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a posteriori, a priori Terms used to refer to whether an assertion is dependent on experience (a posteriori) or independent of experience (a priori). For example, if one observes creation and sees in it an organized pattern, it might be concluded a posteriori (i.e., on the basis of observing creation) that God exists as its cause. However, if God's existence can be proved on some basis prior to sense experience, then the existence of God is argued a priori.  
accomodation Speaks of god making himself known to humans in words and ways suitable for the finite human mind to comprehend,. The most significant example in which God accommodates to humankind is found in the coming of Jesus Christ-deity taking human form. See also incarnation.  
adiaphora Items of belief not essential to salvation. In Lutheran thought the adiaphora were defined as practices of the church that were neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. In contemporary terms, adiaphora are those things not clearly addressed by Scripture that Christians may freely practice or believe with a clear conscience before God and that do not affect salvation.  
Adoption God's act of making otherwise estranged human beings part of God's spiritual family by including them as inheritors of the riches of divine glory. This adoption takes place through our receiving in faith the work of Jesus Christ the Son (Jn 3:16), being born of the Spirit (Jn 3:5-6) and receiving the Spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15-16). See also reconciliation.  
Adoptionsim The theory that asserts that God adopted Jesus of Nazareth as his Son. In other words, Jesus was born human but became God's Son at a particular point in his life. This theory fails to reflect scriptural texts that point to Jesus' eternal relationship with the Father (e.g., 17:5)  
Baptism The practice of sprinkling with, pouring on or immersing in water as an act of Christian intiation and obedience to Christ's own command.  
Baptismal regeneration The belief that water baptism effects the saving work of the Holy Spirit in washing away original sin.  
Karl Barth (1886-1968) One of the most influential twentieth-century theologians, Karl Barth is often credited with being the father of neo-orthodoxy or dialectical theology. Barht is known for three main contributions. First, he emphasized the absolute transcendence of God, contrary to liberals who emphasized God's immanence.l Second, he understood truth to arise out of the clash of opposing of God, contrary to liberals who emphasized God'  
Basil (Great) of Caesarea (c. 330-379) Basil, bishop of Caesarea, was one of three theologians known as the Cappadocian fathers. Although influential in the rise of communal monasticism based on obedience, holiness and love, Basil is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. In his defense of the trinitarian faith, Basil introduced the formula for the Trinity as being one substance and three persons.  
believer's church A theological conviction arising out of the Radical Reformation that emphasizes the church as comprising only those who through faith in Jesus Christ voluntarily gather together for the sake of worship, instruction and doing good deeds.  
biblical criticism The method or methods by which meanings of biblical texts are sought through the application of techniques used in interpreting various types of literature. The methods include textual criticism, redaction criticism, for criticism, historical criticism, genre criticism, literary criticism and grammatical criticism.  

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