This is by no means a comprehensive list of all ologies, isms, and ations but we have compiled this list to give brief descriptions of different beliefs and doctrines regarding the Bible and other non-Biblical religions and belief systems.
a subject of study; a branch of knowledge
Angelology – an·gel·ol·o·gy
The study or doctrine of angels; this may include the study of fallen angels (demonology) and Satan (satanology)
Anthropology – an·thro·pol·o·gy
Greek anthropos for “man”
The study or doctrine of man, including man’s origins, man’s relation to God, and the essence of humanity
Bibliology – bib·li·ol·o·gy
The study or doctrine of the Bible and its relationship to the Christian faith. The study of how it was received and preserved. The study of translation and application the Bible.
Cosmology – cos·mol·o·gy
The study of the origin and nature of the universe
Christology – Chris·tol·o·gy
The study or doctrine of Jesus Christ and His claims of who He was. The study of who the apostle say Jesus was.
Deontology – de·on·to·lo·gy
The study of moral obligation
Doxology – dox·ol·o·gy
A liturgical formula of praise to God.
Ecclesiology – ec·cle·si·ol·o·gy
Greek ecclesia for “gathering”
The study or doctrine of the Church
Epistemology – ep·ist·em·ol·o·gy
Greek epistēmē for “knowledge”
The study of knowledge or how one may “know” as opposed how one may believe or have an opinion of.
Eschatology – es·cha·tol·o·gy
Greek eschatos meaning “last”
The study or doctrine of last things or “the end times”, end times prophecy, and the ultimate destiny of humanity
Etymology – et·y·mol·o·gy
The study of the origins of words and how meanings have changed over time.
Hamartiology – ha·mar·ti·ol·o·gy
Greek hamartia for “missing the mark, error”
The study or doctrine of sin
Missiology – mis·si·ol·o·gy
“The science of missions.” The practice of evangelizing across cultures to fulfill the church’s mandate of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20
Ontology – ont·ol·o·gy
The study of the nature of being
Patriology – pa·tri·ol·o·gy
The study of God when specifically focusing on the person of the Father within the Trinity
Phenomenology – phe·no·men·ol·o·gy
A method of studying religion where the scholar does
not judge the beliefs of a religion as true or false but
tries to see the world as the believer sees it
Pneumatology – pneu·ma·tol·o·gy
Greek pneuma for “wind” “breath” or “spirit”
The study or doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Pseudoetymology – pseu·do·et·y·mol·o·gy
a false method of studying the origin of words. Ex: “Jesus comes from the Greek word ‘Iosus’ which means ‘Hail Zeus’.”
(In actuality the Greek for Hail Zeus looks and sounds nothing like Iosus)
Systematic Theology – sys·tem·at·ic the·ol·o·gy
The process of studying theology one topic at a time
Soteriology – so·te·ri·ol·o·gy
Greek sōtērí for “salvation, deliverance”
The study or doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ
Teleology – te·le·ol·o·gy
The study of God’s design and purpose for the world and all He created in it
Theology Proper – the·ol·o·gy
Greek theos for “God, god”
The study or doctrine of the nature of God
a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy
Acosmism – a·cos·mi·sm
The belief that all of the material world is simply an illusion
Adoptionism – adop·tion·ism
The non-Trinitarian belief that Jesus was not God incarnate but was adopted by God
Agnosticism – ag·nos·ti·cism
1. The doctrine that certainty about first principles or absolute truth is unattainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of exact knowledge.
2. The belief that the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities cannot be known with certainty.
Amillennialism – a·mill·en·ni·al·ism
The eschatological view that the 1000 year reign of Christ in scripture is not literal but figurative. That since the beginning of the Church age we, have been in the “Millennium” and Christ’s second coming will usher in judgement.
Amyraldianism – am·y·ral·di·an·ism
Also known as 4 point Calvinism. Unlike regular 5 point Calvinism (T.U.L.I.P.), Amyraldianism denies the “L” or Limited Atonement (which states Christ died only for those who would be saved and not the whole world)
Animism – an·i·mi·sm
The belief that all natural phenomena are possessed by souls or spirits which animate them
Annihilationism – an·ni·hi·la·tion·ism
(Also known as extinctionism or destructionism) is a Christian belief that apart from salvation the final punishment of human beings results in their total destruction rather than their everlasting torment.
Anthropomorphism – an·thro·po·mor·phi·sm
The attributing of human characteristics to God (eg. God’s nostrils in Isaiah 65:5)
Antinomianism – an·ti·no·mian·ism
The belief that once a person is saved, they no longer have moral obligations
Arminianism – ar·min·i·an·ism
The doctrinal teachings of Jacobus Arminius or his followers, especially the doctrine that Christ died for all people and not only for the elect.
Atheism – a·the·ism
1. Explicit: the active belief that God or gods do not exist.
2. Implicit: the absence of theistic knowledge. Or, an unknown concept cannot be believed or rejected.
Biblical Literalism – bib·li·cal lit·er·al·ism
The way of interpreting the Bible holding that all of scripture is literal except for those obviously figurative, poetic, or metaphorical.
Calvinism – cal·vin·ism
The Protestant theological system of John Calvin and his successors, which develops Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone and emphasizes the grace of God and the doctrine of predestination.
Catholicism – ca·thol·i·cism
The faith, practice, and church order of the Roman Catholic Church; adherence to the forms of Christian doctrine and practice which are generally regarded as Catholic rather than Protestant or Eastern Orthodox.
Cessationism – ces·sa·tion·ism
The belief that the charismatic gifts of “speaking in tongues”, prophecy, and healing were only authentic for the apostolic age to usher in the birth of the Church; that after that these miraculous gifts were no long needed and therefore ceased. The belief that the gifts we witness today are either purely emotional ecstaticism at best, or demonic possession at worse.
Compatibilism – com·pat·i·bil·ism
The belief that human free will and determinism are totally compatible
The belief that actions are moral or immoral based on the perceived end result. A postmodern thought that could end with different conclusions for different people.
Continuationism – con·tin·u·a·tion·ism
The belief that the miracle gifts of “speaking in tongues”, healing, and prophecy have continued from the moment of Acts 2 to the present time
Creationism – cre·a·tion·ism
1. Of the universe: the belief that the universe came into existence by the will and power of a divine being
2. Of the soul: that the unique soul is created by God (in contrast to traducianism)
Deism – de·ism
Or “Clockmaker theology”. The belief that God created the universe and left it alone. That God does not seek a relationship with his creation.
Deteriminism – de·ter·min·ism
The ideology that everything that happens in the universe is determined by an outside cause
Dispensationalism – dis·pen·sa·tion·al·ism
The belief that God’s promises to old covenant Israel do not transfer to the new covenant Church; that all of God’s promises to Israel in the old testament either have been fulfilled or will be fulfilled during the eschatological 1000 year reign.
Docetism – do·ce·tism
From the Greek dokeo, meaning to seem. The heresy that Jesus was not “the word made flesh.” In this view the Word could not be made flesh because all matter was evil. Jesus only seemed to be in the flesh. Condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
Donatism – Don·a·ti·sm
The heretical view that Jesus was just a mere man
Eclecticism – ecl·ect·ic·ism
The practice of adopting various doctrines from varying worldviews and religions without adopting the worldviews themselves
Egalitarianism – e·ga·lit·ar·ian·ism
The belief that both males and females have unlimited capability of fulfilling all roles in both the church and the home. That the husband is not the head of the wife but both are equal parts head of the home. That women may fulfill whatever role in the church they feel called including pastor.
Empiricism – em·pir·i·cism
The belief that all knowledge can only come from empirical evidence, or tested by experience
Eutychianism – eu·tych·ian·ism
The belief that Jesus was neither fully God nor fully man but was more of a mixture between the two
Evangelism – e·van·ge·lism
The spreading of the gospel by public preaching or personal witness.
Fatalism – fa·tal·ism
The belief that all events (past, present, and future) are predetermined by the will of God; that man is not ultimately responsible for his actions
Fideism – fi·de·ism
The belief that knowledge must rely on either faith or reason. That faith is incompatible with reason and vice versa.
Futurism – fu·tur·ism
the belief that endtime prophecies have yet to be fulfilled. Typically consisting of the rapture of the Church, Jesus’ second coming, and the Great Tribulation
Gnosticism – gnos·ti·cism
From the Greek “gnosis” for knowledge. The belief that the universe was created in error and therefore all of matter has always been imperfect and inferior to the spiritual realm.
Henotheism – he·no·the·ism
Acknowledging, without worship, the possible existance of other gods or deities that are not of ones own faith
Infralapsarianism – in·fra·lap·sar·ian·ism
God’s predetermined will that 1)God will create man. 2)Man will fall. 3)God will provide sufficient salvation to all. 4)God will choose some for salvation. That each of these four steps is the sovereign will of God.
Legalism – le·gal·ism
Or “nomism”, the belief that good works aren’t just an evidence of salvation but that they actually save a person or that good works keep a person saved; that salvation is accomplished with faith in conjunction with good works as opposed to salvation by faith alone in the work of Christ alone
Macedonianism – mac·e·don·ian·ism Or the pneumatomachi, the belief that the Holy Spirit is not a part of the God-head. That the Holy Spirit is not divine.
Modalism – mod·al·ism
Also known as Sabellianism. A heresy that states God reveals Himself in three modes: Father, Son, Holy Spirit but not at the same time.
Monergism – mo·ner·gism
That only God through the work of the Holy Spirit is responsible for regeneration
Monophysitism – mo·no·phy·sit·ism
The belief that Christ had only one nature as opposed to His human and divine natures
Monothelitism – mo·no·the·lit·ism
The belief that the incarnate Christ had two natures (human and divine) but only one will as opposed to Him having two wills to coincide with His two natures.
Nestorianism – nest·or·i·an·ism
The heresy that Christ exists as two persons in one body. That these two “persons” are no unified in one hypostasis (the Hypostatic Union) but they are seperated.
Nihilism – ni·hil·ism
1. The absolute rejection of any religious system 2. the belief that life is objectively meaningless
Paganism – pa·gan·ism
1. Any religion outside of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
2. Any polytheistic religion
3. A member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.
Panentheism – pan·en·the·ism
“All-in-god” The belief that God transcends nature, yet He is dependent on and effected by it.
Pantheism – pan·the·ism
The universe and all matter are divine or are a part of God rather than being separate yet created by God
Partialism – par·tial·ism
The view that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not one in the same substance and essence but are merely parts of the whole.
Pelagianism – pe·la·gian·ism
The denial of original sin; that each person is born in the same condition as Adam before the fall.
Perennialism – per·en·ni·al·ism
Similar to universalism. The belief that all of the world’s religion share the same basic truths. That “all roads lead to heaven”
Polytheism – pol·y·the·ism
Belief in the existence of and worship of more than one god
Postmodernism – post·mod·ern·ism
The worldview that is usually skeptical of classically held dogma, traditional religious views, and objective truth
Premillennialism – pre·mill·en·ni·li·sm
The eschatological view that Satan will be bound for the 1000 years of Christ’s future reign on earth
Preterism – pre·ter·ism
the belief that eschatalogical prophecies in Scripture have already been fulfilled
Relativism – re·la·tiv·ism
Or subjectivism, the belief that all truth is relative to the culture or society or even individual perception. That truth is not absolute.
Schism, The Great- schi·sm
Or The East-West Schism. The division that occurred within Catholicism in 1054. The East becoming The Eastern Orthodox Church and the West becoming The Roman Catholic Church
Supralapsarianism – sup·ra·laps·ar·i·an·ism
God decreed 1)that the salvation of some and the eternal condemnation of others 2)to create those elected and eternally condemned 3)to allow the fall 4)to provide the way of salvation for the elect through Christ.
Symbolic Memorialism – sym·bol·ic mem·or·ial·ism
The Zwinglian doctrine that the Lord’s Supper (communion) is purely symbolic. That Christ is only as present as is in the heart of the partaker.
Syllogism – syl·log·ism
The process of forming a conclusion based on two or more, assumed to be true, premises. Example: Premise A- All men are mortal. Premise B- John is a man. Conclusion- John is mortal.
Syncretism – sync·ret·ism
The erroneous practice of merging aspects of differing beliefs into one. Usually done for the sake of making a new or strange belief system more appealing.
Synergism – syn·erg·ism
The belief that salvation is attained by combining man’s good works and God’s grace. That neither grace alone nor works alone save.
Textual Criticism – tex·tu·al cri·ti·ci·sm
The method of determining what the original texts said and meant by studying their most ancient manuscripts
Theism – the·ism
Belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures
Traducianism – tra·du·ci·an·ism
The belief that the soul (or spirit of a man) is conceived and birthed along with the body. That is proceeds from the souls of the parents.
Universalism – uni·ver·sal·ism
The heresy that all of mankind will abide in heaven, whether immediately after being judged or, for the unrighteous, after a temporary stay in hell.
process, action; state of
Adoption – a·dop·tion
What happens when those, whom through faith in Christ, become God’s children; co-heirs of Jesus Christ
Baptismal Regeneration – bap·tis·mal re·gen·er·a·tion
The doctrine or belief that regeneration does not and will not occur until the person has been baptized by water; not that regeneration is solely dependent on baptism but that it is a necessary precondition that must occur
Biblical Inspiration – bib·li·cal in·spir·a·tion
Inspiration or “divinitus inspirata” from the Latin translation of 1 Timothy 3:16. Literally “God breathed”. The doctrine that man wrote the Scriptures as the Holy Spirit led them to write. Views include: 1.dictation (everything was written word for word exactly as God spoke) 2.verbal plenary (God used the author’s individual experiences and styles to convey His words)
Consubstantiation – con·sub·stan·tia·tion
Typically Lutheran doctrine that states the bread and wine during communion are spiritually the blood and flesh of Jesus. That they spiritually exist ‘with’ the actual body of Jesus.
Damnation – dam·na·tion
God’s righteous judgement on those who reject His Son, Jesus Christ
Denomination – de·nom·i·na·tion
Distinctive groups within a religion that operate with a common name, customs, traditions, and belief.
Election – e·lec·tion
That God chooses or elects people to be the objects of His grace and for other purposes; often associated with salvation
Entire Sanctification – en·tire sanc·ti·fi·ca·tion
Or Christian Perfection. The typically Wesleyan belief that Christians can obtain a life free from voluntary sin in this lifetime.
Expiation – ex·pi·a·tion
The taking away of guilt through the payment of a penalty or the offering of an atonement
General Revelation – gen·er·al rev·el·a·tion
Or Natural Revelation, that God can be known by what He has provided through His creation, nature. Not specifically a saving revelation but a knowing revelation
Glorification – glo·ri·fi·ca·tion
What happens at the end, whether by death, or at the second coming of Jesus when the believer is conformed perfectly through Christ’s image
Imputation – im·pu·ta·tion
1. Of sin: ascribing or attributing the curse of sin from the one man, Adam, to all that were born from Adam
2. Of righteousness: ascribing or attributing the righteousness of the second Adam, Jesus, to all that are born of the Spirit
Incarnation, the – in·car·na·tion
When “the Word” was made flesh. Jesus, God the Son, becoming flesh by being born of a woman
Justification – jus·ti·fi·ca·tion
The declaration from God that we are righteous and free from the stain of sin
Penal Substitution – pe·nal sub·sti·tu·tion
The doctrine that Christ’s death on the cross was a substitution for the punishment of sinners
Predestination – pre·des·ti·na·tion
1. The doctrine that all events have been foreordained by God.
2. Of salvation: that those who have been, are, or will be saved were pre-chosen by God to be saved. Double Predestination says that God chose, before time, some for salvation and others for eternal damnation
Protestant Reformation – prot·es·tant ref·or·ma·tion
a 16th-century movement for the reform of abuses in the Roman Catholic Church ending in the establishment of the Reformed and Protestant Churches.
Progressive Revelation – pro·gress·ive rev·el·a·tion
Through the progression of time, God unveiled more of His plan of salvation. That revelation becomes fuller as time continued throughout scripture.
Propitiation – pro·pi·ti·a·tion
The act of appeasing the wrath of God
The theory that Jesus went through all the stages Adam went through yet succeeded where Adam failed. That Jesus undid in His obedience what Adam caused in his disobedience
Reconciliation – rec·on·cil·i·a·tion
Being brought back in to right relationship with God
Redemption – re·demp·tion
Being bought back from being in slavery to sin
Regeneration – re·gen·er·a·tion
The act of being born not of the flesh but of the Spirit while in the earthly body
Sanctification – sanc·ti·fi·ca·tion
The work of the Holy Spirit to remake us into the likeness of Christ in this lifetime
Special Revelation – spe·cial rev·el·a·tion
That knowledge or belief in God is mainly dependent on scripture or supernatural means
Suprasubstantiation – sup·ra·sub·stan·tia·tion
The Reformed doctrine that, in communion, the bread and wine are real representatives of the flesh and blood of Jesus. That when the partaker eats and drinks in communion they are present with Christ at that moment
Transubstantiation – tran·sub·stan·ti·a·tion
The Catholic doctrine that, in the Lord’s Supper, the bread and wine actually become the flesh and blood of Jesush