Keynesian economics.

Law: a decree by some authority that when obeyed will bring some benefit, or when disobeyed will bring some penalty. God is first truth, and then law. These attributes lay the foundation of His justice for the application of His love, mercy, and grace. He has established laws* for nature (animate and inanimate) and for mankind. Relative to the latter, God’s law is representative of His righteousness and holiness. Rightly understood, there is no conflict in His laws of self-government, the family, the church, social organizations, and state governments (local, state, and national). The greatest Freedom that any object or being can experience is to function within the laws of God  whether in nature or organizations of men. When God’s laws are broken, destruction, disease, injury, and death inevitably result. See Love below. “Law” is used at least 12 different ways in Scripture, see What Is Biblical Law? Synonyms for law in the Bible include commandment, statute, precept, instruction, judgments, righteous judgments, word, testimonies, His (God’s) ways, a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. (See Psalm 119.)

*Natural law:

Law of Absolutes: The Law of Non-Contradiction necessitates of the statement, “There are no absolutes,” that there exists at least one absolute. By this simple methodology, God has necessitated Absolutes in His Universe, Himself being the First Principle of Absolutes.

Law of Contradiction or Law of Non-Contradiction: the belief and axiom of logic that a proposition and its opposite statement cannot both be true. Associated with this law is the Law of Absolutes.

Legalism: (1) the attempt by a person to obtain merit or favor with God through acts of confession or obedience, whether to Biblical law, principles derived from Biblical law, or any other set of rules or religious practices. The unregenerate can do nothing to please God (Romans 8:8) and the regenerate have already been completely forgiven in Christ and do not need to add anything to what Christ has already done (Romans 8:1). Justification (complete, total, and final) is one of the most important concepts for a Christian to understand in the concept of salvation. The Christian who understands justification is never concerned with legalism. His only concern is obedience in the grace and mercy of Christ.

Legalism for the regenerate can be subtle. We can begin to think that we must live perfectly in order to please God. God does not require perfection in our living, especially when we have repetitive (“besetting”) sins. He does require confession and repentance of all sins. On this basis, we need to keep short accounts with God. But, we never have to “earn” His favor. In fact, we cannot earn His favor. Christ has given us (imputed) His perfection.

The full and complete application of the law in a Christian’s life is not legalism. It is simply obedience to God’s instructions (commandments). The law, then, gives the Christian instruction the “how” for loving God and loving others, the Two Great Commandments. As a newborn baby needs instruction on the laws of human conduct, the regenerate Christian needs instruction on how to live before God and others (I Peter 2:2). Biblical law is that instruction. Law and love are intimately woven together. See Love.

Placing obligations on God: There is also a sense in which legalism places an obligation or debt upon God. If we can earn His favor, He “owes” us. If we can perform steps A, B, and C and expect a particular action from God for us or in us, we have obligated His service to us. God is then conditional to our requests or actions. This He cannot and will not do. His purposes forever and always are His own (Ephesians 1:5, 9).

(2) a set of rules, frequently that are extra-biblical (as the Pharisees had) or selectively Biblical that are used to determine whether another person or group is sufficiently “spiritual” to be acceptable to the person or group holding those rules. Modern issues involving legalism include young-earth vs. old-earth creationism, theonomy, charismatic gifts, observance of the Sabbath, eschatology, and a variety of dietary and health practices. These rules violate the oneness of Ephesians 4:1-5 for all the regenerate.

Leisure: a humanistic notion that is often substituted for the Biblical concept of rest. The Bible knows nothing of leisure: only Work and Rest, both of which are instructed in the 4th Commandment and the New Testament concept of Good Works, especially Matthew 11:28-30. Leisure has the idea of being free from work and doing what one wants to do. Biblically, one is never free from God’s commandments. Getting sufficient Rest is one of God’s commandments, cited in this definition. One may counter, “Leisure may be used for Bible study or mercy ministry.” I would answer, “These are Good Works, not leisure!”

Lex Rex: literally, “the law is king.” Also the title of Samuel Rutherford’s book, published in 1644, early in the deliberations of the Westminster Assembly that produced the Westminster Confession of Faith. Apart from the influence of the Bible, virtually all cultures had the standard, rex lex, “the king is law.” Whatever the king said was law–no man had any rights above what the king said. Under Biblical law, a man has the right to appeal to the law as written in his country.

Licensure: standards that are set by the state which have to be met for individuals in a particular profession to practice their trade. De facto, the state has thus created a monopoly that limits creativity and new developments in that profession. See Licensure of Medical Practice.

Liberty: See Freedom.

Logic: “the study of the methods by which the conclusion is proved beyond all doubt,” or to the contrary, by which the conclusion is proved to be erroneous. The process of Logic, however, says nothing about the truth of the premises. The truth or falsity of the premises is not part of the logical process. See The Role of Logic (in truth) and Unraveling the Concept of Logic.

Logos: “word” in New Testament Greek. However, when used in reference to Jesus Christ, as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…” (John 1:1), it has a greater depth and breadth of meaning than may be realized. John Calvin translates it as “Speech.” Some other possible translations are: computation, accounts, measure, esteem, consideration, value, ratio, proportion, pretext, purpose, theory, argument, proposition, principle, law, rule, thesis, hypothesis, reason, formula, debate, narrative, fable, speech—to name a few. For more on logos, click here.

Love: sacrificial acts (speech and behavior) within Biblical or Godly parameters (law, precepts, principles, etc.) for the greatest good of the one loved (God, spouse, child, neighbor, and even enemies). Biblical parameters (law) limit “anything goes,” as acts of love. For example, a man cannot divorce his wife because he “loves” another woman. Sacrifice on the part of the one who loves illustrates its supreme value. The ultimate act of love, as sacrifice, is “to lay down one’s life” (John 15:13). Obviously, love is one of the richest of Biblical concepts. It is commonly misunderstood by many Christians, even concerning the greatest act of love in history, God’s sacrifice of His Own Son for the greatest good of those whom He loved. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Love is obedience to all the commandments of God. See Law, Justice, Love, Law, etc.

Love – Agapeo and Phileo: From the conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21,, these words are often contrasted. Biblically, however, they have the same meaning! (1) Jesus and Peter would have spoken Aramaic in which there are no corresponding words for agapeo and phileo; that is, to differentiate “brotherly” love from the “agapé” of the New Testament. (2) John often introduces “slight variations in all sorts of places without real difference of meaning,” e.g., John 3:5. (3) Peter answers, “Yes, Lord.” “Why would he say ‘Yes,’ if he means ‘No?’ … He is accepting Jesus’ word, not declining it.” (4) Elsewhere in the New Testament, phileo is used where it cannot possibly be “brotherly” love, mandating at the very least it sometimes means the same as agapeo. Examples are found in John 5:20 (“as the Father loves the son”), John 16:27 (of the Father’s love for His own), I Corinthians 16:22 (love for Jesus Christ), and Revelation 3:19 (the Father rebukes only those whom He loves). I would contend, along with Gordon Clark, that agapeo and phileo throughout the New Testament are synonyms. (The quotes and other notes herein are from Leon Morris’ International Commentary on the New Testament: John [1977 Edition], pages 870-873. Also, see D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd Edition, pages 31-32.)



Materialism: 1) the belief that only matter is real, in contrast to Rationalism or Idealism that considers only thought or mind as real. Under materialism, “mind” is an “epiphenomenon.” 2) The Biblical, moral concept whereby “things” are over-emphasized in one’s life, even to the extent that “things” are worshipped. “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Synonym of Naturalism and Positivism.

Mathematics: “The science of quantity; the science which treats of magnitude and number, or of whatever can be measured or numbered. This science is divided into pure or speculative, which considers quantity abstractly, without relation to matter; and mixed, which treats of magnitude as subsisting in material bodies, and is consequently interwoven with physical considerations.” (From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, reference below.)

Mechanism, Mechanistic Materialism: the philosophy of naturalism that nature can be described in terms of mechanical laws. For example, “mind and its activities are forms of behavior. Psychology, then, becomes a study of behavior, and mind or consciousness are interpreted as muscular, neural, or glandular behavior. These processes may then be explained by physics and chemistry. Values and ideals become merely subjective labels for physical situations and relations.” Titus et al., Living Issues…, page 251. See Dialectical Materialism.

Mental Illness: a term that is so generally used and misused as to be of virtually no use. The term is an attempt to equate physical illness with aberrant emotions and behaviors. Based upon a philosophy of materialism, this attempt is understandable. However, man is both Body and Soul (Spirit, Heart, Mind). The problem is that there is no “normal,” as a standard. Because of the Fall of mankind in Adam, this lack of a standard can be understood. As the New Adam, Jesus Christ is our normative standard within the limits of our being human and He being God. See Behavior or Disease? and On the Nature of Arguments for Mental Illness.

Metaphysics: one of the four branches of philosophy (along with ethics, logic, and epistemology). It “is concerned with the nature and structures of being or ultimate reality… (with) such issues as the nature of existence, properties, and events; the relation between particulars and universals, individuals and classes; the nature of change and causation; and the nature of mind, matter, space, and time.” (John Jefferson Davis, Theology Primer: Resources for the Theological Student, Baker Book House, 1981, page 30).

Mind (of man): see Image of God.

Mind of Christ: see article Mind of Christ on this website.

Mind-body problem. “The difficulty of explaining how the mental activities of human beings relate to their living physical organisms” (from the philosophical dictionary below). From a Biblical perspective, this problem does not exist, as man has an immaterial mind, as well as a material brain, portrayed in Scripture. See Image of God, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.

Misian Economics: the economic approach of Ludwig von Mises, which is essentially the same as Laissez-faire economics.

Modern medicine: all medical theory and practices are based upon evolution and naturalism, even Mechanistic Materialism.

Modernism, modernist, modernity: the attitude (arrogance) that modern knowledge is virtually all that could be valid or true. It exists in both Christians and non-Christians. Many modern Christians see no need to study the writings and teachings of past Christians. Yet, he who does not or will not learn from history is condemned to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Modernism is also simply a continuation of the Enlightenment’s attempt to find meaning apart from God and within man himself.

Moral responsibility: synonym of Free Will.

Morals, morality: See Ethic and Ethics which are synonyms. Sometimes, morals or mores are defined by what a society or group of people does without regard to Biblical standards.



Nationalism: an entity that transcends local groups, such as tribes, small towns, and identifiable cultures, that is coalesced under a central government, and that is arranged according to boundaries that are determined by topography, treaty, or conquest. Few nation states existed before the 19th century. The aims of the nation are often quite different from those local groups. By the power and administration of the central government, as well as, assimilation by proximity and exposure of these groups to each other, local distinctives and identities are lost. The rights of these local groups are often subjected to the “rights” of the whole. Fervent nationalism becomes “my country, right or wrong!” Christians may never violate biblical ethics because of a love for their country.

Natural theology: theological principles derived from nature or empirical methods. A more accurate term is General revelation, in contrast to Special Revelation. Natural theology is subject to the presuppositions of its practitioners.

Naturalism or Scientific Naturalism: “the belief that all objects, events, and values can be wholly explained in terms of factual and/or causal claims about the world, without reference to supernatural powers or authority” (from Dictionary of Philosophical Terms… below). For Christians this “supernatural powers or authority” is the Bible. Synonym of Materialism and Positivism (1).

Naturalistic Fallacy: an attempt to derive ethics (principles of right and wrong) from “what is” or “what has been,” especially any concept of evolution in the past or nature as it has been found today. An example would be the eugenics movement, which proclaims that it is “right” to assist natural selection by population planning, either in total numbers or human traits that are “preferred” for one reason or another. Adolph Hitler implemented this reasoning in monstrous and heinous programs.

Need, Needs: any thing without which a person cannot live or function to his maximal ability in the tasks to which God has called him or her. Any person’s greatest need is regeneration and obedience to the Word of God. While in this physical life, such things as air, water, food, and shelter are necessary to sustain physical life. Spiritual needs include Bible study, worship, an active church life, personal ministry, etc. Christians must take great caution that needs are not confused with desires, nor that true needs become lust (inordinate desires). For example, Bible study is a great need in every Christian’s life, but when it begins to obstruct obligations to one’s family, job, or other daily responsibilities, then it has become a lust. See Need and Needs.

Neighbor: Anyone with whom a person may come in contact, as close as one’s spouse, or more distant as one’s enemies in warfare to missions around the world that provide physical help, as illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) or that evangelize the unreached. Obviously, one’s responsibilities increase, as the proximity of the neighbor increases. The closest neighbor is your spouse, or other member of your family, if not married.

Nouthetic Counseling: equivalent to Biblical counseling. “Nouthetic” was coined by Jay Adams from the N.T. Greek Word, nouthesis. It “is motivated by love and deep concern, in which (Christians) are counseled (according to the Bible) and corrected by verbal means for their good, and ultimately of course, that God may be glorified,” for example, see Romans 15:14. (Competent to Counsel, p. 50)



Ontology: thought that is concerned with the nature of ultimate reality. Synonym for Truth, Ethic, Metaphysics, and Worldview. While there may be shades of differences between these words, each is concerned with what is the most basic foundation for reliable thought.

Operationalism: see this discussion of operationalism.

Orthodox: orthos, right true, straight; doxa, opinion, praise. Orthodox doctrine is true doctrine according to some standard, usually creeds or confessions that are true to Scripture. Being Greek Orthodox is only one application of this term to a specific branch of Christianity.

Dead Orthodoxy: This term, as commonly used, is seriously flawed. Orthodox doctrine, as defined here, assumes the presence of regeneration. Only a person who is truly born-again can actually believe true doctrine. Where regeneration is present, the Holy Spirit of God resides in that person. He can only manifest that life of God. A better expression of what is meant by dead orthodoxy would be “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). “Deadness” exists where there is false faith (i.e., temporary and historical faith). Only spiritual life can exist where true faith (belief in true doctrine) exists.



Pagan: an unregenerate, one who has not been “born-again,” by the process of Regeneration. All people are separated into two groups, Regenerate and Unregenerate. No Worldview that does not take this division into deliberate account cannot be considered to be a Biblical Worldview. Remember, a Pagan is a person who worships other gods, shakes his fist in the face of God as his enemy, and “does whatever he wants,” regardless of what God says is right and wrong.

Pareto Principle: frequently called the 20/80 rule, e.g., 20 percent of the workers in any given business do 80 percent of the work or produce 80 percent of the product; 20 percent of criminals commit 80 percent of crimes; 20 percent of drivers cause 80 percent of accidents, etc., etc. The reader will need to devote 1-2 hours of his/her time to begin to grasp the truth of this principle. There are few ideas that will greatly advance your understanding of the world than this one. A good place to start are Richard Koch talks on Youtube on the 80/20 rule. Another way to express this rule is that the square root of the number of worker produce 50 percent of the work or product. Research that value, as well.

Peace: primarily used in the Bible as designating the relationship between a believer and God. Unless one realizes the degree of enmity and hatred that God has for sin and unbelieving sinners, one cannot appreciate the breadth and depth of Biblical “peace.” For what it is not, see “How Emotions Re-define Theology.”

At various times in church history and in some localities, a subjective type of mind has claimed to be superior in spirituality. This “pietism” has found representatives in the late twentieth century. They put emphasis on the intensity of believing and minimize the object of belief. In come cases the object virtually disappears. “Guilt-feelings” are a cause of concern, while (true—Ed) guilt is rather ignored. The New Testament is more objective. Just as grace is the favor bestowed by God on his people, so too peace is not any subjective “peace of mind,” but an objective peace with God. We were once His enemies; now God has established peace. It is the objective peace with God that Paul asked God to bestow on the Colossians. (Gordon Clark’s Commentary on Colossians 1:2)

Phileo (verb): to love. See Love.

Philosophy: (from philo– “loving” + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” literally “one who loves knowledge of wisdom”.) 1) at a personal level, one’s worldview or ethic, whether examined or unexamined, coherent or inconsistent, informal or formal (as an established system agreed to by many persons, as in humanism or Roman Catholicism), and including or excluding a supernatural (metaphysical) dimension, founded upon some set of first principles (axioms, presuppositions, assumptions, postulates, propositions, etc.) accepted by faith as true. 2) Formally, “a persistent attempt to acquire an understanding and appreciation of the cosmos as a whole; a passionate endeavor to see the world of men and things as they truly are; the untiring effort to disclose the structure and pattern of the world, to discern and apprehend the interrelation of things, to see how part is linked to part, and how all things join to constitute a single and intelligible whole” (Henry Stob, Theological Reflections, Eerdmans: 1981). Sum: a diligent attempt to know truth (see Truth below). Ultimately, there are only two philosophies (religions or cosmologies): that which is consistently and coherently Biblical, and all others. Philosophy and Religion are synonyms. See Religion and the Synonyms listed under First Principles.

Philosophy, definitions of: click here.

Pietism: the dominant measurement of one’s Christian experience since the mid-19th century. Essentially, it is believing and living the Christian life, based primarily upon one’s emotions. To some extent, all Christians measure their lives in this way. To some extent, sanctification is an emotional experience. But, pietism has come to dominate Christians’ understanding and experience. Some examples include basing decisions on finding “peace,” “the Lord told me to ____” (do a certain thing), I “feel” that this verse means _______, and “I felt good about the worship service today.” For more on this subject, see “How Emotions Re-define Theology.”

Polanyi, Michael (1891-1976): born Hungarian, worked most of his life in Britain. He has possibly written the most important works of the 20th century to refute the “objectivity” of science. His book, Personal Knowledge, is an extensive history and refutation of scientism and a major defense of the subjectivity of the scientific method. (These were his re-worked Gifford Lectures of 1951-52. When scientism and the scientific method are refuted, atheism and secular humanism has nothing left upon which to stand. Polanyi provides more than enough ammunition to destroy these two intellectual enemies of Christianity and truth.

Politics: from the Greek, polis or state. “The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals. Politics, as a science or an art, is a subject of vast extent and importance.” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)

Positivism: “the belief that natural science, based on observation, comprises the whole of human knowledge… reject(ing) as meaningless, the claims of theology and metaphysics. The most influential twentieth-century version is logical positivism” (from A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms… below). Synonym of Materialism and Naturalism.

Postmodernism: “Most generally, abandonment of Enlightenment confidence in the achievement of objective human knowledge through reliance upon reason in pursuit of foundationalism, essentialism, and realism. In philosophy, postmodernists typically express grave doubt about the possibility of universal objective truth, reject artificially sharp dichotomies, and delight in the inherent irony and particularity of language and life.” (From the philosophical dictionary in references below.) One consistently prevalent and dominating tenet of both Modernism and Post-modernism is the exclusion of Biblical Christianity and its God from any meaning related to man’s existence. Post-modernism at its core is simply irrational; there is no meaning anywhere. This position simply contradicts men and women’s everyday pursuits of knowledge, purpose, and relationships. Pragmatism or Pragmatic Theory of Truth: one of the classic tests of truth. The Word of God is the most practical book ever written. See The Pragmatic Test of Truth.

Pragmatic Knowledge or Pragmatic Value: a synonym of 2nd definition of Fact.

Predestination: 1) philosophical or cosmological sense: any theory of the causes and effects that determine what an individual is and does. Some theory of predestination is unavoidable (inescapable) because no person chooses his genetic and spiritual condition, nor the early teachings of his parents and others. All decisions after the age of “accountability” are absolutely determined by these prior factors. Also, on this basis no one is “free” from predestination to be able to make “free” choices. 2) Biblical sense: God’s ordering of all events from eternity past to the present to eternity future “who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). See Free Will.

Prehistory: the history of the Bible goes all the way back to Creation! Thus, prehistory is a misnomer. It is also a misnomer apart from the Bible, as all peoples have left a history, whether in buildings, implements, paintings, and even writings. Prehistory is a word from an evolutionary worldview that there was a time when man did not have more than a guttural language. However, Biblical history and archeology show that man has always had a highly intelligent language. Prehistory is not found in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

Presbyterian: essentially a synonym of Calvinism, except that Presbyterian also identifies its form of church government with a board of ruling elders in the local church which groups with other churches in a presbytery or synod. Most Presbyterians believe the Westminster Confession of Faith along with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Presbyterians also believe in infant baptism as a sign of God’s Covenant with His people.

Presupposition: see first principle

Primacy of the Intellect: knowledge in the understanding or the rational mind provides the direction for the emotions and the will, after one’s first principles are believed. This position demands the pursuit of education (knowledge), especially a systematic understanding of Scripture.

Proof: the evidence which is acceptable to a person concerning some statement about reality. Absolute proof of God, materialism, or any other philosophical or religious system does not exist. When the atheist asks for “proof,” he has already decided what he will or will not accept to support or deny his position. Proof is always relative to the philosophy, religion, and beliefs of any person.

Psychiatry: the practice of psychology by practitioners who are licensed to practice medicine. The only difference between psychologists and psychiatrists is that the latter are able to prescribe medications and procedures that are considered “medical” by the state licensing authority. All evaluations and references to “psychology” on this website apply equally to psychiatrists and psychiatry. Most Christians who are psychiatrists practice secular psychology. (See Psychology, below.)

Psychology (true or Biblical): is the study of an individual person’s thoughts, speech, and behavior relative to himself, his neighbor, and God, as governed and defined by specific Biblical criteria. Secular psychologists and Christian psychologists who try to “integrate“ psychology with Biblical principles would deny this Biblical criterion. See Anthropology and Worldview Area of Psychology, etc.

Psychology, Secular: All psychology that does not have the Bible as its governing truth in all areas of theory and practice. Even the psychology that is taught and practiced by most Christians is secular psychology.

Psychotherapy: the sophisticated name given by psychologists to simply talking with people who need advice about some problem in life with themselves or others. While it may involve listening, asking questions, and giving advice or directions, it is still just conversation. The preferred term is Counseling which can be done by anyone with some training and/or experience, especially those who know and can apply the Word of God. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of a person giving “psychotherapy” has no correlation with his or her level of education.

Puritans: the word was first applied to Christians in England at the time of the Reformation who believed that all Roman Catholic worship should be “purified” according to Biblical standards of worship. As with most labels, there was a variety of beliefs within the ranks of the Puritans, both in England, America, and elsewhere. In general, the Puritans were known for their strong Calvinism and their vigorous practice of a Biblical mindset. They are a model to be emulated in their Biblical humility and rock-solid stance for righteousness, even to challenge kings and other government authorities. See Essay on Milton. For a more complete historical review of the Puritans, see The Pilgrims and Puritans.



Quakers: a sect founded by George Fox about 1660 whose beliefs include each individual being directly responsible to God (they have no priests or pastors and no religious ceremonies and do not call themselves a church), and being guided by an “inner light” that comes directly from “God within.” Since they accept this “inner light” as equivalent or superior to God’s Revelation in the Bible, they could not be labeled “Christian,” in the Evangelical sense (above). They are also called the Religious Society of Friends (RSOF).



Racism: perhaps one of the most heinous categories ever created concerning mankind. Biblically, there are no races, only humans. “Male and female” were the only categories of creation. Both were created in the “image of God.” On this simple basis, Christians ought to be in the forefront of living and working towards this reality in their daily lives and especially in their churches.

Rational thinking: the informal process of moving through an argument in a “reasonable” or “consistent” manner. This process has little relevance to formal logic which (applied correctly) is quite precise and by which one can draw conclusions that are just as true as the premises. See Unraveling the Concept of Logic.

Rationalism: “the belief that human reason alone can discover the basic principles of the universe… the mind has the power to know some truths that are logically prior to experience, and yet not analytic (that is can be broken down into smaller parts). Titus, Living Issues…, pages 17, 435.

Realism: “the belief that the objects of our senses exist independently of their being known or related to mind.” Titus, Living Issues …, page 435. The opposite of realism is Idealism.

Reality: the presence of the Sovereign God through His laws for the physical universe, living organisms, man, and the spiritual world. Negatively, no living thing is free from these laws without severe consequences. Positively, everything in the universe functions at its best according to these laws — see Freedom. For example, the laws of the universe keep planets in their orbits. The laws of biochemistry sustain the cells of living creatures. Spiritual laws must govern one’s behavior towards God and others, or quarrels, fights, and wars result. This Reality prevents any creature from being independent of either God or everything else in the universe.

Reason, Reasonable: thinking that is supposed to arrive at truth. For example, many have argued that reason is more important than faith in arriving at truth. The problem is that there is no universally agreed upon process of thinking that is considered valid. Augustine of Hippo stated “I believe in order to understand.” Biblically, this method is correct. But, atheists would argue that “pure reason” must come first. However, no one can avoid presupposition (first principles) which are prior to reason (positions of faith), require no proofs or argument, and actually determine what that person or group considers reasonable.

Reconstruction: a synonym of Theonomy.

Reformation: a movement of the Holy Spirit that causes an increasing rate of the number of persons who are regenerated, and then apply Biblical truth to the mores of a culture and the legislation of its laws. Jesus Christ has caused the greatest reforms in history generally and vastly underrated by Christians and non-Christians alike. See What If Jesus Had Never Been Born. Contrast with Revolution. True reformation has a broad and lasting influence on individuals, The Church and churches, and cultures, contrasted with Revival, which usually has only a temporary effect, primarily restricted to individuals and local churches.

(The) Reformation: the great historical events that began with Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg and an entire reconsideration of The Church and all its teachings strictly according to Biblical interpretation.

Reformed: See Calvinism.

Reformed Baptist: generally, a Calvinist who believes in immersion for baptism on profession of faith (not infant baptism) and churches that are independent of any higher governing authority.

Regenerate: the person who has been acted upon by God’s Spirit to be “born-again” or “born from above.” See Pagan and Regeneration. The whole of the human race is divided into these two categories called sheep and goats, believers and unbelievers, wheat and tares, etc.

Regeneration: The change wrought by the Holy Spirit in the soul or spirit of a person that changes trust (belief or faith) in oneself, as the source of truth about life and how to live it, to trust in the Bible, as God offers forgiveness in Jesus Christ and tells us who we are and what our responsibilities are. Regeneration is initiation of sanctification. Other terms in the Bible for regeneration are “born-again” and “born from above.”

The new birth is by the grace of God; that change by which the will and natural enmity of man to God and his law are subdued, and a principle of supreme love to God and his law, or holy affections, are implanted in the heart. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Regenerate man, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit , has a more valid understanding of the Bible than unregenerate man.

See Regeneration for a more detailed discussion of the term that is a key to understanding salvation.

Religion: on a practical and functional level, a synonym of Philosophy and Worldview, that is, the most basic rules (usually unexamined) by which a person governs his life. However, commonly and traditionally, it is erroneously limited to established belief systems, usually ones with supernatural beliefs. (For more on this common use of “religion,” see its reference at– below.) At the most basic level, there are only two religions: Biblical Christianity and all others. One could also say that the only religion is Biblical Christianity and everything else is a distortion of it. See the Synonyms listed under First Principles.

Republic: a nation governed by constitutional law and enforced by representatives of that law who are elected by the people. (Joe Morecraft on America in 1776)

Responsibility: man is responsible for his thoughts and actions because God says that he is, not because he is morally “free.” Man is free to choose consistent with all his predetermined conditions. See Free will and Predestination.

Rest: those activities that allow a person to become strengthened to Work and do Good Works, and not become “weary in well-doing.” These activities include the instructions in the 4th Commandment for the Sabbath and sleep, primarily. Some activities of a quiet nature, such as light reading, walking, and quiet conversation may be included here.

Retirement: a modern concept that at the end of one’s primary means of producing income, a person does whatever he wants, usually what he has always wanted to do, but never had the time. It is an unbiblical notion because one never “retires” from God’s Work or Good Works. However, such “retirement” can be a great opportunity for one to be more fully engaged in Good Works to advance the cause of The Kingdom of God.

Revival: changes in individuals and local churches in response to special times and manners of preaching which is usually temporary in effect. Contrast with Reformation.

Revolution: “the radical change of social patterns in their essential constitution, through violence and compulsion.” (Henry, C.F.H. Aspects of Christian Social Ethics, page 17) Contrast with Reformation.

Rex lex: literally, “the king is law.” Also known as the Divine Right of Kings. See Lex rex.

Right, Rights: rights are ethical or legal claims of duties or freedoms that are given to those people under a higher authority. The only legitimate rights are those given by God in His Word. The Declaration of Independence declares that all peoples have “inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Since God is the highest authority, there is no court of appeal higher than Himself.

Righteousness: all that God requires of men and women, as defined by the Bible. There are the Two Great Commandments of loving God and neighbor, the Ten Commandments, the “new commandment” of Christ, and all the other commandments, precepts, and principles of the Holy Scriptures. Within Biblical definitions, righteousness is a synonym of Biblical ethics and Biblical worldview.



Salvation: simply, “to be rescued from something.” Thus, to understand any form of salvation, one must know from what he has been saved. Salvation in the Bible is no different. But, few Christians seem to understand the full extent of the terrible and severe circumstances from which they have been rescued, and the great opportunities which they have been given in their earthly life, not just heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven begins now! See Salvation: Its Phases and Wonderful Fullness: Often Considered Too Narrowly.

Science: a pivotal word for worldview concepts. Beginning with the Scholastics about 1200, theology was called “The Queen of the Sciences.” “Science,” as used in this sense, referred to any area of systematic study. Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 (see References below), in his 2nd definition states, “In philosophy, a collection of the general principles or leading truths relating to any subject. Pure science … is built on self-evident truths; but the term science is also applied to other subjects founded on generally acknowledged truths….” In modern times, “science” refers to the physical and natural sciences. The great problem is that the more precise sciences of physics, chemistry, and mathematics connote the same precision to such areas as biology, psychology (of man), and medicine, that these latter areas do not have. For more on this discussion, see What Is Science? Science could also be considered a synonym of Systematics, as in systematic theology. By science and systematics, subject matter is fitted and understood as parts of a whole. Then, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Scientific Anarchism: science does not proceed by any set of rules, criterion or methods. For more, see here.

Scientific Naturalism: See Naturalism.

Scientific method: a system of steps by which theories about the physical universe may be tested and “proved.” This proof is limited to the design of the experiment. It is not proof in the philosophical sense of finding truth. Many people are deceived by the use of proof in this way. The scientific method, by design, is limited to proofs in the physical world. It can say nothing about the supernatural world because the method excludes any supernatural interference by design. See Proof.

“Writers on scientific method usually tell us that scientific discoveries made “inferentially,” that is to say, from putting together many facts. But this is far from being correct. The facts by themselves are never sufficient to lead unequivocally to the really profound discoveries. Facts are always analyzed in terms of the prejudices of the investigator. The prejudices are of a deep kind, relating to our view on how the Universe “must” be constructed.” Sir Fred Hoyle, Highlights in Astronomy (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1977), page 35-36.

Scientism: the philosophy that only through the natural sciences may truth or knowledge be obtained. Biblically and philosophically, however, such science cannot qualify as a source of truth. See Science as Truth and … Pragmatic Value.

Secular Humanism: humanism based upon secularism.

Secularism: a modern term that certain practices or institutions (public or private) should exist separately from Religion (as erroneously and narrowly defined—see Religion in this Glossary). “In the extreme, it is an ideology that holds that religion has no place in public life” (from Wikipedia below).

Social Justice: the comprehensive application of Biblical law, love, and mercy to all levels of government: self, family, voluntary groups, churches, and state (local, state, and national). Great errors in the modern application of social justice is, first, neglect of Biblical law, but more specifically, the omission of responsibility, opportunity for retribution, and egalitarianism. Jesus Christ has caused the greatest changes towards social justice by both civil law and compassion generated by the love of Christ. See What If Jesus Had Never Been Born. For the background of social justice in God’s law, love, grace, mercy, and justice, see this link.

Socialism: “a political and economic theory that advocates the public ownership and management of the principal means of production, distribution, and exchange.” (Titus…, Living Issues…, page 437) “The political application of the belief that man’s salvation lies in the application of intelligence (apart from the Scriptures) to man’s problems.” (Rushdoony, Salvation and Godly Rule, page 115)

Sociology: “the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings.” (2) See Anthropology (above), as this worldview area must be Biblically defined to be acceptable to a Biblical worldview. Social justice is a better name for this area.

Solas, The Five of the Reformation: sola Scriptura, soli Deo gloria, solo Christo, sola gratia, and sola fide. In the same order, the only and ultimate authority are the 66 books of the Protestant Bible, only glory to God, only by Christ is a person saved and has any merit with the Father, only by grace without any human works is one saved, and only by faith and not by works is one saved. See Trent, Council of.

Soul (of man): the immaterial component of man that thinks and feels. See Mind and Spirit. (Human) spirit is virtually synonymous with soul. Heart, soul, mind, and spirit are all facets of the immaterial component of man. See The Image of God.

Special Revelation: the 66 books of the Protestant Bible, infallible, inerrant, entirely sufficient, and fully authoritative.

Spirit (of man): the immaterial component of man that thinks and feels. See Mind and Soul. See The Image of God.

Spiritual Gifts: those special abilities given by Christ, as he ascended into heaven, to individual Christians for the building up of the visible and invisible Church, numerically by evangelism, spiritually by teaching and preaching, and physically by works of mercy (Ephesians 4:7-16).

(The) State: as noun or adjective, any legally constituted government: city, county, state, or nation. Christians need to re-institute the concept that “government” includes self-government, that of the family, church, and other formally organized bodies, not just legal institutions. The more that non-state government is exercised, the less the need for the state. A synonym is Civil Government.

Subconscious mind: See Exploring the Unconscious.

“Survival of the Fittest”: a phrase coined by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), as a description of the work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882). Spencer’s work was published before that of Darwin and differed at several points.

Syllogism: the arrangement of all the steps of formal logic. See Logic above.

Systematics, as in systematic theology. See Science.



Talents: abilities, given by God, to believers and unbelievers, for the enrichment of mankind. These may be technical, for example, in engineering or architecture, or artistic, in music or painting. Contrast with Spiritual Gifts.

Theistic evolution: the synthesis of some theory of evolution that is directed by God over long periods of time. Neither the Biblical account nor the evidences of evolution necessitate this conclusion.

Theocracy: a government based upon “ultimate reality” or one’s (or a group’s) most basic belief. It has been wrongly assumed that a theocracy is based upon religious belief, for example, Old Testament Israel or the Muslin states. However, all law is based upon ethics, and ethics is based upon ultimate reality. Thus, democracy or communism is as much a theocracy as one that is overtly “religious.” All beliefs are based upon personal choice about ultimate concerns. Therefore, all governments are theocracies. See Theocracy Is An Inescapable Concept.

Theonomy: literally, “the law (nomos-) of God (theos-); the application of all the laws (statutes, commandments, precepts, etc.) of the Old and New Testaments to the individual, family, social groups, church, and nations—with the exception of those sacrificial, ceremonial, and dietary laws that Jesus Christ fulfilled in His sacrificial life, death, resurrection, and ascension. For a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of theonomy, see Reconstruction and Theonomy: Reviews.

Tradition: doctrines or practices within churches or Christian groups that have become customary from one generation to the next. Tradition is perhaps the most dangerous threat to Biblical truth. The Roman Catholic Church never had a chance to be corrected by the Reformation at the Council of Trent because their tradition was held on the same level of authority as Scripture. Today, Protestant churches often unwittingly allow tradition to supplant Biblical truth.

Traducianism: the belief that the soul of every individual, is not created at conception (creationsim), but is received from the soul of his or her parents., much like genetics and other physical qualities. The other possibilities are creationism, pre-existence, or reincarnation. Traducianism is the only view that satisfies all Biblical criteria. See here..

Transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2): the word “transformed” comes from the Greek word, metamorpho, which is used in only two other situations in the New Testament, of Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9) and the transformation that occurs to believers in heaven (II Corinthians 3:18). This word is a powerful statement of what will happen to the Christian’s being when he is diligent to “renew his mind.” Most Christians never even approach this diligence and therefore never experience that “transformation.”

Trent, Council of: met three times over a period of 18 years: 1545-1547; 1551-1552; and 1562-1563, as an official response to the standards of the Reformers and Conciliarism. This council could be considered a watershed for the Roman Catholic Church. The central cry of the Reformation was sola scriptura, that Biblical authority exceeded any other form of authority (truth). From this central tenet, the Reformers gained important understandings of justification by faith without humans works of any kind (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, the Council of Trent chose to continue with their other “authorities“: the councils of the church, church tradition, and the magisterium. Thus, they never worked from Scripture alone and continued their distortion of Biblical truth, salvation, and Christ’s sufficient work upon the cross. For more information, see The Council of Trent.

Trichotomy: the belief that the person consists of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. It is the belief of this author that this position is unbiblical, as only two states exist within God’s order: the material (physical—what can be touched, felt, smelled, tasted, and seen or that which is composed of atoms and molecules) and the immaterial (spiritual—God, angels, Satan, fallen and fallen angels) which for man is variously called his soul, mind, heart, and spirit. Trichotomy is usually a method for psychologists to claim that there is a realm for their expertise, the spirit, while the physician takes care of the body and the pastor takes care of the soul. See Heart and Mind.

Truth: 1) objectively, reality or “what is”; the universe as it really is; how every part of the universe is related to every other part. 2) The 66 books of the Protestant Bible. 3) Subjectively, Jesus Christ, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). (4) Honesty in thought, word, and deed. See Truth: Concepts, Nuances, etc. See Faith for the relationship of faith and truth. See Websters 1828 dictionary on “truth.”

“All truth is God’s truth.” A true phrase that is quite complex in its application. It is mostly used (erroneously) by psychologists and scientists who are Christians in an attempt to integrate natural revelation (nature) and special revelation (the Bible). Virtually every attempt at integration minimizes, if not denigrates, the proper authority of the Bible and the nature of its truth. See “All truth is God’s truth,”

Truism: synonym of Fact.



Ultimate reality: synonym for Truth, Ethic, Metaphysics, Religion and Worldview — see those words in this Glossary.

Unconscious: see Subconscious mind.

Uniformitarianism, Uniformity of Nature: the position of modern science that all processes and laws in nature have always functioned, and will function in the future, as they do in the present. The Biblical position differs, first, in that God created everything. Second, the Fall of Adam and Eve caused cataclysmic changes in the universe, such that it groans for regeneration (Matthew 19:28; Romans 8:19-22). Third, the Flood caused changes in nature that had not happened before and have not happened since. Fourth, God will one day destroy the present universe and create a new one (II Peter 3:10-13).

University: schools which developed out of the monasteries of the Middle Ages which sought to “uni-fy” all sources of knowledge from an understanding of both God’s Word and World (natural science). The authority given to natural revelation (nature) and special revelation (Bible) has varied among thinkers from the beginning of this attempt. Because both man and nature have experienced the effects of the Fall, however, this pursuit should properly give the authority to The Bible.

Unregenerate: all persons before the Holy Spirit has changed them through the process of Regeneration. The entire population of mankind from The Beginning are either regenerate or unregenerate (sheep and goats, saved and unsaved, Christian and pagan, etc.).

Utopia: a word invented by Thomas More (1478-1535) as the title of his book that described a fictional island with perfect harmony of legal, social, and political systems. Utopia was derived from Greek, ou-topos, meaning “no place,” and eu-topos, meaning “good place.” Since that time, it has been applied to any situation with hoped-for characteristics of Utopia, a place that from a Biblical perspective will never exist until Jesus Christ establishes His final Kingdom.



Valid Knowledge: a synonym of 2nd definition of Fact (above).

Value: the degree to which a person will be motivated to obtain an object or a goal; value is totally subjective — no object determines its own worth, only the person who desires it. For example, one ounce of gold in one situation (prosperity) may buy a month’s worth of groceries, while in another situation (famine), it may buy only one loaf of bread. Ultimately, God (as a Person) determines what something is worth which He has revealed in His Word.

Vocation: vocatio, Latin for “calling.” (1) In the narrow sense, the career or primary focus of one’s working energy. It may or may not be one’s primary source of income. For example, many women are “called” to be mothers. (2) In the fullest sense, vocation includes all “good works,” that is, all the tasks to which God calls His people, including Bible and theological study, worship, raising families, works of mercy, and evangelism. Some of these are incumbent upon every Christian; others are special callings with God’s provision of natural talents or spiritual gifts. See Vocation, Career, and Leisure.



Welfare: “financial assistance paid by taxpayers (and administered by state agencies) to people who are unable to support themselves” (Wikipedia definition, modified by Ed). Under Biblical principles and law, there is no justification for this concept of Welfare. See law and force and the not-so-great welfare state.

Westminster Confession of Faith: the doctrine produced at the request and funding of the English Parliament with representatives from most of the Reformed bodies in England, Scotland, and Ireland, written between 1643-1648. It consists of the confession itself and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. See WCF.

“What Is” Fallacy: the reasoning that “what is,” or even “what has been,” is a basis for ethics (principle of right and wrong). For example, the huge program of modern welfare is the right and best approach to the problem of the “poor” because it exists.

(The) Will: that faculty of the mind by which we determine either to act or not to act in a particular direction, or the faculty which is exercised in deciding, among two or more objects, which we shall embrace or pursue. The will is directed or influenced by the judgment and the Conscience. The mind’s understanding or reason compares different views; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which course of action to pursue. In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of a decision; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will act to achieve what we consider the most valuable. These are but different operations of the mind, soul, or intellectual part of man. (From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary below). A synonym of Faith, as an act of the will is an act of faith, as in “I believe that the action that I have taken (willed) is correct.”

Will of God or God’s Will: see God’s Will, “The will of God for my life”

Worldview: See “Worldview” in that section on the Homepage and its links to more discussion. See Ultimate Reality and Synonyms under First Principles.

Work: “any continuous application of energy toward an end.” (From Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia, edition unknown, cited by Rushdoony in Salvation and Godly Rule, 1983, page 399.) This definition centers on the Biblical concept of Good Works where the “end” is the Glory of God and the good of men or mankind. Vocation is a better term than “work” for one’s Career or primary means of producing income, as it has the sense of being “called” by God as an “end.”

Worship: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, #1). If the summum bonum of man is the worship of God, then any philosophy that does not have this end as one of its foundational principles is empty and meaningless. This criterion would eliminate all pagan philosophies and many Christian ones!



Zoroastrianism: This religion dates back to the 6th century B.C., started by Zoroaster (Zarathushtra) and was once the dominant religion of Greater Iran. It is a cohort of the ancient Vedic Hinduism, considered by some to have influenced Judaism and Christianity (although such a position would deny verbal inspiration of the Bible). It proclaims one God, Ahuramazda or Wise Lord, who is a friend of mankind. Mankind, then, functions as a junior partner in the goal of defeating and removing all evil from the material world by the end of time, when everything will be made perfect. Evil is considered as the absence of good, but does not have an independent existence. This religion is still practiced by 200,000-300,000 people today. Followers are also called Zarthushtis. For further information, see various texts and online sources for Zoroastrianism. Information and quotes here come largely from Maneck Bhujwala.


  1. I frequently go to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, as a reference for words, because it precedes 1) the watering down of language, 2) the infiltration of liberal thought on words and culture, and 3) the influence of pietism, mysticism, and emotional thinking on Christians that began in the mid-19th century.
  2. Merriam-Webster Online Search
  3. A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names This is an excellent resource for managing the complexity and confusion of these terms.
  4. Harold H. Titus, et al, Living Issues in Philosophy, 7th Edition, D. Van Norstrand Company, 1979.
  5. A Glossary of Medieval and Reformation History:
  6. Etymology online,
  7. Wikipedia: