November 27, 2010

In a syndicated New York Times article Mark Oppenheimer reports on questions of religious identity raised by, among others, Florida’s senator-elect Mario Rubio.  Apparently he attends both Roman Catholic masses (his heritage) and services at an evangelical (Southern Baptist) megachurch.  The majority of his Hispanic constituents find nothing wrong with this. The article concludes this way: “It may never be clear whether Rubio is more Catholic or Protestant.  The question itself reduces a complex experience, human religiosity, to simple terms.  What… Read more

November 25, 2010

One critic here (so far) has argued against my maxim that “God is in charge but not in control” by pointing to Acts 2:23 which says that Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” (RSV)  The critic argues that this verse proves that God controlled the crucifixion of Jesus such that, although wicked men did it, God is its ultimate cause.  I take it what the gentleman means is that God foreordained and rendered… Read more

November 25, 2010

Occasionally I will stray away from obviously theological topics into something else that concerns me.  One of my pet peeves (actually a little stronger than that) is our society’s tendency to lurch to extremes in reaction to things. Just one example of many that I could mention: the fact that teachers in public schools are generally forbidden to hug children.  Just because some adults have abused their power and have sexually abused children our society now denies children the extremely… Read more

November 22, 2010

“Do you remember where you were when you heard John Kennedy was assassinated?”  I used to hear that question often; not so much anymore.  We who remember are getting old!  Most of our children and students barely know who Kennedy was. But we who were alive and conscious that day, 47 years ago remember it well.  But what few remember is that two other well-known people died the same day.  Their deaths were over shadowed by Kennedy’s.  C. S. Lewis… Read more

November 22, 2010

So what do I mean by “reclaiming Pietism?”  To “reclaim” something is to take it back.  In this case I aim to take Pietism back from those who unfairly criticize it.  Like every movement, Pietism has had its faults.  But whether one is talking about the original movement in Europe primarily among Lutherans (Spener, Francke, Zinzendorf, et al.) or the later, wider movement influenced by them Pietism does not deserve the its bad reputation. I still read and hear people… Read more

November 19, 2010

Here I want to talk briefly about types of Pietism.  Like every movement, Pietism had and has no boundaries.  I’ve already described some of its common features that form the movement’s center.  (In an earlier post about evangelicalism I talked about bounded set versus centered set categories and argued that movements cannot have boundaries.) From its earliest days Pietism was divided into two camps–the “church Pietists” and the “radical Pietists.”  The former, like Spener, Francke and Zinzendorf viewed their Pietism… Read more

November 17, 2010

No adequate definition of a religious movement can be only one paragraph.  I tried that with Pietism in a previous post and some rightly objected.  However, I stand by it as a minor definition that, of course, needs fleshing out. One person rightly noted that my definition of Pietism could apply to most American Christianity!  I responded that I agree which just shows how widespread Pietism is.  It came across the Atlantic, too deep root in American soil, and flourished here. … Read more

November 17, 2010

I’ve been asked by a number of people to comment on the newly released Barna Group report of a survey conducted of Protestant pastors and churches regarding whether they consider their church “Calvinist or Reformed” or “Wesleyan or Arminian.”  You can read the report simply by googling key words.  It is dated November 15, 2010. My initial response is that I’m suspicious of the results because the surveyors did not clarify for the respondents what are meant by these labels… Read more

November 15, 2010

I’ll call this Part 2 even though I didn’t label the previous post Part 1.  I’ll just declare it so without going back and changing it. I have seen some excellent questions about Pietism here and I’ll do my best to answer them in time.  I don’t know exactly how many parts this thread will have, but I intend it to have several. Like so many good theological terms and labels “Pietism” and “Pietist” are essentially contested concepts.  Numerous books have… Read more

November 13, 2010

My next few posts here will deal with Pietism.  Who cares?  Well, my research leads me to believe true, historical, classical Pietism is very different from the false impression of the meaning of Pietism generally held today.  This is parallel with my concern to reclaim “Arminianism.”  I have shown in Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities that many Reformed and even some Arminian theologians (to say nothing of pastors!) have distorted the true, historical meaning of that label so that even… Read more

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