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What is Pietism[edit]

The article describes the peitism movement and key players, but it never explains what pietism is. The closest it gets is in the LAST sentence (should be the first) of the opening paragraph when it explains that pietism is the act of piety. This seems like a circular reference. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree. The issue needs more sociological framework. Luther's 'grace from belief, not works' prescribes a social tolerance countered by Pietism's 'works show belief, because we know good works when we see them. We discussed it (in Bible study) and we're not afraid to tell you to change your behavior as a result (because you're making us look bad)'. The detailing of this reactionary social process is needed, because secular sociological usage of pietism outreaches its Lutheran roots. (talk) 21:00, 3 March 2011 (UTC)


I can certainly understand and credit the effort to explain Pietism within the context of the social and religious life of the time. At the same time I have to wonder about the heavy reliance on persuading the reader of the presumed inadequacies of competing religions.

One problem was that I had to read far into the article before Pietism was introduced. While the author(s) is obviously very familiar with the subject, a more positive approach is needed to avoid putting off the curious reader.

IMO the article would benefit from reorganisation, perhaps along the lines:

1. Defining characteristics 2. Origin 3. Scope over time (approximate number of adherents, geographic and social distribution) 4. Development, including reasons limiting its expansion 5. Enduring influence

In fact, the article does a good job of addressing most of these points. Only point 3 would benefit from amplification and point 2 could be presented in terms of the features that made Pietism attractive to its followers.

I hope you accept these criticisms in good part, and thanks for your efforts! User:

I think that your observations are very good. My first step in trying to implement some of them, has been to simply add headers, and move some mention of the defining characteristics into the opening paragraph. I like the logic of your suggested outline, above; but I discovered by standing back from the article after the addition of headers, that, it comes quite close to your flow of thought. Also, while the article is well-written, IMO, it needs to have some statements rendered into more NPOV form. That may take care of some of the "tone" problems that your are picking up on? Mkmcconn (Talk) 6 July 2005 22:20 (UTC)
I might would suggest sections on the or cross-articles on the different groups in this camp
1. Proto-Pietists (e.g., Johann Arndt)
2. Lutheran Pietism (e.g., Philipp Jakob Spener, August Hermann Francke, Zinzendorf)
3. Radical Pietism (e.g., von Hochenau, Arnold, Gerhard Tersteegen, the Berleburg Bible)
4. Reformed Pietism (e.g., Labadie, Precisianist, and Federalists)
This one is controversial as whether they are Pietists or not, but a fair amount of work has been done to that points to them as solidly being Pietists.
5. Württemberg Pietism (e.g., Otterbeins, Benger, Oetinger, Blumhardts)
6. Descendants of Pietism (e.g., Methodism, Holiness movement, Pentecostalism)
(Ryabe 15:19, 12 April 2006 (UTC))
Agreed and done. -- TimNelson (talk) 11:41, 28 February 2008 (UTC)


Paul Gerhardt seems out of place on this page. He was a couple of generations too early to be a Pietist in any meaningful sense of the word, and his hymns have relatively little in common with real Pietist hymnody of the late 17th/early 18th century. (from an anonymous user)

Is it fair to say that Gerhardt was a "proto-Pietist"? KHM03 09:46, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
A number of individuals to list Paul Gerhardt as being a proto-Pietist with his emphasis upon daily living. However there has been some debate as whether he does or does not possess the elements of the new birth(wiedergeburt) which is often seen as the central theme of the Pietists. (Ryabe 14:35, 12 April 2006 (UTC))


First reading yielding some strangenesses, so I have to wonder how many there are.

Within Later history, "which was now to lead the won into new paths." This is present in the original and one wonders what 'won' was.

At the end of Founding, "its complaints and its demands were both too well justified to admit of their being point-blank denied." I would think a simpler usage would be better, perhaps "to permit their"?

Later History...[edit]

It would be nice to actually hear a little more on how Pietism still exists. I know there are surviving schools in Sweden and North America that are founded on Pietist principles. Further, being a "Pietist" does not mean that one is part of a distinct group that claims the title. One can be a "Pietist" today by displaying similar or like beliefs and practices. This is currently the case in many situations within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Because a large amount of the Lutherans that came from Germany were trying to avoid the Prussian Union, a stigma has surrounded the name "Pietist" in North America. This explains the thought that it doesn't currently exist. However, Pietism is still alive and well. Many Lutherans are very strong in their agreement with the founding principles of Spener, whether they recognize them as such or not.

Part of the current Lutheran climate in the U.S. has been a movement to, "be orthodox, or get out!" Because of this movement, the more Pietistic Lutherans have either began to clump themselves into select Lutheran congregations or they have left the shores of Lutheranism for the more protestant modern-day evangelicalism and non-denominational congregations. (posted by User:

I would encourage you to make those edits. Certainly, pietism is alive and well in the form of its child Methodism, but the article could benefit from a discussion as to how it's still alive in Lutheranism. KHM03 18:45, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
There are a number of groups in the world that are still practicing Pietists. An example of this would be the Moravian church in the United States. And if we wanted to list the children of Pietists then we could point towards the Wesleyan groups and the Pentecostals. Though I would not say that the Methodist church is "the" child but "a" child of Pietism.

Defining Characteristics[edit]

It may be good to mention the defining traits used generally in determing pietist groups: wiedergeburt(new birth and arguabbly the ekklessia in ekklessia. These two points are mentioned in the article, though very passingly. I missed it honestly the first time I read it. This article may benefit for more detailing on these points.

Pietism Today[edit]

Thanks for drawing the historical connection of German anti-unionists with the current Missouri Synod. It explains their official refusal to commune with others and their insistence on orthodoxy ahead of community. That's the official position; while the shepherds are putting up fences, the sheep are walking right through them in Christian fellowship, at least as we move farther from St. Louis, Missouri, and headquarters.

Among ELCA Lutherans and some individual Missouri members, it appears that the Via de Cristo movement (a Lutheran expression of Cursillo) may be a revival or new development of Pietist principles today, while guarding against some of the later Pietistic exaggerations. Check out and see what you think.

"Atheistic Pietism"[edit]

I removed this. The bulk of the material was "sourced" to sv.wikipedia (and wikipedia is not a reliable source), and it is unsourced there. The remainder didn't belong without that - and looks like original research. I can't find any use of the phrase outside reference to George Eliot, and most of that looks like quotations of the original author to to refer to her using it. So I don't think this material is sourceable. GRBerry 13:36, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposed work group[edit]

There is currently discussion regarding the creation of a work group specifically to deal with articles dealing with Pietism and the Holiness movement, among others, here. Any parties interested in working in such a group are welcome to indicate their interest there. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 16:42, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Trying to straighten out[edit]

The flow of this article had become confused, with material about different periods and at different levels of generality lumped together uncomfortably. I have tried to reorganize it and make the links more logical. But I am operating at the limits of my historical knowledge, so apologies to previous editors if I have created solecisms. This article does still need a bit of work to make it generally useful. seglea (talk) 22:11, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

References That Are Not References[edit]

The first two references (concerning the influence of Pietism on the Roman Catholic church and on the difference between Puritanism and Pietism) are not references. Notes maybe but not references. Further both appear to be personal opinion rather than referential conclusions. I've marked one of them as needing citation but both should be improved (perhaps moved into the main text) and referenced. Glimfeather (talk) 11:59, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Pietist churches still existing today[edit]

There is at least one pietist church [1] in the US which claims to have been in existence since 1837. However, this article implies that pietism as a movement is completely historical. Should this be mentioned in the article? (talk) 15:14, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

I have revised the lead section to be more consistent with the slow decline reflected in the Pietism#Later History section. The Evangelical Pietist Church of Chatfield does seem to be the only church still actively using "Pietist" in its name (English language).

The arguments by Chris Gherz seem relevant to the discussions above about #Defining Characteristics and #Pietism Today. I believe the migration of the beliefs from a strictly German Lutheran movement into other denominations needs a fuller, balanced discussion.
SBaker43 (talk) 06:17, 27 July 2013 (UTC)