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Church Unity

(2,522 words)

Author(s): Haustein, Jörg | Brandt, Reinhard | Hardt, Michael
[German Version] I. Church History – II. Theology – III. Ecumenics I. Church History The unity of the church as a theological term does not appear explicitly in the New Testament; it emerged during the early history of the church, although the concept itself is a central NT theme. A further difficulty for a historical presentation is the nature of unity: is it ethical and theological (consensus in faith and conduct; cf. Eph 4:1–6) or juridical and structural (singularity)? The t…

Ordination

(8,047 words)

Author(s): Hartenstein, Friedhelm | Sänger, Dieter | Peters, Christian | Brandt, Reinhard | Meßner, Reinhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Church History – IV. Dogmatics – V. Liturgy – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Law and Legal History – VIII. Judaism I. Old Testament The search, mainly from a Protestant perspective, for antecedents of ordination in the Old Testament does not seem very promising, since no direct equivalent to Christian ordination as public commissioning of office-bearers by the community is to be found in the Hebrew Bible. Relevant research is mainly limited to the OT Jewish background of…

Synod

(3,747 words)

Author(s): Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Brandt, Reinhard | Germann, Michael | Ohme, Heinz
[German Version] I. History As it developed in the Early Church and the Middle Ages, the term synod (from Gk σύνοδος/ sýnodos, “assembly, being together on the way”) cannot be separated from the term council. Only in 19th- and 20th-century Protestantism is a separate treatment warranted; in that context – with roots going back to the 16th century – the synod represents a new constitutional phenomenon (Church polity: IV, 2; V, 1.c). Its antecedents include medieval diocesan synods (as extensions of the provincial syn…

Priesthood

(7,504 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Otto, Eckart | Dignas, Beate | Elm, Dorothee | Kraus, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Etymologically the term priest derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος/ presbýteros, “elder”; it denotes a religious functionary, especially an expert responsible for the cult. The Greek word did not originally have this meaning. A second semantic strand puts a priest (Gk ἱερεύς/ hiereús, Lat. sacerdos) in charge of things that are sacred (Sacred and profane). The characteristics that comparative religion usually associates with priesthood are often transferred globally from Christianity, especially Roman Cathol…

Obligation

(801 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Ethics I. Dogmatics From a Protestant perspective, obligation (in the sense of binding authority) is assigned only to the Word of God (VI), the self-revealing power of which can lead to deeper insights and to “new Decalogues” (Luther); the latter must be examined by the church as a community with strict reference to the canon. The articles of faith assert binding authority insofar as they are based on Scripture as “the only rule and guiding principle” (BSLK 767, 15), and, at a further remove, insofar as agreement is rea…