I’ve been awaiting this week with bated breath: the first magazine reviews of The Pietist Option have come in…
And they’re pretty terrific!
This morning in Christianity Today, Hannah Anderson gives our book four stars. The review is behind the CT paywall (and I think will be in the November print issue), but here’s a taste of her response to our “option”:
Of all of Pietism’s instincts, perhaps the most important are its emphases on hope and commitment to unity. Despite the bleakness of the Thirty Years’ War, early Pietists believed that the same power that had brought them from spiritual death to spiritual life could remake the world.
…Like any system of belief, the parts work in relationship to each other. Commitment to unity without a commitment to the authority of Scripture quickly leads to authoritarianism. Individual faith without commitment to unity ends up prioritizing personal needs above both Scripture and fellow believers. In this sense, Gehrz and Pattie’s thesis calls for a return to basics, embodying one of the key instincts of Pietism itself: The Christian life is both simpler and more radical than you know.
I’m grateful to Anderson for the review, and to CT for running it. On my birthday no less!!
Then earlier in the week, George P. Wood, the executive director of publications for the Assemblies of God, wrote a very positive review for Influence Magazine:
A final reason why The Pietist Option so deeply resonated with me is its Jesus-centeredness. The entire program of Pietism, if program is the right term, can be summarized in four words: Come back to Jesus.
…The Pietist Option is not a full-orbed battle plan for the Christianization of American society. It doesn’t outline a rigorous intellectual apologetic, for example, nor does it detail the shape of the reform of church and culture. It doesn’t necessarily oppose those things, I should add — although “irenic spirit” and “culture war” don’t jibe. But my guess is that Pietism doubts Christian ideas and reforms will work if Christians themselves don’t first and foremost have a living trust in Jesus.
So, come back to Jesus! It’s not the only thing to say about the renewal of Christianity, but it’s certainly fundamental.
Glad as I am for the book to be reviewed in the flagship publication of American evangelicalism, I’m equally happy to get a hearing from an AG periodical, and to find that while Wood is “a Pentecostal, not a Pietist, these themes [of The Pietist Option] deeply resonated with [his] heart.” It’s a good reminder that Pietism is not a rigid movement, but an ethos that can “leaven” many different Christian traditions.
Our thanks to both reviewers! If what they have to say has you intrigued, you can purchase The Pietist Option at Amazon (where all 19 reviews so far have been 5/5 stars!), Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, and many other retailers. And if you want to get copies for a small group, ask InterVarsity Press about the bulk discount rate, starting at 25% for orders of 10-49 copies.