Johann Arndt, True Christianity (Classics of Western Spirituality, Paulist Press)
What follows is a summary and commentary I created while reading this famous pre-Pietist book during the course “The Pietist Renewal” with Dr. Richard Lovelace at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1994-5. Arndt’s book was a touchstone for the whole Pietist movement. Spener, Francke, and other Pietist leaders were raised on it. It expressed key concerns for holiness and the Christian life that characterized the whole Pietist movement–in reaction to trends within state-church Lutheranism toward “cheap grace” teaching and a hyper-focus on doctrinal dispute. For other posts on Pietism and the Pietists, you can use the “search” box on this blog. I have posted similar summary/commentaries on works by Philip Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke:
This is a reactive work. It is reacting to a brand of Christianity that majors on doctrine and dispute and minors on Christian practice (prayer, morality, the “works of repentance”).
The first twenty chapters of Book I—Liber Scripturae, although quite broad, tend to stick with the theme of original sin and its effects on man, and thus the need for ongoing, strenuous vigilance for, repentance from, and mortification of the “Adamic nature”—which prevents us from receiving God’s grace and enjoying his fellowship. These chapters tend to state their main theses negatively, and so seem at times dour and forbidding. Continue reading