Thursday, April 12, 2007

Looking for Truth and Finding the Church: Two Conversion Stories

So as far as I can remember, I have always “known” that Catholics were in a false religion that was leading them straight to Hell as Catholics did not rely on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I wish I never had to repeat this because it is so painful and tragic, but it is true and indicative of how lost I thought the Church was. When both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II died, I was saddened and I thought “Now they know they were wrong.” Forgive me Father.

You wouldn't believe that anyone could go from this to wearing a huge grin because she was confirmed in the Church last weekend. But people, and the way that God leads them, are endlessly surprising. This is a fascinating story about a family that converted from The Church of the Nazarene to Catholicism. It was especially interesting to me since I had a good friend in high school who was a member of The Church of the Nazarene and I went with her for about two years.

I found this fascinating in that they had anti-Catholicism drilled into them (if any Catholics were Christians it was in spite of being Catholic) and yet the woman had enough of a quest for truth to move beyond it and read herself into the church (and argue her husband there with her). I love someone who just won't quit looking until they have found the truthful answers to their questions. Her reading list is one that will be a good resource to anyone who wants to help Protestant friends who are looking into crossing the Tiber.
A few years later, a friend of mine became a Catholic. He’d grown up mostly Baptist, Reformed, or Reformed Baptist and had had his share of struggling with his faith. His family was mostly Baptist and his father worked at the school with me, so it was a pretty big shock. For many of his “Christian” friends, it meant that he’d abandoned his faith and was no better than a heretic or non-Christian. I wanted to give him, if not the benefit of the doubt, then at least some room to discuss why he’d chosen this spiritual route. Rather than just abandoning him because he’d “fallen away.”

That meant I needed to put away my anti-Catholic preconceptions and take a new look at what it was he said he believed. Which meant looking at what the Catholic Church says it teaches. Not what nominal Catholics believe or what I see in movies or hear antagonists say about it, but what the Catholic Church officially teaches. If you’re going to learn about a belief system, it’s a good idea to start with their own official teachings. THEN you can evaluate whether or not you think them credible or worthwhile. But you certainly can’t make an unbiased decision when your only information sources are biased against them.

I have never seen such a thorough, planned study as the one that Coffee Klatch outlines in this story. Just reading his list of items to research wore me out. Thank heavens I was into much more basic wrestling when I converted. I'd never have finished the reading. What makes this so interesting to me (besides the fact that any conversion story is an interesting story) is that one by one we are given the reasons why Scripture itself refutes anti-Catholic arguments. The author doesn't always specifically spell out all the Protestant beliefs that his studies refuted, however, to anyone who is used to the basic sort of arguments, it is very clear. Not only is this inspiring but it is a wonderful resource as well. (Note: apologies to Scott ... obviously I hadn't come across his name and so was writing "her" when it should have been "him.")

1 comment:

  1. I am a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University(1971) and I converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 2006 as a result of watching the Coming Home program on EWTN.

    I love my Church of the Nazarene friends and my holiness upbringing and believe they are no less Christian than i am.

    I simply came to believe that the apostles believed that Jesus was truely present in the Eucharist and who am I to argue with them.

    If asked, "When was Jesus closest you this past week." My answer is, when I get to say "amen" to the proclamation "the body of Christ."

    De Colores,

    Joe Wisehart
    Grayslake, IL