New Interview on Pietism and Higher Education

Maybe some of you appear in the news media all the time. I don’t. So in a week that’s already seen me quoted in Christianity Today‘s story about the troubling situation at North Greenville University, it’s a bit overwhelming also to see an interview with me appear on the website of my denomination’s magazine, The Covenant Companion.

Cover of The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher EducationReporter Stan Friedman was kind enough to talk to me about The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education: Forming Whole and Holy Persons, the book published earlier this year by IVP Academic that features essays written by past and present colleagues from Bethel University.

I’m not sure how interesting that book would be to those who work outside of higher ed, but I do hope that Covenanters from all walks of life resonate with my description of Pietism, so deeply woven is that ethos into the DNA of our denomination:

For Pietists, Christianity touches the heart as much as the head. It’s why we’re drawn to New Testament language like “new life” or “new birth.” It’s the idea that there is something that fundamentally shifts who we are.

Bigger than that, there is a hope. If that can happen for an individual it can happen for the whole church. The church is not what it should be, but we don’t have to languish there. If there’s new life for the church, then there’s new life for the world.

Now, you might think that I could have mentally edited my comments before spouting, seeing as how they concerned a book that I had — that’s right — edited. But if you can follow my ramblings, you might come to a couple of lines that bear some thought. For example:

We live out “where is it written?” [see Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom’s 2008 Companion article for some context on this Covenant slogan] in the way Pietists meant the question to be asked. It’s never been meant as a challenge. Instead it’s always been meant as an invitation to a conversation. We don’t do this just at the college level. We do this in the church and in small groups.

You can read the whole interview here. Or better yet, read other things in The Companion; it’s an excellent publication.

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