Protestantism definition by American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- Adherence to the religion and beliefs of a Protestant church.
- The religion and religious beliefs fostered by the Protestant movement.
- Protestants considered as a group.
protestantism - Ologies & -Isms Definition
adiaphorism a tolerance of conduct or beliefs not specifically forbidden in the Scriptures. Cf. Flacianism, Philippism. —adiaphorist, n. —adiaphoristic, adj. Adventism the principles and practices of certain Christian denominations that maintain that the Second Advent of Christ is imminent. Also called Second Adventist. —Adventist, n., adj. Amyraldism the doctrines and practices of a liberal form of Calvinism established in France in the 17th century, especially its doctrines of universal atonement and salvation for all. Anglicanism the adherence to the tenets and faith of the Anglican church. Arminianism the doctrines and teaching of Jacobus Arminius, 17th-century Dutch theologian, who opposed the Calvinist doctrine of absolute predestination and maintained the possibility of universal salvation. Cf. Calvinism. —Arminian, n., adj. Brownism the views and doctrines of Robert Browne, the first formulator of the principles of Congregationalism. —Brownist, n. —Brownistic, adj. Buchmanism 1. the principles of the international movement called Moral Re-Armament or the Oxford Group. 2. the belief in or adherence to these principles. —Buchmanite, n., adj. Calixtine an Utraquist. See Utraquism. Calvinism 1. the doctrines of John Calvin or his followers, especially emphasis upon predestination and limited atonement, the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures and the irresistibility of grace. 2. adherence to these doctrines. Also called Genevanism. Cf. Arminianism. —Calvinist, n., adj. —Calvinistic, Calvinistical, adj. Christadelphianism the doctrines of a premillennial sect founded in the U.S. in the mid-19th-century, especially its denial of Trinitarianism and its acceptance of Unitarian and Adventist doctrines. —Christadelphian, n., adj. cirplanology the history and study of Methodist circuit plans. commination the list of divine threats against sinners, read in the Anglican Church on Ash Wednesday. See also conflict. congregationalism 1. the doctrine and governmental practices of Congregational churches. 2. a form of church government in which each congregation is autonomous. —Congregationalist, n., adj. consociationism the theory or practice of associations or confederations of religious societies, usually for purposes of fellowship. —consociational, adj. Darbyism the doctrines and practices of the Plymouth Brethren. —Darbyite, n. denominationalism 1. the policy or spirit of denominations or sects. 2. the tendency to divide into denominations or sects. —denominationalist, n. dissenterism nonconformism, def. 2. ecumenism the doctrines and practices of the ecumenical movement, especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at developing worldwide Christian unity and church union. Also ecumenicalism, ecumenicism. Episcopalianism 1. the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Anglican communion. 2. adherence to the policy and practice of the Episcopal Church. —Episcopalian, n., adj. —Episcopal, adj. episcopalism a theory of church polity asserting that supreme ecclesiastical authority belongs to all bishops collectively and not to an individual except by delegation. Flacianism the Lutheran doctrines and treatises of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, especially his attacks upon Melanchthon and others for distorting Luther’s teachings and emphasizing adiaphorism. Cf. Philippism. —Flacian, n. Freechurchism the principles of the Free Church, which split off from the Presbyterian Church in 1843. —Freechurchman, n. fundamentalism 1. a conservative movement in 20th-century American Protestantism in reaction to modernism, asserting especially the inerrancy of the Scriptures as a historical record and as a guide to faith and morals, and emphasizing, as matters of true faith, belief in the virgin birth, the sacrifice and death of Christ upon the cross, physical resurrection, and the Second Coming. 2. an adherence to the doctrines and practices of this movement. —fundamentalist, n., adj. Genevanism Calvinism. harmonist a member of a Protestant sect from Württemberg, Germany that settled in Harmony, Pennsylvania, in 1803, and believed in common ownership of property. Hopkinsianism the doctrines of Dr. Samuel Hopkins, similar to those of Calvin except that Hopkins rejected the concept of original sin. —Hopkinsonian, n., adj. Huguenotism the doctrines and practices of the Calvinistic communion in France in the 16th and 17th centuries. —Huguenot, n. —Huguenotic, adj. Hussitism the doctrines of a reformist and nationalistic movement initiated by John Huss in Bohemia about 1402, especially its reflection of Wycliffite emphases upon clerical purity, communion in both bread and wine for the laity, and the supreme authority of the Scriptures. Also Hussism. —Hussite, n., adj. Irvingite a member of the religious group founded by Edward Irving, a Scots minister who advocated strict observance of ritualistic practices. Koreshanity the doctrines and beliefs of an American communal religious society founded in 1886, especially its goal of reforming both church and state and their mutual relationship to God. —Koreshan, adj. Labadist an adherent of Jean de Labadie, a French mystic. Laudianism the policies and practices of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and opponent of Puritanism, especially his assertion that the Church of England preserves more fully than the Roman communion the orthodoxy of the early Christian church, his support of the divine right of kings and bishops, and his infiuence upon an architecture blending Gothic and Renaissance motifs. —Laudian, n., adj. liberalism a movement in modern Protestantism that emphasizes freedom from tradition and authority, the adjustment of religious beliefs to scientific conceptions, and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity. —liberalist, n., adj. —liberalistic, adj. Lollardism 1. the religious teachings of John Wycliffe, 14th-century English theologian, religious reformer, and Bible translator. 2. adherence to these teachings, especially in England and Scotland in the 14th and 15th centuries. Also called Lollardry, Lollardy, Wycliffism. —Lollard, n., adj. Lutheranism 1. the religious doctrines and church polity of Martin Luther, 16th-century German theologian, author, and leader of the Protestant Reformation. 2. adherence to these doctrines or membership in the Lutheran Church. —Lutheran, n., adj. Methodism 1. the religious teachings and church polity of John Wesley, 18th-century English theologian and evangelist, or those of his followers. 2. the doctrines, polity, beliefs, and rituals of the Methodist Church, founded by Wesley, especially its emphasis on personal and social morality. Also called Wesleyanism. —Methodist, n., adj. Mormonism 1. the doctrines and polity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, founded in the U.S. in 1830 by Joseph Smith, especially its adoption of the Book of Mormon as an adjunct to the Bible. 2. adherence to these doctrines or membership in the Mormon Church. Also Mormondom. —Mormon, n., adj. neoorthodoxy a modern theological movement within the Protestant church, reaffirming some of the doctrines of the Reformation in reaction against recent liberal theology and practice. —neoorthodox, adj. nonconformism 1. the state or practice of nonadherence to an established church or its doctrine, discipline, or polity. 2. (cap.) the condition of a Protestant in England who is not a member of the Church of England; dissenterism. —nonconformist, n., adj. nonjurorism 1. the practice of refusing to take a required oath, as of allegiance. 2. (cap.) the action of Church of England clergymen who refused, in 1689, to swear allegiance to William and Mary. —nonjuror, n. Orangeism the principles of the Orangemen, members of a secret 17th-century Irish society that defended the reigning British monarch and supported the Anglican church. Pajonism a theological doctrine proposed by the 17th-century French theologian Claude Pajon, especially its emphasis upon the indirect rather than direct influence of the Holy Spirit upon an individual. parsonarchy the domination of a social group, especially a small rural community, by the parson. Pentecostalism the beliefs and practices of certain Christian groups, often fundamentalist, that emphasize the activity of the Holy Spirit, stress a strict morality, and seek emotional spiritual experiences in worship rituals. —Pentecostal, n., adj. Philippism Rare. the doctrines of Philip Melanchthon, 16th-century German Protestant reformer, especially his rebuttals to the allegations of the Flacians that his attitude toward certain teachings of Martin Luther was adiaphoristic. —Philippist, n. —Philippistic, adj. pietism 1. a movement, begun in the 17th-century German Lutheran Church, exalting the practice of personal piety over religious orthodoxy and ritual. 2. the principles and practices of the Pietists. Also called Spenerism. —Piëtist, n. —Pietistic, Pietistical, adj. Presbyterianism 1. the doctrines, polity, and practices of Presbyterian churches, especially a Calvinist theology and a representative system of church government. 2. a system of church government in which ministers and congregationally elected elders participate in a graded series of legislative bodies and administrative courts. —Presbyterian, n., adj. Primitive Methodism the practices of the Primitive Methodist Church whose doctrines emphasize Wesleyanism and greater congregational participation in its government. —Primitive Methodist, n. puritanism 1. the principles and practices of a movement within 16th-century Anglicanism, demanding reforms in doctrine, polity, and worship, and greater strictness in religious discipline, chiefly in terms of Calvinist principles. 2. a political party developed from the religious movement in the 17th century that successfully gained control of England through revolution and briefly attempted to put Puritan principles to work on all levels of English life and government. 3. U.S. History. the principles and practices of the Congregationalist members of the religious movement who, having migrated to America in 1620, attempted to set up a theocratic state in which clergy had authority over both religious and civil life. —Puritan, n., adj. Puseyism Tractarianism, after Rev. E. B. Pusey, English clergyman. —Puseyite, n. —Puseyistic, Puseyistical adj. Quakerism the principles and beliefs of the Society of Friends, a creedless sect founded in England about 1650 by George Fox, especially its emphasis upon the Inward Light of each believer, its rejection of oaths, and its opposition to all wars. Also Quakerdom, Quakery. (Terms made from quake are never used to or between members of the Society, who prefer Friend or thee.) —Quaker, n., adj. reformation the 16th-century religious movement in Europe that resulted in the formation of Protestantism. —Reformational, adj. restorationism the belief in a temporary future punishment and a final restoration of all sinners to the favor of God. Also called restitutionism. —restorationist, n. reunionism advocacy of the reunion of the Anglican and Catholic churches. —reunionist, n. —reunionistic, adj. revivalism that form of religious activity that manifests itself in evangelistic services for the purpose of effecting a religious awakening. —revivalist, n. —revivalistic, adj. Russellites the former name of the sect called Jehovah’s Witnesses. salvationism 1. any religious teachings in which are emphasized doctrines concerning the saving of the soul. 2. the doctrines of the saving of the soul. 3. evangelism, especially that calling for individuals to make open and public conversions. —salvationist, n. —salvational, adj. Second Adventist Adventism. sectarianism the spirit or tendencies of sectarians, especially adherence or excessive devotion to a particular sect, especially in religion. —sectarian, n., adj. Shakerism the principles, beliefs, and practices of a millennial sect called the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, originating in England in the Shaking Quakers sect and brought to the U.S. in 1774 by Mother Ann Lee, especially an emphasis on communal and celibate living, on the dual nature of Christ as male and female, on their dances and songs as part of worship, and their honest, functional craftsmanship. —Shaker, n., adj. Spenerism Pietism, after Philipp Jakob Spener, German theologian. Stundism the doctrines and practices of a Russian Protestant denomination founded about 1860, especially their emphasis upon evangelism, piety, and communal Bible study and prayer. —Stundist, n. Swedenborgianism, Swedenborgism the doctrines, beliefs, and practices of the Church of the New Jerusalem, founded by the followers of Emmanuel Swedenborg in the late 18th century, especially its assertion that Christ is God Himself and not the Son of God, and its reliance upon accounts of mystical appearances of Christ to Swedenborg. —Swedenborgian, n., adj. syncretism the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, parties, or denominations, as in the late 19th- and 20th-century discussions between Anglo-Catholics and Roman authorities. —syncretic, syncretical, syncretistic, syncretistical, adj. Tractarianism the religious opinions and principles of the Oxford movement within Anglicanism, especially in its Tractsfor the Times, a series of ninety treatises published between 1833 and 1841. Also called Puseyism. —Tractarian, n., adj. Ubiquitism the doctrine that the body of Christ is present everywhere, held by some Lutherans and others. —Ubiquitarian, Ubiquarian, Ubiquitary, Ubiquist, Ubiquitist, n., adj. Unitarianism the beliefs, principles, and practices of the Unitarian denomination, especially its doctrine that God is one being, and its emphasis upon autonomous congregational government. —Unitarian, n., adj. universalism 1. the theological doctrine that all men will finally be saved or brought back to holiness and God. 2. the doctrines and practices of the Universalist denomination. —Universalist, n., adj. —Universalistic, adj. Utraquism the doctrines and practices of the Calixtins, a Hussite group demanding communion in both wafer and wine. —Utraquist, n. —Utraquistic, adj. Wesleyanism Methodism. —Wesleyan, n., adj. Whitefieldism the principles, teachings, practices, and techniques of George Whitefield, English Methodist revivalist, who, after a request from Wesley that he visit America, made seven visits after 1738 and gained a reputation as an eloquent and fiery preacher, becoming a model for future American revivalists. Wyclifflsm Lollardism.
Variant of Protestant
- History any of the German princes and free cities that formally protested to the Diet of Spires (1529) its decision to uphold the edict of the Diet of Worms against the Reformation
- any member of the various Christian churches established as a result of the Reformation
- loosely any Christian not belonging to the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church
- a person who protests
Origin: French ; from German ; from Classical Latin protestans, present participle of protestari: see protest
- of Protestants or Protestant beliefs, practices, etc.
- Protestantism noun