Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

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The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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Pacific Conference of Churches

(545 words)

Author(s): Tevi, Lorine
1. Origin The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), which grew out of a widely felt concern for cooperation among Pacific churches, was formally constituted in 1966 at the First Assembly, held at Lifou, Loyalty Islands, of New Caledonia. It describes itself as “a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (point 3 of the constitution). The first interisland gatherings were youth conventions in the late 1950s. I…


(3,597 words)

Author(s): Burkholder, J. R. | Holl, Karl
1. Term and Usage The word “pacifism” came into use around 1900, apparently first in Europe, to describe a generalized attitude of opposition to war. A more restricted sense found in early Christianity designates the absolute refusal to use force against persons (often called nonresistance, from Jesus’ admonition in Matt. 5:39). In contemporary usage, pacifism encompasses a wide range of antiwar and antiviolence views, often including the development of nonviolent strategies for social change. Earlier European use of the term embraced the uncond…


(2,282 words)

Author(s): Forward, Martin
1. Term It is impossible to precisely define “paganism” or its related term “pagan.” The LLat. paganus derives from pagus, “country district.” Pagans, so we may deduce, practiced the religion of the countryside. When town or city dwellers in the late Roman Empire called someone a pagan, they were perhaps dismissively alluding to that person’s beliefs and practices as those of yokels, which sophisticated urbanites had outgrown. Indeed, the terms “paganism” and “pagan” have come to convey entirely pejorative and im…


(2,270 words)

Author(s): Schimmel, Annemarie | Editors, the
Pakistan became an independent state on August 14, 1947. The idea of a Muslim area in the northwest of the subcontinent was first suggested and supported by Muhammad Iqbāl (1877–1938), the poet-philosopher of Indian Muslims, at the annual gathering of the All India Muslim League in Allahabad on December 30, 1930. 1. History Muslims (Islam) came to India in 711 and took over the lower Indus Valley up to Multan (now southern Pakistan). By 800 a second wave came and, from Ghaznī in present-day Afghanistan, set up Muslim rule in northwest India. Ben…


(364 words)

Author(s): Meyendorff, John
Palamism is the theological position associated with the name of Gregory Palamas (ca. 1296–1359), a Byzantine saint and archbishop of Thessalonica, affirming the experience of theōsis (or “deification”) and also a real distinction between the “essence” of God (§6), which remains transcendent, and the “energies,” or grace, through which deification becomes accessible in Christ (Christology 3). Before starting his activities as a theologian, Palamas was a Hesychast monk on Mount Athos. He defended the Hesychasts, who claimed to have obtained the expe…


(8 words)

See History, Auxiliary Sciences to, 3


(2,841 words)

Author(s): Bornemann, Robert
¶ The name “Palestine” is commonly used to designate the ancient land of the Bible, the Holy Land—“from Dan to Beer-sheba.” It is also the common name for the territory of the British mandate taken over by the United Nations in 1948 and held now by the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel (§2), with the Occupied Territories. Originally, however, its boundaries were not so definitely defined, and Palestine was not its name. To gain some perspective about this small, revered, and troubled spot, we consider it in its original, much larger geographic and historical setting. 1. Early an…

Palmer, Phoebe Worrall

(1,012 words)

Author(s): Faupel, D. William
Phoebe Worrall Palmer (1807–74), an author, editor, social activist, evangelist, and lay theologian, was undoubtedly the most influential Methodist woman of the 19th century (Methodism). She is best known for her “Tuesday Meetings,” “altar theology,” and defense of women’s right to preach the gospel. For over a decade she acted as managing editor of the Guide to Holiness, whose circulation at the time of her death rivaled that of the most widely read Methodist periodicals. She wrote 18 books consisting of theology, poetry, and biography. During her ev…


(310 words)

Author(s): Heiser, Lothar
The title panagia (all holy), along with theotokos (God-bearer) and aeiparthenos (ever virgin), is a title of honor for Mary. The Greeks first used it in patristic hymns (Patristics) as synonymous with Mary, and in iconography after the Iconoclastic Controversy it often replaces Mary. The Acathistus hymn (6th cent.) lauds Mary as “the all holy chariot [ ochēma panagion] of the One above the cherubim” (15th stanza). The ascription rests on what the NT says about the virgin motherhood of Mary (Virgin Birth) and the angelic (Angel) saluting of Mary in Luke 1:28 as kecharitōmenē (perf.),…


(1,751 words)

Author(s): McClure, Garry D.
1. Historical and Social Context The first signs of human settlement on the land mass now called Panama (whose indigenous name means “abundance of fish”) are thought to be 10,000 years old. Panama’s modern history began in 1501, when Spaniard Rodrigo de Bastidas sailed along its Caribbean coast. One year later Christopher Columbus visited the same coast. Not until 1513, however, when Vasco Núñez de Balboa hiked across the isthmus and became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean, did the geograp…


(3,230 words)

Author(s): Brierley, Michael W.
1. History of the Term Panentheism—from Gk. pan (all), en (in), and theos (God)—is the doctrine that the cosmos exists within God, who in turn pervades, or is “in,” the cosmos. Panentheism is commonly contrasted with pantheism, in which God is coterminous with, or identified with, and is not more than, the cosmos; and classical theism, in which God is portrayed as separate from the cosmos, either in the sense of not being affected by it or in the sense of being outside the cosmos and present within it only in such discrete instances as, for example…

Pan-Orthodox Conferences

(768 words)

Author(s): Papandreou, Damaskinos
The Orthodox Church is planning a Pan-Orthodox council of its 16 autocephalous and autonomous churches. This “Holy and Great Council,” even in its preparatory stages, is an important historical event because all the preparations themselves involve Pan-Orthodox conferences. After a long process of alienation and isolation, the Orthodox churches, on the initiative of the ecumenical patriarch (in encyclicals of 1902 and 1904), have seen the need to intensify their inter-Orthodox contacts and to stu…


(1,173 words)

Author(s): Hanreich, Herbert
1. Term “Pantheism” (from pan, “all,” and theos, “god”) is a term for the identity of God and the whole of reality. The English deist John Toland (1670–1722) first brought it into philosophical discussion in 1705. It then played a part in philosophical and theological controversies. Two important aspects are the notions that (1) all things are God, the divinizing of the world (panpsychism, acosmism, theopanism), and ¶ (2) God is all things, the secularizing of God (Idealism) and his consequent negation (Materialism; Monism; Naturalism). Panentheism, which never …

Papal Blessing

(6 words)

See Blessing 7


(6 words)

See Pope, Papacy, 16

Papal States

(883 words)

Author(s): Denzler, Georg
1. History The Papal States, or States of the Church (sing. in Ger. Kirchenstaat, Ital. Lo Stato Pontificio or Lo Stato della Chiesa), are the territories in central and southern Italy over which the pope exercised temporal sovereignty. Private and public gifts of property from the fourth century onward formed the nucleus of the church holdings, known as the Patrimony of St. Peter. Gregory I (590–604) reorganized and centralized these properties. When Stephen II (752–57) appealed for help against the Lombards, the Frankish ruler Pepin (mayor 741–68), by the oath …

Papua New Guinea

(785 words)

Author(s): May, John D’Arcy
With a population in 2003 estimated at over 5 million people, Papua New Guinea is by far the largest of the Pacific Island states. Since it gained its independence from Australia in 1975, the country’s immense mineral wealth has led to both economic expansion and political upheavals, especially the attempted secession (1988–97) of the island of Bougainville. 1. Christian Missions and Churches In the second half of the 19th century, Christian missionaries were among the first Europeans to ¶ establish settlements on the coasts and islands and penetrate into the interior. The…


(2,654 words)

Author(s): Hultgren, Arland J.
1. General The English word “parable” is derived from Gk. parabolē, and like its Greek antecedent its basic and primary meaning is “comparison.” A parable is a figure of speech, such as a simile or a brief narrative, by which the speaker makes a comparison between some transcendent, mysterious, or otherwise puzzling reality and that which is familiar to common human experience. The most widely known parables are those of Jesus of Nazareth, which appear in the Gospels of the NT. But parables are also common in the literature of antiquity. Aristotle speaks…
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