On Being Careful about the Charge of “Pietism”

Chris Gehrz, associate professor of history at Bethel University, articulates a fair and helpful critique of my use of the word “pietism” in Desiring the Kingdom and related discussions. As I’ve noted elsewhere (and Gehrz recognizes), “pietism” is a particularly loaded, shorthand term in Reformed conversations. But that narrow use of the term does an injustice to the pietism of Spener, Hamann, the Blumhardts, and others whose project would deeply resonate with what I’m trying to articulate in my “Cultural Liturgies” work.

So I’ll try to be more careful in my use of “pietism” as an epithet in the future. But it’s going to take practice.