ECCLESIASTICUS. See Apocrypha , A, IV., 12.
Ecclesiology is the science dealing with the ecclesiastical institutions of human society. It is a social and not a theological science. If sociology be defined as the general science of human relations, ecclesiology is that branch of sociology which deals with so much of social phenomena as results directly from religious motives. The subject-matter of this science then embraces all ecclesiastical phenomena objective on the surface of society. It does not deal with theological dogma and creeds except in so far as religious faith and enthusiasm are seen to be the motives of ecclesiastical action. The science deals with non-Christian as well as Christian institutions among all races and nations. Ecclesiology being a distinctly social science, the methods of analysis, comparison, and generalization are those common to all the social sciences. As in the case of political science, the current institutions are analyzed, while the past is studied for origins and earlier forms. From the view-point of social science ecclesiastical history is the ecclesiology of past ages of human society. The primary social phenomena with which eccleaiology deals are individual speech and action for the purposes of religion. Such speech and s. Ecclesio- action are possible on the surface of logical society only because ecclesiastical ef- Phenomena. forts have the sanction of the physically dominant institution of society, i.e., the State, and its representative, civil governwent. Without such sanction speech and action for the purposes of religion must of necessity be secret and beneath the surface of society. The observation of speech and action for the purposes of religion leads at once to the existing relation between Church and State, since the Church can not be one of the visible social institutions without the express or implied sanction of the State (see Church And State. Secondary ecclesiological phenomena found are association and cooperation for the pur- poses of religion. Such association may be tem- porary only, as is the case with assemblies or congregations,, or it may be permanent and take the form of organization. Such organization may as- sume the form of an artificial legal personality provided for by the State, viz., the civil corporation for the purposes of religion. A third division of ecclesiologieal phenomena embraces the existing relations which the ecclesiastical institutions of society bear to its other institutions, viz., the State and civil government, marriage, the family, education, and wealth. A fourth division of phenomena embraces the various functions of ecclesiastical or ganizations, while a fifth includes what may be defined as ecclesiastical concepts or ideals which serve as motives for action and association.
The analysis of association and cooperation for the purposes of religion shows the following more or less permanent forms: the religious society, the Church proper or the body having the highest spiritual objects, the civil incorporation, whether aggre gate or sole, which is often found in connection with the religious society or the Church, and finally the grouping of local religious bodies into organized general associations, usually styled denominations. Of the forms of local association it may be noted generally that they do not always coexist, but often occur separately. The temporary assembly or con gregation occurs without other form of association. The religious society exists by itself in cases where there is no separate body of communicant members or those having higher privilege and no civil incor poration has been effected. A church body existing alone may be seen in the community of a convent or monastery. A religious corporation may be seen without connection with a local. religious society or church when constituted of the trustees of a fund devoted to the purposes of religion. It may be further noted of the forms of ecclesiastical asaociation that they are found as a rule in some combination among the peoples of Western civilization. All of these forms of association are at times constituent parts of a local religious body, while the civil corporation is most frequently lacking. Generally the local religious bodies of all denominations present these forms of association, although in varying proportions and with different functions. The Church proper or spiritual body is the form of association that is usually found within the congregation and also within the religious society. It is the only form of association for the purposes of religion for which a special divine sanction is claimed. From the standpoint of the State it is the body having the highest interests to be protected, to whose welfare the other ecclesiastical bodies are to contribute. The analysis of the forms of ecclesiastical association does not end with the limited and local forms of association, but extends to the com 4. Types of binations of these local bodies into Polity, groups scattered over large territories, some even coextensive with national domains. In this larger association for the purposes of religion the unit for combination among the several forms of local association is the Church or spiritual body, and the analysis proceeds from the local to the territorial association by ascertaining what relation, if any, exists between the local bodies and all other ecclesiastical bodies. The results of such a larger analysis may be summarized as fol lows: First, there are found local church bodies which, in the management of both their internal and external affairs, are autonomous and acknowledge and sustain no discernible relation with similar local church bodies other than that which may result from a general identity of purpose. Second, there
enforced. The exercise of this function of discipline seems to be weakening in many ecclesiastical bodies, but, on the other hand, it should be remembered that the sphere of ecclesiastical discipline has in modern civilization been greatly restricted by civil law. The two remaining functions of ecclesiastical organizations are those of propaganda and mission. Propaganda is the conscious and systematic spread of faith and principles, while the mission, which naturally supplements propaganda, is the function of reproducing the ecclesiastical organization from which emanated the particular propaganda. Ecclesiologiata are inclined to look upon the rigor with which these functions are performed as being to a certain extent a measure of the vitality of the body. Different organizations vary greatly as to the relative values of these functions and as to the energy with which they are to be exercised. In the simplest and moat completely autonomous bodies there is a concentration of these functions in a single organ, while among bodies having more complex polities there is a distribution of powers and frequently a highly developed machinery.
Up to this point has been outlined what may be called static ecclesiology. There is, however, a field which may be defined as that of dy6. Forces of namic eccleaiology. Here the subjectIntegration. matter comprises the social and economic environments of ecclesiastical bodies and the moral forces at work tending to change the spirit and the structure of such bodies. Ecclesiastical institutions are, from the standpoint of the social sciences, aggregations of living social organism and subject to a certain extent to the laws of social development. They are seen to have forces of. original impetus, to have their periods of development, and frequently their periods of decay and dissolution. A natural division of such social and moral forces is into those working for the integration of ecclesiastical bodies, and those working for their disintegration. The same force under differing conditions works in opposite directions. The dominant forces working for the integration of ecclesiastical bodies are the influences of education and of material wealth, energy in propaganda and mission, and, perhaps more potent than these, certain ecclesiastical concepts or ideals such as those of the historical continuity of the Church and those of ecclesiastical adaptation. The dominant forces working for the disintegration of ecclesiastical bodies are the lack of education, the lack of missionary energy, the lack of material wealth, such ecclesiastical concepts or ideals as those of isolation and alienation, and the tendency to heresy and its normal result, schism. While the tendency to schism is the moat obvious of all disintegrating forces, it is probably not as fundamental as certain concepts which require explanation in order to a due appreciation of their influence. Among the forces operating for continuous ecclesiastical integration are the concepts of adaptation and of the historical continuity of the Church. The ideal of ecclesiastical adaptation results from the desire on the part of members of religious bodies to have their organization keep in complete touch with all the normal features of its social environment. Under the in-
Concepts or ideals of ecclesiastical isolation and alienation are found to be exercising a profound influence among certain organizations. Such concepts appear to develop from a religious conviction which frequently assumes the form of a belief that certain persons are called of God out of the mass of human society to be constituted and recognized as a peculiar people to lead a life apart from the life of the community in which they have their habitation. Such a concept provides for the least possible intercourse between the members of the religious body and those who differ with them in matters religious. Among certain of the Christian bodies this concept derives its inspiration from the history of the Hebrews and from a feeling that theirs is a similar case, they being called out of a corrupt society to lead a peculiarly religious life. Among other bodies ecclesiastical alienation develops from a desire on the part of a body of individuals to lead a certain mode of life and to practise such moral and economic effects as celibacy or community of goods, while the normal social environment is regarded as unfavorable for such a development. In many cases where such concepts prevail those holding them decline to recognize the normal obligations resting upon members of society for the maintenance of civil government and other social institutions. Such ecclesiastical alienation usually operates by restricting missionary effort. Deliberate alienation must not be confused with the physical isolation in which many religious bodies find themselves.
In addition to the qualitative analysis of ecclesiastical institutions here outlined, the science of ecclesiology provides also for a quantitative analysis for which the material is largely statistical. Denominational statistics are generally deficient, and only a few countries of Western civilization furnish reliable governmental statistics of ecclesiastical organizations. The use of such statistics has three objects: to determine the amount of ecclesiastical association among a given population; to determine the racial elements of church-member ship; and to determine the territorial distribution of denominational strength. This may be called ecclesiastical geography. The racial simplicity or complexity of the membership of a religious body is often found to have a profound influence upon the development of the organization. As in bodies political, church racial elements are often the source of weakness and the cause of delayed integration, especially where diversity of language is a serious obstacle. Such a diversity, however, is a test, and affords a training in the capacity of assimilation. Religious bodies as a rule originate in a homogeneous people, but systematic missionary effort has brought into the membership of all the stronger and more active denominations the most diverse racial elements. Closely allied to this topic is that of the geography of the Church. The systematic charting of ecclesiastical organizations is of recent origin. It is now being developed on every scale, from the population of a single city to that of a continent. It has been brought to the aid of the churches in the planning of missionary enterprises of all dimensions. It has been found useful in revealing the physical and social environment of churches, and it throws much light on their history and state of development. See Church, The Christian; Church and State; and Polity, Ecclesiastical.
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