More Pie I: Pietism & Ecumenicalism

Note: This is blog 1 of a 4 part series on Pietism for today.


We studied Pietism today in my class. Naturally, I baked pie. Pietism was a movement led especially by Jacob Spener during the 1600s in response to the Christian establishment. This was one of the few readings or movements in my theology classes that have truly revved me up. Spener was one of the first in Christian history to speak positively about orthopathy or right feelings. There have long been discussions of orthodoxy, right beliefs, and orthopraxy, right actions.


Ignatius of Loyola connects the head and heart for a more complete discernment approach. Why then do we, as contemporary Christians whether implicitly or explicitly reject one or the other? In order to be truly pious, a Christian must carefully balance and connect head [orthodoxy], heart [orthopathy], & hands [orthopraxy].


Certain denominations, approaches to interpreting Scripture and Tradition, then applying and living out, have typically excelled at one [maybe two] of these areas. Catholics excel at orthodoxy with strong hierarchical structure to carefully weigh theology in order to pass down creeds and doctrine. Pentecostals excel at orthopathy with welcoming and expecting emotional responses to the Holy Spirit. Baptists excel at right actions with emphasizing evangelization and exterior holiness.


However, it is not until each Christian, regardless of denominational affiliation, grows in balance of the three that a truly ecumenical understanding and conversation can be fulfilled. If the three- orthodoxy, orthopathy, and orthopraxy- are actually so intertwined, then which comes first? Theologians have gone round and round with this question in a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Perhaps the answer is yes. To be fully Christian means to be converted, changed, in all areas of life.


“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’” [Mark 12:29-30]



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