From Spener to Stanley: Exploring Pietistic Themes in Modern American Evangelicalism
Hemmelman, James D.
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The Pietist movement that took place among German Lutherans in the 17th century was predicated on a turning inward. Pietists saw moral improvement as the goal of Christianity, and focused on Christ in us rather than Christ for us. The purpose of this study is to determine to what extent the spirit of Pietism has pervaded American Evangelicalism. In this paper, Andy Stanley is used to represent Evangelical theology. A report of his sermons and books is presented. The conclusion reached is that Stanley’s theology holds many similarities to the theology of Pietism. Stanley has a tendency to emphasize the advancement of personal piety in the life of the believer over forgiveness won for the believer through the work of Jesus. The danger of this emphasis is that it directs the attention of his audience to themselves, rather than to God and his love demonstrated in Christ.