Skip to comments.My Personal Conversion Story
Posted on 03/19/2008 5:01:33 PM PDT by annalex
About 35 years ago as a young teen, I strayed from my Catholic faith and began to look into the occult and the rock and roll culture for answers and peace in my life. My parents brought me to Church faithfully but didn't allow their faith to help them with their personal problems. They had a troubled marriage and alcohol abuse was a chronic unspoken demon in their lives. As a teenager my Catholicism meant little to me though I do remember praying the rosary at night to help me sleep when I was troubled by something.
One night, I went to Bible study hosted by a friend of mine whose parents were ex-Catholics. There was tremendous joy and peace in the folks we met and I knew they had something I needed and wanted. That night I asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my life. I recited a prayer known as the Sinner's Prayer. God heard my prayers and I was set free from much sin and bad life choices in just one night. I had a very emotional experience and remember it as "better than any high that was out there." I was "born again" and my life took an abrupt and markedly different course. My parents reacted very negatively since they had no idea of the secret life I was living and my Mom kept saying "Why do you need to be born again? You are good kids."
The group of Christians who discipled me were from a very anti-Catholic fundamentalist sect. (J.T. Chick and similar folks) I soon was told that Catholics worship Mary, pray to dead people, believe that they only need to "be good" to get to heaven and "just look at their crucifix!" "They think Jesus is still on the cross and didn't rise from the dead!" I had no real objections to this since I had no idea what Catholics really believed. I had never read the Catholic Catechism other than in CCD class and had never been interested in pursuing my faith until the night of my "born again" experience.
So you could see how easy it was for me to accept a view that Catholicism was not the "True faith" but "a form of godliness that denied the power thereof." That is what us re-born Christians would tell each other to explain away 2000 years of Catholicism. I still had a nagging question of how could so many people be wrong for so many years and where were the "born againers" in the early times? My Bible study leader told me that the way is narrow that leads to life and wide that leads to destruction. It seemed to make sense. I knew nothing about the history of Christianity and was told that there had always been "a remnant" of true believers who operated outside the Catholic Church in an "invisible church" so to speak.
I became very active in evangelical fellowships in high school and college particularly the more charismatic ones. These were groups of young people who truly loved God more than anything in their lives. These were times of warm fellowship and deep friendships some of which have remained up to the present. I still went to the local Catholic Church when I was home to obey my parents but I just tuned out the entire Mass, sat in the pew and stopped receiving the Eucharist. (Thank God I didn't since I would have been violating Paul's admonition to not receive the Body of Christ unworthily. ) At this time I met a Catholic religious brother who was really encouraging about my conversion but I never saw him again after he taught a few CCD classes to us in high school and we lost touch. I figured he was one of the few remaining Christians in the Catholic Church. Actually in all those years, I never met a devout Catholic who could give me a reasoned defense of his faith based on Scripture and good historical arguments. Perhaps they did try to convince me of my error but I usually beat them up so bad with the Bible they were left slack-jawed and wondering what hit them. I would have dismissed anything they told me anyway since I believed they were following the "whore of Babylon."
Once, I got into a heated debate with a Catholic priest at the college I attended and argued with him about how the Eucharist was only symbolic and not to be taken literally. I'll never forget the day he stomped out of my dorm room and slammed the door telling me how ignorant I was! I thought, "Boy is he a jerk!" Now with the wisdom of age and grace of conversion, I realize how justified he was for becoming enraged at me. There was a lot at stake in this argument, not just a non-essential doctrine to use my own "personal interpretation" on. For this priest it was the "source and summit" of his faith and I was basically rejecting everything he held to, and worse yet, I used to play folk guitar for the Masses he said. You have to be in awe of my amazing arrogance at 17 years of age. I had now been reading the Bible exclusively for the past three years and receiving my teachings from a radio Bible teacher who has since gone off into major heresy. (He predicted the Lord would return in 1994, and has recently stated that "we live in the post-church age and you don't need to go to church anymore.") It was from this anti-Catholic radio bible preacher that I learned my initial theology . I spent hours every night reading the Scriptures and listening to "Open Forum," a call-in radio show hosted by this self-proclaimed Bible authority. But in all my 17 years , I never once read the Catechism of the Catholic Church or any devotional Catholic literature or considered reading the history behind Christianity. So, here I am with my "radio bible theology degree" and three years of born again experience arguing with a Catholic priest who had spent 8 years studying theology and was pursuing a Ph.D at the time. I was thinking how great it was that I had been given The Truth and this poor ignorant priest was wasting his time committing himself and his celibacy to a false religion. As far as I was concerned, this was all I had to know about Christian history: Jesus came to earth, started a church which immediately went south and the Holy Spirit went on sabbatical for 1500 years . So for 1500 years, maybe the "Real Christian Church" went into hiding while the false Catholic church flourished and spread. (Incidentally changing the course of history of the civilized world along the way.) The only problem with this was that if I really believed that the early church apostasized, then the Gates of Hell did indeed prevail against it and Jesus didn't know what He was talking about. Unless of course you continue to believe that the "invisible church" persisted in the background, kind of like a program that keeps running undetected in the background on your computer. The only problem with this theory is that the Church was meant to be a visible physical entity, set on a hill where it would be a light to the world, not hidden in the shadows waiting for a German Augustinian monk 1500 years later to unlock the Truth of the Bible for the world. The other problem that didn't bother me at the time was that there was no historical record of a "remnant hidden church." To be sure, there are records of short-lived heretical sects, cults and heterodox preachers, but no proof that any of them had any connection to the historical church that Christ started. There is a little book called the "Trail of Blood" that claims the Catholic Church has systematically persecuted and suppressed the history of the "True Believers" ever since John the Baptist founded his church of true baptist believers. It is this book that has fueled some of the "remnant" theories. http://www.shasta.com/sphaws/trail.html
During my college years I was involved in a Christian fellowship group that was attended by students from many denominations. One of the members of the group was a student I noticed was also in my New Testament Greek class. I also noted him to go to Mass so I knew he was Catholic. Over the ensuing two years he came to be a good friend and we had fellowship together despite the fact that he was a devout Catholic. He loved the Lord Jesus with same fervor as an evangelical Christian and to this point I had not met a Catholic like him. I was still under the assumption that you couldn't possibly "know the Lord" if you were Catholic. After college, he went to Harvard Divinity school to study theology. Other members of the fellowship went off to protestant seminaries and the mission field after college. We had a reunion one year after college and one of our friends now with a few years of seminary under his belt began to engage our Catholic brother in a barbed and acrimonious manner. He was openly attacking the beliefs of this Catholic brother who he once had fellowship with. The room became very quiet and the atmosphere was tense. My Catholic friend calmly stated, "I don't think this is really the time and place for this discussion but I would welcome continuing this discussion at another time." Despite my total disagreement with the theology of my Catholic friend, the way that he handled this awkward and malicious attack from a former friend was very impressive to me and I never forgot it. He never raised his voice, answered back sarcastically or pulled the "my seminary is better than yours" card.
After college I went to medical school believing God wanted me to be a doctor and I married my high school sweetheart after my first year of medical school. We were going to church at the same place I had been discipled as a teenager when we left the Catholic Church. I began to recognize problems in this church when the two pastors had a falling out and a power struggle ensued. It turned out that one of the pastors was involved in immorality but was using his spirituality as a smokescreen to defend himself. This led to a split in the church and as happens when each party claims the Holy Spirit is telling them they are right but are diametrically opposed to one another. After medical school we moved to a large city and joined another well-known independent charismatic church. Unfortunately, after a few years of close fellowship and innovative teachings, the pastor of this church had a falling out with the elders over a moral issue and a division ensued. We loved the people in the church and sided with the majority and stayed there for a time. There was a true sense of Christian community in this church that was genuine despite many cult-like features regarding membership requirements etc.
At this time my wife of three years was diagnosed with an extremely rare in-operable lung cancer. There were only thirty other recorded cases in the world's medical literature. She was told there was no cure but she may possibly remain without symptoms for a time before dying but it was uniformly fatal. We were bolstered by a loving group of folks who shared with us that "God can heal if you only have enough faith." We embraced this theology whole-heartedly and pursued her healing for the next 8 years. We attended healing meetings, exorcisms, fasting and prayer and I began fasting Tuesday evenings to Thursday mornings for several years to obtain her healing from God. We sought out nationally known charismatic preachers with healing ministries and had several exorcisms performed on our house and ourselves.
Once on a vacation at the beach we visited a store front church on Sunday. The preacher called my wife up out of the crowded little room and said to her "God will give you that which you have been seeking!" He then asked her what she was seeking and she told him about the cancer. That gave us great hope and encouragement and helped to bolster our faith that Jesus was definitely going to heal her of this cancer.We were blessed with two boys over the next four years. We coped with life by never talking about the possibility of her dying. We lived as if she would be healed. The problem with this was that it took an enormous amount of energy to muster this "faith talk" all the time and it was taking its toll on our marriage. Rather than confronting problems in our relationship, we would put them aside and continue to press for the healing. Seeking her healing became the focus of our lives and as a result, we were in denial about all the other problems that occur in any marriage, cancer notwithstanding. For me, it felt like a constant "sword of Damocles" hanging over my head for 8 of the 11 years we were married, but I could not tell my wife my true feelings. Most of my close friends were believing that her healing was forthcoming and I could not open up to them about how I really felt. Once I tried to tell a close friend how absolutely terrified and sad I was and he kindly said, "Don't worry, she will be healed." I appreciated his vote of confidence but I needed someone to share my pain and fear with. This was one of the most intensely lonely and difficult periods in my life. I took solace in knowing that Christ would never leave me or forsake us despite the fact that we were truly walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I could not share Scriptures with my wife or others about the valley of the shadow of death because it would be "doubting the healing."I started to secretly take comfort in the Scriptures that said "Not my will but thine" and God gave me His reassurance that He would be with us, whether my wife lived or died. I could not share this with her and instead would read aloud to her the Scriptures that said "By His stripes we are healed." We would both lay awake night after night with her in agony and me holding back tears as I watched her die. I just wanted to hold her and say "I love you and hate to see you go through this but we will be okay because He will carry us through this." I longed to just be able to tell her how I felt about our life together but I couldn't because she would have interpreted that as "losing faith." Instead of having precious end of life discussions about our children, our families, our Lord and His love, we listened to faith preacher tapes over and over again throughout the night. This bad theology we embraced ended up hurting us terribly and denied us the ability to be honest with ourselves, our children and our God. We were reading books and tracts about healing that were from an off-shoot of the charismatic movement called the Faith and Prosperity Preachers. Centered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, these teachers taught that Jesus heals everyone and if you don't get healed it must be your lack of faith. I realize now this actually was a twisted form of Christian Science and had its roots in one of the heresies dealt with by the early church. (Gnosticism)
About 4 months before she died, I had a distinct impression that God was telling me that the time was very short and she would die soon. It may have just been my medical instincts seeing her become more irritable and short of breath. At this time she was taking huge amounts of over the counter ibuprofen to deal with the pain but would not admit that she was in pain. We long ago both agreed to not pursue further diagnostic tests since they wouldn't "build our faith." The actual words I heard in my mind were "the time is short now." As horrible as it sounds, this brought me some comfort since I felt that there was to be a conclusion to this torturous existence of denial we were living. I never shared this experience with her. About 4 weeks before she died, she was becoming severely ill and short of breath. We heard of a missionary with a healing ministry that was flying in from Africa who had been known to raise people from the dead. Despite the worse ice and snow storm of that horrible winter of 93-94, I drove with her and my pastor and a friend in a van to Richmond Virginia to see if she could be healed through the ministry of this faith healer. The level of compassion that my church showed for us was beyond description and I will never forget the love and that was displayed for my wife and I at this time. The folks risked their lives to drive my wife over 250 miles on the eve of one of the worst storms of the season because they believed God would heal her. They also knew this is what she wanted as well. We saw many tractor trailers jack-knifed and cars that had skidded off the road on the way down. It turned out that the healer couldn't come in due to the weather and we sadly drove all the way back taking almost two days for a six hour trip. At one point we were stuck in traffic for about 10 hours due to the storm. She was in absolute agony in the jostling van as we ran over potholes and ice on the highway. We stopped intermittently so I could give her injections of a powerful narcotic to relief her screams of agony.
Shortly after this trip, my wife did pass away leaving me with a 4 and 7 year old who did not even realize she was sick since we never told them. I was devastated knowing that our faith did not give her the peace that was promised. Not because God didn't make it available, but we chose to mis-interpret the Scriptures. I knew, even as she was dying, that this theology was wrong and it denied the ability for us to even have an honest conversation about her dying. If there was ever a reason to not believe in private interpretation of Scripture, this was it. The Word of God wrongly applied and twisted out of context can be a cruel taskmaster.
( I want to make it clear to all the readers at this point, my wife and I willingly embraced and sought out this teaching and our charismatic church encouraged us in it, but we did not feel like this doctrine was forced on us. We chose it !)
No one could give me an answer for why she died if she had such faith and many young people from our church were devastated. Two days after my wife died I received a phone call and a familiar voice that I hadn't heard for years was on the line. My Catholic friend from college, now an ordained Catholic priest heard that my wife died and tracked me down. I will never forget when I asked him why she had to suffer so much, and he said that "Jesus gives us the privilege of sharing his suffering." Father E. told me that Jesus stretched his arms out on the cross and said to my wife, "Sue, you come up with me and share my suffering." He then quoted St. Paul when he talked about completing in his body the suffering of Christ. (Colossians 1:23) I couldn't argue since it was Scripture and it was the only thing that gave me comfort in those difficult months after she died. I had never heard a Protestant talk about that verse and somehow missed it in all my years of personal Bible study. My theology didn't allow for suffering but this Scripture given to me by a Catholic priest made more sense than anything I had heard or experienced in the past 12 years. Since Christ our Redeemer had suffered should we too not be willing to take His yoke upon us and experience suffering? The Catholics call this "redemptive suffering' and if you really think about it, it resonates with all of human experience and follows natural law.
Trying to raise two small children alone as well as being in solo practice of medicine was very difficult, to say the least. God provided for me and my boys through support from my family and my church. Jesus showed His kindness and mercy to me through His people in a way that I can never forget. About a year and a half later, I remarried. My new wife had been attending the same church I was attending and had been friends with my late wife and knew our boys from Sunday school. She proved to be a wonderful mother and wife. Most couples argue about sex, money and children but we argued about religion and expressions of spirituality. I was moving away from charismatic theology and outward emotional manifestations ("holy" laughter, being "slain in the spirit") but she was pursuing "full- tilt" these doctrines and expressions of faith that I was shrinking back from. This was the mid -1990's when the Toronto Blessing was sweeping through the charismatic churches in the US and our church was having frequent renewal meetings. People would be asked if they wanted more of God and would fall to the floor laughing or crying as evidence of having received God's blessing. People in the church must have concluded that I didn't want more of God because I never fell to the floor when I was prayed for. My wife attended all of these meetings and I chose not to participate since my perception was that people based the evidence of God's blessing on you as an emotional outpouring. I had not experienced God in an emotional sense for twenty years or more since my initial born again experience as a teenager and had never been very "emotive" in my worship. This strained our marriage, as well- meaning folks in the church would question my wife as to my spiritual well-being. Over the years, I had become a firm believer in not basing my relationship with God on my emotions. I had just been schooled in pain and suffering for the past 10 years of my previous marriage and never felt that God had abandoned me despite many dark feelings and times. I knew from personal experience that God was with me regardless of how I felt and I felt this was a gift of faith He had given me long ago. Unfortunately at the time, the prevailing teaching in our church was that if God didn't engage our emotions, then something was wrong with us spiritually. My wife was starting to wonder about my spirituality and suspected I didn't "want more of God" due to my failure to embrace this renewal. Once again, our personal application of theology had become a wedge between my wife and I.
The stresses of becoming a new mother and wife were difficult for her and the practice of "worship and praise" was no longer providing her peace. In the past, we were taught that we should just forget about your cares and worship the Lord as the answer to your problems. Instead, my wife started reading about suffering from Mother Teresa, Teresa Liseux, St. John of the Cross and other Catholic mystics. She was finding much solace in Catholic teaching and she was slowly being drawn away from our evangelical/charismatic faith. For the first time in her life, she started to understand the value of pain and suffering in the world and in the context of her own life. Catholic teachings brought her much comfort in these difficult times of our early marriage.
As much as I was happy that she was leaving the emotionalism of the charismatic church, I was troubled that it took Catholicism to give her true peace. This was at the peak of the priest sex-abuse scandals and I wanted nothing to do with the Church. I thought that Christ "could not possibly be the head of a church with sex abusers and pedophiles." These were the days when the daily headlines of all the papers were tallying the millions of dollars being spent on settlements and lawsuits in Boston and elsewhere. Realizing now that neither my wife nor I embraced our former theology we decided to leave the charismatic church we had been in for almost 10 years and joined a more main-line Evangelical church. I loved the more formal nature of it and didn't miss the spontaneous prophecies and emotionalism that was so much a part of our past experience. At times our old church had a carnival-like atmosphere and the degree of enthusiasm of the congregation during "praise and worship" time was the litmus test for whether or not God showed up. There were times when the worship leader would become visibly discouraged and frustrated if he could not stir the congregants into a religious fervor. I was thankful that this did not occur in this more mainline church. I enjoyed the preaching style of the pastor and the much more subdued worship services. I no longer worried that someone would tap me on the shoulder to give me a "Word from the Lord for you brother." While we both attended this church on Sundays, my wife attended her first Catholic Mass in 25 years at a weekday Mass. (She too had left the Catholic Church when she was 8 years old.) When the priest held up the consecrated Host and said "this is Jesus", she wept at the realization that this is the One she had been seeking all these years! My wife started to attend Mass on her own ( she did not yet receive the Eucharist) and wanted to join the Catholic Church but I felt that it would be too confusing for our children. I couldn't argue however that it was slowly changing our marriage for the better as we both embraced trials in our life as a tool for good and not something to avoid and deny. I still was very reticent about Catholicism based on my past experiences and did not even consider joining the church. I asked her for the sake of unity in our marriage to stop pursuing Catholicism and she agreed to stop going to Mass. More to come.... The final journey home!
We were attending the United Methodist Church for a few years when my Mom died unexpectedly. My brother and I took the long drive down together to start to clear out her house. He was beginning his master's degree in preparation for becoming a pastor at my previous charismatic church. I asked him about the statement in the Creed regarding "baptism for the forgiveness of sins." What did we believe as charismatics? Which baptism did this refer to? Was it the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second experience, was it water baptism? I had started to question my evangelical beliefs that I just took for granted for years without really thinking about them. Once a year we recited the Creed in our church but I realized that I didn't understand or hold to many of the statements in the Creed and was not aware of the fact that it was written by a group of Catholics at a Church Council 1600 years before. As we went through my mother's personal effects, I found prayer books, rosary beads, Mass cards and all the paraphenalia that I used to think was pagan and idolatrous. I suddenly realized that despite my Mom's lifelong struggles with alcoholism and depression, she really loved God and had a relationship with Him. As my brother and I went through her things I said to him "Hey, what if Mom was right after all and Catholicism is true?" He said "nah." I have no idea where that question came from but I have since realized that my conversion process was beginning then. He was going to toss her rosary beads in the garbage and I said "No, I'll take them home for my wife, she's been leaning Catholic lately."
Even then, something started to stir in me as I carefully removed the beautiful wooden crucifix my parents always had on their wall above their bed and took it home. I realized that for all the contradiction and pain in their lives, their Catholic faith was more important to them than I had thought. That beautiful crucifix now hangs on the wall above our bed. Even more strange to me was a fairly frequent and almost palpable sense that my Mom was now praying for me! I couldn't explain it, but I felt it and knew it was true. I knew she prayed for me before she died but I had this very strange feeling that her prayers were drawing me back to the Catholic Church. I told my brother about this and I suspect he thought I had totally gone off the rails at this point. I never understood the Communion of Saints nor agreed with it but now I was experiencing the actual application of this communion in my life.
The Methodist church we were attending bought an entire theatre of tickets to see the first screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." In the middle of the movie as tears streamed down my face, I knew I had to come home to the Catholic Church as I saw so graphically displayed His love for me. If He could do this for me, I could overcome my pride and reticence about the Catholic Church and return in obedience to Him. To this day I don't know why or how I came to this conclusion. As far as I know there were no subliminal messages in the movie saying: "Become a Papist" or "You must Cross the Tiber."
My wife continued to long for Mass and I agreed to let her go to Mass as long as she would come with me to the Methodist church on Sunday morning with our boys. She would often watch EWTN (a Catholic Network) and the "Journey Home Program." After seeing some of the conversion stories my interest was piqued. I was astonished to find there was so many former protestants with stories like mine converting to Catholicsm. I asked my wife to get me those Catholic conversion stories of Marcus Grodi, Scott Hahn and others that I had asked her to get rid of 4 years before. She had attempted to show me a Scott Hahn video a few years before this but I found it too dry and Catholic! This time it was as if the veil had been lifted from my eyes and I couldn't put these books down. I read Karl Keating's book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" and Steve Ray's "Crossing the Tiber." When I read for the first time that it was the Catholic Church that decided on which books and letters should be in the the Bible, that did it for me! I was now very angry that I had been mis-informed for so long by anti-Catholic Protestants and I started to feel remorse for walking away from the Church without ever learning any of its true teachings. I also was angry that I had never met a Catholic in thirty years who could give me these basic true facts about the Catholic Church. I was embarrassed that as a relatively bright person with the ability to obtain a medical degree, I had never considered reading history and instead based my understanding of Church history from a 16-year-old "Bible Scholar" thirty years earlier. How could I be "so smart" and yet be so close-minded about something so important as my faith?
Suddenly, all the troublesome verses I didn't understand as a Protestant came alive with richness and meaning. I realized the Catholics take the Bible more literally than the evangelicals ever had. I always wondered how we got around John 6 when Jesus told us : "eat my body." Protestants insisted it was symbolic but the early church I found out believed that Christ truly became present at the Communion Table. Paul's description in Corinthians also made it clear to me that the Church believed in the real presence of Christ in the "breaking of the bread."
The paradox of Christians who said "the sinner's prayer" and continued to actively live sinful lives always bothered me, but Catholic theology made it clear that our earthly performance was important for salvation, but not the basis for it, as I had wrongly been taught they believed. This was further brought home to me when I now re-read Matthew 25 and realized that Christ himself said the only difference between the sheep (heaven- bound) and the goats (hell-bound) was what they did or didn't do! I now realized that after 30 years of Bible study, the sinner's prayer wasn't mentioned in the Scriptures as the "formula for salvation." The concept of venial and mortal sins made a lot of sense to me. How could a "white lie" really have the same temporal and eternal consequences as murder? That always bothered me. The concept of the Communion of Saints which is in the Creed of Catholic and Protestants alike also became meaningful to me for the first time in my life. As I mentioned earlier, I had this distinct impression that my Mom who had died a year earlier was interceding for me and praying me back to the Church. The Catholic Church has always taught that when a person dies they can continue to pray for those left behind, and since the "fervent effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much" how much more now that they are in heaven beholding the face of God!
We started counseling with a local parish priest who led us back to the Catholic Church. At my first confession in over 35 years, tears started to fall as I heard those sweet words of absolution as if they were spoken from Christ himself. We then made our marriage vows before the Church and together we received Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus was saying to me "You have found what you have always been looking for and I am right here with you." As I knelt and prayed after receiving Him, I knew that I could never be closer to Him in this life than I was right then. The frustration of all those years of searching for Him and trying to find him outside of His church was over. I had finally come home.
Despite my lack of emotionalism, I have cried more tears of joy in the past two years than in most of my years of charismatic church life! I often choke up telling others about Christ in the Eucharist and often become teary-eyed thinking about how kind He is to have brought us back to His Church. My wife and I have experienced a spiritual oneness in our marriage that can only be described as supernatural. Before, we were always on opposite pages regarding spiritual issues and now not only are we on the same page; we can't stop turning the pages together! I often chastise myself for leaving the Church as a young person but I am thankful for those years away because they prepared me to appreciate the Church and the Sacraments all the more.
My heart aches for my ex-Catholic brothers and sisters who like me had left the truth of the Catholic Church without ever understanding it. I am grateful for the inspiration and encouragement to "follow hard after God" that I learned from my devout Protestant brothers. In particular, the charismatic Christians I have been privileged to know over the years have a devotion and love for God and one another that is truly amazing. I believe if they could only see the tremendous gift of His Real Presence in His Church they would fall on their face before Him in the Eucharist. Their insatiable hunger for the presence of Christ could finally be completely satisfied on a daily basis in receiving him in the Eucharist. Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has said that the many church ladies from Black Pentecostal churches in the Bronx come to Eucharistic Adoration because they know their "sweet Lord Jesus" is there. I know my brethren would do the same once they discover He is truly present with us in the Eucharist.
Happy Holy Wednesday.
Ping for a re-read when I have more time!
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I appreciated the testimony, even though I am now a Calvinist, who processes Protestant theology through Catholic firmware. The great traditions of the Church — Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformed — appreciate the “big picture,” and the joy of standing in a tradition that spans the centuries.
What do you find “great” about Reformed faith?
Happy Spy Wednesday to you!
Who are you?
I could have been the writer of this piece except for the profession.
And I’ve been looking for some sort of online catechesis for quite some time now.
Beautiful. Thanks for posting it. As a convert, this Easter Vigil will mark twelve years since I crossed the Tiber.
Like Catholicism, Reformed Christianity is a world view, not a navel view. It nourishes the mind, rather than attempting to supplant it. It gives place and glory to God, rather than attempting to ramp up one's own experiences to the point where they can take the place of God. Finally, Reformed Christianity has a track record of creating godly and prosperous commonwealths, with a high degree of both liberty and order.
Thanks for asking, and may the God of all truth continue to enlighten our pilgrimages.
Does it have anything to do with the Gospel?
My story is different, — I was baptized Orthodox but remained unchurched till coming to full communion with the Catholic Church 16 years ago. This Easter, my wife is coming home too.
God bless you.
Congratulations. What a joy.
Reformed Christianity is a Biblical perspective on the reign of the King - in other words, the euangellion, the good news of the King's march through history, that even conscripts such unworthy souls as you and me into His victorious army. That is to say, Reformed Christianity has everything to do with the gospel. A forthright faith in the God Who saves makes a man bold. Accept no substitutes!
(Parenthetically, the satanic cult of the BVM is the strongest barrier between me and Rome.)
Calvinism is a third rate theological fantasy loosely based on a few out-of context Gospel verses. Wipe mariophobic froth off most Calvinists’ mouths, and there is nothing of substance left.
I'm sorry you feel that way.
I studied this matter — it is not a matter of feelings.
I feel the same way.
My own story is not so dramatic. I woke up in jail after a night of heavy drinking, next to murderers and rapists. I rededicated my life to the Lord and grabbed a Good News For Modern Man off the book cart and began reading. After 4 days in jail they finally said I could post bail so I called up my sister and she graciously said she would be right over even tho it was late. After I hung up the phone I sat on my bunk and opened up my Good News at random and read:
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and dont get tied up again in slavery to the law.
As a technical writer, I spend a lot of time around engineers. Smart people. Whose bottom-line approach to life sometimes is -- "If you were as smart as me, and had studied as hard as I have, then you would agree with me." We cannot disentangle our "hearts" and "minds," the way pietists do, since we are, in the totality of our beings, affected by the fall, and redeemed unto life. I have brought all my faculties to bear upon the question at hand, on my own and in company with other serious thinkers.
In all humility, and recognizing the grace you have experienced, I have come to a different conclusion than you.
I meant, quite simply, that I read the writings of Luther and Calvin just as good as you can, and I also read the Holy Scripture, and I think that the two were anti-clerical pamfleteers who did not have much respect for the Gospels. They catered to the post-medieval mind and they developed a system of thought that made some conveneint compromises with what the Gospel actually happens to say. Liars.
Slavery is to sin, and the Gospel liberates.
Thanks for your powerful story of conversion.
Good Friday reading bump
On this day when we remember our Redeemer, let me apologize on behalf of those Protestants who established unitarianism as the American state church in the 1840s. Our loathing of our Catholic brethren seduced us into selling our future to a virulently anti-Christian utopian socialist, Horace Mann. The weapon we helped forge against Catholic children has now claimed our own. Your folks had sense enough to see what was afoot, and to create an alternate parochial system of education.
As Christians who take the gospel seriously, let us at least agree to do all within our power to undermine, discredit, and replace the public school system.
Yes, the government schools are a bane on America.
The Catholics, especially in America and West Europe, have a lot to apologize for. The tabernacles tucked away in the corner, statues of saints removed, confessions at 4:30 PM on Saturday, faithless History Channel pseudo-catholic clerics, Catholic schools that teach godlessness, pederast priests, Catholics in open defiance of the Church doctrine, — these are all signs of the crisis of faith that gripped the West since Vatican II. The apostles went to sleep once again, and I am very sorry — my Church failed not only herself but the world.
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