"Ecclesia semper reformanda": Metamorphosen einer altehrwürdigen Formel

Emidio Campi

Abstract


The purpose of this essay is to examine the history of the old formula ecclesia semper reformanda that is the church is always in need of reform. This phrase is constantly attributed to the Reformers, but in fact can be found throughout the bimillenial history of Christianity, from the early monastic movement to the medieval forms of dissent, in the documents of the Council of Trent and in the treaties of the Protestant Orthodoxy, in the decree on ecumenism of the II Vatican Council and in the Constitution of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. However, Reform of the church is not mere change, and certainly not »modernization«. Reform of the church comes, as the Reformers understood it and Karl Barth in the mid 20th century reiterated it, from the leading of God’s word, made present in the power of the Spirit. After rewiewing recent deliberations of ecumenical bodies the paper concludes that ecclesia semper reformanda is much more than a confessional slogan. To be really universal the church is always to be refocused on Christ the Saviour as he is presented to us in the Scriptures.

Keywords


Ekklesiologie; Reformation; Römischer Katholizismus; Protestantismus; Reformierte Orthodoxy; Karl Barth; Ökumenismus; Theologiegeschichte

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