My Journey Into The Catholic Church

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Walter, Feb 13, 2013.

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  1. Walter

    Walter
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    I was asked on another thread if I would be willing to share why I am becoming Catholic with people on this board.

    I was brought up in a Baptist family, came to Christ (repented of my sins and trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord) at the age of eleven and was taught that if something is Catholic it has to be wrong.

    Liturgy is definately part of Catholic worship and so it was to be rejected as ritualistic and repetitive praying. As an evangelical I thought the symbolism and ritual of Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheran or any high church as devoid of meaning, empty, rote, and mindless. Of course there have been cases or even tendencies at times for people to lose track of the meanings of their religious practices, and to do them without thinking about why they do them– but Baptists do this too– sometimes even with their prayers, devotions, church-going, etc. To say that all symbolic ritual in the Catholic church is rote and thoughtless ritualism is as uncharitable as someone saying that evangelicalism is legalistic unthoughtful literalism which practices bibliolatry with no concern for making a concrete difference in this world. But I digress!

    I began a bible study in my church of the book of Hebrews and I saw just how important liturgy was for the covenant and that became increasingly evident to me as I studied the book of Hebrews. Also I found that overwhelming historical evidence exists proving it was important to the Early Church. I came to believe that liturgy represents the way God fathered his covenant people and He renewed that on a regular basis. It became evident to me as to what the relationship of the Old Testament was to the New and how the New Testament Church became a fulfillment and not an abandonment of the Old. These ideas were confirmed by the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Reading the ECF's, I began to believe that the Catholic Church might most accurately reflect the intentions of the Early Church Fathers and found other evangelicals seeking a church whose roots run deeper than the Reformation. However, I had always believed that people only leave the Catholic Church for 'True Christianity' and not the other way around. But, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s 2007 Religious Landscape Survey, roughly 8 percent of Catholics were raised in other churches as evangelicals. This compares with 9 percent of evangelical Christians who were raised Catholic. Not much difference.

    As I continued to study I became aware that the one only place where Jesus used the word 'covenant' was when He instituted 'The Lord's Supper'. Yet, we only observed communion four times a year.
    I began to study the Gospel of John and became aware that the Gospel was chock full of sacramental imagery. I was raised to believe that liturgy and sacraments were to be rejected and certainly not to be studied. These things I was programed not to be open to. But going through Hebrews I noticed the writer made me see that liturgy and sacraments were an essential part of God's family life. Then in John six, I came to realize that Jesus could not have been talking metaphorically when He taught us to eat His flesh and drink His blood. The Jews in His audience would not have been outraged and scandalized by a mere symbol. Besides, if the Jews had merely misunderstood Jesus to be speaking literally and He meant His words to be taken figuratively, why would he not simply clarify them? But He never did! Nor did any other Christian for over a thousand years!

    All this and the fact that my Aunt, a Baptist missionary, had announced to her family that she was becoming a Catholic and this started me looking deeper into a Church I had long considered heretical and even the Great Whore of Babylon (I had read David Hunt's book). Then I began to read some of the writings of the recent popes. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been highly regarded in the evangelical community. Their writings are very focused on the person of Jesus Christ and very attentive to scripture. That was certainly important to us evangelicals.

    Of course there were the questions about supposed 'Mary worship' (Catholics place Mary and the saints above Christ and Catholics bow to idols, don't they?) and I was taught in my Baptist church that Catholics believe Purgatory is place where people are given a 'Second Chance' at salvation. Of course, I knew that was un-biblical. And wasn't Catholicism a 'works-rigteousness' based religion? The list went on and on so I began to read and see for myself what the Catholics had to say to my objections to their 'un-biblical' doctrines. My first book was 'Born Fundamentalist, Born-Again Catholic' by David Currie. This answered most of the nagging questions I had had as to whether or not the Catholic Church was biblical or not. I then read 'Crossing The Tiber: Evangelicals Discover The Ancient Faith' by Steve Ray, a former Baptist. Then came books by other evangelical converts such as Scott Hahn and books by Karl Keating.

    There are many other reasons why I and other former evangelicals convert to Catholicism. One reason is: Certainty
    To have certainty and knowledge of truth leads many evangelicals to look elsewhere beyond all the doctrinal differences and “choose-your-own-church syndrome” within evangelical churches. I had the desire for certain knowledge, this is something I could not find within evangelical churches. If I were to ask ten evangelicals what their churches teach about marriage and divorce, how many different answers might I get?

    Another reason for conversion is that I wanted to be connected to the ENTIRE history of the Christian Church and not just from the Reformation forward. I do not buy into Baptist successionism as their is a lack of historical evidence for it. Baptists trying to connect themselves to various groups that split from Catholicism prior to the Reformation falls short. Their beliefs and practices were closer to Catholicism than present day Baptists. The Waldenses are an example.

    Also, I have issue with the "interpretive diversity” that occurs in evangelicalism, I prefer to accept the authority of the Catholic Church instead of trying to sort through the numerous interpretations of evangelical pastors and theologians. The authority that is found in the Catholic Church’s Magisterium has been consistant for two thousand years. The non-ending threads on the BB pitting Christian against Christian over doctrine many times resulting in either board members directly or indirectly questioning each others salvation and the myriad of denominations created because of such squabbling is evidence enough of the dangers of 'interpretive diversity' or 'individual interpretation' of scripture.

    I will be entering the Catholic Church at the end of Lent at the Easter Vigil. It has been a long journey as I have had to overcome much mis-information I was given as a Baptist plus I wanted to be sure my decision was made prayerfully and that Catholic teaching did not contradict scripture. I have had to face judgement and even some shunning from family which has been particularly painful. For the most part, my family (mostly Baptist) has not been willing to discuss this with me and has concluded that I 'must not have ever been really saved to begin with'. I hope this changes over time. Since my decision to worship and practice the Catholic Faith I have grown in my prayer life and have gained victory over some of the habitual sins of my life. I can certainly say that I've come a long way spiritually in the past year.

    Anyway, I will try to visit the board daily and respond to the best of my ability and with Christian charity to questions or concerns by other board members. To my knowledge, there are only two other Catholics allowed on this board but hopefully they will join in the discussion.
     
    #1 Walter, Feb 13, 2013
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  2. Nevada

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    I'm glad the government doesn't use my tax dollars to attempt to sway you from your decision. :)
     
  3. evangelist-7

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  4. Bro. James

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    Another interesting testimony: The Dark Letters by Mother Theresa. She has been beatified and not canonized. Maybe she can figure if God exists while in purgatory.

    Converting to RCC: seems strange to want to go back to the bondage of sin an death.

    You shall know the Truth, the Truth will make you free(forever).

    Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James, a former confirmed Roman Catholic
     
    #4 Bro. James, Feb 13, 2013
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  5. steaver

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    May I ask you a question Walter?

    Can a person know for certain they are saved? If yes, how so?
     
  6. SolaSaint

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    Walter sounds like you were in a atmosphere that was not geniuine Baptist IMO. I do have a question for you, what will you place your trust in when it comes to practicing your faith? The Bible or RCC tradition?
     
  7. Walter

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    It is not unusual to read of claims of the 'apostasy of the Early Church'. The idea is that the Catholic Church became completely and totally different than what is seen in the New Testament Church and that the Church being influenced by pagan Rome which infiltrated Christianity. Of course that means there must be a small 'remnant' of Christians which remain hidden somewhere resisting these pagan influences. The SDA's advance this claim (although their versions differ somewhat) as do the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, although no one can show one iota of historical evidence of this 'remnant'.
    In Matthew 18:15-18 the Christians are told to take disputes which cannot be settled to the Church. If the Church were to fall into disaster and apostasy, why would Jesus do this? The Church Jesus established is clearly being held up as a strong example of solidity – not something that might collapse and disappear. In I Timothy 3:16 we read that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth – these are very strong, definite terms for something that could vanish into apostasy!
    Most of these following men knew the apostles personally, Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp and Irenaeus, and their writings are well-documented and can easily be obtained. There are a number of points to note from their work. The first being that they consistently teach Catholic doctrines. It is clear that these Fathers – who were personally taught by the apostles in many cases – were not teaching Baptist doctrines. Do you find in any of their writings anything about a great apostasy or any sort of battle for the faith on such a scale that you are claiming? No. Certainly, some of them held heretical views on some beliefs and their were certain heretical movements, but there is no mention of any sort of total apostasy, is there?
    Even if it is assumed that the Church Fathers were part of the apostasy, which is what I have read on this board before, isn't it likely that they would have mentioned it? Even if just to condemn the “true” Christians? But there is not one iota of this in any writings of the Church Fathers of this heresy, nor are there ANY other writings which support what you propose. History is totally silent. Some posters on this board have suggested that the Catholics must have destroyed these writings. Then why did they not destroy the writings of other dissenters. We certainly have plenty of historical evidence of what Arianin heresy.
    I seem to remember that most people posting on this board place the date of this apostasy at about 325 AD. BUT, there is a complete continuity of teaching between the pre-Nicaean Fathers and the post-Nicaean Fathers. Regardless of the claims I have read on this board to the contrary, the historical evidence shows the Catholic Church determined the canon of Sacred Scripture around the year 400 AD.
    Now, how could an apostate Church produce the correct NT canon of the Bible? Would it not be better to simply destroy the Bible, or to produce a false one, rather than produce the one which every Christian denomination agrees to be divinely inspired and which supposedly defeats the teachings of that Church?
     
  8. Walter

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    I have the hope and confidence that God will give me the grace of perseverance and accept His gift of salvation until my death.

    2 Cor 5:17
    So whoever is in Christ is a new creation

    1 Cor 15:2
    Through it (the gospel) you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

    Rom 5:9
    How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.

    God's power delivers us constantly from the bondage of sin. I John 1:9
     
  9. Thomas Helwys

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    To Walter:

    Was the RCC the true church during all the centuries that it was persecuting, torturing, and murdering other Christians? Could a true church do the following?:

    "The Piedmont Easter

    In January 1655 the Duke of Savoy commanded the Waldensians to attend Mass or remove to the upper valleys of their homeland, giving them twenty days in which to sell their lands. Being in the midst of winter, the order, of course, was intended to persuade the Vaudois to choose the former; however, the bulk of the populace instead chose the latter, abandoning their homes and lands in the lower valleys and removing to the upper valleys. It was written that these targets of persecution, old men, women, little children and the sick "waded through the icy waters, climbed the frozen peaks, and at length reached the homes of their impoverished brethren of the upper Valleys, where they were warmly received."

    By mid-April, when it became clear that the Duke's efforts to force the Vaudois to conform to Catholicism had failed, he tried another approach. Under the guise of false reports of Vaudois uprisings, the Duke sent troops into the upper valleys to quell the local populace. He required that the local populace quarter the troops in their homes, which the local populace complied with. But the quartering order was a ruse to allow the troops easy access to the populace. On 24 April 1655, at 4 a.m., the signal was given for a general massacre.

    The Catholic forces did not simply slaughter the inhabitants. They are reported to have unleashed an unprovoked campaign of looting, rape, torture, and murder. According to one report by a Peter Liegé: "Little children were torn from the arms of their mothers, clasped by their tiny feet, and their heads dashed against the rocks; or were held between two soldiers and their quivering limbs torn up by main force. Their mangled bodies were then thrown on the highways or fields, to be devoured by beasts. The sick and the aged were burned alive in their dwellings. Some had their hands and arms and legs lopped off, and fire applied to the severed parts to staunch the bleeding and prolong their suffering. Some were flayed alive, some were roasted alive, some disemboweled; or tied to trees in their own orchards, and their hearts cut out. Some were horribly mutilated, and of others the brains were boiled and eaten by these cannibals. Some were fastened down into the furrows of their own fields, and ploughed into the soil as men plough manure into it. Others were buried alive. Fathers were marched to death with the heads of their sons suspended round their necks. Parents were compelled to look on while their children were first outraged [raped], then massacred, before being themselves permitted to die."

    This massacre became known as the Piedmont Easter. An estimate of some 1,700 Waldensians were slaughtered; the massacre was so brutal it aroused indignation throughout Europe. Protestant rulers in northern Europe offered sanctuary to the remaining Waldensians. Oliver Cromwell, then ruler in England, began petitioning on behalf of the Waldensians, writing letters, raising contributions, calling a general fast in England and threatening to send military forces to the rescue. (The massacre prompted John Milton's famous poem on the Waldenses, "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont".) Swiss and Dutch Calvinists set up an 'underground railroad' to bring many of the survivors north to Switzerland and even as far as the Dutch Republic, where the councillors of the city of Amsterdam chartered three ships to take some 167 Waldensians to their City Colony in the New World (Delaware) on Christmas Day 1656. Those that stayed behind in France and the Piedmont formed a guerilla resistance movement led by a farmer, Josué Janavel, which lasted into the 1660s."
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    May I ask what type of Baptist were you...SBC, Independent, Reformed?
     
  11. Thomas Helwys

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    In spite of the murders of the RCC across the centuries, I do not take the position of some here that Roman Catholics are not saved. If they meet the condition for being saved, then they are just as much so as anyone else who meets that condition, Baptist or other.
     
  12. Zaac

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    Didn't Jesus set a standard of speaking in words the Jews didn't understand? After all, they would ask Him a question and He presented them with one parable after another. The aforementioned kinda douses the thought that the Jews would not possibly be outraged and scandalized by a mere symbol. They seemed to constantly be outraged by the things He said while understanding none of it.

    59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

    Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

    62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent
    . Matt. 26:59-63

    They got this wrong too, but Jesus didn't explain it to them.


    Interesting. Do all Catholics now believe that a fetus is not a person?

    Seems a bit odd to make something of an idol out of a Church's history. Would seem to be more important to have a connection with Christ. I guess I'm not too clear on what glory to Christ having a connection to the history of the Church is going to bring?

    We are to be going directly to God for the interpretation of His word.:)

    Walter, will you please explain what you believe Baptists have got wrong when they say that Catholics believe in salvation by works. Thanks.
     
  13. steaver

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    To me, this sounds like a hope so salvation rather than a know so salvation. Do you know you will be saved? Or do you hope you will be saved?
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    This is easy to answer. I will place your entire post here and highlight specific sections so you can see what the truth of the matter is. I will place parenthesis for my comments.


     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

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    So how do you know your name is written in the Lambs Book of Life Steve? Did you get a peak? :laugh:
     
  16. Thomas Helwys

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    What you are trying to dodge and excuse is that the Catholic Church and state were united. It was the policy of this state church to exterminate other Christians. It is true that other state churches, those of the Magisterial Reformers, had this same policy.

    Baptists were never state churches, and they never murdered other Christians because of their beliefs. Your argument thus fails with regard to Baptists.

    I have seen state church defenders use this same tactic before, but it doesn't work.
     
  17. Zaac

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    Great Perry White's Ghost!!! Can we no longer have assurance of salvation?
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    That isn't entirely true either. Often States acted in opposition to the Church. When it suited the state they would appeal for the Church's approval but when none was forth comming they acted alone anyway. A little parousal through Midieval history will show the truth of this. For instance in the fourth Crusade Innocent III (Pope) demanded that the Crusaders not attack on Zara and Constantinople but in order to raise funds the Monarchs chose to anyway. What you don't seem to understand is where the European monarchy and the Catholic church were united wasn't that the Church was in control of each monarch but was the faith of Europeans in general. Thus each monarch following the lead of Frankish king Charlemagne held that they were the defender of the Catholic Faith over their lands. They held this as their responsibility and thus performed it as they saw fit. Thus upon Tyndales execution he didn't appeal to the pope but the person responsible for his execution. The king of England.

    Maybe of the State not necissarily the Church.
    Yes. Because the Civil authorities believed the same way it was their responsibility to root out heresy.

    No baptist weren't state churches. However, Baptists churches supported slavery, hanging of slaves who were christians, they participated in the trail of tears. However, because baptist churches are autonomous they will say "well that wasn't us." Still the belief system are based on similar principles so where one baptist church ok's slavery and killing of Christian slaves or american natives we can apply the principle to baptist in general. Unless you agree that because bad catholics acted badly the Church cannot be held responsible for their action. Thus the argument remains the same and is justified not to mention the Ana-Baptist factions who slaughtered Catholics.

    Just because the accuracy of the argument is good and you personally don't want to accept it doesn't mean that it as you say "doesn't work." Let me give you a for instance that is modern. Right now Muslim associated with Al -Queda are attempting to over throw the Malian government right now French forces are prohibiting the spread of that form of Islam. I would guess the majority of the French forces there now will say they are Catholic. I'm sure the Muslims being fought over there believe this is a new crusade, however, is the Catholic Church really responsible for what the French do in Mali? No.
     
    #18 Thinkingstuff, Feb 14, 2013
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  19. steaver

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    I did, and I sure hope you did also. :wavey:
     
  20. Matt Black

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    I'm not Walter but my answer - were I Catholic - would be "(Principally) neither, but rather Jesus Christ." (That's also my answer as someone "not in full communion with the See of Rome", BTW.)
     
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