A Much Maligned Movement Re-Examined: From the Publisher--Pietism
Last fall, we sent a brief survey to our subscriber list asking for an evaluation of the various elements in this magazine. The percentage who completed and returned the questionnaire was unusually high and you should know that your input is taken most seriously and is invaluable to us.
An example of our intent to be responsive to your interests is this present issue. Over the past year we received many letters urging us to devote an issue to an examination of the Pietistic movement. This advice came from an amazing diversity of sources, including professors, pastors, and laity representing a wide diversity of denominational backgrounds.
We happily discovered that the acknowledged dean of Pietist studies in America, Dr. Ernest Stoeffler, professor emeritus at Temple University lived only a few miles from our office. He graciously provided guidance in the planning of this issue and contributed a major article.
We offer this issue as a small contribution to a long overdue and much needed reassessment of Pietism. Its streams of influence within contemporary Christianity are deep, diverse, and often unrecognized. Its contributions to the Body of Christ deserve new understanding and reappraisal. Its deviations and excesses also have much to teach us.
Harold O.J. Brown included a 33-page treatment of Pietism in his book Heresies published by Doubleday. Although the title of his book might at first seem misleading, his treatment is helpful and, we think, fair. He concludes with this statement: “Without Pietism, Protestantism might never have survived the eighteenth century, but with Pietism, it may ultimately cease to be Protestantism.” Give that some further thought after reading this issue.
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