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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Local Ecumenism

(569 words)

Author(s): Kinnamon, Michael
The term “local ecumenism” may be used with reference both to informal cooperative activities among congregations and dioceses and to the historic ecumenical concern for the more formal unity of “all in each place.” Local ecumenism may be distinguished (though not separated) from efforts to realize unity and shared mission at national, regional, and global levels. “The ecumenical movement is not alive,” said delegates to the Lund Conference on Faith and Order (1952), “unless it is local.” Nine years later, this conviction was amplified by the World C…


(1,753 words)

Author(s): von Freytag Löringhoff, Bruno Baron
1. General Data 1.1. The term “logic,” coming from Gk. logos, has many meanings and is used in various ways. Even logicians dispute the subject matter and tasks of the discipline. When it is simply a matter of exactly following rules and principles, we do not have logic in the strict sense. Themes like “transcendental logic” in I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism; Transcendental Philosophy), really an epistemology, and the supposed logic of G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831; Hegelianism) and German idealism (a kind of metaphysical speculation; Metaphysics) do not properly belong in logic. As a dis…

Logic and Theology

(855 words)

Author(s): Stock, Eberhard
1. History of the Relation In the course of its history theology has constantly debated its relation to logic. We find both basic rejection of logic and its consistent defense and application. It should be stressed, however, that the positive investigation and development of logic easily prevailed. Radical opponents of logic like Peter Damian (1007–72) were marginal figures, not least because they faced the dilemma that they had to presuppose and use logic in their criticism of it, or that in a way t…


(6 words)

See Christological Titles 34

Lord’s Prayer

(2,034 words)

Author(s): Merkel, Helmut | Hultgren, Arland J.
1. The Different Versions 1.1. The NT contains two versions of the Lord’s Prayer. The form used in most liturgies is that of Matt. 6:9b–13, which begins with the invocation “Our Father, [you] who are in the heavens” (lit. trans.). Three petitions follow in reference to God (“your name … your kingdom … your will”), and four in reference to those who are praying (“our bread … our debts … lead us not … deliver us”). The oldest MSS omit the doxology. The shorter form in Luke 11:2b–4 opens with the simple address “Father.” It has two you-petitions (“your name … your kingdom”) and thr…

Lord’s Supper

(5 words)

See Eucharist


(601 words)

Author(s): Grote, Heiner
Lourdes, France, is a place of pilgrimage on the western slopes of the Pyrenees in the valley of the Gave du Pas River (Mary, Devotion to; Pilgrimage). There in February 1858 the 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous (1844–79, canonized in 1933), a day laborer’s daughter, had a vision of a woman in a niche of the grotto of Massabielle. The woman told her, “Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou” (I am the Immaculate Conception). She told Bernadette and the worshipers soon assembled with her to pray the r…


(3,145 words)

Author(s): Schwarz, Joachim
1. Roots Modern scholarship deals with love primarily in psychology and sociology. As regards the roots of love, we are referred to ethnology and the study of behavior. Living creatures develop behavior patterns that foster their survival as individuals and species. Members of a group reject nonmembers as strangers or enemies. The coupling of sexually different beings involves a positive choice to the exclusion of others. Raising young creates a relation between generations that involves care and …


(4 words)

See Faithfulness

Luke, Gospel of

(1,234 words)

Author(s): Bovon, François
1. Author As the language of the Gospel of Luke indicates, its author came from educated pagan circles, probably in the North Aegean. At the time of writing he had become a Christian and belonged to a group of missionaries a generation after the death of Peter and Paul. His work, which may date to about 80–90, is evidently that of a historian of the day (Historiography 2), a convert (Conversion 1) anxious to defend the faith, and an evangelist with a zeal to impart it. The author aimed his work at…

Lutheran Churches

(7,412 words)

Author(s): Bachman, E. Theodore | Hjelm, Norman A.
1. General Characteristics and Statistics Confessional bonds, provided mainly by the Augsburg Confession and Martin Luther’s (1483–1546; Luther’s Theology) Small Catechism and in many instances the entire Book of Concord (1580), distinguish the Lutheran churches. These churches allow for variety in constitution and organization, whether as territorial churches or as small minority churches (Diaspora). Ways of worship derive from the early church (Liturgy). Polity may be episcopal (Bishop, Episcopate)…


(5,871 words)

Author(s): Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Term The term “Lutheranism” may be used in a variety of ways: as describing the form of Christianity that developed from the 16th-century Reformation at Wittenberg and most particularly from the teachings of its leader, Martin Luther (1483–1546); as describing the theological and confessional tradition based on the documents of the Book of Concord; or as describing the self-understanding and/or the identity of church bodies throughout the world that claim agreement with Luther’s teaching. Luther himself, however, decried the use of his name: “I ask that [people] mak…

Lutheran World Federation

(1,197 words)

Author(s): Brand, Eugene L. | Hjelm, Norman A.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), constituted by 49 churches in Lund, Sweden, in 1947, is the result of efforts to bring together the Lutheran churches of the world on the basis of a common confessional allegiance (Confession of Faith). Although antecedent organizations included the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (1867) and the General Evangelical Lutheran Conference in Germany (1868), the most immediate and important precursor to the LWF was the Lutheran …

Luther, Martin

(2,467 words)

Author(s): Lotz, David W.
Overview Martin Luther (1483–1546) was the leading figure of the Reformation era, itself an age of outsized personalities. While there were other “evangelical” or “Protestant” reform movements in the 16th century, Luther’s was first both in time and influence. An erudite scholar, impassioned polemicist, formidable opponent in debate, expert in Hebrew and Greek, and a masterly writer in both Latin and German, Luther was the most widely published author of his time. His immense literary output included theological treatises and disputa…

Luther Research

(1,324 words)

Author(s): zur Mühlen, Karl-Heinz
1. German The history of Luther research in Germany in the 19th century begins with L. von Ranke (1795–1886) and his six-volume Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation (1839–47; ET History of the Reformation in Germany [1845–47]). Though tinged with Romanticism, this work puts Martin Luther (1483–1546; Luther’s Theology) squarely in the setting of the 16th-century Reformation. J. Köstlin, G. Kawerau, O. Scheel, H. Boehmer, and R. and E. Seeberg continued along these lines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Theologically, A. Ritschl (1822–89) in his three-volume Die…

Luther’s Theology

(4,411 words)

Author(s): Hendrix, Scott
The theology of Martin Luther (1483–1546) arose out of his work as an interpreter of the Bible and out of his involvement in the debates of the Reformation era. After his appointment as professor of Scripture (Exegesis, Biblical) at the University of Wittenberg in 1512, his most important theological works were frequently his lectures on biblical books, for example, on Galatians (1531 lectures, pub. 1535) and Genesis (1535–45). His polemical writings were also theologically significant—Luther claimed he would never have become a good theologian if he had n…


(1,503 words)

Author(s): Marhoffer, Karl Georg
1. Geography and Legal Foundations The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a constitutional monarchy (declared a neutral independent state by the Treaty of London, May 11, 1867), is bounded by ¶ Belgium on the north and west, Germany on the east, and France on the south. Its population in the year 2000 included over 140,000 expatriates, or about one-third of the country’s total residents. Because Luxembourg was hardly affected by the Reformation, the majority of its population is Roman Catholic. In 1982 the country entered into a con…

Lux Mundi

(807 words)

Author(s): Wainwright, Geoffrey
Lux Mundi belongs to a series of essay volumes that have punctuated the theological history of the Church of England for the past 150 years: Essays and Reviews (1860), Lux Mundi (1889), Foundations (1912), Essays Catholic and Critical (1926), Soundings (1962), and Radical Orthodoxy (1999). Lux Mundi is probably the most significant volume among them. A. M. Ramsey considered that this book inaugurated “an era in Anglican theology” that lasted 50 years. It also represented what might perhaps be called the most characteristic tendency within th…