Dr. Jared Burkholder of the Grace College history department and a specialist in Brethren history, recently presented a talk at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, during the Missionary Church Historical Society’s spring meeting.
Burkholder said, “It was a superb time of good company and meaningful discussion followed by a great lunch at a local Indian buffet. I spoke on ‘Pietism in the Evangelical Imagination.’ I hope to make headway on a book length study of this topic in the next few years. Here’s a taste of my talk:
… In the “memory” of their religious history, evangelicals have had a love/hate relationship with pietist spirituality since the eighteenth century. I would like to propose today, that the ways that pietism has existed in the evangelical imagination, has played a significant role in the formation of their identity in America, alternately providing examples of excess to be avoided and heroic devotion to be emulated. In making this argument, I would like to focus particularly on the Moravians, examining not only the interrelated history of pietism and evangelicalism but also the development of popular “memory” as evangelicals, from the Great Awakening to the present, have “imagined” pietists as both heretics and saints …”
The Burkholders are part of the Winona Lake, Indiana, Grace Brethren Church (Bruce Barlow, lead pastor). Burkholder’s blog, The Hermeneutic Circle, may be accessed at: