Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
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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(569 words)

Author(s): Stadler, Paul
1. General Situation The inland African nation of Chad includes three climatic zones with different peoples and cultures. In the wastes of the North live nomads with their herds. In the Sahel, once the home of important kingdoms, nomads and herders live together. The South is the home of peasants, joined in clans. The dominant people here are the Sara, who show openness to modern development. The complex history of Chad reaches back to the sixth century. From 1900 to 1960 it was under French rule (Colonialism). From 1965 onward, various ethnic groups fought f…

Chalcedon, Council of

(952 words)

Author(s): Ritter, Adolf Martin
1. Historical Importance The Council of Chalcedon (modern Kadiköy, a district of Istanbul on the eastern shore of the Bosporus) holds a place of preeminence among the imperial or ecumenical councils of the early church that dealt with Christological questions (Christology). Made possible by a change in the leadership of the Roman Empire, according to the plan of the new rulers (Marcian and Pulcheria), it had the main purpose of reversing the decisions of the Council of Ephesus of 449, which had pro…


(1,161 words)

Author(s): Pleines, Jürgen-Eckardt
1. Definition In the meaning familiar to us, the word “chance” refers to an unexpected and incalculable event (“pure chance”) encountering a person from the outside (eventus) and intervening in that person’s life in the sense of fortune or misfortune (Fate and [Good] Fortune). As such, chance eludes human knowledge and will, and it thus is often attributed to an arbitrary or divine power, at whose disposal one’s life-path stands. The word’s history, however, points in a different direction. The spatially understood element of chance or encounter developed first in…


(281 words)

Author(s): Mühlenberg, Ekkehard
The designation “chapel” derives from the place that housed the royal Frankish relic, namely, half of the cape (Lat. cappella) of St. Martin of Tours (ca. 316–97). Although chapels conceived as sacred spaces in citadels and castles were actually part of the overall concept, independent cultic spaces, normally with an altar, were also called chapels (e.g., baptismal chapels, baptisteries, funerary chapels) and were constructed usually in the shape of a cross or as a central edifice. The initial architectonic result of the veneration involving alt…

Chaplain, Military

(6 words)

See Military Chaplaincy


(4 words)

See Cathedral


(1,333 words)

Author(s): Merkel, Helmut | Wallis, Roy
1. The NT 1.1. Term The term “charisma” occurs in Hellenistic Jewish writings only in textually uncertain passages. It finds broad attestation for the first time in Paul and in works influenced by him. It is rare in secular Greek, being used only from the second century a.d. in the basic sense of “gift,” “present,” or “charitable act.” 1.2. Paul 1.2.1. Basic Meaning We occasionally find the basic meaning “gift” in Paul (Rom. 1:11; 6:23). More specifically, we also find the sense “gift that comes from God’s act of salvation” (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Cor. 1:11; Rom. 5:15–16). This usage echo…

Charismatic Movement

(2,802 words)

Author(s): Hocken, Peter
1. Definition and Terminology The term “charismatic movement” refers to the currents of revival and renewal resulting from a transforming spiritual experience generally termed “baptism in the Spirit,” which is associated with the reception and contemporary availability of the spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12:8–10 (esp. prophecy, healing, and glossolalia). While baptism in the Spirit and the spiritual gifts also characterize the Pentecostal movement, the charismatic movement with its many different strands is clearly distinct in theological fr…

Charismatic Religion

(620 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. Features In religious studies, the phrase “charismatic religion” applies to thousands of religious movements that have the following five features. 1. They arise in times of cultural, economic, or national crisis (Crisis Cult). 2. They are founded and directed by prophets (often women), whose direct mandate from the Supreme Being (by visions, dreams, etc.) the adherents recognize. 3. The vision, often symbolically, shows the reason for the crisis and intimates divine help in the renewing of the world under the leadership of the prophet. 4. The vision contains elements of a “…


(71 words)

Author(s): Schmidle, Paul
Caritas (Eng. “charity”), the Latin equivalent for the NT Greek word agapē, denotes Christian love, which is grouped with faith and hope. Caritas is primarily the love of God manifested in Jesus Christ, and then it is love for others. In the popular sense of charity, it denotes the church’s organized relief work, which, along with proclamation (teaching) and worship, is an essential function. See Relief Organizations Paul Schmidle


(235 words)

Author(s): Longin, Archbishop
The cherubicon is an Orthodox liturgical hymn that is sung in the course of the divine liturgy of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great. The name refers to the cherubim, who, mentioned throughout the OT (e.g., Gen. 3:24), are a choir of angelic beings. The cherubicon, which is sung while the offerings are carried from the side table to the altar, goes back to the third century. It was introduced into the liturgy in 574. The symbolic essence is that participants in the liturgy mystically join with the cherubim in singing “Hallelujah” as the apostle John heard it in heaven (Rev. 19:4). The musical …


(1,103 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Karl
1. Definition Childhood is usually defined as the first stage in the human life cycle, as the age up to the attainment of ¶ puberty. Division is normally made into infancy, early childhood, preschool, and school age. The phase between the onset of puberty and adulthood is called youth or adolescence. From the standpoint of ages in the life cycle, childhood is the period of the ability and need to learn, of malleability, and of education. It has thus been the object of varied philosophical and political concerns and the…

Child Labor

(1,055 words)

Author(s): van de Veen, Hans
1. The Problem Although child labor usually takes place publicly, a wall of silence typically surrounds it. Parents are mostly silent out of shame that poverty forces them to exploit their children. Employers are silent out of anxiety lest they lose a cheap and malleable work force. Authorities often close their eyes, even though most countries have enacted legislation against employing juveniles. Finally, the children themselves are silent because often they do not know to whom to turn. These fact…

Children of God

(510 words)

Author(s): Gandow, Thomas
“Children of God” is the self-designated name for a youth religion that grew out of the California Jesus People movement under the leadership of David Berg (1911–94, also known as Moses, Mo, Moses David, and Father David). Inspired by the visions of his mother, Virginia Brandt-Berg, a prophetess in the Pentecostal sect Church of the Open Door, radio evangelist Berg founded the Children of God in 1968 along with Revolutionaries for Christ and Teens for Christ. 1. Development and Teaching As a morally strict, eschatological group of penitents, the Children of God at first fou…


(1,950 words)

Author(s): Faundez, Antonio
1. Land Chile stretches 4,300 km. (2,650 mi.) along the western coast of South America. It is a narrow country, averaging only 176 km. (109 mi.) across, lying between the Pacific and the inland countries, with the Andes Mountains as its eastern border. Approximately 70 percent of the Chileans are mestizo (mixed Spanish and Indian), 20 percent European, 7 percent Amerindian, with the remainder miscellaneous ethnic groups. There is a strong concentration in the cities; Santiago had 5.1 million inhabitants in 1992. Rich in raw materials (e.g., nitrate and copper), Chile is one …


(4 words)

See Millenarianism


(2,180 words)

Author(s): Wagner, Rudolf G.
1. The Churches in China The first verifiable presence of Christianity in China came via Nestorian missionaries, who entered China from the Middle East in the mid-7th century. Their work effectively ended by the 9th century, although traces of Nestorianism survived until the 14th. The first Western missionary was John of Monte Corvino (1247–1328), a Franciscan, whose efforts were nullified by the advent of the Ming dynasty in 1368. Between 1552 and the mid-1800s, the Jesuits, and later also other ord…

China Inland Mission

(681 words)

Author(s): Walls, Andrew F.
1. Background Until 1842 the Chinese Empire resisted all European penetration. The Anglo-Chinese War (1839–42) opened five “treaty ports,” where missions quickly established residence (Colonialism and Mission). By 1860 Western powers had secured more ports, European rights of travel, and certain concessions to religious toleration and foreign protection of missionaries (Mission). By this period, the missionary movement was accepted by the main Protestant churches. Most missionary societies were organized on a national and denominational basis an…
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