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Visser ’t Hooft, W. A.

(2,545 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Early Life Willem Adolf Visser ’t Hooft (1900–1985)—known to all as Wim—is often characterized as the person who shaped much of the modern ecumenical movement. Also, though, he himself was deeply shaped by that same movement (Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement). Born September 20, 1900, in Haarlem, the Netherlands, Visser ’t Hooft grew up in a family that was closely associated with the legal profession, his grandfather having been presiding judge of the district tribunal in Haarlem, and his father a lawyer. He was a voracious reader a…

Söderblom, Nathan

(1,840 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Early Life Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom (called Nathan; 1866–1931), born in Trönö in the central Swedish province of Hälsingland, was the son of Jonas Söderblom, a pietistic pastor of the Church of Sweden. In 1883 he enrolled in Uppsala University, and in 1886 he received his first degree, Filosofie kandidat (equivalent to a B.A), in Latin, Greek, Semitic and Nordic languages, philosophy, and geology. As he pursued further studies in theology at Uppsala, he was active in student affairs, being e…


(1,691 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Term The term “pastor” is taken directly from Lat. pastor, “shepherd” (Gk. poimēn). In both the OT and NT, God is frequently described as a shepherd (“The Lord is my shepherd” [Ps. 23:1]; “For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls” [1 Pet. 2:25]). Similarly, the benediction in the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to “our Lord Jesus” as “the great shepherd of the sheep” (13:20). The Palestinian shepherd—and metaphorically, God and Christ—was responsible for his flock in the widest sense: he gathered the sh…

Evangelical Catholicity

(1,159 words)

Author(s): Hjelm, Norman A.
“Evangelical catholicity” identifies the attempt to give specificity to catholica, the third of the four creedal attributes of the church. In the 19th and 20th centuries the term was used in a variety of ways in ecclesiological discussion. Sven-Erik Brodd, in his Uppsala dissertation of 1982, “Evangelisk katolicitet,” distinguishes between its use in three different periods: during the 19th century, as an expression primarily used as a proposal for “the church of the future”; during the period between the…

Christian Publishing

(4,435 words)

Author(s): Ruprecht, Arndt | Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Definition Christian (or, more frequently, religious) publishing is an autonomous literary activity that supplements the oral witness to the Christian faith and is “addressed to man in his total situation” (mandate of the Christian Literature Fund [subsequently, as the Agency for Christian Literature Development of the World Council of Churches, a founding partner of the World Association for Christian Communication], 1963). It is particularly suited for purposes of presenting the Christian message i…

Transdenominational Movements

(615 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Harding | Hjelm, Norman A.
When persons of differing denominations or traditions follow a specific form of Christian faith and life and develop that form in such a way that, irrespective of their church allegiance, they are at one, a transdenominational movement has come into being. It is to be noted that the modern ecumenical movement is by definition a movement of churches, not of individual persons, and hence does not qualify as a transdenominational movement (Ecumenism, Ecumenical Movement). The reason for the growth …

Grundtvig, Nikolai Fredrik Severin

(1,178 words)

Author(s): Jørgensen, Theodor | Hjelm, Norman A.
Nikolai Fredrik Severin Grundtvig (1783–1872) was a Danish theologian, philosopher, historian, pedagogue, and writer. His accomplishments ranged from the development of a distinctive view of Christianity to ground-breaking studies in Anglo-Saxon poetry, the composition of more than 1,500 hymns (Hymnal 1.3), leadership in the establishment of the Danish system of parliamentary democracy, and the formation of a philosophy of education that has had global influence. Grundtvig grew up in an orthodox Lutheran, pietistic parsonage in Udby on southern Sjælland. Whil…

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 …

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…

Marxism and Christianity

(3,676 words)

Author(s): Calvez, Jean-Ives | Starke, Ekkehard | Hjelm, Norman A.
1. Sources of Conflict 1.1. The Marxist Critique of Religion Karl Marx (1818–83), especially in his younger period, took the view that the task of criticizing religion had already been effectively concluded by German philosophers, especially Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–72), who had attempted to base religion and especially Christianity exclusively in anthropology (Criticism). Although Marx himself never used the expressions “historical materialism” or “dialectical materialism,” his approach to history was nevertheless materialist as he sought to equat…