An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


From the Greek anti, “against,” and nomos, “law,” the term is given to teaching opposed to the binding character of moral law. In Christian theology it denotes the doctrine that grace frees believers from the Law. The word “antinomian” seems to have emerged in the sixteenth century when it was applied to the teaching of the Lutheran theologian, J. Agricola, as well as that of certain Anabaptist sects. Although the word antinomian was not used in earlier times, St. Paul himself was accused of setting aside the force of the Law because of his teaching about justification. Lutheranism is thought by some to have invited antinomianism because of its emphasis on justification by faith alone. Anglican opposition to antinomianism is indicated in Article XII of the Articles of Religion: “Good works . . . cannot put away our sins; . . . yet they are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ” (BCP, p. 870).

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.