Global Christianity Pietism
Global Christianity

Renewal movement within seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Lutheranism and a seedbed of modern Protestant missions.

Library at the University of Halle, center of Pietism

Germany and other areas of Europe were devastated by the Thirty Years' War; some considered state churches to be cold and formal; scholastic theology did not nurture most Christians. Responding to these conditions, Pietism prized the conversion experience, and encouraged holy living--active compassion and Christian witness. Philip Jacob Spener's 1675 publication of Pia Desideria marks the emergence of the movement. But Pietism had had older roots, for example in Martin Luther, whose legacy Spener sought to carry forward through renewal and reform, and in John Huss the forerunner of the Moravians. The University of Halle, founded in Germany in 1694, became a training ground for Pietist leaders. There August Francke (1663-1727) developed an orphanage, a school for poor children, and a Bible Institute. Francke's goals were "a life changed, a church revived, a nation reformed, and a world evangelized." From Halle, missionaries such as Ziegenbalg and Plütschau were sent around the world. Pietists were often in conflict with state churches; in some times and places it was illegal for pietists to preach without a license or to hold small group meetings. The Norwegian lay-preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge suffered imprisonment for his activities. Related movements existed among Reformed, Moravian, and Radical Protestants; Pietism also had ties to Puritanism and Methodism. Still practiced today are several methods cultivated by Pietism: small group ministries, Bible studies, evangelism, and lay leadership.

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