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Methodism

(2,368 words)

Author(s): Wainwright, Geoffrey
1. Origins and Spread Having its origins in Anglicanism (Anglican Communion), Methodism ranks among the most recent of the larger ecclesial communities; in 2000 it numbered some 70 million members and adherents worldwide. Through its own pneumatological emphases it contributed—at least indirectly—to the rise of the even younger family of Pentecostal churches. The beginnings of Methodism lie in the movements for revival and renewal within the Church of England in the 18th century, especially in the evangelistic work of the Wesley brothers, John (1…

Lux Mundi

(807 words)

Author(s): Wainwright, Geoffrey
Lux Mundi belongs to a series of essay volumes that have punctuated the theological history of the Church of England for the past 150 years: Essays and Reviews (1860), Lux Mundi (1889), Foundations (1912), Essays Catholic and Critical (1926), Soundings (1962), and Radical Orthodoxy (1999). Lux Mundi is probably the most significant volume among them. A. M. Ramsey considered that this book inaugurated “an era in Anglican theology” that lasted 50 years. It also represented what might perhaps be called the most characteristic tendency within th…

Newbigin, J. E. Lesslie

(983 words)

Author(s): Wainwright, Geoffrey
By his personal stature and the range of his activities, Lesslie Newbigin (1909–98) stands out as a father of the ecumenical church in the 20th century. Raised an English Presbyterian, he was ordained by the Church of Scotland in 1936 for missionary service in India, where he represented his denomination in the final rounds of negotiation toward the organic union of Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, ¶ and Congregationalists in the Church of South India (1947). Consecrated as one of the first bishops in the CSI, Newbigin presided over the Diocese of Madura…

Eucharist

(12,466 words)

Author(s): Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Roloff, Jürgen | Schnurr, Günther | Wainwright, Geoffrey
Overview The Eucharist (or Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper) has had from the very beginning a place of special importance in the life of Christianity. The eating and drinking of bread and wine in obedience to the command of Jesus at his Last Supper with his disciples is a sensory representation of the spiritual reality of the Christ whom Christians believe in and confess. The celebration of the Eucharist shows clearly, and makes known, that which Christian life in praise and thanksgiving atte…

Baptism

(9,795 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Schnelle, Udo | Wainwright, Geoffrey | Leonard, Bill J. | Grethlein, Christian | Et al.
Overview In Christianity, baptism—either by plunging in water or by sprinkling with it—represents the first act of incorporation “into Christ” and into the fellowship of the church. Further acts of incorporation are confirmation (Initiation Rites 2) and the Eucharist. Other religious societies have similar rites (Initiation Rites 1). Jewish proselyte baptism incorporates the baptized not only into the religious fellowship but also into God’s covenant people. This matter is relevant in the dialogu…

Spirituality

(13,743 words)

Author(s): Dahill, Lisa E. | Wainwright, Geoffrey | Asamoah-Gyadu, J. Kwabena | Álvarez, Carmelo E. | Hessel-Robinson, Timothy | Et al.
Overview Since the latter decades of the 20th century, the term “spirituality” has taken on increasing prominence within North American Christianity and popular culture. While a large majority of adults in the United States professes belief in God, how such belief is expressed and lived has shifted dramatically in these decades, and “spirituality” is a catchword for such change; being “spiritual but not religious” defines large numbers of Americans, particularly in younger generations. And people…