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How I Led Catholics Out Of the Church (And into Apostasy)
Catholic Education ^ | Steve Wood

Posted on 12/28/2011 5:47:17 PM PST by rzman21

How I led Catholics Out of the Church STEVE WOOD I was a Protestant for twenty years before I became a Catholic. I led many people out of the Catholic Church. My formula for getting Catholics to leave the Church usually consisted of three steps.

Step 1: Get Catholics to have a conversion experience in a Protestant setting. Most Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and charismatic Protestant churches have dynamic youth programs, vibrant Wednesday and Sunday evening services, and friendly small-group bible studies. In addition, they host special crusades, seminars and concerts. At the invitation of a Protestant friend, a Catholic may begin attending one or more of these events while still going to Sunday Mass at his local parish. Most Protestant services proclaim a simple gospel: repent from sin and follow Christ in faith. They stress the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus and the reward of eternal life. Most of the Catholics who attend these services are not accustomed to hearing such direct challenges to abandon sin and follow Christ. As a result, many Catholics experience a genuine conversion.

Protestants should be commended for their zeal in promoting conversions. Catholic leaders need to multiply the opportunities for their people to have such conversions in Catholic settings. The reason is simple. About five out of ten people adopt the beliefs of the denomination where they have their conversion. This percentage is even higher for those who had profound conversions or charismatic experiences that were provided by Protestants. (Believe me, I know; I was a graduate of an Assembly of God college and a youth minister in two charismatic churches.)

Protestant pastors, evangelists, youth leaders, and lay ministers are acutely aware that conversion experiences in Protestant settings often lead to a Protestant faith and church membership. Why do so many Catholic leaders fail to see this? Why are they so nonchalant about a process that has pulled hundreds of thousands of Catholics out of the Church?

Step 2: Give their conversion a Protestant interpretation.

A genuine conversion is one of life's most precious experiences, comparable to marriage or the birth of a child. Conversion awakens a deep hunger for God. Effective Protestant ministries train workers to follow up on this spiritual longing.

Before a stadium crusade, I would give follow-up workers a six-week training course. I showed them how to present a Protestant interpretation of the conversion experience with a selective use of bible verses. The scripture of choice was of course John 3:3, the "born-again" verse: "Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'

I used the "touch and go" scripture technique, similar to that used by pilots training for landings and takeoffs. We would briefly touch down on John 3:3 to show that being born again was necessary for eternal life. Then I would describe conversion in terms of being born again. We would make a hasty takeoff before reading John 3:5 which stresses the necessity of being "born of water and spirit." I never mentioned that for 20 centuries the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, echoing the unanimous teaching of the Church fathers, understood this passage as referring to the Sacrament of Baptism! And I certainly never brought up Titus 3:5 ("He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit") as a parallel reference to John 3:5.

In my experience as a Protestant, all the Catholics who had a conversion in a Protestant setting lacked a firm grasp of their Catholic faith.

In twenty years of Protestant ministry, I never met a Catholic who knew that John 3:3-8 describes the sacrament of Baptism. It wasn't hard to convince them to disregard the sacraments along with the Church that emphasized the sacraments.

Proverbs says: "He who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him" (18:17). Catholics without a scriptural foundation for their Catholic beliefs never hear "the rest of the story." My selective use of scripture made the Protestant perspective seem so absolutely sure. Over time, this one-sided approach to scripture caused Catholics to reject their Catholic faith.

Step 3: Accuse the Catholic church of denying salvation by grace.

Catholics often consider Protestants who proselytize to be bigoted, narrow-minded, or prejudiced. This is unfair and inaccurate; a profound charity energizes their misguided zeal.

There was only one reason I led Catholics out of the Church: I thought they were on their way to hell. I mistakenly thought the Catholic Church denied that salvation was by grace; I knew that anyone who believed this wasn't going to heaven. Out of love for their immortal souls, I worked tirelessly to convert them.

I used Ephesians 2:8-9 to convince Catholics that it was imperative for them to leave the Church:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. First I would say, "The Bible says that salvation is by grace and not by works. Right?" Their answer was always yes. Then I would say, "The Catholic Church teaches that salvation is by works. Right?" (I never met a Catholic who did not say yes. Every Catholic I met during my twenty years of ministry confirmed my misconception that Catholicism taught salvation is by works instead of grace.) Finally, I would declare, "The Catholic Church is leading people to hell by denying salvation is by grace. You'd better join a church that teaches the true way to heaven."

Because I would also do a "touch and go" in Ephesians, I rarely quoted verse 10 which says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Listen carefully to stadium evangelists, televangelists, and radio preachers. Nine times out of ten they will quote Ephesians 2:8-9 with great emphasis and never mention verse 10.

We are not slaves futilely trying to earn salvation by doing "works of the law" (Eph. 2:8-9). Yet as sons of God we are inspired and energized by the Holy Spirit to do "good works" as we cooperate with our heavenly father in extending the Kingdom of God (Eph. 2:10). Catholicism believes and teaches the full message of Ephesians 2:8-10, without equivocating or abbreviating the truth.

For twenty centuries the Catholic Church has faithfully taught that salvation is by grace. Peter the first pope said, "We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved" (Acts 15:11). The Catechism of the Catholic Church, fully endorsed by Pope John Paul II, says, "Our justification comes from the grace of God" (section 1996).

Protestantism started when Martin Luther declared that we are justified (made righteous) by faith alone. At the time I was leading Catholics out of the Church, I wasn't aware that Martin Luther had added the word alone to his translation of Romans 3:28 in order to prove his doctrine. (The word alone is not found in any contemporary Protestant English translation of Romans 3:28.) I didn't realize that the only place the bible mentions "faith alone" in the context of salvation is in James 2:24, where the idea of faith alone is explicitly refuted: "You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." This verse was troubling, but I either ignored it, or twisted it to mean something other that what the verse and its context clearly taught.

Should Catholics participate in Protestant events?

I have no objection to Catholics participating in Protestant-oriented events and worthwhile ecumenical activities provided that:

they have a firm grasp of their Catholic faith. they know their faith well enough to articulate it to a non-Catholic, using scripture and the Church fathers. they have the maturity to realize that the most profound presence of Christ isn't necessarily found in the midst of loud noise and high emotion, but in quiet moments like Eucharistic adoration (see 1 Kings 19:11-12). Unfortunately, the majority of Catholic men born after WWII don't meet the above conditions. For them, attending Protestant functions may be opening a door that will lead them right out of the Catholic Church.

There are now thousands of Catholic men on the brink of leaving the one Church Christ died to establish. I recently heard of a group of Catholic men who decided not to consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church in their small-group bible study. They believed that all they needed was scripture alone. Three of these men claimed that they no longer believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I can tell you from experience where this group is headed: straight out of the Catholic Church.

Over the past three decades, thousands of Catholics have left the Church for Protestant pastures. The largest church in America is the Catholic Church; the second largest group of Christians in America is former-Catholics. The Catholic men's movement has a solemn obligation to help men discover the biblical and historical roots of their Catholic faith. Then, rather than leaving, they will become instruments to help others discover the treasures of Catholicism.

Remember that a man who leaves the Church will often take his family with him — for generations. It took my family four hundred years — 10 generations — to come back to the Church after a generation of my ancestors in Norway, England, Germany and Scotland decided to leave the Catholic Church.

As one whose family has made the round-trip back to Catholicism, let me extend a personal plea to Catholic men, especially the leaders of various Catholic men's groups: don't put untrained Catholics in a Protestant setting. They might gain a short-term religious experience, but they take the long-term risk of losing their faith. It would be highly irresponsible to expose them to Protestantism before they are fully exposed to Catholicism.

At my dad's funeral twenty-nine years ago, I tearfully sang his favorite hymn, Faith of Our Fathers. Little did my dad, a minister's son, or I realize that the true faith of our forefathers was Roman Catholicism. Every day I thank God for bringing me back to the ancient Church of my ancestors. Every year God gives me breath on this earth I will keep proclaiming to both my Protestant brethren and to cradle Catholics the glorious faith of our fathers.


Wood, Steve. "How I led Catholics Out of the Church." St. Joseph's Covenant Newsletter 4 no. 2 (March/April 1998).

Reprinted with permission St. Joseph's Covenant Newsletter.


Steve Wood is the founder of St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers (SJCK), a dynamic apostolate for Catholic men, and runs the web site

Copyright © 1998 St. Joseph's Covenant Newsletter

TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: conversion
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To: astratt7


201 posted on 12/28/2011 11:24:22 PM PST by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: rzman21

Apostasy? LOL SO, that whole Vatican II thing? Just a fluke? A head fake, so to speak? Mother Church playing “Gotcha” with the heretics? We’re really NOT “separated Brethren” after all? Sheesh....!!

202 posted on 12/28/2011 11:26:08 PM PST by patriot preacher
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To: Iscool

He said, the evidence suggests.

So you ask for the evidence that suggests the possibility?

That might be hard to digest. Which of course leaves it susceptible to those with agendas. Just look at the modern "scholarly" analysis of those in present day academia concerning the validity of the Gospel. They'll try to explain it all away, not believing (or not wanting to go on the record amongst their secular peers as to believing) the texts are accurate at all, when it comes to the various miracles.

They cannot quite go so far as to say that the entire story was made up (although many appear to wish to!) for there is too much other other-than-biblical record of many persons, and events, including mentions of the Christ Himself, the circumstance of His death, the disputations of the Jewish religious authorities that the body was stolen away, etc.

203 posted on 12/28/2011 11:29:13 PM PST by 7MMmag
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To: Iscool
Absolutely anything, except the words of God...Oh well, it doesn't take long to scroll past the useless junk...

Just another poster who thinks they have significance because they can cut and paste others works as if it's there own....reminds me of kindergartners who do likewise, but at least the kiddies draw their own stuff!

204 posted on 12/28/2011 11:34:17 PM PST by caww
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To: rzman21
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Ephesians 4:17

Taken out of context.

205 posted on 12/28/2011 11:42:41 PM PST by caww
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To: Iscool

Here are just a few scholarly works about the origins of the Gospel of Matthew in Syriac.

Kepha is transliterated into the Greek as Cephas.

206 posted on 12/28/2011 11:44:49 PM PST by rzman21
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To: patriot preacher

Apostasy only applies to Catholics who become Protestants.

What about that don’t you understand? A Catholic who becomes a Protestant loses his/her salvation.

207 posted on 12/28/2011 11:47:04 PM PST by rzman21
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To: rzman21
Thank you for the additional information.

But seriously, cannot you see how many here are suspicious? I could explain more precisely in a private message, to keep things from getting too personal, out in the open.

I'm not sure you would understand, although there are those here (on this forum, on other threads) who sense much the same things concerning the subject, and of it's spiritual nature.

208 posted on 12/28/2011 11:48:49 PM PST by 7MMmag
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To: astratt7

So, your weak and stupid if you leave the Catholic Church, but your strong and smart if you leave Protestant Faith?

>>Most Catholics who leave didn’t understand their faith to begin with.

The Catholic Church does not forgive sin...God through Jesus does...ALONE!
>>Through the Catholic Church.

Your mother left the Catholic Church for emotional personal reasons. Protestants who become Catholics almost never do.

Your mother made a choice. It wasn’t the Catholic Church who caused her to do what you say she almost did. It was her choice.

There is forgiveness you know. Just come home.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 7:15

209 posted on 12/28/2011 11:53:58 PM PST by rzman21
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To: 7MMmag

But seriously, cannot you see how many here are suspicious? I could explain more precisely in a private message, to keep things from getting too personal, out in the open.

>>Frankly, I don’t. Nor do I understand why you care.

210 posted on 12/28/2011 11:56:12 PM PST by rzman21
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To: cripplecreek; shanover
I don’t think Christian management is all that concerned about whether we’re Catholic or ___ as long as we’re working toward the same goal.

I agree with you. I don't like the P word because it then seems to put us into two opposing camps. On detailed theological matters we disagree but on matters of central importance to our belief in Jesus Christ we believe the same

  1. We believe in ONE God - Father-Son-Holy Spirit, who created everything, seen or unseen
  2. we together believe in the Word of God, Jesus Christ, God with the Father and Holy Spirit (not 3 gods but all are part of the ONE God) -- who is 100% God and 100% man, who was born to the virgin Mary, suffereed, crucified for our sins, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven
  3. together we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, One God with the Father and the Son
  4. We believe in the holy church of God (John 17:20-23, Col 1:18, Heb 12:23) as in 1 tim 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
  5. We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins
  6. We together believe in the resurrection of the dead (1 cor 15:12) and the life of the world to come (John 3:16)
and are working to the same goal -- to listen and follow His Word
211 posted on 12/29/2011 12:23:38 AM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: rzman21
Might be the Lord is trying to get thru to you He doesn’t want you doing such things. He did call the Israelites “stiffnecked” and so are those who resist His clear teachings not to do such things.

More circular reasoning on your part.

Nothing circular about it...

Jesus Himself blasted the Pharisees for teaching traditions as doctrine, over the word of God, rejecting His commandment:

Jesus said unto them,.... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. ... Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."..... Mark 7:6-9, 13

212 posted on 12/29/2011 12:23:54 AM PST by caww
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To: shanover; cripplecreek
True, Islam is the common enemy. If we squabble we end up like the Christians of East and West squabbling while Islam swallowed up the Christian lands of Egypt, Syria, Turkey, etc.

If we squabble now we end up like the Christians in the Balkans and central and eastern Europe fighting over theology while the enemy is at the gates, right up until the gates of Vienna (9.12.1683)

213 posted on 12/29/2011 12:25:23 AM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: rzman21; BipolarBob; cripplecreek
Mainline Protestant Freepers such as the conservative LCMS-type Lutherans are a different story. You can actually have an interesting, reasoned discussion with them.

By and large, yes. in the case of Lutherans and Methodists, 100% yes. In the case of even Presbyterians, mostly yes.

But there are too many who continuously over the years tell us that we worship a Satanic gospel and when they tire of telling us that, they tell each other that...

214 posted on 12/29/2011 12:29:36 AM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: MrPiper; BipolarBob

well, Mr. P you are who you say you are — when you say you believe in Jesus, is that Jesus the Christ, Savior, Lord and God (mainline Christian) or the Archangel Michael (Jehovah’s Witness) or one of the gods (Mormon) or a prophet before Mohammed (Moslem). I’m sorry, but it can be a vague statement. I normally look to the tenets of the Nicene creed that help me form an understanding with friends in Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist denominations and where we then know that we believe in the same core beliefs. Then we debate, not argue.

215 posted on 12/29/2011 12:33:07 AM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: tjd1454; cripplecreek
tjd: It was an eye-opening experience, and I gained a real appreciation for the Catholic Church. I no longer consider Catholics to be "misled" Christians -- thank you. One other problem is that constant bickering hardens the divisions on both sides. For a long time the voice of reason such as yours among the non-Catholics was lost and many Catholics on FR got the wrong impression of our non-Catholic friends. And then the reverse took place and i'm sure many of our non-Catholic friends got the same idea of Catholics.

While we can argue, debate, we MUST remember our commonalities.

216 posted on 12/29/2011 12:35:46 AM PST by Cronos (Party like it's 12 20, 2012)
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To: rzman21

You don't? Hmmm, you otherwise seem pretty bright. That's ok, I know what the problem is. You display it everyday. It leaks out for those who have eyes to see it. It's called bondage.

217 posted on 12/29/2011 12:36:55 AM PST by 7MMmag
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To: rzman21
A Catholic who becomes a Protestant loses his/her salvation.

Then they likely didn't have Salvation to begin with... because most who turn from the Catholic Church discover they weren't....they had put their ladder of faith up against a stone wall, climbed the steps required by the catholic church... only to find that according to the catholic church teaching it's a sin to believe one is eternally saved.... Which diametrically opposes the scriptures which state that we may KNOW we have Eternal life in Christ.

218 posted on 12/29/2011 12:37:16 AM PST by caww
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To: Salvation

Which Catholic church, Roman, or Orthodox?

219 posted on 12/29/2011 12:40:51 AM PST by JerseyanExile
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To: caww

2 Thessalonians 3:6 2 Thessalonians 2:15

220 posted on 12/29/2011 12:45:10 AM PST by rzman21
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