Reviews - What do customers think about Pia Desideria?
It was good Dec 1, 2007
I liked how easy this book was to unerstand and it wasn't so long that you forget what your reading about. Spener makes his points explains them and it's good. I know some theology books can old when they just run on and on. This one really doesn't. It's very informative and helps you understand a little about the church in the Enlightenment era.
Puritanism's impact on society Jan 3, 2007
Pia Desideria is an important work to consider in the development of religious and social values. Spener proposes a community of faith which supports its members in personal and social reform based on an understanding of God as One who empowers Christ's followers toward Christlikeness for the sake of others.
A spiritual classic Mar 30, 2005
Philip Jacob Spener was a Protestant reformer in the century following the Reformations. A devoted Lutheran, he nonetheless found shortcomings in Luther's Reformation, and was concerned to present a system of Christian living that continued the Lutheran Reformation along the spiritual lines Spener saw as both natural and necessary for continuing to bring the church into line with the message of scripture and God's will.
Spener was brutally honest - he found fault in no uncertain terms with the still dominant Roman Catholic church, but he also turned his critical eye to his own tradition and community. Within this group, he found faults at three primary levels - with the civil authorities, who tolerated the problems; with the clergy, who failed to model the proper way of life; and with the common people, who didn't seem that interested in following a Christian lifestyle.
Spener presented a six-point plan for bringing reforming the church, which would lead to continuing reformation in many ways. The first of these was a rededication and refocus upon scripture (which might seem a bit strange coming from a sola-scriptura early Lutheran, that this should be a need). The second was the idea of the priesthood of all believers, which did not in Spener's view supplant the ordained clerical roles, but would extend the obligations and graces of the priesthood upon the whole community. The third was an understanding that Christianity was not just a statement or system of beliefs, but a practice and way of life. The fourth was the avoidance of religious controversies (often the hope but rarely the realisation of those who are reformers). The fifth is a placing a value on education, particularly for the clergy. The sixth is the proper use and exercise of preaching, which involves pastoral, prophetic, and teaching aspects.
Spener was writing at a time not only in the aftermath of the first century of the Reformations across Europe, but also in a Germany fractured into small states and principalities by the Thirty Years War. The Lutheran church had grown comfortable in various of the Germanic locations, and was exhibiting similar institutional problems as the longer-established and still present Roman Catholic church. Pietism was a movement that would have long-term effects, in Lutheranism and beyond, as their influence extended into the present day with such major movements such as Methodism.
Spener was not a systematic theologian; he had a distrust for the purely academic forms of theology. He was in many ways a mystical spiritualist, seeking both understanding of God and connection with the community in this way.
This is a classic text, lesser known that it should be in the history of Christian thought. Theodore Tappert's introduction provides good background and interpretative framework.
Great book for all times Jul 14, 2001
This is a great book for anyone looking to discover what the begining of a revival might look like in the Lutheran tradition.
Spener calls for increased house churches and Bible studies among all Christians. He also writes to help motivate church-goers become more active in the leadership of the church, taking seriously Luther's doctrine of "preisthood of all believers."
This book is a fairly easy read. It is a must for any active Lutheran who is concerned about the current status of Lutheran orthodoxy.
Philip Jacob Spener--Misunderstood Hero of the Faith Mar 24, 2000
This work was originally pubished in 1675 by P.J. Spener who is considered to be the father of Pietism.
Spener focuses on the problems he sees in the Christian Church in his day -- a lack of moral and religious earnestness. He then gives 6 proposals (thus the title: Pia Desideria) for correcting those problems.