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Glossary of religious and spiritual terms

Starting with the letter "L"

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bullet Landmarkism: The belief that Baptist churches are the only true Christian churches.

bullet Last supper: The meal that Jesus and his disciples took just before Jesus' arrest. The term is also used to refer to communion.

bullet LDS: Acronym for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

bullet Lectionary: A series of Bible passages that are read throughout the year in a church service. Often, the sermon is based on the passage just read.

bullet Legalism:
bullet The belief that one's salvation depends upon strictly following religious laws and rituals.

bullet The belief that salvation is at least partly dependent on one's good works.

bullet Lectio divina: Latin for "divine reading." It is an ancient method of prayer, in which the person meditates on a short passage of the Bible or other written material and waits for God to speak to them through the words of the text.

bullet Legend: A traditional story sometimes regarded by the public as historical but which has not been authenticated and may be fictional. An example is the legend of King Arthur.

bullet Lent: A period of spiritual preparation for Easter. It starts 40 days before Easter Sunday in the Roman Catholic church. It starts eight weeks before Easter in the Eastern Orthodox churches. In the early Church, recent converts were taught in preparation for their baptism.

bullet Lesbian: A female who is emotionally and physically attracted only to other females.

bullet Levirite marriage: From the Latin word "levir" -- husband's brother. The practice, required by Mosaic law, by which a widow and her former-husband's brother were required to marry. This inevitably involved serial rape in many cases. A child born to the couple would be credited to the former husband.

bullet Lex talionis: Latin for "law of retaliation." The Hebrew Scriptures state that Injury was to be repaid with a similar injury: "an eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth."

bullet LGBT: An acronym that refers to lesbians, male gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. There are many variations to this acronym including the following, which is the most inclusive that we have seen:

bullet LGBTTIQ: An acronym that refers to individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay male, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit, intersexual, queer, and questioning.

bullet Liberal Christianity (a.k.a. Progressive Christianity): A religious movement that holds beliefs which are very different from those of conservative Christians:
bullet Emphasizes human rights, the findings of science, and the higher criticism (analysis) of the Bible;

bullet Largely disregards biblical miracles, the infallibility, inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, the Virgin birth;

bullet Ignores passages in the Bible which are immoral by today's standards -- e.g. those dealing with human slavery, oppression of women, religious intolerance, torture of prisoners, genocide, burning some hookers alive, etc.

bullet Liberation theology: The interpretation of religious faith from the perspective of the poor, oppressed and victimized. It seeks God in a world of injustice. Found most often within Christianity.

bullet Lilith: (a.k.a Lillith): Originally, she was a female demon who formed part of Babylonian and Canaanite Pagan religion. She was incorporated into the religion of the ancient Hebrews and is mentioned in Isaiah 34:14. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible refers to her as a Night Hag. She was believed to be a female demon that seduced men, terrified children at night, etc. Some later Jewish sources identified her as the first wife of Adam, created at the same time as he was. She didn't submit to Adam's will and was banished from the Garden of Eden. Eve then became Adam's second wife. Some modern-day feminists have adopted Lilith as a heroine.

bullet Limited atonement: This is the third of The Five Points of Calvinism: the belief that Jesus did not die to save all humans. He died only for the sake of specific sins of those who are saved. Sometimes called "Particular Redemption." This belief implies that all persons who have not been saved will go to Hell including those who have never heard of Christ or Christianity.

bullet Literalist: "One who adheres to the letter or exact word; an interpreter according to the letter." (The Free Dictionary) The term is typically used when Interpreting scriptures.

bullet Literary criticism: With reference to the Bible, a method of analyzing passages "that seeks to discover the underlying literary sources, stylistic features, type or genre of literature, authorship, unity, and date of a text, for their value in interpreting the textís meaning in its original historical context."

bullet Liturgy: From the Greek word "leitourgia" meaning "service." Forms and content of pulbic service for church worship as defined by various faith groups.

bullet Logos: An ancient Pagan Greek term meaning "word" or "reason", and used to indicate the concept that the universe was governed by a higher form of intelligence. St. Paul and other Christians have used it to describe Jesus as the "Logos of God" - the concept that the eternal thoughts of God were made incarnate (endowed with a body) in Jesus.

bullet Lord's Supper:  See Communion.

bullet Lower criticism: The analysis of available evidence to determine the original text of the Bible.

bullet Lucifer: Angel of light. Sometimes considered a synonym for Satan.

bullet Lutheranism: The group of denominations that trace their roots to Martin Luther and the German Reformation in the early 16th century. In the U.S. the largest Lutheran denomination is the liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Second largest is the conservative Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

bullet LXX: Roman symbol for the number 70. An abbreviation used to refer to the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) into Koine Greek. The translation was allegedly made by 70 or 72 individuals. This was the version of the Hebrew Scriptures used by the Christians in the primitive Christian church.

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  1. "Watchman Fellowship's 2001 Index of Cults and Religions," at:

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Copyright © 1996 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written on: 1996-MAR-11

Last update: 2014-JUN-08
Author: B.A. Robinson

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