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The Scott Hahn Conversion Story
The coming Home Network ^ | 1991 | Scott Hahn

Posted on 03/11/2004 11:48:05 PM PST by Salvation

The Scott Hahn Conversion Story

The following is the transcripts of Scott Hahn's conversion story as it
appears in the "Catholic Adult Education on Video Program" with Scott
and Kimberly Hahn. Other transcripts are available for download as
well. For more information on this program, download (OVERVIEW.TXT) from
the St. Joseph Communications file library. This program is also
available for purchase either as a whole (20 Video tapes with study
guides) or individual programs (1 Video tape with accompanying study
guide) from the St. Joseph Communications Mareketplace.

Protestant Minister Becomes Catholic
Program 1 Transcripts
Scott Hahn

Thank you very much. It is so good to be with you this
morning. It's always a delightful surprise. I never cease to be
amazed at the opportunity I have to share why I became a Roman
Catholic and how the Lord worked in my wife's life and our family
as well.

That always reminds me of one of my favorite stories. There
was a young man who wanted in the worst way to ask out a beautiful young
lady. It took him weeks to get up enough courage, and when he finally
asked her out she said, "Yes." He was shocked and delighted. That
Saturday morning arrived, and he got ready in so many ways: showered for
a long time, tried to figure out what to wear, then he decided to give
her a big surprise. He went down to the drug store. He walked up to the
druggist behind the counter and announced, "I would like to buy a one
pound box of chocolate, a two pound box and a three pound box." And the
druggist bent down, got them and put them on the counter and said, "Do
you mind if I ask you why you are buying three different size boxes?"
"No I don't mind." And he proceeded to explain. He said, "Tonight's the
night, special date, beautiful young lady, and if before the date is
through she lets me hold her hand, she gets the one pound box. And if at
the movie when I slyly slip my arm around her and she lets it remain
there, she gets the two pound box. And if as we are exchanging
goodnights she lets me give her a kiss, she gets the three pound box.
The druggist said, "Sly old guy, you have a good time."

He was off and he was so nervous he showed up at this young
lady's house a half hour early. She came to the door and said, "We're
just sitting down to dinner." He said, "Can I join you?" "Sure, I
guess." And he sat down. Then he said, "Can I say grace?" And they said,
"Sure." He proceeded to pray for a minute, for three minutes, five
minutes. Finally after ten minutes, the man said, "Amen." He kind of
looked around, a little awkward, and they proceeded to eat what was by
then a cold and stale dinner. On the way out the door she whispered,
"You never told me you were so religious." He whispered back, "You never
told me your dad was the druggist."

Life is filled with unexpected surprises, and it's a delight
and a surprise for me to share how I came to see the Roman Catholic
Church to be the family of God that He wants all of His children to
share in. Fulton Sheen once said, and I paraphrase, that there are not
100 people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, although
there might be millions of people who hate what they mistakenly believe
the Catholic Church to be and to teach. And thankfully I discovered I
fell into the second category. Because for years I opposed the Catholic
Church, and I worked hard to get Catholics to leave the Church. But I
came to see through a lot of study and considerable prayer that the
Roman Catholic Church is based in Scripture.

***Teenage Conversion To Jesus***

That's what I'd like to share with you this morning. It begins
with a conversion experience that I had in high school. I didn't grow up
in a strong Christian family. We didn't go to church very often, and so
I wasn't very religious. What the Lord used in my life was an
organization called Young Life, an outreach to unchurched high school
kids, and a man named Jack in particular who befriended me and also
shared with me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It made a profound difference
in my life.

Early in my high school years I made a commitment and I
asked Jesus Christ into my heart; I asked Him to be my savior and
Lord. I gave Him my sins and I received the gift of forgiveness
and salvation. It made a world of difference for me. It cost me a
lot of my friends, but the Lord in a sense more than made up for
that by giving me real friends, friends in Christ.

Jack, who taught me to love the Lord, also taught me to read
the Bible and not just to read it but to study it, and not just to study
it, but to soak in it - to read it and to re-read it from beginning to
end. By the time I was finishing high school, I had gone through the
Bible two or three times in its entirety. And I had fallen in love with
Sacred Scripture. As a result of that I'd become convinced of a couple

First, in addition to reading the Bible, Jack had shared with me
from his own personal library the writings of Martin Luther, the
writings of John Calvin, and I became a convinced Protestant Christian,
not just a bible Christian, but somebody who was convinced that up until
the 1500's the Gospel had almost been lost amidst all the medieval
superstition and all the pagan practices that the Catholic Church had
adopted. And so this first conviction was to help my Catholic friends to
see the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, to show them the Bible, and to
show them that in the Bible, you just accept Jesus Christ as Savior and
Lord and that's all it takes. None of this claptrap: Not Mary, not the
saints, not purgatory, not devotions, just asking Jesus to be Savior and

Around that time I was dating a girl who was Catholic, and we
were becoming more serious. But I knew there was no future in our
relationship if she remained Catholic. So I gave to her a very large
volume, a book by Loraine Boettner entitled Roman Catholicism. It's
known as the bible of Anti-Catholicism. It's four hundred and fifty plus
pages filled with all kinds of distortions and lies about the Catholic
Church. But I didn't know that at the time, so I shared it in good faith
with her. She read it from cover to cover. She wrote me that summer and
said, "Thanks for the book; I'll never go back to Mass again." And I say
that with a certain shame and sorrow, but I say that to illustrate the
sincerity that many Bible Christians have when it comes to opposing the
Catholic Church. I figured that if the wafer they're worshipping up on
that altar is not God, then they're idolaters, they're pagans, they are
to be pitied and opposed. If the Pope in Rome is not the infallible
vicar of Christ who can bind hundreds of millions of Catholics in their
beliefs and practices, then he's a tyrant. He's a spiritual dictator
pure and simple. And because I didn't think he was the infallible vicar,
I thought it was very reasonable for me to help Catholics to see the
same thing in order to get them to leave the Church.

The only Catholic in my family on both sides was my beloved
grandmother. She was very quiet, very humble, very holy, I have to
admit. And she was also a devout Catholic. When she passed away, I was
given her religious belongings by my parents. I went through her prayer
book and her missal, and then I found her rosary beads. All of this
stuff just made me sick inside. I knew my grandmother had a real faith
in Jesus, but I wondered what would all of this mean. So I tore apart
her rosary beads, and I threw them in this waste can. I thought of these
beads almost like chains that at last she was broken free from. That was
the second aspect of my own outlook: that these people might have some
faith but it was just surrounded by lies, and so they needed loving
Bible Christians to get them out.

Well, after graduating from high school, I decided not only
to pursue the ministry but to study theology as well. The decision came
as a result of the senior research paper that I wrote my final year in
high school. I wrote a paper entitled Sola Fide. That's a Latin phrase
which means Faith Alone or By Faith Alone. It's actually the phrase that
Martin Luther used to launch the Protestant Reformation. He said that we
are justified, we are made right with God by faith alone, not by any
works that we might do. And for him, that was the article on which the
church stands or falls, as he put it. And because of that, the Catholic
Church fell and the Protestant Church rose. I wrote that research paper
fully convinced after much study that, if you get it wrong on this
point, you get it wrong on everything else. If you say faith plus
anything, you have polluted the simple truth of the Gospel. And so I
went into college with this strong conviction.

***College Years***

My four years of college were spent triple majoring in
Philosophy, Theology in Scripture and Economics. But they were also
spent doing ministry in Young Life. I wanted to in effect repay God out
of gratitude for how He had used Young Life in my life to introduce me
to Christ. So for those four years I devoted myself to reaching
unchurched kids who didn't know about Christ, and I confess that this
category included Catholic kids in the high school where I worked
because I looked at these poor benighted souls who really didn't know
Jesus Christ. I discovered after several Bible studies that not only did
these kids not know Jesus Christ, but practically every Catholic high
school kid I met didn't even know what the Catholic Church taught. If
one or two of them knew what the Church taught, they didn't know why.
They didn't have any reasons to back up their beliefs as Catholics. So
getting them to see from the Bible, the Gospel as I understood it from
Martin Luther, from an anti-Catholic perspective, was like picking off
ducks in a barrel. They weren't ready, they were unequipped, they were

I don't know exactly what has happened in the last fifteen,
twenty, twenty-five years, but I look back on those kids and wonder if
they weren't guinea pigs in some sort of catechetical experiment, that
people thought we could bypass instructing them in the doctrines they
need to believe and in the reasons for those doctrines. But there they
were. I saw many of them leave the Church and I opposed them in a
certain sense out of a sincere good faith, but also I opposed them
because I myself was uninformed.

My third year of ministry in Young Life I asked a young lady,
the most beautiful girl on campus, if she would join me in working
together to reach these unchurched kids. Kimberly said, "Yes." We worked
together for two years and had a blast. Sometimes we'd fight like
brother and sister in discussing various ways and means to reach these
kids. But we really grew to respect one another so that at the end of
these four years of college, I posed the question. And I think the
dumbest thing she ever said, but the greatest thing she ever said was
"Yes." We got married right out of college. Both of us had so much of
the same vision. We wanted to do ministry together, we wanted to share
the good news of Christ, we wanted to open up the Bible and make it come
alive for people.

***Seminary Years***

We were off to seminary a week or two after our wedding. What a
great experience it was studying theology together for a Master's
Degree. I took a three-year degree at Gordon-Conwell seminary in Boston;
she took a two-year degree. Both of us ended up with our Master's
Degrees. After three years I graduated at the top of my class. I say
that not out of any pride, but to illustrate how I pursued my studies
with a sort of vengeance. People who knew me at seminary, knew me to be
rather intense. I would spend just about every waking hour reading and
studying Scripture or books about Scripture that would make more sense
out of the Bible. If I wasn't reading and studying, I was out looking
around at used book stores finding resources. Kimberly and I had a great
three-year experience. But a couple of things happened along the way
that I need to relate because in retrospect I see them as landmark

The first thing was a course that Kimberly took her first year,
a class that I had taken the year before entitled Christian Ethics. Dr.
Davis had all the students break up into small groups so that each small
group could tackle one topic. There was a small group on abortion, a
small group on nuclear war, a small group on capital punishment. One
dinner she announced that she was in a small group devoted to studying
contraception. I remember thinking at the time, "Why contraception?"

The year before when I took the class, nobody signed up for that
small group and I told her. She said, "Well, three others have signed up
for it and we had our first meeting today. So and so appointed himself
to be chair of the committee, and he announced the results of our study
even before it began. He said, 'Well, we all know as Protestants, as
Bible Christians, that contraception is fine, I mean so long as we don't
use contraceptives that are abortafacients like the I.U.D. and so on.'
He announced further that really the only people who call themselves
Christians who oppose artificial birth control are the Catholics, and he
said, 'The reason they do, of course, is because they are run by a
celibate Pope and lead by celibate priests who don't have to raise the
kids but want Catholic parents to raise lots so they can have lots of
priests and nuns to draw from, you know.'"

Well, that kind of argumentation did not really impress
Kimberly. She said, "Are you sure those are the best arguments they
would offer?" And I guess he must have mocked or said, "Well, do you
want to look into it yourself?" You don't say that kind of thing to
Kimberly. She said, "Yes," and she took an interest in researching this
on her own. A week went by and Terry stopped me in the halls. He said,
"You ought to talk to your wife; she's unearthed some interesting
information about contraception." Interesting information about
contraception? What is interesting about contraception? Well, you know
he said, "She's your wife; you ought to find out." "Yeah, all right; I
will, Terry."

So that night at dinner I asked her, "What is Terry talking
about?" And she said, "I've discovered that up until 1930, every single
Protestant denomination without exception opposed contraception on
Biblical grounds." Then I said, "Oh come on, maybe it just took us a few
centuries to work out the last vestiges of residual Romanism, I don't
know." And she said, "Well, I'm going to look into it."

Then another week later, Terry stopped me and said,"Her
arguments make sense." I said, "Arguments against contraception from
Scripture?" He said, "You ought to talk to her." "All right, I'll talk
to her." You know, given the subject matter, I thought I better.

So I raised the issue and she handed me a book. It was entitled
Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant by John Kippley. It just
recently was reissued, entitled Sex and the Marriage Covenant. You can
get it from Couple to Couple League in Cincinnati. I began to read
through the book with great interest because in my own personal study,
going through the Bible several times, I had come upon this strong
conviction that if you want to know God, you have to understand the
covenant, because the covenant was the central idea in all of Scripture.
So when I picked up this book I was interested to see the word
'covenant' in the title, Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant. I
opened it up and I began reading it, and I said, "Wait a second,
Kimberly, this guy is a Catholic. You expect me to read a Catholic?" And
the thought occurred to me instantly at that moment, What is a Catholic
doing putting 'covenant' into his book title? Since when do Catholics
hijack my favorite concept?

Well, I began to read the book. I went through two or three
chapters and he was beginning to make sense, so I promptly threw the
book across my desk. I didn't frankly want him to make any sense. But I
picked it up again and read through some more. His arguments made a lot
of sense. From the Bible, from the covenant, he showed that the marital
act is not just a physical act; it's a spiritual act that God has
designed by which the marital covenant is renewed. And in all covenants
you have an opportunity to renew the covenant, and the act of covenant
renewal is an act or a moment of grace. When you renew a covenant, God
releases grace, and grace is life, grace is power, grace is God's own
love. Kippley shows how in a marital covenant, God has designed the
marital act to show the life-giving power of love. That in the marital
covenant the two become one, and God has designed it so that when the
two become one, they become so one that nine months later you might just
have to give it a name. And that child who is conceived, embodies the
oneness that God has made the two through the marital act. This is all
the way that God has designed the marital covenant. God said, "Let us
make man in our image and likeness," and God, who is three in one, made
man, male and female, and said, "Be fruitful and multiply." The two
shall become one and when the two become one, the one they become is a
third child, and then they become three in one. It just began to make a
lot of sense, and he went through other arguments as well. By the time I
finished the book, I was convinced.

It bothered me just a little that the Roman Catholic Church was
the only denomination, the only Church tradition on earth that upheld
this age-old Christian teaching rooted in Scripture, because in 1930 the
Anglican Church broke from this tradition and began to allow
contraception, and shortly thereafter every single mainline denomination
on earth practically caved in to the mounting pressure of the sexual
revolution. By the 1960's and 70's, my own denomination, the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, not only endorsed
contraception, but abortion on demand and federal funding for abortion,
and that appalled me. And I began to wonder if there wasn't a connection
between giving in a little here and then all of a sudden watching the
floodgates open later. I thought "No, no, you know the Catholic Church
has been around for 2000 years; they're bound to get something right."
We have a saying in our family that even a blind hog finds an acorn, and
so it was, I thought. That was my second year.

During my third and final year at seminary, something happened
that represented a crisis for me. I was studying covenant and I heard of
another theologian studying covenant, a man by the name of Professor
Shepherd in Philadelphia teaching at Westminster Seminary. I heard about
Shepherd because he was being accused of heresy. People were suggesting
that his heresy grew out of his understanding of the covenant. So I got
some documents that he had written, some articles, and I read through
them. I discovered that Professor Shepherd had come across the same
conclusions that my research had led me to.

In the Protestant world the idea of covenant is understood
practically as synonymous with or interchangeable with contract. When
you have a covenant with God, it's the same as having a contract. You
give God your sin; He gives you Christ, and everything is a faith-deal
for salvation.

But the more I studied, the more I came to see that for the
ancient Hebrews, and in Sacred Scripture, a covenant differs from a
contract about as much as marriage differs from prostitution. In a
contract you exchange property, whereas in a covenant you exchange
persons. In a contract you say, "This is yours and that is mine," but
Scripture shows how in a covenant you say, "I am yours and you are
mine." Even when God makes a covenant with us, He says, "I will be your
God and you will be my people." After studying Hebrew, I discovered that
'Am, the Hebrew word for people, literally means, kinsman, family. I
will be your God and father; you will be my family, my sons and my
daughters, my household. So covenants form kinship bonds which makes
family with God.

I read Shepherd's articles, and he was saying much of the same
thing: our covenant with God means sonship. I thought, "Well, yeah, this
is good." I wondered what heresy is involved in that. Then somebody told
me, "Shepherd is calling into question sola fide." What! No way. I mean,
that is the Gospel. That is the simple truth of Jesus Christ. He died
for sins; I believe in him. He saves me, pure and simple; it's a done
deal. Sola fide? He's questioning that? No way.

I called him on the phone. I said, "I've read your stuff on
covenant; it makes lots of sense. I've come to pretty much the same
conclusions. But why is this leading you to call into question Luther's
doctrine of sola fide?" He went on to show in this discussion that
Luther's conception of justification was very restricted and limited. It
had lots of truth, but it also missed lots of truths.

When I hung up the phone, I pursued this a little further and I
discovered that for Luther and for practically all of Bible Christianity
and Protestantism, God is a judge, and the covenant is a courtroom scene
whereby all of us are guilty criminals. But since Christ took our
punishment, we get his righteousness, and he gets our sins, so we get
off scot-free; we're justified. For Luther, in other words, salvation is
a legal exchange, but for Paul in Romans, for Paul in Galatians,
salvation is that, but it's much more than that. It isn't just a legal
exchange because the covenant doesn't point to a Roman courtroom so much
as to a Hebrew family room. God is not just simply a judge; God is a
father, and his judgments are fatherly. Christ is not just somebody who
represents an innocent victim who takes our rap, our penalty; He is the
firstborn among many brethren. He is our oldest brother in the family,
and he sees us as runaways, as prodigals, as rebels who are cut off from
the life of God's family. And by the new covenant Christ doesn't just
exchange in a legal sense; Christ gives us His own sonship so that we
really become children of God.

When I shared this with my friends, they were like, "Yeah,
that's Paul." But when I went into the writings of Luther and Calvin, I
didn't find it any longer. They had trained me to study Scripture, but
in the process, in a sense, I discovered that there were some very
significant gaps in their teaching. So I came to the conclusion that
sola fide is wrong. First, because the Bible never says it anywhere.
Second, because Luther inserted the word "alone" in his German
translation, there in Romans 3, although he knew perfectly well that the
word "alone" was not in the Greek. Nowhere did the Holy Spirit ever
inspire the writers of Scripture to say we're saved by faith alone. Paul
teaches we're saved by faith, but in Galatians he says we're saved by
faith working in love. And that's the way it is in a family isn't it? A
father doesn't say to his kids, "Hey, kids, since you're in my family
and all the other kids who are your friends aren't, you don't have to
work, you don't have to obey, you don't have to sacrifice because, hey,
you're saved. You're going to get the inheritance no matter what you
do." That's not the way it works.

So I changed my mind and I grew very concerned. One of my most
brilliant professors, a man named Dr. John Gerstner, had once said that
if we're wrong on sola fide, I'd be on my knees outside the Vatican in
Rome tomorrow morning doing penance. Now we laughed, what rhetoric, you
know. But he got the point across; this is the article from which all of
the other doctrines flow. And if we're wrong there, we're going to have
some homework to get done to figure out where else we might have gone
wrong. I was concerned, but I wasn't overly concerned. At the time I was
planning to go to Scotland to study at Aberdeen University the doctrine
of the covenant, because in Scotland, covenant theology was born and
developed. And I was eager to go over and study there. So I wasn't
particularly concerned about resolving this issue because, after all,
that could be the focus of my doctoral study.

Then all of a sudden we got news that our change in theory
about contraception had brought about a change in Kimberly's anatomy and
physiology; she was pregnant. And Margaret Thatcher was not interested
in funding American babies being born in her great empire. So we looked
at the situation; we realized that we couldn't afford to go over to
Scotland just yet. We'd have to take a year off, but what were we going
to do as we were drawing close to graduation? We weren't sure; we began
to pray.

***Becomes Pastor of a Church in Virginia***

The phone rang. A church in Virginia, a well-known church
that I had heard a lot of good about called me up and said, "Would you
consider coming down to candidate for the pastorate here?" This meant
preaching a trial sermon, leading a Bible study, interviewing with the
elders who ran the session. I said, "Sure." I went down, preached a
sermon, led a Bible study, met with the session. They said, "That was
great; we want you here. In fact we'll pay you well enough so that you
can study at least 20 hours a week in Scripture and theology. We want
you to preach, however, at least 45 minutes each Sunday morning to open
up for us the Word." 45 minutes! Can you imagine what a priest would get
if he preached for 45 minutes? The next week that sanctuary and the
whole Church would be empty. Here they were asking me to preach at least
45 minutes. I said, "If you insist, you know, twist my arm. Sure." And
they said, "We want you to immerse us in the Word of God," and so I

The first thing I did was to tell them about covenant. The
second thing I did was to correct their misunderstanding of covenant as
contract to show them that covenant means family. The third thing I did
was to show them that the family of God makes more sense of who we are
and what Christ has done than anything in the Bible. God is Father, God
is Son, and God through the Holy Spirit has made us one family with Him.
And as soon as I began to preach this and teach this, it just took off
like wildfire. It spread through the parish; you could see it affecting
marriages and families. It was exciting. The fourth thing I did, was to
teach them about liturgy and covenant and family, that in Scripture the
covenant is celebrated through liturgical worship whereby God's family
gathers for a meal to celebrate the sacrifice of Christ. I suggested in
my preaching and teaching that maybe we ought to have the family meal,
communion. I even used the word "Eucharist." They never heard it before.
I said, "Maybe we ought to celebrate being God's covenant-family by
communion each week." "What?" I said, "Instead of being sermon-centered,
why not have the sermon be a prelude and a preparation to enter into
celebrating who we are as God's family?" They loved it.

But one guy came up and said, "Every week? You know familiarity
breeds contempt; you sure we should do it every week?" I said, "Well,
wait a second. You know, do you say to you wife I love you only four
times a year? After all, honey, familiarity breeds contempt. You know I
don't want to kiss you more than four times a year." He looked and he
said, "I get your point."

As we changed our liturgy, we felt a change in our lived
experience as a parish but also in our families as well. It was exciting
to see, and as I taught them more about the covenant, they just hungered
and thirsted for still more.

Meanwhile, I was also teaching part time at the local Christian
high school that met there at the church. I had some of the brightest
students I have ever taught, and they also responded with enthusiasm to
this covenant idea. I began to teach a course on salvation history, and
at first they were scared because it was so confusing, all those names
and places that you can't even pronounce much less make sense out of. So
I showed them, "Hey, once you think of covenant as family, it's really
quite simple." I took my students through the series of covenants in the
Old Testament which led up to Christ. First, you have the covenant God
makes with Adam; that's a marriage, a family bond. The second covenant
is the one that God makes with Noah. That's a family, a household with
Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives; together they
formed a family of God, a household of faith. Then in Abraham's time you
actually have God's family growing to the extent where it becomes a
tribal family. Then the next covenant God makes with Moses and Israel
has twelve tribes that become one nation, but through the covenant they
become God's national family. Until finally when Christ establishes the
new covenant. Instead of having God's family identified with one nation,
the distinctive greatness of the New Covenant, I taught them, was that
now we have an international family, a world wide family -- a catholic

One of my students raised her hand and said, "What would this
look like if we could actually redevelop it?" I drew a pyramid on the
board and I said, "Think of it like a big extended family with father
and mother figures at all these different levels, and all of us being
brothers and sisters in Christ. I heard somebody murmur in the back,
"Sure looks like the Catholic Church to me." I said, "No, no, no! What
I'm giving you is the solution to the problems, the antidote to the
poison." Well, Rebecca came up one day at lunch time. I was eating lunch
and she said, "We took a little vote in the back of the class; it's
unanimous; we all think you're going to become a Roman Catholic." I
choked on my sandwich, "Quiet, quiet. I don't want to lose my job, but
Rebecca, I assure you that what I'm giving you is not Catholicism; it's
the antidote to the poison of Catholicism." She just stood there looking
at me, "No, it's unanimous, you're going to become a Catholic." And she
turned around and walked away.

Well, I was stunned by that. I went home that afternoon, walked
into the kitchen, saw Kimberly over by the refrigerator and I said,
"You'll never guess what Rebecca said today." "Tell me what, another
Rebecca story?" I said. "Well, she came up at lunch time and announced
that they had taken a vote in the back of the class, and it was
unanimous that I'm going to become a Roman Catholic. Can you imagine
that, me becoming a Catholic?" And she wasn't laughing one bit. She just
stood there staring at me, she said, "Well, are you?" It was as though
somebody plunged a dagger into my back. You know, "Et tu, Brute,
Kimberly? Not you, too." I said, "You know I'm a Calvinist, a Calvinist
of Calvinists, a Presbyterian, an anti-Catholic. I've given away dozens
of copies of Boettner's book; I've gotten Catholics to leave. I was
weaned on Martin Luther." She just stood there and she said, "Yeah, but
sometimes I wonder if you're not Luther in reverse." Whoa, wait a minute
here! I had nothing to say.

I just slowly walked back in my study, shut the door, locked it,
sank into my seat and really began to brood. I was scared. Luther in
reverse. For me at one point that meant salvation in reverse. I was
scared. Maybe I'm studying too much and praying too little, so I began
to pray much more. I began to read more anti-Catholic books, but they
just didn't make sense anymore. So I began to turn to Catholic sources
and read them.

***Teacher at a Presbyterian Seminary***

Meanwhile something dramatic occurred. I was approached by a
seminary, a Presbyterian seminary, and asked if I would teach courses to
the seminarians beginning with one Gospel of John seminar. I said,
"Sure." So I began to share from the Gospel of John all about the
covenant, about the family of God, about what it really means to be born
again. I discovered in my study that being born again does not mean
accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and asking Him into
your heart -- although that is important and every believer, Catholic or
otherwise, should have Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and a living
personal relationship with Him. But I discovered what Jesus meant in
John 3 when He said that you've got to be born again. He turns around
and says that you've got to be born of water and spirit. In the previous
chapters He was just baptized with water and the Spirit descended upon
Him. And as soon as He is done talking to Nicodemus about the need to be
born from water and Spirit, the very next verse says that Jesus and the
disciples went about baptizing. I taught that being born again is a
covenant act, a sacrament, a covenant renewal involving baptism. I
shared this with my seminary students; they were convinced.

Meanwhile I was preparing my sermons and some lectures ahead of
John chapter 3. I was delving into John chapter 6. I don't know how many
of you've ever studied the Gospel of John. In many ways it's the richest
Gospel of all. But John chapter 6 is my favorite chapter in the fourth
Gospel. There I discovered something that I think I read before, but I
never noticed. Listen to it. "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to
you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink His blood you
have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has
eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is
food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and
drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.'" I read that; I reread that;
I looked at it from ten different angles. I bought all these books about
it, commentaries on John. I couldn't understand how to make sense out of

I had been trained to interpret that in a figurative sense;
Jesus is using a symbol. Flesh and blood really is just a symbol of His
body and blood. But the more I studied, the more I realized that that
interpretation makes no sense at all. Why? Because as soon as all the
Jews hear what Jesus says, they depart. Up until this point, thousands
were following him, and then all of a sudden the multitudes just simply
are shocked that He says, "My flesh is food indeed, my blood is drink
indeed" and they all depart. Thousands of disciples leave Him. If Jesus
had intended that language to only be figurative, He would have been
morally obligated as a teacher to say, "Stop, I only mean it
figuratively." But He doesn't do that; instead, what does he do?

My research showed me that he turns to the twelve, and he says
to them, what? "We better hire a public relations (P.R.) agent; I really
blew it guys." No! He says, "Are you going to leave me too?" He doesn't
say, "Do you understand I only meant it as a symbol?" No! He says that
the truth is what sets us free, I have taught the truth. What are you
going to do about it?

Peter stands up and speaks out; he says, "To whom shall we go?
You alone have the words of eternal life and we've come to believe."
Peter's statement, "To whom shall we go?" implies that, "You know,
Jesus, we don't understand what you mean either, but do you have another
Rabbi on the scene you can recommend? You know, to whom shall we go?
It's too late for us; we believe whatever you say even if we don't
understand it fully, and if you say we have to eat your flesh and drink
your blood, then somehow you'll give us the grace we need to accept your
words at face value." He didn't mean it figuratively.

As I began to study this, I began to realized it's one thing
to convince Presbyterians that being born again means being baptized,
but how in the world could I possibly convince them that we actually
have to eat His flesh and drink His blood? I focused then a little bit
more on the Lord's supper and communion. I discovered that Jesus had
never used the word "covenant" in His public ministry. He saved the one
time for when He instituted the Eucharist and he said, "This cup is the
blood of the new covenant." If covenant means family, what is it that
makes us family? Sharing flesh and blood. So if Christ forms a new
covenant, that is a new family, what is He going to have to provide us
with? New flesh and new blood. I began to see why in the early Church
for over 700 years, nobody any place disputed the meaning of Jesus'
words. All of the early Church fathers without exception took Jesus'
words at face value and believed and taught the real presence of Christ
in the Eucharist. I was scared; I didn't know who to turn to.

Then all of a sudden an episode occurred one night in a seminar
I wasn't ready for. An ex-Catholic graduate student named John raised
his hand. He had just finished a presentation for the seminar on the
Council of Trent. The Council of Trent, you'll recall, was the Church's
official response to Martin Luther and the Reformation.

In about an hour and a half he had presented the Council of Trent in the
most favorable light. He had shown how many of their arguments were in
fact based on the Bible. Then he turned the tables on me. The students
were supposed to ask him a question or two. He said, "Can I first ask
you a question, Professor Hahn? You know how Luther really had two
slogans, not just sola fide, but the second slogan he used to revolt
against Rome was sola Scriptura, the Bible alone. My question is, 'Where
does the Bible teach that?'"

I looked at him with a blank stare. I could feel sweat coming to
my forehead. I used to take pride in asking my professors the most
stumping questions, but I never heard this one before. And so I heard
myself say words that I had sworn I'd never speak; I said, "John, what a
dumb question." He was not intimidated. He look at me and said, "Give me
a dumb answer." I said, "All right, I'll try." I just began to wing it.
I said, "Well, Timothy 3:16 is the key: 'All Scripture is inspired of
God and profitable for correction, for training and righteousness, for
reproof that the man of God may be completely equipped for every good
work....'" He said, "Wait a second, that only says that Scripture is
inspired and profitable; it doesn't say ONLY Scripture is inspired or
even better, only Scripture's profitable for those things. We need other
things like prayer," and then he said, "What about 2 Thessalonians
2:15?" I said, "What's that again?" He said, "Well, there Paul tells the
Thessalonians that they have to hold fast, they have to cling to the
traditions that Paul has taught them either in writing or by word of
mouth." Whoa! I wasn't ready. I said, "Well, let's move on with the
questions and answers; I'll deal with this next week. Let's go

I don't think they realized the panic I was in. When I drove
home that night, I was just staring up to the heavens asking God, why
have I never heard that question? Why have I never found an answer? The
next day I began calling up theologians around the country, former
professors. I'd ask them, "Where does the Bible teach sola Scriptura?
Where does the Bible teach us that the Bible is our only authority?" One
man actually said to me, "What a dumb question coming from you." I said,
"Give me a dumb answer then." I was catching on. One professor whom I
greatly respect, an Oxford theologian, said to me, "Scott, you don't
expect to find the Bible proving sola Scriptura because it isn't
something the Bible demonstrates. It is our assumption; it is our
presupposition when we approach the Bible." That struck me as odd; I
said, "But professor, that seems strange because what we are saying then
is that we should only believe what the Bible teaches, but the Bible
doesn't teach us to only believe what the Bible teaches. Our assumption
isn't taught by the Bible." I said, "That feels like we're cutting off
the branch that we're sitting on." Then he said, "Well what other
options do we have?" Good point, all right.

Another friend, a theologian, called me and said, "Scott, what
is this I'm hearing that you're considering the Catholic faith?" "Well,
no, Art, I'm not really considering the Catholic faith." Then I decided
to pose him a question. I said, "Art, what for you is the pillar and
foundation of truth?" And he said, "Scott, for all of us Scripture is
the pillar and foundation of truth." I said, "Then why, Art, does the
Bible say in 1 Timothy 3:15 that the pillar and foundation of truth is
the church, the household of faith?" There was a silence and he said,
"Well, Scott, I think you're setting me up with that question then." And
I said, "Art, I feel like I'm being set up with lots of problems." He
said, "Well, which church, Scott? There are lots of them." I said, "Art,
how many churches are even applying for the job of being the pillar and
foundation of truth? I mean, if you talk about a church saying, 'We're
the pillar and foundation of truth; look to us and you will hear Christ
speak and teach'? How many applicants for the job are there? I only know
of one. I only know that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that it was
founded by Christ; it's been around for 2000 years and it's making some
outlandish claims that seem awfully similar to 1 Timothy 3:15."

Well, at this point I wasn't sure what to do. I got a phone
call, though, one day from the chairman of the board of trustees at the
seminar where I was teaching. Steve asked me out for lunch. I wasn't
sure why. I thought, "Word has reached the chairman of the board that
I'm teaching things that are perhaps somewhat Catholic." When I joined
him for lunch, I was very scared and unsure. He proceeded to announce
that the trustees had reached a unanimous decision. Because my classes
were going so well, because so many people were signing up for my
courses, they asked if I would consider becoming dean of the seminary at
the ripe old age of 26. I couldn't believe it. He said, "We will let you
teach the courses you want. We will let you hire faculty if you need
them. We'll even pay for your doctoral program in theology." I said,
"Where is there a doctoral program in theology nearby?" He said,
"Catholic University." I thought, No, no, no. I don't want to study
there; I'm fleeing that perspective at present." I really didn't say
that to him because I didn't know what to say. In fact, he said, "Well,
would you pray about it?" I said, "I will, but, Steve, I think I already
know the answer. And oddly enough, I think I'm going to have to say no
and I'm not going to be able to explain why because I'm not sure

When I got home, Kimberly was waiting for me. She said, "What
did he want?" I said, "He asked me to become dean." "You're kidding!" I
said, "No." "What did you say?" I said, "No." "I'm sorry, what did you
say?" I said, "No." "Why did you say no?" I said, "Kimberly, because
right now I'm not sure what I would teach. Right now I'm not sure what
Scripture is teaching, and I know that someday I'm going to stand before
Jesus Christ for judgment and it is not going to be enough for me simply
to say, 'Well, Jesus, I just taught what I had been taught by my
teachers.' He has shown me things from Scripture that are true and I
have got to be faithful to what He has shown me." She walked right over
to me, threw her arms around me and gave me a big hug. Then she said,
"Scott, that's what I love about you, that's why I married you, but, oh,
we're going to have to pray then." She knew what it meant: It meant not
only turning down this offer; it also meant resigning from a booming job
as pastor of a growing church. I loved both opportunities.

***Administrative Assistant to the College President***

We didn't know what we were going to do. We were high and dry in
July. After a lot of prayer, we decided we ought to move back to the
college town where we met. When we moved back, I applied for a job at
various places, but the college hired me as an administrator to be
assistant to the president. For two years I worked there, and it was
rather ideal because I worked during the day and it left me free in the
evenings to pursue in-depth research. From around eight in the evening
after putting our children down until around one or two in the morning,
I would read and study and research.

In two years time I had worked through several hundred books,
and I began for the first time to read Catholic theologians and
Scripture scholars. And I was shocked at how impressive their insights
were but even more, at how impressive their insights were which agreed
with my own personal discoveries. I couldn't believe how many novel,
innovative discoveries that I had come up with they were assuming and
taking for granted, and it bothered me.

At times I'd come out and read sections to Kimberly and say,
"Hear this, name the author." Because she was a theologian in a sense,
and she was so busy with raising children that she really didn't have as
much energy. But she would sit there listening in, and I would say, "Who
do you think that was?" She said, "Wow! That sounds like one of your
sermons down in Virginia. Oh, I miss those so much." I said, "That was
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes. That was the Catholic Church." She said,
"Scott, I don't want to hear that." I said, "Kimberly, this stuff about
liturgy is so exciting. I'm not certain, but I think God might be
calling us to become Episcopalians." It's a halfway house. She looked at
me and her eyes filled up with tears and she said, "Episcopalian!" She
said, "I'm a Presbyterian, my father's a Presbyterian minister, my
uncle's a Presbyterian minister, my husband was a Presbyterian minister,
my brother wants to be one, and I thought about it myself. I don't want
to be Episcopalian." She felt so abandoned at this moment, so betrayed.

I remember that because a few months later after reading a lot
more, one night I came out and said, "Kimberly, I'm not sure, but I'm
beginning to think that God might be calling me to become a Roman
Catholic." This look of desperation came over her. She said, "Couldn't
we become Episcopalians? Anything but Catholic." You don't know what
it's like, you cradle-Catholics. You just don't know the terror that
comes over you when you think you might have to swim the Tiber, you
might have to "Pope", as my friends put it. Well, she was getting so
desperate. She began to pray for somebody to rescue her husband -- some
professor, some theologian, some friend.

***Direct Journey to Catholicism***

Finally it happened. I got a call one day from Gerry, my best
friend from seminary. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar in classics and New
Testament Greek. He was the only other student at seminary along with me
who held to the old Protestant belief that the Pope was the anti-Christ.
We stood shoulder to shoulder opposing all the compromises we saw in our
Protestant brethren. He talked to me one night on the phone. I read to
him a passage from a book by Father Bouyer. He said, "Wow, that is rich
and profound. Who wrote it?" I said, "Louis Bouyer." "Bouyer? I'd never
heard of him, what is he?" "I said, "What do you mean?" "Well, is he a
Methodist?" I said, "No." "Is he a Baptist?" "No." "I mean is he
Lutheran? What is this, twenty questions? What is he?" I said, "Well,
he's a Cath-----." "I'm sorry I missed that." I said, "He's Roman
Cath-----." "Wait a second, there must be a bad connection, Scott. I
thought you said he's Catholic." I said, "Gerry, I did say he's Catholic
and he is Catholic, and I've been reading lots of Catholics."

All of a sudden it started gushing out like Niagara Falls. I
said, "I've been reading Danielou, and Ratzinger and de Lubac and
Garrigou-Lagrange and Congar, and all these guys and man is it rich;
you've got to read them, too." He said, "Slow down." He said, "Scott,
your soul may be in peril." I said, "Gerry, can I give you a list of
titles?" He said, "Sure, I'll read them, anything to save you from this
kind of trap. And I'll give you these titles." He mentioned to me about
ten titles of anti- Catholic books. I said, "Gerry, I've read every
single one of them, at least one or two times." He said, "Send me the
list," and I sent it to him.

About a month later, we arranged to have a long phone
conversation. Kimberly couldn't have been more excited; at last a Phi
Beta Kappa knight in shining armor coming to rescue her husband from the
clutches of Romanism. So she was waiting with bated breath when the
conversation was done, and I told her that Gerry's excited because he's
reading all this stuff and he's really taking me seriously. She said,
"Oh, great, I knew he would."

Well, this went on for three or four months. We would talk on
the phone, two, three, sometimes four hours long distance discussing
theology and Scripture until three or four in the morning. Kimberly was
so glad and grateful for him taking me so seriously.

One night I came to bed around two or three; she was still up.
The light was out, but she sat up in bed and said, "How's it going?" I
said, "It's great." "Tell me about it." I said, "Gerry is almost
intoxicated and excited about all the truth from Scripture that the
Catholic Church puts forth." "WHAT!" I couldn't see her face, but I
could almost feel it sink as she just slumped back down into bed, put
her face into her pillow and began to sob. I couldn't even put my arm
around her; she was just so wounded and abandoned.

A little while later Gerry called and said, "Listen, I'm a
little scared. My friends are a little scared. We ought to really take
this seriously. I talked to Doctor John Gerstner, this Harvard-trained
Presbyterian, anti-Catholic theologian . He will meet with us as long as
we want." We arranged Gerry, Dr. Gerstner and me for a six hour session,
going through the Old Testament in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek,
and the council documents of Church history. At the end of six hours,
Gerry and I expected to be completely blown out of the water by this
genius. Instead, what we discovered was that the Catholic Church almost
doesn't even need a defense. It's more like a lion; just let it out of
its cage and it takes care of itself. We just presented the Church's
teachings and showed the text in Scripture, and we didn't feel like he
had answered a single one of our questions or objections. In the end we
were like, "Wow, what does this mean?" Neither of us knew. The most
anti-Catholic seminarians wondering whether God might be a Catholic --
we were terrified.

Meanwhile, I sent an application off to Marquette University
because I had heard they had a few really outstanding theologians who
were based on the covenant who were studying the Church and doing lots
of good things. Right before I heard back from them that I was accepted,
and I got a scholarship, I began to visit a few priests in the area. I
was scared. I'd do it at night so nobody would see me. I almost felt
dirty and defiled stepping into the rectory. I'd sit down and finally
get some questions out and, to a man, each priest would say to me,
"Let's talk about something else besides theology." None of them wanted
to discuss my questions. One of them actually said, "Are you thinking of
converting? No, you don't want to do that. Ever since Vatican II we
discourage that. The best thing you can do for the Church is just be a
good Presbyterian minister." I said, "Wait a second, Father..." "No,
just call me Mike." I said, "OK, Mike. I'm not asking you to break my
arm and force me in. I think God is calling me." He said, "Well, if you
want help from me, you've come to the wrong man."

After three or four or five encounters like this, I was
confused. I shared it with Kimberly. She said, "You've got to go to a
Catholic school where you can study full time, where you can hear it
from the horse's mouth, where you can make sure that the Catholic Church
you believe in still exists." She had a good point. So after a lot of
prayer and preparation, we moved to Milwaukee where I studied for two
years full-time in their doctoral program.

Those two years were the richest years of study I ever
experienced and the richest time of prayer as well. I found myself in
some seminars, though, where I was actually the lone Protestant
defending the Church's teaching against the attacks coming from
Catholics. It was weird. John Paul's teaching, for instance, which is so
Scriptural and so "covenantal," I was explaining to these people. But
there were a few good theologians who made so much sense out of it all.
I really enjoyed the time. But something happened along the way,
actually two things.

First, I began to pray a rosary. I was very scared to do this. I
asked the Lord not to be offended as I tried. I proceeded to pray, and
as I prayed I felt more in my heart what I came to know in my mind: I am
a child of God. I don't just have God as my Father and Christ as my
brother; I have His Mother for my own.

A friend of mine who had heard I was thinking about the Catholic
Church called up one day and said: "Do you worship Mary like those
Catholics do?" I said, "They don't worship Mary; they honor Mary."
"Well, what's the difference?" I said, "Let me explain. When Christ
accepted the call from His Father to become a man, He accepted the
responsibility to obey the law, the moral law which is summarized in the
Ten Commandments. There's a commandment which reads, 'Honor your father
and mother.'" I said, "Chris, in the original Hebrew, that word "honor,"
kaboda, that Hebrew word means to glorify, to bestow whatever glory and
honor you have upon your father and mother. Christ fulfilled that law
more perfectly than any human by bestowing His glory upon His heavenly
Father and by taking His own divine glory and honoring His Mother with
it. All we do in the rosary, Chris, is to imitate Christ who honors His
Mother with His own glory. We honor her with Christ's glory."

The second thing that happened was when I quietly slipped into
the basement chapel down at Marquette, Gesu. They were having a noon
Mass and I had never gone to Mass before. I slipped in. I sat down in
the back pew. I didn't kneel. I didn't genuflect, I wouldn't stand. I
was an observer; I was there to watch. But I was surprised when 40, 50,
60, 80, or 100 ordinary folk just walked in off the street for midday
Mass, ordinary folk who just came in, genuflected, knelt and prayed.
Then a bell rang and they all stood up and Mass began. I had never seen
it before.

The Liturgy of the Word was so rich, not only the Scripture
readings. They read more Scripture, I thought, in a weekday Mass than we
read in a Sunday service. But their prayers were soaked with Biblical
language and phrases from Isaiah and Ezekiel. I sat there saying, "Man,
stop the show, let me explain your prayers. That's Zechariah; that's
Ezekiel. Wow! It's like the Bible coming to life and dancing out on the
center stage and saying, "This is where I belong."

Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist began. I watched and listened
as the priest pronounced the words of consecration and elevated the
host. And I confess, the last drop of doubt drained away at that moment.
I looked and said, "My Lord and my God." As the people began going
forward to receive communion, I literally began to drool, "Lord, I want
you. I want communion more fully with you. You've come into my heart.
You're my personal Savior and Lord, but now I think You want to come
onto my tongue and into my stomach, and into my body as well as my soul
until this communion is complete."

And as soon as it began, it was over. People stuck around for a
minute or two for thanksgiving and then left. And eventually, I just
walked out and wondered, what have I done? But the next day I was back,
and the next, and the next. I couldn't tell a soul. I couldn't tell my
wife. But in two or three weeks I was hooked. I was head over heels in
love with Christ and His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It
became the source and the summit and the climax of each day, and I still
couldn't tell anybody.

Then one day Gerry called me on the phone. He'd been reading
hundreds of books himself. He called to announce, "Leslie and I have
decided that we're going to become Catholics this Easter, 1986." I said,
"Now wait a second, Gerry. You were supposed to stop me from joining;
now you think you're going to beat me to the table? This isn't fair." He
said, "Listen, Scott, I don't know what objections or questions you've
got left, but all of ours are answered." I said, "So are mine." He said,
"Well, look, I'm not going to pry."

When I hung up the phone, it occurred to me that delaying
obedience for me was becoming almost like disobedience. God had made it
so clear in Scripture on Mary, on the Pope, even on Purgatory from 1
Corinthians 3:15 and following, on the saints as God's family, as my
brothers and sisters in Christ. I was explaining to friends of mine how
the Family of God is the master idea which makes sense out of all the
Catholic faith. Mary's our mother, the Pope is a spiritual father, the
saints are like brothers and sisters, the Eucharist is a family meal,
the feast days are like anniversaries and birthdays. We are God's
family. I'm not an orphan; I've got a home. I'm just not there yet. I
began to ask the Lord, "What do you want me to do? Gerry's going
to join. What do you want me to do?" And the Lord just turned the
tables and said, "What do you want to do?" I said, "That's easy.
I want to come home. I want to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist."
And I just had this sense that the Lord was saying to me, "I'm not
stopping you." So I thought, I'd better talk to the one person who
wanted to.

So I went downstairs and I said, "Kimberly, you'll never
guess what Gerry and Leslie are planning to do." "What?" She had
already given up hope at this point. "They're going to become
Catholics this Easter, 1986." She looked at me and with insight -
- she knows me so well and she still loves me -- she said, "So
what? What difference does that make? You gave me your personal
promise that you wouldn't join until 1990 at the earliest." I
said, "Yeah, you remind of that; that's right, I did. But I could
be dispensed from that if you felt..." "No, no, don't...."
"Would you pray about it?" "Don't spiritualize away your promises,
Scott." I said, "But Kimberly, you don't want to hear this, you don't
want to read this, you don't want to discuss it. But for me to delay
obedience to something that God has made so clear, it becomes
disobedience." I knew Kimberly loved me enough to never allow me or
pressure me to disobey my Lord and Savior. She said, "I'll pray about
it, but I have to tell you, I feel betrayed. I feel abandoned. I have
never felt so alone in my life. All my dreams are dying because of
this." But she prayed, and God bless her, she came back and she said,
"This is the most painful thing in my life, in our marriage, but I think
it's what God wants me to do."

That Easter vigil of 1986, she actually accompanied me to the
vigil Mass where I received my -- what I like to call my -- sacramental
grand slam: conditional baptism, first confession, Confirmation and
then, God be raised, Holy Communion. When I came back I felt her crying,
and I put my arm around her and we began to pray. The Lord said to me,
"Look, I'm not asking you to become a Catholic in spite of your love for
Kimberly, because I love her more than you do. I'm asking you to become
a Catholic because of your love. Because you don't have the strength to
love her as much as I want you to love her, I'll give you what you lack
in Holy Communion." I thought, "Well, try to explain that to her." And I
had this sense of peace slowly come when He said, "I will in due time;
you just back off. You're not the Holy Spirit; you can't change her
heart." The next few days and the next few weeks and months she still
wasn't interested. It was hard.

I ended up taking a job down in Joliet teaching for a few years
at a college there. Right before we moved something happened which the
Lord did. We had a third baby, Hannah. When Hannah was conceived, I was
really scared. Scared for lots of reasons but never so scared as I was
one Sunday morning when Kimberly was only four months pregnant. We were
standing in her church singing the last stanza of the last hymn, and she
turned to me. She was white as a ghost and she said, "I don't feel good,
I'm hemorrhaging." She sat down and laid in the pew while everybody just
began to leave the sanctuary. I panicked. I didn't know what to do; she
was white as a ghost. I ran to a pay phone. I called up our O.B. I said,
"Where is he?" "Well, we don't know where Dr. Marmion is. It's the
weekend and he might be out of town." "Could you page him?" "We'll page
him and he'll call back if he's around." I hung up. I was in a panic. I
began to pray to St. Gerard, to everybody. I just asked the Lord Jesus
Christ to help us. Ten seconds, maybe fifteen went by and the phone
rang. I picked it up and said, "Hello." "Scott?" "Yes." "Dr. Marmion
here." I said, "Pat, where are you?" He said, "Where are you?" I
said, "I'm outside the city in this particular borough." "Where?" "At
this church." "Where in the church are you?" "I'm right outside the
sanctuary by the pay phone." He said, "This is unbelievable. I just
happen to be visiting that church this morning. I'm calling from the
basement. I'll be right up." He ran up the stairs in four or five, maybe
eight seconds. He said, "Where is she?" I said, "There she is." He ran
over and began administering help to her. She got in the car. We sped
off to (thankfully) St. Joseph hospital and Kimberly's life was spared,
the baby's life was spared, and eventually Hannah was born.

I just had this sense that the Lord was so much closer to us
and to our marriage which seemed more broken down than I realized. I
began to pray, "What are we going to do with a new baby?" Kimberly
approached me right before Hannah was born, and she said, "I'm not sure
exactly why, but the Lord has impressed upon me that Hannah is to be a
child of reconciliation. I'm not sure what it means." We hugged and we
began to pray about it.

After Hannah was born, Kimberly approached me. She said, "I'm
not sure why, but I I think the Lord wants me to have Hannah baptized in
the Catholic Church." I said, "What!" She said, "I'm not sure but yes."
We went through this baptism liturgy together. Monsignor Bruskewitz, the
priest who brought me in, is just the noblest prince of a godly man.
He's now Bishop of Lincoln and he did this private liturgy so well, so
filled with tradition and Scripture, that half way through it when he
said, "Alleluia, alleluia," in one of the liturgical prayers, Kimberly
almost jumped out of her socks. She said, "Alleluia! Oh, I'm sorry." He
said , "No, I wish Catholics would do that; this is good."

As a result of this liturgical celebration of baptism, she
photocopied the baptismal liturgy and sent it to her family and
friends. But she still wasn't ready to go into these debates. She began
to read and to pray. I just tried to back off more and more.

***Trip to the Vatican in Rome***

I want to insert one thing. My father passed away just last
December (1990), the man who taught me to love calling God "Father". In
January my father-in-law invited me to join him and a very small group
of people who are battling hard core pornography which is spilling into
Eastern Europe over to the Vatican for a colloquium and a private
audience with Pope John Paul II. My father-in-law, the Presbyterian
minister, inviting me to meet the Pope? I said, "Yes." So last January I
not only met with the Pope in this small group, but I also was invited
to join him in his private chapel for Friday morning Mass at 7:00 a.m. I
was just a few feet away from him and I felt him praying. You could hear
him praying with his head in his hands, carrying the weight of the
Church with all of its burdens in his heart.

As he celebrated the Mysteries of the Holy Mass, I made a
resolution, actually two of them: to enter more deeply each day into the
Mass and into this ministry that he has to pray for him. But the second
resolution was to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ about our
Holy Father, and how Christ has graced us with an incredible family,
with the Blessed Virgin Mary to be our own spiritual Mother, with Pope
John Paul II to be a guide and a spiritual father-figure to lead all of
us in worshipping our heavenly Father, with saints as brothers and
sisters, to know ourselves as God's family, but most of all, with the
Holy Eucharist to know ourselves around the table as a household of God,
His own children. What privileges we have; what graces He's given!


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To: OLD REGGIE; Canticle_of_Deborah
This link provides a good explanation of Unum Sanctum and the teaching of salvation outside the Church. It reflects my understanding of the teaching.
181 posted on 03/15/2004 5:20:11 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: drstevej
... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.

Did that include a command to write the New Testament?

182 posted on 03/15/2004 5:30:11 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: sfRummygirl; Salvation
I just noticed your poem got banned. Ok, this is ridiculous. I KNEW this thread was only for bait. What a joke.

Here's a little something to replace it.


By David J. Riggs

Following are my notes on a sermon that I preached shortly after I was converted from the Catholic Church back in 1962. It was the first sermon that I had preached.


In this lesson I want to state some of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. I do not wish to state any of the personal experiences I had as result of leaving. I will mention, though, that I came from a large, devout Catholic family of twelve children. I attended Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time of my intense Scriptural study, I had two brothers who were enrolled in Catholic seminaries studying to be priests. I also want to state I did not leave the Catholic Church because of some evil that I had done or that was done to me. I left the Catholic Church because I came to believe that it was contrary to the Bible. This I will endeavor to show in this study.


To illustrate what I mean by this, I will explain the difference in the two sides. Those with the right attitude toward the truth are always willing to test what they teach with others. They invite those of opposite views to work together for truth and unity. They appreciate when those who differ with them point out where they think they are wrong. They have everything thoroughly tested, studying arguments both for and against, looking at both sides of the question.

Those with the wrong attitude toward the truth are not willing to test what they teach in fair and open discussion, privately or publicly. They do not invite others to point out where they think they are wrong, and do not appreciate when others try to do so. They won't allow their members to hear both sides of an issue, and especially they don't want them to examine opposing arguments.

Hopefully, one can now understand what I mean when I said the Catholics do not have the right attitude toward the truth. Catholics are not allowed, and especially are not encouraged to hear both sides regarding truth and error. They are not to read books which differ from their doctrine. Thus, they are encouraged by the clergy to be closed minded to anything which differs from Catholicism. We ask, "Why don't Catholic officials encourage their members to examine opposing Scriptural teaching?" False teachers have learned that when truth and error are examined side by side, some begin to see the truth. False teachers are afraid of being exposed and of losing their members.


The Catholic Catechism For Adults on page 52 says, "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible? No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood, and because the Bible does not have everything God taught." Notice that the first part of their answer to "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?" is, "No..." However, their own translations of the Bible teaches the opposite. All Scriptural quotations that I will be giving are from Catholic translations.

2 Tim. 3:15-17 says, "And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by faith which is Christ Jesus. All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work." Thus, the apostle Paul by the inspiration of God, says to Timothy "thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation" and make you "perfect, furnished to every good work." Rom. 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek." James 1:21 says, "...With meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save you souls." Consequently, the word contained in the Bible is able to save our souls.

The next part of the answer in the Catechism to the question, "Can you learn to save your soul just by the Bible?" is, "No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood..." They are implying that the Bible cannot be understood. John A. O'Brien, the Catholic author of the book, "The Faith of Millions," is much more expressive when he says on page 152, "The Bible is not a clear and intelligible guide to all..." The book, "The Faith of Millions" was given to me before my conversion by my older brother Norman who was at the time a student at St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana.

The apostle Paul said we can understand what he wrote. "If yet, you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me towards you: how that, according to revelation, the mystery has been made known to me, as I have written above in few words; as you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." (Eph. 3:2-4). Paul said the mystery had been made know to him by the revelation of God. He then showed that he was writing it e.g., "as I have written above in few words" (in the chapters prior to this) and "as you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." In other words, when we read what he wrote, we can understand what he understood. Paul also said , "For we write nothing to you that you do not read and understand" (2 Cor. 1:13) and "Therefore do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17). Thus, the inspired writers taught that we most certainly can understand the Scriptures.

The last part of the answer given in the Catechism to the question, "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?" was "No...because the Bible does not have everything God taught." The Faith of Millions, on pages 153-154 says, "The Bible does not contain all the teaching of the Christian religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its members." The Scriptures contain everything that is necessary to equip the man of God for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is not a solitary good work that the Christian can do which is not provided in the Scriptures. The Scriptural proof they give for the Bible not containing everything God taught, is John 20:30. It says, "Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book." (See Catechism For Adults, p. 10).

In John 20:30, John simply said that Jesus did many other signs (miracles) which he did record. Notice, though, what John says in the next verse, "...But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." Thus, the apostle clearly shows that he wrote sufficient things to produce the faith which brings life in the name of Jesus. Life in the name of Jesus refers to eternal life and it is obtained by belief in the things written by the inspired writers.

We freely admit that the Scriptures do not contain everything Jesus did. John said, "There are, however, many other things that Jesus did; but if every one of these would be written, not even the world itself, I think, could hold the books that would have to be written." (John 21:25). Although we do not have everything Jesus did, we do have every necessary thing. We have enough to give us life in His name.

Catholic officials follow up their claim (that we cannot understand the Bible) by stating that one can get the true meaning only from the Catholic Church. The Catechism For Adults on page 10 says, "How can you get the true meaning of the Bible? You can get it only from God's official interpreter, the Catholic Church." The Catholics have no passages which mention an official interpreter and, thus, they try to support their claim through human logic and reasoning. Anytime men do such, it amounts to nothing more than human philosophy rather than Scriptural proof. The Bible says, "Let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:4). It also warns, "See to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ." (Col. 2:8).

The doctrine of the "infallible interpreter" implies that God did not make Himself clear. It implies that God gave us a revelation that still needs revealing. Did God fail in His attempt to give man a revelation? Do the Catholic officials want us to believe they can express God's will more clearly than God Himself? We believe that God made the mind of man and is fully capable of addressing man in words which man can understand.


The Catholic writers try to teach that the church could never go into error and is preserved from error. The Catechism For Adults on page 56 says, "Why can't the Catholic Church ever teach error? Because Jesus promised to be always with His Church to protect it from error." The book, "My Catholic Faith" which is based heavily on materials from the Baltimore Catechism, was given to me by my father not long after I was converted. I think his intentions were that somehow it would cause me to return to the Catholic Church. It says on page 144, "Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error." On page 145, it says, "Jesus Christ commanded all men to listen to and obey the Church, under pain of damnation. If His Church can teach error then He is responsible for the error, by commanding all to obey." On page 54 the Catechism For Adults says, "Does everyone have to obey the Catholic Church? Yes, because she alone has the authority of Jesus to rule and to teach."

It is easy to see that Catholics have the authority in the wrong place. The authority is not in the body, but in the Head (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). The ruling is not in the kingdom, but in the King (Heb. 7:1-2; Rev. 1:5-6). The authority is in not in the church, but in Christ (Matt. 28:18; 1 Pet. 3:22). The church is not the Savior, but simply the body of the saved (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-24).

There are many passages in the New Testament which reveal that the church would not be preserved from error. Acts 20:17, 28-30; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:3-11. We see from these passages that there was to come a great falling away from the truth. In Acts chapter twenty we learn that perverse things would come from the bishops of the church. Peter said (2 Pet. 2) that false teachers would arise among you (working from within) and there would be many who would follow them. Paul tell us (2 Thess. 2) that the apostasy was already underway, "for the mystery of iniquity is already at work..." (Verse 7). It started in Paul's day and was to continue until the second coming of Christ. He added, "...Whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of his mouth and will destroy with the brightness of his coming." (Verse 8).

We cannot harmonize that which the inspired apostles said (there shall arise false teachers among you) with that which the Catholic writers say (shall be preserved from error). Furthermore, we call your attention to the fact that the characteristics of the departing group are identical with those of the Catholic Church. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church has forbidden its people to eat meat on Friday and at the present it forbids some from marriage. Also, the only way for the wicked one to last from Paul's day to the second coming of Christ is to have a continual succession. It could not be some wicked person of the past because he will not be here for the Lord to slay when He comes. Furthermore, it could not be ones in the future because their iniquity would not have started in Paul's day. It must, therefore, be a continual succession from the beginning until now. The Catholic Church is the only group which perfectly fits the apostles' description of the great apostasy.

The seven short epistles to seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation reveal the relationship the church sustains to Christ (See Rev. chapters 2 and 3; see especially 2:1-5, 12-14, 18-20; 3:1-3, 14-15). Those verses plainly reveal that when a church continues in Christ's word, it keeps its identity as His church, but when it fails to abide in His word, it is not longer regarded as His church. Also, they reveal that Christ did not establish His church as one that could never fall into error, because some of those churches went into error. Someone might say that the passages in Revelation referred to the various parishes or congregations rather than the whole church. It is true that the verses were speaking of local churches; nevertheless, the same principle that applied to them relates to the whole church.

The Lord does not have a rule for one congregation which is not equally applicable to all. If one church is rejected for embracing error, all others who likewise embrace error are rejected. The early churches had to earnestly contend for the faith, and to continually be on guard against error arising from within. The doctrine of an "infallible church" causes the Catholic Church to fail in this. The Catholic Church is a church which neither recognizes nor corrects its errors.


In the books of men, the following titles are commonly used with reference to a man: "Pope," "Holy Father," "Vicar of Christ," "Sovereign Pontiff." All of these are titles that rightly belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God the Father. There is not a single instance in the Scriptures where any of the above titles are applied to a man. The term, "Holy Father" is used only once in the entire Bible, and it is used by Jesus in addressing God the Father. (John 17:11).

Among the above titles is the bold assertion that the Pope is the "Vicar of Christ." A "vicar" is "One serving as a substitute or agent; one authorized to perform the functions of another in higher office." (Webster). When one searches the Bible from cover to cover, he finds only one passage which gives an indication of a vicar of Christ or God. It is 2 Thess. 2:3-4 and is worded as follows: "Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits in the temple of God and gives himself out as if he were God."

Some religionists today advocate that man is saved by faith only. However, there is only one passage in the entire Bible that has the words "faith" and "only" together and it says, "not by faith only" (James 2:24). The Catholics today speak of the Pope as vicar, taking the place of God (Christ Himself is God, Matt. 1:23; John 1:1), yet there is only one passage in the entire Bible which speaks of a man doing such and it calls him "the man of sin."

James Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic Archbishop said, "Jesus our Lord, founded but one Church, which He was pleased to build on Peter. Therefore, any church that does not recognize Peter as its foundation stone is not the Church of Christ, and therefore cannot stand, for it is not the work of God." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 82). The apostle Paul said, "For other foundation no one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 3:11). There is no other foundation but Christ! Therefore, any church which does not recognize Christ alone as the foundation stone cannot be the church of Christ.

Catholic writers often speak of "the primacy of Peter" and "the primacy of the Pope." However, Col. 1:18, speaking of Christ, says, "And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy..." Thus, with reference to the authority in the church, the Lord Jesus Christ holds the primacy in all things. This leaves nothing for the Pope!

Catholics claim that the Pope is the visible head of the church. The Catholic book Answer Wisely, by Martin J. Scott says on p. 49, "The pope, therefore, as vicar of Christ, is the visible head of Christ's kingdom on earth, the Church, of which Christ Himself is the invisible head." The book Father Smith Instructs Jackson, by John F. Noll and Lester J. Fallon, on page 42 says, "According to the will of Christ, all its members profess the same faith, have the same worship and Sacraments, and are united under the one and same visible head, the Pope." Catholic officials always use the word "visible" no doubt thinking that it removes the thought of the Pope standing in opposition to the headship of Christ, and removes the apparent problem of having a church with two heads. Nonetheless, the Scriptures nowhere teach the idea of a visible and invisible head. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matt. 28:18; Emp.mine D.R.). Luke 17:20-21 says, "And on being asked by the Pharisees, 'When is the kingdom of God coming?' he answered and said to them, The kingdom of God comes unawares. Neither will they say, 'Behold, here it is,' or 'Behold, there it is.' For behold the kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and therefore needs only a spiritual head or king.

Eph. 5:23-25 shows that Christ is the only head of the church. "Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, being himself savior of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things." Consequently, the wife is subject to her husband as the church is to Christ. Just as the wife is subject to only one head--her husband, the church is subject to only one head--Christ. Just as the husband does not send a substitute to rule over his wife, Christ does not authorize a substitute to rule over His bride, the church.

Catholics often use the expression, "One fold and one shepherd" to sustain the doctrine of the papacy. (See Catechism For Adults, p. 59). They teach that the "one shepherd" is the Pope and the "one fold" represents the Catholic Church. Hear what Jesus said about it: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep...I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that a not of this fold. Them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." (John 10:11, 14-16). Jesus is that one good shepherd. If one can understand that one and one equals two, he can understand this. If one is subject to Christ as the one shepherd--that's one. If one is subject to the Pope as the one Shepherd--that's two!

The church is often compared to the human body in the Scriptures. The members of the church are represented as the various parts of the body. Christ is always said to be the head. (See 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15-16). Our question is: "What part of the body is the Pope?" Also, "How does one get the idea of a sub-head into the body?"

One of the greatest arguments against the primacy of Peter is the fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves as to which of them should be the greatest. Luke 22:24-26 says, "Now there arose a dispute among them, which of them was reputed to be the greatest. But he said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and they who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. But not so with you. On the contrary, let him who is greatest among you become as the youngestÐ , and him who is chief as the servant'." The very fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves shows they did not understand that Peter was to be prince. Also, the occasion of the argument was the night of the betrayal--the last night of the Lord's earthly ministry--and yet the apostles still did not understand that Christ had given Peter a position of primacy. The Lord settled the argument, not by stating that He had already made Peter head, but by declaring that the Gentiles have their heads, "But not so with you." Thus, Jesus very plainly taught that no one would occupy any such place as a Benefactor (or Pope) to exercise authority over the others.


There are other reasons why I left the Catholic Church. I have simple tried to list some of the ones that made the greatest impression on me at the time of my conversion. I hope and pray that these things will be of some benefit to those who are making an honest inquiry regarding truth. I beseech and invite all my Catholic friends and relatives to examine these things in the light of God's holy Word. May God be with you in your endeavors to serve Him.

183 posted on 03/15/2004 5:36:59 AM PST by P-Marlowe (Let your light so shine before men....)
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To: Cronos
If you think you can justify combining a Indian ceremony which honors false gods with a holy Christian service for the sake of getting along you're talking to the wrong person. We are commanded to be not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).

This is a LOT different than Santa Claus. This is a celebration worshipping false gods. For Christians to even give the appearance of going along with this especially in a worship service is SINFUL.

If we worshipped Santa Claus I would say the same thing.

184 posted on 03/15/2004 5:42:35 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: Aquinasfan
[1] Certainly writing the New Testament is consistent with the command.

[2] The New Testament was written at the moving of the Holy Spirit and the outbreathing of God.
185 posted on 03/15/2004 5:44:55 AM PST by drstevej (Repentant prayer of saints is the precursor to genuine revival.)
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To: AlguyA
Hmmmm….I wonder why people always use the “God is love” verse in 1st John and not “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deut 4:24). Love is only one attribute of God. For a more balance look at the nature of God you may wish to read Revelations (and Ezekiel in the OT). Please consider the following:

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” Rev 16:1

If we truly understood the wrath of God that is coming, we’d be in church everyday in earnest prayer.

186 posted on 03/15/2004 5:45:59 AM PST by HarleyD (READ Your Bible-STUDY to show yourself approved)
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To: HarleyD
RE: Satan in The Passion

IMO Mel made Satan more creepy by introducing the element of androgyny. Though a woman played Satan I didn't find him overtly feminine, just weird in an ungodly sort of way. To me, it worked well.

187 posted on 03/15/2004 5:55:13 AM PST by opus86
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To: xzins; IMRight
"transformation" has a theological feel to it

    "Coming home" in this case.

It'll never be easy to express in one or two words a blessed, honest, heartwarming, complete feeling, will it?  Conversely, that may be why one particular and awful cuss word "works".  An example of the diametrical difference of good and bad perhaps.  FReegards.
188 posted on 03/15/2004 5:56:29 AM PST by GirlShortstop
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To: IMRight
"coming home"

There might be a case there, if Hahn had been raised a Roman Catholic. I don't remember if he had been and had then left that church for another.
189 posted on 03/15/2004 6:05:25 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of it!!)
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To: Salvation; Religion Mod; sfRummygirl; HarleyD; OLD REGGIE
Luther also added the words "faith only" to being saved.

I consider this a personal attack against Scott Hahn Luther and am not very happy with it.

190 posted on 03/15/2004 6:28:49 AM PST by P-Marlowe (Let your light so shine before men....)
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To: HarleyD
Thanks for that Website link. I was looking for a critical review of Hahn's approach to scripture and this one looks well researched.
191 posted on 03/15/2004 6:40:23 AM PST by Varda
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To: Varda
Thanks for that Website link. I was looking for a critical review of Hahn's approach to scripture and this one looks well researched.

Here it is in link form for those who are copy/paste challenged.:-)

192 posted on 03/15/2004 6:44:30 AM PST by P-Marlowe (Let your light so shine before men....)
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To: xzins
There might be a case there, if Hahn had been raised a Roman Catholic. I don't remember if he had been and had then left that church for another.

You would have to ask him why he felt that way. But, in general, the idea is the Church is where every follower of Christ belongs... that they (as a body) should never have "left home" and any seperated brother who joins the church is just "returning".

193 posted on 03/15/2004 7:25:59 AM PST by IMRight
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To: P-Marlowe
Excerpted from New Oxford Review

"...As we were saying, we were frolicking our way through the 5.6 Envoy. After enjoying Pat's column, we came across an article by Scott Hahn, Ph.D., entitled "What Does the Bible Teach Us About the `Most Elusive' Person of the Trinity?" The article is about the Holy Spirit, it's definitely not a humor piece, and it's scandalously fallacious.

Now, we imagine that some of you reading this are asking, "Why, oh why, are you going to go after Dr. Hahn? He's on our side!" Yes indeed, he's one of our boys, one of our best and brightest, so much so that many orthodox Catholics regard whatever Dr. Hahn says as the Gospel truth. And that's precisely why we're issuing this red alert. No theologian, however much revered, is beyond fraternal correction.

Our fear is that many orthodox Catholics will be seriously misled by what he's written. So read on.

Dr. Hahn tells us this: "When the disciples heard that Jesus was about to leave and return to the Father, forever, they must have started wondering whether they were about to become spiritual orphans. To assure them otherwise," Dr. Hahn continues, "Jesus offered them real comfort and consolation [the Holy Spirit]," and this Spirit kept them and keeps us "from becoming `orphans.'" Note the word forever. It is not true that Jesus returned to the Father forever. Jesus will return at the Second Coming, and in the meantime Jesus returns with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, which, says Lumen Gentium, is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (#11).

But Dr. Hahn seems to want to downplay Jesus so as to make more room for the Spirit: "Christians can place too much emphasis on Christ — if we also neglect the stated purpose of His coming. He came to earth in order to give us the Spirit." But Dr. Hahn has this somewhat backwards. As Pope John Paul II said: "The conception and birth of Jesus Christ are, in fact, the greatest work accomplished by the Holy Spirit in the history of creation and salvation…" (Dominum et Vivificantem, #50). Yes, Christ gave us the Spirit, but the primary purpose of Christ's coming was not to give us the Spirit, but rather to call for repentance and offer salvation. The greatest accomplishment of Christ was not to give us the Spirit; rather, the greatest accomplishment of the Spirit was to give us Christ the Savior.

Moreover, the burden of Dr. Hahn's article is to argue, in his own voice or by approvingly quoting others, that we must see the Holy Spirit as "mother," "motherly," "maternal," and "the uncreated principle of maternity," as well as "feminine" and "bridal." Likewise, an "attribute" of the Holy Spirit is "womanhood."

Dr. Hahn finds great significance in the fact that the Hebrew word for "spirit," ruah, is a feminine noun, and that an Old Testament term for the Spirit, shekinah, is also a feminine noun. We would add that the German word for girl, das Mädchen, is a neuter noun, not a feminine noun — which proves what? Also, the Greek word for spirit, pneuma, is a neuter noun and the Latin word for spirit, spiritus, is a masculine noun — proving what?

And Dr. Hahn gives the matter a personal touch, telling us that "my kids have no trouble grasping what I mean when I call their mom 'the Holy Spirit of our home.'"

Lest there be any doubt that Dr. Hahn is here proposing that the Holy Spirit is a "she," he notes that in the Old Testament "God's Spirit is identified with Wisdom," that "God's Wisdom is referred to as `holy spirit,'" and that all this is personified as "Lady Wisdom," and he quotes Old Testament passages that refer to God's Spirit as "she" and "her." Unfortunately, Dr. Hahn glides past the fact that the true and ultimate personification of this divine Wisdom is Jesus Christ, a man: He is "the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24). Worse than gliding past it, he undercuts it by approvingly saying, "Benedict Ashley, O.P., notices how Wisdom is applied elsewhere…to Jesus (1 Cor. 1:24). `Yet more properly,' Ashley concludes, `it is to the Third Person of the Trinity…that the Old Testament descriptions of a feminine Wisdom are applied'" (italics added by the NOR). Nowhere in his article does Dr. Hahn call the Holy Spirit "He" or "Him," and nowhere does he refer to the Holy Spirit in masculine terms.

Dr. Hahn even approvingly notes that St. Maximilian Kolbe was "so bold as to say that Mary was like an incarnation (`quasi-incarnatus') of the Holy Spirit." Alas, saints can say some of the strangest things. It's worth remembering here that when the Church declares someone a saint, she is not vouching for the orthodoxy of everything the saint ever asserted.

Please, dear reader, think of the implications of a female or feminine Holy Spirit. When the angel visited Mary, she was told, "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus." Mary answered quite rationally, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you…" (Lk. 1:31, 34-35). The Apostles' Creed says Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Of course, Jesus was also conceived by Mary in her womb, as Luke 1:31 says, but notice how the Creed places the emphasis on Jesus' being conceived by the Holy Spirit, by His power. And this is confirmed by Mary's fiat: "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Lk. 1:38). In the human marital act, it is commonly said that the man is active and the woman is (relatively speaking) passive. The biblical text and the Creed make this dynamic unmistakably clear with the conception of Jesus.

Mary gave birth to Jesus. But she did not know a man. Yet we all know that she did not conceive all by herself. Somehow Mary was fertilized. We don't know how; it's a mystery. But something happened. As John Paul II said, "The Holy Spirit…with his power overshadowed the virginal body of Mary…" (Dominum et Vivificantem, #51). Let's not be prudish. There is a sexual aspect here, which is to say that somehow the Holy Spirit "impregnated" Mary.

Now, Mary was female, and if the Holy Spirit is female or feminine, then Jesus had two mommies, and presto, "gay" is good and so is "gay marriage." Dr. Hahn goes so far as to say the Holy Spirit is "bridal" and that "Mary's maternity is mystically one with that of…the Spirit." The imagery here is blatantly and scandalously lesbian.

Feminist theologians and their Queer cheerleaders have been campaigning for a feminine Holy Spirit for decades. How odd — how depressing, actually — to see Dr. Hahn jump on the bandwagon.

Now, Dr. Hahn says that his "findings" in favor of a feminine Holy Spirit are "tentative" (if so, he should not have published them in a popular forum), and that "if the Magisterium should find any of them unsatisfactory, I will be the first to renounce them and gratefully consign them to the flames — and then invite you to do the same."

Ok, Dr. Hahn, you are hereby notified that the Magisterium has already determined that your "findings" are unsatisfactory. The Holy See's Liturgiam Authenticam (issued in English on May 7, 2001) declared: "In referring to almighty God or the individual persons of the most Holy Trinity, the truth of tradition as well as the established gender usage of each respective language are to be maintained" (#31-a). What is the truth of tradition on the gender usage for the Holy Spirit? All you need do is refer to the Catechism, which calls the Holy Spirit "he" and "him" (e.g., #683, 687, 1092, 1107, 1129, 2652).

Earlier, in 1997, the Holy See issued its Norms for the Translation of Biblical Texts for Use in the Liturgy, saying: "In fidelity to the inspired Word of God, the traditional biblical usage for naming the persons of the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is to be retained" (4/3). "Similarly, in keeping with the Church's tradition, the feminine and neuter pronouns are not to be used to refer to the person of the Holy Spirit" (4/4).

And Jesus Himself repeatedly calls the Holy Spirit "He" and "Him" (see John, chapters 14, 15, and 16). If Jesus, the pre-existent Second Person of the Trinity who came down from Heaven, was wrong about the gender identity of the Holy Spirit, then Jesus was wrong about a host of other things as well. Indeed, maybe Jesus didn't really come down from Heaven, and maybe the Incarnation itself is a fictional doctrine.

So, dear reader, if you have the 5.6 Envoy on hand, Dr. Hahn is inviting you to tear out his article and burn it.

But his article is adapted from chapter 10 of his new book, First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity (Doubleday [also a popular forum]). And the book is even more scandalous than the article. In the Sources and References section of the book, Dr. Hahn approvingly quotes Benedict Ashley as explicitly claiming that the Holy Spirit is Christ's "Bride." So the Holy Spirit is not only one of Christ's Mothers, but His Bride as well. Thus Dr. Hahn's imagery is not only lesbian, but incestuous. Yikes and double yikes!

Now that Dr. Hahn knows what the Magisterium teaches, we trust he'll order Doubleday to recall all the copies of his book from Barnes & Noble and all the other stores and, along with the copies in the warehouse, pile them up in the parking lot and burn them. What a bonfire that'll be!"

194 posted on 03/15/2004 7:27:57 AM PST by Bellarmine
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To: Cronos
Heresies never die.

Know your heresies.
195 posted on 03/15/2004 7:35:39 AM PST by siunevada
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To: sfRummygirl; HarleyD; Bellarmine; OLD REGGIE
*****I just noticed your poem got banned. Ok, this is ridiculous. I KNEW this thread was only for bait. What a joke.*****

I think it may have had something to do with naming him personally and stating that he'll end up a Satanist.

Here's the edited and expanded revision with the name of Mr. X

From nothing to a Calvin
Then became Arminian
From Arminian to Catholic
And back again, again

Mr. "X" has no direction
He's not finished with his quest
He'll soon be Jew then Muslim
Then Scientologist

He has not point of reference
He knows not where from what
Would not know Orthodoxy
If it bit him in the ah.... foot
196 posted on 03/15/2004 7:37:57 AM PST by P-Marlowe (Let your light so shine before men....)
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To: siunevada
Couldn't have put it better. The latest Matrix movies seem to have reawakened interest in gnosticism, while the teachings of Calvin are mirror images of, can't remember the name, a contemporary of Nestor in the 4th century.
197 posted on 03/15/2004 7:49:56 AM PST by Cronos (W2K4!)
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To: IMRight
Lol! It was YOUR argument! I pointed out that the Apocypha were part of the standard Greek Sciptures used by Christ and the Apostles and YOU said that since they didn't quote them they must not have considered the canonical. I merely pointed out what your argument implied. If "quoted in the NT" is the gold standard you've got a problem. If it isn't (and it isn't) then you had no point at all.

I never said that "quoted in the NT" was a gold standard. I asked why the RCC included them in the canon. The initial comment was yours, in response to that question, and I quote - "If it was the Scriptures that Jesus and the apostles used it would seem good enough for me." To which I responded, " But the New Testament doesn't quote the Apocrypha at all, to the best of my knowledge, so apparently it WASN'T good enough for them."

It appears that our difference in perspective lies with our respective use of the words "used" and "quoted." So I'll clarify. My point is this. Most of the 39 books of the OT are quoted extensively by the players in the New Testament, and those that are not are certainly doctrinally supported and referenced, either directly or indirectly. Can the same be said for the Apocrypha? It's an honest question. You have to agree that the Apocrypha is a DIFFERENT GROUPING ALTOGETHER. The RCC, even while interspersing the Apocrypha throughout the Bible, considers them deuterocanonical. Which raises another question - the word means "books ADDED to the canon." How can that be, if they were always there?

They obviously were by the first century Jews who were using them. And "contemporary" is a very interesting statement. When did you think they were written?

Contemporary (ok, fine, used a bit loosely) in the sense that they were written by Hebrews - as the other 39 were - before the time of Christ. Contemporary to Jewish history before the time of Christ. And that's another thing. The Apocrypha were written at a time when there was no prophetic message, no active prophets speaking the word of the Lord. The time from Malachi to the time of Christ was virtually silent in that regard. To me that is also telling.

Again, you assume they were never there and the Church just decided to pop them in. They were part of the Scriptures we received - taking them out would be a mistake. On the other hand, the reformers who DID remove them (along with a few other books they didn't like) admitted that it was doctrinal disagreements that caused it.

Doctrinal as well as textual, from what I have read. And again, then why are they called deuterocanonical? And Jerome rejected them, didn't he? They weren't universally accepted at that time and weren't even declared divinely inspired until the Council of Trent.

Ok. I added the word "Septuagint" and the first hit gave me:...

1. it contains books later excluded from the canon by the Council of Jamnia

Nice try. Exclude does not only mean remove from a position previously occupied. It also means to prevent or restrict the entrance of; to bar from participation, consideration, or inclusion.

That's a very interesting statement. If I quote exclusively from the KJV throughout a life of writing but never get around to quoting Romans can you assume I think Romans is not in the canon? Or knowing that I consider the KJV to be "Scripture" and knowing that the KJV included Romans can you not conclude the opposite?

Poor analogy, imo. Romans was written after Christ's ascension, so He could hardly quote it. With that in mind, your lack of quoting it is moot, because your words aren't potential scripture.

The stats were cited to show that the bulk of scholars assume that the "Scriptures" used by Christ and the Apostles and NT authors was the very same collection that included the Apocrypha. You may assume that Christ walked around thinking "those silly guys going around messing up Scripture... well... we'll fix it in a few decades". Me? I'd rather assume he would have said something about it if they were using the wrong Scriptures.

This assumes, once again, that the Jews held the Apocrypha in as high of regard as they did their Hebrew Tanakh, when in fact they did not. There was nothing for Jesus to correct, because it seems to me that no one was going around claiming that the Apocrypha contained the divinely inspired, prophetic word of God.

Look, all I want to know is, and I don't believe I've gotten an answer, why did the RCC choose to include the Apocrypha? Related - why did the Council of Trent call them divinely inspired? What level of importance is placed upon them by the Catholic Church, and has it always been thus? These are honest questions. Tell me why they are considered as they are.

198 posted on 03/15/2004 8:22:02 AM PST by agrace
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To: Aquinasfan
Thank you very much! I'm going to read check these out, cross reference with the Apocrypha to read both in context. Very interesting.
199 posted on 03/15/2004 8:27:31 AM PST by agrace
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To: agrace
With that in mind, your lack of quoting it is moot, because your words aren't potential scripture.

Well... that's not very nice. I've had one or two good ones in my day I'll tell you. :-)

Much of your first few paragraphs seem to confuse the issue (intentionally?) So let's simplify?. We know the Septuagint was in general use in Jesus' time. We know the apostles quoted from it and considered it Scripture. We know that it included books that you would prefer not to see there. The Jews later removed them largely because they were used by Christians - this is not compelling reason for Christians to remove them. Jerome had problems with more than just the Apocrypha (as did Luther and plenty of others) - should we take Jerome's word for what goes in the canon?

So I'll clarify. My point is this. Most of the 39 books of the OT are quoted extensively by the players in the New Testament, and those that are not are certainly doctrinally supported and referenced, either directly or indirectly.

This is not a true statement. Several books are quoted extensively, several a half-dozen times or so and several not at all. Of the ones not quoted, many are not even alluded to (look in you footnotes for the books I listed and see how few references to other Scriptures there are).

The Apocrypha were written at a time when there was no prophetic message, no active prophets speaking the word of the Lord. The time from Malachi to the time of Christ was virtually silent in that regard. To me that is also telling.

See "circular reasoning" in the dictionary for my reply.

Nice try. Exclude does not only mean remove from a position previously occupied. It also means to prevent or restrict the entrance of; to bar from participation, consideration, or inclusion.

Nice try yourself. It can only mean "restrict the entrance of" if there is no evidence that it was there to begin with... again, we know the Septuagint DID include them AND that Jews not represented at Jamnia still use them today. Funny, isn't it, how they AND the Catholics AND the orthodox churches all added them independently AND the earliest protestant Bibles all have them too?

Look, all I want to know is, and I don't believe I've gotten an answer, why did the RCC choose to include the Apocrypha?

Again. Because it was in the Scriptures they received.

why did the Council of Trent call them divinely inspired?

A frequent argument, but Trent is not the first place that they are considered inspired. If so, why would Ethiopian Jews still have them? Why would the Orthodox churches use them (they broke of LOOONG before Trent). The council affirmed their canonicity in the face of challenge.

200 posted on 03/15/2004 8:57:23 AM PST by IMRight
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