Friday, June 15, 2007

Emerging Church as the New Pietism

Michael Krause, in his reading, has been seeing a lot of similarities between the historical movement called Pietism and what's happening in the current renewal of the church (part of which is referred to by the term Emerging Church).

Krause writes:
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late-17th century to the mid-18th century. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to begin the Brethren movement. The Pietist movement combined the Lutheran emphasis on Biblical doctrine with the Reformed, and especially Puritan, emphasis on individual piety, and a vigorous Christian life.

Pietism seems to have a number of parallels to the emerging movement.
Pietism was a reaction to the rigid formalism of the state (Lutheran) church.
Pietism also focused on orthopraxy (right living) as opposed to merely orthodoxy (right belief).
It focused on an authentic faith, biblically correct but not just dry doctrine.
It often met in small groups in homes for deeper discussion and community.
All of these seem to line up with what is happening today.
Go to his post to see a summary of Philipp Jakob Spener's (the founder of Pietism - and yes his first name is spelled that way) Pia desideria or Earnest Desires for a Reform of the True Evangelical Church, the title giving rise to the term "Pietists".
One focus that is not always present in the Emerging movement that was a core element of Pietism is "piety" - a commitment to outward and inward holiness. The key element in the Emerging movement seems to be cultural relevance - sometimes at the expense of what we have traditionally considered holiness. But with their commitment to orthopraxy - right living - there is a real hope that this new movement of the Spirit will breathe life into the entire church.

1 comment:

hillschurch said...

Thanks for linking to my blog.
You seem to have looked at a lot of stuff I've connected with in the past including Shane Claiborne and Capon (who has been one of my favourites for years. We need to connect.