Skip to comments.How I Led Catholics Out Of the Church (And into Apostasy)
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 dads.org.
Copyright © 1998 St. Joseph's Covenant Newsletter
Perchance you are thinking of Menno Simons?
His life was in danger, yes. He was impoverished, yes.
But he wasn’t fleeing from the Church, he was fleeing from Luther. Luther executed anabaptists for believer’s baptism.
I really don’t see why any protestant supports Luther. He certainly didn’t believe in the same things that protestants today believe (freedom of worship, priesthood of all believers, believer’s baptism, etc).
So your Faith is not in Christ?
It works like this.
Christ is truly God and truly man. This we know from Nicaea. What this means is that he is both - at the same time.
For him to be the Son of Man, and truly man, he must be born - of a woman. What this also means is that he would be stained with original sin.
There’s no way around this, unless you state that he wasn’t born of a Virgin, but rather born ‘in’ a Virgin.
The implications of in vs of are enormous. For one, it denies the incarnation. Christ wasn’t truly man, because he did not inherit a human nature. He was God - putting on a human form. It fabricates the death on the cross.
So, if he’s born of a Virgin, and gets his human nature from Mary, why didn’t Christ have original sin? Why is he both linked to Adam (as in the genealogy in Luke), yet is entirely free from sin?
Well, that means that he must have been born of a Virgin who was, herself, sinless. But we know that no one, but God can be sinless.
It all links together. Mary’s immaculate conception, her sinlessness, her assumption (because those who are sinless cannot die), etc. and it all comes about because Christ is free, not just from his own sin, but also from original sin AND has a fully human nature, just like us. He is more man than we, who have fallen since the fall.
ML was deeply rooted in Catholicism, perchance did he pick up any bad habits there? MLs main thorn in the church's side was he translated the Bible into the language the people could read and denounced the selling of indulgences. I wonder why an infallible pope would be so upset over these things. Did the pope try to have ML murdered?
He was a Catholic priest, who left his order.
Again, I’m really not sure why any protestant follows him.
If the Catholic Church really fell, then Luther was caught up into it and was not preserved.
“MLs main thorn in the church’s side was he translated the Bible into the language the people could read and denounced the selling of indulgences.”
What percentage of people could read German in those days? Everyone who was educated could read Latin. Remember, it’s not as if there were German public schools in those days, those didn’t come around until the Prussian model in the late 19th century.
What he did was translate it, yes, but most people could not read, and those who could, most could read Latin. He wanted his own translation so that he could be the one in charge and make a few bucks on the side.
As for selling indulgences, he wasn’t the only one against Simony, you might want to check out the Counter-Reformation, and many of the folks involved. Reform did happen within the Church, Luther wasn’t a part of it, though.
As for the Pope wanting to murder Luther? No. He was invited to come to the Council of Trent, just like Arius and Nestorius. The tradition of the Church is to invite both parties in the disagreement and hash things out. As have been posted, the Pope approved most of Luther’s reformation plan, accepting more than half of his 99 theses. So the Pope was willing to work with Luther to fix the problems that needed fixing.
Luther did burn anabaptists at stake though, for promoting heresy.
And the Catholic Church didn't want any competition. They had a monopoly on the salvation business and saw no reason to give that up.
Luther did burn anabaptists at stake though, for promoting heresy.
Don't know about that,but again, being steeped in Catholicism those nasty habits of rubbing out the naysayers may have taken over. The Inquisition was orchestrated by what institution? Any guesses?
“And the Catholic Church didn’t want any competition. They had a monopoly on the salvation business and saw no reason to give that up.”
Which is why every educated person (including Luther), was very familiar with the bible and was able to read it and understand it.
Again, Luther, saw a business opportunity and took advantage of it. He was not excommunicated for translating the bible into German, he was exommunciated for teaching error and leading others astray. There’s a big difference between the two.
As for salvation, Luther was a Catholic priest. If the Apostasy occurred before Luther, he was not somehow preserved. He was just as much caught up in it as everyone else.
“Don’t know about that”
You should read up on it. He burned them at stake for rebaptizing people. Baptizing people that they feared were not saved, because of the corruption of the Church, the same corruption that prompted Luther (so he says), to break away.
Luther wasn’t free from it, he was a part of it. Anyone who ended up following were corrupted too. You can’t give him a pass, when he’s the one saying, “follow me and spare yourselves”. No, he brought it with him.
“The Inquisition was orchestrated by what institution? Any guesses?”
And how many were burned at stake in the Inquisition?
Yes my faith in in Christ.
It’s not in Catholicism is all. Of any flavor.
Ma’am, you are aware that I’m a convert and that I found Christ as a Mennonite? :)
I am thankful that they took the time to teach me about Him. That is a debt that I shall never repay.
See, this is the difference between you and me. This is why I find your quote to be so perfect. You see, I know what it’s like to be without the Catholic mindset.
That is why I converted - because I wanted that understanding and that relationship with God.
That you don’t care for it, doesn’t trouble me. everyone must come to Him as they can, and that is different for everyone.
But we are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Denying that will not strengthen your own faith and relation to him.
And how many were burned at stake in the Inquisition?
You tell me who was behind it and I'll give you an estimate of how many were murdered for their beliefs.
King of Spain.
Wrong answer. The same as much of what you have posted to me. ML was not rich but poor. ML did not burn anabaptists at the stake (but apparently he wasn't against it). The Pope was very rich but still stooped to having indulgences sold. Naughty in my book. And people could read German in Germany. No surprise there. I'll shake the dust from my robe and leave you to whatever you wish to believe.
Why else do they call it the Spanish Inquisition?
“ML was not rich but poor.”
He was well off, as the evidence already posted in the thread shows.
“ML did not burn anabaptists at the stake”
Sure did, and gave his support for it. The irony is that Trent, despite not having direct contact with them, quotes Luther, word for word.
“The Pope was very rich but still stooped to having indulgences sold.”
Which Pope? Pius IV opposed Simony and called for reform of the Church. The same Pope who was Luther’s supposed ‘enemy’. Again, history shows that the Pope was mostly on Luther’s side.
“And people could read German in Germany.”
Germany didn’t exist back then. Nice try.
I take it you don’t care much for history?
The Bible does not teach that we need the Catholic church or any other denomination for forgiveness of sin. That is a doctrine of man.
But then, how did Mary not be stained by sin? I thought that Bible says that sin is passed by the seed of man? Mary’s dad would have had to have been sinless for Mary to be sinless. However since Christ was born of a virgin by the hand of the holy spirit, then Christ, not being of the seed of man would have been sinless in the flesh.
That is why the Virgin birth was so important.
“But then, how did Mary not be stained by sin?”
Through the Grace of God, in her immaculate conception. Christ chose her, preserved her from sin at her conception, so that she was sinless her whole life, in being free from original sin.
Christ was born OF Mary, and inherited her human nature, which he still possesses to this day in heaven.
“However since Christ was born of a virgin by the hand of the holy spirit”
He was CONCEIVED by the power of the Holy Spirit, BORN of the Virgin Mary.
The Virgin birth is important because Christ was not the sone of Joseph, but the Son of God. If Mary were not a Virgin, then Christ would not be the Son of God.
Actually, Christ tells Peter:
“I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, the gate you open no one can shut. Whatsoever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”
So, yeah, Christ gives Peter and the Apostles the authority to forgive sins.
Thanks for trying to explain it though. Appreciate it.
The Virgin Birth is important because it establishes that Christ was not conceived by Joseph, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Why not just make Christ sinless?”
He has a fully Human nature and a fully divine nature. How does Christ inherit a fully human nature that is sinless? That is the problem. The solution is through the immaculate conception and sinlessness of Mary. It answers the question as to how Christ got a sinless human nature.
“It seems this Mary thing to me is circular logic.”
I’m not sure what you mean by this? It’s an explanation as to how Christ inherits his fully human nature.
“I do not under stand why it is so darned important to lift Mary up with the Christ.’
She is his mother after all. :) Like I said, it has to do with the dual natures of Christ. He is sinless not just in his divine nature, but also in his human nature. This is important. He has the nature that we used to have, before the fall. This is why he is called “a new adam”, and why we believe that Christ is more truly a man than any of us who have fallen.
The important thing to remember is that Christ chose Mary. She was blessed by Him through His actions, not her own.
That is where it goes haywire logically, Christs sinlessness cannot go backwards up the genetic tree. Nor need it be so. Christ Himself stated who is my mother my brother, but these disciples. If the somehow sinlessness of Mary was an issue, that would not have been downplayed.
At least IMO.