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(1,327 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. England The Baptist movement emerged among English refugees (Refugees of conscience) who followed the Congregationalist constitutional model of the Puritan (Puritanism) Robert Browne (1550-1633) and had fled to Holland in 1607 on account of their “non-conformist” stance that diverged from the Church of England (Anglicanism). Here they met Mennonites (Anabaptists) under whose influence they introduced believers’ baptism. In 1609 the leader John Smyth baptized himself (which he later regretted) a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Free church

(1,943 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. Definition and origin The centuries following the Reformation witnessed an internal fragmentation within Protestantism that gave birth to the phenomenon of free churches. Earlier scholarship saw the cradle of this movement in Zürich, where the Anabaptists first appeared (Fritz Blanke). It is noteworthy that the term itself first appeared in 1843 in Scotland and in 1847 in Switzerland. The phenomenon is therefore older than the term.In Scotland there had been a smoldering conflict since the 18th century between the rights of the gentry with patronage…
Date: 2019-10-14

Evangelical Movement

(2,216 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. Term Although the term “evangelical” can be used in English in the same broader sense as evangelisch in German, in this article it has the narrower sense for which German now uses evangelikal. Some definition is needed because of the theological, ecclesiastical, and practical problems associated with the word and its positive or negative aspects. On the one hand, it may be the equivalent of “pietistic,” “revivalist,” “confessing,” or “biblical-reformational”; on the other, it may be the opposite of “liberal,” “ecumenical,” “p…


(612 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
The founder of the Hutterites, or the Hutterian Brethren, was Jacob Hutter, an Anabaptist who was burned at the stake as a heretic in Innsbruck in 1536. He had led a group that practiced the community of goods along the lines of Acts 2:44. The Hutterites enjoyed a golden age of development from 1565 to 1592. Every community had a minister of the word, a minister to the needy, and also a kindergarten and school—all of which ¶ continue as features of Hutterite communities. A leader or elder directs the whole community. Plundering by the Turks and by various armies during the Thirty Years…

Plymouth Brethren

(479 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
The Plymouth Brethren is a Christian body established in 1830 in Plymouth, England. The group traces it origin to John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), an Anglican clergyman who in 1828 joined a circle of eschatologically oriented Bible Christians in ¶ Dublin and who left the Anglican Church in 1834 (Anglican Communion; Eschatology). In debate with the Anglican Church and free-church groups in Switzerland, Darby developed the idea of the apostasy of the church and the impossibility of a restoration of the primitive Christian community. He thought that …


(1,163 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. EnglandDer Baptismus entstand unter engl. Glaubensflüchtlingen, die sich dem kongregationalistischen Verfassungsmodell des PuritanersRobert Browne (1550–1633) angeschlossen hatten und aufgrund ihrer von der Kirche von England (Anglikanismus) abweichenden, »nonkonformistischen« Haltung 1607 nach Holland ausgewichen waren. Hier begegneten sie Mennoniten (Täufer), unter deren Einfluss sie die Glaubenstaufe einführten. 1609 taufte der Anführer John Smyth sich selbst (was er später bereute) und die ca. vierzig Mitglieder seiner Gemeinde. Durch Rüc…
Date: 2019-11-19


(1,783 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
1. Begriff und EntstehungIn den Jahrhunderten nach der Reformation kam es zu einer inneren Ausdifferenzierung des Protestantismus, die das Phänomen der F. hervorbrachte. Die ältere Forschung sah die Wiege des Freikirchentums in Zürich, wo die Täufer zuerst auftraten (Fritz Blanke). Bemerkenswert ist, dass der Begriff selbst erst 1843 in Schottland und 1847 in der Schweiz auftaucht. Die Sache ist demnach älter als der Begriff.In Schottland gab es seit dem 18. Jh. einen schwelenden Konflikt zwischen den Rechten der Patronatsherren und dem Vetorecht der presby…
Date: 2019-11-19

Gnadauer Verband

(87 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich
[German Version] (Gnadau Union) is an abbreviated reference to the Evangelische Gnadauer Gemeinschaftsverband (Protestant Gnadau Society) which was newly constituted in 1991 out of associations from the former GDR and West Germany. It traces back to a Pentecost conference held in 1888 in Gnadau (near Magdeburg), which produced the Deutsche Verband für Gemeinschaftspflege und Evangelisation (German Society for Congregational Ministry and Evangelization) in 1897. The Gnadauer Verband encompasses the…

Free Church

(1,011 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich | Heim, S. Mark
The term “free church” dates from 1843, when Thomas Chalmers (1780–1847) led 474 like-minded ministers out of the Church of Scotland to found the Free Church. They were protesting against state control of the church. In 1892 English Nonconformists ventured to adopt the term when Presbyterians, Congregationalists (Congregationalism), Baptists, and Methodists (Methodism) formed the National Free Church Council, claiming to be no less a church than the established Church of England (Anglican Commun…

Community Movement

(3,740 words)

Author(s): Geldbach, Erich | Lippy, Charles H.
[German Version] I. Europe – II. North America I. Europe There has been a community or “fellowship” movement (Ger. Gemeinschaftsbewegung), an organized form of pietism in practice, since the 19th century in various European countries, especially in Scandinavia, as well as in eastern and southeastern European countries, although it was or is not as important there as in the German-speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Alsace, as well as Holland). Its impact (with regional variations), in terms of numbers too, has been greatest in Germany. The historical roots of t…

Church Membership

(2,015 words)

Author(s): Plathow, Michael | Thon, Nikolaus | Geldbach, Erich | Grosse, Heinrich | Engelhardt, Hanns
1. Protestant and Roman Cathlic Church membership and adherence are related to the theological and institutional understanding of the church. Church membership has both spiritual and legal dimensions. 1.1. ¶ On the Protestant view, the church is the communion of saints instituted by the Holy Spirit. Church membership, then, is essentially being part of the communion of saints. It begins with the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings one into this fellowship through the preaching of the gospel. Baptism is incorporation into the…


(5,875 words)

Author(s): Halbrooks, G. Thomas | Geldbach, Erich | Leonard, Bill J. | Stanley, Brian
[German Version] I. Denomination – II. Church History – III. Missions I. Denomination Because the Baptists came into existence in a situation of persecution, they have consistently held to the doctrine of freedom of conscience as one of their most fundamental convictions. This is the basis for the Baptists' historically conditioned refusal to publish a dogmatic declaration that claims to speak for …

World Council of Churches

(2,923 words)

Author(s): Guder, Darrell | Geldbach, Erich | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Heller, Dagmar
[German Version] I. History and Programs The modern missionary movement generated a growing concern for church cooperation and unity, for which the term “ecumenical” (Ecumene) began to be used in the 19th century. The World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh (1910) gave expression to these concerns and spawned the initiatives that have coalesced in the course of the 20th century as the “Ecumenical movement” (II). Both the Faith and Order and the Life and Work movements established patterns of ecumenic…

Ökumenischer Rat der Kirchen

(2,684 words)

Author(s): Guder, Darrell | Geldbach, Erich | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Heller, Dagmar
[English Version] I. Geschichte und Programme Die moderne Missionsbewegung erzeugte ein wachsendes Interesse an Kirchenzusammenarbeit und Einheit; der Begriff »ökum.« (Ökumene) wurde dafür seit dem 19.Jh. verwendet. Die Weltmissionskonferenz in Edinburgh (1910) verlieh diesem Interesse Nachdruck und brachte die Initiativen hervor, die im Laufe des 20.Jh. zur »ökumenischen Bewegung« (: II.) verschmolzen. Die Bewegung für Glauben und Kirchenverfassung (Faith and Order) und die Bewegung für praktisches …

Ecumenical Movement

(10,763 words)

Author(s): Wendebourg, Dorothea | Koschorke, Klaus | Sattler, Dorothea | Lippy, Charleas H. | Geldbach, Erich | Et al.
[German Version] I. 1st to 19th Century – II. 20th and 21st Centuries I. 1st to 19th Century 1. Early Church The concerns of the first centuries of the church were less with the establishing of fellowship than with its preservation – focused in the fellowship of the Lord's Supper – among Christians and congregations (Paul, Saint, Apostolic Council, Clement I (Romanus), Ignatius [Ignatian …

Ökumenische Bewegung

(9,339 words)

Author(s): Wendebourg, Dorothea | Wendebourg, Dorothea, | Koschorke, Klaus | Sattler, Dorothea | Lipp, Charles H. | Et al.
[English Version] I. 1. bis 19. Jahrhundert 1.Alte Kirche Die Sorge der ersten Jh. der Kirche galt weniger der Herstellung als der Bewahrung der – zentral in der Abendmahlsgemeinschaft gegebenen – Gemeinschaft unter Christen und Gemeinden (Paulus, Apostelkonzil, Clemens I. [Romanus], Ignatius [Ignatiusbriefe], Irenaeus von Lyon, Cyprian von Karthago u.a.) und der Ausscheidung falsche Lehre oder Praxis vertretender Theologen und Gruppen. Dabei führten meist erst diese Ausscheidungsprozesse zur Klärung …