The Feminisation of the Church Step 5: Radically Change The Theology

This piece of historical information should get your mind racing!

In trying to understand the cultural changes of recent centuries, one has to look at religion.  "Culture," as Henry Van Til argued, "is religion externalized."

Trying to find those changes and identify the shifts, is like putting together a jig saw puzzle without having all the pieces on hand.

In reading post Reformation literature and history, you see this great "battle" for the culture, especially in England.  Was it to be Protestant or Catholic — with a third option in the wings – neither!

The Protestants (mainly Presbyterians) had hoped to use the monarchy as a method to get control of England.  They backed Charles II who, once in control got revenge for his father, Charles I, who had been put to death by Cromwell's parliament.

But the battle for political control took a different turn when the English Parliament assumed full control in 1688.  It was not interested in religion Catholic or Protestant.  It's interest was control.

Within 50 years of this date, you see a new kind of religious literature appearing.  It had abandoned the idea of the kingdom of God on earth, and had become other worldy — Pietistic.

Now the Pietistic movement with its origins on the European Continent had become a contentious movement.  For with this movement had become an emphasis on religious subjectivism. According to Jaroslav Pelikan, the older phrase "Christ for us" had become "Christ in us."  This subtle shift moved the view of Christ from an objective to a subjective one. 

A study of Pietist vocabulary would certainly show that in both homiletics and hymnody "Jesus" superseded "Christ" or "Jesus Christ" as the most most common name, and — perhaps even more significant — that "Savior [Heiland]" replaced "Lord [Herr]" as his most common title. . . .(Pelikan, Bach Among the Theologians, pp. 64, 65.)

Notice the shift in language?  But notice it is one of emphasis, not one of accuracy.  Now the new emphasis would be on "Savior" rather than "Lord."  It would be on "Jesus" rather than "Christ."  And the hymns were one of the popular tools to express this new emphasis in Christian theology.

But the other new important word would be "love" rather than holiness — emotional intimacy rather than moral righteousness.

And so we might see that culture is, after all, religion externalized, and Pietism directly influenced the Enlightenment and the Romantic movement that can be seen as a subset of putting human thought at the top of the pole.

Our modern culture is thus victory of the emotions over intellect — the feminine over the masculine — in theology.

On this basis, the seeds of the transformation of the culture were sown soon after the Reformation with the Anabaptist and eventual Pietist movements.  The widely held acceptance of the Pietists and their influence on the Wesleys, for example, is an indication that the roots of Pietist theology, or its then radical changes to orthodox theology, are not understood.

A question arises from this: would the modern world have been possible without these theological changes two centuries earlier?

And how do the generally anti-intellectual charismatic and pentecostal movements fit into this picture?

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