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Religious Terminology 101: Pietism

Religious Terminology 101: Pietism

Pietism is the notion that the Christian faith is practiced primarily on an individual basis, rather than by the gathering of the baptized for holy worship.

Those who practice pietism often feel obligated to wear their religion on their sleeve, and to make it known to whomever will listen. That is their primary form of worship, but it is not the church's way. The chief practice of our faith takes place when the Bride engages in Holy Communion with her Groom. When she gathers to pray, praise and give thanks. When she feasts on God's Words, and receives his Blessed Sacraments (which pietists generally disdain). 

For Lutherans the faith practiced in the church is translated into the world when we live "quiet and peaceable lives" (1 Tim. 2:2) within our God-given vocations.

But for the pietist everything must have a religious angle. If one loses weight he loses it for Jesus. If he owns a business, he feels compelled to post religious sayings on the company sign so that all passers by might read it and believe.

While pietism might seem like a good thing it encourages Christians to become "independent contractors" thereby fracturing Christian unity, and the church's "one voice." (Romans 15:16).

Though we cannot agree with pietism we must love and respect those who practice it, and perhaps even learn something from them: to take our faith seriously 24/7. 

But let us be careful never to, "forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is." Because it is in the church, by Word and Sacrament, that we have fellowship with Jesus, and with one another.


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