Monday, January 21, 2008

Pastor of the Third Largest Methodist Church becomes Catholic

Via Sherry at Intentional Disciples.
Allen Hunt, who, a year ago, was senior pastor of the third largest Methodist church in the world (Mt Pisgah in Georgia) announced that he will be received into the Catholic church. He had apparently transitioned out of the senior pastorate during the last year in preparation for this announcement [...] and has focused upon his daily radio show. His wife will remain active in the Methodist church.
[Link to his blog.]


Mac said...

It seems a pity they closed the comments after so few entries. Apart from one or two loonies, the question (which he declined to answer) as to what it was beyond the rather inadequate "it was a personal decision" deserved a proper response given the fellow's apparently high profile not only as the minister of a large Methodist Church but a radio broadcaster.

Andy Borgmann said...

"it was a personal decision" deserved a proper response"

That's where we disagreed. We felt we explained all we were willing to explain, and that is all that was deserved. Allen feels personally at peace worshiping in the Catholic church and in his mind, that is all that matters.

Mac said...

Clearly "Erik" is no Charles Kingsley but by the same token neither is Mr Hunt any John Henry Newman. He was, however, it seems, minister to the third largest Methodist congregation in the country and he had broadcast a radio program to, one assumes, an even wider constituency. They may feel they deserve more of an explanation than what must seem to some a selfish and self-absorbed copout. If it is that he wishes not to inflict any damage on his former congregation and the commitment of his listeners to their presumably liberal evangelical Protestant faith but he declines to discuss the matter then perhaps he should not have made his announcement so publicly.

Erik said...

I am certainly no Charles Kingsley. Nor am I Charles Sheen or Charles in Charge. Still, I think Rev. Hunt owes his followers an explanation. Is there no difference in these two faiths? Does it matter whether you are Catholic or Protestant? Or does
it all come down to a "deeply personal decision"? In that case then it's all subjective and there is no ultimate truth. Worship however it feels good. Is that right?

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Hey. On the "apparently transitioned" bit:

Mr. Hunt left Mount Pisgah church in June, having announced his resignation in March of 2007 to pursue a radio career.

Mac said...

Ah. That puts a different complexion on things. In that case it is no one's business but his own unless he choose to discuss it publicly.

Sherry W said...

Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, Allen Hunt did leave his senior pastor position a year ago. (Although it is also true that he was till active in his former congregation - and described as a "community pastor.)

Perhaps like John Henry Newman, he knew he couldn't go on where he was but wasn't quite ready to make the leap.

There's no need to turn this man's personal journey into a high profile apologetics moment. It speaks for itself. Newman didn't write Apologia Pro Vita Sua until 20 years after his conversion and then only in response to sustained personal attacks.

Mac said...

“Sustained attack”? Surely not. The Rev’d Charles Kingsley made a snide incidental reference to Newman in a review of J.A. Froude’s History of England (“Father Newman informs us that truth for its own sake need not be, and on the whole ought not to be, a virtue of the Roman clergy”), to which Newman responded with a bitingly satirical pamphlet , “Mr Kingsley and Dr Newman: A Correspondence on the Question whether Dr Newman teaches that Truth is no Virtue” in 1864, and followed up with the Apologia in 1864. There had been a brief correspondence between Newman and Kingsley in which Newman challenged Kingsley to point out where he had indicated that truth for its own sake need not and ought not to be a virtue of the Roman clergy; Kingsley was of course unable to do so.

As you say, Mr Hunt’s shifting of denominational allegiance is no one’s business but his own: the original report suggested that he had abandoned his Methodist pastoral charge and Methodist denomination for Catholicism and broadcast it on his radio program. Had that been the case his former congregation and his listeners might indeed have felt entitled to further explanation than merely that it was a personal decision. It wasn’t and, as you say, they don’t.