Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pietism Narrative - The Basics -
Save This Link


Spener began Pietism, which was unionistic from the start. He baptized Zinsendorf, leader of the Moravians, who began world missions and profoundly influenced Wesley. See Knapp below.


Philipp Jakob Spener started Pietism with his Pia Desideria (Pious Wishes) in 1675. He wrote a long essay as an introduction to a popular orthodox book of sermons by Johann Arndt, so Arndt's book served inadvertently as a launching pad for Pietism. Spener had already started conventicles or cell groups in 1669. (Pia Desideria, ed. Tappert, p. 13)

Some hallmarks of Pietism are:
  1. A heart religion instead of a head religion. Pietists often mention that false distinction.
  2. Lay-led conventicles or cell groups, to develop piety through prayer and Bible study.
  3. Unionism - cooperation between Lutherans and the Reformed. Spener was the first union theologian (Heick, II, p. 23).
  4. An emphasis on good works and foreign missions. "Deeds, not creeds" is a popular motto.
  5. Denial of the Real Presence and baptismal regeneration, consequences of working with the Reformed. (Heick, II, p. 24)
  6. A better, higher, or deeper form of Christianity rather than the Sunday worshiping church. This often made the cell group the real church, the gathered church.


Spener influenced the ruler to found Halle University in 1694, to teach actual Biblical studies, which had been neglected in favor of ferocious dogmatic struggles between the Lutherans and Calvinists.

August Hermann Francke, (1663–1727)


Francke met with Spener, adopted his program, and got into a world of trouble over Pietism. Spener had Francke appointed to the newly established Halle University. Francke remained there as a professor and pastor of a congregation for the next 36 years. His energy spread the influence of Pietism, both in his charity work (Halle Orphanage) and his Biblical teaching.

Count Zinzendorf with Wesley


Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760) had a profound effect on the spread of Pietism, not only through his contact and friendship with Wesley, but also by being the father of world missions. Methodism is another form of Pietism. The English Methodist George Scott influenced Carl Olaf Rosenius, who founded Swedish Pietism together.

Zinzendorf is also known for his "Come Lord Jesus" prayer and his hymns. Pietistic hymns emphasize the blood of Jesus because of the influence of Johann Albrecht Bengel. (Heick, II, p. 25) Bengel's son-in-law, Burk, may be the inventor of Objective Justification.



The English Methodist George Scott (1804-1874) came to Sweden and worked with Carl Olaf Rosenius (1816-1868), who founded the newspaper Pietisten. The Swedish-American Augustana Synod looked to Rosenius as their patriarch. Augustana taught justification by faith, arguing against the Norwegian Pietists who promoted justification without faith. Two offshoots of Swedish Pietism in America are the Evangelical Covenant and Evangelical Free denominations, both deeply involved in the Church Growth Movement.


Jakob Boehme, radical Pietist


Boehme (1575-1624) illustrates what can happen when someone just starts making up all kinds of things. Today he is called creative. Another radical Pietist was Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687—1752)


Bengel introduced weird ideas about the blood of Christ stored in heaven for justification. His work greatly influenced the Pietistic hymns (Jesus Thy Blood and Righteousness) and the theology of Zinzendorf.

Bengel is also famous for his Gnomon, used by John Wesley for his Expository Notes. Does this explain Methodist George Scott-->Rosenius-->Objective Justification? Note Burk below.

Bengel's son-in-law published an expanded edition of one of his works in 1763 - Philip David Burk (1714-1770).

Hoenecke (Dogmatik, III, p. 354-5) wrote this: And Ph. D. Burk (Rechtfertigung und Versicherung, p. 41) rightly said:
The difference between general justification and the more common usage of the term justification can be expressed as follows. The latter takes place precisely upon the appropriation of the former.


Hoenecke added a sentence used as a bromide by all UOJ fanatics: "An emphasis upon general justification is necessary in order to safeguard the material content of the Gospel."

In German, general justification means - each and every one is justified. General seems vague in English, so that is probably why moderns have used Objective Justification and Universal Justification and Universal Objective Justification. All three terms mean what the Brief Statement of 1932 imagines - God declared the whole world free of sin, without faith, without the Word, without the Means of Grace.
(1932 B.S. - Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25; that therefore not for the sake of their good works, but without the works of the Law, by grace, for Christ's sake, He justifies, that is, accounts as righteous, all those who believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ's sake their sins are forgiven.)

Christian von Wolff (1679-1754)


Halle moved quickly from Pietism to Radical Pietism to Rationalism. Wolff, professor at Halle, exemplified the rationalism which spread to all other German universities from Halle. Frederick William I fired Wolff from Halle, so Marburg University immediately hired him. Wolff eventually returned to Halle, lionized by academics and a favorite of Frederick the Great.

Adolph Hoenecke (1835-1908) studied at Halle under Tholuck, who studied under Knapp. Hoenecke is the principal theologian, perhaps the only theologian, of the Wisconsin Synod.


George Christian Knapp (1753-1825) was a Pietist but very rationalistic. He taught two justifications, objective and subjective, in his Lectures on Theology, published in German in 1789. The Lectures were translated into English in 1831 by Leonard Wood, who was very influential at the time, published and used in many editions in America. The Lectures were still being used at Andover at the end of the 19th century, mirroring the enormous span of years Knapp spent teaching.

Knapp taught Objective and Subjective Justification, in form familiar to Missouri, WELS, and the Little Sect on the Prairie:

Here are some statements from the English edition, 8th, 1859, p. 397ff:

The Scripture doctrine of pardon or justification through Christ, as an universal and unmerited favour of God.

1. The Universality of this Benefit

It is universal as the atonement itself...If the atonement extends to the whole human race, justification must also be universal--i.e., all must be able to obtain the actual forgiveness of their sins and blessedness on account of the atonement of Christ. But in order to obviate mistakes, some points may require explanation.

*[Translator note - This is very conveniently expressed by the terms objective and subjective justification. Objective justification is the act of God, by which he profers pardon to all through Christ; subjective is the act of man, by which he accepts the pardon freely offered in the gospel. The former is universal, the latter not.]


The Register, quoted below:

"Dr. Knapp, late Professor at the University of Halle, was born at Glancha,in Halle, on the 17th of September, 1753, and received his early education in the Royal Paedagogium, one of the institutions of the pious Francke. At the age of 17, he entered the university at Halle, and attended the lectures of Semler, Noesselt and Gruner, with more than common success. The Bible was his great object of study, while the Latin and Greek classics still received a degree of attention which enabled him ever afterwards to adorn, enrich and illustrate from classical literature whatever he said or wrote in the department of Theological science. In 1774 he completed his course of study, and in 1775, after a short absence, he began to lecture, at Halle, with much success upon Cicero, the New Testament, and the more difficult portions of the Old Testament. He was appointed Prof. Extraordinary in 1777, and Prof. Ordinary in 1782. He then lectured in Exegesis, Church History, and in Jewish and Christian Antiquities.

On the death of Freylinghausen (1785), he and Niemeyer were appointed Directors of Francke's Institutes; and continued jointly to superintend these establishments for more than 40 years. In the division of duties, the Bible and Missionary establishment fell to Dr. Knapp, which brought him into near connection with the Moravians. The lectures, of which this volume forms a part, he commenced during the summer of the same year."



Tholuck mentored Hoenecke

From Henry Eyster Jacobs:

Only in George Christian Knapp a branch of the old Halle school remained, but reserved and timid, and without any extensive influence. At my [Tholuck's] entrance in Halle in 1826 I found still two citizens who traced their faith to this one deceased advocate of the old school among the clergy." This deterioration, however, was gradual.

Nevertheless, Knapp supported Unitarian-Universalist arguments.

Friedrich August Tholuck (1799‒1877) also taught two justifications, following the teaching of his own mentor George Christian Knapp.

From the Bethany Lectures:

Tholuck took a personal interest in Hoenecke, as he did with all of his students. He liked to take walks with his students, using the occasion as a time for peripatetic Seelsorge. Tholuck also gave Hoenecke quite a few free meals, which he had sorely needed.

Hoenecke traveled to America through the offices of a Pietistic missionary society. In Switzerland, his studies of the Confessions and later Lutheran orthodox fathers were doubtless pivotal in making him stronger in Lutheran doctrine.

C. F. W. Walther participated in Pietistic gatherings in Europe and came over with a Pietistic leader, Bishop Stephan.


J-564

"For God has already forgiven you your sins 1800 years ago when He in Christ absolved all men by raising Him after He first had gone into bitter death for them. Only one thing remains on your part so that you also possess the gift. This one thing is—faith. And this brings me to the second part of today's Easter message, in which I now would show you that every man who wants to be saved must accept by faith the general absolution, pronounced 1800 years ago, as an absolution spoken individually to him."
C. F. W. Walther, The Word of His Grace, Sermon Selections, "Christ's Resurrection—The World's Absolution" Lake Mills: Graphic Publishing Company, 1978, p. 233. Mark 16:1-8.