Defining Religion


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T

Transubstantiation

the Roman Catholic teaching that the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper change into Christ's body and blood so that only the appearance of the bread and wine remains. The Bible teaches that bread and wine and the body and blood of our Savior are present in Communion.

Trespass

to cross over into forbidden territory. Trespass is one of the words Scripture uses to picture sin. God draws a line beyond which we are forbidden to go. If we cross that line we trespass or sin.

Trinity

three in one; the God of the Bible who has revealed himself as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Corinthians 8:4), yet three distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14). The words Trinity and triune were coined by Christians to describe God as he has revealed himself in the Scriptures.

U

Universalism

the belief that everyone will ultimately be saved. Universalists deny the existence of eternal torment in hell and see all religions as different paths to the same God. The Bible teaches that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Mark 16:16).

V

Vespers

A service of thanksgiving usually conducted in the evening. Vespers was originally observed at 6 p.m. The two canticles commonly sung in this service are Mary's Magnificat and Simeon's Nunc Dimittis.

Vicar

A vicar is a third year seminary student who serves as an intern under an experienced pastor in the field for one year as part of his seminary training for the pastoral ministry. After the vicar year the student returns to the seminary campus for his final year of instruction.

Vicarious atonement

the truth that Jesus lived, suffered, and died as the Substitute for sinners to pay the price they owed for their sins and to earn for them forgiveness, life, and salvation (Isaiah 53:4-12; Romans 5:6, 18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

W

Works Righteousness

the false belief that a human being can merit or contribute to his own salvation by what he does or does not do. Works righteousness is the basis of every man-made religion. According to Scripture we are saved entirely by God's grace apart from any merit or worthiness of our own (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:4-8).

Worship

Worship is the paying of homage to someone or something greater than ourselves. Christian worship is directed always and only to the Triune God. Public worship in the Lutheran Church involves not only prayer, praise, and thanksgiving to God, but also listening to the reading and proclamation of God's Word and receiving the sacraments.

Z

Zion

a rocky hill in Jerusalem which served as a natural fortress for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem before David's conquest. The name is also used in Scripture for Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:5), the Christian church (Hebrews 12:22-24), and heaven (Revelation 21:1-4).

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