Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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Kierkegaard, Søren

(1,158 words)

Author(s): Löbl, Michael
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813–55), Danish philosopher of religion and critic of rationalism, can be viewed as one of the founders of existentialism. The seventh child of a well-to-do wool merchant, he attended secondary school and studied theology and philosophy in his hometown, Copenhagen. He successfully concluded these studies in 1840 with his theological examinations and in 1841 with a master’s degree in philosophy (a degree equivalent to today’s Ph.D.). His dissertation, “The Concept of Irony, with Continual Reference to Socrates,” introduced several theme…

Kimbanguist Church

(1,197 words)

Author(s): Asch, Susan
1. History The Kimbanguist Church takes its name from Simon Kimbangu (1889?-1951). A native of the Lower Congo, he was a catechist of the Baptist Missionary Society (Baptists; British Missions) in the Ngombe Lutete region. Performing miracles of healing, he drew thousands of pilgrims to his hometown of Nkamba. They left plantations, factories, churches, and hospitals to hear the good news of salvation and liberation that the ngunza (prophet) proclaimed from April 6, 1921. Kimbangu’s activities soon concerned the authorities, who were fearful of nationalistic rebellion…


(1,733 words)

Author(s): Radtke, Muriel M.
Kindergarten is an educational program, either all-day or half-day, for the year preceding entrance into the first grade in public schools. The kindergarten experience is part of early Childhood education, which encompasses educational experiences from birth through age eight. 1. History 1.1. Roots Early childhood education in the 21st century can trace its roots to several early thinkers. Martin Luther (1483–1546) advanced the then radical idea that all boys should be educated and that music and physical education should be part of that…

Kingdom of God

(5,852 words)

Author(s): Spieckermann, Hermann | Pratscher, Wilhelm | Steinacker, Peter
1. OT The OT contains only a few late references to the kingdom of God. The terms used—Heb. mĕlûkâ, malkût, mamlākâ; Aram. malkû, šolṭān, all meaning “kingdom,” “kingly rule,” or “empire”—show that what is meant is God’s royal rule or dominion. None of these well-attested terms, however, is primarily theological. For the most part, they refer to earthly kingdoms and empires, whether Israelite, Babylonian, or Persian. There is certainly unanimity that ¶ God gives and takes away earthly dominion (see 2 Sam. 16:8; 1 Chr. 10:14, etc.), but this conviction did not at firs…

King, Martin Luther, Jr.

(844 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Caroline
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–68) was an American civil rights worker and theologian. As a representative of the peace movement, a gifted preacher, and an intellectual, King drew from the Bible and from the American founding documents in becoming a leader of nonviolent resistance to institutionalized racism. King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. A Baptist preacher since 1947—like his father and grandfather before him—he began his theological studies at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. There he became…

Kings, Books of

(981 words)

Author(s): Würthwein, Ernst
The two Books of Kings were originally one. The LXX divided them and put them with the two Books of Samuel to form the four books Basileiōn (of kingdoms, of reigns) dealing with the monarchy. The Vg followed this arrangement with its four books Regum (of kings). The division came into the Hebrew Bible in the 15th and 16th centuries. 1. Contents Kings may be divided into three parts: 1. 1 Kings 1–11, the age of Solomon; 2. 1 Kings 12–2 Kings 17, the age of the divided kingdoms; and 3. 2 Kings 18–25, Judah after the fall of Israel. The books assemble materials from many kinds of sources. On t…


(5 words)

See Church Struggle

Kiss of Peace

(358 words)

Author(s): Senn, Frank C.
Paul’s instruction to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; see also 1 Pet. 5:14) may have been based on a practice in Greco-Roman clubs, in which new members were received with a kiss. A kiss of greeting concluded Christian initiation and served as the welcome to the Eucharist in Justin Martyr’s (d. ca. 165) 1 Apol.  65 and the Apostolic Tradition, attributed to Hippolytus (d. ca. 236). The kiss of peace came to conclude the synaxis, or liturgy of the Word (Worship). Then, in the light of Jesus’ command to be reconciled wi…


(430 words)

Author(s): Greschat, Hans-Jürgen
The Kitawala movement arose in 1911 in what was then British Nyasaland (now Malawi). The Briton Joseph Booth (1851–1932), a free-lance missionary working for many new Christian groups, directed it from outside. The African Elliott Kenan Kamwana (1872–1956), a student of Booth’s, preached the good news inside the country. The American Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916) inveighed in his writings against church and government, which would be eliminated at the return of Christ. Kamwana adapted this te…


(4 words)

See Epistemology

Knox, John

(726 words)

Author(s): Treschow, Michael
The prominent Scottish reformer John Knox (ca. 1513–72) came from a lower-class family in Giffordgate, Scotland, and probably studied at St. Andrews. Although he did not earn any academic degrees, he became a priest in 1536 and worked till 1543 as a notary in Haddington, then as a private tutor to sons of the Protestant nobility. In 1546 the Protestant preacher George Wishart, whom Knox had tried to protect during his own preaching itinerancy (albeit to no avail), was burned as a heretic by the archbishop of St. Andrews. This event deeply affected Knox because shortly before hi…