Why I Became Catholic


Originally published in Surprised by Truth 3
schedule 2Author

HOW CAN I KEEP MY HEART FROM SINGING

Pam Forrester

When I was eight I asked my mom to take me to the little church at the end of our street. She began to drop me off every week for Sunday School. One Sunday, my teacher presented the Gospel and encouraged us to accept Jesus Christ as our savior.
“But,” she told us, “you must be willing to do anything for God, like be a missionary.”
Well, I really wanted to be saved but I did not want to be a missionary! I had to think this over. I went home and thought about it for a while, my little 8 year-old soul struggling against selfish desire. Some weeks later, I convinced myself that I would be willing to be a missionary for Jesus and I asked Him to come into my heart.

For years I had a very fervent faith, even up to my first year in college – when the theory of evolution and the desire to sin enticed me to abandon my faith. I conveniently became an atheist for two years during the 60’s. Then, my mom gave me a copy of The Late Great Planet Earth, a book about the second coming of Christ. After reading it, I decided that perhaps the Bible was relevant after all and not just some dusty old book I could safely ignore. So, I rededicated my life to Christ.

I gave a copy of the Late Great Planet Earth to my boyfriend Mike, a first-year medical student, and he committed his life to Christ too. A year later we took a Bible course called The Bethel Series – a two year overview of the whole Bible. We got married, taught Bethel, led small group Bible studies and studied Scripture in depth. We moved from California to Baltimore so Mike could do his surgery residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. And then we moved to Houston so he could do specialty training.

***

Since we were convinced that the Bible alone was sufficient for faith and salvation, we wanted to know exactly what words in the Bible meant. I bought a Greek dictionary and a Greek interlinear Bible and taught myself to read the Greek alphabet. When Mike finished his residency we moved to California with our three young children. Mike set up practice in a small town north of San Diego. We found a great church and we joined a weekly Bible study group.

It was here that we first heard about the doctrine of Eternal Security – the belief that a once a Christian is “saved,” he cannot lose salvation no matter what he does. We objected initially, but were assured it was true, our friends firing off memorized Bible verses to support the doctrine. We backed down for a while. Then Mike began his own Bible study by listening to tapes of the Bible while exercising. I also studied, on my own, with my dictionaries, concordances and Greek interlinear. Before long, Mike was using these sources as well. We soon became convinced that there were hundreds of verses that did not align with the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. Our Bible study group swelled to overflowing as Mike taught how Scripture refuted Eternal Security. We were labeled Arminian even though we had never heard of Arminius or what he wrote. But we did reject Calvinism, especially the doctrine of Limited Atonement .

Our pastors did not agree with us, but since everything Mike was teaching was biblical he was allowed to continue as an elder in the church and even to teach from the pulpit several times a year. Some people agreed with us; some were convinced we were heretics and told us so. Mike’s sermons usually caused controversy. The Elder board tried to talk Mike out of speaking on Eternal Security issues; others tried to show us the error of our ways.
We worried about the people who might think they were eternally secure and bound for heaven no matter what kind of life they lived. My husband even wrote a two volume book and was asked to teach at a Bible college by a popular radio preacher in order to point out the errors of the “once saved, always saved” theology. We were still convinced that once all the biblical evidence was compiled it would be irresistibly persuasive and all our friends and pastors would see the truth.

But the evidence was met with a yawn. Those who disagreed with us didn’t refute the scriptural evidence – they just ignored it. We were astounded! We eventually realized that most people didn’t really practice sola scriptura after all; they clung to the Protestant traditions begun by Luther and Calvin, sometimes in spite of Scripture. After ten years of attempting to show how the Bible did not support Eternal Security, being called heretics, hearing through the grapevine about people who resented and suspected us, we became discouraged and disillusioned.

If I hadn’t been so thoroughly convinced there was a God, I could easily have become an atheist. In my heart I was prideful, arrogant, and critical. No church quite suited me since most Protestant churches incorporate some form of Calvinism. According to my understanding of the Bible, which I was convinced was led by the Holy Spirit, all the nearby churches were wrong about something. Despite this, I sensed that my attitude was not Christ-like, so I would pray about that. I wanted to be humble, but I just…wasn’t. “Maybe I am a heretic?” I wondered. “What makes me so sure I’m right and other Christians are wrong?” I desperately wanted to find a church where I could simply worship God without being critical. In the meantime, all I could do was studiously try to keep my mind from dwelling on criticisms. I thought I could be content in my apathy.

***

A few years later, in the summer 1997, while perusing home school curriculum catalogs, I saw a course for junior high school students designed to introduce Protestants to the Catholic faith and vice versa. The student was supposed to read the books in one order if he was Protestant and in the opposite order if he was Catholic, so that the last book read confirmed him in his own faith tradition. Since my oldest daughter had just started college at USD, a Catholic university, I decided that this would be the perfect time to find out more about the Catholic faith. That way if Heather came home with questions, I would be able to answer them. I didn’t want her to become Catholic!

I ordered three of the books. The first, Evangelical Is Not Enough was written by Thomas Howard, a convert to Catholicism and the brother of prominent Evangelical, Elizabeth Elliot( Through Gates of Splendor and End of the Spear). I had long been curious about why a “Christian” would join the Catholic Church, and found Howard’s story interesting. He also made a lot of sense, and I grew slightly annoyed that I had accepted so many misconceptions about the Catholic faith. Hey, I thought, maybe the Catholic Church wasn’t so weird after all.

One evening at our Bible study, my husband brought up John 14:26, where Jesus says,

“the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Mike reminded every one that our usual interpretation of this verse was that this promise was given to each and every believer. The result has been that there are now over 25,000 different Protestant denominations. But the Catholic view, as Howard had explained it, is that this promise was made in the upper room to the twelve disciples and therefore it only applied to them and their successors: the Pope and the Catholic leaders. Without the final, ruling authority of Christ through the Bishop of Rome and the Magisterium, the Catholic Church would splinter into even more sects than Protestantism.

I was quietly aghast because I wasn’t ready to say anything yet. No one said much and we went on with the study as usual. But I found out the next day that one of my best friends at the study had cried all the way home. She had been shocked to hear us say something outside of “Scripture alone”. And I didn’t blame her. I decided then not to say a word to anyone about my research into the Catholic Church until it became absolutely necessary, if ever.

After reading Howard’s book, I felt very broadminded toward the Catholic Church. But I did not sense the danger my Protestantism was in as I opened up the second book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating. This book promised Catholic answers to the charges against “Romanism” by “Bible Christians”. By the time I had read about half of the book, I no longer felt broad minded, but sick and horrified all at once. I had read enough of Keating’s book to learn, for the first time, that Catholicism had a defense for beliefs like the Eucharist and Papacy. Keating’s use of Scripture was standard exegesis. It made sense. What I read in that book coalesced with doubts and questions I had put on the back burners of my mind. No longer simmering, they began to boil.

For instance, I had long wondered, how could each and every individual person’s faith rest on personal devotional Bible reading, when most people, until relatively modern times, couldn’t even read? And even if they could read, they wouldn’t be able to own their own personal Bible because Bibles were hand copied (until the 16th century) and very expensive.

Personal devotional Bible reading for growing in Christ began to seem suspiciously modern. Especially when I discovered that the Catholic Church had read Scripture to the faithful at every Mass for 2000 years. But could the Catholic Church be the one Church founded by Jesus Christ himself? No! Never! It couldn’t possibly be true. My soul in turmoil, I slammed Catholicism and Fundamentalism shut and grabbed the book that was supposed to confirm me in my Protestant faith, The Gospel According to Rome by James McCarty.

***

In McCarty’s book I was looking for a rebuttal to Catholic Scripture interpretation. I wanted to know why Jesus didn’t literally mean to eat His flesh in John 6, when that sure seemed like what He said. I wanted to know exactly why Jesus did not found His Church on Peter in Matthew 16, when that is what He said. I wanted to know what was wrong with confession to a priest when the Bible says, “confess your sins to one another,” and “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven….”
But, The Gospel According to Rome didn’t help at all. It didn’t address my questions, but merely explained why Catholicism was wrong according to traditional Protestant interpretations of certain Biblical passages. It never convincingly refuted the Catholic interpretation of verses that supported Catholic beliefs.

Now I really felt scared. I begged God to show me the truth about what was wrong with the Catholic Church. I did not want to be Catholic. There were no Catholics anywhere in either of our families. I had never been anti-Catholic; I believed there were a few real Christians in the Catholic Church in spite of Catholicism. I liked Catholics, I just didn’t want to be one!
I stopped reading for several weeks. I needed to get my perspective back. I thought and prayed. When I felt calm again, I picked up Keating’s book and finished it. Yes, the Catholic Church had good reasons, Biblical reasons, for its theology. But I was certain there had to be a good Protestant refutation, by somebody, somewhere.

But here was my dilemma. We had this early church that we trusted to tell us which writings floating around the ancient world were inerrant and inspired. It seemed logical, then, that we should therefore be able to trust this same church and the doctrines taught by it at least up until the time the Bible was canonized. Right? We always used to talk about the church of the Apostles and how it was the true model for Christian belief and practice. So when reading the Acts of the Apostles we sought to align our present day worship with what we found in sacred scripture. This goal of worshiping in imitation of the early church was a foundational principle. Therefore, you can imagine my shock when I discovered that this early church believed in that particularly Catholic doctrine, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.”

St. Ignatius of Antioch- 110 AD

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes…so too, as we have been taught the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus.”

St. Justin Martyr-150 AD

***

Jesus tells his followers eight times to eat His flesh in John 6. I came to the inescapable conclusion that the earliest Christians took Jesus literally. When I found out that even Martin Luther – one of the principal fathers of the Reformation – believed in the Real Presence I realized that Christians had always believed this doctrine.

This put me in a tough position.

On the one hand, the early Church canonized the Bible around 400 AD. On the other hand that very same early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ (and, I was discovering, many other Catholic doctrines). The standard Protestant solution to this dilemma was that these strange Catholic doctrines were pagan corruptions of the pure and simple Christianity of the apostles. But I could no more take the Bible from the hand of a church that was supposed to be corrupted by paganism than I could accept the Pearl of Great Price (an extra biblical text considered part of inspired Scripture by Mormons) while rejecting everything else about the Mormon belief system. That seemed totally irrational. I couldn’t buy it.

Being a Protestant was like watching a Corpus Christi procession, then rushing up and knocking down the priests and nuns, candles, censors, crucifix, and monstrance but grabbing the Bible and carrying it away and basing faith on it alone. What sense does that make? I just could not find a logical way to accept the authority of the Bible while rejecting the beliefs of the very earliest Christian Church that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (which we all believe) chose the books that make up the Bible.

***

I began to read Catholic books, hoping to find the Church’s Achilles heel.

Nothing.

Still resisting, I called Hector, a pastor friend who had a ministry to bring Hispanics out of the Catholic Church. He seemed like a likely candidate to know the intricacies of Catholic doctrine and what was wrong with it. I told him what I was going through and he sympathetically recommended The Gospel According to Rome. I told him I’d read it and it wasn’t convincing.
Then he asked, “But, what about the fact that Jesus had brothers? The Bible talks about the brothers and sisters of Jesus.”
My experience with Greek had already helped me tackle this question.

“I looked that up and the Greek word can legitimately be translated ‘kinsman’ or ‘brother’ depending upon the context,” I said. “And that same Greek word is translated ‘kinsman’ in lots of other places in the New Testament. Such as when Paul addresses the recipients of his epistles. So the Catholics could be right about Mary being ever-virgin,” I said.

He kindly promised to pray for me and we hung up. I silently stared into space and wondered, “Is that the best he can do?!”

A few hours later my pastor called. I decided Hector must have called him so I told him all about my dilemma. Then I asked,

“Why don’t we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in Communion when Jesus says in John 6 over and over that we must eat His body and drink His blood in order to have eternal life? Why don’t we take it literally like the Catholics do?”

“That is just symbolic,” he responded “because later Jesus says the flesh is of no avail.”

“Yes, Jesus says, ‘the flesh is of no avail’ but what does He mean by that? Jesus is God in the flesh. Is His flesh of no avail?”

“Well of course His flesh is important. The ‘flesh of Jesus availeth much.’ But Jesus is speaking symbolically when he talks about eating his flesh.”

“Ok, but how do we know that for certain?” I asked.

“Because cannibalism is strictly forbidden in the Old Testament.”

“You’re right. But the Old Testament prohibition against cannibalism is exactly why many of Jesus’ Jewish disciples left Him at this point saying, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ And as far as we know Jesus didn’t chase after them and say, ‘Wait, I was only speaking symbolically!’ So the disciples who left understood Jesus to be speaking literally. Otherwise, why would they leave? So somehow Jesus must have been speaking literally and yet not advocating cannibalism. The Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is literal and yet not literally cannibalistic since Jesus didn’t cut off His arm and pass is around saying, ‘Take, eat.’ How can we as Protestants respond to this?”

“Well, what about all the money they spent building cathedrals when people were starving?”

“But when they built a cathedral it was like a giant welfare project. People had work for years and years,” I replied.

He changed the subject again: “The Catholic Church became corrupted by pagan beliefs shortly after the apostles died.”

“Well then, wouldn’t that mean that the gates of Hell prevailed against His Church and Jesus was unable to keep that promise?”

“No…there was always a remnant.”

“But how can we know for sure that the remnant part of the Church, the true Church of Christ, was the one that canonized the Bible and not the corrupted part of the Church?”

“We just trust the Holy Spirit was able to do that.”
“But the earliest Christians held Catholic beliefs like the real presence and the perpetual virginity of Mary? Who threw these beliefs out? Luther believed them. Luther and Calvin believed Mary was a perpetual virgin. Who decided Mary definitely had other children when everyone right up to and including the Reformation believed she only gave birth to Jesus?”

Our conversation continued like this for a couple of hours. When he couldn’t give an answer he changed the subject. I wasn’t actually defending the Church at that point. I was telling him the Catholic viewpoint in desperate hope that he could give me a convincing Protestant rebuttal. But nothing he said was convincing.

Later I wrote him letters with about forty questions and included a review of the books I had read. He was in a doctoral program at the time, and I hoped maybe he could get some answers from his professors. When we talked again he said I had done so much research that he didn’t have time to get up to speed with me. He told me to go ahead and visit a Catholic Church, thinking that would put an end to my fantasy. It didn’t. Meanwhile I kept searching for a Protestant refutation of the Catholic Faith. There just had to be one.

***

Next, I watched a video debate between Father Mitch Pacwa S.J. and two prominent Protestant apologists (Walter Martin and John Ankerberg). Again, there was no refutation of Catholic claims, no explaining what was wrong with Catholic exegesis: only what was wrong with the Catholic beliefs, according to the interpretation of Scripture in a particular Protestant tradition. My husband, who was at once fascinated by the Catholic interpretation of Sacred Scripture and at the same time repulsed by the thought of becoming Catholic, was also disappointed that no one refuted the points Father Pacwa made. Martin and Ankerberg never explained why Fr. Pacwa’s interpretation was wrong. They merely condemned Catholic theology according to what they thought the Bible meant.

For example, I remember Walter Martin asking,

“Why does the Catholic Church believe Mary was without sin when she admits that God is her savior in Luke 1:47? She must have needed a savior because she sinned.”

Fr. Pacwa replied “Yes, she needed a savior. But, a person can be saved out of a pit after he has fallen in, or he can be saved from the pit before he falls in. We believe God saved Mary before she fell into sin by creating her, from conception, without the fallen nature caused by the stain of Original Sin, she otherwise would have inherited from her parents. So He created Mary without sin just like He created Adam and Eve without sin.”

Martin and Ankerberg would then go on to to another topic without dealing with Fr. Pacwa’s explanations.

***

Then, I decided to find out why some of my ex-Catholic friends had left the Church. One of them, I was surprised to learn, was on the verge of returning to the Catholic Church. The others had just drifted away when their parents could no longer make them go to Sunday Mass. None had left for any particular doctrinal reason.
One friend assured me the Catholic Church was really weird and unscriptural because she remembered, as a young, devout Catholic, having to go from church to church all in one day in order to say prayers for her loved ones. She assured me that she couldn’t pray for all the people she cared about in one church, but was only allowed pray for one person per church. I have since asked priests and lay Catholic friends if they have ever heard of this; none have. Perhaps she was either misinformed or misunderstood. Even if it were true, it seems to me little reason to reject the Church!

***

After six months of frantic detective work, I had exhausted every avenue I could think of to find a Protestant rebuttal to Catholic doctrine. There were of course many great Protestant arguments out there.

The trouble with them was that they rebutted doctrines that Catholics didn’t believe. For instance, you could find lots of apologetic material condemning the worship of Mary, complete with scriptures against idolatry. But that was useless, since the Catholic Church too condemns the worship of Mary. Most importantly, I could find no good Protestant reason for the rejection of the Real Presence in the Eucharist when John 6 so clearly has Jesus commanding his disciples to eat His flesh, and historically all Christians believed this doctrine for the first 1500 years of Christianity. I finally “knocked at the door” of my parish church and began the process of entering the Church.

When I told my friends, they were mostly kind and accepting. Some tried to dissuade me from entering the Church. And one friend, Donna, invited me to go to hear anti-Catholic, apologist Bart Brewer speak about the Catholic Church at a large nondenominational church in a nearby town. I knew Brewer was an ex-priest and anti-Catholic but I went anyway. The Easter Vigil was only months away. I wanted to let him take his best shot at me before I entered the Church. But as it turned out his was just the same old attack on the Catholic Church without refuting the scriptural and historical evidence for its doctrines.

Surprisingly, Donna saw through his double standard. While Brewer criticized and condemned the Catholic Church for relying on the “Bible plus the Catechism” instead of relying on the Bible alone, she was struck by the realization that he wasn’t sola scriptura either! He was relying on the Bible plus Calvin’s Institutes. She found him totally useless in helping her to “deprogram” me.

***

Eighteen months after my inquiry began, I embraced the Holy Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 1999. Our four youngest children were received into the Catholic Church at Easter 2000 with my husband’s permission. My husband and three oldest children are still Protestant but they are very supportive – especially my husband In fact, Mike is currently leading a Catholic/Protestant Bible study on the Gospel of John, with the stated purpose of teaching the biblical basis for Catholic theology. At first, I thought he would quickly follow me into the Church, but he has his own path to follow on the journey of faith.

But Donna entered the Catholic Church at Easter 2002. I am thankful to my Protestant teachers for the solid foundation they laid in me about the truths of Christianity, the illusions of worldly passions, and encouragement to study God’s Holy Word. It fed my soul for forty years. The irony is, I studied the Bible so much I uncovered many discrepancies between some Protestant doctrines and Sacred Scripture. This was the beginning of my loss of confidence in Protestant Christianity

But it wasn’t until Catholic authors made me face the historical evidence that Christianity preexisted the New Testament by 400 years that I began to consider the implications of this fact. That the Faith was alive, making converts, establishing churches, instructing and baptizing converts for so long (for reference, 400 years ago was about the time the Pilgrims came to America!) before the New Testament was compiled, meant that the New Testament could not be the touchstone of the Faith. The New Testament was not the very first reservoir of Christian teaching.

Something else existed before it.

And that same “something else” kept the Faith alive and also gave birth to the New Testament. It was the oral teaching, the deposit of the Faith of the Apostles, that was used to make the final decisions about which books would end up in the New Testament. No book was included in the canon of the New Testament that contradicted the Faith of the Apostles. And that is why, I discovered to my joy, that nothing in Catholic doctrine contradicts anything in the Bible. The Bible, loved by Protestants as well as Catholics, the inspired and inerrant word of God, was written and published by the Catholic Church.

The icing on the cake of solid, scriptural Catholic doctrine was the beauty and poetry of Catholic worship. Its reverence in comparison to modern Evangelical praise services spoke to me of its ancient pedigree and authenticity. The Mass is ancient and Jewish – closer in form to Temple worship than to a Calvary Chapel. The ritual, prayers, and priestly robes are more Old Testament than my former Evangelical Free Church. And the incense and chants echo the heavenly worship found in the Book of Revelation better than any Baptist service.

In the end, a thousand tiny puzzle pieces of Bible verses, doctrines, prayers history, martyrs, liturgy, came together to form for me a clear image of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

“It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair.”

-G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)


 Pam Forrester writes from Fallbrook, California, where she lives with her husband, Mike, of thirty four years. They have seven children. The youngest was six when her mother entered the Catholic Church in 1999.

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26 Responses

  1. It was three books that “did it” for me, too. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie. Rome Sweet Home, by Scott Hahn, and Surprised By Truth, Vol. 1 by Patrick Madrid. 3 books, and 3 days later, we were back in the RCC! 😀 GLORIOUS GLORIOUS TRUTH! You shall KNOW THE TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you free!!!! Oh Happy Day!

  2. Susie,
    I would love to hear more of your story. What made you read those 3 books and in 3 days?

  3. I almost went back a couple of times but saw way too many scriptural issues. One of which I attached: Part 1 of a 2-video series I did on You Tube.

  4. The idea of the video (and its second part) was to show very clearly that the Mary of Catholicism is in contradiction to the Mary of Scripture. Jesus distanced Himself when it came to His ministry and was given opportunity to lift her up and never did come close to doing it. She is worshiped in a lower form of worship and given all kinds of titles. Prayers are given TO her and Popes “give themselves to her”…it is not merely asking her to pray for you. She is an idol in the Catholic church.

    • Dear Craig,

      What you have shown is how the Mary of Catholicism contradicts Protestantism and its method of interpreting the Bible. Your assertions about the contradiction only ring true to Protestants not to Catholics who are well educated in their Faith. She is NOT worshipped and is NOT an idol.

  5. By the way…the issue is not Sola Scriptura…it is that the teaching is in contradiction to scripture…two very different issues.

    • It is in contradiction to Protestant interpretation of scripture. We do not see any contradiction. Protestants and dissenting Catholics are primed and eager to see contradiction without really understanding the Catholic Faith and Culture…which is very different than Protestant Christian culture.

  6. Dear bfhu,

    Thanks for the offer to help.

    Are you saying that you did not read it because it is long and on a blog post? Ok.

  7. Catholicism compares Mary’s womb to a shrine…but in Scripture…

    While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:27-28 NAS95)

    Then we have a little stiffarming…

    And Jesus *said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

    Then we have the Lord minimizing His familial relationships…

    Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! (Matthew 12:47-49)

    Then we have Paul making one reference to Mary and does not really care to elaborate…

    But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, (Galatians 4:4)

    Mary is a godly woman…not Advocate, Helper, Qheen of Heaven, Coredeemer, Comediatrix….someone for EWTN to pray…

    O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine Immaculate Heart.

    We consecrate to thee our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To thee we give our bodies, our hearts and our souls; to thee we give our homes, our families, our country…”

    The case is clearly stated – will you see it?

    • Craig: You don’t see it because you do not want to see it.

      BFHU: Could I not say the same to you?

      Craig: I understand the Catholic faith better than most Catholics being raised in it and studying it for about 3 years when I was honestly, prayerfully, tearfully seeking after the truth (studied Catholic Answers tracts by Karl Keating, talked to a Priest, studied the Catechism, etc).

      BFHU: That is good. But what was prompting you to leave? Be honest. Was it really at bottom doctrinal or was there something you thought the Catholic Church got wrong?

      Craig: Some people begin reading the books about Catholicism (in their quest to convert/return) with the subconscious idea that they are already converting/returning – presupposing it true. I didn’t do that.

      BFHU: If you had actually read my story you would know that this was not the case for me.

      Craig:For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be TURNED UNTO FABLES. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

      BFHU: Precisely!

      Craig:Sorry, to bother you…I always hold out hope that someone will see the obvious truth. The issues with the RCC are many and very serious and clear…for whatever reason, you do not want to see it.

      BFHU: And you do not think it is a problem to leave the Church that Jesus founded and go to a church of your own choosing where you get to be the infallible interpreter of scripture. It is easier to be Protestant than to be Catholic because one makes up the rules to suit himself.

      • You addressed the easier post and left the other alone concerning Mary.

        Regardless, I left because I heard the gospel preached as it should be and I was born again…I had never heard it preached biblically at the Catholic Church.

        Come to my church (www.fbctroy.org) and point out the fables…a fable is a made up story, hence – the immaculate conception, the assumption of Mary, ect…those are fables.

        In the meantime, you need to think over the Mary of Scripture and that of Catholicism…especially as presented in my post.

        I will leave you alone…I apologize if I get a bit up in arms – please forgive that. I have to be direct, regardless.

        In Christ,

        CL

  8. I absolutely love your conversion story, it is truely beautiful. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing. I’m entering the Trappist Cistercian Order this summer. God Bless. Craig I will continue to pray for.

  10. As someone who has believed that both Catholicism and Protestantism are “obvious truth” at different portions of my life, the only conclusion I can come to is neither possesses 100% truth, nor does any faith system, for that matter.

    In my years of research, no Protestant has ever come up with a convincing counterpoint to John 6. It’s obvious that Jesus is speaking literally. That said, if the Eucharist is so important, why didn’t John even include the last supper in his Gospel? Wouldn’t the “Do this in memory of Me” at the last supper be an important conclusion to the story that begins in John 6? And Catholicism IS legalism, so that’s great if they have the real presence in their Eucharistic celebration, but it’s borderline cruel to withhold it from someone who may believe in the real presence but does not believe in the rest of their rules, like confessing sins to a priest. This is especially true because to be human is to be in a constant state of sin. Even if I confess sins to a priest before Mass, my mind and heart is incapable of NOT sinning in the next hour before I take communion.

    People of both Protestant and Catholic belief have personal relationships with Christ, feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in their life, and cite personal examples of miracles occurring and prayers being answered. If one faith was “the true faith,” this would not be possible. The only “truth” is that we are all fallible humans with limited understanding, we are all in need of a Savior for our sins, and Christ sacrificed Himself to serve as that Savior if only we’d humble ourselves to accept that. Everything else has to be decided by the individual after the individual has humbled himself, put Christ on the throne of his own life, and selflessly seeks God’s will for their life 24-7-365. There is literally nothing else we handicapped humans can do. But we absolutely must NOT blindly accept teachings from any source without questioning, or else we are destined to fall victim to lies and false teaching. It is an impossible and troubling situation to any critical thinker who wants to serve God exactly how He wants.

    • Having been a member of many belief systems (Presbyterian, Transcendental Meditation, Episcopalian, Jehovah’s Witnesses, UCC and now, since moving to Texas, investigating with RCIA. I agree no denomination has a handle on ALL truth. The important thing is not doctrine but that you have love among you and accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as necessary to your hope. I honor all the teaching I have received. Remember the two prophets in Revelation being slain on the broad way and raising up again. Two in the Bible means more than one so those handling and teaching what Jesus left for us can be found abroad in the world as he promised. Our puny minds cannot reason out what is all truth. Just trust that if you love and do the best you can to follow your understanding of the scriptures at the present time and keep on praying and studying with others of like faith, God will somehow see us through. All he loves he chastizes – so the Catholic Church and most other denominations have gone through their cleansing periods. Perhaps I will find the Catholic Church to be the best place to be. It, so far, seems to be drawing me.

      • We’re all on a Faith journey. And I know for me, (which you probably know) my Catholic Faith gives me the best road for achieving my goal – eternal salvation. It is not a journey I make alone – I meet many others along the way – We support and help each other. That is what it is all about.

      • Kay,
        So nice to hear that you are investigating the Catholic Church. Loving our neighbor is very important. An unloving Catholic who has the fullness of Christian truth does not make God very happy. And I am afraid that even though I believe that the Catholic Church does have the fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church is still full of sinners. But this will be true of every other denomination or community. But, if one is going to follow the teachings, make the effort to conform one’s life to teachings, one really must be convinced that community has the truest Truth.

  11. The Catholic religion is the only religion that killed its saints and killed people who didn’t convert to become one and follow their dogmas of idolatry and claiming that they are above scriptures. Then proclaimed that it is above scriptures. There is a reason why the bible should be the sole authority of our faith. Just like Martin Luther’s “sola scriptura.” Being above scriptures is very dangerious. That means you get to add and delete stuff from the doctrines. If that, then it is a religion made by man. Just for a starter, how on earth did Mary, the mother of Jesus, become Catholic? They were jews! And why now pray to the saints and Mary and Peter etc etc when they are all dead? The bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:5:
    For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
    So tell me how did Mary manage to resurrect herself? And convert to Catholicism.
    If you are going to join Catholicism and become one, since they made up pretty much of their own doctrines and not follow the bible, if I was you, I’d just make my own religion….That way, you can add more or delete more as you chose.

    • Art: The Catholic religion is the only religion that killed its saints and killed people who didn’t convert to become one and follow their dogmas of idolatry and claiming that they are above scriptures.

      Bread From Heaven: The Catholic religion does not kill its saints or kill people who didn’t convert. Do you honestly think that our Faith teaches us to kill our Saints? Or do you mean sinful men who happened to be Catholic killed saints? There are many Catholics who follow their own sinful nature and do bad things. But this is not because their faith has taught them to do evil. We can find evil men in every religion and every race but to then make the generalization that the religion or race of an evil man is itself evil is uncharitable and lacking in right judgement.

      Art: Then proclaimed that it is above scriptures. There is a reason why the bible should be the sole authority of our faith. Just like Martin Luther’s “sola scriptura.”

      Bread From Heaven: False. The Catholic Church is not above Scripture. All of her doctrines must be aligned and non-contradictory of Sacred Scripture. And I have not found teaching of the Catholic Faith
      that contradicts Sacred Scripture. What often happens is that Protestants interpret certain Scriptures differently than the Catholic Church has always interpreted those scriptures for 2000 years. But the Protestants do not know the history of the Catholic interpretation, and thinking that their own interpretation is infallible jump to the conclusion that the Catholic Church teaches things that contradict Sacred Scripture. This is not true. The Catholic Faith merely contradicts certain private interpretations of scripture. This is not the same thing as actually contradicting Scripture. We reject the infallibility of Protestant interpretation of Scripture.

      2 Peter 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

      And the word translated “prophecy” does not mean foretelling the future but according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary:
      “Propheteia: signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God.”

      Art: Being above scriptures is very dangerous.

      Bread From Heaven: Yes, it would be very dangerous.

      Art: That means you get to add and delete stuff from the doctrines. If that, then it is a religion made by man.

      Bread From Heaven: If that were the case then what you say would be true. However, the Catholic Church holds all of the teachings of Jesus to His apostles as equally sacred; both what was written and canonized as Sacred Scripture and the Oral Teachings of the Apostles that were passed down for generations before being written down. We follow the teaching of St. Paul and St. John.

      I Cor 11: 2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

      2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

      2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

      John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

      John 21: 25_And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written._

      John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

      Art:Just for a starter, how on earth did Mary, the mother of Jesus, become Catholic? They were jews!

      Bread From Heaven: Yes Mary and the Apostles were all Jews. The Jews were awaiting their Messiah. Jesus was the Messiah and Mary and the Apostles followed the Jewish Messiah, who also was Jewish by birth. Catholicism is the Jewish Faith fulfilled. Catholicism is the Church founded by the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

      Art:And why now pray to the saints and Mary and Peter etc etc when they are all dead?

      Bread From Heaven: They are not dead. They are alive in Heaven. As Sacred Scripture says:

      Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.”

      Matthew 22:32‘ I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

      Art: The bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:5:
      For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

      Bread From Heaven:

      Mark 12:27

      He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.”

      Ecclesiastes expresses a human point of view, not the divine point of view and truth.

      Art: So tell me how did Mary manage to resurrect herself? And convert to Catholicism.

      Bread From Heaven: Mary did not resurrect herself. She was resurrected by Our Lord as we all will be at the end of time. In the mean time, our souls, which cannot die go to judgement when our bodies die. At the resurrection all souls and bodies will be reunited in Heaven or Hell, for eternity.

      Art: If you are going to join Catholicism and become one, since they made up pretty much of their own doctrines and not follow the bible, if I was you, I’d just make my own religion….That way, you can add more or delete more as you chose.

      Bread From Heaven: The Doctrine of the Catholic Church has not changed for 2000 years. Our understanding of these doctrines has deepened over this time. But no new doctrine has been added to the Catholic Faith. I would never have any confidence in a religion I made up myself. But as you can see, many of your beliefs actually do contradict scripture as seen above.

    • Sorry, I was wrong about becoming a Catholic. I had been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and was trying to deny that it is the true religion, but every time I would go to another church I would realize how much error they teach. Now I am back at the Kingdom Hall. It was hard coming back, but it is the right place to be because they have the only hope for a new heaven and a new earth and are the only ones who really understand and teach the hard truths that we need to live by but also the only ones who show through scripture how God has always saved through tribulation those who remained faithful to Jehovah and his word. If everyone were Jehovah’s Witnesses there would be no more war. Can you say that about your religion? It will take God’s Kingdom coming on earth as in heaven with Jesus as the ruler to apply to all those who make it through the great tribulation the same miracles he demonstrated for all mankind and then “Death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain. The former things have passed away..” Revelation 21. The more I tried to escape from the truth the harder it got.

      • Hi Kate,

        Better to turn back half-way than to get lost altogether!

      • I guess that you will just have to be content with the rest of “us” on paradise earth since the 141,000 reserved spots on heaven are already taken, huh! As far as the reign of the kingdom of God, it is already here; and you will be waiting in vain just like all the other failed predictions in 1799, 1874,1878,1914,1918 and 1925.

        • At least we’re keeping on the watch, not sleeping as regards the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. See Matt. 26:41,42. Even the disciples were eager for the kingdom and were wrong. Jesus said, no one knows the day or hour, not even Jesus, but “only my father.” Granted, enthusiasm has run high that certain signs were fulfilled, but now we see all the signs and know he is near, at the door. 144,000 anointed will reign in the heavenly kingdom over the earth. Reread Revelation to see that the promise is for a new heaven and a new earth with no more mourning nor outcry nor pain. Once a paradise earth is reestablished there is no telling how much of the universe Jehovah will choose to populate with mankind perfected to the degree Adam could have been and Jesus was and is. That’s why Jesus was the 2nd Adam, because he was a perfect human without inheriting the sin from Adam. His father is Jehovah. He is God’s firstborn creation before any other angels or anything material was created. Through him (Jesus) and by him all other things were created.

          • Dear Kay,

            But that is the history of salvation according to pastor Russel and not of the Church of the ages.

            The peace of Christ.

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