Mondays are for Church History - 1/30/17
Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Reformation to the Present Day. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 2. New York: HarperCollins, 2010b. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 24, “The Pietist Option” Loc. 4025-4266.
In this chapter, Gonzalez traces not only the German pietism which sprang from the Thirty Years’ War, but also the movements of Zinzendorf and Wesley (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4032).
Philip Jakob Spener, 1635-1705, is generally recognized as “the father of Pietism” (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4032). As a Lutheran pastor, Spener became concerned with developing personal faith in individuals. He did this through evaluation of expressions of personal faith (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4047). The life of holiness became central to his teaching, rather than being content with doctrines, including justification (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4062). Gonzalez suggests that a mark of Pietism is a desire that the Christian should show a remarkable sort of morality, as opposed to the code which the broader society would view as good (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4062). Pietism spread not only through Lutheranism but also into the Reformed movement (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4077). Gonzalez tracks its influence into the Great Awakening in North America, as well as the move to missionary activity in the 1700s (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4092).
Zinzendorf in the early 1700s was strongly influenced by Moravian pietists (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4108). He became deeply involved in sending missionaries all around the world. This move in turn had an impact on John Wesley and the Methodist movement (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4115).
John Wesley in 1735-36 was aboard a ship bound for Georgia along with some Moravians (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4123). Their confidence in God during a severe storm caused Wesley to question his trust in Jesus. Wesley was unsure of the stability of his faith in Christ (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4139). Gonzalez discusses Wesley’s life, which shows signs of considerable dedication to his Christian faith but in which he concluded that he did not have salvation and needed to preach about faith until he himself had it (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4154). This eventually came about in an experience which he could date, May 24, 1738 (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4160). From that time Wesley worked tirelessly to encourage others to the same warm spirituality he had experienced (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4169). Wesley departed from the Calvinist faith to prefer Arminianism, thus dividing from some associates such as George Whitefield (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4184). Wesley sought to work within the Anglican church, but his Methodist groups became a movement of their own (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4199). Over time, they were accepting of lay preachers, including women (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4214). Wesley remained in conflict with the Anglican church, who viewed him as divisive and disorderly (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4222). By 1784 Wesley was ordaining pastors. By 1787 the Methodist church was recognized as its own organization (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4230). In North America Methodism spread rapidly in the 1770s (Gonzalez 2010b, Loc. 4252).
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