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3 Reasons This Protestant Became Catholic

October 31, AD 2012 60 Comments

In January of 2006, just short of my 20th birthday, I stood in front a priest, my friends, and 2,000 people at a parish and read the following out loud:

“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

With those words professed, this little Lutheran boy traversed almost 500 years of controversy and division between his founder and the Pope of Rome.

I did the unthinkable. I became Catholic.

My entire story from growing up Lutheran, to making a stop in Non-denominationalism, and eventually to Catholicism is a long one. The story itself is quite fascinating, because I have unofficially entitled it “How a Mormon Made Me Catholic.” I have yet to write out the entire testimony in detail, which I will do soon.

When that goes live, I can let you know if you follow me on twitter or become my friend on facebook.

In the end, the intellectual process of assenting to the propositions of the Catholic Church was not the most difficult part in becoming Catholic. The most difficult part, for me, consisted in dealing with the emotional baggage of ‘crossing over’ to the other side of the Protestant/Catholic divide.

When a Lutheran becomes a Baptist, no sweat. But when a Protestant becomes a Catholic, it’s a big deal. It involves a thorough intellectual analysis, months, maybe years of study, inquiry, and classes. You have to  ‘come out Catholic’ to your friends and family, which unbelievably, sometimes comes at the risk of loosing some of them. And finally, you have to go to confession, which is no small deal for somebody who has never been.

While my parents didn’t like my decision at the time in 2006, they eventually came around to not only accept that I was Catholic, but they decided that they also wanted to come back to Rome, which they did in 2010. Thanks be to God.

But like I said, I’ll leave that story for another post.

For now, here are the three main reasons I became Catholic. (Please note: before you comment, my explanations here are meant to be brief. Books upon books have been written on these subjects. Apologetic and theological comments resulting in discussions which belong on theological forums will be blocked.)

History

There’s no way I can write all of the historical reasons why to be Catholic. But there’s no doubt about it: the Catholic Church has history on her side when it comes to theology. Whether its infant baptism, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, or the teaching authority of the bishops of the Church, I had to eventually concede that the early Church, as revealed by history, did not have Protestant theology.

I’m simply going to stop there, because entire books have been written on the subject, and it’s not a great place for a blog post.

There are several resources available online that you can find with a simple search on “The Fathers of the Church.” A great resource for this topic is Jimmy Akin’s book, “The Fathers Know Best.” Check it out here.

The Bible

There came a point in my conversion when I no longer believed in Martin Luther’s man-made dogma known as sola scriptura, or “scripture alone” theology. What do I mean? Undoubtedly you’ve heard of “Bible Churches”, “Bible Christians”, or you have met Christians that say they only use the Bible as their sole guide to faith. In other words, if it’s not in the Bible, they’re not believing in it.

I realized an ironic fact, though. Holding the belief that everything regarding faith, morals, and theology must come from the Bible is not actually biblical. That is, the Bible doesn’t say that your church should be exclusively bible-based, or that you should only use the Bible to “do theology.”

In fact, the scripture points out that the church is the “pillar and the bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 15-16). That, of course, is not justification for turning to the Church as a co-authoritative entity, but it negates the claim that the Bible has to be the sole authority to be sure.

And we see the problems with sola scriptura today. Ask five pastors what a verse means and you will get seven different answers. Don’t worry, though — each of them prayed to the Holy Spirit and are “true Christians.” So you can trust their interpretation.

There are arguments that counter these Catholic points, and if you’ve ever visited a Catholic forum you have seen pages upon pages, years upon years of debates between people who have nothing better to do with the precious time God has given them on earth, other than to go back and forth into oblivion.

For me, accepting the position that sola scriptura was a man-made tradition was enough for me to seek a new paradigm or context in which to interpret scripture. I found the answer deep in history. And that is that the scripture was given as an authority, to be read in context of the teachings of the apostles and their descendants. It’s not what my pastor thinks the Bible says, or what I think it says, but it’s what the Apostles teach it says.

My favorite resource regarding these points is without a doubt Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. Every Catholic should have a copy of this book and read it regularly in order to effectively witness to the faith with strong points. I always keep a copy in my car to hand out to pastors and other Christians who authentically want to know why I believe what I believe.

The Eucharist

The Catholic Church has a claim that any Protestant ought to seriously investigate before deciding to be Protestant. That claim is this: the Catholic Eucharist, or Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, is somehow the actual and real body and blood of Jesus Christ himself.

Think about it for just one second. If you are a Christian, a Protestant Christian, and somebody claims that they receive the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ every morning at church, the same personal Lord and Savior of every Christian, wouldn’t you think that that is a claim you would want to at least check out and investigate?

I mean, think about it! The body and blood of God himself! Available to eat and drink! What a remarkable thing! Any Christian who loves Jesus Christ ought to investigate and see if what the Catholic Church teaches in this matter is true. Because if it is true, and you’re that Protestant who is not currently receiving the body and blood of God, you’re surely missing out on something phenomenal.

Okay… breather. I get excited when I talk to Protestants about this one.

But really, it’s worth a second look to be sure. Which is what I did.

Once you believe that the Catholic Church, via apostolic succession and the passing on of the gifts of the priesthood, actually has the power to change bread and wine into the the body and blood of Jesus Christ, there’s no going back. It’s too good. Too real. Too incredible not to want it.

Some resources on the Eucharist:

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About the Author:

Ryan Eggenberger is a partner at Little Flower Strategies, LLC. He writes about travel, marketing, and his terrible parking skills. Follow him on twitter at @RyanEggenberger.
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  • Matt S

    I love reading others “coming home” stories. I came home to the Church in 2010. I was raised Pentecostal and my family has just now come to terms with my conversion. I would like to say that it is a big step and it hasn’t been easy but our Lady and our Lord of Lords are always with us through it all. God Bless.

  • Mok

    It’s “bulwark” — NOT bull-work.

  • What an ignorant man. He didn’t really talk about the historical points (and didn’t consider Eastern orthodoxy), he blatantly misdefined sola scriptura, and merely asserted the wonder of the Lateran IV 1215 Eucharistic teachings. I’ll pass.

    • Micha Elyi

      A number of people must have been on that road to Emmaus but only a few of them engaged that man they didn’t recognize in any conversation. And of that number only two conversed at length and would invite that man to stay and break bread with them. And then their eyes were opened.

    • MaryW

      He accurately defined sola scriptura. It means “scripture alone.” And he accurately rebutted the doctrine. As a practical matter, the Bible was not put together for a very long time after Christ founded the Church. How did those early Christians know what Jesus taught before the Bible was put together? Through the Church. The way they determined which writings were divinely inspired and should be included in the Bible was based on whether the writing was consistent with the teachings of the Church.

      • Chris Gemmell

        The catholic church does not believe in the gospel as presented by the apostle Paul.

      • Tom_mcewen

        You have that right, in protestantism, Paul is the theologian and Christ is the one with the not well thought out ideas, the second bench so to speak.There can not be a difference between what Paul speaks of and what Christ said was truth. But protestantism has made that so. The truth is 2+2=4, luther with Christ being put on trial instead of luther truth was 2+2=4.5, Calvin with some are damned before they are born, truth is 2+2=5 and knox where baptism is not necessary is 2+2=5.5 on and on for 33,000 different sects all preach very little of what Christ said, but a lot of what gnostic knowledge they find between the words of Paul.

      • Chris Gemmell

        The Apostle Paul was entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ by revelation. He only preached salvation through faith in Christ. We will all be judged on the basis of whether we obeyed Christ’s words. Not on the basis of what we labelled ourselves or what denomination we belonged to. We can only know Christ through faith, otherwise he will say depart from me, I never knew you.

        Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father
        will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23

        People who do not have the Holy Spirit, need the magisterium to teach them.

        Gal. 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

      • Tom_mcewen

        Christ taught that you must have faith, but faith without works is dead as he shows us in matt ‘You must feed the hungry clothe the naked, etc.. or into the fire you go, words that you have faith are not enough. You quote Paul and then ignore Christ. There cannot be be a difference between Paul and Christ but you make one up by your private interpretation of scripture. Why are you right when 33,000 other protestant sects do not agree with your private interpretation? works of the law which Paul talks about on law is the 613 laws of Moses. You do not obey Christ. The bible is not one verse, it has context and time and place you make an error into making it into a universal statement for all times and all places. Protestantism is in error big time, and so is all private interpretations. Do you follow Luther who said it was okay to rape the maid, because he shielded by Christ’s justification, or do you follow Calvin who said you are totally depraved and damned to hell before eternity? or do you follow Knox or the local pastor, who do you follow.

      • Chris Gemmell

        God does give revelation of his words to individual Christians. The bible is quite plain that the Holy Spirit is our teacher when wenare born of God. I know this is true by experience. I had no desire to walk in God’s ways until I received his Spirit. I had no revelation of his word, no fellowship with believers and no capacity to worship until I received his Spirit. The bible speaks into my life with authority because the Spirit illuminates it. If you need the magisterium to guide you into all truth then my prognosis is that you don’t know Christ. Religion will not do the job, only repentance and faith.

      • snooop1e

        Again you run to your savior Paul. You quote Gal 2:16 but ignore the verses that follow,

        Gal 5:16-22
        So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whateverc you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

        You do not know scripture, you know a perversion of the Bible according to the tradition of your fathers Luther, Calvin, Knox and Zwingli…..
        “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments”

        -Jesus

      • snooop1e

        Great analogy. I know this post is quite old but am drawn back whenever a new comment is posted.

      • Chris

        I will have you know that Paul’s letters are read and revered during EVERY Mass. We adore Paul ‘who was Saul’ for his teachings and his faith. and because of Peter was made the coner stone of the church, the first Pontificate, Paul became a Christian. If you truly want to understand and follow Christ, experience the sacrements in the Catholic church. God bless!

      • Chris

        Apologies! I get what you were trying to say haha sorry.

        btw for all those who question; we don’t worship Mary! nor idols. We love her as the holiest of holy woman (born without sin). If you’ve ever thought differently, stop now. We only worship God, being the Trinity. Mary and all the Saints intercede for us 😉

      • snooop1e

        And EVERYTHING thst you believe is based on the misinterpretation of Pauls writings. Scripture warns us,

        2 Peter 3:16
        He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
        Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

        Was Paul crucified for you? Were you Baptised in the name of Paul? Why do you run to Paul when Jesus words convict you? Will you quote Paul to Jesus on judgement day? You condemn Catholics for holding Mary in high regard and accuse them of elevating Mary above Jesus but you do the same with Paul.

        Today there are over 40,000 different “Bible based” Protestant churches who disagree about what is and is not “essential” for salvation according to Paul (not Jesus). The fruits of your perversion of Pauls writings are every manner of sin (unlimited divorce and remarriage, contra-ception, masturbation, fornication, adultery, gay marriage, gay and lesbian clergy, female clergy, abortion etc) are currently allowed in Protestant churches.

        “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments”

        -Jesus

      • snooop1e

        Actually the Catholic Church does not believe in the gospel teaching of Paul as presented by YOU, and here is why (2 Peter 3:16)

        Their is a profound (and eternal difference)

        “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments”

        -Jesus

    • R.C.

      B.P.Burnett:

      Be cautious. I don’t know about Ryan, but I did consider Eastern Orthodoxy on my way into the Church; and I did consider all “the [relevant] historical points.”

      And, it is only recently that defenders of sola scriptura, realizing its fundamental untenability, have tried to distinguish between solo scriptura and sola scriptura in order to save their bacon. Unfortunately the two reduce to exactly the same thing, as demonstrated by the folks over at Called To Communion. Which is why so many Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Wesleyan evangelicals, once they dared to face the question squarely and with humility, found themselves irrevocably outside Protestantism.

      After that, one’s options are Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, or a rejection of Christianity.

      Eastern Orthodoxy is respectable, but once one examines the failure of sola scriptura to functionally serve as a source of authority for the Christian faith, one doesn’t wish to uproot oneself from one liturgical tradition only to plant oneself in another liturgical tradition with similar problems. The East is therefore a good place to go if one absolutely must — if, for example, one is unable to muster the faith required to honestly profess the dogmas or obey the moral code of Catholicism confidently, in areas where the East is more vague or more lax.

      But if one is enabled by the grace of God to be a Catholic, then it allows one finally to rest, to come home, to a place where there is no need to re-litigate the core doctrinal and moral truths every half-century or so. That is the advantage of retaining the Al-Beit, the Messianic Kingdom’s office of Chief Steward (foreshadowed by Eliakim son of Hilkiah, if you wish to investigate the background). For the Eastern Orthodox have stewards, without a doubt; but they lack the office which allows the stewards a tie-breaking vote. They lack an office who can bind, and none shall loose, and who can loose, and none shall bind. And thus no new decisions can be made with universal applicability, nor ever will be made, until there is reconciliation with the Successor of Peter. It stinks, but them’s the breaks.

      Now that’s a very abbreviated response. It must be, since a detailed response would be book-length at least. And Ryan was only making a blog post; it necessarily could not address everything you might like to see addressed!

      But the fact that Ryan didn’t, in a quick and less-than-systematic blog-post, address whatever you yourself might be most interested in does not make the man ignorant. Find, if you please, your Christian charity.

      • Chris Gemmell

        My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to thee, and to show my devotion
        to thee, I consecrate to thee this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart,
        my whole being without reserve. Wherefore good Mother as I am thine own, keep
        me, guard me as thy property and possession. Amen.

        (You might be sincere but the gospel of Mary is not the gospel)

      • snooop1e

        You cannot make a sound biblical or historical defense for sola scriptura, sola fide or eternal security so you talk about Mary. If what you believe is true simply prove it.

        Proving others wrong does not make what you believe biblical or historical. The father of your doctrines Martin Luther had a deep devotion to Mary and believed in her perpetual virginity.

        You should start there and see where it leads you.

        God Bless

        Snooop1e

      • snooop1e

        Well said. I left Protestantism after more than 30 years for precisely the points you have made.

        For me it wasnt about proving Catholicism wrong, it was the fact that i could not find a unified Protestant voice to prove Protestantism right. Over 40,000 different/opposing views of what is and is not essential for salvation. To me it seemed the ONLY time Protestants agreed was when they were denying Catholic doctrine. Remove the Catholic from the room and they immediately disagree with eachother.

        To me the ONLY thing that Protestants agreed on was denying Catholic doctrine, not in affirming any particular Protestant doctrines.

        In the 1930’s Protestants split/divided over contra-ception and the dissenters all agreed that the Catholic church was wrong but avoided discussing the Protestant sects who agreed with the Catholic churches refusal to change doctrine and allow contra-ception. Today Protestant churches are splitting over gay marriage and the trend will continue.

        ONE Faith, ONE Lord, ONE Baptism has necessarily devolved into the “invisible church”. This is the fruit of sola scriptura…….

      • “To me it seemed the ONLY time Protestants agreed was when they were
        denying Catholic doctrine. Remove the Catholic from the room and they
        immediately disagree with each other.”

        I’ve been really feeling ‘drawn’ to the Catholic Church the past month or so & don’t really know why but because of my protestant back ground have found myself resisting that drawing but am gradually becoming persuaded that’;s the way I need to go. I am starting to believe that God is the one drawing me. I’ve been reading a lot of websites & watching a lot of videos both Protestant & Catholic & what I quoted from your comment I have really been noticing a lot in the comments of Protestants. Arguments over doctrine seems to be the default setting for Protestants. Then atheists join the discussions & all they see is Christians fighting & bickering with each other, not a good witness for the Gospel of Christ.

      • snooop1e

        Hey Tony, happy belated St Patricks day and Happy Easter!

        My journey was a VERY difficult one. After about 2 years of sitting in front of my computer researching the history of Christianity and comparing the historical writings of the early church fathers (some of who learned directly from the Apostle John) such as Ambrose, Augustine, Clement, Cyprian, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Polycarp etc, with the writings of the fathers of the reformation (Luther, Calvin, Knox and Zwingli just to name a few) I realized that I could no longer (in good conscience) affirm Martin Luther’s doctrines of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide and Eternal Security.

        At the end of the day my decision was not based on an emotional experience but on reason, logic and truth. Please feel free to email me at

        1john3verse24@gmail.com

        if you have any questions as I can probably help you out and save you some time and/or anxiety.

        In the mean time you might find these conversion testimonies useful.

        Former Presbyterian Pastor
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FDaX9YEltrM

        Former Pentecostal Pastor
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=83fC6d5lLgo

        Former Seventh Day Adventist
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rscyUXjWsss

        Former Baptist Minister
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0FyYpMOhhQo

        Former Church of Christ
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev40dzl-35o

        Former Mormon
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UJoYi-VJqdE

        Former Jehovah Witness
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HKJPOncjgv8

        Former Methodist
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W_CKn2xjnl8

        Former Calvary Chapel / Evangelical
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hyTO4zgRX_M

        In Christ

        Snooop1e

      • Hi Snooop1e, thanks for all the video links. I guess my biggest hurdle is Mary & the Saints. I understand that Catholics don’t pray to them in the same way they pray to Jesus or God but that they ask them to intercede on their behalf. The bit I struggle with is how do we know they can even hear us if we pray to them for intercession?

      • jj

        The Catholic Church’s doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ has been essential for my own understanding of the role and our relation to Mary and the Saints. So I encourage you to do some targeted reading on the MBC.

        To share a very simple theological defense, start with our relationships with each other here on earth (the “Church Militant,” or those of us still in the middle of the war for souls). Are we invested in each other’s salvation? Do we influence each other on spiritual levels? Are we called to serve and support and minister and pray for each other? Of course! All of the above! All Christians believe these things. Furthermore, all Christians believe Christ conquered death. But here’s where the two perspectives diverge: Catholicism holds that since Christ conquered death, then our Christian brothers and sisters who have passed away are still just as connected and invested in our salvation as they were when they were on earth with us. Since Christ conquered death, Christians are not “cut off” after death. This is not a heresy or something added to the faith, it’s a natural consequence from believing in our influence on each other as Christians combined with death’s defeat at the hands of Christ. Protestants, on the other hand, for some reason choose to believe and teach that somehow because Christians are in heaven and so focused on worshiping God, that they have no desire or capacity or ability to relate or invest in our salvation here on earth. I think this partially arises from the justifiable belief that since there is no pain or sadness in heaven, then there can be no disappointment either. And since earth is filled with souls that reject Christ, there then can’t be any emotional investment in earth from Christians in heaven, less there be emotional pain and disappointment when they witness the deception of souls on earth.

        But ultimately, which teaching is more inline with what we know of God, and His communal and servant character and teaching? I think the historical and traditional Christians all sided with what is now the RCC’s teaching on continued communion and relation with the saints and Christians even after their death, by virtue of Christ conquering death itself. Protestants often say this communion with Mary and the saints distracts us from Christ. Catholics say this doesn’t distract us from Christ, it EXPRESSES Christ’s love and character, much as investing in the family of our spouse expresses our love for our spouse, not distracts us or robs our spouse of our love. God is community, and the Catholic teaching of the Mystical Body of Christ arises from that truth very naturally and powerfully.

        Let me know how this comes across and if there are any points that are confusing.

      • snooop1e

        Hey Tony. I think that for most Protestants Mary and the Saints are the last/biggest hurdle. It was for me as well.

        That being said the Catholic church does not “require” Catholics to pray to Mary and/or the Saints or seek their intercession. That is a personal decision that is left up to the individual.

        The Church in her wisdom encourages but does not require. Being a Catholic does not require you to perfectly understand everything but merely to accept the authority of the Church and not reject any of the official teachings of the church.

        It has taken me quite some time to become more comfortable with the idea of seeking the intercession of Mary and/or the Saints but I also recognize the authority of the church (Jesus gave Kepha and Kepha alone the keys to the kingdom of heaven) and Jesus gave the Apostles the power to bind and to loose on earth and in heaven and AFTER Jesus had paid the price for ALL sins He returned and gave the Apostles the power to forgive and NOT forgive peoples sins. So it is clear that Jesus gave the Apostles ALL of his authority.

        For me I think sitting down and asking myself what EXACTLY Jesus keys represent really helped a lot. In Isaiah 22:22 the King leaves his keys with his trusted servant to rule over his kingdom until he comes again. In Matt 16 Jesus does the same but Jesus keys are spiritual not material, Jesus keys are perfect not imperfect. In other words Jesus keys come with infallibility. They guarantee that the church cannot teach in error. I think that a strong argument can even be made that Jesus “keys” are in fact the gift of infallibility. In other words the teachings of the church are not infallible because of the Pope they are infallible because of Jesus Keys and despite the Pope (who is a sinner just like you and me)

        To me, Jesus keys are the ONE thing that Protestantism does not have and Jesus keys are EVERYTHING.

        That being said it (seems) to make sense that Jesus would not recklessly give His church ALL of His authority but then not ensure that the Holy Spirit guides the church to do Gods will. I also believe that the story of the people coming to Mary at the wedding at Cana and asking her intercede for them and go and talk to Jesus is a TYPE/FORESHADOW of seeking Mary’s intercession today.

        In other words Mary could have said “there is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus so NO I will not go and talk to Jesus for you, you can go and talk to him yourself”. At the same time when Mary approached Jesus and told Him that they had run out of wine Jesus did not rebuke Mary for her “intercession” on behalf of the people. After Mary intercedes with Jesus on behalf of the people Mary tells the people

        “do whatever He tells you to do”

        which I also believe is a TYPE/FORESHADO of what Mary is telling us today. Do whatever He tells you to do.

        For me it really comes down to authority. I trust in Jesus perfect keys (to the kingdom of heaven) and in His promises that the gates of hell will never prevail and that the Holy Spirit will guide the church into all truth.

        Although I do not perfectly understand ALL that the church teaches I have no problem submitting to Jesus authority that He gave to the church.

        The links below might also be helpful,

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/praying-to-the-saints

      • Thanks for the explanation. I was cleaning ut my old emails & I came across the notification of your reply that I missed. That helped me understand a bit better but I will need to re read it a number of times no doubt. Sometimes when I’ve believed something for so long I can often understand a different idea in my head but it often takes time to get it into my heart.

      • snooop1e

        No worries Tony. I figured if you had any questions or comments you would drop a message in here.

        One thing that I truly love about the Catholic faith is I do not feel the need to “push” anything on people because I know that anyone who is truly seeking the truth will find their way into the Catholic church. As the Apostles said to Jesus “where else would we go?”

        I forgot to mention several books that were VERY helpful to me along the way. You might also find them helpful.

        1. Surprised by Truth 1, 2 and 3 (3 Volume set)- Patrick Madrid

        2. Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic – David Currie

        3. Confessions of a Megachurch Pastor – Allen Hunt

        4. Rome Sweet Home – Scott Hahn

        In Christ

        “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments”

        -Jesus

      • That’s how I’ve felt, no one has pushed me or even invited me to church, I just had the feeling by myself of being drawn back to the church. I became a Catholic after leaving a Pentecostal church about 30 years ago but stopped going to church about 5 years later after a divorce. I just felt wrong going to Mass after that. I never really looked into the reasons why Catholics believed what they did but rather just accepted it. I later got involved with the Jehovah’s Witnesses & 20 years later I left them about 10 months ago as there were so many of their doctrines I began to question & could no longer agree with. I’ve spent the last 10 months visiting many different protestant churches some for a short time & others longer but just haven’t been able to settle in to any of them. I watched an EWTN “Coming Home” video on Youtube of an interview with Scott Hahn recently as well as several interviews with a number of ex-JWs who became Catholics. Someone recommended The book “The Four Witnesses” that I’m currently reading & is very interesting. I have another book on order titled “The Protestant’s Dilemma” that I’m looking forward to reading too. That’s written by Scott Hahn I think from memory. Thanks for the other recommendations. I think I’ve been to Mass about 4 or 5 times now. I had a talk to the Parish Priest, went to reconciliation on Easter Saturday & received the Eucharist the following Sunday for the 1st time in about 25 years. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out I start having doubts & start feeling confused once again & visited a different church last Sunday. Sometimes I think I’m too dense to realize where God is trying to lead me. I can’t help but think of Paul’s words at the moment. Rom 7:24 “O wretched man that I am!”

      • snooop1e

        Thanks for sharing your journey Tony.

        In some ways your experience(s) are very similar to mine. Its been about 5 years now and I am very at ease. I have also found that the sacraments (confession and the weely reception of the Eucharist) have made a profound difference in my life enabling me to overcome some habitual sins that had hounded me for decades.

        My relationships at home and at work have also improved. In other words I am more at peace than I have ever been in my life. I have come to realize that living according to Gods will brings peace, peace that I had not experienced since I was a very young man.

        As I have said, I have no doubt that anyone who is truly searching for the truth (God) will fnd their way home to the Catholic church. Conversely all those who believe that they already have the truth will not find what they are not searching for. I dont think God will hold them accountable for that but at the same time they are denying themselves the peace of being fully united with Jesus Christ (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) in the most Holy sacrament of the Eucharist. (1 Cor 11:27-30)

        In Christ,

        snoop

      • snooop1e

        Just wondering how you are doing Tony?

      • Yes I’m doing alright, thanks for asking. Strangely enough I was only reading though this post & comments just last night. I wandered back to a couple of protestant churches for a bit at one stage but just found the differing beliefs among them all frustrating & couldn’t settle anywhere . I’ve given up on that & have been going to Mass for a while now. Have been reading a book titled The Protestant’s Dilemma & that has helped my confusion of the whole Protestant vs Catholic thinking & indecision. I’ve also started looking through the Catechism as well. Even though I’ve resisted a bit with it all I just can’t help feel the Catholic Church is where I must be now. Even when at times my mind has doubts & wants to resist I feel such a compulsion in my heart that I just have to be a part of it now. It’s as though I wasn’t keen on the idea but God’s got me by the scruff of the neck & taking me there anyway.

      • snooop1e

        Wow Tony it sounds like you’ve been through a bit of a struggle. Hopefully you aren’t stressing out to much (for about 2-3 years I also had much anxiety as well) I would read a Bible verse and be convinced that the Catholic church was correct but then read some other verse and suddenly begin to doubt again.

        I know now that was mostly due to my belief that the Bible “Alone” was the sole (soul?) authority for all Christians and I was basing everything on my (or someone else’s) interpretation of the Bible. One day it occurred to me that there was something wrong with over 40,000 “Bible Based” Protestant/Evangelical churches disagreeing about was is or is not “essential” for salvation so the doctrine of “scripture alone” actually had resulted in much division and confusion. It also bothered me that every single one of them allowed UNLIMITED divorce and remarriage for ANY REASON whatsoever. It also bothered me that not one of them forbids abortion or will make a connection between abortion and salvation (they cannot because of the doctrine of salvation by “faith alone”) For example the SDA Church does not allow their hospitals to serve pork but they allow them to perform both “elective” and “therapeutic” abortions for profit. Imagine that, God is more concerned about whether or not we eat pork than if we murder babies..and for money no less.

        Anyway it seems to me that the principle of salvation by thought alone (not killing babies and not committing adultery is optional) is not “biblical” and primarily the result of its sister doctrine “scripture alone”. Every type of sin imaginable is now accepted within Protestantism according to individual interpretation of the Bible and according to Martin Luther’s doctrine of salvation by faith alone. To be honest for me it was Catholic or nothing. No one will ever convince me (no matter how many verses they quote) that murdering an unborn baby is less upsetting to God then eating pork or that a “saved” person can murder an unborn child and doing so has no affect on their salvation.

        It just seems utterly delusional to claim that the ONLY church that forbids adultery, fornication, abortion, gay marriage, gay clergy etc is the “whore of Babylon and antichrist” but all of these other churches who allow ANY/ALL sins in the namevof sola fide are “bible based” and “spirit led” and “saved”.

        Sorry for the rant but I know what you are going through. Keep reading but most of all PRAY. Ask Jesus to lead you home to God’s church. He will. Don’t be afraid.

        God Bless.

      • I didn’t know the SDA were anti-pork. Yes it certainly makes no sense to be so nit picky with minor matters but neglect the serious sinful practices. Jesus said similar to the Pharisees about neglecting the weightier matters of the law. The book “The Protestant’s Dilemma” that I mentioned deals a lot with sola scriptura & really highlights in a logical manner the futility of it when it only leads to more & more splintering & division of Protestantism.

      • snooop1e

        Thanks for the reply Tony. Who is the author of the book? I haven’t read that one but have heard that it’s pretty good. I wasn’t very happy at my current jor and was able to land a new job so will be starting new after 15 years at the old one (I am 52 years old) if you don’t mind say a prayer for me as I’m a little anxious. Starting overror is more stressful now than when I was younger. Hang in there man, you are in my prayers brother…..

      • The Protestant’s Dilemma is by Devin Rose. I can relate to your feelings. I was made redundant from my last job at the same age & finding another job wasn’t easy. Starting at a new place was a rather anxiety causing ordeal for me too. Will pray for you for sure & I hope it all goes well for you.

      • snooop1e

        P.S. Your cartoons are hilarious. Love the snake going down the hole. I don’t usually get a laugh from comics but that one made me laugh outloud.

      • snooop1e

        Hey Tony was just commenting on a Blog and thought I’d say hello. How’s life treating you?

      • snooop1e

        Sorry I realize that I didn’t actually answer your question at the end of your post.

        “how do we know they can even hear us if we pray to them for intercession?”

        That is a very good question. It’s one that I also asked when I was considering the Catholic church. How in the world can a Saint hear (let alone understand) millions of people all praying at the same time?

        Rev 5:8
        And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

        I suppose the short answer is, the Saints are “not of this world”, in other words, it’s a miracle. The Saints in heaven are in the spiritual realm in the presence of Almighty God. The spiritual realm is not bound by the laws of the material/physical world (i.e. Jesus defied the law of gravity when He ascended into heaven)

        I think that both Protestants and Catholics will agree that there is NOTHING that God cannot do and that would include enabling the Saints to hear our prayers and present them to Jesus (Just as Mary heard and presented the peoples request for more wine to Jesus)

        So as with all of Gods miracles (such as Transubstantiation) it’s not a matter of CAN God do it (God can do anything) it’s a matter of WOULD God do it?

        So in reality the Protestant is not saying that God CANNOT turn His body and blood into bread and wine the Protestant is saying that God WOULD NOT turn His body and blood into bread and wine.

        I think that any reasonable Christian will admit that Gods ways are not our ways and we cannot begin to know the mind of God or to presume to know what God WOULD or WOULD NOT do.

        If I told you that God wanted a whale to swallow a man for 3 days and then spit him out alive would you would not say that is impossible for God but you might question WHY God would do that.

        So it’s not really a matter of COULD God do it but WOULD God do it and we cannot begin to know what God would or would not do.

        The Bible tells us that eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those who love Him. I think that God can do ANYTHING that He want’s to including enable the Saints to hear our prayers.

        To me, creating the entire universe seems much more complicated than enabling the Saints to hear our prayers but what do I know?

        Not sure if this helps, JJ might be able to provide a better reply. The link below might also be helpful….

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/praying-to-the-saints

        In Christ,

        “if you want to enter life, keep the commandments”

        -Jesus

      • snooop1e

        P.S. Another thing that bothered me when I was a Protestant/Evangelical was the fact that we insisted that salvation was by faith alone (despite James 2:24) and not because of any doctrines or works but then we had a habit of condemning others (Catholics, Mormons etc) because of their doctrines and their works???? It seemed to me that our logic was circular and self defeating and by condemning others because of their doctrines and works/practices we were actually denying the doctrine of sola fide. After all if EVERYONE is truly saved by “faith alone” then their doctrines and works are irrelevant. That was not the case though, we would accuse them of not truly being saved BECAUSE they did not share our doctrines and our works.
        That did not make any logical sense to me….
        “if you want to enter life, keep the commandments”
        -Jesus

      • jj

        Great point about Protestantism devolving into the “invisible” church. This is something that is so painful when Protestants argue against the Mystical Body of Christ that Catholicism so beautifully professes. The Protestant equivalent/counter-argument of the invisible church is so meek and toothless that my heart breaks for them. And somehow this toothless invisible church is somehow “truer” than the Mystical Body of Christ with all it’s powerful relational teaching and consequence? Satan is subtle indeed. Yet at the same time not so much.

      • snooop1e

        Indeed. I enjoy reading your posts JJ.
        In Christ

    • Physiocrat

      I have the greatest admiration for Eastern Orthodoxy and its practices and practitioners but there is a problem which in essence is summarised here.
      http://physiocrat.blogspot.se/2011/08/why-orthodoxy.html

  • Ashank D’souza

    ”To be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant”
    —John Henry Newman
    Hi everyone.
    I am a Catholic teenager from India.
    Does anyone want to talk?

    • Chris Gemmell

      If you don’t believe in sola scriptura then you can believe anything that the catholic religion spouts. God has given us his inspired word to keep us from deception and to know his mind.

      • Tom_mcewen

        No, the Catholic Church and its councils have given you the word of God. We are the agents of God, by the command of Jesus and the others are not.

      • Chris Gemmell

        Your religion teaches that the word of God gives you license to make the Pope a higher authority than the word of God. Therefore unbiblical pronouncements about Mary become truth.

      • jj

        I”m sorry, Chris, but Catholicism doesn’t teach that the pope is a HIGHER authority than Scripture, only that we as individuals cannot decide for ourselves what Scripture means or applies to, hence we have a unifying apex for worldwide Christianity, aka the pope, to guide us outside of our own brutal biases and embarrassingly limited perspectives.

        Also, using the Bible to claim sola scriptura leads AT BEST to sola old testament, because that was the ONLY holy Scripture at that time. It was actually the Catholic Church that gave us the New Testament and ordained it Holy Scripture. And look through the Gospels and Acts and you’ll see clearly that Jesus did not leave us with a book, He left us with a Church. That Church, then, gave us the Bible.

        It’s also extremely ironic that you think denying sola scriptura leads to individualism when it’s the Protestants who believe in sola scriptura that are as individualistic and divided as they come. One Roman Catholic Church, 40,000 Protestant denominations. Which one gets to “believe anything” ??

      • Chris Gemmell

        Jesus Christ did not leave us the Catholic religion. His body on earth are those born into his family through new birth. The Pope has exalted himself as a higher authority than scripture because numerous dogmas particularly concerning Mary are foreign to the truth of scripture. If the Catholic religion were the body of Christ it would be like it’s master and not burn persons it deemed heretical. It would not damn anone that would not bow to Rome AKA the inquisition and steal their possessions. The Pope sits as head of the church which is Christ’s office alone. He will not share his glory with another. He suffered on the cross to be our mediator and our head and our high priest and the author of our salvation.

      • jj

        You’re clinging to the papacy evils of the dark ages. The pope is not, nor ever will be, above Jesus or Holy Scripture. That’s like saying your college math professor is above the laws of math. The popes have been and always will be human beings. Holding the failings of past humans as reasons to reject a religion is exactly what many atheists do to Christianity as a whole. And there are TONS of other atrocities performed by virtually all facets of Christian religions the past 500 years. If the strongest evidence you have against the pope is 500 years old, then you need to look a little deeper into what it is you’re fighting against.

        Jesus specifically gives the 12 disciples (the foundation of the Church) the ability to forgive or condemn in his name. The Church has abused this power at times, because power does that to humans. But abuse of the power doesn’t mean the power was never granted or was a mistake. It means that abuser as a lot to answer for, and future leaders had a lot to make up for.

        You’re also gravely mistaken about the “dogma” surrounding Mary. You say that like it’s a heretical theology to honor the epitome of womanhood, motherhood, and the one person who had the closest, most intimate relationship with the physical Christ in all of history. She literally was the mother of God. We do not worship her. She is not our salvation. Catholics believe in the Mystical Body of Christ, something evangelicals painfully ignore. We believe the saints in heaven are still fully invested in the battle for souls here on earth. If I can ask you to pray for me, then I can ask the saints in heaven to do the same thing. Mary has the additional honor of being considered the greatest of the saints because of her relationship with Jesus and her sacrifice of watching her son be crucified, which was only surpassed by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

        It’s not dogma, it’s family. Jesus is and always will be my savior. Jesus is the reason for everything. But honoring Mary as my spiritual mother, and the strongest human example of Christian servitude and devotion, in NO WAY leads me away from Christ. On the contrary, joining with the Mystical Body of Christ in worship of Jesus, and inviting Mary and the Saints into your home, your family, your prayer life, brings out a fullness in your heart and faith that makes you love Jesus and God’s whole plan all the more deeply.

      • Chris Gemmell

        She has become a trinity in her own right now.
        The gospel of Mary is not in the scriptures. The dogmas surrounding Mary, her offices, statues, rosary, only demonstrate that the catholic religion does not know the gospel of Christ.

        Only these three titles and roles of Mary as Co-redemptrix,
        Mediatrix, and Advocate combined accurately express her entire mission
        as Spiritual Mother of humanity: to suffer and redeem with
        Christ, to dispense all graces of salvation from Christ, to intercede
        for us and to invoke the coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ, on behalf
        of all humanity.

        Note here that we speak not of “three mothers”, but of one mother
        with three aspects of maternal service for her children. We therefore
        are not speaking of three separate truths about Mary, but one central
        truth, her spiritual motherhood, which is manifested in three profound
        and inseparable expressions of her spiritual maternity as Co-redemptrix,
        Mediatrix, and Advocate. (fifthmariandogma.com)

        ……………………………………………………………………..

        The bible says there is only one mediator, the man Christ Jesus.
        There is only one redeemer, one name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
        There is only one advocate, the Holy Spirit.

      • jj

        It’s clear that the only perspective you have of the Catholic Church is one that you soaked up from other anti-Catholics and are here regurgitating passionately.

        You know how frustrating it is when a non-Christian takes something out of the Bible, or out of history, out of context, then throws that in your face as to why Christianity is a joke? That’s the same exact thing you’re doing to Catholicism.

        The fact that there are 3 ‘profound and inseparable expressions’ describing what spiritual maternity means, and why we are attribute those most strongly to Mary, does not mean that she trumps the entire Trinity. All 3 of those expressions our own mothers assume in attempting to raise children to know Christ. If you’re a parent, you already assume all those roles. That doesn’t mean you are replacing Christ in the life of your children.

        Listen, you clearly only understand, or know, just enough of Catholicism to defend your own repulsion. But the reality is the Catholic Church stands on 2000 years of the most devote investigation of Scripture, humble prayer, and community service. The reason some of the facets of the Church seem extra-Scriptural, is because the Church is 2000 years deep into Scripture and prayer, whereas Protestantism stands on nothing, not even the 500 past years. There is no collective effort in Protestantism. Every generation relearns the same thing. The result is a night-and-day difference between the depth of understanding and the breadth of theology between Catholicism and Protestantism. Every facet that you’re on here attacking is in reality a beautiful mystery of the faith that leaves you desperately in love with Christ and God’s ultimate plan and character. These are all things of immense beauty. Furthermore, these are things that none of us would ever reach on our own understanding in our own lives. That is why the Catholic Church is so beautiful. It is a culmination of the faiths of all the saints. Against that, you’re repulsion is nothing but shallow egotism and superficial self-justification. It takes true humility to be Catholic, something all of us could desperately use more of.

      • Chris Gemmell

        The great mystery is that you think you belong to the true church when it is completely foreign to the gospel according to Christ, Peter, Paul.
        You do have a gospel of Mary that was never expressed in the entire new testament, unless you take into account the twisting of a couple of scriptures.
        I don’t hate you bro, but I hate the doctrines of demons that have alienated you from knowing the Father through his Son.

      • jj

        Every single facet of my faith is centered entirely around Christ. You continue to believe that adding to our comprehensive understanding of God and his family and his love for us, and his plan for us all, somehow distracts me from Christ. Every point you’ve made on here is a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches. Please understand that. Just like an atheist will never understand Christianity as well as a passionate Christian, a Protestant will never understand Catholicism from the outside. I’m not asking you to convert, only to understand you are horribly mistaken. It’s you against 2000 years of collective and culminating wisdom gained after thousands of lifetimes of passionately seeking Christ through Scripture, prayer, and community service. There is nothing even remotely close to that kind of congruency in Protestantism. Every generation repeats the same lessons, and repeats the same horribly misinformed accusations towards the Catholic Church, which the Church asked of itself and answered probably over 1000 years ago.

      • I don’t know if you’ll ever see my comment JJ as yours is 2 years old, but I’m a Protestant who’s been examining Catholicism recently & reading through your comments in this discussion has really helped me in my understanding. Thanks.

      • jj

        Wow! Thanks for that. I sometimes get convicted that I argue too much about this stuff, so I’ve tried over the years to simply offer more accurate explanations instead of trying to argue or convince somebody on the spot. Simply hearing a modestly-educated Catholic explain how a tenant of the faith isn’t as remotely heretical or contradictory as a lot of non-Catholics have been taught can really help bridge some gaps. At least that’s my intent. Thank you for your message. Never stop asking tough questions, even in this thread if you can’t find anyone else. God bless.

      • Adam Hopper

        JJ you have been a terrific example of what it means to be Catholic. I sincerely appreciate your comments. You have kept your cool and you remain humble. As a Catholic I am always put in a position to defend the faith and I pray for the strength and the guidance to defend with the truth and with kind words. You exemplify that my friend and I thank you for it.

        My personal journey to the church was from Agnosticism. I finally felt the call and had a choice ahead of me….what the heck denomination do I choose? I was blown away at just how difficult that decision could be. Soooooo many denominations! I really felt some doubt because I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices. I took some quizzes etc. I studied very hard and for some reason through that whole process I kept thinking…”Not Catholic.” I don’t know why, because even as an Agnostic I had grown up with the Protestant attitude toward Catholics. I kept studying and studying and Catholicism kept making sense to me! I kept thinking “Nope, I can’t be Catholic.” You have to understand that for me to “come out” as a Christian to my mostly Aethiest family was going to be tough and that it would be even tougher if that decision was Catholic. It’s funny how that works…”I’m Christian.” “Good for you!” … “I’m Catholic.” “Oh uh okay.”

        Anyways after much study I just couldn’t ignore that everything lined up for me with Catholicism and everything else just kind of didn’t make full sense to me. I also felt distracted in a lot of the Protestant services due to the high energy music and it just didn’t feel like worship as much as it felt like a party. I don’t want to go to church to party, I want to go to church to focus on my relationship with God and to make some serious inward reflection. This is not to talk down about Protestant church services…it just was not for me. Well in conclusion when I finally chose Catholicism….I was very saddened when I was met with so much hate and ignorance. I was so new and felt so hurt by this attitude. Even the Aethiests were nicer to me than Protestants. This is in no way to say that “All Protestants and All Aethiests” are in the same boat. I just mean that in my personal experience this is how it went. I also see it all the time on forums. I still get saddened when I see all these divides and all the slander people throw at each other. I tell you what! When I was Agnostic that was some of the very reason I couldn’t find religion. I realize that I can’t blame religion for what “some” people do but it was very hard to find God when you have these folks giving you fire and brimstone preaching etc.

        In conclusion, I became Catholic and I stand by that choice as I consider it an educated decision. I read and I read and I visited many different denominations and gave so many a chance. I just hope to remain humble and to continue to work on my journey in this world with God’s plan. As my Deacon tells me…we are catholic with a small “c.” We are not special or in some kind of cool club. We remain humble and we answer and defend our faith with the truth and with kindness and understanding. In the end there is one judge and He knows our hearts truly.

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  • Episteme

    Ryan, my pastor is actually himself a convert from Lutheranism to Catholicism. About a decade ago, he — as a Lutheran minister, no less, had a similar sort of journey and sat down with his wife and children to talk about his feelings on what he thought that he had to do for his faith. In the end, his wife and two of his four adult children converted along with him. He got the dispensation from the bishop to attend Catholic seminary, and is now both our pastor (technically “priest-in-charge,” due to the odd issue of having a wife in the rectory!) and our Knights of Columbus chaplain. While some in the parish were weird about it at first — and we *did* lose some members over the “married priest” issue, I find his convert zeal infectious and his knowledge of scripture from his days as a Lutheran a benefit to his interpretation of readings & Gospel in the homily. As a more theological sort myself, I have long conversations with him in off hours about church history, doctrines, liturgy, and scriptures.

    What I mean to say with this, Ryan, is two-fold. Firstly, welcome home! Secondly, you have a unique and beautiful perspective to share with your fellow Catholics, especially younger ones. Ours in a tradition that had gotten away from the scripture and has been struggling to relearn how to connect with it — the new generation of young adult Evangelical Catholics have made that a priority. Among the Protestants, the Lutherans have a rare position of scriptural focus *without* dramatically altering the exegesis of much it the way that the likes of Calvinist creeds have. You, my pastor Father Johnson, and others who have returned are the ones who will help tutor the rest of us non-hermeumetic Catholics on what we’re trying to remember about the scripture, to further inspire the wider ranger of the works that we do! 🙂

  • Kristine

    Incredible proof and conversion of the scientist!
    Link did not show? I’ll try it again
    copy and paste and remove quotes
    “https://www.youtube.com/embed/3gPAbD43fTI”