Written by experts from within their communities, this book compares the legal regimes of Christian churches as systems of religious law.

The ecumenical movement, with its historical theological focus, has failed to date to address the role of church law in shaping relations between churches and fostering greater mutual understanding between them. In turn, theologians and jurists from the different traditions have not hitherto worked together on a fully ecumenical appreciation of the potential value of church laws to help, and sometimes to hinder, the achievement of greater Christian unity. This book seeks to correct this ecumenical church law deficit. It takes account of the recent formulation by an ecumenical panel of a Statement of Principles of Christian Law, which has been welcomed by Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, leader of the Orthodox Church worldwide, as recognizing the importance of canon law for ecumenical dialogue. This book, therefore, not only provides the fruits of an understanding of church laws within ten Christian traditions, but also critically evaluates the Statement against the laws of these individual ecclesial communities.

The book will be an essential resource for scholars of law and religion, theology, and sociology. It will also be of interest to those working in religious institutions and policy-makers.

chapter |5 pages


ByNorman Doe

chapter 1|22 pages

The evolution of the principles of Christian law

ByNorman Doe

chapter 2|18 pages

Roman Catholic canon law

ByAidan McGrath, Robert Ombres

chapter 3|20 pages

The Eastern Catholic Churches

ByAstrid Kaptijn

chapter 4|19 pages

The Orthodox canonical tradition

ByNikos Maghioros

chapter 5|21 pages

The Anglican canonical tradition

ByMark Hill

chapter 6|22 pages

A Lutheran perspective

ByAndreas Henriksen Aarflot

chapter 7|22 pages

Methodist law and discipline

ByJohn A. Harrod

chapter 8|20 pages

Reformed church order

ByLeon van den Broeke

chapter 9|18 pages

The Presbyterian tradition

ByJohn Chalmers

chapter 10|20 pages

Baptist church polity

ByPaul Goodliff

chapter 11|21 pages

Pentecostal church polity

ByPaul Rochester

chapter 12|18 pages

The polity of the United and Uniting Churches

ByLeo J. Koffeman

chapter |9 pages


Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios (Dimitrios Nikiforos)
ByDimitrios Nikiforos