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Changing Churches: An Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran Theological Conversation Paperback – February 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Mark Noll
-- 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."

Elpidophoros Lambriniadis
-- 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."

Risto Saarinen
-- 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."

Lutheran Quarterly
“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.”

About the Author

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (February 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802866948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802866943
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,515,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Changing Churches offers excellent, in-depth discussions of how the authors' decisions to change churches came about and their comfort level in having made their decision. Both authors are theologians. One author changed from Lutheranism to Orthodox. The other, along with his wife and two sons, changed from Lutheranism to Catholic. I was most impressed with how they wrote charitably and honestly about the faith they left and the faith they changed to and what they miss about their former faith tradition.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran theology absolutely should read this work, esp. if they have different members of these Churches in their own family. I'm EO (Western Rite) and read it because my daughter married a Lutheran. It was well worth the read. And did much to alleviate some of my concerns should she ever decide to convert to historic confessional Lutheranism.

This book works great as an introduction to all three Churches, at least on dogma (though not on history). And it certainly can't cover all the issues. Just the major ones. So that means discussions about the filioque, the eucharist, Mary and the Saints, the papacy, justification & sanctification as well as theosis, Christian anthropology (e.g., man after the fall), the sacraments, purgatory, indulgences, etc.

I think a few things make this book work. First, it is pretty accessible. It isn't written for professional theologians. The average layman can read it profitably. Second, it covers most of the major "issues" that work to separate our communions. Third, it is respectful and irenic. Fourth, while the majority of the work is about the EOC and the RCC, esp. how they are congruent or divergent with historical Lutheranism, there is a nice 30+ page essay by a Lutheran scholar (Hinlicky) who argues for Lutheranism (though of an eclectic type that is really without a Church: pro-women's ordination but refusing to accept the legitimization of homosexuality inside the Church).

Only one glaring error drove me nuts. In their joint introduction, on p. 17, they assert that John Cassian, the founder of Western monasticism and an opponent of Augustine, is not honored as a saint in the Roman tradition. Obviously they forgot to look up a good RC calendar. His feast day is July 23rd. And to make matters even clearer, paragraph 1866 of the RCC's Catechism of the Catholic Church specifically mentions "St. John Cassian".
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