This volume carries on the bilingual series of Leuenberg Documents in which the findings of the doctrinal conversations, study projects and consultations of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship are documented. The work on the subject of “Church– People–State–Nation” was commissioned by the 4th General Assembly of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship held in Vienna in 1994. The delegates of that Assembly were faced with three matters of concern. Firstly, the ecclesiological statements of the document “The Church of Jesus Christ” (cf. Leuenberg Document 1) adopted unanimously by the Vienna Assembly required further concretising. It seemed particularly urgent to work up the tasks of the churches in the pluralistic societies in Europe (The Church of Jesus Christ, Chapter II). Secondly, the post-1989 political changes, especially in the eastern and central European regions under the former Soviet Union’s influence, gave rise to a new national awareness which partly led to homicidal nationalistic conflicts (the collapse of Yugoslavia). Thirdly, the Leuenberg Church Fellowship was expected to provide a special contribution for the Second European Ecumenical Assembly 1997 (EEA2) in Graz. The South and Southeast Europe Regional Group attended to this task producing a thesis on the subject of “Church, people, state and nation”.
Given the dramatic situation of the Protestant churches in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe, it stood to reason that the South and Southeast Regional Group of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship was commissioned to deal with the subject. The Group worked intensively on the relationship of “Church– People–State–Nation” in the years between 1995 and 1998. The introduction of the study itself gives information on the working process (v. p. 106ff). The first draft, which was produced in 1998 after providing the thesis for the EEA2, was sent to the member churches of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship for reactions. The draft was reviewed on the basis of the reactions received, and the resulting final paper was discussed at the 5th General Assembly of the Leuenberg Church Fellowship held in Belfast from 19 to 25 June 2001.
Wilhelm Hüffmeier (hg./ed.)
2002 Verlag Otto Lembeck, Frankfurt am Main