• Keith Mathison

A Theological Dictionary (More or Less)


Over the centuries, theologians and biblical scholars have created a large number of technical terms. Sometimes, when I read or say one of them, other definitions pop into my mind.


Amyraldianism – A belief system based on the teachings of the eccentric Englishwoman Mrs. Amy Raldi who taught that the earth is neither flat nor spherical but is instead in the shape of a Möbius Strip.

Antinomian – Someone who hates Gnomes.

Backsliding – How the builders of the Tower of Babel got back to the bottom after carrying a load of bricks to the top.

Beatific Vision – The name of a popular Christian dating website.

Canon Law – Non-negotiable rules for firing heavy artillery.

Catechesis – Gesundheit.

Chiliasm – The painful reaction some people have after eating very spicy peppers.

Covenants – Ants who are into witchcraft.

Dead Sea Scrolls – Sea scrolls that did not survive.

Dogmatics – Programmable robotic canines.

Encyclical – Letters sent from the Pope to his cardinals and bishops by a courier on a bike.

Extra calvinisticum – The condition of owning multiple copies of the Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Extreme Unction – An unction that goes to great lengths.

General Revelation – The commander in chief of the demonic armies at the Battle of Armageddon.

Hermeneutics – The meneutics belonging to your wife.

Hyper-Calvinism – A system of theology based on the teachings of John Calvin’s very high-strung twin brother.

Immaculate Conception – The process involved when Terry Bradshaw came up with the idea to throw a long forward pass, have it bounce off the helmet of Jack Tatum and land in the hands of Franco Harris who would then run for a touchdown.


Impassible – How students define a course with more assignments than they are able to complete.

Infidel – Something that Castro ate.

Lapsarian Debate – Arguments between Christian couples about who fell in love with whom first.

Lent – The act of letting a Roman Catholic borrow something he tried to do without.

LXX – The Roman numeral meaning “seventy.” Pronounced: sep-TU-a-gint.

Magnificat – A cat under a microscope.

Missal – A weapon used by Roman Catholic apologists against Protestants. Many were fired by the Spanish Inquisition during the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Nag Hammadi Library – A large collection of books that detail all of the incessant badgering Hammadi had to endure during his life.

Neophyte – The technical term for any battle in the Matrix Trilogy involving Keanu Reeves.

Ontology – The opposite of Offtology.

Papal Bull – Anything nonsensical said by the Pope.

Pascal’s Wager – Ten dollars Pascal placed on a bet assuming that Occam’s Razor needed to be sharpened.

Pneuma – A woman who has just given birth for the first time.

Popery – A mixture of dried leaves and petals that gives Roman Catholic churches that distinctive smell.


Presuppositionalist – A person who believes the Second Coming of Christ will happen earlier than most people suppose.

Prolegomena – Someone who used to be an amateur legomena.

Theism – The formal study of the English definite article.

Tridentine – Having to do with Roman Catholics who carry three-pronged spears.

Vatican I – The Pope’s home in Rome.

Vatican II – The Pope’s home away from Rome.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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