Entries by Dr. Christopher Gehrz

Making All Things New

This past Sunday morning, worship in the Lutheran church I was visiting opened with a Brazilian hymn. Verse 1 was easy enough: “Oh, sing to the Lord, oh, sing God a new song.” But as we got deeper into the hymn, I wondered what my fellow white Midwestern congregants would have thought if someone had […]

A “Kindler, Gentler Form of Christianity”… with Real Differences

In a conversation full of irenic Christians, no one has approached this project in better faith than our resident Latter-day Saint. Month in and month out, I’ve not only learned more from Robert Millet about Christian theology and practice, but what it means to live out the principles that undergird the “respectful conversation” project. I’m […]

“Oh, now I understand…”

If Lutheranism is the parent of Pietism, then surely the Wesleyan Tradition is the closest cousin to my own. The most distinctive catalyst for the Methodist wing of the First Great Awakening was the encounter of John and Charles Wesley with Pietism, both the Moravian strain that famously led to their conversion experiences and the […]

Is Pietism Really a Tradition? Is It Evangelicalism? And What of Justice?

Above all else, count me relieved that my unusual approach to the lead essay format seems to have connected with so many of my conversation partners. Knowing that the typical response to the word “Pietism” in the 21st century is either non-recognition (“What’s that?”) or mis-recognition (“Oh, you mean legalism” — or “anti-intellectualism” or “quietism”), […]

Finding Common Ground

For many Pietists, I’m sure that Anglicanism inspires the same sorts of reservations that I noted in earlier responses to other Christian traditions that emphasize sacramental worship within the structure of an episcopate. It’s the rare Pietist, for example, who would see a short homily (or a longer sermon) as “merely a stop on the […]