As excited as I’ve been to share our book on Pietism and Christian higher education, I’m at least as thrilled by the near-simultaneous publication of a broader study of Pietism. And as it happens, Reclaiming Pietism: Retrieving an Evangelical Tradition (Eerdmans) is written by two of the contributors to our book: Roger Olson and Christian Collins Winn.
I’ll have a longer review of their work in an upcoming issue of Books & Culture, but suffice it to say that I think Christian and Roger have not only offered a great introduction to the history of the Pietist ethos (one that ranges far beyond early modern Germany) but made a strong case that “Pietism points toward a way of doing Christian theology that is more authentically evangelical than alternatives.” I expect that readers will come away convinced that an “Evangelicalism that remembers and learns from the Pietist heritage can only be spiritually stronger and theologically more balanced as a result of rediscovering its impulses.”
For a preview of Reclaiming Pietism, check out this interview with Roger and Christian, which places the book’s origin in our 2009 “Pietist impulse” conference at Bethel:
I love how Christian summarizes Pietism as a kind of “transformational Christianity”:
…[it] begins… with this interaction with the living Christ, and the Pietist is very interested in the fact that they’ve experienced this thing called “the new birth”…. they ask themselves, “If I can be different, why can’t the church be different? And if the church can be different, why can’t the world be different?” And so the Pietist ethos is effectively attempting to work out faithfully what that would mean in different kinds of settings, whether they’re ecclesial or social.