Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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Moody, Dwight L.

(895 words)

Author(s): Ostrander, Richard S.
Dwight Lyman Moody (1837–99) was the best-known and most influential American evangelist of the late 19th century. His influence on American revivalism and Protestantism, especially evangelicalism (Evangelical Movement), continued well into the 20th century. Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts. His father died when he was four. As one of nine children, Moody grew up in humble circumstances and with the equivalent of a fifth-grade education. At the age of 17 the ambitious Moody left rural Massachusetts to find work in Bos…


(5 words)

See Unification Church

Moral Argument

(10 words)

See God, Arguments for the Existence of

Moral Education

(1,421 words)

Author(s): Radtke, Muriel M.
1. Definition Moral education is what schools do, consciously and unconsciously, to help the young think about issues of right and wrong, to help them desire the social good, and to help them behave ethically (K. Ryan, 3406). “Character education” and “values education” are terms often used synonymously with “moral education.” Although all social institutions bear some burden for instruction in morality, the public expects schools to play a central role in the development of character. In the United States only a few states, however, have educat…


(321 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
We first find the term “moralism” in the works of J. G. Fichte (1762–1814; Idealism 5), who argued that it is the same as what philosophy is formally and idealistically ( Wissenschaftslehre 2.6.196). Building on the teaching of I. Kant (1724–1804; Kantianism) and Fichte that the moral is autonomous (Autonomy 2), moralism is often taken to denote a morality that has no links to God or to the orders of creation but that, as practical reason, defines good and evil on its own. F. Nietzsche (1844–1900) criticized this type of moral…

Moral Rearmament

(575 words)

Author(s): Reimer, Ingrid
Moral Rearmament (MRA) is a religious renewal movement initiated by American Lutheran pastor Frank N. D. Buchman (1878–1961). When conferences for international disarmament failed after ¶ World War I, Buchman concluded that peace must begin with total human change. This conviction impelled him to start a worldwide revival movement to be marked by daily hearing of the Word of God (quiet time) and living according to four absolutes based on the radical norms of the Sermon on the Mount: honesty, purity, unselfishness, and l…

Moral Theology

(1,354 words)

Author(s): Gründel, Johannes
1. Term Moral theology, today often called theological ethics, is a discipline in Roman Catholic dogmatics that deals with human freedom and responsibility (Anthropology) and with the foundations and principles of moral action. It is the doctrine of the Christian lifestyle and the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21). Its theonomous basis differentiates it from ethics and moral philosophy. The central Christian beliefs of creation, the fall (Sin), the incarnation, redemption in Jesus Christ, and the promise of an eschatological …

Moravian Church

(2,380 words)

Author(s): Freeman, Arthur J.
¶ The name “Moravian” was not used by the Moravian Church before the 18th century but has come to be utilized primarily as the church developed within the English-speaking world. The church itself is an international body dating from 1457 and presently consisting of 19 provinces and various institutions. Since the Second World War former mission provinces have been granted a status equal to those in Europe, England, and North America, and now each province of the church governs its own affairs ex…


(1,020 words)

Author(s): Hauth, Rüdiger
1. Rise and Development The religious fellowship of the Mormons, which calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was founded by Joseph Smith (1805–44) in April 1830 in Fayette, New York. Beginning in 1820, Smith had a series of remarkable experiences and visions. In his youth Father God and Jesus Christ once appeared to Smith and told him, in answer to a question, that all the confessions of faith of all the churches, including the free churches, were an abomination to the deity.…


(1,056 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Kingdom of Morocco, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, lies between Algeria and the Western Sahara. In the 11th and 12 centuries it was the center of a Berber empire ruling much of Spain and northwest Africa. Spanish rule came in the 19th century, then French in the 20th century (Colonialism); independence was achieved in March 1956. Later that year Tangier (which had been internationalized in 1923) was turned over to the new country. In the 1970s Morocco annexed the Western Sahara (formerly the Spanish Sahara), beginning a…


(1,477 words)

Author(s): Smend, Rudolf
1. Name Exod. 2:10 explains the name “Moses” with a philologically impossible Hebrew etymology (deriving it from mšh, “draw out”). In fact, the name is the short form of an Egyptian name such as “Thutmose” (from mśy, “bear”), without the theophoric element. 2. Career In the OT Moses is the central figure in the early history of Israel (§1). Commissioned by Yahweh, he rescued the people from oppression in Egypt, proclaimed the law to them at Sinai, led them through the desert, and died immediately before their entry into West Jordan. Tho…


(775 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The term “mosque,” designating the Islamic place of worship, comes from Arab. masjid, via a borrowing from Aramaic. Islam distinguishes between the jāmiʿ, which is a place of worship in the narrower sense (i.e., a place of gathering for obligatory worship on Friday and the two festival services, a sacred building of distinctive structure), and the masjid, a cultic site in the broader sense (i.e., a place where one casts oneself down for prayer). The term jāmiʿ, which does not occur in the Qur’an, results from domestic liturgical disputes. But the masjid belongs intrinsically to t…


(686 words)

Author(s): Schalk, Carl
The term “motet” generally indicates an unaccompanied choral composition (Choir) based on a sacred text for use in the liturgical service of Christian worship. The specific meaning of the term has varied considerably from its origin in the 13th century as a polyphonic extension of the Gregorian repertory. The 13th-century use of the term derived from the addition of words (Fr. mot, “word”) to the duplum, or upper part of compositions known as clausulae, in the period of Pérotin (d. 1238?). The duplum with added text was called motetus, “the worded part,” from which the entire form…

Mother Goddesses

(1,638 words)

Author(s): Elsas, Christoph
1. History In a special way the mother is a figure in whom people see great power. The result in religion has been the worship of mother goddesses. 1.1. Early Paleolithic and Ancient Greece Already in the European and Near Eastern Early Paleolithic (40,000–25,000 b.c.), the ability to give life found expression in many female figures with heavily emphasized sexual features, as well as in snake and bird deities (Serpent; Sexuality). By 6000 b.c. we find the Anatolian Great Mother, or Magna Mater. In the early Greek period we find her in the form of a female deity worshiped prim…

Mother of God

(9 words)

See Mariology; Mary, Devotion to

Motive, Ethics of

(992 words)

Author(s): Hofmeister, Heimo
1. Term The expression “ethics of motive,” which came to be used as a philosophical term during the 20th century, refers to a basic ethical disposition that looks for the ethical qualification of actions in a reference to their underlying intention, while remaining indifferent toward any actual consequences such actions may have. One can show that E. Troeltsch (1865–1923) also used the term in this sense in his characterization of Kantian ethics as ethics not oriented—as was objective-theological ethics—toward the result of actions (p. 626). 2. Problems 2.1. Implicit The antithesis …

Mott, John R.

(1,086 words)

Author(s): Rusch, William G.
John Raleigh Mott (1865–1955) was one of the most influential persons in the formation of the modern ecumenical movement. Born in Purvis (Livingston Manor), New York, on April 25, 1865, he was the son of a prosperous lumber merchant. His was a pious Methodist family, and he remained a Methodist layman his entire life. Soon after his birth, the family relocated in Postville, Iowa, where Mott remained until his college years. Mott experienced an evangelical conversion during his years at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He was deeply influenced both by English…

Motu proprio

(73 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
Motu proprio (Lat. “by one’s own impulse”) is a canonical ruling (Polity, Ecclesiastical) issued by the pope on his own accord. Along with the apostolic constitution it is an important form of proclamation in papal legislation. A favorable ruling (rescript) has great force when issued in this form (CIC 1983). Bernd T. DrösslerBibliography R. R. Gaillardetz, Teaching with Authority: A Theology of the Magisterium in the Church (Collegeville, Minn., 1997).


(4 words)

See Grief


(1,362 words)

Author(s): Chamango, Simão | Biber, Charles
1. General Situation The Republic of Mozambique lies on the east coast of Africa, bordered by Tanzania on the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe on the west; and Swaziland and South Africa on the south. African peoples (almost 98 percent of Mozambique’s population) comprise 11 major ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Makhuwa (6.8 million) and Lomwe (2.0 million) in the north, the Sena-Podzo (1.1 million) and Shona (1.0 million) in the center, and the Tsonga-Changana (1.9 million) and Tswa…
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