This morning’s new episode of The Pietist Schoolman Podcast finds Mark Pattie and me talking about a question that’s foundational to the book we’re going to be writing this year:
What is Pietism?
And, almost as importantly, what is it not? Anti-intellectualism, legalism, quietism… though the seeds of such pathologies are present in the Pietist “instincts” that we focus on. Given what I wrote last week about defining evangelicalism, I like that so much of our conversation about defining Pietism quickly turned to the theme of living with tensions…
Here let me just emphasize — in case the very idea of spending fifty minutes talking about a definition is making your eyes glaze over — that the book Mark and I are writing is not meant to be a scholarly text. While it’s going to be published by IVP Academic, that has more to do with my profession as a professor than the style of the book. Or its content: while I’m a history professor, this book is not going to be a history of Pietism. That book has been written, many times.
Mark and I will certainly draw inspiration from previous Pietists; after all, our book is modeled on Philipp Spener’s Pia Desideria (1675). But we’re interested in what Pietism has to say here and now, how it offers practical help and hope for Christians in the early 21st century.
As always, you can share your comments, suggestions, and questions in multiple ways:
- Leave a comment here.
- Leave a comment our Christian Humanist show page.
- Leave a comment at the podcast’s Facebook page.
Next week: we’ll share listener responses to our definition, and share our stories of encountering Pietism.
(One correction… In the episode I alluded to a book co-written by sociologist Michael Emerson, who is now the provost of North Park University — not Bethel University, where he taught early in his career.)