A spiritual aristocracy: female patrons of religion in eighteenth-century Britain, Helen M. Jones 6. Westerkamp Part III. Tensions surrounding an active laity 7. Lay leadership, establishment crisis and the disdain of the clergy, Deryck W. Lovegrove 8. National churches, gathered churches, and varieties of lay evangelism, , Mark A. Noll 9. Missions and the widening scope of priesthood The missionary movement: a lay fiefdom? Andrew F. Walls Industry, professionalism and mission: the placing of an emancipated laywoman, Dr Ruth Massey , Clyde Binfield A foundation of influence: the Oxford Pastorate and elite recruitment in early twentieth-century Anglican evangelicalism, Mark Smith Part V.
The church of the laity Dickson Yarnell, III The Charismatic Movement: the laicizing of Christianity? David F. The thrust was, therefore, both doctrinal and exegetical, with catechisms providing a basic and normative framework within which the laity would be able to understand the Bible for themselves. In the catechism as in the sermon the concerns of the theological elite were clearly visible.
That elite wished both to empower the laity by placing the Bible and its contents into the hands of everyone, while at the same time providing a controlling framework for understanding the text which would steer the reader away from error. To summarize, the post-Reformation period, while losing to a large extent the rhetorical language of the universal priesthood, yet maintained those theological concerns which in a specific polemical context the language was meant to convey. Indeed, the emphasis of the reformers on conversion, faith, assurance and the authority and perspicuity of scripture provides the basic matrix within which the various developments of Protestant thought and practice, from the scholastic disputations and linguistic researches of the Reformers, puritans and evangelicals 31 university to the catechizing of the unlearned villager, should be understood.
The need for everyone to take charge of their own salvation imposed responsibilities on those in positions of authority and profoundly shaped the way in which they went about their daily theological business. The implications for the history of evangelicalism What are the implications of all this for the history of evangelicalism? It is immediately obvious to any student of the sixteenth or seventeenth century that all four characteristics are rooted in the Reformation, even if they undergo certain developments in later periods.
Conversionism is paradigmatic for much of Protestantism after Luther, resting as it does upon the notions of sin, faith and assurance which the reformer himself brought to the fore. It is only necessary to look at the lives of, say, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, William Perkins, William Ames, Thomas Goodwin or John Bunyan the list could be extended to see how central is the notion of personal conversion to Protestantism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Indeed, such conversionism is an integral part of the theology these men represented. Second, the activist dimension is also evident: preaching and catechizing with a deep existential concern for the souls of others, a concern which flowed directly from the conversionism mentioned above, were central to the work of both the reformers and their immediate heirs and not simply an innovation by eighteenth-century divines.
The theology underlying the notion of universal priesthood brought with it both privileges and responsibilities, and these responsibilities found their outlet in activism — perhaps not the fieldpreaching of Whitefield but certainly the visitations and catechetical work of men such as Baxter and Owen. As for biblicism and crucicentrism, that these are hallmarks of sixteenthand seventeenth-century Protestantism surely needs no restatement. It can be argued that certain evangelical positions concerning scripture, which are often seen as Enlightenment developments, can be traced back through the history of the church and that a strong stance on justification by faith is also a hallmark of crucicentric evangelicalism.
As a result of this, it is obvious that writing the history of evangelicalism requires the whole movement to be set to some extent within the context of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The four characteristics of evangelicalism were not new in the eighteenth century but represented the continuous outworking of elements established within evangelical Protestantism at a very early stage in its development.
If a case is to be made, therefore, for the 32 Carl R. Trueman distinctive character of eighteenth-century evangelicalism, the focus has to be upon the ways in which these four elements were changed, modified or differently understood, or how they were given an altered significance during this period. Here, the seventeenth-century historian moves beyond his strict sphere of competence and into the realm of speculation.
However, it would seem that one key discontinuity between the puritan theology of the seventeenth century and much of the evangelicalism of the eighteenth is that of the university context. Certainly in the form of English and Dutch puritanism, seventeenthcentury Protestantism represented a successful marriage between academic theology and pastoral concern, whereby supremely accomplished learning connected with the life of the everyday believer through the media of sermons, catechisms and the pastorates of men who were well versed in scholastic theology.
As such, it held two apparently incompatible strands of Protestant thought and life together: the need for a responsible, learned and theological approach to the biblical text and the belief that every individual, from the greatest to the least, had the responsibility to believe in God for their own salvation. Events in the latter part of the seventeenth century, however, served to rupture this relationship. In England the Restoration of and the subsequent imposition of the Clarendon Code effectively terminated puritanism as a movement and excluded not only serving puritan ministers but also subsequent generations of Nonconformists from both the Anglican ministry and, more importantly, from the universities.
When nearly 2, puritan ministers left the established church in , they took their theological tradition away from its academic roots in a university culture which stemmed from the Middle Ages and had been modified by the Renaissance. Their heirs in English Nonconformity were often men of formidable intellect — the names of Isaac Watts and Philip Doddridge spring immediately to mind — but they were not university men.
They were not schooled in the language and thought forms of their puritan forebears and the theology they expounded did not coincide with that of their heritage in some of its most important aspects. The impact of Enlightenment philosophies on institutions of higher learning effected a change within the structures of academic life scarcely less far-reaching than the impact of the Aristotelian renaissance of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Whether it was Lockean empiricism in England, or Cartesianism in Holland, the result was the implementation of new philosophical paradigms which had a profound effect upon the way university education in general, and theology in particular, was conceived and pursued. Ultimately, the result was that the two sides of theology, the intellectual and the lay, largely went their separate ways, with academic theology becoming further and further removed from the conversionism, activism, biblicism, and crucicentrism which lay at the heart of the Reformation programme.
Reformers, puritans and evangelicals 33 In conclusion, therefore, two simple points can be made. First, the lay focus found in eighteenth-century evangelicalism is rooted in the Reformation of the sixteenth century and represents simply the latest phase of Protestant lay concern. As such, it must be understood as a development of the Reformation, not as an innovation of the Wesleys, Whitefield or whoever else. Second, if evangelicalism is in some way distinct from the Reformation in terms of its understanding or application of the four evangelical characteristics, then these differences must be understood within the context of wider changes in the intellectual and social culture.
Given the evident continuities between evangelicalism and the Reformation, the key question becomes why such differences arose. The answer to this lies not in any internal theological considerations or developments but in the wider context in which the movement developed. Central to the question, almost certainly, were the changes in university culture that took place at the start of the eighteenth century.
Notes 1 See N. Warfield, Perfectionism, Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, , pp. Pauck ed. On subsequent pages Pauck also discusses some of the problems raised by the account. Translated texts can be found in J. Dillenberger ed. Martin Luther, New York: Anchor, Brecht, Martin Luther: his road to Reformation, —, trans. Schaaf, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Bagchi, ibid. Clark, , pp. Fraenkel, Testimonia Patrum: the function of the patristic argument in the theology of Philip Melanchthon, Geneva: Droz, This use of the term is not in itself an attempt to prejudge the issue of the relationship between seventeenth-century Reformed orthodoxy and eighteenth-century evangelicalism proper.
Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, trans. Owen, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , p. Trueman and R. Clark, Protestant Scholasticism: essays in reassessment, Carlisle: Paternoster, On this point in general, see R. His classic treatment of Christian piety is available in a critical edition by C. This is why Richard Baxter advised all preachers to say at least one thing in every sermon which no member of the congregation understood, in order to preserve the distinction between the ministry and the laity. Sylvester ed.
On the rise of the prophesyings, see P. The classic study of these sects remains that by C. For a good discussion of catechisms, particularly as regards their polemical function, see T. Owen, Works, vol. For Baxter, see the extended discussion of the usefulness of catechizing in his major work on the pastoral ministry, The Reformed Pastor. The text of the catechisms is found on pp.
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For my own comments on the way in which subsequent generations appropriated Baxter, see Trueman and Clark, Protestant Scholasticism, pp. Chapter 3 Lay conversion and Calvinist doctrine during the English Commonwealth Crawford Gribben The relationship between the pulpit and the pew is surely one of the most potent, important and problematic relationships in practical Christian theology. Since the apostle Paul, Christian preachers have insisted upon their authority and doctrinal knowledge before congregations, which in turn have often insisted on their own independence and the priority of lay experience.
The faith of the laity exists in flux. It has rarely been the faith of the theologian. In general, this tension has been neglected by historians of Christian belief. This type of church history, like the old accounts of national history, has been characterized by a top-down approach. The tendency to prioritize imagined monolithic mass movements has been disrupted recently, however, as historians and theologians have begun to reassess the extent to which seventeenth-century puritans — generally Calvinists — differed from the theological perspective established by Calvin.
Although this debate has done much to improve the contextualization of both Calvin and his puritan successors, it has been crippled by an overemphasis upon theology as it was carried out as a scholastic discipline. Scholars such as R.
Kendall have focused the debate upon academic treatises and pastoral sermons, rather than the popular reception of the ideas those narratives contained. Despite the immediacy provided by its record of spiritual experience, the literature of lay puritanism has less often been considered. The wealth of puritan literature that exists allows unparalleled access to lay conversion and Calvinist doctrine as they interacted during the English Commonwealth.
Puritan conversion narratives Puritanism was an intensely literary culture. During the first half of the seventeenth century most of the spiritual biographies published were the work of clergy. These preachers used the printed page to validate their call to ministry and their subsequent Christian life.
Such books sold well as lay puritans compared their own experiences with those of the preachers.
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Market demand demonstrated how generations of puritan preachers had fostered intense spiritual concern. He envisaged a golden chain, the chain of salvation, which is carried on from link to link, till the purposes of eternal grace do end in the possession of eternal 38 Crawford Gribben glory. These discussions were calculated to foster self-scrutiny by constantly raising the spectre of false faith and self-deception. Traditional English Calvinism propelled the sinner out of passivity into intense self-scrutiny. Alister McGrath has noted: At the theoretical level predestination might seem to encourage quietism: if one is elected, why bother doing anything active?
In fact its effect was quite the reverse: to ensure that one is elected, one must throw oneself wholeheartedly into appropriate action. Election to salvation was evidenced by true faith; true faith was evidenced by holiness of life. As in the discussion of salvation, the preachers led the way. The Independent churches rejected territorial identification in an attempt to include within their membership only those who had been truly born again.
These conversion narratives were designed to evidence the validity of the faith of the individual applying for membership of the gathered church. It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of this liturgical innovation. For the first time in those churches loyal to the Magisterial Reformation, lay Christians — both male and female puritans — enjoyed their own ecclesiastical voice. But the old hierarchies did not completely disappear.
The conversion narrative was a genre in which preachers continued to lead the way. Early in the s compilations of conversion accounts were published by millenarian ministers such as Henry Walker, Vavasor Powell, Samuel Petto and John Rogers. Although in every other respect the Independents insisted on their separation from the older Anglican settlement, their conversion accounts echoed the modes and metaphors which the earlier preachers had established. Oh that we were anything but what we are!
Newly emancipated in the Independent churches, lay puritans had found their voice — but discovered they had little choice in what to say. John Rogers At the forefront of this radical movement within puritanism were the millenarian and open-Baptist Independent congregations with which John Rogers and John Bunyan were involved. Born only a year apart, Rogers and Bunyan occupied very different places among the radical Independents in Rogers was an experienced pastor with a university education; Bunyan was a tinker undergoing conversion who would not attain church membership for a further three years.
His work entitled Ohel or Bethshemesh was an apology for Independent church government, and included within it a selection of the conversion narratives provided by members of his gathered church in Dublin. The descriptions of the despair of the convicted sinner, for example, evidence a radicalization of the typical puritan discourse. Their objective was to silence the egotism of autobiography. Some efforts were linguistic. If the subject of his sentence is himself and his object is Christ, the verb silenced by the incantation of the final clauses demonstrates that in speaking of Christ he ceases to speak of himself.
He has been evacuated from his account of himself. Before Rogers arrived in Dublin, for example, Elizabeth Chambers had a dream one night of her troubles, a vision of him [Rogers] so plainly, that after he was in Dublin, the first Serm[on] he preached, she told her 42 Crawford Gribben friends that this was the man that God had declared to her in a vision, should comfort her soul.
Assurance of salvation was something that could be enjoyed, then lost, and then enjoyed once again. Instantaneous conversion had become a series of conversions. This pattern can be observed in the longest of the accounts included by Rogers, in the narrative prepared by Elizabeth Avery. The lay members of his church were liberated by his teachings about the Holy Spirit and his permission for their vocal involvement in public worship. But this was an emancipation of the laity which radically redefined who they were — no longer a mixed multitude of elect and reprobate, as Presbyterians and Anglicans had claimed, but a union of visible saints, assured of their salvation, called into the priesthood of all believers, and testifying to the ministry of the same Holy Spirit.
It was a pattern that continued after the Restoration, even when puritanism had collapsed into Nonconformity and Episcopalianism was again ascendant. John Bunyan The experience of John Bunyan in the early s was markedly similar to the conversions that Rogers recorded.
By the time that Bunyan came to reflect upon his conversion, and to prepare his spiritual biography for publication, he was active in the ministry of the Independent churches in his locality. It seemed more authentic to be like the unlettered fishermen who first followed Jesus. Grace Abounding does not demonstrate a dependence upon the linear paradigms established by the puritan theologians, so much as highlight a series of cycles such as that seen in Elizabeth Avery.
It imitates the earlier form of personal spirituality, the cyclical soteriology popularized by Perkins. The tension between what critics describe as his Lutheran and Calvinist impulses was in essence a tension between his understanding of the scriptural teaching of the application of salvation and the interpretation of his own experience.
The conversion-narrative mode was transforming abstract theology into living, breathing accounts of Christian experience and, as such accounts were not closed until assurance had been attained, was transporting the concept of puritan conversion back beyond Perkins to Calvin and his initial teaching that assurance was of the essence of saving faith. Conclusion In these two instances, as in many others, puritan conversion narratives effected an emancipation of the laity.
Laypeople found a voice within the ecclesiastical institutions of the burgeoning Independent movement. Without formal theological qualifications they were encouraged to testify what God had done for their soul and were given the means publicly to negotiate with the received orthodoxies of experimental Calvinism. But the manner of their involvement was also of immense significance.
With the support of significant elements of the theological and political elite, unlettered men and women were provided with institutional indemnity to declare their views publicly before the church. Nevertheless, this emancipation was tempered by high levels of clerical involvement. Accounts were collected and prefaced by ministers who were anxious at some level at least to validate themselves and their theology before the world.
But their emancipated laypeople were grappling with Spirit and with scripture and were redefining the very basis of ecclesiastical debate. Accounts of lay conversion no longer tallied with academic presentations of Calvinist doctrine. They could negotiate with the scholastics, for the Son had set them free. Notes 1 D. Herlihy ed. A3v, quoted in O. Lloyd Thomas ed. Reid, Memoirs of the Westminster Divines, 2 vols, Paisley, , vol. Rogers, Ohel or Bethshemesh. A tabernacle for the sun, London, , p. I had rather be a beast, than a man without God. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, , p. Watson, A Body of Divinity, , rpt.
Keeble ed. Chapter 4 The Pietist laity in Germany, — Knowledge, gender, leadership Hans Otte On 9 January the vicar of Wildemann, a village in the Harz mountains, received a letter conveying good wishes for the New Year. At that time, to receive a letter like this, carefully written by hand, was not uncommon. Members of the upper classes would send each other greetings letters. On the one hand these missives demonstrated the culture of the sender while on the other they paid homage to the recipient.
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But this particular letter was strange, so the vicar delivered it at once to his regional bishop, the general superintendent of Clausthal, the principal city of that part of the Electorate of Hanover. In the first place the author and sender was a miner. The unusual spelling of many words suggests that he was not much used to writing. Nevertheless he wanted to share in this common usage and so he presented his letter.
The content of the letter was even stranger than its form. The sender wrote: I wish you a lowly heart so that you need not receive honour from men. Thus saith the Lord: My glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice! He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after him, is not worthy of him. For the author of the letter the parsons and theologians of the established church seemed to be false Christians.
Only if they repented could they become true Christians in the same way as the laypeople. Some of her publications had been confiscated during a raid in Clausthal. With the 48 Hans Otte passage of time it is no longer possible to tell if this information was correct, but there was certainly a group of people in Wildemann that belonged to a radical Pietist movement.
Parsons seemed to them to lack both characteristics. Therefore the writer of the letter asked his addressee to change his heart and mind. He should alter his manner of life completely in order to find the way of salvation.
For him St Paul was a simple craftsman who knew his craft well. There was no need for him to ask the faithful for money in the way the parsons do.
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Instead he looked after their souls. He called them brethren and did not receive honour from men. Those who were not born again were opposed to this concept. So the clergy takes money for confession, for baptizing, for burying, and if you do not have money, you have to borrow it. Using language shaped by the Bible, he displayed a great ability to argue for his views. For him differences in education or class distinction had become irrelevant; the lasting differences between men were caused by their inner qualities. This example gives an impression of one particular type of Pietist comprising lower-class lay individuals who derived their knowledge and self-confidence from the Bible and from banned radical Pietist literature.
Radical Pietism emphasized its essential difference from the established church and traditional social order. Through its tuition laypeople became sufficiently self-confident to express their opinions in larger groups and semi-public surroundings. At the same time, such groups frequently came under political and social pressure. This may have been true for the group to which Frisch belonged in Wildemann. We know little about the group apart from a few names, letters and the official reports that have been preserved. Its members were oppressed by Hanoverian officials and were expelled when they refused to attend the regular church services.
At every place in the Harz The Pietist laity in Germany 49 mountains where such Pietist groups were detected governmental, consistorial and mining authorities reacted violently. At that time the miners were struggling to maintain their social privileges. Population increase had led to a surplus of labour and, therefore, the miners found themselves earning less money.
They had been told that working methods had to be modernized and that new pumps were to be paid for by reductions in their wages. These strained relations between the authorities and the miners may even explain why the letter of greeting from Frisch to the vicar of Wildemann, with its complaint about the greed of a clergy that lacked true faith, had been written.
But the social background cannot explain everything. The writer was certainly more interested in religious than social matters and his letter may simply have been a suitable vehicle through which to make known his convictions. In , the year that had just drawn to an end, the government had renewed its earlier proclamation, warning people that Pietism was a poison for their souls.
The proclamation had been aimed at groups of radical Pietists like the one at Wildemann and it is possible, therefore, that Frisch wanted to express his rancour towards its contents when he wrote the greeting letter to his pastor. The consistory, having designed the proclamation, was sure that all heresies fed one another. The catalogue of Pietist heresies included false interpretation of the blessed sacrament, chiliasm, and false doctrine concerning the reconciliation of all souls apokatastasis panton.
The consistory also criticized the rejection of the government and clergy, the disregard for divine worship, the belief in an inner light and attendance at conventicles. In his Synopsis controversiarum sub pietatis praetextu motarum Synopsis of Controversies Initiated under the Guise of Piety he had classified all the pretended errors of Pietism. Therefore he placed the principles of moderate Pietists such as Philipp Jakob Spener — alongside the extreme opinions of more radical Pietists.
Schelwig regarded himself as a true defender of Lutheran orthodoxy. If the true nature of the relationship were not respected, anarchy would follow. Everyone gains access to that salvation through the preaching of the church. Preaching 50 Hans Otte takes place at the divine service. As these conventicles were private by nature, they were open to every form of abuse in the darkness of privacy. Therefore they caused more harm than benefit to pure religion. The stringent way in which he defended Lutheran ideas may have been doubtful, but he defined the basic tenets of the conservative position with intellectual accuracy and resolution.
He erected strong walls in order to prevent laymen from participating actively in the life of the church and made the situation difficult for those who were genuinely interested in religious questions by enhancing the monopoly of the clergy. In those territories where that form of orthodoxy existed Pietism had to confine its activities to the private sphere. Most of its adherents were people at the edge of society, either soldiers or craftsmen, who could easily make their way to the next town, or — at the other end of the social scale — members of the nobility, who could ignore the conventional norms of behaviour more easily than people of the middle classes.
In virtually every country in central Europe only one church was regarded as established and as having the particular privilege of a public exercise of religion. In northern Germany and Scandinavia the Lutheran churches had become established in that meaning of the term. But only these three churches were licensed by the state. Therefore no one could leave them and join a dissenting religious group or convert to another form of religion.
There was no such legislation as the English Toleration Act of Consequently, in Germany and northern Europe there was no equivalent to the small, permanent groups of English dissenters. Yet, as always in Germany, there were exceptions. In some of the smaller territories of the Holy Roman Empire the princes favoured radical Pietism. In these territories, between and , The Pietist laity in Germany 51 religious societies were often tolerated and printers of heterodox literature were not prosecuted.
From to a great deal of unorthodox literature, formerly printed in Britain and the Netherlands, was published in some of the small counties of Hesse. Normally adherents of radical Pietist groups were not permitted broader access to the public. Private reading of pious literature and informal contacts with friends through letters and visits were the only avenues for the pursuit of unconventional beliefs that were not closed. The impression gained thus far is that laypeople had little alternative but to fit into the pattern set by the clerical church and to remain silent, or to develop religious activities on the fringe of the church, or even outside it altogether, in the knowledge that they would experience opposition from the clergy.
Yet such an interpretation is too simplistic for the relationship between laity and clergy was complex. Even before the Reformation laypeople had held leading positions in the administration of the church. Acting as patrons or as churchwardens they often exercised tight control over the clergy. Above all many orthodox Lutheran clergy were concerned to strengthen and deepen the religious convictions of their parishioners and some called for greater theological instruction of the laity.
Gradually, therefore, the relationship between laity and clergy changed. Inevitably laymen who had been theologically educated and whose interest in religious matters had been awakened constituted a challenge for both clergy and church. This was the starting point for Philipp Jakob Spener who, in the later years of the seventeenth century, became the senior theologian of Protestant Germany.
He exemplified the more traditional and ecclesiastical form of Pietism. He presented his programme of reforms to the church at large in in a small publication called Pia Desideria, or heartfelt desires for an improvement of the true Evangelical Church pleasing to God, with some Christian proposals to that end. First, it would be wise to reinstate the kind of synods that existed in apostolic times. Because of the false distinction that had grown up 52 Hans Otte between the ordained clergy and the laity, the so-called laypeople could scarcely avoid being lazy.
The result of this was a woeful ignorance leading to irreligion. Such neglect of the spiritual priesthood also meant that ministers were able to do whatever they pleased without fear of effective control or even criticism. Yet it was the duty of Christians to edify their neighbours and for the parson to play a part in this. If the clergyman were negligent he should be admonished in a brotherly way. Mere intellect, he argued, was useless if the individual Christian were not able to be convincing by showing true penitence and living a saintly life.
Such considerations called for a careful re-evaluation of the importance of dogmatic differences. For radical Pietists this led to a resolute rejection of all differences between denominations. Schelwig and his fellow critics were afraid of competition for attendants between the private meetings for edification and the ordinary public-worship services of the parish. The tendency of the pious to retreat into private worship became a particular bone of contention.
His suggestions could be interpreted as providing a summary of a conventional Lutheran programme of reform. At first, therefore, there was little objection to his propositions from orthodox Lutherans. Hence Spener acted as a mediator in the matter of the reform of the church. He accepted representations from anticlerical elements who believed that the clergy constituted the biggest obstacle in the way to salvation, and who favoured instead the activity of laypeople. He refrained from recommending use of the various means of coercion that the magistrates were prepared to place at his disposal.
His irenic attitude was unusual and represented a break with the customary approach to reform within the Lutheran tradition, which had placed the burden of responsibility upon the secular authorities. Some who listened to his sermons had asked him urgently to commence religious exercises on Sundays. They wanted to practise their faith by means of private devotion instead of normal Sunday amusements.
The prototypes for these religious exercises were the devotional conventicles found within the Dutch Reformed Church. At first the group gathered in his house. In that way the meeting avoided suspicion and allowed him to forestall any potential separation within his flock. This example shows the importance of the laity in the initial growth of Pietism. Pious laymen acquired knowledge about the forms of devotion they wished to practise and began to question the monopoly of the professional theologians in explaining the Bible.
Following his reading of Tauler he experienced an awakening and thereafter Spener became progressively less important to him as a spiritual guide. When the interest in spiritual exercises at Frankfurt had increased Spener had opened the collegia pietatis to anyone in his congregation. This group was strongly influenced by Jean Labadie and later by William Penn.
Private edification within his group of reborn believers became 54 Hans Otte sufficient for him. Despite this apparent similarity with the miner Frisch he represents a different type of Pietist layman. He had been well educated and was a member of the bourgeoisie in a large town within the Holy Roman Empire.
He had travelled widely through western Europe and had many relatives living in various countries. It was comparatively easy for him and his friends to reject the ordinary Sunday services and the eucharist in a large city such as Frankfurt. No sanctions need be expected, but in smaller places it was more difficult for Pietists not to take part in public worship. Nevertheless, there were also lower-class Pietists in Frankfurt besides pious members of the bourgeoisie.
But their participation was so extraordinary that it was regarded as a peculiarity. They were able to circulate devotional texts. Many of these texts were examples of pious literature written not by orthodox Lutherans but by authors from other denominations representing various theological schools. During the second half of the seventeenth century the publication of heterodox literature grew rapidly.
In the promotion and distribution of this literature Spener played a major part. He refused to dissociate himself from pious authors simply because they espoused certain heterodox opinions. He preferred to take advantage of the outstanding piety of their writing. Its spirituality emphasized the practical aspect of belief rather than dogmatic rigidity and its associated dryness. Spener advised his disciples to ignore any heterodox views they encountered in their reading or, even better, to revise their texts, erasing the heterodox parts according to Lutheran orthodoxy. In great measure this stemmed from the influence he enjoyed in his positions as senior minister in Frankfurt, royal chaplain in Dresden and dean of St Nicholas in Berlin.
While it is not possible to attribute the increase of heterodox literature to the recommendations of a single man, undoubtedly Spener shaped a new approach to such material and one which subsequent Pietist theologians favoured. In this way they enabled laymen to read such literature with a clear conscience. He never deviated from this central aim, not even in encouraging individuals to strive for a Christian position in politics, at school or at home. His most influential disciple August Hermann Francke — altered the focus, however, and in consequence his relationship to the laity also changed.
He had commenced his work with an orphanage, but soon added a range of schools adapted to the needs of the different social classes, a large dispensary for medicine, a book store, a printing press and other manufacturing and trading enterprises. He regarded his institutions as the beginnings of an ecumenical reforming movement that would eventually span the whole world. Every part and every area of life ought to be involved.
The ideological source of these institutions was the university at Halle and especially its faculty of theology which would prepare future preachers of the gospel. He believed the various institutions constituted a remedy administered by God in order to prevent the spread of general corruption through the different estates. In this respect he was more concerned than Spener to identify the practical effects of the divine presence within society and to that end he drew up a pedagogical method to help people trace its results.
The essential difference between the two Pietist leaders can be seen clearly as one compares their respective attitudes to the revelations made by socalled extraordinary women. Between and there was a wave of enthusiastic visions in several towns in central and northern Germany. These revelations were received by women belonging to the lower classes, among them domestic servants and wives of artisans.
The prophetesses were escorted by mentors who interpreted their revelations and defended them against critics. Spener was sceptical. He was sure that the revelations were not from God since they were directed against the divine order as it existed in the state, church and family. Therefore he advised his hearers to be calm as they waited for God to do his work. He was convinced that there were clear steps leading to conversion for which the individual had to be prepared. To train a pupil up to that point was an important part of his pedagogical programme.
Conversion was only the beginning of progress through the world. The method determined his 56 Hans Otte relationship to laymen. When Francke developed a wider network of communication his method proved extraordinarily successful. He called upon a wide range of people, especially those with influence. Therefore he tried to gain allies among the nobility. He also wanted to win the youth because he believed that in the longer term he would only be successful if young people spread his ideas. On the one hand he trained young theologians in his schools and institutions, while on the other he ran boarding schools and apartments for noblemen and law students.
Not long into the programme Francke gave the following account of his success: Since the time when this university was opened, some young noblemen and others who had been converted to God have borne fruit out of the good seed God had put into their souls, when they began to manage their estates or obtained a public office. His access to friends and patrons in the Prussian administration and at the royal court helped him greatly in stimulating the laity.
He was granted privileges for his institutions, was able to promote Pietists in the administration of churches and schools and gained support for his commercial projects. Furthermore, he secured support for his missionaries abroad: not in Berlin, since the king of Prussia favoured projects within the borders of his realm, but in London, Copenhagen and — for a short time — St Petersburg.
They pursued aims characteristic of Pietism within their own churches, such as the preaching of repentance and conversion and the enhancement of inward piety. The majority of Prussian noblemen were not Pietists yet the Pietists among them became the most influential group at the royal court during the reigns of Frederick I and Frederick William I. At the same time it is remarkable that there was no trace of Pietism among the highest nobility. When the wife of Frederick I devoted herself to Pietist aims, and practised religious seclusion with a small number of fellow believers, she was considered as being eccentric if not a little mad.
Several small territories in Hesse and Thuringia were ruled by Pietist princes and counts. Most were impoverished and had The Pietist laity in Germany 57 problems living within the constraints of their small incomes.
Pietist values offered a practical alternative to the baroque pomp and superficiality that characterized the greater courts. Embracing Pietism normally signified the commencement of stringent economies both at court and in the administration. However, some princes favoured Pietism within their territories because of its toleration concerning denominational differences. In territories where Lutherans and Calvinists lived side by side, as in Prussia, Pietism appeared to offer the means of improving peace between them.
Though it would be a mistake to reduce the interest shown by the princes in Pietism to a simple calculation of benefits, the movement clearly advanced such interests. Yet it must be stated that in most cases the individual Pietist was primarily interested in demonstrating the fruits of faith arising from his own rebirth.
The personal, practical interest in piety took precedence over any larger concern for economy or religious toleration. Despite that the individual focus upon the fruits of faith tended to promote a wider interest in social reforms, with Pietist aristocrats, businessmen and officials improving schools and adding windows and stoves to prisons.
Between and , both at governmental and personal level, Pietist leanings often showed themselves in the founding of orphanages. Within the inner circle, where the word of God was the guiding principle, no such distinctions applied. But outside those gatherings traditional distinctions were respected. The description of the hours of devotion at the court of Christian Ernest, prince of SaxeSaalfeld, is typical.
The religious exercises were open to everybody, but not everybody could take a seat. The members of the court and the aristocrats sat on divans, people of the middle classes were allowed to sit on chairs, but lower-class participants had to stand. For those members of the nobility who were on the edge of bankruptcy and who therefore sought salaried posts in the political administration or army, Pietism offered a convincing way of mastering their lives according to Christian principles.
As Pietists they were expected to renounce luxury and to live a life that involved labour. They were not allowed to be lazy as there was always the opportunity to devote their energies to the kingdom of God, even if their income was sufficiently high as to render gainful employment unnecessary. In this way Pietism tended to favour attitudes that were typical of the bourgeoisie. Laymen who were well educated and had experienced spiritual rebirth tended to gain in self-confidence in their relationship with the clergy and that in turn caused conflict, for the clergy saw themselves as holding the leading position in the church.
A particularly well-publicized confrontation was set in motion by a group of aristocratic Pietists in Sweden who maintained close links with August Francke. They had been held in captivity by 58 Hans Otte the Russians at Tobolsk. There they had come to know Halle Pietism through the influence of books and preachers. During the epoch of reforms that followed, the group of Pietist noblemen, who by then had returned to Sweden, tried to alter church order in such a way as to break the predominance of the bishops and priests.
This chapter has examined three types of Pietist. All possessed certain common features: they wanted to turn away from a worldly mind; they focused their attention upon the awakening of the individual soul, which they regarded as immortal; and most looked for the fruits of faith.