Glossary of Terms ‘P-R’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14, 2010 at 6:25PM. Copyright 2010.

The belief that the universe is contained within God. The universe is a part of God, but not all of God.

This is an identification of the universe with God. With this view there is a blurring of the distinction between the Creator and the creation as well as an attack upon the personality and nature of God. Pantheism tends to equate God with the process of the universe and states that the universe is God and God is the universe. This is not true because God is the creator of the universe (Isaiah 44:24) and therefore separate from it.

A plant growing along the Nile in Egypt during biblical times. It was used as writing material. Papyrus scrolls were made by cutting and pressing sections of the papyri plant together at right angles. The typical maximum length of a scroll was about 35 feet. The scribe, when using papyrus, would often use the natural horizontal fibers of the papyrus plant as guidelines. He would take a blunt instrument and score horizontal lines and then score two or more vertical lines as margins for the edge of the sheet or to define columns on it. We get the word “paper” from this word. Many of the biblical manuscripts were on papyrus.

An illustrative discourse or story that uses common events and culture and is meant to convey a meaning or lesson. Jesus used parables extensively. Some of the OT parables are Trees Making a King (2 Sam. 12:1-4); The Thistle and the Cedar (2 Kings 14:9); Israel, a Vine Planted by Water (Ezek. 24:1014), etc. Some NT parables are The Sower (Luke 8:5-8); the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13); The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37); The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), the Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-1), etc.

Paradigm (Greek)
Meaning a pattern, example or model. An overworked and overused word that is part of the vocabulary of individuals attempting to boost their sense of importance in the eyes of other persons. The word is used as “new paradigm” and “paradigm shift”. It is used extensively by New Age writers and speakers and by the new breed of hyper-Charismatics and Dominion Theology believers to indicate that they believe a new mode of operation and thinking is in order.

Parthenogenesis (Greek)
Meaning virgin in origin. Pertaining to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ in which He was conceived without the aid of a human father.

Biblically, paradise is the place of uninterrupted bliss. The Garden of Eden was considered a paradise. Jesus mentioned paradise while on the cross (Luke 23:43) and Paul also mentioned Paradise (2 Cor. 12:1-4). Some consider paradise to be the abode of people in the intermediate state while others believe it is the permanent location of the saved.

The study of things not generally explainable by the scientific method. Examples of subjects studied by parapsychologists would be telepathy, clairvoyance, ghosts, etc.

(par-ooo-see’-a) A Greek term that means “arrival” or “coming.” The term is often referred to as the time of Christ’s return; hence, the Parousia, i.e., 2 Thess 2:1.

Pascal’s Wager
The argument that believing in God is the most logical thing to do since if there is a God and you deny him, then you are in trouble. If there is no god and you accept him, there is no problem because it doesn’t matter. Logically, it is better to not deny that God exists than to deny he does. There is truth to this argument, but the problem is that it does not define which “god” to believe in since in many religions, believing in a different god brings a punishing judgment. Nevertheless, this does not excuse a person from at least trying to discover if there is a God or not and who He might be.

The practice of infant baptism.

The teaching of a monk named Pelagius in the fifth Century. He taught that man’s will was and still is free to choose good or evil and there is no inherited sin (through Adam). Every infant born into the world is in the same condition as Adam before the fall and becomes a sinner because he sins. This is opposed to the Biblical teaching that we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3) and that we sin because we are sinners. Pelagius said we are able to keep the commandments of God because God has given us the ability. Therefore, there is no need of redemption and the crucifixion of Jesus is merely a supreme example of love, humility, obedience, and sacrifice. This heresy has its relatives in the form of the cults that deny the total dependence upon God and maintain that salvation is obtainable through our own efforts. (Compare to Arminianisma nd Calvinism.)

In Catholicism, a means by which all sins committed after baptism are removed. The means are assigned by a priest and usually consist of special prayers or deeds performed by the sinner.

This word is from the Greek penta, “five” and teuchos, “a tool”. It refers to the first five books of the Bible known as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. All five were authored by Moses and are also known as “the Law”.

The word comes from the Greek which means fifty. So, Pentecost was a celebration on the fiftieth day after Passover. It was a culmination of the feast of weeks (Exodus 34:22,23). Pentecost in the NT is the arrival of the Holy Spirit for the church (Acts 2). At Pentecost the disciples of Jesus were gathered and upon the filling of the Holy Spirit, they heard a great wind and spoke in tongues as tongues of fire that settled upon them. The significance of the fire can be found in recognizing it as a symbol of the dwelling of the Spirit of God (Exodus 19:18; 1 Pet. 4:14).

Permissive Decree
In Christian theology, those decrees (ordained events) of God that are different from His direct decrees. An example of a permissive decree would be the fall of Adam into sin. God does not desire sin, yet He permitted its occurrence. He decreed that it would occur by permission, not by direct action of His will. A direct decree of God would be the incarnation of the Son.

To endure to the end. Theologically, the term “perseverance of the saints” is the teaching that salvation cannot be lost, that the saints will preserver to the end.

A variety of definitions can be offered from a human being to a legal organization with rights. In biblical reference it is generically a fleshly individual capable of free choice. In reference to the Trinity as three persons, the word refers to the attributes of personhood: self-awareness, choice, can reason, love, possessing a will and consciousness, etc. Humans possess these attributes as well.

The Pharisees were a Jewish sect from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. They considered the entire old Testament to be authoritative, unlike the Sadducees who only accepted the first five books. The Pharisees believed in life after death, the resurrection, the existence of angels and demons, and that the way to God was through keeping the law.” According to Josephus, the Pharisees were the group most influential with the people, were noted for their accurate and therefore authoritative interpretations of Jewish law, and had their own traditions and way of life to which they were faithful. They had a simple standard of living and cultivated harmonious relations with others.1

The study of seeking knowledge and wisdom in understanding the nature of the universe, man, ethics, art, love, purpose, etc.

The idea that reality consists of different kinds of things. The term is used in different fields of study. Social pluralism deals with the many different types of social structure. Cultural pluralism deals with the many different types of culture, etc.

The study of the Holy Spirit, His person, works, relation to the Father and Son, relation to man, ministry in salvation and sanctification, conviction, and indwelling.

The teaching that there are many gods. In the Ancient Near East the nation of Israel was faced with the problem of the gods of other nations creeping into the theology of Judaism and corrupting the true revelation of God. Baal was the god of rain and exercised a powerful influence over the religion of many pagan cultures and even into the Jewish community. This is so because rain was essential to survival. Rain meant the crops would grow, the animals would have water, and the people would be able to eat. If there was no rain, death prevailed. Such visible realities as rain, drought, crops, and death often carried the spiritual character of the nation of Israel into spiritual adultery: worshiping other gods. The Bible does recognize the existence of other gods, but only as false gods (1 Cor 8:5-6; Gal. 4:8-9) and clearly teaches that there is only one true God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8;). (See Monotheism).

In Catholicism, the Pope is supposed to be Christ’s representative on earth. He is the alleged, visible successor of Peter.

A theological movement, especially associated with Duke University and Yale Divinity School in the 1980s, which criticized the liberal reliance upon human experience, and reclaimed the notion of community tradition as a controlling influence in theology. See pp. 102-5.

A term used in the aftermath of the Diet of Speyer (1529) to designate those who “protested” against the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church. Prior to 1529, such individuals and groups had referred to themselves as “evangelicals.”

The belief that through the preaching of the word of God, the entire world will be converted to Christianity and this will usher in the kingdom of Christ. This will, according to Postmillennialists, happen when Christ returns.

A general cultural development, especially in North America, which resulted from the general collapse in confidence of the universal rational principles of the Enlightenment. A relativistic system of observation and thought that denies absolutes and objectivity. Postmodernism has influenced theology, art, culture, architecture, society, film, technology, and economics. Traditional social, art, social, and cultural, constructs are discarded and reinterpreted in relativistic terms. An example of postmodern thought would be the validation of homosexuality as an equally legitimate sexual expression over and against the Judeo-Christian ethic of heterosexual monogamy. In other words, previously taboo practices and beliefs are given equal validity to traditional values and norms often to the point of displacing the latter. This equalization and displacement are not restricted to religious realms, but affect all circles of human interaction.

Post-Tribulation (Latin)
Meaning after the Tribulation mentioned in Revelation. Specifically applied to the return of Jesus Christ for His church, which it is believed goes through the Tribulation period on this earth.

A method in philosophy where value is determined by practical results.

A privilege and an obligation of the Christian where we communicate with God. It is how we convey our confession (1 John 1:9), requests (1 Tim. 2:1-3), intercessions (James 5:15), thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6), etc., to our holy God. We are commanded to pray (1 Thess. 5:17).
Some personal requirements of prayer are a pure heart (Psalm 66:18), belief in Christ (John 14:13), and that the prayer be according to God’s will (1 John 5:13). We can pray standing (Neh. 9:5), kneeling (Ezra 9:5), sitting (1 Chron. 17:16-27), bowing (Exodus 34:8), and with lifted hands (1 Tim. 2:8).

The teaching that there was a race of people before Adam and Eve lived in the Garden and that the fall of Satan caused a widespread destruction of the world. The result of this destruction was so vast that the world needed to be re-made with Adam and Eve being the first of the new order.

The teaching that before our existence here on earth, we had a prior existence. Biblically, we do not pre-exist. Our beginning is at our conception. Many aberrant groups teach pre-existence such as the Mormons and the Shepherd’s Chapel. Also, all groups that teach reincarnation affirm the idea of pre-existence.

Pre-Incarnate (Latin)
Meaning before incarnation. As applied to Jesus Christ, it is any reference to Him in His pre-existent form prior to His Incarnation or birth in Bethlehem. It also refers to the theophanies in the Old Testament which are considered to be appearances by Jesus Christ prior to His birth.

Predestine, Predestination
The doctrine that God has foreordained all things which will come to pass yet He is not the author of sin. He does, however, use sinful things for His glory and purpose. For example, the crucifixion was brought about by sinful men who unjustly put Jesus to death (Acts 4:27); yet, in that death, we are reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10). Predestination maintains that God is the one who decides who will be saved (Rom. 9:16) and that it is not up to the desire of the person (John 1:13). God is the one who ordains the Christian into forgiveness, “…and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Also, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and who He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:29-30). Further verses to examine are Eph. 1:4,11; Rom. 9.

This is a teaching concerning the end times (eschatology). It says that there is a future millennium (1000 years) where Christ will rule and reign over the earth. At the beginning of the millennium Satan and his angels will be bound and peace will exist on the entire earth. At the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released in order to raise an army against Jesus. Jesus will destroy them and then the final judgment will take place with the new heavens and the new earth being made.

Preterism (Latin)
The belief that certain prophetic events in the New Testament, namely the appearance of the anti-Christ and the tribulation period were fulfilled in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Some proponents claim Nero, emperor of Rome, as the antichrist.

The act of passing over something, or neglecting it. In theology, it is the Reformed doctrine that God passed over people by not electing them into salvation. Instead, only those elected to salvation will be saved and passed over all others.

A person having the ability to perform certain religious rites, sacraments. Generally, a priest stands between God and Man and administers the ceremonial rites on behalf of the individuals as an offering to God. In many churches (Catholic), the priest is below the Bishop in ecclesiastical order and rank.

Someone who is the mouthpiece of God. He stands between God and man to communicate to man the word of God. When the prophet spoke as the mouthpiece he was inspired and without error. The prophet, though, is not a puppet or a mindless repeater of what he hears. Instead, he retains his own will, mind, and thoughts as he speaks for God. God would put His words in their mouths (Deut. 18:18; Jer. 1:9). A prophet was God’s servant (Zech. 1:6) and messenger (2 Chron. 36:15). The prophecies fell into three categories: concerning the destiny of Israel, the messianic prophecies, and eschatological prophecies. The term Law and Prophets refers to the writings of the OT divided into two categories. The Law is the Pentateuch, or Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Prophets are all the rest of the OT books.

This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass “over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2).

An doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Purgatory is the belief that there exists a place after death where some of the sins of people are purged through suffering. After a period of time corresponding to the suffering necessary for the sins committed, the person is then set free and enters heaven. “Gifts or services rendered to the church, prayers by the priests, and masses provided by relatives or friends in behalf of the deceased can shorten, alleviate or eliminate the sojourn of the soul in purgatory.” This is an doctrine rejected by the Protestant church. It reflects the misunderstanding of the atonement of Christ as well as adding insult to the finished work of the cross. Purgatory is the teaching that we might perfect ourselves and remove sin through our sufferings. If that were possible, then why did Christ need to die? Gal. 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (NIV) Additionally, on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In the Greek, this was an accounting term which meant a debt was paid in full. Some argue, if the payment for our sins was paid in full on the cross, then how could purgatory be a reality – especially when the scriptures don’t mention it and even contradict it: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

The rapture is an eschatological (end times) theory, where upon the return of Christ the true believers who are “alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [those who already died as Christians] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”(1 Thess 4:17). This is the time of the resurrection where the Christian receives his resurrected body. First to receive their new bodies are those who have died as Christians, and then “those who are alive and remain.” There is much debate over the time of the rapture. Does it occur at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the tribulation period? (See Tribulation.). Moreover, the rapture doctrine was created by John Darby in 1830 – prior to that line of thinking, the term rapture – as it is thought in mainstream evangelicals circles today, simply did not exist.

A branch of philosophy where truth is determined by reason.

Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons. Theologically it refers to the change of relationship between God and man. We are naturally children of wrath (Eph 2:3), and are at enmity with God (Eph. 2:11-15); but,”…we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…”(Rom 5:10). Because of the death of Jesus, the Christian’s relationship with God is changed for the better. We are now able to have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3) whereas before we could not. So, we are reconciled to Him (Rom 5:10-11). The problem of sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) has been addressed and removed in the cross. It was accomplished by God in Christ (2 Cor 5:18).

To rebuild, reform or make over. In relation to doctrine, to redefine traditional and orthodox doctrine by a different set of criteria or definitions. To adopt eschatological views based on Theonomy, Dominion Theology or Reconstruction Theology, in which these groups claim that it is the duty and goal of the Christian church to recapture every human institution and government agency by means of the establishing of Christian individuals in leadership. This “reconstruction” of human social institutions will result in the gradual establishment of a world-wide Christian society and will cause the world to become better and better, morally and spiritually, eventually ushering in the return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom. Reconstruction Theology began in the mid -1960’s and has been popularized by individuals such as Rousas John Rushdoony (Chalcedon Foundation, California), Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics, Texas), Dr. Greg Bahnsen, Rev. Joseph Morecraft, David Chilton, Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry. Reconstructionism is not to be confused with Kingdom Now Theology, although they have much in common and also significant differences, however they are both classified under the label of Dominion Theology.

Redemption means to free someone from bondage. It often involves the paying of a ransom, a price that makes redemption possible. The Israelites were redeemed from Egypt. We were redeemed from the power of sin and the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13) through Jesus (Rom. 3:24; Col. 1:14). We were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23).

The act of God whereby He renews the spiritual condition of a sinner. It is a spiritual change brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit so that the person then possesses new life, eternal life. Regeneration is a change in our moral and spiritual nature where justification is a change in our relationship with God. Also, sanctification is the work of God in us to make us more like Jesus. Regeneration is the beginning of that change. It means to be born again.

The belief in the birth and rebirth of a person’s soul over and over again in different human bodies throughout history. Some forms of reincarnation include incarnations into animals, plants, or inanimate objects. The purpose of reincarnation is to allow the individual to learn spiritual lessons through life so that he/she may return to God from whence the soul came. Reincarnation is closely tied to Karma.

The view that truth is relative and not absolute. Truth varies from people to people, time to time and there are no absolutes.

An organized system of belief that generally seeks to understand purpose, meaning, goals, and methods of spiritual things. These spiritual things can be God, people in relation to God, salvation, after life, purpose of life, order of the cosmos, etc.

To repent means to turn. In the NT repentance means to turn from sin. We were called by God to turn from sin. In fact, all men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) as does His kindness (Rom. 2:4).
There is true and false repentance, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).

Resurrection, Resurrection Bodies
Resurrection means to be raised from the dead (John 5:28-29). The word is used in different contexts in the Bible. Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11:43). This is a resurrection, but it is not part of the resurrection that occurs when we receive our new bodies (1 Thess 4:13-18), or as some would see it, on the last day (John 6:39-44) when the last trumpet is blown (1Cor 15:51-55). Lazarus died again. The resurrection of Jesus is promissory in that as we know He was raised, so we will be raised also – in this life and the next. Jesus is the only one who has received a resurrected body. That is why He is called the first-fruit from the dead (1Cor 15:20-23). Some believe we will receive our bodies either at the rapture or when Jesus returns to earth. Others maintain that the resurrection has occurred already (Preterism). The resurrected body is not subject to death or sin. We know very little about it except what was manifested by Jesus after His resurrection; namely, that He was able to move about as He desired – in and out of rooms without the use of doors. Other than that, the rest is conjecture (See 1Cor 15).

This means the disclosure of something that was unknown. There are two types of revelation: natural and special. Natural revelation is that which is revealed about God through what we can see in creation (Rom. 1:20 ). Through creation we may learn that there is a God, that He is in control, that He has an order, and that He is concerned for our welfare. However, through natural revelation, we are not able to discover the plan of salvation. That comes from special revelation. Special revelation is that which is given to us through Prophets, the Bible, and even visions and dreams (Num. 12:6-8). The ultimate in revelation is the incarnation of Jesus because He came to reveal the Father to us (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; Heb. 1:1-3) and to communicate to us the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4 by which comes to salvation.

Righteousness is an attribute of moral purity belonging to God alone (John 17:25 ). It is He alone who is truly righteous. No one in the world is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, that is, except the Christian. We are counted righteous in the eyes of God when we receive Jesus by faith (Phil. 3:9). Our righteousness is based on what Jesus did on the cross. The righteousness that was Christ’s is counted to us. We, then, are seen as righteous in the eyes of God. Though we are actually worthy of damnation, we are made righteous (Isaiah 61:10) by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. As a result, we will spend eternity in the presence of the holy, pure, loving, kind, gentle, and righteous God who is our righteousness.

In Catholicism, a string of beads containing five sets with ten small beads. Each set of ten is separated by another bead. It also contains a crucifix. It is used in saying special prayers, usually to Mary where the rosary is used to count the prayers.

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