Moving on. You guessed it, the second “ism” is pietism. Guinness defines it as,
a “heart religion,” an understanding and way of believing that places piety, or total life devotion, at the center of the Christian faith. Long a feature of Christian orthodoxy, pietism became a recognizable religious movement at the end of the seventeenth century. As such it stands as a movement of revival in protest against other emphases, such as sacramentalism and doctrinalism, and other tendencies, such as ritualism, legalism and- most importantly- intellectualism.
I quote Ferris Bueller, who quoted John Lennon, “I don’t believe in “isms”, I just believe in me.”
Ok, not really. Personally, I just believe the Bible. There were just way too many “isms” in there not to quote it. You know you were thinking it anyway…moving on…
Isn’t total life devotion what Christ asks for? Absolutely. Check out Matthew 8:18-22, Mark 10:17-25, Luke 14:25-33, etc… So why mention this as something that is a contributor to anti-intellectualism in the realm of American Evangelicals?
Similarly to how Guinness addressed Polarization, he asserts that Pietism itself is a good thing, however, over time it became deformed.
Reinforced by the polarization discussed earlier, the core themes of the Puritan mind shifted or disappeared- from the objective to the subjective, from the covenantal and communal to the individual, from election to voluntarism, from Calvinism to Arminianism, from the liturgical to the informal, and from a stress on theology to a stress on experience.
I agree with what Casey said about how piety coexisting with deficient belief is going to be false piety, while strong intellectual belief without putting faith into action is not true faith. So if A=B, and B=C…
To put together what I feel Guinness is getting at and what Casey already stated, do you think the shift to the individual, voluntarism, Arminianism, the informal, and a stress on experience has led to deficient belief and in effect false piety? Let’s face it, the shift that Guinness has stated is extremely accurate. I do feel that the subjectivity involved in the post-modern shift has led to the academic side of the evangelical’s brain taking a hit while in the pew or while reading their Bible. Anybody have a different opinion?