Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Open Bible Standard Churches, Inc.

Formed 1935 by merger of Bible Standard Chs. and Open Bible Evangelistic Assoc.; evangelical, full gospel, with emphasis on missions.

Open Questions.

In the 19th c. and 1st part of the 20th c. this term played an important role in Lutheranism in America. Attempts at definition affected relations bet. the Iowa Syn. and the Missouri Synod. In an 1867 colloquy bet. the 2 syns. it was agreed to regard the term as equivalent to “theol. problems” in this sense, that the Bible does not solve them; e.g., on which creation day were the angels created? See also “Brief Statement”; Fundamental Doctrines, 4; Toledo Theses (Ohio and Iowa), IV.

Opera supererogationis

(Lat. “works paid in addition”). The RC Ch. teaches that by works of penance and charity saints gained more merit than was needed to meet the obligations of duty and the requirements of the Law for salvation; this excess of merit, with Christ's merit, is in the keeping and at the disposal of the ch. and can be applied by it to the needs of those who have not enough merit of their own to keep them out of purgatory. From this “treasury of the ch.” the RC Ch. claims to impart in granting indulgences.*

Opitz, Martin

(Obizo; Opitz von Boberfeld; 1597–1639). Poet, metrical reformer, critic; b. Bunzlau, on the Bob(e)r R., Ger.; educ. Frankfurt an der Oder and Heidelberg; prof. Weissenburg; held various pol. and diplomatic offices. Hymns include “Brich auk und werde lichte.”


(4th c. AD). Bp. Milevis, Numidia, N Afr.; polemicist; opposed Donatists.


In philos., the view that this world is the best possible, or even absolutely good.

Opus Dei

(The Work of God, Inc.). An internat. assoc. of RC clergy and laity founded 1928 in Madrid, Sp., by Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902–75).

Opus operatum.

Term used to express RC doctrine that the 7 RC sacraments* confer grace by the act in itself, apart from faith. Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Sess. VII, Canons on the Sacraments in General, Canon 8: “If anyone says that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato, but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace, let him be anathema.” Ap XIII 18: “We condemn the whole crowd of scholastic doctors who teach that unless there is some obstacle, the sacraments confer grace ex opere operato, without a good disposition in the one using them.” Cf. Ap IV 63; XII 12. Not to be confused with ex* opere operantis. See also Grace, Means of, I, 8.

Opzoomer, Cornelis Willem

(1821–92). Philos. and jurist; b. Rotterdam, Neth.; educ. Leiden; prof. Utrecht 1846; positivistic empiricist; urged expulsion of the unscientific from religion; leader of Dutch liberal theol.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online