The following is a post I did recently at the Reformation 500 blog, which I recommend checking out. The contributor’s overriding interest is in doing posts that uphold the importance of the 16th c. Reformation vis a vis Roman Catholicism. Lutheran and Reformed writers contribute (while posts usually do not draw attention to Lutheran and Reformed differences, such posts are not disallowed). Here it is:
Oh, please sit down Pope Francis! And I hope, by posting this, I am not rankling too many feathers here…
The other day on this blog John Bugay mentioned that when he was leaving Roman Catholicism, he was “looking for the history of others who had left it as well”… but that “most of the historical writings [he] was finding were coming out of the Reformed tradition”. To this effect, he recommended Lutheran Pastor Jordan Cooper’s excellent show about Lutheran theologians in America (explaining, why, for example, there are so few).
Naturally as a serious and convinced Lutheran, I would like to second John’s recommendation. In fact, I promptly forwarded John’s post to all the members of the theology department and a few others at the Lutheran institution of higher education where I work, so helpful, constructive and unique did I consider Cooper’s analysis.
In addition to that, some of you may be interested to know that Pastor Cooper is doing a series of interviews on the Lutheran talk radio program Issues ETC. about the “Confessional Documents of Calvinism”. The first show has already taken place where Pastor Cooper talked about the Three Forms of Unity. As always, I learned a lot from Pastor Cooper, who as many of you probably know, is a former Calvinist. Listening to the show, I was reinforced in the impression that he both really knows what he is talking about and really tries to fairly represent the views of those he now disagrees with (I know how frustrating and maddening it can be when persons practicing polemics don’t make the effort to try and represent their opponents views in a way that the opponents themselves would recognize).*
Finally, Issues ETC. also recently had a very interesting interview with a man who had been deeply immersed in the Baptist faith and church life (if he was not a Calvinist Baptist he deeply appreciated them), but who recently, in his sixties, converted to Lutheranism. I found this interview with Dennis McFadden – who incidently has five adult children who are actively involved as church workers or lay persons in Evangelical churches – particularly fascinating, and of course, reaffirming (as I am sure persons of other denominations or religions do when they hear stories of persons converting to their faith).
I don’t know how many persons here are like me, but I really enjoy listening to conversion stories – regardless of who is converting from what to what. For a long while, I listened to EWTN’s Journey Home program – at least with the guests that I thought might have particularly interesting stories to tell and reasons to give. Again, I find it tremendously engaging to see how person’s views do change over the years and the reasons that they give for them. Even though listening to a variety of these stories without other input might hopelessly confuse a person, I think that with other study such stories have the potential to be tremendously helpful. If you are aware of good places to go for other interesting conversion stories that you would like to share, please post those in the comments below.
Perhaps you might be particularly interested in directing me to conversion stories of persons moving from Lutheranism to Calvinism. Or, if you are a Roman Catholic reader, from Lutheranism to Roman Catholicism (though I probably have already heard the story!) If so, please do share. I would be very interested in listening to some of those stories.
* I realize some might want to say: “Why not have a guy who is still Calvinist on to talk?”. I think that would be interesting as well, even as I would hope Pastor Wilken would then also ask some tough questions!