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Understanding Pietism [Paperback]

By Dale W. Brown (Author)
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Item description for Understanding Pietism by Dale W. Brown...

A concise historical survey of the Pietist movement in Europe and America. Though widely misunderstood and often maligned, Pietism continues to be an important part of evangelical Christianity. Mennonite, Brethren, and various other denominations trace their doctrinal ancestry to the Pietist movement. Thousands of other Christians follow the tenets of Pietism without realizing it. In this well-documented text, Dr. Brown explains how Pietists have shaped modern evangelicals' understanding of church/state relations, pacifism, ministry to the poor, and many other issues. "I consider Understanding Pietism to be the best available general survey of the subject," says Dr. E. Morris Sider of Messiah College. "A distinguishing feature is its readability for both laity and theologians."

Publishers Description
A concise history of the Pietist movement in Europe and America, this book is now in its third printing. It is a standard textbook for college and seminary courses in church history and historical theology.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Evangel Publishing House
Pages   125
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.68" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.32"
Weight:   0.41 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2002
Publisher   Evangel Publishing House
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0916035646  
ISBN13  9780916035648  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dale W. Brown

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dale W. Brown is Prefessor Emeritus, Bethany Theological Seminary; relating to the Young Center for the study of Anabaptist and Pietist Groups; Susquehanna Valley Satellite of Bethany at Elizabethtown College.

Dale W. Brown currently resides in Elizabethtown, in the state of Pennsylvania. Dale W. Brown was born in 1926.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Understanding Pietism?

An Overview & Defense of Pietism as Represented by Spener & Francke  Apr 12, 2010
The book's title needs clarification which is provided by the title of Brown's 1962 doctoral dissertation on which it is based: "The Problem of Subjectivism in Pietism: A Redefinition with Special Reference to the Theology of Philipp Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke". As the dissertation title indicates, the book is focused on the theology of Pietism's early representatives Spener (1635 - 1705) and Francke (1663 - 1727). Their thought is used to address the generally negative assessments of Pietism as connoting subjectivism, individualism, and otherworldliness with the hopes of creating a more balanced assessment that takes into consideration positive contributions while not ignoring in their theology the seed of later degenerations such as hypocritical legalism, experiential fanaticism, narrow-minded dogmatism, and loveless separatism.

Brown distinguishes between Churchly or Classical Pietism and Radical Pietism, the former label used to include the thought of Spener and Francke and the latter label used for "those who had greater despair about the church and greater appropriation from the writings of late medieval mysticism" (page 23). Brown's book addresses beliefs identified with Radical Pietism in the first chapter, but his primary focus is on the motifs of Churchly or Classical Pietism. I recommend other resources such as The Pietist Theologians (2004), edited by Carter Lindberg, for more thorough introductions to some of the primary Radical Pietists such as Gottfried Arnold and Gerhard Tersteegen.

Brown looks at both negative and positive assessments of Pietism, providing references in both his chapter notes and bibliography. He is particularly indebted, and gives special credit to, the works of the late F. Ernest Stoeffler who he says deserves the title of Dean of American Pietist historians and whose works provided the basis and motivation for scholars listed in the first chapter and the appended bibliographical section of his book. This includes Peter Erb whose works helped introduce me to Pietism as it relates to mysticism. Brown's own interest in the topic, and sympathetic bias, comes from his background in the Church of the Brethren which, he was told, had Pietist origins. Brown covers the roots of Pietism not only in mysticism but also in Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anabaptism before exploring its central theological motifs of love theology, reformation of the church, emphasis on the Bible, reformation of life, and theology of experience. Each of these is introduced in the first chapter, but explored in more depth in the subsequent chapters. The inner experience of regeneration is foundational to Pietist theology. According to Brown, "Regeneration was for Spener what justification had been for Luther" (page 66). Although Spener supported the Lutheran emphasis on justification by faith, he particularly emphasized the life-changing nature of that faith through regeneration and sanctification in relationship to the Holy Spirit and the importance of it for understanding the Bible, one's role in the invisible and visible Church, and one's relationship and ministry to the World.

The book's last chapter looks at the legacy of Pietism - including philosophical/theological, institutional, and denominational legacies - and its relationship to our present milieu. Within the context of philosophical and theological legacies, Brown states: "Theologically, largely due to its theology of religious experience, Pietism has been named a root of both Fundamentalism and Liberalism. The doctrines of conversion, regeneration, and holiness of life were carried into the many awakenings and revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through theologians like Friedrich Schleiermacher, who once referred to himself as a 'Pietist of a higher order,' this same empiricism was formative in the epistemology of Liberalism" (page 100). This is a great introduction to Pietism, especially in its early expressions, for those new to the topic. Those with some theological training, however, will benefit more from it.

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