From the Greek, “things indifferent,” matters which can be accepted or rejected without prejudice to belief. Such practices or beliefs may be tolerated or permitted, but may not be required of faithful members of the church. A sixteenth-century dispute among German Protestants over Roman Catholic practices such as Extreme Unction and Confirmation was finally resolved by the Formula of Concord (1577), which allowed individual churches to use or alter ceremonies not commanded or forbidden by scripture. During this controversy, the “adiaphorists” urged that the disputed rites and practices were matters of indifference. In Anglicanism, many practices are allowed but not required.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.