Defining Religion


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L

Liberalism

a theological movement originating in the 19th century which tries to accommodate the message of Christianity to the claims of modern science, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. Liberals deny the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures, and see the primary purpose of the church as improving social conditions on earth rather than saving souls for eternity.

Liturgy

Liturgy is a form or manner for conducting a public worship service; in a broader sense it denotes the whole system of formal worship including the seasons of the church year and various rites and ceremonies. Lutheran liturgical worship generally includes Scripture readings, sermon, prayers, hymns, antiphons, responses, and the administration of the sacraments.

M

Major Prophets

those Old Testament prophets who wrote longer books of the Bible. Five books are included in the major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

Marriage

God instituted and gave marriage not only to the church, but to human beings in general. For instance, we recognize the legitimacy of civil marriage. In addition, God has attached no promise of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to marriage.

Martyr

one who suffers death for testifying to his beliefs and refusing to renounce his religion. Stephen is the first Christian martyr mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 6,7).

Matins

a service of praise conducted early in the morning. The early Christians held a devotional service around midnight that extended into the early morning hours. The name matins became attached to this first service of the day. The Lutheran Hymnal and Christian Worship include an order of matins.

Maundy

seems to have come from the Latin "mandatum" which means command. This may be taken from Jesus' words on the night he was betrayed, "A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34). It may also come from Jesus words in the institution of Holy Communion on that evening, "Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).

Means of Grace

the gospel in God's Word and the sacraments. They are the vehicles the Holy Spirit uses to create or strengthen saving faith. Some deny the necessity of the means of grace for conversion. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit does not work faith apart from the gospel (read Romans 10:13-18).

Mercy

the compassion and love of God for us sinners that moved him not to count our sins against us, but to count them against his Son Jesus who was put to death as our Substitute. God demonstrates his mercy by forgiving our sins and withholding from us the punishment we deserve.

Messiah (Christ)

the anointed one. Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed with oil to set them apart for service to God in the Old Testament. God also promised to send a special anointed one to serve people. The New Testament reveals Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promise-our great prophet, priest, and king who came to save us.

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