Former Protestant Pastor Helps Shepherd Catholic Converts

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Carson Weber, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Former Protestant Pastor Helps Shepherd Catholic Converts

    Marcus Grodi's Coming Home Network Focuses on Inquiring Clergy

    ZANESVILLE, Ohio, OCT. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)
    - Every year, about 100 clergy from dozens of denominations make a step toward the Catholic Church by contacting the Coming Home Network International.

    The network, which has 800-some clergy members who have converted or are still discerning their conversion, connects those inquirers with others from the same background who have converted to Catholicism, and provides them with prayerful, moral and sometimes financial support.

    Marcus Grodi, who was a Congregationalist and Presbyterian pastor before coming into the Catholic Church in 1992, established the network the year after he converted and still serves as its executive director and president.

    Grodi also is the author of "How Firm a Foundation" (Coming Home Resources), a fiction book about a pastor struggling in search of truth. He is also the host of an EWTN show about conversion experiences called "Journeys Home."

    Q: What is the Coming Home Network, and why was it formed?

    Grodi: It is a nonprofit lay apostolate started in 1993 primarily to assist Protestant clergy and their families, as well as Protestant laity, in coming home to the Catholic Church.

    The need for this "network" of fellowship and assistance rose out of my own experience, as well as that of other clergy converts, who felt very much alone on our journeys, leaving behind our vocations and livelihood as Protestant clergy.

    We felt alone for many reasons: None of our lifelong Protestant friends, family or co-workers could appreciate why we might be willing to give up everything to become, of all things, Roman Catholic. And because of the narrow focus of our Protestant lives and work, we knew few Catholics, lay or clergy.

    Besides, most of the Catholics we approached, lay or clergy, did not know how to help us. Too many claimed that, "Since Vatican II, a Protestant doesn't need to convert. Just stay where you are. Don't make an unnecessary mess of your life. Don't abandon your ministry."

    Actually, the most difficult struggle for most Protestant clergy inquirers is within the immediate family: spouses who do not understand and are not supportive of their husbands' willingness to put their families in jeopardy.

    The Coming Home Network International's charism is to stand beside Protestant inquirers. We are not here to inordinately push, pull or prod them home, though we do believe -- like John Henry Cardinal Newman -- that there is but one flock and that our separated brethren should come home.

    Our staff and extensive Helpers Network of volunteers is always available to them by phone, mail, e-mail, or if possible, in person to answer their questions and provide whatever resources are necessary to help them home.

    Q: What are the typical convert's needs and how does your organization meet them?

    Grodi: The initial need of most of the clergy and laity who contact us is for a supportive friend who can understand from personal experience the trauma they may be experiencing as a result of discovering their need to become Roman Catholic.

    For many of these men, and sometimes women, clergy, the last thing they had ever considered is becoming Catholic. But then, usually through a variety of sources -- personal crisis, scriptural study, readings of the early Church Fathers, the witness of a convert, Catholic television, radio or Internet -- their hearts are touched and the foundations of their presumably stable Protestant faith and lives are rocked. They call us because they feel they have nowhere else to go.

    Because of our large database of converts, lay and clergy, from more than 60 different denominations and traditions, we are able to link them up with a convert who has come into the Catholic Church from the inquirer's own specific Christian background. We also have a large selection of carefully chosen books and resources that we can give them to help answer their specific questions about the Catholic faith, many issued by our publishing house, Coming Home Resources.

    Because the clergy are abandoning their vocations and livelihood, we provide counseling as well as contacts to help them find ways to support their families as well as use their ministerial gifts. If they face financial setbacks because of their conversion, we have a financial assistance fund to meet their short-term needs.

    We also stand as their advocates to their local dioceses and bishops if they are called to pursue the priesthood.

    Q: What are the greatest challenges unique to Protestant clergy who convert to Catholicism?

    Grodi: The unique struggle for clergy revolves around their calling and ordination as Protestant clergy. All of their lives, all of their self-understanding, centers in their heartfelt and confirmed calling to the ministry. Their livelihood is built on this. For many, conversion requires being willing to give up everything that they are, everything that they have accomplished or had hoped to accomplish for Christ.

    I remember my 6-year-old son crying in my arms when he realized that I would never be a pastor again, for he had always seen me, with a son's pride, up there, up front, leading the people. Upon conversion I was unemployed with no certain future. I will say that, in my case, God never skipped a beat in providing opportunities to serve him and to support my family.

    We started the Coming Home Network to make sure that future clergy converts, especially couples, had a supportive network to give them confidence and hope for the journey.

    Perhaps the most important way we help all these people is through our prayers. Our extensive membership of more than 16,000 people are encouraged to present the needs of our clergy inquirers and their families, as well as lay converts, before the Blessed Sacrament at least one hour per month.

    Q: From where have you received the most converts over the last 10 years?

    Grodi: To memory, most of our inquirers come from the mainline Protestant denominations, such as Anglican or Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist or Lutheran. But what is unique about the conversions we have seen over the past 10 years is that clergy are also coming home from more than 60 different Protestant and non-Catholic traditions.

    Q: What can the Church do to support lay and clergy converts?

    Grodi: Prayer, of course, is the most important thing, since all conversions, no what the immediate cause, come about through grace.

    Also, we need to explore more ways to be better stewards of the gifts, training and experience of these men and women. Too often these converts, who once were very active and successful in a variety if Protestant ministries, come into the Church only to find themselves unutilized and sometimes feeling unwanted.

    They, of course, are not all called to pursue the priesthood, but many of them have great riches to share in the areas of youth and young apostolates, catechesis, Bible studies, counseling, parish administration, evangelization and stewardship.
     
  2. Frogman

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    Why didn't he write a true account based on his experience?

    Just wondering. That is what I would do.

    As if Christ can't accomplish these things?

    Bro. Dallas
     
  3. Frogman

    Frogman
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    Baptist is not a Protestant.

    Bro.Dallas
     
  4. Carson Weber

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  5. gb93433

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    The two denominations you listed are two of the most liberal mainline denominations.

    Perhaps you know that John MacArthur claims that his church is comprised of about 75 pervcent former Roman Catholics.

    The Mormon Church also claims that about 50 percent of their new converts come from the RCC.

    I can't imagine to any growing Christian who is a protestant that these two men would come with much credibility.

    I have read and listened to some and found their arguments to be very weak. One of those on the internet claims to have had a professor I know. So I called the professor and he told me that he could not remember the man. I also tried to contact the supposedly former student and the e-mail address was not a valid address.

    Do any of you know their arguments for coming to the RCC? That would be interesting to discuss.
     
  6. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    It is typical of cultists that they go after the ignorant and uncatechized. I am not at all surprised at this figure. In the Hershey PA area, we have an Evangelical Free assembly of over 4,000 people which is well over 50% X Catholic (aka apostates).

    McArthur's website is so full of lies about the Catholic Faith that he ought to be struck by lightening. He should be glad that God is filled with compassion for ignorant boobs such as he. I say this because he, of all people, SHOULD be both educated and honest regarding the historical Catholic Faith. Instead, he is either ignorant of the writings of the Early Fathers, or deliberately ignores them.....and that is a boob to me.

    I have no love for his kind AT ALL.(preachers) I was misled by his kind for 25 years by the very kind of lies and deciet which he uses in his broadcasts and on his website. Needless to say, I am more than a tad angry that I was kept from the true Church for such a length of time by such devious means. Having experienced the beauty of true worship and the love of God in the Sacraments, I am upset that I was kept from this for so long by a pack of malicious lies.

    One thing which is VERY CONSPICUOUS in McArthur's web publications is a deliberate lack of quotes from the Early Fathers. The reason for this should be obvious to any thinking person -- when one reads the Fathers, one is quite soon confronted with the fact that the Christian Faith of the Early Church was distinctly Catholic and in no way resembled anything like Anabaptistry, Evangelicalism, or Protestantism. Obviously, to publish such truth would not only damage McArthur's "credibility" among the gullible, but might well create a situation where people would study deeper, further, and wind up entering the Church and leaving his cult.

    It is profoundly sad that most Catholics in this country have been so caught up in the rampant materialism and humanism of the 20th century that they neither know nor live their faith. They are easy pickin's for men like McArthur. I hope that the next generation of Catholics, especially young men like Carson, create a Church which knows its faith and lives it well.
     
  7. faithcontender

    faithcontender
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    There are maybe many that are coming home to the catholic church but in our country there are many baptist churches who are newly formed which is composed of 100% former catholics and they are very eager to lead many catholics to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I myself, by the grace of God, an ordinary member of our church lead at least one people to christ every week. And praise God for all the souls that are converted from the error of Catholicism. They are now happy serving the true God. And i want to add, my co-worker who is a former catholic just recently submited himself to the water of baptism. Praise God for the love that Christ gave to me. He enabled me to show compassion for those who are enslaved by catholicism.
     
  8. thessalonian

    thessalonian
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    "Perhaps you know that John MacArthur claims that his church is comprised of about 75 pervcent former Roman Catholics.

    The Mormon Church also claims that about 50 percent of their new converts come from the RCC."

    Now are you sure that you wanted to lump Johnny Mac's statistics in with the Mormons. Did you know the JW's say the same? What do your statistics say about the discernment of those Catholics who leave the Church? HUUUUUUUUMMMMMMM!
     
  9. WPutnam

    WPutnam
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    What is also missing are the statistics of those "Catholics" who abandon the Church and are converted into another denomination, that eventually return, often better Catholics then they were before!

    But back to the point I think you are making: Converts from Catholicism are over-rated and over-stated. I would agree, and the reason is, their poor catachetical instruction in the first place.

    Also, I have also heard of cases where a staunch former Catholic, now on his deathbed, finally asks for a priest for a final confession, taking the Eucharist for the first time in years and the anointing of the sick.

    There is a saying, "Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic."

    Finally, those who do convert TO Catholicism from other faiths seem to stay there, often better Catholics then the "cradle Catholic" for the great effort, having wrestled with their consciences, and having to make a decision that takes years. It took me about 10 years to make the move, and I daily praise God for sending me the Holy Spirit to see the truth and come to Holy Mother Church!

    But, I still am not as good a Catholic as I could be, come holy Spirit some more! [​IMG]

    God bless,

    PAX

    Bill+†+


    I believe in God,
    the Father Almighty,
    Creator of heaven and earth;
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son,
    Our Lord;
    who was conceived by the holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died,
    and was buried.

    He descended into hell;
    the third day He arose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven,
    sitteth at the right hand of God,
    the Father almighty;
    from thence He shall come to judge
    the living and the dead.

    I believe in the holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting.

    Amen.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Just curious - are there any Bible believing fundamentalist pastors (you know - the ones that think God really created the world in exactly the timeline and sequence "HE" stated) that are converting to Catholicism?

    Is there some kind of breakdown in the statistics showing where these guys came from?

    I would think that people that are not inclined to distrust the Bible or pray to the dead would have a difficult time with the conversion process.

    Just curious.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  11. thessalonian

    thessalonian
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    Oh and did I forget to say, half the Seventh Day Adventists, even some on this board, who believe the "revalations" of "Ellen G. White" are "divinely inspired" are former Roman Catholics. Ron, where's that thread of yours quoting Ellen G. and some of these "divinely inspired" writings.

    So much for discernment of those leaving the Catholic Church.
     
  12. BobRyan

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    It is my understanding that some denominations rejecte spiritual gifts outright - so no divine inspiration after the 1st century.

    But now Thess claims that the Catholic church also rejects that? A new one on me. Where can I go to read more about that?

    In the meantime - the question actually pertaining to this thread title remains - DO you have documentation on actual Bible believing fundamentalist pastors among those 100?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  13. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi faithcontender,

    they are very eager to lead many catholics to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    The Catholic Church has this same mission of re-evangelizing Catholics who do not know the Gospel; this is a part of what is called The New Evangelization.

    And praise God for all the souls that are converted from the error of Catholicism.

    I partake in a ministry called the Rite of Christian Initation For Adults, and in it, I work beside several "new Catholics". One was a Messianic Jew who studied the Bible for five years in Israel. One newly married couple were fervent Evangelical Christians. Another girl was a fervent Fundamentalist. Also, the man I work for - http://www.ScottHahn.com - was once an OPC Seminary professor (with the invitation to become dean of the seminary at age 26) with a pesonal library numbering 70,000+ books.

    The wonderful aspect of each of these individuals' Christian journey is that, in embracing Catholicism, they did not "stop" being what they were, but rather, are able to fully embrace their background in the fullness of Christianity in the Catholic Church.

    If you are interested in learning how true Catholic doctrine upholds the primacy, inspiration, and ultimate authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, the efficacy and absolute need of grace, salvation by faith, and other positive affirmations of non-Catholic Christians, I would suggest reading The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism by Louis Bouyer who himself became Catholic after years as a Protestant theologian.
     
  14. faithcontender

    faithcontender
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    It is a fact that many of the catholics don't know about the gospel. I have talked oftenly to my catholic friends and aquaintances and many of them are spiritually dead, not interested in the things of God. I've been outside sharing to them the good news and many of them are ignorant of the word of God.

    Even my aunt who is a catechism teacher for a long time only just now she realized what salvation in Christ means. I'm glad she followed the Lord in water of baptism together with her son just recently.
     
  15. faithcontender

    faithcontender
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    I've been there before. And i know what catholicism is all about. It never give me hope. Only Christ Jesus and His pure words gave me the love, hope and peace that i'm looking for. I don't want to go back to the old life where there is no assurance, truth and love.

    I can not exchange my only Savior who loved me and gave Himself for me. In catholicism, there is only form of godliness but deny the power thereof.
     
  16. neal4christ

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    I will ask you for a third time, Thessalonian, what do you call the pope? Are names not important to you? You would not make it very far during OT times...... [​IMG]

    In Christ,
    Neal

    [ October 09, 2003, 02:19 PM: Message edited by: neal4christ ]
     
  17. Frogman

    Frogman
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    I don't understand, I clicked the link and got something besides an article. It did look like Carson, but the camera angle is unusual. BTW, before I clicked the link I was going to post this:

    Carson,
    I like your photo. The smile makes it as if we are actually speaking face to face. You favor another missionary Baptist preacher I know. Anyway, the photo depicts a warmth and friendliness.

    Bro. Dallas

    Now, are you sure that is the right link you meant for me to get? If so then... I am not bored now [​IMG]
     
  18. neal4christ

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    This may have no bearing with what has been posted (I haven't read all of them :rolleyes: ), but me have many ex-Catholics here at our seminary. In fact, one of my closest friends and accountability partner, is ex-Catholic. [​IMG]

    There is a friend at work who I have been trying to share the gospel with that comes from a Catholic background who is now Muslim/Hindu (don't ask, I don't understand either). He really does not want to listen to the gospel and has much animosity (sp?) towards the Catholic church.

    I do not make general assumptions from these, just sharing my personal experiences of in dealing with cross-overs. I also have an extremely close friend who is a nominal Catholic and his grandmother is a devout Catholic, and she is one of the sweetest ladies I know. Then I have met people who dislike the Catholic church and just as vehement against it as Brother Ed towards his particular experience with fundamentalism.

    Fact is that there are cross-overs from any and all religions/denominations. To appeal to this is not a very good test for truthfulness or much else. People are fickle and have itching ears and want them tickled.

    In Christ,
    Neal
     
  19. Frogman

    Frogman
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    This speaks volumes, but is silent if the reader doesn't have a perspective.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  20. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Hi faithcontender,

    You wrote, "It is a fact that many of the catholics don't know about the gospel. I have talked oftenly to my catholic friends and aquaintances and many of them are spiritually dead, not interested in the things of God. I've been outside sharing to them the good news and many of them are ignorant of the word of God."

    I would like to take the chance to affirm what you have written. What you say is very true.. many Catholics do not know the Gospel, and my catechetics professors have taught me that the majority of Catholics under the age of 55 need to have the Gospel presented to them in a no-nonsense fashion.

    Unfortunately, there are innumerable Catholics in the world who are Catholic in name only and who do not have a vibrant, personal love for and relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I want to thank you for your concern for their souls and your willingness to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. I share the same aspirations.

    "Man, himself created in the 'image of God' and called to a personal relationship with God." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 299)

    "Great is the mystery of the faith! This mystery, then, requires that the faithful live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer." (Ibid., 2558)

    "In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us. [quoting St. Augustine]" (Ibid., 981)

    "The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins: the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world, and he was revealed to take away sins: Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? [quoting St. Gregory of Nyssa]" (Ibid., 457).
     

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