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Olevian, Caspar

(289 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] (Aug 10, 1536, Trier–Mar 15, 1587, Herborn). Olevian came from a Roman Catholic family; c. 1557, during his study of law in France, he became a Protestant and joined the Huguenot community in Bourges. After taking his law examination, he studied in Geneva, Zürich, and Lausanne. His most important teacher was his “father in Christ,” Calvin. In 1559 Olevian became a teacher of philosophy in his home town. However, his private teaching of the catechism and his sermons aroused opposit…

Miskotte, Kornelis Heiko

(267 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] (Sep 23, 1894, Utrecht, the Netherlands – Aug 31, 1976, Voorst, the Netherlands), studied theology in Leiden (1914–1920), was pastor from 1921 to 1945 in Kortgene, Meppel, Haarlem, and Amsterdam, and from 1945 to 1959 he taught dogmatics at the University of Leiden. In addition to his theological interests, his studies involved literature, and he was shaped by the so-called ethical theology of Johannes H. Gunning (1829–1905) of Groningen. His encounter with the second edition of K…

Creation, Christ as Agent of

(684 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] The doctrine of Christ as the agent of creation relates God's actions in the con¶ texts of creation and redemption to one another and opposes an understanding of creation that is not associated with Jesus Christ as well as a conception of redemption that bears no relationship to creation. The concept of the agent of creation is defined in reference to 1 Cor 8:6: all things are through Jesus Christ. The notion that the second person of the Trinity created the world is also attested in Col 1:15–17; Heb 1:3; John 1:3, 10; Rev 3:14. In…

World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC)

(1,506 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] I. Overview In June 2010 the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) disbanded, to form, together with the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). The present article deals with the former WARC. At the time of its disbandment the WARC had its headquarters in Geneva and comprised 218 Reformed (and also some United) churches in more than 108 countries, with a total of about 75 million members. It is striking that most member churches exist in minority situations, largely i…

Netherlands, The

(2,867 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg
[German Version] I. General The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy in northwest Europe. The name Netherlands is attested since the Roman period, but originally only in the sense of a flat landscape (cf. the Low Countries). Today the name is generally understood to denote the kingdom of the Netherlands (formerly the “Northern Netherlands”), no longer including what today is the kingdom of Belgium (formerly the “Southern Netherlands”). The original inhabitants of the Netherlands were Celts and Germans (including the Batavi); even during Roman rule (12 bce–260 ce) there was li…

Pre-existence of Christ

(2,068 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Brendan | Plasger, Georg
[German Version] I. New Testament New Testament allusions to Christ as preexistent occur chiefly in material of a hymnic nature, in clear continuity with the Old Testament presentation of divine wisdom (Wisdom literature: II). The transfer to Christ of the protological role (Protology) originally ascribed to hypostasized Wisdom appears in 1 Cor 8:6; also Col 1:15–17; Eph 1:3–4; 1 Pet 1:20. A midrashic allusion in 1 Cor 10:4 suggests, typologically, that Christ functions for believers as the rock of …


(1,863 words)

Author(s): Plasger, Georg | Necker, Gerold | Dan, Joseph | Radtke, Bernd
[German Version] I. The Concept Pre-existence refers to the existence of deities, persons, or objects prior to the world or the earth. All religions in which the deity is not subsumed into time espouse the notion of the deity’s real pre-existence, because entrance into the course of time brings forth only knowledge of the deity without affecting the deity’s being. It is in this context that we also speak of the pre-existence of Christ. In Greek philosophy, which influenced early Christianity, the no…

Reformed Churches

(9,343 words)

Author(s): Busch, Eberhard | Plasger, Georg | Strohm, Christoph | Guder, Darrell | Veddeler, Berend | Et al.
[German Version] I. History and Theology 1. Terminology. For programmatic theological reasons, the Reformed churches rejected the exonym Calvinist churches. They referred to themselves as Reformed churches because they did not think of themselves as new churchdoms alongside the one holy church but as a part of that church, albeit as part of it renewed according to God’s Word in Holy Scripture. In speaking of themselves, therefore, they eschewed references to a theological founder or a particular place of origin. The 17th-century formula ecclesia reformata semper reformanda means …


(5,415 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Karrer, Leo | Schneider, Johann | Plasger, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. North America – VI. Missiology I. Religious Studies Generally speaking, the term laity (from Gk λαος/ laós, “people”) denotes adherents of a religious tradition who do not act as religious specialists or function within a defined socio-religious class (Priesthood, Monasticism). The use of the term is therefore inappropriate in religions without religious specialists, for example Islam. In some religions, the laity, who…