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Understanding The Church: Issues Of Pietist Ecclesiology

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Chapter Summary

Pietist Ecclesiologies had their frame of reference in basic decisions that the Reformation made in order to differentiate itself from the Roman Church, and the old-Protestant orthodoxy elaborated the ecclesiological statements in a distinct dogmatic system. Already in the Reformation era representatives of the so-called Radical Reformation had criticized and rejected the differentiation between the hidden and the visible church. The relationship of the church as a subject of faith and as an experienced ecclesiastical reality appeared as a central problem. The discussion reflects social processes of erosion and emancipation in the early modern era. Pietism reacted to these developments, but also in its own way promoted them. By advocating the freedom of conscience in religious matters, by veering away from Orthodox doctrinal tradition, and by developing special heterodox teachings they contributed to a change of the intellectual climate and helped to prepare the way for Enlightenment.

Keywords: Orthodox doctrinal tradition; Pietist Ecclesiology; Radical Reformation; Reformation



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