Sectarians: Socinians, Arminians, And Pietists

By the end of the seventeenth century, there was a sense that sectarian groups – a list that included Socinians and Arminians, as well as Pietists — were increasingly establishing themselves throughout Europe to the detriment of true Christianity. As Elisée Géraud observed in October 1698,

I have learnt from the northern lowlands of Germany that Socinianism is making progress there, as well as the Latitudinarian sect. Moreover, they are concerned with the subject of Pietists, who are increasing in several places. I also discovered that they have relationships with the Quietists, or today’s mystics.

Pietism had initially become a concern of the Empire during the 1660s and 1670s, and a derivative of that enthusiast movement arose after the Revocation within the Huguenot context called the “Inspiration” movement. As is evidenced by the above quotation, Pietism was described as a “secretary and” group by it’s contemporaries due to the practice of meeting in conventicles. opposition to this movement may be seen in the requirement of the pastors of the Pays de Vaud, under the sovereignty of the Canton of Bern, to take a “Vow of Association” wherein they promised to “be opposed with all their strength to the errors contrary to the blessed religion, such as Pietism, Socinianism, and Arminianism” while also “supporting the persons who have been or might be infected.” Opposition and support also marked Geneva’s approach to the Pietists in their midst, particularly because the movement was a repercussion of the Revocation.

—Jennifer Powell McNutt, Calvin Meets Voltaire: The Clergy of Geneva in the Age of Enlightenment, 61–62.

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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