Defining Religion

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trust, confidence. The Bible offers this definition: "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). Saving faith is trust in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Felicitous (or Happy) Inconsistency

A term used to indicate that a person's personal faith might sometimes be at variance with his public confession. For example, a person who teaches that his good works contribute to his salvation may in his heart (or on his death bed) trust solely in Jesus and not rely on his own works.


the sinful nature or original sin that we inherit from our parents. This sinful nature remains with the Christian until he dies, warring against his new man and causing him to fall into sin (Romans 7:14-25).


to pardon or not count a person's sins against him; when God forgives us he justifies us or declares us not guilty, he frees us from sin's guilt and punishment and "remembers our sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25).

Formula of Concord

A Lutheran confession written to settle a number of doctrinal controversies that rose within Lutheranism after the death of Luther. The two main authors of this confession were Jakob Andreae (1528-1590) and Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) It was adopted by the majority of Lutherans in Germany in 1577 and was included among the Lutheran Confessions gathered in the Book of Concord of 1580.


having sexual relations with a person other than one's spouse. Fornication is a sin against the sixth commandment and is condemned in the Bible with the strongest of terms (1 Corinthians 6:4-10). Jesus reveals that this sin begins in the heart with lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:27,28).

Free Will

the ability to choose. Since human beings are born spiritually dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), they do not have free will in spiritual matters. By nature they cannot choose to believe in Christ or do those doings which are pleasing to God (Romans 8:7-8). By nature human beings have free will to make choices in outward matters: what to eat, what to wear, to work, to marry, etc.