Celebrating Wesleyan Treasures and Rooting for United Methodists to Continue Offering Them

Reading Sarah Lancaster’s insightful overview of Wesleyanism and keeping in mind its United Methodist denominational expressions took me back to when it was my responsibility to articulate overlaps between Mennonite and United Methodist teachings and values. The United Methodist University Senate oversees UM higher education, including in non-UM institutions it approves to teach UM students. […]

“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 […]

John Wesley and Eastern Orthodoxy

Dear Sarah, Thank you for your informative contribution to our ongoing conversation. You are probably aware of the fascinating ways John Wesley is linked with Eastern Orthodoxy, but some of our conversation partners may not be aware of these connections. First of all, while John Wesley loved all the Church Fathers of the first four […]

How Do You Best Love Those Who Don’t Fulfill Expectations? Can Methodists Endorse the Lutheran Answer as Appropriate?

     I was tempted to sing the Paul Simon hit again about the mother and child reunion in response to this fine piece of Methodist theologizing.  After all it is well known that John Wesley had his famed Aldersgate Experience while reading the work of Martin Luther on justification by grace through faith (Journals, May […]

The Quest for Holiness

 It seems that I have been fascinated with the concept of holiness for as long as I can remember. As a young person growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I discovered that one of my cousins and his family were active participants in what they referred to as a “Pentecostal Holiness” movement. Many years later […]

The Allure of Wesleyanism

For this Baptist, John Wesley is one of the most interesting and significant Protestant leaders in history. I have always found his project alluring: within decadent, aristocratic-heavy 18th century Anglicanism arose a leader, and a movement, calling for a renewal of heartfelt, wholly committed, holistic, holiness. (Perhaps only Baptists alliterate quite like that. Sorry.) The […]

Hearts Strangely Warmed

I deeply appreciate Sarah Lancaster’s summary of the Wesleyan tradition and its emphasis on holiness and piety within the context of community. True, as Ms. Lancaster notes, that emphasis has flagged somewhat at various times within the Wesleyan tradition—a consequence of routinization, no doubt—but the ideal remains, and it is important. When I think of […]

Holiness of Heart and Life

Other participants in this project have told their stories about how they came to participate in the tradition they represent in these conversations. My own story is quite straightforward. My father was a Methodist preacher, and my mother had been a Methodist missionary in India before she married my father. I was baptized as an […]

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”), […]

The Heart of the Matter

Hello, cousin! That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read this month’s “A Week in the Life of a Pietist,” by Christopher Gehrz.  Too few scholars have drawn attention to the deep affinities between Pietism and Pentecostalism, and to Pietism’s influence on Pentecostal faith and practice.  Pentecostalism has a complex root system […]

Growth in Christ through the Nicene Creed, and the Icons

Dear Christopher, Thank you very much for your quite beautiful description of the Pietist spirit/ethos. I think, from an Orthodox perspective, there’s so much to be affirmed in the Pietist’s heart-cry, as I understand it, for deeply meaningful, ongoing, living experience with the Living God, abiding in deep personal communion with Him.  And in and […]

Following Jesus to Faithful Action in the World

Dr. Gehrz’s reflection on what it means to follow Jesus from a Pietist perspective reinforces what I believe is a critical understanding in our Respectful Conversation series – following Jesus is a lived practice that is reflected in our devotional life and engagement in the world. To call ourselves disciples of Jesus means that we […]

Stirred by Tender Pietism

In his stirring rendition of “A Week in the Life of a Pietist,” Christopher Gehrz illumined for me the reality that a fair amount of what I’ve experienced as just part of my heritage is indebted to Pietism. I needed barely to  read more than that one of my favorite hymns, “Children of the Heavenly […]

It is the Pietism That Brings Faith Alive: A Baptist Response

Reading Christopher Gehrz’s essay about pietism, I was once again reminded of my primal Baptist experience, a bit of which I have narrated in an earlier post. His essay helps clarify for me that pietism was alive and well in that Baptist congregation in northern Virginia in the late 1970s. I was taught that the […]

Perhaps the Mother and Child Reunion is Only a Couple Clarifications Away

  To paraphrase the 1972 Paul Simon hit:   Now I would not give you false hope,  on these great and mournful [Lenten] days.  But the mother [Lutheran] and child [Pietist] re-u-ni-on  is just a couple of [theological] clarifications away.       Can we grant that Lutheranism is the mother of Pietism?  This relationship is readily apparent when […]