Calling all Evangelical converts to Catholicism


#1

Hi folks,

I have an Evangelical friend who is s-l-o-w-l-y coming towards the Church. I talk about my faith with her a fair amount, though I have been careful not to overwhelm her. She asks me questions from time to time, and has even defended Catholicism when her own kids have presented her with some of the common misconceptions (she doesn’t have time to read much, so her defense was based only on our conversations). I have taken her with me to Mass a number of times, and she likes what she sees. I would like to ask those of you who have converted from an Evangelical background to tell a bit of your story: what initially drew you to the Church? What “clinched” it for you? What were some of the most dramatic differences, and from what did you draw the most comfort? Those sorts of things…I am hoping to send her some of your stories (less intimidating and time-consuming than giving her a book, at least at this stage) that might further feed her interest.
Thank you so much.


#2

Hi Sherlock,
Although technically a revert, baptized catholic infant, my parents stopped going to church when I was 4. I was not Catholic educated. I have had people tell me I am more of a convert than a revert.

I was “born again” in a Nazarene Church, found the wonderous workings of the Holy Spirit in an Assembly of God Church, and was at an Evangelical when God called me home to the Catholic Church.

It took several years. I found a Catechism of the Catholic Church for $4.99 at a local Christian bookstore. I picked it up because people were alway telling me what Catholics believed. Some would ask, but I honestly could not tell them anything. Sometimes people would say things that just did not sound right.

So when I bought the Catechism, I just used it for topical searches. For example, someone would say, "well they worship Mary. " I would look up Mary and read what it said about her. I would look up every Bible reference given, and skip over any argument or explanation that was not Biblical. I still have not read the whole thing cover to cover. :o

I was drawn to the Church, because God reminded me of a promise I had made when, I can only assume by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, a bishop agreed to marry me, a baptized Catholic who had not been to church since 15 (mom went back for about 6months), never had communion, not going to church, to my Lutheran baptized but never been to church, live in boyfriend. The bishop said, “would you raise any children Catholic?” “of course” was my glib answer.

What Clinched it for me was the Real Presence of Christ. It is so Biblical. You don’t have to bring in any ECF at all. It is all right there. I finally could not understand why a church that claimed to believe in the “Bible alone” could convolt Scripture so much to make it only a symbol. I realized I could no longer go to the Evangelical Church as I sat in the pew with tears running down my face and realized I could not receive communion with people who thought it was only a symbol. (Did not even understand at this point that Catholics are not supposed to, just completely convicted by the Holy Spirit!) I mean, it is ALL right there in the Bible.

The most dramatic differences was praying to Saints. But if you can expain it and always use the words we ask … to pray for us, it should help. Also, the awe and reverence. In all of my Churches, Jesus was always our loving Friend. But I think in the Catholic Church, we do not lose sight of the fact that He is also God.

What did I draw most comfort from? To this day, it may seem wierd, but I draw most comfort from the Bible. So many people stress the fact of Scripture and Tradition, that somehow, an Evangelical like me thought that we had to accept a whole host of things not in the Bible. What I have found is it is not so much not in the Bible, everything has a kernel in Scripture, (this is called something but I don’t remember what?), but Tradition is more of proper interpretation of Scripture. Tradition tells us to interpret John 6 literally. Tradition teaches us what “cloud of witnesses” mean.

So to this day, I love to “find it in the Bible”. I am a born again, Bible thumping, Jesus Freak, Catholic Christian.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions of me. I got lots of more stories to tell!

Your sister in Christ,
Maria


#3

MariaG,

Thank you very, very much. By the way, I have been very impressed with your posts on other threads—you are a very articulate apologist.

Let me ask you further: did you, at any time during your journey, go through a period of religious indifferentism (as in, “what difference does it make what church I go to as long as I believe in Christ”)? I ask because my friend once asked me, in reference to my mentioning a debate I was having with a fundamentalist, why those differences mattered. My response was that truth was not relative, and if truth mattered, then it was worth having a discussion about. I think she understood that, but she is not inclined to intellectual arguments and might chalk up that answer to my personality (as one who does enjoy that sort of thing). Anyway, just wondering what spurred you out of that thinking if you ever were prone to it.

Thanks again—great story!


#4

Hi Sherlock:wave: ,
Thanks for the compliment.

To a certain extent, yes, I did have a kind of “what does it matter as long as we have Jesus” kind of thinking.

The turning point for me, I had several friends who became Mormon. I also had a lot of JW’s trying to show me the “truth” and other friends showing me the lies of JW’s. I also went to several different churches with very passionate and Godly men who completely contradicted each other on things, like is speaking in the tongues of angels a gift today or only the work of Satan. I came to the point where I could not believe that God would leave man to muddle things out like this. How can we all be led by the Holy Spirit but come up with such different answers? How can I trust to be led by the Holy Spirit when my friend said she was led by the Spirit and became Mormon and my pastor said she is being deceived by Satan?

I found that in the Catholic Church, I am still led by the Holy Spirit, but that I can look to the Church for discernment. I can check and make sure I am still on the right path. If I am in disagreement with an official Church teaching, I look into whether it is a practice that can be changed or something that will never change. That way I can seek to change things or pray for my conscience to be conformed to the teachings of the church. My trust is still completely in Christ. I trust that Christ is the Church as Scripture says. I trust the Holy Spirit will lead the Church in all truth. So it is not that I trust the Church now instead of Christ. It is more that because I trust Christ so completely, I can trust the prosmises in the Bible about the Cathlic Church.

Frankly, I find great comfort in being a sheep and not having to worry about whether or not I am " in the flesh" because I disagree with the pastor, or if the pastor is just wrong. I can live life and enjoy that which Christ is given me, without worrying constantly about the “snares of the Devil” and being led astray.

God Bless,
Maria


#5

Thanks, Maria.

I am a revert myself, and some of what you describe is very similar to my own experience: it was the contradicting opinions about essential matters (which were equally presented as Gospel Truth) that led me out of Protestantism. I have also presented this problem to my Evangelical friend, and she does see it and acknowledge it. I see her as curious about the claims of Catholicism for that reason, although there are others: she was very impressed by the gravity and reverence of a Latin High Mass (music by Mozart) that we went to, and I think she likes the idea of culture (art, music, architecture) being influenced by one’s faith as is so evident in Catholicism.


#6

Catholic Answers apologist Rosalind Moss was an Evangelical Christian for many years. A recording of her conversion story called “Holy Shock” is available on audio cassette or CD, www.stjosephradio.org/pages/tapes/rosalind-moss.htm


#7

Hi,

I’m curently in RCIA having been in all sorts (or at least several sorts) of evangelical churches and at various times been deacon, preacher, teacher, worship leader etc etc. From the start I was taught that catholicism was a bad thing, for all sorts of reasons that you’ve probably heard a hundred times. For years I believed catholics to be bound for hell etc etc. You know the sort of thing.

Anyway, there’s lots of things in the story of how I am now where I am, but like someone before me, the real central thing has turned out to be the real presence. That’s not what got me to mass for the first time. But it’s the biggest thing that keeps me there. Of course I’d been taught consistently that the real presence was totally biblically unsound, and was a late invention - 9th to 11th centuries, and that any talk of body and blood was symbolic.

Concluding the real presence was truth took a lot of time, a lot of thought, and study to break down what my head was accustomed to believing. Especially important was Ignatius of Antioch - if he was writing about the Eucharist being the flesh of Jesus then the doctrine had to be early. Then there was, almost inevitably, John chapter 6. I turned to Bishop J C Ryle - having read through his expository notes on John’s gospel a few years back I knew he was solid in his criticism of catholic doctrines. I’d been taught that John 6 had nothing to do with the eucharist. Ryle teaches that too. But the first thing he says is that almost without fail, the early church fathers say it is to do with the eucharist. Yet he chooses to ignore them (on the other hand he is frequently scathing of Augustine so maybe that’s no surprise).

It’s not that in protestant days I loved the ECF. I didn’t - they weren’t the Bible. But if you’re taught some doctrine didn’t exist for many hundreds of years and then discover that it existed from the earliest-ECF then you learn that what you’ve been consistently taught has been false. That tends to break a few barriers down.

Armed with the knowledge that the real presence was early doctrine, that Jn6 related to eucharist, and with online discussion with catholics, it was only a matter of time and effort to accept the doctrine. It almost seems obvious now.

And then - as in Jn6 what can I say but “you have the words of eternal life - where else can I go?” I can’t turn back to the other churches and forego the real presence. Catholicism is the way forward for me. Coming to accept apostolic succession was another part of the turning process as was the attraction to certain things from catholic spirituality. I still have lots of doctrines and teachings that I have problems with and need to study further - but where else can I go? (Please - no answers like “you could join the orthodox church”)

That’s a long enough yabber. And it only managed to answer one out of three of the original questions. Oh well.

Blessings

Asteroid


#8

Asteroid,

Thanks, that’s great! Feel free to write more—it’s very, very interesting.


closed #9

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