Thanks to Brant Himes of Azusa Pacific University for taking the time to review our book on Pietism and higher ed for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion!
In The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education, Christopher Gehrz convenes an impressive array of scholars to offer fresh, cross-disciplinary reflections on how the Pietist mandate to form whole and holy persons can invigorate institutions of Christian higher education…. The breadth of expertise [of the contributors] serves to reinforce the underlying thesis of the book: the Pietistic traditions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany, nineteenth-century Sweden, and twentieth-century Minnesota can provide a “usable past” with which Christian colleges and universities in the twenty-first century can navigate the many challenges facing higher education.
While I think he’s right to wonder, in closing, whether our “institution-centric approach” will leave readers “challenged by how to appropriate the uniquely-Bethel Pietist ethos to other institutional contexts,” I’m glad that Himes felt that
Faculty, staff, and administrators need not serve at institutions traditionally associated with the Pietist tradition to find resonance with the authors’ ideas and perspectives. While the chapters offer a healthy accounting of the influence of Pietism on Christian higher education, the calling to form “whole and holy persons” is broadly shared within the Christian tradition. To be sure, the chapters are written squarely from the Pietist perspective. However, all Christian educators can find avenues for reflection and practices for implementation within this book. The dedication to a holistic vision of student formation, mentoring, teaching, scholarship, and service is a shared and unifying value across the diversity of Christian institutions today – and even as this vision is articulated and pursued in different ways, the Pietist vision offers a unique and compelling framework for contemporary application.