Lately, I read Bob DeWaay’s article “How pietism
deceives Christians
“. He argues against what he calls “pietism”,
namely, “a
practice designed to lead to an experience that purports to give one an
elite or special status compared to ordinary Christians.” [Bob DeWaay: How pietism
deceives Christians
]. He strongly argues that sanctification is the
work of God:

If the “secret” to a higher order Christianity is based on
something we
discover and implement (the secret to the deeper life), then it makes
sense that some Christians could achieve a higher status than others.
But if salvation AND sanctification are God’s work through His grace,
then we are all in the same boat, and there’s no higher order. [Bob
DeWaay: How
pietism deceives Christians

This could lead to the conclusion that human activity has no place
at all in sanctification, as there’s no improvement that humans can
reach. This is an error. There’s no improvement just because we already
in Christ what we become through sanctification.

Also look to the many exhortations in the NT. God integrates people
into their sanctifiction process. DeWaay knows this, as he mentions:
“If a teaching is called pietism but teaches no more than what God has
always used to sanctify Christians, then it is not really pietism.”[Bob
DeWaay: How
pietism deceives Christians
]. And sanctification never introduces
higher-order Christianity, as it only makes us what we already became
in Christ:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time
those who are being sanctified. [The
Bible, ISV, Heb 10:14

Intermediate result: man’s activity is integrated into the process
his sanctification.

So, to desire change towards holiness
should not be termed “pietism”. It’s a work of faith. Also, to do
something in that direction shouldn’t be called “pietism”: generating
ideas, trying something. But note, these ideas are just to
practically help those with a desire to change. They’re not meant to
generate a desire for change, because those without any desire for
holiness need an initian conversion to Jesus instead.

And again, the result
of thinking and trying is not important, but the existence of this
desire to change (= work of
faith, taking God seriously). Ideas for revival need not be pietism,
but they’re about practicing the basics of ones faith (continuous
repentance, desire for holiness). Now, repentance means “thinking
differently”, and this starts with recognizing and analyzing a problem
(e.g. as done in the article “Oh
we of decadent faith!
“). Repent,
think differently: the Laodicaeans were admonished to go into a
different direction, so it is good to try this / something. Also,
repentance implied “trying
differently”, so it’s a good idea to generate some ideas how to try

Start date: 2008-03-20
Post date: 2008-05-03
Version date: 2008-05-03 (for last meaningful change)

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