A problem for a convert

Hello everyone. I am going through the formal process of converting to the Catholic faith. This conversion includes my immediate family, wife and child. We have been traveling this road for the last 5 or so years. We are all enrolled in RCIA and are committed to complete the course. We have read and studied so much over the last few years that our own library would put most Catholic school libraries to shame. LOL. We are fervent watchers of EWTN and recommend many of its programming.

My background is fundamentalist, 3 generations of preachers. I broke the chain. Needless to say we are absent from any support from family members. They are not Catholic haters but our souls are in question from their viewpoints, everyone is saved with “eternal security” until you disagree with them. I love and respect each of them and will go as far to say that I respect their teachings and I know they serve our living God.

When my wife and I were first married, 15 years ago, we had to come to a compromise of where we would attend church. We tried the fundamental churches and quickly came to realize this was NOT for us. We then joined a United Methodist Church. It is what I would call a “high” church and started our liturgical experience. We were both very active and had our child baptized in this church. As often is true with Protestant churches the minister was relocated. We found ourselves with many others dissatisfied. So many things depend upon the minister and how he invigorates the congregation. We began to look. Many things fell into place for us and we have attended mass for a few years now. We are beginning to feel very comfortable in the Catholic church and with her teachings.

I tell this introduction to ask for help. This comfort level with the church and her teachings had it legs knocked out from under me this week. I was NOT prepared for what happened. I have been a Catholic Answers fan and have received much help from the posts for years now. Mr. Keating has and still receives much thanks and prayers from me. I downloaded a debate that he participated in with Dr. Ruckman in 1987. Dr. Ruckman was involved with a fundamentalist college in Florida. He is what I would be very familiar with, an educated fundamentalist. He has his formal education as well as a biblical education that is hard to compete with. Many of these fundamentalist can quote bible verses, much like myself, for just about any inquiry. I don’t believe Keating was prepared for this and was “taken to the woodshed.” It shook me and my new found truth to the bone. Keating seemed he couldn’t respond to some of the standard verses that the fundamentalist use to disprove the Catholic church. It was a pro-fundamentalist crowed and Keating did have his work cut out for him. I even remember Keating stating in the debate that someone had taken all of his literature from is allowed table so no one could pick them up after the debate was over! I would like to know if there are others out there like me and what materials, written or electronic, do you use when the fundamentalist come “knocking?” I know I need to be prepared as Easter approaches with answers for my friends and family. I believe in the fullness of the faith but I need to know how to communicate and defend it better.

In Christ

Catholic resources

What parts of the faith are you having doubts with? I would again point you to the Catechism as a good reference, as well as “Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths” which may be found (cheap) on amazon. If you want to hear a good apologist, I would point you to www.biblechristiansociety.com, this site includes one debate between the operator of the BCS (John Martinony) and a Evangelical fundamentalist regarding sola fide. What I found striking here was the Catholic doctrin of salvation, saved through grace with the necessary response of faith working through love is 100% biblically supportable.

To support Sola Fide, the evangelical ultimatly had to drop scripture and leave it behind. Instead he relied on poetry, and a story about how much better he feels personally belieiving that salvation is assured. I assure you, nothing in our faith contradicts the bible, more over it complements and fully explains the bible. Where as Christian Fundamentalism is made up of a series of errors which requires over focus on certain passages of the bible, while ignoring others completley, twisting the word to make it fit a series of brand new christian doctrines (c1,500) as well as the revival of many ancient heresy’s.

If there’s anything further we can do to help, let us know. Of course you’ll probably have to post specific points you’re having issues with.

Read the book, Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn, he tells his story from the beginning and brings you through the painful process of his conversion which derrived from Sola Scripture which is where the fundamentalists will insist you stay within the confines upon. Scott’s credentials before his conversion are very, very formidable, and if the truth he discovered converted him, think of what it can do to a laymen, or an individual that has a far less extensive background then what Scott had.

Did a recording of a single 22+ year old debate really disrupt your faith and five year journey so much? Or are other pressures or doubts coming into play?

I agree with a prior post that you will need to post more specific details regarding your concerns. However, I bet your library of information has many of the answers that you are looking for.

Meanwhile, I would recommend discussing your specific concerns with your RCIA director and parish priest. I would also recommend the following book if its not in your library:

“Catholic and Christian” by Alan Schreck


I don’t need materials. I either don’t answer the door or (if I’m feeling polite) answer the door and tell them I’m not interested in discussing religion with strangers. Then, I thank them and go back inside.

– Mark L. Chance.

In answering the questions of evangelical protestants, Catholics are normally presented with the challenge to demonstrate particular doctrines/beliefs in Scripture, which, while entirely possible, requires a lot of research, and will rarely be proved by a clear statement. The Marian doctrines epitomise this; there are many verses of scripture which allude to the Immaculate Conception, Bodily Assumption, Queenship of Mary, Mary as Ark of the New Covenant/New Eve etc., but it took the church centuries to arrive at this exegesis guided by the Holy Spirit. Your family members are unlikely to arrive at a real understanding by using these passages in the space of a family get-together.

In responding to the relentless demand for black and white scripture verses which will not often exist, the Catholic needs to address instead the central premise of their evangelical brother’s question: Sola Scriptura.

The fact is, at his ascension Jesus did not hand out to his disciples copies of the NIV, with the instruction to ignore everything he had taught them up until then, and just follow what they read in the Bible. If we try and explain the Catholic Faith to our protestant brethren without addressing the underlying problem with their theology we will simply end up giving them alternative interpretations of Scripture, which they will simply reject, because in their tradition one has the perfect right to reject any scriptural interpretations which don’t suit them.

Here are some points to make.

  1. The Church pre - existed the Bible. Up until the 4th Century there wasn’t a defined canon of Scripture. What did Christians do before this?

  2. An honest reading of the New Testament surely shows that it wasn’t intended to be a codified statement of all the truths of the faith. St. Paul refers to his previous preaching in the various cities he visited, and make no reference to what he taught them then - except where something has gone wrong. His letters are written to correct error, not as an initial preaching of the faith.

  3. No legal/constitutional document has ever existed without some authority to interpret it. The US constitution is an example of a very short document, yet a Constitutional court was absolutely necessary to decide on interpretation. Jesus himself prayed that Christians would be “one”, that is to say united. The Gospel message is, in fact, greatly harmed by the examples of Christian disunity. It is impossible to think that Christians could ever have remained united were the Bible the totality of revealed truth with no authority in place to decide interpretation. JESUS WANTED UNITY so he gave us such an authority.

  4. Catholics hold the Bible in high esteem. It is fundamentalist protestants who ignore huge swathes of it. How many “born again” Christians are divorced and remarried? - something Jesus explicitly calls adultery. How many fundamentalist commit themselves to perpetual virginity? - something praised by St. Paul, and our Lord himself. How many protestants confess their sins to one another? - something St. James tells us to do. Whatever you do, don’t get caught out in the “where’s that in the Bible game”; protestants left the true Church, and they should explain their basis for doing so, first.

I dont think you should base your faith journey on who is winning what debate. Catholics and Protestants have been debating for years. Sometimes it seems that we dont do so well, and other times we do better. It doesnt make the Catholic faith any less true in either outcome.

I wish you Gods speed. I appreciate what it is like to come from the fundamentalist background and all the “hurdles” you need to get over. They will not dissapear after Easter either.

I might suggest that every time you wobble remember what you would be going back to!

If I can just use one phrase not often used by our fundamentalist friends. Persevere to the end. Pray for the Grace to persevere to the end. What you have and will experience in your whole journey is a constant struggle. To find the truth, to stick with it, to not look back.

Awww, I love talking religion with strangers :slight_smile:

Not me, but there have been exceptions. I had a very pleasant conversation with a young man at Starbuck’s once about whether or not I had been saved. I explained that, yes, I have been, that I was baptized on public profession of my faith when I was 11 (IIRC), and that I have since moved farther in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ by being received into the Catholic Church.

He didn’t quite know what to make of me at that point.

At a conference in Colorado Springs a few years ago, during dinner, I had the opportunity to set one of the attendees straight on her misimpressions of the Church’s Marian doctrines. The Methodist minister who sat at our table later complimented me on how diplomatic I was, which I must admit isn’t something I often get complimented on.


– Mark L. Chance.

No debate ever established truth
No debate really has a winner
No debate ever really settles a question
Truth is not established by popular vote
Even if a lie is dressed up in the most beautiful language, it is still a lie
A lie can have the most convincing sounding argument, yet it is still a lie.

But I can understand your reaction … I had a similar experience when I learned CS Lewis lost his faith.

While I was drawn to the Church, in part, by the intellectual study of scripture and historical writings of the early Church Fathers - I was drawn most powerfully by spending time in front of the blessed sacrament in adoration and prayer and through prayer with the Rosary.

This led to a yearning for the sacraments which has enriched my spiritual life in ways I could never have comprehended as a protestant.

So - as to debates - there are indeed Catholic apologists who can tangle with the best other denominations have to offer - but ultimately, as suggested by others, but ultimately, those are humans speaking with humans - I believe the greatest testimony is that of the Holy Spirit who is so evidently present in the sacraments.

Good luck in your journey.



What exactly did Mr. Keating have trouble answering?

I ask this, because one of the best resources out there in discussing religion with Fundamentalist is Mr. Keating’s own book, “Catholicism and Fundamentalism”. I’m quite surprised to hear that he was unprepared for the questions, for I would have thought he’d heard them all before ad nauseum.

All true. I just wanted to clarify for those who may not know anything about C. S. Lewis that he wavered in his faith when his wife Joy died, but regained it completely after prayer and giving himself time to grieve and heal.

For the OP, please let us know what issue in particular is the sticking point where you felt Mr. Keating didn’t answer well.

As a former Evangelical/Pentecostal I can relate to your feelings. I think everyone wishing to be reconciled to the Church has a final time of challenge and doubt. I did, and others here have said the same. It’s to be expected. Becoming Catholic is rather like becoming French after being an American all one’s life. The culture and language are foreign, the world view is different, and living the Catholic life entails many small sacrifices one never had to make before. It’s a shock to the system. :wink:

I think we have to keep firmly in mind that the Bible is not the sum and total of our faith. It is a help, a guide, a witness to it, but it is not the final authority. Jesus never commissioned anyone to write a book in which the whole of his teaching would be found. He established a Church, the Apostles wrote about his life and wrote letters dealing with problems the Church was having in their day, but this writing was never meant to take the place of the Apostles’ authority nor that of their successors, the bishops. The whole of Catholicism rises and falls on authority–who has it and who gave it to them. Written documents need to be interpreted because they are not authority–people are given authority, not documents no matter how sacred. That was how Jesus set up Christianity, it’s an historical fact that no amount of cherry picking Scripture can circumvent.

Let me assure you that Catholic Answers has learned much in the past 22 years.

You should listen to Patrick Madrid’s demolition of James White in their Sola Scriptura debate, for example.

There are lots of Catholic/Protestant debates available online…if you search for them, you’ll find them. I have dozens on my iPod.

The biggest resource is this website…you can search on any topic and get lots of responses.

You say you downloaded this debate which occurred in 1987. I don’t know about the rest of you but that statement alone sends up red flags and lights blinking and sirens wailing. It has been my experience that some fundamentalists will stop at nothing to attack Catholicism even sinking to the level of editing to the point of altering debates. We are all aware of similiar people like Jack Chick and Lorraine Boettner whose lies deceived thousands of people. Do you think they are alone? Why these self-professing “christians” would stoop to the level of committing fraud and bearing false witness is a question for which I have no answer. Thankfully, I don’t have to answer that question, they do.

I would think that an accurate copy of the debate would be available form Catholic Answers. Would be interesting to compare the two. But allow me to say two things. First, there is nothing new in the attacks on the Church. Fundamentalists are recycling old wornout accusations that have been refuted many times before. Second, from what I know of Mr. Keating he is very well capable of holding his own in any debate with any fundamentalist. Don’t be deceived by the lies of those who spew hate.

P.S. I did a search on Dr. Ruckman. He is Dr. Peter Ruckman of Pensacola Florida. He operates a website calle the Bible Baptist Bookstore. He has been divorced twice and married three times. He is considered to be an extremist and ruthless. Here is what David W. Cloud said of him in Extract Despatch magazine:

"What do you think about Peter Ruckman?

How many times I have been asked this question! For good or for bad,Peter Ruckman’s name is intertwined with the defense of the King James Bible. Personally, I think it is bad. On January 24, 1985, I wrote to Dr. Ruckman from Nepal and told him that I believed he had done more damage to the cause of the King James Bible than many of its detractors. “…your writings–because of the spirit in which they are given–actually make me desire to flee from whatever beliefs you are propounding. I sincerely fear … that you have done more damage to the cause of the truth of the preservation of the Textus Receptus and the faithful translations thereof than have the enemies of this position.”

I know these words make some of my friends cringe, but I still believe this. Why? Because his strange ideas, his multiple divorces, his angry spirit, his arrogancy, his Alexandrian cult mentality, his extremism regarding the KJV being advanced revelation, tends to cause men to reject the entire issue."

You can read the entire article here:


Here is something else on Dr. Ruckman from another website:

"Dr. Peter S. Ruckman thought he had gotten away with slandering this missionary and others, until we came along. Time to ante up, old-timer!

Peter Ruckman with malice and forethought lied in person, in phone calls and sent out papers with some truths and lots of half-truths and bald-faced lies in an attempt to ruin a missionary financially and ruin his reputation."

Here is the URL:


Google Peter Ruckman and see the amount of material on the internet about him. It seems the only material that is favorable to him is his own material. This guy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Your faith need not be shaken. You are in the bark of Peter and though tempest tossed waves abound you are safe.

You are correct inkaneer. Dr. Ruckman was very rude and used his bully pulpit well. The web site I downloaded the debate on was bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm, which I believe to be a Catholic site. I am not so shallow to say my faith is like a light switch which I can turn it off when it doesn’t suit me any longer. I have gotten the book by Mr. Keating which presents the problems of fundamentalism “Catholicism and Fundamentalism.” It is very helpful. My eye-opening moment in the debate was, “I am going to face these same arguments and I really don’t know how I am going to answer all of them.” Does the church have an answer? Most defiantly. Is it the correct answers? Absolutely. Do I have these answers in my quiver? No. Will I need them? Yes. When you have “cut your spiritual and physical teeth” on the back of a church pew, you have the life experience to know what obstacles lay ahead. I know the fight I have encountered to understand the faith myself. I was willing to learn and act upon my findings. When you have friends and family, who are concerned for your wellbeing, that are God loving and fearing fundamentalists I know I need to be prepared. I know I need to study to show myself approved and will do so. When a fundamentalists argues his/her point, we as Catholics are forced to play on their court. Why? Because of the rejection of anything but scripture and their interpretation of it. Yes they pull verses from the scripture, some out of context to use to their advantage and argument. Yes you can go into a fundamentalist church and ask a question about theology and you will receive many different answers. Most are so enamored with their preacher that they would do or believe anything he said.

I am going to listen to the debate again and post the questions that I need to have a rebuttal. Thank you for all of your responses.

I do have all of Scott Hahn’s books and have read them. I owe him a great deal for my families conversion. I am going to research the other materials I have not read. The catechism has helped me with my own questions but that is because I can accept its authority. Others simply reject it as Catholic propaganda.

I would love to hear some of Patrick Madrid’s debates. He is one of my favorites when he is on EWTN. I assume you must purchase those through a website?

Thank God for Catholic Answers!
In Christ

Another book I’d recommend you read to stock your quiver is Mark Shea’s By What Authority?

Both Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples are former Evangelicals and have some excellent audio and printed material. Also, the “Essential Catholic Survival Guide”, available on Catholic.com shop online is excellent.

God bless and strengthen you my brother.

You know, despatch.cth.com.au is an Anti-Catholic site.

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