Bethel Lecture

Bethel Lecture April 22, 2012

Last Friday Bethel University, under the excellent leadership of Chris Gehrz and Christian Collins Winn, hosted a colloquium on Pietism. This event built on their earlier colloquium that brought in scholars of Pietism. But this session was not just on Pietism but was instead an exploration of some of Pietism’s connections, and I was asked to lecture on Anabaptism and Pietism. [I’m not sure what I will do with this paper, but somehow I will use it for publication, so I won’t do much with it here.]

I spent loads of time this Winter studying Anabaptist’s origins, and focused my attention on the works of Balthasar Hubmaier since he was the first major theologian. So, to keep to the topic, the presentation compared Hubmaier with the Pietist vision of Spener (and Johann Arndt). Evangelicalism could learn much if it would devote itself to developing both of these heritages: the Anabaptist and the Pietist. I’m tempted here to delve into the paper but will avoid that.

Some highlights for me:

* Meeting and getting to chat with Chris Gehrz and Christian Collins Winn. Both of them are fine scholars who made singular contributions to the earlier colloquium published as The Pietist Impulse in Christianity.
* Seeing some former students, including Marie Leafblad and Julie Capon, and I have to reserve special place for Mark Safstrom, a former NPU student who is now a professor of Scandinavian Studies at the Univ of Illinois. He did an excellent paper on PP Waldenström in the above volume (showing Waldenström’s political and social vision, clear elements of Pietism that are often ignored).
* Visiting Bethel University the first time — I was blown away with how attractive a campus it is. And I got to see an old friend from my student days, Mike Holmes, who has had a distinguished career as a professor at Bethel.
* Meeting Jon Sensbach, author of Rebecca’s Revival, an exceptional study of an African Moravian woman evangelist in the Caribbean.

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