Christian Cyclopedia

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Swain, Joseph

(1761–96). Hymnist; b. Birmingham, Eng.; became Bap. in London; Bap. minister Walworth, London, 1791. Works include Walworth Hymns.


(swamy; from Skt. for ”owner; lord“). 1. Form of address to a Hindu monk or religious teacher. 2. Initiated mem. of a Hindu religious order. See also Vivekananda.

Swedberg, Jesper

(Svedberg; 1653–1735). Father of E. Swedenborg*; b. near Falun, Swed.; educ. Uppsala; prof. Uppsala 1692; bp. Skara 1702; influenced by Pietism*; hymnist. Prepared a hymnal. See also Spegel, Haquin.

Sweden, Conversion of, to Christianity.

Beginnings of Christianity in Swed. may be traced to Christian captives (presumably victims of Viking raids) found by Ansgar,* who began work ca. 830 at Birka, on an is. in Lake Mälaren, near Stockholm, and visited the land more than once; it is not known how long the Christian communities he est. continued.

Norway is also said to have contributed to early Swed. Christianity. Perhaps Christian influence entered Swed. also from Russ. But Eng. seems to have had the largest part in the latter stages of the conversion of Sweden. Christianity was probably introd. to Gotland, a trading center, through commercial contacts with England. Christianity was fully est. in Swed. under Olaf Skutkonung (Olof; Sköt[t]konung), 1st Christian ruler (ruled 993–1024). See also Denmark, Kingdom of.

Eric IX (d. 1160; ”the Saint“; king of Swed. 1150–60) led crusade to Finland* in the 1150s and imposed Christianity on the conquered. Bishoprics were est. at various places in Swed.; an archbishopric was est. at Uppsala 1164. The U. of Uppsala was founded 1477.

See also Bridget; Eskil.

Sweden, Kingdom of.

Area: ca. 179,900 sc. mi. Languages: Swed. and Finnish. Official religion: Luth., 95%; other Prots. 5%.

Sweden, Lutheranism in.

1. For beginnings of the Luth. Reformation in Swed. see Christian II; Gustavus I; Petri, Laurentius; Petri, Olaus; Stockholm Blood Bath.

The pattern of religious thought that emerged out of the Swed. Reformation gen. followed Ger. models. Writings of O. Petri contributed esp. a lasting Luth. statement of faith; L. Petri set up an episc, structure consonant with Lutheranism. By 1552 RCm was practically dead in Swed. Attempts of John III (1537–92; son of Gustavus* I; king of Swed. 1568–92) to Romanize Swed. failed, as did Counter* Reformation measures under Sigismund III (see Poland, 2). The 1593 Council of Uppsala declared the Swed. ch. Luth. (see also Lutheran Confessions, A 5), but the program of Charles* IX (succeeded by Gustavus* II) savored somewhat of J. Calvin's* theocratic spirit.

2. A remarkable unity and balance of ch. and state prevailed in the 17th c. An excellent program of educ. and discipline resulted. Strong bps. (including J. Rudbeck,* O. Svebilius,* Erik Benzelius the Elder [1632–1709; abp. Other bps. and abps. in the family include his 3 sons; Erik Benzelius the Younger (1675–1743; librarian U. of Uppsala; bp. Gothenburg and Linköping; abp.; see also 3), Jacob Benzelius (1683–1745; succeeded E. Benzelius the Younger as abp.), and Henrik Benzelius (1689–1758; prof. U. of Lund; abp.); Karl Jesper Benzelius (1714–93, son of E. Benzelius the Younger; bp. Strängnäs)], J. Swedberg,* H. Spegel*) left their mark on nat. life. The age of strong bps. and great kings (Gustavus* II; Charles* X, XI, and XII) saw centralization of ch. govt. 1686, founding of schools for clergy and laity, a hymnal, manual of worship, new Bible tr., new catechism, and a system of ch. registers. The question of orthodoxy became critical in the last half of the 17th c.; the Book of Concord became part of ch. law 1686.

3. The next period (1718–72) began with the death of Charles XII and soon saw growing manifestations of Pietism,* which gained the support of E. Benzelius the Younger (see 2), A. Rydelius,* Erik Tolstadius (1693–1759; vicar and pastor Stockholm), et al. J. K. Dippel,* Ger. Pietist, lived for a time in Sweden. Herrnhut (see Moravian Church, 3) influenced esp. cen. and S Sweden. Anticonventicle measures were taken in the 1720s (see also 5). E. Swedenborg* was a child of this era.

The next period, which introd. modern Swed., began 1772, the yr. in which Swedenborg died. Gustavus III (1746–92; b. Stockholm; king 1771–92; has been called the prince of the Enlightenment*) arrested council in a body and est. absolute govt. by means of a military coup d'état 1772. For. ideas and customs, esp. Fr., invaded the land; rationalism helped weaken orthodoxy; religious life reached low ebb reflected in a new catechism and other religious books.

4. Reaction against liberalism drew heavily on writings of A. Nohrborg.* Adherents of the protest movement esp. in N provinces were called ”readers“ because of their use of the Bible and other Christian literature. A nat. ecclesiastical council was authorized 1863, met first 1868. Lund became the cen. of ch. affairs. Outstanding figures in the 1st half of the 19th c. include Frans Mikael Franzén (Michael: 1772–1847; b. Oulu [Uleaaborg], Fin.; educ. Aabo; minister Kumla [Örebro Co., Swed.] and Stockholm, Swed.; bp. Hernösand [Härnösand] 1841; hymnist), E. G. Geijer,* H. Schartau,* E. Tegnér,* J. O. Wallin.* See also Communistic Societies, 5; Scott, George.

5. Anticonventicle measures taken in the 1720s were repealed 1858. Schism developed in the Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen (see Rosenius, Carl Olof) 1878, when the Svenska Missionsförbundet was formed under leadership of P. P. Waldenstrom* (see also Swedish Missionary Societies, 4). Nearly one-fifth of the population emigrated in protest against religious and soc. conditions. The ch. began to take interest in current ills; Peter Jonasson Wieselgren (1800–77; b. Spaanhult, Swed.; scholar; cleric) advocated temperance reform; but with the growth of socialism and labor unions the ch. lost much of its influence on secular life.

6. In the 20th c. strong currents were set in motion in theol., missions, ch. art and music, the diaconate, and ecumenicity. Free Chs. developed. Leaders included E. M. Billing,* active in the ”young ch. movement“; Manfred Björkquist, who helped raise the Sigtuna* Foundation into prominence; N. Söderblom,* scholar in the field of comparative religion and ecumenical leader; Y. T. Brilioth*; G. E. H. Aulén*; A. T. S. Nygren.* Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift began 1925. Other significant works include a new Bible tr., rev. handbook, new hymnal. Interest in litugical renewal, in some respects influenced by the Angl. Ch., led to new forms of ch. architecture and of vestments and produced a book* of hours. CB

For Swed. Luth. influence in the US see Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church; entries beginning Swedes … and Swedish. …

See also Laestadius, Lars Levi; Lund, Theology of.

Swedenborg, Emanuel

(1688–1772). Son of J. Swedberg*; scientist, philos.; b. Stockholm. Swed.; educ. Uppsala; assessor on Swed. bd. of mines 1716. resigned 1747; engaged in psychical and spiritual research; followers called Swedenborgians.* Works include Opera philosophica et mineralia; Oeconomia regni animalis; Regnum animale; Arcana coelestia [caelestia]; Vera Christiana religio.


(Ch. of the New Jerusalem; New Ch.; New Jerusalem Ch.). 1. Followers of E. Swedenborg.* Held that the Trin. is not of persons, but of divine essentials, without division of the divine being. Redemption was accomplished by the incarnate Jehovah. Justification involves cooperation bet. man and God. Scripture has a literal and spiritual (inner, symbolic) sense; Swedenborg was chosen by God to reveal the latter. The New Ch. was identified with the new Jerusalem of Rv 21 and was dated from 1757, though not organized till the 1780s. Original sin, justification by faith alone, and resurrection of the body are denied. Man's spirit goes to heaven or hell through an intermediate realm after death.

2. Swedenborg was a prolific theosophical writer (see Theosophy).

3. Swedenborgians organized in London, Eng., in the 1780s.

4. The 1st New Ch. soc. in Am. was founded Baltimore 1792. The Gen. Convention of the New Jerusalem in the USA was organized 1817. The Academy of the New Ch. was founded 1876 as organic exponent of principles later adopted by the Pennsylvania Assoc., connected with the Gen. Conv. The assoc. changed name 1883 to The Gen. Ch. of Pennsylvania, separated from the Gen. Conv. 1890, changed name 1892 to Gen. Ch. of the Advent of the Lord, reorganized 1897 as Gen. Ch. of the New Jerusalem.

Swedish Missionary Societies

(Eur.). Include (1) Swedish Missionary Soc. (Svenska Missionssälskapet), founded 1835; absorbed the Lund Miss. Soc. founded 1845) 1855; united with the Swed. Ch. Miss. (see 3) 1876 but was not wholly absorbed by it. (2) Ev. Nat. Miss. Soc. (Evangeliska Foster-lands-Stiftelsen), founded 1856. This soc. (literally “foundation”) consists of many socs.; est. a school for training missionaries 1863 at Johannelund, near Stockholm; fields have included Swed., Afr., India. (3) The Ch. of Swed. Miss. (Svenska Kyrkans Missionsstyrelse), founded 1874; state institution; headed by abp. Uppsala; united with Swed. Miss. Soc. 1876 (see 1) but did not wholly absorb it; fields have included China, India, Afr.; during the 2 World Wars the Ch. of Swed. Miss. administered the work of the Leipzig Ev. Luth. Miss. in India. See also Africa, B 5; India, 10. (4) Mission Covenant Ch. of Swed. (Swed. Miss. Covenant; Svenska Missionsförbundet), founded 1878; cong. free ch. denomination; fields have included Congo, China, Jap., East Turkestan, Fin., Russ., Armenia, Caucasus, Persia, North Afr., Alaska.

See also Sweden, Lutheranism in, 5.

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon

(or Pieters) (variants include Swelinck and Swelingh; 1562–1621). Calvinist composer; b. Deventer or Amsterdam, Neth.; organist Amsterdam; taught J. Praetorius,* S. Scheidt,* H. Scheidemann,* et al. Works include Cantiones sacrae. See also Toccata.

W. Apel, Masters of the Keyboard (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1947); H. Besseler, Die Musik des Mittelalters und der Renaissance (Potsdam, 1931); M. F. Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era, from Monteverdi to Bach (New York, 1947); G. Frotscher, Geschichte des Orgelspiels und der Orgelkomposition. 2 vols. (Berlin, 1935–36); R. M. Haas, Die Musik des Barocks (Potsdam, 1928); P. H. Láng, Music in Western Civilization (New York, 1941).

Swensson, Carl Aaron

(June 25, 1857–February 16, 1904). Son of J. Swensson ; b. Sugargrove, Pennsylvania; educ. Augustana Theol. Sem., Rock Island, Illinois; pastor Lindsborg, Kansas; founded Bethany Academy (now Bethany Coll.), Lindsborg 1881; mem. Kansas legislature; pres. General* Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in N. Am. in the mid-1890s. Comp. hymnals. Ed. Ungdoms Vaennen; Korsbanneret; Framaat. Other works include I Sverige; Aater I Sverige.

Swensson, Jonas

(August 16, 1828–December 20, 1873). Father of C. A. Swensson*; b. Snollebo, Smaaland, Swed.; educ. Uppsala; pastor Unnaryd and Jälluntofta; to US July 1856; pastor Sugargrove, Pennsylvania, and Jamestown, New York, 1856–58, Andover, Illinois, 1858–73; pres. Augustana* Ev. Luth. Ch. 1870–73.

Swete, Henry Barclay

(1835–1917). Angl. textual critic; b. Bristol, Eng.; educ. Cambridge; priest 1859; curate and rector at various places; taught at King's Coll., London, and at Cambridge. Ed. The Old Testament in Greek. Other works include The Apocalypse of St. John: The Greek Text, with Introduction, Notes, and Indices.

Swift, Jonathan

(1667–1745). Anglo-Irish satirist; cousin of J. Dryden*; b. Dublin, Ireland; priest 1695; dean St. Patrick's, Dublin, 1713. Works include A Tale of a Tub: story of 3 brothers (Peter = Romanists; Martin = Anglicans; Jack = Dissenters) altering 3 new coats (Christian truth) bequeathed to them by their father in his will (Bible), with instructions for wearing them.


(Swiss Confederation). 1. Area: ca. 15,900 sq. mi. Official languages: Ger. 65%, Fr. 18%, It. 9%, Rhaeto-Romance 1%. Religions: RC 48%, Prot. 44%.

Christianity first reached Switzerland in the 3d or 4th c. By the end of the 15th c. Switz. was RC. See also Gall; Meinrad; Nicholas of Flüe; Notker; Ratpert.

2. The Swiss Reformation is often dated from 1516, when H. Zwingli* became priest at Einsiedeln (see Meinrad). He became priest Zurich 1518; the Reformation there was practically complete 1525. See also 3.

Another segment of the Swiss Reformation began with the work of B. Haller,* who became active in Bern at least as early as 1518. The Reformation in Bern progressed rapidly after the disputation at Baden 1526 (on the real presence, sacrifice of the mass, invocation of Mary and other saints, and on images, purgatory, and original sin; J. Eck* represented RCs; Haller and J. Oecolampadius* represented Prots.; RCs claimed victory, but reaction to RC measures gave impetus to Protestantism). This segment ends ca. 1531 with the death of Zwingli and defeat of Prots. at Kappel. See also 4.

The next period centers in Geneva, begins with the arrival there of G. Farel* 1532, and ends with the death of J. Calvin* 1564. See also 5.

Then follows a period of increased RC-Prot. tension and of Prot. consolidation under leadership of J. H. Bullinger* in Zurich and T. Beza* in Geneva. See also 5.

3. The Reformation reached Appenzell and Schaffhausen ca. 1521. Erasmus* est. 1522 that ca. 200,000 “abhorred the see of Rome” in Switz.. The Council of Zurich required 1523 that “the pastors of Zurich should rest their discourses on the words of Scripture alone.” Abolition of images in chs. soon followed; the clergy was no longer forbidden to marry; the mass was replaced 1525 by the simple ordinance of the Lord's Supper.

4. Five RC cantons (Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug) banded together 1524 against Zurich and the Reformation; these 5 were joined 1528 by Fribourg and Solothurn. Zurich and Bern decided May 1531 to blockade the RC cantons; the blockade was supported by the bailiwicks of St. Gall, Toggenburg, Sargans, and the Rheinthal; Zwingli protested. The RC cantons took to arms. Zwingli rode to battle with the Zurichers but used no weapons. He was killed and the Zurichers defeated at Kappel October 11, 1531.

5. Farel, who came to Geneva early in October 1532, was banished almost immediately, but recalled early 1534. The city council proclaimed adherence to the Reformation 1535. Calvin came to Geneva 1536, was banished with Farel 1538, returned to Geneva early 1541, after favorable conditions had been restored. See also 2; Calvin, John; Farel, Guillaume.

RC reaction set in after 1564 and long seemed to predominate. RC-Prot. strife became more open toward the end of the 17th c. and intensified early in the 18th century. Prots. gained a decisive victory 1712 at Villmergen, Aargau canton, N Switz.. See also 2.

6. Switz. is more than 50% Prot., more than 40% RC. There is complete freedom of worship. Non-RC Christian groups include Cantonal Ref. Chs., Meths., Seventh-day Adventists, Luths., Mennonites, Apostolic Ch., Baps., Old Caths., Moravians. Jews: perhaps ca. .6% of the pop. A Luth. cong. was organized at Geneva 1707, Zurich 1891; related groups were est. at Basel, Bern, Davos, Lausanne, St. Gall.

See also Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland, The; Reformed Churches, 1; Reformed Confessions, A.

Switzerland, Contemporary Theology in.

1. The theol. liberalism of F. D. E. Schleiermacher* and A. B. Ritschl* continued in the work of K. G. A. v. Harnack,* E. P. W. Troeltsch,* et al..

2. Ritschl, Harnack, and Troeltsch were intensely concerned with the relevance of Christian hist. for the modern ch.. They believed that the hist. of Christianity must result in repudiation of classical Christian theol., but their interest in the hist. of Christian thought stimulated study and publication of many monuments of Christian hist., e.g., the NT and writings of M. Luther* and other Reformers. Under influence of Harnack's Dogmengeschichte (tr. N. Buchanan, History of Dogma), and Troeltsch's Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen (tr. O. Wyon, The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches) the hist. of Christian thought found an important place in theol. scholarship and educ..

3. But this influence destroyed much of the liberalism it was intended to buttress. One of Harnack's pupils was K. Barth.* Hist. study of the NT (e.g., by the Formgeschichtliche Sehule [see Isagogics, 3]; see also Schweitzer, Albert) had begun to stress the dynamic and prophetic character of NT religion as well as its essential unity in acknowledgment of Jesus as Messiah. Also, renewed interest in Luther's writings and thought, intensified since the 400th anniversary of his birth (see Luther and the Reformation, Anniversaries of) 1883 had helped make Barth and some of his contemporaries dissatisfied with the moralism and optimism of the Ritschlian school. Besides, Barth had been influenced by S. A. Kierkegaard* and F. M. Dostoevski.* WW I provided the occasion for his final break with Ritschlian idealism and for pub. of his epochal Der Römerbrief (1919).

4. Barth's new departure was that Paul, Luther, Calvin, Kierkegaard, etc. were to be interpreted not merely in terms of their own hist. environment but also in terms of how they speak to our situation. He denounced the ch., world, theol., and philos. in the name of the “wholly Other,” who renders all things of earth fundamentally questionable.

5. Barth found kindred minds among both Luths. and Ref. His theol. has been called dialectical* theol. and crisis theol. (or theol. of crisis, in reference to the assoc. of the Gk. work krisis with concepts of separation, judgment, and catastrophe).

6. H. E. Brunner,* more systematic and scientific than Barth, helped relate many of the latter's insights to the problems of the modern mind and ch. Yet they parted company. Barth's increasing inclination to Calvinism and extreme Biblicism (the latter evident in his Die Kirchliche Dogmatik, tr. G. T. Thomson et al., Church Dogmatics) led him to deny validity to “natural” theol. and to ascribe not only preeminence but absolute uniqueness to all Biblical revelation. Brunner asserted also the revelation of God in creation but often made unfortunate concessions to modern thought.

7. Barth and Brunner shared both an insistence on Biblical realism and a certain arbitrariness in theol..

8. The theol. of Barth and Brunner is subject to valid criticism of all Ref. theol. on the means of grace, ch., distinction bet. Law and Gospel, etc.. But it helped bring a large segment of Protestantism closer to true Christianity, JP

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

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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