Lewi Pethrus romantiska ecklesiologi


  • Joel Halldorf


The ecclesiology of Lewi Pethrus has been the object of a number of studies, most recently a chapter in Sune Fahlgren’s dissertation Predikantskap och församling (2006) and the dissertation Lewi Pethrus’ Ecclesiological Thougth 1911–1974 by Tommy Davidsson. In the present study, I argue that Pethrus’ ecclesiology is best understood in light of ideals shaped by romanticism, particularly a dualism between spiritual essence and material form. This is the key to understanding the conflicts between Pethrus and the Baptists in the 1910s, which eventually lead to a breach and the formation of Pentecostalism as a separate denomination. In the first conflict, Pethrus’ gave inner, spiritual affiliation priority over outer, formal membership, and was willing to allow non-Baptists to partake of the Eucharist in his congregation. The result of this was that his congregation was expelled from the Baptist Society. The breach became permanent when Pethrus rejected the denominational organization model in favor of a radical congregationalism. This, too, was motivated by a romantic idealism. According to Pethrus, outer formal organization was a threat to the inner life of a movement. The investigation ends with a comparison which notes that romantic ideals were present in both liberal theology and the high church movement of the early 20th century. Through his strong dualism, Pethrus comes particularly close to the ecclesiology of the liberal theologians of his day.