If you’re interested in better understanding the religious tradition that has so distinctively shaped Bethel University, come by The Underground tomorrow afternoon (3/31, 3:30-4:30pm) for a presentation on “The History and Vision of Pietism,” by Prof. Christian Collins Winn (professor of historical and systematic theology, who has regularly taught our department’s course on The Reformations) and our own Prof. Chris Gehrz.
Pietism has been a significant topic of conversation on campus of late, playing a prominent role in the recent strategic planning work that resulted in a new vision statement for Bethel. (See the newest issue of Bethel Magazine for more on these plans — Prof. Gehrz is quoted on p. 13.) For example, how that vision statement defines Bethel’s self-understanding as a “Christ-centered university” integrates the language of Pietism and quotes from a 1970 talk by the most influential articulator of Bethel’s “pietistic heritage”:
Jesus Christ stands at the center of all that we think, feel, and do at Bethel. As Carl Lundquist, our longest-serving president, once wrote of our community, Jesus “has become the supreme affection in our lives.” Like Lundquist, we believe that Christianity is “more than a creed”: it is life in Christ. Ours is a living orthodoxy that engages the world’s most challenging problems, to God’s glory and for our neighbors’ good.
Moreover, tomorrow’s presenters have recently published books on Pietism: Collins Winn co-wrote Reclaiming Pietism: Retrieving an Evangelical Tradition (Eerdmans) with former Bethel theology professor Roger Olson; and both are among the contributors to The Pietist Vision of Christian Higher Education: Forming Whole and Holy Persons (IVP Academic), edited by Gehrz.
If you can’t attend the presentation, it will be streamed live.