Monday, October 13, 2008
My Church or Yours?
Today as I was reading John Armstrong's thoughts about how he came to a more catholic (i.e., universal) understanding of the Christian faith, I found myself remembering some of the wonderful testimonies of some evangelicals, some quite prominent, who have discovered the beauty and depth of more liturgical modes of worship in the Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic traditions.
One who has probably influenced my thinking the most is Thomas Howard, the brother of evangelical icon Elisabeth Elliott. His amazing book Evangelical Is Not Enough is totally respective of evangelical practice and worship, but also sees its limitations. He writes about converting to the Anglican Church in the above title, and in Becoming Catholic and Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey to Rome he reveals his reasons for continuing his journey into the Roman Catholic Church. Some excerpts from his books can be found by clicking here.
Another prominent evangelical who converted to Catholicism is Scott Hahn. Once a professor at Wheaton, Hahn is now the author of many books on Roman Catholic theology including Mary, the Eucharist, etc. Hahn now teaches at the most conservative and evangelical Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio. His conversion story in his own words can be read here. Patrick Madrid of Catholic Answers, a Catholic apologetics site based here in San Diego, has published several volumes of conversion stories (usually of Protestant pastors)called Surprised by Truth. More stories can be found at the Coming Home Network which has sections for both pastors and laypeople who are curious about or considering either converting or reconverting to Catholicism.
I've also read Peter Gilquist's Becoming Orthodox which traces his and several other Campus Crusade for Christ leaders journey to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It's a very amazing story, one that somehow beckons me. Another evangelical even more well known than Gilquist who converted to Orthodoxy is Frankie Schaeffer, son of L'Abri founders Frank and Edith Schaeffer. An article on conversions to Orthodoxy that mentions both men can be found here.
A little book that has also taught me a great deal is Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail which tells of many evangelicals who are seeking a deeper, more traditional and liturgical tradition of worship. The Anglican Church dates back to 37 AD when many believe that Joseph of Arimathea brought the gospel to the British Isles. A review of the book can be read right here.
Yes, I admit to having a weakness for conversion stories, even stories of conversions to more liturgical traditions of worship within Christianity. I find these stories very interesting, even intriguing. And I thought that you might as well.