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Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement

(10,929 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
The concept “ecumenism” has had different meanings over the history of the church. It has become firmly attached now to the modern movement, begun in 1910 in Edinburgh, concerned with the unity of Christians for the sake of the mission of the church to the world. At the turn of the 21st century, both “ecumenism” and “ecumenical movement” refer primarily to the multidimensional movement of churches and Christians whose goal is both the visible unity of the churches and an integration of mission, service, and renewal. 1. Concept 1.1. Early and Biblical Usage The root of “ecumenism” derive…

World Council of Churches

(3,746 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is an international organization, a fellowship of churches, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. By its own self-identification, it is not a church. In 2007 the WCC’s membership included 348 church bodies in some 120 countries. Many churches in the Pentecostal and evangelical traditions are not members of the WCC. It has been estimated that less than one-half of the non-Orthodox and non-Roman Catholic churches in the world belong to the WCC. The Roman Catholi…

Mott, John R.

(1,086 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
John Raleigh Mott (1865–1955) was one of the most influential persons in the formation of the modern ecumenical movement. Born in Purvis (Livingston Manor), New York, on April 25, 1865, he was the son of a prosperous lumber merchant. His was a pious Methodist family, and he remained a Methodist layman his entire life. Soon after his birth, the family relocated in Postville, Iowa, where Mott remained until his college years. Mott experienced an evangelical conversion during his years at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He was deeply influenced both by English…

Innocent III

(964 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
Innocent III (1160/61–1216), whose baptized name was Lothario de’ Conti di Segni, was pope in the early 13th century. His pontificate represented the apex of the medieval papacy, as it attained unrivaled powers in church and state. Son of a noble family, the Scotti, Lothario was born in Anagni and was brought up and received his early education in Rome. He later studied theology in Paris under Peter of Corbeil until 1187 and possibly canon law in Bologna, although this latter phase of his educat…

Gregory VII

(1,089 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
Gregory VII (ca. 1018–85), whose baptized name was Hildebrand, was a pope and reformer of the church in the 11th century and one of the major figures in the struggle of that time between church and state. The exact date of Hildebrand’s birth is unknown. It was certainly before 1034, and a date around 1018 is probably quite accurate. He was born in Tuscany, probably in the vicinity of the modern city of Savona. Early in his life he went to Rome and was educated there, presumably in the monastery of St. Mary on the Aventine. By the year 1047 or 1049 he had taken his monastic vows. In 1046 Hildebrand w…

Leuenberg Agreement

(1,448 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
The Leuenberg Agreement is a statement resulting mainly from theological conversations between Lutheran and Reformed churches in Europe. The drafting process was completed on March 16, 1973, and the agreement came into effect on October 1, 1974. The churches that officially subscribe to the Leuenberg Agreement grant to each other pulpit and table/altar fellowship and commit themselves to common witness and service on the basis of the agreement. Since 1974 over 100 European Lutheran, Reformed, Un…

Gregory I

(946 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
Pope Gregory I (ca. 540–604), known as Gregory the Great, was the last of the traditional Latin “Doctors of the Church.” Little is known of his life apart from a letter he attached to his work on the Book of Job (Magna moralia in Iob) and scattered references in his other letters and writings. Unlike some other figures of the patristic church, there is no contemporary biography. Most medieval accounts of his life are dependent upon the same sources available to modern scholarship. The son of a senator, Gregory in 573 occupied the highest civil position in Rome (praefectus urbi). Shortly after…

Reception, Ecumenical

(1,767 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Harding | Rusch, William G.
1. Term and Usage The English word “reception” traces its meaning back to Lat. recipio, which can be translated “receive, accept, allow.” With these several meanings it can include the notion of receiving or accepting externally from something or someone other. “Reception” has become a technical term in several different areas. In legal history it denotes the process by which Roman law was adopted in the German lands during the 13th through 15th centuries. In literary criticism of the late 20th century, “reception” has been employed t…