Concordia Theological Monthly

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church, visible, law, gospel, st. augustine, ecclesiastical, invisible, roman, theology, elect, fellowship, theologian, commandments

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Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


Ecclesiastical, or dogmatical, terminology has proved to be a convenient tool to convey Scriptural truths succinctly and precisely and to reject erroneous views. However, ecclesiastical terminology may also become a barrier to a common understanding and may actually be the cause that two partners in a conversation talk past each other. The usus loquendi also in ecclesiastical terminology is never constant. The terminology adopted in the Chalcedonian Creed is a case in point. The English theologian unfamiliar with Greek thought patterns may encounter some difficulty in understanding the terms after they have been transferred from Greek to Latin, thence to German, and finally into English. It must furthermore be kept in mind that theologians of different eras employ different methods, and the terminology will be weighted accordingly. This accounts for the fact that the modern theological student finds it very difficult to understand the terms nature and accident as employed in the Flacian controversy concerning original sin.


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars