Glossary
Moral Failures, Half-Way Love, and the Wonder of Imputation

Moral Failures, Half-Way Love, and the Wonder of Imputation

Heidelberg Catechism (1563) Question 60:

How are you righteous before God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ: that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and am still prone always to all evil; yet God, without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;

While professional athletes have undeniable talent,…

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Mockingbird Glossary: Pneumatology aka The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

Mockingbird Glossary: Pneumatology aka The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

A basic theological question in Christianity is: how is God present to us today? In New Testament times, the answer was pretty easy: God is present to us in Jesus of Nazareth. If you lived back then and you wanted to be near to God, a good bet was to go find this Jesus character and follow him around.

Things, of course, are somewhat different now. Jesus is no longer present on earth the way he was in the Gospels. Indeed, God can often seem completely absent from the world. It is much harder to say with certainty ‘God is here’…

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Grace: More Than Tolerance

Grace: More Than Tolerance

Fresh off a visit to San Francisco last week and being that it is the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I have been thinking about grace a lot. I know you’re probably thinking, “What do Woodstock and San Fran have to do with grace?” Well, before I left for my very first visit to California last week, I read an article in the NY Times entitled Woodstock: A Moment of Muddy Grace. The author of the article reminisces about his time at Bethel, NY (that’s right! For those of you who didn’t know it did not…

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The Gospel

The Gospel

Do you remember the Pearl Jam song “Wishlist” from the album Yield? Well, it’s one of my personal faves, and in it Eddie Vedder sings a very profound line, I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good. I don’t know about you, but in the past I used to find myself in complete agreement with Eddie. I wished I had good news to share. Most of the time, I felt like what I had to say about Christianity was not very good news at all. I thought the Gospel was actually about exhorting people to improve…

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God Does His Part and I Do Mine: The Falsehood of Semi-Pelagianism

God Does His Part and I Do Mine: The Falsehood of Semi-Pelagianism

Hey there glossary fans! This week I wanted to look at a term that sums up what may be the prevailing perspective on the human relationship with God in the world today. A term that we throw around a lot on here, and one that, at least in practice, spans almost all religions. I’m talking about Semi-Pelagianism.

Semi-Pelagianism is the mental compromise that we all make with the heresy of Pelagianism, the theological model propounded by Pelagius, a British monk, and condemned as heresy by the Roman Catholic Church in A.D. 416. Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin,…

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"Who Am I?" – A Look at Anthropology

"Who Am I?" – A Look at Anthropology

This week I wanted to join Derek Zoolander and ask the question, “Who am I?” By getting a little existential on you I hope to highlight one of, if not the, foundational building blocks for understanding the Christian Gospel which this blog continuously upholds. It is our anthropology.

Classically defined Anthropology means “the study of human beings.” It is the attempt to learn about and understand us. Often times on this blog we expand its use to reference one’s view of humanity, i.e. a high anthropology = people are good. However, we at Mockingbird…

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Theologians of Glory vs. Theologians of the Cross: An Intro and Definition

Theologians of Glory vs. Theologians of the Cross: An Intro and Definition

Here at Mockingbird we use the terms “theology/theologian of the cross” and “theology/theologian of glory” quite a bit. As a result, we thought they would be the perfect terms to explore this week.

In order to do so, I want to reference the late, great theologian Gerhard O. Forde. I think his definitions of the two terms found in his excellent work On Being a Theologian of the Cross (an in depth look at Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation) are just about perfect. SO, away we go!

Theologians of Glory – “operate on the assumption that what we need…

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Mockingbird Glossary: Imputation and Simul Iustus Et Peccator

As promised, here is the second installment of the blog definitions.

Remember:) What follows is by no means authoritative or exhaustive; rather, it is our attempt to put some of the often-used terminology—Mockingbirdese, if you will—into context. One of the intentions of our ministry is to wrestle with theological concepts in the context of everyday life so as to deal with the question as to whether the Christian message means anything to us today. Some of these definitions will be too precise for some and not specific enough for others; we’re sorry. There are many resources available and, hopefully, this will…

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In the Words of Judge Dredd: "I am the Law!" An Introduction and Definition

In the Words of Judge Dredd: "I am the Law!" An Introduction and Definition

Okay folks, we have heard your cry for some sort of blog glossary, and we have finally figured out a way to go about it:) We have decided that we will post a definition once a week in order to allow for discussion and dialogue instead of simply putting up a permanent list with which no one can really engage.

SO, what follows is by no means authoritative or exhaustive; rather, it is our attempt to put some of the often-used terminology—Mockingbirdese, if you will—into context. One of the intentions of our ministry is to wrestle with theological concepts…

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The Gospel In Three Minutes?

Obviously, a three-minute video is not meant to be an all-encompassing presentation of the entire story of redemptive grace; it’s more of an opportunity to open a conversation with someone who perhaps has never heard that God’s grace is not offered to us because we no longer sin, but it is given to us in spite of our sin.

That said, I think it fulfills this purpose well:

Big Foot Called My Unicorn an Antinomian

Big Foot Called My Unicorn an Antinomian

I came across a definition for the word Antinomian in a theological dictionary the other day which I think provides a wonderful opportunity for some clarification. Here it is:

ANTINOMIAN: from the Greek anti, against, and nomos, law. A term coined by Martin Luther in his controversies with Johan Agricola, who objected at first to the use of the ‘law of Israel–specifically, the ‘Decalogue’ [10 Commandments]–in instructing believers in their obligations, and later also to its use as a means to call sinners to repentance, arguing that the preaching of the gospel sufficed for that purpose. Luther responded with a…

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What Is the Distinction Between the Law and the Gospel?

What Is the Distinction Between the Law and the Gospel?

People often ask us what we mean when we talk about “the distinction between the Law and the Gospel” – and we talk about it a lot! It sounds fancy, I know, but does it actually have any grounding in the Bible? Or is it simply something we/otherpeople have latched onto for the sake of convenience? Or worse, some leftover relic of the Protestant Reformation that’s long since become irrelevant and/or outdated?

A lot has been written on the subject, but for the sake of, um, convenience, I thought I’d provide three particularly pithy summaries of what constitutes this distinction (and…

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