education, and income. Matters were further complicated by the remnants of a ramshackle medieval system that bequeathed to established churches perennial problems regarding property rights and ownership of parish income. In countries such as Sweden, England, the Netherlands and numerous German states, the parish structure formed the basis of political and social organization and the prime means of Christianizing the people, thus providing the formal context in which a minister did his job. The position of voluntary and persecuted Protestant churches was more complex and led to a considerable degree of uncertainty as to the function and status of their clerical leaders. In areas where Protestants faced determined persecution, such as in France and Hungary, the authority of the clergy was seriously weakened and their power within the church was increasingly delegated to the laity.
Theological developments also shaped the Protestant clergies both in terms of how they saw their calling and the content and style of their preaching. Amongst more advanced sections of the clergy in this period, there was a drift from lengthy doctrinal sermons to lighter homilies that stressed morality and the common good. On the other hand, traditionalists and evangelicals sought to counter the influence of moral preaching either by focusing upon confessional orthodoxy or preaching personal salvation through Christ alone. The latter was a prominent feature of the Protestant revival in its Pietist and evangelical forms. The revival emerged in the face of Habsburg persecution and was shaped by social changes associated with the movement of populations, problems caused by urban growth and the early Industrial Revolution. As far as the spiritual life of the Protestant churches was concerned, the revival inculcated a more zealous and active commitment to the Christian faith that exercised a profound influence upon how many ministers understood and practised their vocation. The leading Lutheran Pietist, Philipp Jakob Spener, was concerned that the ministry was seen as merely an arm of the state and irrelevant to the everyday lives of the laity. Spener was a committed Lutheran pastor who wanted to reform the Church by reminding ministers of their pastoral responsibilities and realizing the priesthood of all believers through small fellowship groups. Though religious revival began as a means of self-preservation amongst persecuted Protestant minorities in eastern and central Europe, it became an indispensable pastoral strategy in the west. As social and economic change challenged how the church would minister to the surrounding population, evangelism and pastoral care became more important than the maintenance of confessional structures. At the same time as they intensified the sense of divine calling amongst the clergy they influenced, Pietism and evangelicalism also challenged the established status of the clergy
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