Defining Religion

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a societal shift in attitude beginning in the mid to late 20th century away from the "Enlightenment" reliance on human reason and scientific proof and acceptance of objective truth to a belief that truth is relative and determined by the community to which one belongs and by that community's experience and feelings.

Prayed Doctrine

In the course of the church's prayers we use words which reflect the teachings or the doctrines of the Bible, e.g. "Merciful and gracious Father, you sent your Son to be our Redeemer . . . etc.

Predestination (Election)

God's determination in eternity of whom he was going to save (Ephesians 1:3-6). God did not choose some because they were better than others, but because of his grace according to his own purpose (2 Timothy 1:9). God, however, didn't predestine anyone to damnation. If someone is lost it is that person's own fault (Matthew 23:37).


the false teaching that Jesus will return before Judgment Day to set up a visible, political kingdom and reign for 1,000 years on earth.


one who maintains that all of the prophecies in the book of Revelation have been fulfilled in the past or were being fulfilled when the book was written.


a sacrifice of atonement to pay for sin and appease God?s anger.  Jesus ?gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God? for our sins (Ephesians 5:2. Romans 3:25).


A broad term usually used to describe those churches which trace their origin in some way back to the 16th century Reformation. Although the term was first applied to the evangelical or Lutheran rulers who protested the decisions of the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529, it has today become such a broad, vague term that many Lutherans prefer not to use it to describe themselves.


In Roman Catholic theology, purgatory is the place where those who die in grace, but are still "imperfectly purified", undergo purification to achieve the holiness necessary to enter heaven. Purgatory has no basis in Scripture and contradicts the scriptural assurance of full and free forgiveness through the redemptive work of our Savior.



a snatching up of believers from earth to be with Jesus forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Some believe that Jesus will return to "rapture" believers before judgment day. The Bible, however, teaches that believers who are still alive will be "raptured" after the dead are raised on judgment day. Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 with Hebrews 9:28, John 11:24, John 5:28-29, and John 6:39.


a movement beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries that exalts human reason. Rationalists tend to be distrustful of authority and tradition and believe that truth can be found only through reason, observation, and experiments. They exalt human reason above the Bible. The Scriptures, however, teach that God's Word is truth (John 17:17) and that we are to make our every thought obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and his Word.

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