Published Online: 25 NOV 2011
Copyright © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization
How to Cite
Bigalke, R. J. 2011. Irenism. The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.
- Published Online: 25 NOV 2011
Irenism (from the Greek for “peace”) is an ideology begun in the period of the Protestant Reformation as ecclesiastical and political interests were debated and dialogued. Irenic movements intend to resolve theological disagreements by way of consensus and generally devalue divergences. Irenics is in contrast to polemics (although it is possible to have a spirit of both). Theological literature of the late 17th century is primarily either irenic or polemic. The practice of polemics is by means of debates, dialogues, and refutations of the beliefs and/or practices of those outside the boundary (pale) of a doctrinally orthodox church, but who are insistent on being regarded as Christian. The practice of irenics is by means of debates and dialogues of Christian doctrines with other Christians who are doctrinally orthodox, but with whom there is reasonable theological disagreement. An irenic individual may be regarded as affirming a balanced approach to debated questions.
- irenism (“peace”), protestant reformation as ecclesiastical;
- irenic movements, and consensus;
- practice of polemics, debates, dialogues;
- henotic movements, transcending irenic movements