Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Complex ecumenical landscape greets upcoming WCC assembly

An assessment of the current challenges for ecumenical relations ahead of the next assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) points out that the field of ecumenism has become more diverse and complex, with denominational boundaries losing significance and new divisions appearing within religious bodies, in part due to social and ethical disputes. Writing […]

Nicaragua raises heat on persecution of Catholics

The Catholic Church is facing increased repression in Nicaragua, leading to new resistance efforts by the hierarchy as well as a growing exile community in the U.S. that is taking up the fight for religious freedom. Writing in The Pillar (June 28), Edgar Beltrán Notes that things have changed dramatically since the time when Nicaraguan […]

Christian online influencers gain following in German-speaking countries

The pandemic’s encouragement of social media use has also impacted the field of religious communication and given online Christian influencers a stronger role among people under 40, writes Anna Neumaier (Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany) in the most recent issue of the Zeitschrift für Religion und Weltanschauung (February). The article focuses on German-speaking “Christfluencers,” Who, while […]

“Orthodox Belt” in Russia tracks loyalty to traditionalist values and Putin

An ”Orthodox Belt,” running across central and southern Russia and the Volga region, has and will likely continue to form a firm base of loyalty to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin as well as conservative and traditionalist values, according to researchers Andrey Shcherbak and Maria Ukhvatova. Writing in the journal Nationalities Papers (online in June), […]

Even without Moscow influence, Ukraine’s Orthodox divisions remain

While the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has cut most ties with the Moscow Patriarchate since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, any possibility of a merger or even closer relations with the already independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)  might be ar off due to cultural and liturgical differences between the two church bodies, writes Nadieszda Kizenko […]

Satanism alive and well but cloven between “theists” and “rationalists”

While Satanism still exists, a gap between “rationalist’” and “occultist” or “theistic” groups “largely defines the global Satanist scene,” writes Massimo Introvigne in his newsletter Bitter Winter (May 24). Seeing Satan as more of a symbol of power and the priority of the self than a sentient being, rationalists eschew the supernaturalism of the occultist […]

Church in Northern Macedonia finds recognition in a redrawn Orthodox map

In a rapid succession of events during the month of May, the Orthodox Church in Northern Macedonia, which had been separated from other Orthodox churches for 55 years due to an unresolved conflict with the Serbian Patriarchate, was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) of Constantinople and also restored into communion with the Serbian Orthodox […]

Orthodox churches escape Moscow Patriarchate’s long shadow?

The Orthodox landscape in Ukraine continues to shift quickly as the war intensifies, with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) recently announcing it will cut its ties with Moscow. The church had been losing members, clergy, and parishes as well as facing severe legal restrictions, according to a report in The Pillar […]

New Age’s rebound in China takes a Sinicist turn

New Age concepts, teachings, and practices from the West are increasingly being “psychologized” and used as a way of controlling the population as they are popularized and translated in China, writes Anna Iskra in the journal Nova Religio (25:4). What is called the Body-Mind-Spirit (shen xin ling) movement has expanded throughout China since the early […]

Drawing lessons from Hillsong’s controversies and decline

That Hillsong will be gone in a few years cannot be ruled out, says Sébastien Fath, a French historian and leading scholar on evangelicalism, in a long interview with Youna Rivallain published in the French Catholic weekly La Vie (April 27). The fate of the global megachurch based in Australia after recent leadership and sexual […]