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Church Unity, Territorialism, And State Formation In The Era Of Confessionalisation

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Chapter Summary

As a church historian, in this chapter, the author considers historical aspects responsible for the weak sense of inter- and intra-ecclesiastical unity among the Reformed churches. Taking a historical perspective, he focuses on the role that the church was forced to play in early modern Europe as an instrument of the state. The late sixteenth and seventeenth century European churches were confessional churches: they stuck to a creed or confession as an internal and external norm and 'party statute,' and monopolized their world view. In addition to the national ecclesiastical and political constellation sketched, there were other historical principles that did not exactly stimulate ecclesiastical reunification or even reflection on internal and external church unity. Most prominent among these was the triad of territorialism, tolerance, and church privilegization. The chapter explains and elaborates this historical reality.

Keywords: church unity; confession; European churches; reformed churches; reunification; territorialism

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