Some Christians have been guilty of elevating spiritual experience—or pietism—over the ordinary means of grace such as preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Others have emphasized adherence to right doctrine (confessionalism) to the point that personal holiness and enjoyment of God are marginalized as nonessential so long as the believer confesses what is true. These two extremes have led some to pit pietism and confessionalism against each other as if they are mutually exclusive. But are they?

In this podcast, TGC Council member Kevin DeYoung moderates a high-level discussion that cites the writing of Herman Bavinck, Philipp Jakob Spener, John W. Nevin, and others. Michael Horton explains his concern with pietism, arguing that it creates a church within a church where some Christians pursue the really exciting spiritual experiences. Council member Ligon Duncan responds by drawing on the Scottish confessional tradition, which encouraged vibrant experiential Christianity without denigrating the church’s ordinary ministry.