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Union Movements.

1. Union movements in the ch. vary in character. (1) Some groups try to attain union based on strict doctrinal agreement. (2) Some favor union based on compromise expressed in the motto: “In essentials unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity.” (3) LCMS founders stressed the unity of the ch., based on unity of faith (Gl 3:28), and worked for unity in the ch. on confessional bases. (4) Purpose of some union movements is simply to draw Christians closer together with a view to cooperation in certain areas of activity and to present a united front against atheism and other foes.

2. Heresy has disrupted outward unity of Christendom since apostolic times. Unsuccessful attempts were made to unite the E and W chs. by the 1274 council of Lyons* and by the council of Florence.* Rome est. a uniate* relationship with some E rite chs.

3. During the Reformation era the ch. divided into several groups, including Luth., Ref., RC, Angl. Efforts toward reunion failed (see, e.g., Lutheran Confessions, A 2; P. Melanchthon* tried to unite Luths. and Ref. on basis of an altered AC [see Lutheran Confessions, B 3]). Luths. united on basis of the FC (see Lutheran Confessions, C 2).

4. Efforts toward union of Luths. and Anglicans in the 1530s failed (see Lutheran Confessions, A 5) as did efforts to unite Luths. and E Orthodox chs. in the last half of the 16th c. (see Eastern Orthodox Churches, 5) and efforts to unite Angls. and RCs in the 1st part of the 18th c. (see Wake, William). For some time after adoption of the FC Luths. gen. held that union with dissident groups can be achieved only on a confessional basis. But Pietism* and rationalism* encouraged unionism.* See also Prussian Union.

5. The Ev. Syn. of N. Am. grew out of the Prussian Union (see United Church of Christ, II B). Various Presb. groups (see Presbyterian Churches, 4). The Synodical* Conf. was organized 1872. Union of Meths. in Can. 1874 and 1883 resulted in the Meth. Ch. of Can. The United* Ev. Ch. was organized 1894. The Council of Ref. Chs. in the US holding the Presb. System was formed 1907.

6. In the 20th c., modernism* led to division and fundamentalism.*

7. 20th c. unions include that of N. Bap. Conv. and Free Baps. 1911 (see Baptist Churches, 8, 26); Presb. Ch. in the USA and Welsh Calvinistic Meth. Ch. 1920 (see Presbyterian Churches, 4 a); Ev. Assoc. and United* Ev. Ch. 1922 (see also Evangelical Church, 1); Ref. Ch. in the US and Hung. Ref. Ch. in the US 1921 (see United Church of Christ, II A 3); United Ch. of Can. 1925 (see Canada, C); Gen. Council of Cong. and Christian Chs. 1931 (see United Church of Christ, I); Ev. and Ref. Ch. 1934 (see United Church of Christ, II); The Methodist* Ch. 1939; The Evangelical* United Brethren Ch. 1946; United* Ch. of Christ 1957; Ref. Presb. Ch., Ev. Syn., 1965 (see Presbyterian Churches, 4 e); The United Meth. Ch. 1968 (see Methodist Churches, 1). See also Union and Unity Movements in the United States, Lutheran.

8. The Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands (VELKD) was organized July 6–8, 1948, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) July 9–15, 1948, both in Eisenach (see also Germany, C 5; Germany, Lutheran Free Churches in, 3).

9. VELKD is a ch. based on the Luth. Confessions. It is not a mem. of EKD, but its mem. chs. are also mems. of EKD The latter is not a ch. but a fed. (Ger. Bund) of Luth., Ref., and Union (see Prussian Union) chs.

10. Other alliances, feds., assocs., and councils include Evangelical* Alliance 1846; Federal* Council of the Chs. of Christ in Am. (see also 13) 1908; Bap. World Alliance, organized 1905 London, Eng., as a free assoc.; The Lutheran* World Federation.

11. The Am. Council of Christian Chs. was organized 1941 in opposition to the FCC (see 10) by Carl McIntire (b. 1906; pastor Bible Presb. Ch., Collingswood, New Jersey; founded Bible Presb. Ch., Collingswood Syn., 1956; pres. International* Council of Christian Chs. Founded [1936] and ed. Christian Beacon; other works include The Death of a Church). Demands “separation from apostasy.”

12. The Nat. Assoc. of Evangelicals began 1942 St. Louis, Missouri, as Evangelicals for United Action; advocates interch. cooperation.

13. The National* Council of the Chs. of Christ in the USA formed 1950 by merger of Federal* Council of the Chs. of Christ in Am.; The For. Missions Conference of N. Am. (began 1893 NYC; name adopted 1911); Home Mission Council of N. Am. (formed 1940 by merger of Council of Women of Home Missions [organized 1908] and Home Missions Council [organized 1908]); The International* Council of Religious Education; Missionary Education Movement of the US and Can. (began 1902 as Young People's Missionary Movement, a cooperative agency of 23 denominations); Nat. Prot. Council on Higher Educ. (founded 1911); United Council of Ch. Women (founded 1940); United Stewardship Council (founded 1920).

14. In a sense, the World* Council of Chs. began with the world missionary* conferences held 1900 NYC, 1910 Edinburgh (at which a permanent internat. organization was effected), for cooperation in life and work on miss. fields encouraged the meetings at Geneva 1920, Stockholm 1925, and Oxford 1937 (see Ecumenical Movement, 9–10) that led to the WCC.

15. Immediate antecedents of the WCC were the meeting of the Universal Christian Conference on Life and Work (Stockholm 1925; replaced by the Universal Christian Council for Life and Work [Oxford 1937]), the World Conf. on Faith and Order (Lausanne 1927, Edinburgh 1937), and world missionary conferences Jerusalem 1928 and Tambaram, Madras, India, 1938.

16. The WCC was organized 1948. ACM

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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