2009-03-30_Church History

2009-03-30_Church History - Page 1 of 7 March 30, 2009...

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Page 1 of 7 March 30, 2009 Church History How to Talk about Pietism March 30, 2009 You can be pious and not be a Pietist. Bach was a theologian as well as a cantor. And he was pious. Lots of folks were pious, in the sense that they had devoted themselves to God, but they weren’t Pietists. It’s a movement within the Continental churches. There are similar movements within the Catholic churches but under different names. Pietism was born of a notion to redefine the notion of the pious life. This is an approach that says that we want to define theology correctly as the orthodox do, but we’re also ready for an immediacy of experience. We’re more interest in the practice of the holy life than we are in its proper definition. The movement starts with the Arndt, Johannes Arndt. A pastor in Quedlinburg. Where the Germans surrendered to the Allies after WWII. Arndt wrote a book: True Christianity . It became a very popular book; like Pilgrim’s Progress for the English speaking people. A reader’s digest version is available in the Classics of Spirituality. A considerable part but by no means the whole. If you were in the Dakotas, or up in Minnesota or Pennsylvania, and came to a Lutherans or even Anabaptists, they’d have a copy of the Bible and True Christianity. The intention was to bring back some of the treasures of spirituality and to make it a living and source of illumination and practical wisdom for people who subscribe to the reformation in one of its forms. It starts not as a movement outside one of the traditions, but a movement inside. They are not the kind that like to separate. They don’t like to go out and found new churches. They don’t like to say, “Let’s start the church of the folks who’ve got it right.” They think for the most part that their church is right, but they want something more. For example, a Lutheran pietist would go through the same process as the other Lutherans. They went to the same services. They would meet afterwards, or at some time that didn’t conflict with church activities. Church history…. Was invented by the Pietists. Exegesis, theology aren’t enough. Church history also required, to understand the religion in the course of life. A Pietist would learn Hebrew and Greek (and already knew Latin), pass the
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Page 2 of 7 March 30, 2009 examinations, be called by the congregation and answer the call in the same way. The pietists hoped to reform the church by being the leaven that leavens the whole loaf. So they were interested in a strategy that was the little church within the larger state church. They weren’t interested in separating, but in making partial congregations within the larger - the kind of exercises that embody the spirituality in life.
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course CHHIST 14 taught by Professor Davidsteinmetz during the Spring '09 term at Duke.

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2009-03-30_Church History - Page 1 of 7 March 30, 2009...

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