* Conversion from one branch of Christendom to another is often a difficult choice. Here two former Lutherans discuss their decisions to leave their church---one for Roman Catholicism and the other for Orthodoxy. Their conversations about justification, grace, women and ministry, homosexuality, and other topics offer illuminating insight on why some Lutherans seek new spiritual homes. 368 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
Sharp controversies -- about biblical authority, the ordination of women, evangelical "worship styles," and the struggle for homosexual "inclusion" -- have rocked the Lutheran church in recent decades. In Changing Churches two men who once communed at the same Lutheran Eucharistic table explain their similar but different decisions to leave the Lutheran faith tradition -- one for Orthodoxy, the other for Roman Catholicism.
Here Mickey L. Mattox and A. G. Roeber address the most difficult questions Protestants face when considering such a conversion, including views on justification, grace, divinization, the church and its authority, women and ministry, papal infallibility, the role of Mary, and homosexuality. They also discuss the long-standing ecumenical division between Rome and the Orthodox patriarchates, acknowledging the difficult issues that still confront those traditions from within and divide them from one another.
Mickey L. Mattox is associate professor of theology at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A. G. Roeber is professor of early modern history and religious studies and codirector of the Max Kade German-American Research Institute at Penn State University.
-- University of Notre Dame
"This book exemplifies the best in charitable yet tradition-specific ecumenical discussion. A. G. Roeber (a Lutheran become Orthodox), Mickey Mattox (a Lutheran become Catholic), and Paul Hinlicky (a Lutheran who remains Lutheran) explain what they find helpful (or indispensable) in Lutheran theology and then why they have transcended (or retained) those Lutheran insights. The result is both a primer in the classical Trinitarianism that the authors share and a set of powerful statements about the Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran distinctives that have remained to this point irreconcilable. Evangelical Protestants will especially appreciate the book's instruction in classical orthodoxies as well as its goad to probe the strengths and weaknesses of their own traditions with the care that these authors have shown toward theirs."
-- Metropolitan of Bursa
"An inspiring, intellectual illustration of the unique concepts and convictions, as well as the theological and cultural differences, in the creative interplay and interchange between Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran theologians."
-- University of Helsinki
"A bold and considerate book on a highly sensitive subject. In ecumenical theology, the issue of conversion has for the most part been discussed in anonymous and abstract terms. Mattox, Roeber, and Hinlicky offer a personal account that takes this deeply theological issue and the context of our contemporary world seriously."
Richard J. Sklba
-- Bishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
"With theological precision, frequent brilliance, and occasional brutal honesty regarding all three of the major ecclesial traditions examined in this work, these scholars explore the serious questions at issue if one moves from Lutheranism to Catholicism (Mattox) or to Orthodoxy (Roeber) or if one decides to remain within Lutheranism (Hinlicky). . . . This apologia is poised to make a substantial contribution to ecclesiology at the beginning of the twenty-first century."
"This book is a sensitive and well-written statement."
Midwest Book Review
"This is a fine survey of the differences between Orthodox and Catholics, and is a recommendation for any spiritualty collection."