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A PROTESTANT HISTORIAN DISCOVERS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Totton Linnet View Post
    He swapped one dead cat for another dead cat
    ...in the entirely non-authoritative opinion of TL's preferred dead cat, anyway. I'll stick with the authoritative teachings of Christ's one historic Catholic Church.
    "The very tradition, teaching, & faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the Apostles & preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded..." ~ St. Athanasius (4th cent.)

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Cruciform View Post
      A PROTESTANT HISTORIAN DISCOVERS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

      I grew up an Evangelical Protestant in Birmingham, Alabama. My parents were loving and devoted,
      sincere in their faith, and deeply involved in our church. They instilled in me a respect for the Bible as the
      Word of God, and a desire for a living faith in Christ. Missionaries frequented our home and brought
      their enthusiasm for their work. Bookshelves in our house were filled with theology and apologetics.
      From an early age, I absorbed the notion that the highest possible calling was to teach the Christian
      faith. I suppose it is no surprise that I became a Church historian, but becoming a Catholic was the last
      thing I expected.

      My family’s church was nominally Presbyterian, but denominational differences meant very little to us. I
      frequently heard that disagreements over baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or church government were
      unimportant as long as one believed the Gospel. By this we meant that one should be “born again,” that
      salvation is by faith alone, and that the Bible is the sole authority for Christian faith. Our church
      supported the ministries of many different Protestant denominations, but the one group we certainly
      opposed was the Catholic Church.

      The myth of a Protestant “recovery” of the Gospel was strong in our church. I learned very early to
      idolize the Protestant Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin, because they supposedly had rescued
      Christianity from the darkness of medieval Catholicism. Catholics were those who trusted in “good
      works” to get them to heaven, who yielded to tradition instead of Scripture, and who worshipped Mary
      and the saints instead of God. Their obsession with the sacraments also created an enormous
      impediment to true faith and a personal relationship with Jesus. There was no doubt. Catholics were not
      real Christians.

      Our church was characterized by a kind of confident intellectualism. Presbyterians tend to be quite
      theologically minded, and seminary professors, apologists, scientists, and philosophers were frequent
      speakers at our conferences. It was this intellectual atmosphere that had attracted my father to the
      church, and his bookshelves were lined with the works of the Reformer John Calvin, and the Puritan
      Jonathan Edwards, as well as more recent authors like B.B. Warfield, A.A. Hodge, C.S. Lewis, and
      Francis Schaeffer. As a part of this academic culture, we took it for granted that honest inquiry would
      lead anyone to our version of Christian faith.

      All of these influences left definite impressions on me as a child. I came to see Christianity as somewhat
      akin to Newtonian physics. The Christian faith consisted in certain eminently reasonable and immutable
      laws, and you were guaranteed eternal life provided you constructed your life according to these
      principles. I also thought this was the message clearly spelled out in the official textbook of Christian
      theology: the Bible. Only mindless trust in human tradition or depraved indifference could possibly
      explain anyone’s failure to grasp these simple truths.

      There was one strange irony in this highly religious and theological atmosphere. We stressed that it was
      faith and not works that saves. We also confessed the classic Protestant belief that all people are “totally
      depraved,” meaning that even their best moral efforts are intrinsically hateful to God and can merit
      nothing. By the time I reached high school, I put these pieces together and concluded that religious
      practice and moral striving were more or less irrelevant to my life. It was not that I lost my faith. On the
      contrary, I absorbed it thoroughly. I had accepted Christ as my Savior and been “born again.” I believed
      that the Bible was the word of God. I also believed none of my religious or moral works had any value.
      So I quit practicing them.

      Fortunately, my indifference lasted only a few years, and I had a genuine reconversion to the faith in
      college. I found that my need for God was deeper than simple “fire insurance.” I also met a beautiful girl
      with whom I started going to Protestant services. Jill had grown up nominally Catholic, but failed to keep
      up the practice of her faith after confirmation. Together, we found ourselves growing deeper in our
      Protestant faith, and after a few months we both became disillusioned with the worldly atmosphere of
      our New Orleans University. We concluded that the Midwestern and Evangelical Wheaton College would
      provide a more spiritual environment, and we both transferred in the middle of our sophomore year
      (January 1991).

      Wheaton College is a beacon for sincere Evangelical Christians of various backgrounds. Protestants
      from many different denominations are represented, united in their commitment to Christ and the Bible.
      My childhood had taught me that theology, apologetics, and evangelism were the highest calling of a
      Christian, and I found them all in plentiful supply at Wheaton. It was there that I first thought of
      committing my life to the study of theology. It was also at Wheaton that Jill and I became engaged.

      After graduating, Jill and I were married and eventually found our way to Trinity Evangelical Divinity
      School in Chicago. My goal was to get a seminary education, and then eventually to complete a Ph.D. I
      wanted to become one of those theology professors who had been so admired in the church of my
      youth.

      I threw myself into seminary with abandon. I loved my courses in theology, Scripture, and Church history,
      and I thrived on the faith, confidence, and sense of mission that pervaded the school. I also embraced
      its anti*Catholic atmosphere. I was there in 1994 when the document “Evangelicals and Catholics
      Together” was first published, and the faculty was almost uniformly hostile to it. They saw any
      compromise with Catholics as a betrayal of the Reformation. Catholics were simply not brothers in the
      Lord. They were apostates.

      I accepted the anti-Catholic attitudes of my seminary professors, so when it came time to move on in my
      studies, I decided to focus on a historical study of the Reformation. I thought there could be no better
      preparation for assaulting the Catholic Church and winning converts than to thoroughly understand the
      minds of the great leaders of our faith — Martin Luther and John Calvin. I also wanted to understand the
      whole history of Christianity, so I could place the Reformation in context. I wanted to be able to show
      how the medieval church had left the true faith and how the Reformers had recovered it. To this end, I
      began Ph.D. studies in historical theology at the University of Iowa. I never imagined that Reformation
      Church history would move me to the Catholic Church.

      Before I began my studies in Iowa, Jill and I witnessed the birth of our first child, a son. His brother was
      born less than two years later, and a sister was arrived before we left Iowa (we now have five children).
      My wife was very busy caring for these children, while I committed myself almost entirely to my studies. I
      see today that I spent too much time in the library and not enough time with my wife, my infant sons, and
      my daughter. I think that I justified this neglect by relying on my sense of mission. I had a high calling —
      to witness to the faith through theological study — and an intellectual view of the Christian faith and my
      Christian duty. For evangelical Christians, what one believes is more important than how one lives. I was
      learning how to defend and promote those beliefs. What could be more important?

      I began my Ph.D. studies in September of 1995. I took courses in early, medieval, and Reformation
      Church history. I read the Church Fathers, the scholastic theologians, and the Protestant Reformers. At
      each stage, I tried to relate later theologians to earlier ones, and all of them to the Scriptures. I had a
      goal of justifying the Reformation and this meant, above all, investigating the doctrine of “justification by
      faith alone.” For Protestants, this is the most important doctrine to be “recovered” by the Reformation.

      The Reformers had insisted that they were following the ancient church in teaching “faith alone” and for
      proof they pointed to the writings of the Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354–430). My seminary
      professors also pointed to Augustine as the original wellspring of Protestant theology. The reason for this
      was Augustine’s keen interest in the doctrines of original sin, grace, and justification. He was the first of
      the Fathers to attempt a systematic explication of these Pauline themes. He also drew a sharp contrast
      between “works” and “faith” (see his On the Spirit and the Letter, 412 A.D.). Ironically, it was my
      investigation of this doctrine and of St. Augustine that began my journey to the Catholic Church.

      My first difficulty arose when I began to grasp what Augustine really taught about salvation. Briefly put,
      Augustine rejected “faith alone.” It is true that he had a high regard for faith and grace, but he saw these
      mainly as the source of our good works. Augustine taught that we literally “merit” eternal life when our
      lives are transformed by grace. This is quite different from the Protestant point of view.

      The implications of my discovery were profound. I knew enough from my college and seminary days to
      understand that Augustine was teaching nothing less than the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. I
      decided to move on to earlier Church Fathers in my search for the “pure faith” of Christian antiquity.
      Unfortunately, the earlier Church Fathers were even less help than Augustine.

      Augustine had come from Latin-speaking North Africa. Others hailed from Asia Minor, Palestine, Syria,
      Rome, Gaul, and Egypt. They represented different cultures, spoke different languages, and were associated
      with different apostles. I thought it possible that some of them might have misunderstood the
      Gospel, but it seemed unlikely that they would all be mistaken. The true faith had to be represented
      somewhere in the ancient world. The only problem was that I could not find it. No matter where I looked,
      on whatever continent, in whatever century, the Fathers agreed: salvation comes through the
      transformation of the moral life and not by faith alone. They also taught that this transformation begins
      and is nourished in the sacraments, and not through some individual conversion experience.

      At this stage of my journey, I was eager to remain a Protestant. My whole life, marriage, family, and
      career were bound up in Protestantism. My discoveries in Church history were an enormous threat to
      that identity, so I turned to biblical studies looking for comfort and help. I thought that if I could be
      absolutely confident in the Reformers’ appeal to Scripture, then I essentially could dismiss 1500 years of
      Christian history. I avoided Catholic scholarship, or books that I thought were intended to undermine my
      faith, and focused instead on what I thought were the most objective, historical, and also Protestant
      works of Biblical scholarship. I was looking for rock-solid proof that the Reformers were right in their
      understanding of Paul. What I did not know was that the best in twentieth century Protestant scholarship
      had already rejected Luther’s reading of the Bible.

      Luther had based his entire rejection of the Church on the words of Paul, “A person is justified by faith
      apart from works of the law” (Romans 3: 28). Luther assumed that this contrast between “faith” and
      “works” meant that there was no role for morality in the process of salvation (according to the traditional
      Protestant view, moral behavior is a response to salvation, but not a contributing factor). I had learned
      that the earliest Church Fathers rejected that view. I now found a whole array of Protestant scholars also
      willing to testify that this is not what Paul meant.

      The second-century Church Fathers believed that Paul had rejected the relevance of only the Jewish
      law for salvation (“works of the law” = Mosaic Law). They saw faith as the entrance to the life of the
      Church, the sacraments, and the Spirit. Faith admits us to the means of grace, but is not itself a
      sufficient ground for salvation. What I saw in the most recent and highly regarded Protestant scholars
      was the same point of view. From the last third of the twentieth century, scholars like E.P. Sanders,
      Krister Stendhal, James Dunn, and N.T. Wright have argued that traditional Protestantism profoundly
      misread Paul. According to Stendhal and others, justification by faith is primarily about Jew and Gentile
      relations, not about the role of morality as a condition of eternal life. Together, their work has been
      referred to as “The New Perspective on Paul.”

      My discovery of this “New Perspective” was a watershed in my understanding of Scripture. I saw, to
      begin with, that the “New Perspective” was the “Old Perspective” of the earliest Church Fathers. I began
      testing it against my own reading of Paul and found that it made sense. It also resolved the longstanding
      tension that I had always felt between Paul and the rest of the Bible. Even Luther had had
      difficulty in reconciling his reading of Paul with the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistle of St. James, and
      the Old Testament. Once I tried on the “New Perspective” this difficulty vanished. Reluctantly, I had to
      accept that the Reformers were wrong about justification.

      These discoveries in my academic work were paralleled to some extent by discoveries in my personal
      life. Protestant theology strongly distinguishes belief from behavior, and I began to see how this had
      affected me. From childhood, I had always identified theology, apologetics, and evangelism as the
      highest calling in Christian life, while the virtues were supposed to be mere fruits of right belief.
      Unfortunately, I found that the fruits were not only lacking in my life, but that my theology had actually
      contributed to my vices. It had made me censorious, proud, and argumentative. I also realized that it
      had done the same thing to my heroes.

      The more I learned about the Protestant Reformers the less I liked them personally. I recognized that my
      own founder, John Calvin, was a self-important, arrogant man who was brutal to his enemies, never
      accepted personal responsibility, and condemned anyone who disagreed with him. He called himself a
      prophet and ascribed divine authority to his own teaching. This contrasted rather starkly with what I was
      learning about Catholic theologians. Many of them were saints, meaning they had lived lives of heroic
      charity and self-denial. Even the greatest of them — men like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas — also
      recognized that they had no personal authority to define the dogma of the Church.

      Outwardly, I remained staunchly anti-Catholic. I continued to attack the Church and to defend the
      Reformation, but inwardly I was in psychological and spiritual agony. I found that my theology and my
      life’s work were founded on a lie, and that my own ethical, moral, and spiritual life were deeply lacking. I
      was rapidly losing my motivation to disprove Catholicism, and instead I wanted simply to learn the truth.
      The Protestant Reformers had justified their revolt by an appeal to “Scripture alone.” My studies in the
      doctrine of justification had shown me Scripture was not as clear a guide as the Reformers alleged.
      What if their whole appeal to Scripture was misguided? Why, after all, did I treat Scripture as the final
      authority?

      When I posed this question to myself, I recognized that I had no good answer. The real reason I
      appealed to Scripture alone was that this is what I had been taught. As I studied the issue, I discovered
      that no Protestant has ever given a satisfactory answer to this question. The Reformers did not really
      defend the doctrine of “Scripture alone.” They merely asserted it. Even worse, I learned that modern
      Protestant theologians who have tried to defend “Scripture alone” do so by an appeal to tradition. This
      struck me as illogical. Eventually, I realized that “Scripture alone” is not even in Scripture. The doctrine is
      self-refuting. I also saw that the earliest Christians knew no more of “Scripture alone,” than they had
      known of “faith alone.” On the issues of how-we-are-saved and how-we-define-the-faith, the earliest
      Christians found their center in The Church. The Church was both the authority on Christian doctrine as
      well as the instrument of salvation.

      The Church was the issue I kept coming back to. Evangelicals tend to view the Church as simply an
      association of like-minded believers. Even the Reformers, Luther and Calvin, had a much stronger view
      of the Church than this, but the ancient Christians had the most sublime doctrine of all. I used to see
      their emphasis on Church as unbiblical, contrary to “faith alone,” but I began to realize that it was my
      evangelical tradition that was unbiblical.

      Scripture teaches that the Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Evangelicals tend to dismiss
      this as mere metaphor, but the ancient Christians thought of it as literally, albeit mystically, true. St.
      Gregory of Nyssa could say, “He who beholds the Church really beholds Christ.” As I thought about this,
      I realized that it spoke to a profound truth about the biblical meaning of salvation. St. Paul teaches that
      the baptized have been united to Christ in His death, so that they might also be united to Him in
      resurrection (Romans 6:3*6). This union literally makes the Christian a participant in the divine nature (2
      Peter 1:4). St. Athanasius could even say, “For He was made man that we might be made God” (De
      incarnatione
      , 54.3). The ancient doctrine of the Church now made sense to me because I saw that
      salvation itself is nothing other than union with Christ and a continual growth into His nature. The Church
      is no mere association of like-minded people. It is a supernatural reality because it shares in the life and
      ministry of Christ.

      This realization also made sense of the Church’s sacramental doctrine. When the Church baptizes,
      absolves sins, or, above all, offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is really Christ who baptizes,
      absolves, and offers His own Body and Blood. The sacraments do not detract from Christ. They make
      Him present.

      The Scriptures are quite plain on the sacraments. It you take them at face value, you must conclude that
      baptism is the “bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NAB). Jesus meant it when he
      said “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (John 6:55 NAB). He was not lying when he
      promised “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them” (John 20:23 NAB). This is exactly how the ancient
      Christians understood the sacraments. I could no longer accuse the ancient Christians of being
      unbiblical. On what grounds could I reject them at all?

      The ancient Christian doctrine of the Church also made sense of the veneration of saints and martyrs. I
      learned that the Catholic doctrine on the saints is just a development of this biblical doctrine of the body
      of Christ. Catholics do not worship the saints. They venerate Christ in His members. By invoking their
      intercession, Catholics merely confess that Christ is present and at work in His Church in Heaven.
      Protestants often object that the Catholic veneration of saints somehow detracts from the ministry of
      Christ. I understood now that the reverse is actually true. It is the Protestants who limit the reach of
      Christ’s saving work by denying its implications for the doctrine of the Church.

      My studies showed this theology fleshed out in the devotion of the ancient Church. As I continued my
      investigation of Augustine, I learned that this “Protestant hero” thoroughly embraced the veneration of
      saints. The Augustine scholar Peter Brown (born 1935) also taught me that the saints were not incidental
      to ancient Christianity. He argued that you could not separate ancient Christianity from devotion to the
      saints, and he placed Augustine squarely in this tradition. Brown showed that this was no mere Pagan
      importation into Christianity, but rather tied intimately to the Christian notion of salvation (See his The
      Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity
      ).

      Once I understood the Catholic position on salvation, the Church, and the saints, the Marian dogmas also
      seemed to fall into place. If the heart of the Christian faith is God’s union with our human nature, the
      Mother of that human nature has an incredibly important and unique role in all of history. This is why the
      Fathers of the Church always celebrated Mary as the second Eve. Her “yes” to God at the annunciation
      undid the “no” of Eve in the garden. If it is appropriate to venerate the saints and martyrs of the Church,
      how much more is it appropriate to give honor and veneration to her who made possible our
      redemption?

      By the time I finished my Ph.D., I had completely revised my understanding of the Catholic Church. I saw
      that her sacramental doctrine, her view of salvation, her veneration of Mary and the saints, and her
      claims to authority were all grounded in Scripture, in the oldest traditions, and in the plain teaching of
      Christ and the apostles. I also realized that Protestantism was a confused mass of inconsistencies and
      tortured logic. Not only was Protestant doctrine untrue, but it bred contention, and could not even remain
      unchanged. The more I studied, the more I realized that my evangelical heritage had moved far not only
      from ancient Christianity, but even from the teaching of her own Protestant founders.

      Modern American Evangelicals teach that Christian life begins when you “invite Jesus into your heart.”
      Personal conversion (what they call “being born again”) is seen as the essence and the beginning of
      Christian identity. I knew from my reading of the Fathers that this was not the teaching of the early
      Church. I learned studying the Reformers that it was not even the teaching of the earliest Protestants.
      Calvin and Luther had both unambiguously identified baptism as the beginning of the Christian life. I
      looked in vain in their works for any exhortation to be “born again.” I also learned that they did not
      dismiss the Eucharist as unimportant, as I had. While they rejected Catholic theology on the sacraments,
      both continued to insist that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. Calvin even taught in 1541 that a
      proper understanding of this Eucharist is “necessary for salvation.” He knew nothing of the individualistic,
      born-again Christianity I had grown up with.

      I finished my degree in December 2002. The last few years of my studies were actually quite dark. More
      and more, it seemed to me that my plans were coming unhinged, my future obscure. My confidence was
      badly shaken and I actually doubted whether or not I could believe anything. Catholicism had started to
      seem like the most sensible interpretation of the Christian faith, but the loss of my childhood faith was
      shattering. I prayed for guidance. In the end, I believe it was grace that saved me. I had a wife and four
      children, and God finally showed me that I needed more than books in my life. Quite honestly, I also
      needed more than “faith alone.” I needed real help to live my life and to do battle with my sins. I found
      this in the sacraments of the Church. Instead of “Scripture alone,” I needed real guidance from a teacher
      with authority. I found this in the Magisterium of the Church. I found that I needed the whole company of
      saints in heaven — not just their books on earth. In sum, I found that the Catholic Church was ideally
      formed to meet my real spiritual needs. In addition to truth, I found Jesus in His Church, through His
      Mother, in the whole company of His saints. I entered the Catholic Church on November 16, 2003. My
      wife also had her own reversion to the depths of the Church and today my family is happily and
      enthusiastically Catholic. I am grateful to my parents for pointing me to Christ and the Scriptures. I am
      grateful to St. Augustine for pointing me to the Church.


      ____________
      A. David Anders, Ph.D.
      Dr. David Anders was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He began college at Tulane University in
      New Orleans, Louisiana, where he met his wife, but they both completed their degrees at Wheaton
      College in Wheaton, Illinois. Dr. Anders earned a B.A. from Wheaton (1992), an M.A. from Trinity
      Evangelical Divinity School (1995), and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (2002), where he studied
      Reformation history and historical theology. Dr. Anders taught history and religion in Iowa and Alabama.
      He currently reside in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife and five home*schooled children (ages 1*14)
      where he have worked for 7 years in investments. Dr. Anders entered the Catholic Church on November
      16, 2003.


      http://www.chnetwork.org/story/a-pro...d-anders-ph-d/
      Long, but good

      Comment


      • #18
        Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. The 'church' is not what was lost. What was lost was the personal relationship with men that God had with Adam and Eve before the fall. Jesus came to seek and to save relationship. The Bible and even the church and especially preachers are the vehicle and roadmap designed to point men to God and having a personal relationship with God is what Jesus came to seek and to save, since it was lost in the garden. Today's church, even the Catholic church, has lost the message and the cross. This is what we are to be about: bringing the message of grace to men and teaching them to know God and love Him enough to take up their cross and follow Him, wherever He leads. If we truly were to do just that: this would be over with very shortly; because, as you may well know: this Gospel of The Kingdom must first be preached to ALL the world. When we get that done, He will come for a victorious church. I don't mean a building, but the Body of Christ, Who is The Church.
        "That man of sin must first be revealed." -- Jesus

        If you haven't tried: you've already failed. -- Aimiel

        Comment


        • #19
          Out of Catholicism and into Christ--Jane's Story.

          For 33 years I was a Roman Catholic. I came from a family that were actually founding members of the Catholic Church in our community. My grandparents help start the church in our town in the early 1900's. Therefore it was inconceivable that I would be anything BUT catholic. Of course, I went to Catholic School, mass 6 days a week and was totally ingrained into the religion. My heart ALWAYS loved God. I couldn't get enough. Like most little girls I had at one time thought of becoming a nun. However, high school and the discovery of boys quickly changed that.
          At 24 I was married in the Church and subsequently had both my children baptized as Catholics. By this time, my faith was ALIVE, but my worship practices were DEAD. No longer did I feel ANYTHING when I went to Mass and stopped going. When I got divorced 4 years later at 29, I was LONGING for something more. As I was going through the annulment procedures of my marriage, I suddenly realized something was terribly wrong with this procedure and the church in general.

          Both of my sisters had left the church; one never to return to ANY religion and my twin had joined the Disciples of Christ church. God bless her, she never gave up on me, she kept asking, and asking for me to attend church with her. For a LONG time I refused. Instead, I turned to the NEW AGE movement -- NO ONE knew more about the movement or had more books than I did. I was convinced beyond ANY doubt, that God had bestowed psychic powers on me and I was constantly seeking new ways of "enlightenment" from the new age movement. NEVER having studied the Bible in the Catholic church, I was LOST and confused when I tried to read the King James Version, and told myself that "new age" material was much better. I understood everything. Then my sister purchased for me "the Book" which is basically a simple every day language version of the Bible.

          The year was 1989 and as I read The Book, God opened my mind and my heart. Once again, I was on fire, I couldn't get enough, study enough, read enough, only THIS TIME it was from God. In March, 1989 I visited for the first time in my ENTIRE life, a church other than a Catholic Church. That day was like a miracle for me. The scriptures came alive and I believe I was "reborn" by hearing the REAL truth. Not long after, I committed myself to Christ and joined the Disciples of Christ Church.

          It has been a LONG process. Frequently I am tempted by the devil to question the differences between Catholics and Christians. I HAVE learned how to overcome these doubts. Unlike some people, I wasn't instantly "changed." It has taken me years of study, and practice to get to the place I am today. My heart ACHED when, as a child, people would ridicule my faith or try and "convert" me. I didn't understand why the world hated Catholics and why we were so misunderstood. Therefore, I am EXTREMELY careful about how I view my former faith. PEOPLE MUST REALIZE that most Catholics come from families where this faith has been passed from generation to generation. Because Catholics are instructed it is WRONG to go to another church even for one service, often times Catholics have never head the TRUE gospel. Therefore it is important to proceed GENTLY when explaining the gospel or witnessing to Catholics. They are NOT KNOWINGLY practicing the wrong way. They simply don't know any better. I thank God each day that he opened my heart. I also believe that many times we must go on a spiritual journey AWAY from God, so that we may know what is out there, and THEN return to our Lord. Praise be to God.

          Jane

          SOURCE ARTICLE
          "That man of sin must first be revealed." -- Jesus

          If you haven't tried: you've already failed. -- Aimiel

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Aimiel View Post
            ...It has been a LONG process. Frequently I am tempted by the devil to question the differences between Catholics and Christians. I HAVE learned how to overcome these doubts. Unlike some people, I wasn't instantly "changed." It has taken me years of study, and practice to get to the place I am today. My heart ACHED when, as a child, people would ridicule my faith or try and "convert" me. I didn't understand why the world hated Catholics and why we were so misunderstood. Therefore, I am EXTREMELY careful about how I view my former faith. PEOPLE MUST REALIZE that most Catholics come from families where this faith has been passed from generation to generation. Because Catholics are instructed it is WRONG to go to another church even for one service, often times Catholics have never head the TRUE gospel. Therefore it is important to proceed GENTLY when explaining the gospel or witnessing to Catholics. They are NOT KNOWINGLY practicing the wrong way. They simply don't know any better. I thank God each day that he opened my heart. I also believe that many times we must go on a spiritual journey AWAY from God, so that we may know what is out there, and THEN return to our Lord. Praise be to God.

            Jane
            Mine would read similarly:

            ...It has been a LONG process. Frequently I am tempted by the devil to question the differences between Protestants and Catholic Christians. I HAVE learned how to overcome these doubts. Unlike some people, I wasn't instantly "changed." It has taken me years of study, and practice to get to the place I am today. My heart ACHED when, as a child, people would ridicule my faith or try and "convert" me. I didn't understand why the world hated Protestants and why we were so misunderstood. Therefore, I am EXTREMELY careful about how I view my former faith. PEOPLE MUST REALIZE that most Protestants come from families where this faith has been passed from generation to generation. Because Protestants are instructed it is WRONG to be Catholic, often times Protestants have never heard the TRUE gospel. Therefore it is important to proceed GENTLY when explaining the gospel or witnessing to Protestants. They are NOT KNOWINGLY practicing the wrong way. They simply don't know any better. I thank God each day that he opened my heart. I also believe that many times we must go on a spiritual journey AWAY from God, so that we may know what is out there, and THEN return to our Lord. Praise be to God.

            Idolater
            "Those who believe in Christ" are all the Christians, Catholic or not.

            @Nee_Nihilo

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            • #21
              I went to a church for years that had DEAD worship. I mean like maybe two or three minutes a year total (at most) you might sense God's Presence. I always wished that worship would go deeper. I didn't know it was so dead, just knew that I was hungry for God's Presence. A friend at work invited me to a Wednesday night 'Believer's Night' at her church one day, which she said was just worship, sometimes a couple hours and sometimes all night and I thought that sounded wonderful. I went. That night I fell in love with The Holy Ghost. I mean it was so soaking wet with The Presence of The Lord I felt like you could cut the Glory with a knife. Sometimes during worship, we'd be silenced by God and even crying babies would stop. Sometimes that would go on for a half hour or more, just soaking in His Divine Presence. I asked Him what that was all about one time, He said that He adores us so much that sometimes He just wants to reverence our time together and be still and know that we love Him. He is so Holy! That church had about 3,000 or so members, was in the 'bad' part of town and like 99% black. I joined that Sunday. I got a LOT of dirty looks from many congregants when I went there, but I didn't care: they knew how to get in God's Presence in worship and moved in the Gifts and Ministries of The Holy Spirit and that's what I wanted in my life. I attended for over five years, served in several ministries and loved every single minute I was there. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. Seeing God move and opening me up like He did and showing me what true worship is was priceless. His Glory is worth more that anyone can imagine. Our choir leader went on to Nashville, led the choir for Michael W. Smith on his worship CD's and has a successful career. My best friend moved to China and still lives there (about 20 years now) serving in ministry and taking locals on missionary trips into Tibet. My life wouldn't be the same without what I experienced there.
              "That man of sin must first be revealed." -- Jesus

              If you haven't tried: you've already failed. -- Aimiel

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