Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 70

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 1 2015 ON MORMON CHRISTIANITY: AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN H. WEBB Paul Louis Metzger∗ Stephen H. Webb is the author of Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-Day Saints (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) and, with Alonzo Gaskill, Associate Professor of Church History at Brigham Young University, Catholic and Mormon: A Conversation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Dr. Webb writes on a wide range of issues, from the Latter-day Saints to Karl Barth, Bob Dylan, and John Updike. Formerly a professor of theology and philosophy for twenty-five years at Wabash College, Indiana, he is currently teaching part-time at Christian Theological Seminary, a Disciples of Christ Seminary in Indianapolis, and working on a novel in addition to blogging regularly for First Things. PLM: Professor Webb, you were raised in the Stone-Campbell religious tradition (Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ), later becoming a Roman Catholic. In your book, Mormon Christianity, you share about your upbringing and the sojourn to Catholicism. Please share briefly about that journey. SHW: The branch of Restorationism that raised me is commonly called the Independent Christian Churches. That tradition had much interaction with the early Latter-day Saints. We had the fundamentalist non-instrumental Church of Christ to our right and the very mainline Disciples of Christ to our left, so we thought we were just right, neither too cold or too hot. We were pretty low church, but we took communion every week, something we share in common with Mormons. When I went to college, the Disciples of Christ were more supportive of the kinds of questions I was asking, so I migrated to that church. We spent five years trying to help start a Disciples church in our community, but after it failed to make it (that might have been due to my preaching—I wasn’t the regular preacher but a regular substitute, and we went through two preachers), we became Lutheran. I don’t think of myself as leaving Lutheranism as much as becoming a complete Lutheran by becoming DOI: ∗ Paul Louis Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins at Multnomah University; 69