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Glossary of terms related to Calvinism

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–While most pastors would recognize and understand theological terms used in articles discussing Calvinism, readers who have not had formal theological training might not be familiar with such terms and phrases as these:

Calvinism — A theological tradition named after sixteenth-century French reformer John Calvin that emphasizes the sovereignty of God in all things, man’s inability to do spiritual good before God, and the glory of God as the highest end of all that occurs.

Doctrines of grace — Another term for the theological tradition commonly referred to as Calvinism.

Arminianism — A theological tradition named after seventeenth-century theologian Jacob Arminius that seeks to preserve the free choices of human beings and denies God’s providential control over the details of all events.

Supralapsarianism — The belief held by some Calvinists that God decided first that He would save some people then decided to allow sin to enter the world so He could save them from it.

Double predestination — The belief that God predestines some to salvation and others to damnation.

Atonement — The work Christ did in His life and death to earn our salvation.

Providence — The doctrine that God is continually involved with all created things so that He maintains their existence, guides their actions, and directs them to fulfill His purposes.

Pre-tribulational/pre-millennial — The view that God will rapture believers into heaven secretly during Christ’s first return prior to the great tribulation.

Amillennial — The view that there will be no literal thousand-year bodily reign of Christ on earth prior to the final judgment and the eternal state.

Pelagians — Those holding the theological beliefs of the fifth-century monk Pelagius, who believed that man has the ability to obey God’s commands and take the first steps to salvation without God’s assistance.

Open Theists — Those who believe that God does not know with certainty all future events.

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