Tag Archives: Protestant Orthodoxy

Zinzendorf’s lecture #4–Saving faith is faith-in-distress and faith-in-love, NOT cognitive assent to propositional truths

Here is a brief summary and commentary on the fourth lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746.  Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.

Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, from 94-95, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Lecture IV–Concerning Saving Faith

‘In the fourth, I have described the saving faith of the human soul and that this may certainly be understood under the general heading of love, may even be perceived as a property of a heart in love with the object of faith. (xxxii)

Briefly, Z here identifies faith entirely with love:  “…there is no saving faith which is not simultaneously love for him who laid down his life for us, for him who has created us, without whom we cannot live and exist for one moment.” (Erb, 304)

There is an internal and an external faith, says Z.  Only the former is necessary, and it may be quite invisible to those around the quieter sort of Christian.  Fiducia implicita itself is divided further into faith-in-distress and faith-in-love.  The first is the beginning of faith, when “we see our corruption on all sides and are really anxious because of it.” (305) Continue reading

Signs of the times: What spiritual and social renewal looked like to the Pietists in the early 1700s

The following is a “progress report” on the famous Pietist renewal. It was published an appendix to a 1716 book by Pietist church reformer August Hermann Francke, Pietas Hallensis. It may be interesting and instructive to ask: are these the sorts of signs of spiritual and social renewal that we would get excited about today? How are we doing in these areas?

Part I of the book itself is a brief account of the “rise, occasion, and progress” of the Halle complex. The complex, in Halle, Germany, was dedicated to renewing society through Christian services offered in a hospital, schools, a printing house, and much more–see this post for an account of Francke’s life and the Halle complex. It starts with descriptions of each part of the complex, then relates instances of financial miracles (unexpected gifts) by which these works were sustained once Francke had committed himself in faith to undertaking them.

You may have heard of the orphanage of 19th-century German minister George Muller, which inspired the “faith missions” of many 19th-century missionaries (that is, missionary works with no visible means of financial support, sustained by prayer and the free-will gifts of “friends”). Halle was Muller’s pattern and inspiration.

Part II of Pietas Hallensis includes many more accounts of individual gifts, in the years 1707 and 1708, including the texts of many touching letters enclosed. The report on the Pietist renewal reproduced below comes from an appendix to part II, titled “Signs of the times since 1688.” The book was printed in 1716, so the period reported on stretches across roughly 28 years.

Here is the report (with a few comments interjected by me); I read the book and made these notes in a 1994 seminar on the Pietists given by Richard Lovelace at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachussets: Continue reading