Author: Hartin, Patrick J
Date published: March 1, 2013
JOURNEYS OF FAITH: EVANGELICALISM, EASTERN ORTHODOXY, CATHOLICISM, AND ANGLICANISM. Edited by Robert L. Plummer. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. Pp. 256. $18.99.
This significant book addresses an issue that all Christian traditions experience today. The Pew Forum estimates that "about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives" (15).
In his introduction, Plummer lays out the intent of his book: to help Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals understand why fiersons have left their own traditions, ? this way a clearer insight emerges into "what fundamental differences remain between Evangelical and nonEvangelical churches" (14).
Four authors who reaffiliated address the phenomenon of conversion. Instead of angry critiques, their faith-filled lifestories demonstrate a heartfelt respect for their former faith communities. At the same time with irenic happiness the reasons emerge for embracing their newly found faith tradition. The book's structure achieves its goal: four faith journeys are presented, followed by a response from their former faith tradition; finally, the convert offers a concise response. Three of the four faith journeys are of people who left the Evangelical tradition for more liturgical churches such as the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican traditions.
As a Roman Catholic myself, I found especially insightful and moving Chris Castaldo's journey from the Catholicism of his youth to Evangelicalism (137-64). In his story the reader encounters the reasons leading Castaldo slowly to embrace his newly found faith tradition while maintaining esteem for aspects of his former Catholic faith. Responding to this faith journey, Brad S. Gregory (165-84) offers a respectful explanation of the Catholic Church's understanding of the "deep and rich tradition of . . . scriptural commentary and preaching in the Latin West" (167). Castaldo's response (179-84) captures beautifully the tone of all the contributions in this book: "It is possible as Catholics and Evangelicals to treasure the message of grace and discuss it with a warmhearted voice of grace" (184).
For anyone interested in ecumenism, this book is a real gem. And for anyone wishing to understand a phenomenon touching the heart of every Christian faith tradition today, this book is a necessity.
PATRICK J. HARTIN
Gonzaga University, Spokane