From their theological and devotional writings to their social and ecclesial practices, the fathers and mothers of Pietism boldly declared the ethical spirit of the Christian faith. This seventeenth-century renewal movement inspired a simple Christian ethic by connecting Christian character with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. The Pietists sought to cultivate these virtues by reading Scripture together, empowering the common priesthood of believers, and engaging in social and ecclesial reform toward the end of spreading the gospel. Pietism brought together faith and life, Word and deed, and piety and social reform in an effort to get back to the basic belief in the power of God’s Word to engender faith and transform human life. This book celebrates Pietism’s contribution by telling the stories of three early figures—Philipp Jakob Spener, Johanna Eleonora Petersen, and August Hermann Francke—as they attended to issues of class, gender, poverty, and education through the lens of Scripture. In addition to clarifying what historians call “one of the least understood movements in the history of Christianity,” this book challenges a religious culture that juxtaposes faith and social action, and it rehabilitates the Pietist heritage and its central role in the birth of Evangelicalism.
With Logos Bible Software, this volume is completely searchable, with Scripture passages appearing on mouseover and linking to your favorite Bible translation in your library. This makes this text more powerful and easier to access than ever before for scholarly work or personal Bible study. With the advanced search features of Logos Bible Software, you can perform powerful searches by topic or Scripture reference—finding, for example, every mention of “Pietism,” or “Covenant.”
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If living fully and faithfully as followers of Christ today in vibrant community matters to you, read this book. Angels, Worms, and Bogeys not only faithfully illuminates the past, it also paints a picture of what a faithful future will look like for the church; alive in Christ, centered on the Word, empowering the whole people of God to live Christ incarnate in our world today. This engagingly written and highly accessible volume vividly captures a much neglected, often misunderstood, but extremely important period in church history.
—Donn Engebretson, vice-president, Evangelical Covenant Church
This primer on the social ethics of Pietism is long overdue and most welcome. Many Protestant traditions, as well as streams of Catholicism and Judaism, continue to be shaped by the organic mutuality of head, heart, and hands, demonstrating Pietism’s contemporary relevance. The heart of Pietism—the glory of God and the good of one’s neighbor—is universal to religious experience and a lived faith. Clifton-Soderstrom writes boldly and compassionately as one rooted in the body of Christ, the Church.
—Philip J. Anderson, professor of church history, North Park Theological Seminary
Michelle A. Clifton-Soderstrom is an assistant professor of theology and ethics at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. She has published in Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Political Theology, and The Covenant Companion.