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German Missions

(2,596 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
Although spreading the gospel message to all peoples has been a hallmark of the Christian faith from the very beginning, the identification of missionary work with individuals from a specific nationality is a post-Reformation and primarily Protestant phenomenon. Because the Roman Catholic Church was an international body, individuals who served in religious or missionary orders were theoretically part of the larger community, although many of these bodies actually had a national basis. Examples …

Inner Mission

(1,449 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
The term “Inner Mission” (Innere Mission) refers generally to the organized charitable endeavors of the German Protestant churches. It is often conflated into the larger conception of charitable or social service (Diakonia), and some writers even refer to it as a social gospel. Essentially a conservative concept, Inner Mission (IM) included conscious efforts (1) to cope with the harmful effects of the industrial system, which caused the masses to fall victim to the power of sin; (2) to bring about the…

Soviet Union

(2,550 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Background The 74-year Soviet period was a significant interlude in the vast sweep of Russian history. Its origins lay in the deepening unrest during the reign of the last czar, Nicholas II (1894–1917), and the crisis of World War I. A variety of political movements existed, some of which operated underground and were supported by exiles. They ranged from moderate conservatives and liberals to radical agrarian socialists who wanted to remake Russia along the lines of the rural peasant land comm…

Worldwide Church of God

(1,215 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
The Worldwide Church of God (WCG), founded in 1933, is a North American Adventist church that strongly emphasizes biblical prophecy. Although it deviated from Protestant orthodoxy in a number of ways, a major doctrinal and organizational transformation occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s that converted it into an evangelical denomination. Subsequently, a number of schisms resulted in an exodus of half its adherents. The most recent (2004) estimated membership is 63,000 worldwide. 1. Founder and Successors The WCG was virtually the personal extension of its founder,…

World Evangelical Alliance

(1,812 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
Overview The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is an association of 128 national evangelical alliances, grouped, for administrative purposes, into seven regional associations (Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North America, and South Pacific). The North America branch comprises the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and, in the United States, the National Association of Evangelicals. In 2006 the WEA also included 8 affiliate members (independently incorporated organizations that work …

Civil Religion

(4,737 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Definition Also known as civic, public, political, or societal religion and as public piety or religion-in-general, civil religion refers to the widely held body of beliefs or religiopolitical traits that are tied to a nation’s history and destiny. It is a kind of generic faith that relates the political society as well as the individual citizen to the realm of ultimate meaning and existence. In turn, it enables the people to view their polity in a special manner, thereby providing meaningful s…

United Nations

(1,870 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Origins The concept of an association of all the nations of the world to keep the peace and promote international cooperation seems to have originated with British foreign secretary Edward Grey (1905–16) and was promoted during World War I by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson (1913–21) in his statement of war and peace aims (the Fourteen Points). A commission at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 drafted the covenant for the League of Nations (LN, Société des Nations), and it was included in all the peace treaties. The LN, with headquar…

German Christians

(1,525 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Definition The German Christians (GCs) were clergy and laypeople in the Protestant church of Nazi Germany who believed that the National Socialist revolution would restore the church to its rightful place at the heart of German culture and society. Distinguishing between the “invisible” and the “visible” church, they argued that the church on earth was based on divinely ordained distinctions of race and ethnicity (Racism). The GCs set out to build a heroic, manly, doctrinally free “people’s chu…

Church Struggle

(3,470 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Term The phrase “church struggle” (CS, Ger. Kirchenkampf) refers to the conflicts between rival factions within the German Evangelical (or Protestant) Church (GEC), as well as to their opposition to the dictates of the National Socialist state during the years of the Third Reich, 1933–45. It also applies to the Roman Catholic Church’s struggle against the Nazi Party and state, even though this was not as intense as the differences among the Protestants. Recent scholarship has made it clear that, in …


(188 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[English Version] Peale, Norman Vincent (31.5.1898 Bowersville, OH – 24.12.1993 Pawley, NY), amer. Prediger. Der Sohn eines Methodistenpfarrers studierte an der Wesleyan University, Ohio (B.A. 1920) und bis 1924 in Boston. P. wurde zunächst Pfarrer einer methodistischen Gemeinde in Brooklyn, NY. 1927 wechselte er mit großem Erfolg nach Syracuse, NY. 1932 ging er an die Marble Collegiate Church, New York City, wo er den Rest seiner Laufbahn verblieb. Er gründete das »Institute of Religion and Health«…

World Evangelical Fellowship

(273 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[English Version] (WEF). Die WEF geht auf die Ev. Allianz zurück, die 1846 zur Förderung der christl. Einheit gegründet wurde und sich bald national verzweigte. Während die amer. Organisation nach 1900 verfiel, gab die Formierung der National Association of Evangelicals (1943) dem Interesse an engeren Bindungen zw. der Evangelikalen Bewegung (: I., II.) in Europa und Nordamerika neuen Auftrieb. 1951 wurde die WEF in Woudschoten (Niederlande) gegründet. Sie sollte die hist. Bedeutsamkeit des Christ…

Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State

(166 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[English Version] . 1947 gegründet und heute unter dem Titel »Americans United« bekannt, sind die P. die bedeutendste Gruppe von Befürwortern der Religionsfreiheit und der verfassungsmäßigen Trennung von Kirche und Staat (: I.,5.) in den USA. Die nicht an einzelne Kirchen gebundene Organisation wird unterstützt von gemäßigten und evangelikalen Denominationen, Baptisten, Siebenten-Tags-Adventisten, Unitariern und Juden. Ihr urspr. Ziel, die Vereitelung röm.-kath. Versuche, öfftl. Gelder für Konfe…

Peale, Norman Vincent

(214 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] (May 31, 1898, Bowersville, OH – Dec 24, 1993, Pawley, NY), American preacher and promoter of “positive thinking.” The son of a Methodist minister, Peale was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A. 1920), and studied theology at Boston University. After graduating in 1924, he was assigned to a Methodist parish in Brooklyn, New York. Following great success Peale took a church in Syracuse, ¶ NY, in 1927. In 1932 he was called to Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, where he spent the remainder of his ministerial career. Through the Ins…

Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State

(187 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V
[German Version] Formed in 1947 and now known as Americans United, this is the foremost advocacy group in the United States for freedom of religion and the constitutional separation of church and state (I, 5). It is a nonsectarian organization that draws support from mainline and Evangelical denominations, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Unitarians, ¶ and Jews. Its original objective was that of combating Roman Catholic efforts to secure public funding for their parochial schools, but its focus quickly widened to encompass a wide variety of thre…

World’s Parliament of Religions

(431 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] The World Parliament of Religions took place in Chicago, Sep 11–27, 1893. Many conventions of secular and religious groups were held alongside the World’s Columbian Exposition in summer 1893, and this congress was planned to be the culminating event. Chaired by Presbyterian minister John Henry Barrows, it was to be a forum that ¶ would, on the basis of the Golden Rule, unite religions against irreligion and promote the spirit of human brotherhood (Love of one’s neighbor). The common aims of the religions of the world would be set for…

World Evangelical Fellowship

(265 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] (WEF). The WEF is an Evangelical Alliance, founded in 1846 to promote Christian unity, soon divided into national branches. The US body declined after 1900, but the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals (1943) revived interest in closer ties among evangelicals (Evangelicalism: I; II) in Europe and North America. In 1951 the WEF was formed at Woudschoten, the Netherlands. Its purposes were witnessing to historic Christianity and encouraging fellowship, theological reflection, and united effort in evangelism…

Fellowship Movement

(1,250 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V. | Ohlemacher, Jörg
1. Definition The Fellowship Movement (Gemeinschaftsbewegung) is an umbrella concept encompassing a wide variety of pietistic and theologically conservative groups in Germany. The term arose in the 1880s and referred essentially to the merging of vestiges of the pietistic awakening earlier in the 19th century with Holiness and revivalistic influences from Britain and North America. This blending resulted in the flowering of religious and charitable organizations, both within and outside the framework of the established regional Protestant churches. As voluntary societies …


(1,343 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] I. Terminology and History Utopians aspire to achieve fundamental improvement of human life from a rational, religious, or technological perspective – often in combination. To present their ideas, they frequently make use of a form somewhere between a philosophical or theological treatise and a narrative account, called a utopia after the eponymous Utopia of T. More (1516). But the theme is much earlier, going back to Plato’s Politicus: society should correlate with the three divisions of the soul, in such a way that representatives of the nous (philosophers) are i…

Trade Unions

(3,524 words)

Author(s): Brakelmann, Günter | Jähnichen, Traugott | Pierard, Richard V.
[German Version] I. History The emergence of trade unions is associated with the development of modern capitalistic industrial society. The nascent unions considered themselves primarily representatives of the economic and social interests of their organized members but also as representatives of the unorganized workers in the various trades and professions. By virtue of their organizational goals and structures, they were organized as opponents to the employers and thus formed an integral part of t…


(4,668 words)

Author(s): Koschorke, Klaus | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Pierard, Richard V.
[English Version] I. Begriff N. ist zu beschreiben als Integrationsideologie, die für die Loyalität gegenüber der Großgruppe »Nation« absoluten Vorrang vor allen anderen Bindungen beansprucht. Solche konkurrierenden Loyalitäten können die gegenüber einem bestimmten Stand, sozialer Klasse, Dynastie, partikularen Staat, Landschaft, Stamm, Konfession oder Rel. sein. Während der Begriff Nation bereits in den polit. Debatten des eur. MA eine Rolle spielte, dort freilich nicht die Gesamtheit des Volkes, …
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