Part 3–Our Piety

This brings us to the second area pointed out in Pastor Huglens paper (about the AFLC)– our piety. It’s unfortunate that the word piety in the worldly language around us is treated with such disrespect, for it is a critical part of any believer’s life. Our piety is how we worship, how we pray, how we relate to God, how we relate to the world as citizens of God’s Kingdom. One of the things the founders of the AFLC sought to do was to cling to the pietistic roots from which they had come. They wanted to remain steadfast in their worship lives as well as living properly, to live in a godly manner in the world. Too many Christians today have a disconnect between what they say and do on Sunday morning and what they say and do the rest of the week. And I want to make clear, if I am chiding you, I’ also chiding myself, because, my ways are not always God’s ways. I have much for which to be forgiven every day. As do all the people in our association.

Still, our goal is to have an experiential faith–a faith that not only give us a sense of security about our salvation, but a faith that will be lived out and visible. Those who formed the AFLC were afraid that seeking after a living faith would decline or possibly even die if they strayed from their roots. And frankly, they were right in that. Some of the congregations that entered the merger managed to retain their focus on pious living and when the ALC(American Lutheran Church) merged with others to form the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) some of them even came back to their roots and are part of us today. But many were lulled into a false sense of security and failed to focus enough on the life we live as followers of Jesus.

Come back tomorrow for part 4 — Our Theology ……

For more on piety see:

Piety and Me

What Does Piety Look Like #2

Practicing Piety

Be Still My Soul

In the latter half of the 17th century a new revival was breaking out in Germany. The revival was pietism and the themes of this new movement were: “Living the Christian life versus doctrine,” and “Real conversion versus the appearance of godliness.”
Be Still, My Soul” was written by a German woman, Katharina von Schiegel during that time, but it really took three people to put it together as the hymn we sing today. Katharina wrote the words, originally in German. One hundred years later the hymn was translated into English by Jane Borthwick. The final contributor was Finland’s greatest-composer, Jean Sibelius. One movement from his “Finlandia” is used as the tune for our hymn. God used people from three countries to create this hymn. It teaches us that God is in control and to wait on Him when enduring challenging times.

It is based on Psalm 46, particularly verse 10:

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Most Americans know little to nothing about who the Puritans were and what they taught….and a major part of what people do know is wrong!  Puritanism was nothing more or less than an English expression of the doctrines of the Reformation as formulated by Luther and his associates and other Reformed figures such as Calvin, Bucer and Zwingli.

For Lutherans it is interesting to compare Puritan thought with Lutheran Pietism–a movement which has profoundly affected Lutheranism in the United States.  The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations has its background in that Pietist movement brought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by immigrants.  When we look at the two movements (Puritanism and Pietism) we can see the relationship is not just between two past movements, but has to do with what we believe, teach and confess today at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Leitersburg.

Both Puritans and the Pietists sought to teach and experience a faith that was truly guiding their lives, the kind of faith we say we desire today.

If you are interested in learning more about the Puritans, my husband, Pastor Terry Culler, will be teaching a continuing education class through Shepherd University via Zoom.  The class will begin on Wednesday, March 17 from 3:30PM-5PM and will continue for 6 weeks at the same day and time.  To learn more follow the link below:

Shepherd University | Lifelonglearning

You can also contact Pastor Culler at St. Paul’s at 301-739-5443 or email him at

For other posts about the Puritans see:

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

An Introduction to John Owen by Crawford Gribben–Book Review

Beyond Stateliest Marble by Douglas Wilson — Book Review

For more on pietism see:

What is Pietism?

Lutheran Pietism