Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Loscher's 13 Objections to Pietism

Karl Barth, Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century: Its Background and History (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 126-127.

Barth tells the story of Valentin Ernst Loscher (1673-1749), the founder of the first theological journal, and an opponent of both pietism and the enlightenment. Below is a list, provided by Barth, of Loscher's objections to pietism.

  1. Indifference ot the truth of the Gospel, boasting that Christianity is a Christianity of power

  2. Devaluation of the means of grace by their association with human piety

  3. Weakening of the ministry of the Church by the denial of the objective grace of the ministry (to be affirmed not for the benefit of godless pastors but by virtue of the matter itself)

  4. The confusion of the righteousness of faith with works, the understanding of justification as a process which in the last resort takes place within man

  5. A tendency towards chiliasm

  6. The limitation of repentance to a particular time of life

  7. Preciousness, that is, the suppression of all natural pleasure and the so-called intermediates

  8. A mystical confusion of nature and grace in the conception of an essential part of man which is pure and good in itself even before rebirth

  9. The annihilation of the so-called subsidia religionis
  10. , i.e. the outward and visible Church, by devaluation of its symbols and ordinances, by the contestation of theological systems
  11. The fostering and acquittal of manifest enthusiasms

  12. The conception of an absolute perfection that is both possible and necessary, which leads to pride or despair

  13. The undertaking to improve not only people but the Church itself, that is, the desire to alter it

  14. The causing of manifest schisms


2 comments:

Shane said...

wow, good stuff.

pretty much a description of wheaton college.

WTM said...

Shane,

I wasn't going to say it, but - of course - that thought had occured to me as well. :-)