Philipp Jakob Spener, (1635-1705), was a German theologian, author, and a leading figure in German Pietism, a movement among 17th- and 18th-century Protestants. He stressed personal improvement and upright conduct as the most important manifestations of Christian faith.
Spener’s major work was Pia Desideria (1675; “Pious Desires”). That work outlined Pietism’s basic program and earned Spener a reputation throughout Germany as the spokesman for the movement.
The third section comprises the six proposals for correcting conditions within the church. These six, in abbreviated form, are:
- That “thought should be given to a more extensive use of the word of God among us.”
- That there be “the establishment and diligent exercise of the spiritual priesthood.”
- That “the people must have impressed upon them and must accustom themselves to believing that it is by no means enough to have knowledge of the Christian faith, for Christianity consists rather of practice.”
- That “we must beware how we conduct ourselves in religious controversies with unbelievers and heretics …. We must remind ourselves of our duty to the erring.
- That both integrity of life and sound education which includes spiritual development be considered necessary when calling persons to be pastors.
- That sermons be so prepared by all that their purpose (faith and its fruits) may be achieved in the hearers to the greatest possible degree.”
Whatever one’s denominational background, these principles are vital for church renewal. Baptist scholar, Alvin Reid, gives a summary of relevant lessons in this video.
Christianity Today, “Philipp Jakob Spener” (Apr 26, 2019).
Malcom McDow and Alvin Reid, Firefall 2.0: How God has Shaped History Through Revivals