Converting to Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism

Andy Naselli —  February 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

This book releases on March 6:

Robert L. Plummer, ed. Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Here’s an interview about the book that Rob posted on his blog.

The book is a fascinating read. It’s helpful to hear directly from the “converts.”

Scot McKnight mentions in the foreword, “If you are worried about numbers, they are still on the side of Evangelicals: more convert to Evangelicalism than away from it into Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches” (p. 10).

Rob, a NT professor at Southern Seminary, concludes the book by sharing a troubling question that his wife asked him: “What if someone reads your book and converts to Catholicism?” (p. 223).

Could my book encourage some readers to embrace a theological tradition that, if given the opportunity, I would personally discourage them from pursuing? The question continued to trouble me. I discussed the matter with a colleague, who noted that Evangelicals are going to either help set the terms of this discussion or simply react to others.

  • Personally, I’d rather help make sure all sides have a fair hearing.
  • Moreover, going back at least to the Reformation, Christians have a long history of publishing academic disputes of this sort. This genre of writing should be understood as in no way implying a contributor’s approval of anyone’s view except those explicitly expressed by him.
  • Indeed, most contributors to this book see themselves as disagreeing on fundamentally irreconcilable issues.
  • Is the pope the rightful head of the Christian church?
  • Is justification a forensic declaration?
  • Is it appropriate, or even commendable, to use icons in Christian worship?
  • Is special grace communicated to participants in the Lord’s Supper, and if so, in what way?

People often find that for which they search. Yet what would I like for readers to take with them from this book? I can think of several things:

  1. I hope readers are able to recognize with greater sympathy the complex motivations which influence conversions to other Christian traditions.
  2. I want readers who are struggling with the desire to leave their tradition to feel both more understood and, in many cases, more hesitant.
  3. I hope that all Christians would find in this volume a model of peaceable ecumenical dialogue. (pp. 223–24, formatting added)

Update: Click the thumbnail image for details about some of the book’s authors meeting at Wheaton College on April 14.

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