Skip to comments.The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism: The Converts
Posted on 07/04/2007 6:47:22 AM PDT by NYer
It started with Scott Hahn and it is still going strong. The number of prominent Protestant clergy and theologians coming to the Catholic Church has been nothing short of remarkable. Priests like Father Dwight Longenecker and Father Alvin Kimel are new to the Church and they bring a lot of enthusiasm, scholarship and wit and humor with them. Father Longenecker might be the only priest who is a graduate of the admittedly anti-Catholic institute of higher learning, Bob Jones University. Deacon Alex Jones, a former pastor in a prominent African-American Pentacostalist Church in Detroit left behind a vibrant, growing congregation. However, the pull of Catholicism's 2,000 year-old history and her ability to weather many storms was too much for Deacon Jones. He now travels around the country telling his conversion story. In addition, there have been prominent theologians and university scholars like Dr Francis Beckwith, who very recently was the head of the Evangelical Theological Society. He came home to the Church in April. The aftershocks from his reversion to Catholicism (he was born into the faith but later left the Church for Evangelicalism during his teenage years in the heyday of the "Jesus Movement,") still are being felt. He followed Joshua Hochschild who surprised many in the theological world when he recently converted to Catholicism.
In my book The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism, I note that while many in the media, even some Catholics, are focused on those who have left the Church, few have noticed the significance of so many prominent members of other faiths who have come home to Rome. It should be noted that many who left the Catholic Faith, usually for a non-denominational mega church, often can't give a theological reason. They can only say that they enjoy the liveliness and entertainment that a mega church often provides. It is most encouraging that Catholicism is getting the crème of the crop from other churches. Entry into the Church for these converts is usually made after a long, difficult journey to come to terms with something that they never thought possible. For some, like Scott Hahn and Father Dwight Longenecker, the Faith they once mocked is the Faith they have changed their lives and alienated family and friends to join, a decision not taken lightly.
Often, it is an attempt to better understand Catholicism in order to disprove it that leads to conversion, when they simply could not come up with anything to dispute the key tenets of Catholicism: Scripture and Tradition, the Sacraments, Apostolic Tradition and the role of Mary. They found themselves falling into the trap that the eminent Pharisee Gamaliel warned about in Acts 5:33-39. They might be fighting against God.
Many of the former converts, some of whom were admitted anti-Catholics, have now become prominent defenders of the faith. Dr. Scott Hahn is a mainstay at Franciscan University and is often seen on EWTN. As a matter of fact there are so many converts and reverts coming home to the Church that one of the most popular shows on EWTN is The Journey Home, hosted by Marcus Grodi. Besides clergy and scholars there are hundreds of thousands who have entered the Church in recent years. This past Easter, it was announced that over 100,000 people came into the Church, just in the United States. While bloggers and Catholic apologists Mark Shea and Jimmy Akin came into the Church some time ago, Aimee Milburn and Gerald Augustinus along with twin brothers David Bennett and Jonathan Bennett have chronicled their recent journeys into the Church via their blogs. It is a truly remarkable story that often gets little media attention. If the converts keep coming, the Tiber is going to get mighty crowded. Indeed, the tide is turning!
Truth drives their journey.
You cant kick against the goad forever.
The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
Like the Energizer Bunny, the Church just keeps going.
Member since 2004.
We swam it. I thank God every day for throwing me in the Tiber.
I could have written most of that article from personal experience. It defines my journey fairly well and why I love my faith as a Catholic and will be eternally thankful to have finally ended up home.
That's funny. Every single person I know who left the Roman Catholic Church did so for theological reasons, and for the most part did NOT leave to go to a "mega church."
Methinks this is a rather skewed view of reality.
It would be quite true for those that I know.
My wife and I went to one of those good-time rock-and-roll mega-churches (well, Mrs. randog did and I dutifully attended on Easter and Christmas). A couple of years ago we attended Christmas services, and I walked away feeling empty. Sure, the rock band played, and they had a couple of plays, but afterward I argued that the sermon (all ten minutes of it given by a pastor in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt) was full of inconsistencies. I felt that the pastor had gotten it all wrong.
We went home after a post-service Christmas party and I turned the tube on. There was a televised catholic mass and I had my wife sit down with me to see a proper Christmas service (I was raised catholic). We both felt better after that, and we've since left the good-time, rock-and-roll church (and have heard since that many others have done likewise).
This should be interesting.
Once again a member of the granddaddy of all megachurches calls another church “mega.”
Methinks you have been exposed only to a small segment of reality.
He just led me to a little puddle and I waded for years to actually get to the river.
I will say as well that all of the Catholics I know locally who have converted did so because of inadequacies in their local church, NOT for theological reasons.
I am a former Protestant who converted in 2005 - for definite theological reasons. I will be happy to enumerate them for you if you are interested.
After I was born again I tried to stay in the Catholic church.
I was a cradle Catholic, educated in Catholic schools, married to a cradle Catholic. All my children were being raised Catholic and I had many very active Catholic ministries and I was very active in my parish.
I thought I could reconcile my new faith in Christ as my Savior with Catholicism .
But it seemed the more and more I studied scripture the more and more I could see the non scriptural error taught by the Catholic church. I started to go to evening services at an AOG and hoped that would help me bridge the gap. After 3 years I could no longer justify staying Catholic, I held almost no doctrine in common with the RC anymore.
I left for purely doctrinal reasons.
As for Protestants becoming Catholics..
No one has ever said that ALL those that call themselves Protestant are regenerate (saved) . Many have been raised in the Protestant church or have made a decision to attend a certain church with little thought to doctrine.
Having an intellectual assent to a doctrine does not save anyone. Attending a church every Sunday does not save anyone or imply they are saved, teaching Sunday school or having a degree in Theology does not mean anyone is saved.
The churches are full of people that build their own god or doctrine or tradition that make them feel “holy”.
Something making YOU feel holy or close to God does not mean you are.
These searchers often move to the catholic or orthodox churches because the tradition and mystery seem to reflect holiness. So it makes them feel holy.
May of those that will occupy hell will be people that felt holy in this life.
Salvation is not a matter of feelings, it is an act of God on sinful men.
And I walked out of our parish church during Easter mass - a sermon on the Resurrection as a symbol - all about your resurrection, my resurrection, our resurrection. I drove to the next town and took communion there, and I’m still Catholic at a parish we love, but you can find a bad church in any denomination.
At the church we left, they still have the self-conscious, swishy priest who glares at restless toddlers and babies who fuss for a few seconds (all K-5 children are strongly encouraged to go to the children’s room where they play instead of listening to the children’s lesson there, creeping new age-ism, contempt for tradition, an in-your-face gender neutrality and elevation of laity, and a grand embracing Parish Theme - Sharing Our Stories. We went there on Ash Wednesday because it was the only service we could get to, and it was just as bad as it had ever been.
But if that was all I could find, I wouldn’t be Catholic any more.
Isn’t it amazing how different the scripture looks after you have been saved...
And isn’t it amazing as well how you can’t get salvation until you quit trying to get it...