Pietism

movement within Lutheranism

Pietism () is a movement within Lutheranism that combines its emphasis on biblical doctrine with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life. Although the movement initially was active exclusively within Lutheranism, it had a tremendous impact on Protestantism worldwide, particularly in North America and Europe. Pietism originated in modern Germany in the late 17th century with the work of Philipp Spener, a Lutheran theologian whose emphasis on personal transformation through spiritual rebirth and renewal, individual devotion, and piety laid the foundations for the movement. Although Spener did not directly advocate the quietistic, legalistic, and semi-separatist practices of Pietism, they were more or less involved in the positions he assumed or the practices which he encouraged. Pietism spread from Germany to Switzerland and the rest of German-speaking Europe, to Scandinavia and the Baltics (where it was heavily influential, leaving a permanent mark on the region's dominant Lutheranism, with figures like Hans Nielsen Hauge in Norway, Peter Spaak and Carl Olof Rosenius in Sweden, Katarina Asplund in Finland, and Barbara von Krüdener in the Baltics), and to the rest of Europe. It was further taken to North America, primarily by German and Scandinavian immigrants. There, it influenced Protestants of other ethnic backgrounds, contributing to the 18th-century foundation of evangelicalism, a movement within Protestantism that today has some 300 million followers. In the middle of the 19th century, Lars Levi Laestadius spearheaded a Pietist revival in Scandinavia that upheld what came to be known as Laestadian Lutheran theology, which is heralded today by the Laestadian Lutheran Church as well as by several congregations within other mainstream Lutheran Churches, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.Although Pietism declined from its zenith, some of its theological tenets influenced Protestantism generally, inspiring the Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement and Alexander Mack to begin the Anabaptist Brethren movement. Though Pietism shares an emphasis on personal behavior with the Puritan movement, and the two are often confused, there are important differences, particularly in the concept of the role of religion in government.
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