Following Jesus: The Pietist Tradition

“Unlike every other participant in this year-long conversation,” I wrote early in my lead essay this month for Following Jesus, “the Pietist Tradition has no ecclesial shape or institutional structure. And the number of Christians worldwide who identify as Pietist is vanishingly small.” But what Roger Olson calls the Pietist ethos shows up in virtually … More Following Jesus: The Pietist Tradition

A New Book about “The Second Greatest Lutheran Theologian”

According to church historian Carter Lindberg, that’s how German Lutherans in the early 18th century thought of Philipp Jakob Spener: second only to Martin Luther himself. Born this day in 1635, Spener is less remembered nowadays, but played a prominent role in renewing early modern Protestantism, as a popular preacher and writer and the founding … More A New Book about “The Second Greatest Lutheran Theologian”

Following Jesus: The Anglican Tradition

At first blush, it might seem like Anglicanism and Pietism would have little in common. “But in ways expected and not,” I wrote yesterday, “Randall Balmer’s essay resonated more strongly with me than any other preceding it” in the Following Jesus conversation. It’s not just that we’re both historians and Anglophiles with a fondness for … More Following Jesus: The Anglican Tradition

Following Jesus: The Lutheran Tradition

As a Pietist who now worships within a Lutheran congregation, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this month’s installment of our year-long, ecumenical conversation about Following Jesus. Church historian Mark Ellingsen didn’t disappoint, offering a reflection on what he called Lutheranism’s “Evangelical Catholic” way of following Jesus. At least, that’s how he saw his more “confessional” branch … More Following Jesus: The Lutheran Tradition

“Antipathy to authoritarian forms”: An Interpretation of Pietism from Mid-1950s Bethel

One benefit of participating in the Following Jesus conversation this year is that I’ve been prompted to dig back into a variety of sources from what we’re calling “The Pietist Tradition.” One that recently arrived in my mailbox is From Head to Heart: A Compendium of the Theology of Philipp Jakob Spener. Edited by K. … More “Antipathy to authoritarian forms”: An Interpretation of Pietism from Mid-1950s Bethel

Why I Dedicated a Charles Lindbergh Biography to Dick Peterson

Last week I shared the acknowledgments section from my biography of Charles Lindbergh. Today, a few words about the dedication: In honor of another descendant of Swedish immigrants:Dick Peterson—for whom physics is an act of worship,whose career confirms Anne Lindbergh’s instinct that“the true scientist [is] akin to the artist and the saint,”whose life demonstrates that … More Why I Dedicated a Charles Lindbergh Biography to Dick Peterson