Calling all former Evangelical Christians / NonDenominational


#1

I’m feeling the Holy Spirit guide me back to the Catholic church.

I’m not sure if any of you have ever read the book, Suprised by Truth, but it has insrtucted me how the Protestant faith is wrong and that the early church fathers were Catholic indeed. That the Catholic church does have apostolic tradition.

I was wondering if you could share some of the pivital moments that “hit” you and made you realize Rome is Home.

Any other books you could recommend that I read?

or if you would like to share some of your testimonies, please do.

Thanks!


SPLIT: Catholic Doctrines vs Sola Scriptura
SPLIT: Catholic Doctrines vs Sola Scriptura
#2

This site might be useful to you

catholic-convert.com/


#3

Pivotal moments for me included realizing Protestants (not all) have put a lot of energy into false witness against Catholics, knowing it’s a sin.
Learning that the pedophilia scandal is taken out of context and in fact priests are some of the people least likely to abuse children, especially the youngest children. Public school teachers and, I think, psychotherapists are some of the most likely to do so.
Learning the biographies of reformers and founders of denominations. Comparing them to saints.
Learning that those confusing “well, nobody really knows what that means” Bible passage are long and fully explained – in the Catholic Church. Examples: Jesus saying “my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” and letting a majority of His followers walk away over it. The part about the orders of widows and virgins, and whether they should marry and the vows they took. The woman in Revelation. Who is she? Mystery solved. The saints in Heaven offering the prayers of the faithful to God. The exhortation to work out our salvation and to run the race and to stand until the end etc. The delineation of elders, overseers and deacons. The bit about confessing sins – to whom? Etc.


#4

Former Nondenominational here. My journey to the Catholic Church began when I married a Catholic man. In the face of my secure protestantism and my family’s anti-Catholicism my husband was actually forced to research his faith more than ever before and found it revitalized. He then turned on me and honestly, from the beginning there wasn’t any hope that I wouldn’t be converted, as much as I fought against it.

My first big moment of revelation came when I was sitting with him in Mass shortly after we were married. I was always very uncomfortable when we went, classic protestant “those pagan catholics” syndrome. But I had always been one that loved to read the Old Testament (I’m a history nut) and knew it well. So one day we’re sitting (or standing possibly) there and I’m looking around and suddenly I’m hit on the head with a revelation like a ton of bricks… I was in the tabernacle! As I began to match up elements from the OT tabernacle and elements of the mass I began to feel far more comfortable. And I began to wonder who was really worshiping God in the way he desired, the Catholics, whose worship came right out of the Bible, or the Protestants, who changed everything.

The second major revelation came after my husband and I had spent some time arguing about purgatory and the whole idea of penance. I of course started out with the view that Jesus’ death had completely taken care of every aspect of sin and that once it was confessed nothing else needed to be done, it was as if it had never existed. Then one day we had a serious argument (not religion related) and he had apologized and I had forgiven him. Yet I was left with a most disconcerting feeling that nothing had actually changed and that this situation would eventually happen again. And that of course is when it hit me. I realized that penance and purgatory aren’t about punishment, they are about change. Because we need to change, and unfortunately God can’t force us to change any more than I can force my husband to. But he does give us help, just not always in the way we want or understand.

The third moment of revelation came after the religious discussions my husband and I would have had become much more civil. One day he was talking to me about authority and the real need for it in the Church. He pointed out the passage in John where Jesus prayed for unity among his followers and asked me if Jesus would be pleased with Protestantism. With a sinking feeling in my gut that He probably wouldn’t be very happy I actually heard myself say, “I’m not letting some old man in Rome tell me what to do!” And as soon as I said it a very horrible realization came over me. If the Catholics were right and Jesus did establish Peter as the first Pope… then my attitude was nothing short of rebellion against God. That was perhaps the most pivotal moment because after that I began to examine myself and my own attitudes more and wonder what the real reason was that I found it so hard to accept the claims of the Church.

Along the way some books that really helped me were Catholicism and Fundamentalism (which my husband began reading and then conveniently left lying around where I would find it) and Scott Hahn’s book The Lamb’s Supper. The first really showed me how wrong Protestants are in their attacks against the Church (I actually began defending the Church against my mother at one point) and the second gave me a strong reason for abandoning Protestantism completely: the Eucharist. After I made the decision to convert, my husband and I began to study the early Church Fathers together with Jurgens’ Faith of the Early Fathers. I was amazed to discover how at every turn the Fathers answered my questions before I knew I had them and reaffirmed my decision over and over.


#5

This book seals the deal for many evangelical converts:
Theology of the Body Explainedby Christopher West.
The Sacrament of Marriage and the Biblical teachings of the Catholic Church about marriage, divorce, remarriage, birth control, etc, would be the major deciding factor for me.

I know and LOVE my Bible, but realizing where we got the Bible from, and realizing that only the Catholic Church is consistent over 2,000 years in its interpretation of Scripture is another factor.

John 6.

Surprised by Truth 1, 2, 3
Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid
Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn

The rest are just icing on the cake.

Welcome Home!


#6

Hi- I thougth I’d throw an “amen” in here! For me, it was Sola Scriptura vs Church Authority. When it dawned on me that *if *the HS really interprets the Scriptures personally for me( as I was taught by my protestant leaders- contrary to scripture- see 2 pet. 1:20) then logically everyone would agree on spiritual truths and the Church would be unifed.The Holy Spirit would obviously teach us all the truth- right!? Well, as we can see by the 10’s of thousands of denominations- God infact never promised that the Holy Spirit would personally interpret Scripture. and division is logical if everyone’s a Chief! So either we are wrong, or God’s Holy Spirit is- and at the end of the day I was left relinquishing my own right as my own pope…because that is the barrier between the Protestant and Catholic- yeilding to Christs authority…as a protestant, we are our own pope… or our pastor is our pope. We all have someone we turn to to teach us. After realizing that Sola Scriptura was out, I had to swallow the truth that the Church chose the books that became my trusted Word of God, wrapped it all up nicely- and spoke with the authority entrusted them by Christ himself and called it “sacred and Holy” and deemed it “The New Testament”. And my journey began…praise God!


#7

There have been many reasons why I’m entering the Catholic Church, after having been a nondenominational Christian for most of my life.

My experience of being drawn toward the Catholic Church really began in this way. I was going through my college classes, the last semester of my experience in Golden West Community College, in California, when I began to feel in my heart an aching longing for deeper intimacy with the Lord. I already knew God, heard his voice and reveled in spiritual experiences with him. Yet at this stage in my life, I began to feel long weeks and even months of a kind of break between myself and God. I could still hear his voice. The Lord spoke to me about various things going on in my life like he normally does, and I understood his words to me, but I felt a kind of disconnection.

I prayed for deeper intimacy with God for weeks, and then those weeks became months. I reread Protestant author Richard Foster’s chapter in “The Spiritual Disciplines,” about Meditation. I practiced it and had some truly beautiful experiences of God’s presence and intimacy, something I had been desperately seeking. But then those experiences went away after a couple days.

As I entered UCI, my next college, I began to pursue the experience of God further and experienced it some more, but again the experiences fell away after a while. I was desperately seeking, but not really finding the fullness of whatever precisely it was I was after.

My prayer had begun to shift. I found myself no longer praying for deeper intimacy with God, but rather that God would reveal to me his kingdom. I prayed, “Lord, please reveal to me the truth about your kingdom,” many times, over the weeks. Shortly after I’d begun praying this, my Mom gave me an old birthday card that had been lost for years in my house. It showed a painting on the front of the Virgin Mary surrounded by angels with trumpets, and it showed behind her the heavenly Jerusalem and God’s mountain, with a monk outside the walls of Jerusalem. It was a painting of the Medieval Catholic Church, and of God’s kingdom. The timing at which this card was returned to me, coming right after my prayers to know more of God’s kingdom, was significant to me.

Then, I believe that the Lord suddenly and startlingly revealed to me an incredible truth about his kingdom one day as I was lying on my bed, reading the Book of Revelation. I was reading about the Millennium, how Christ would reign for a thousand years, followed by a great Deception. I had previously never interpreted this passage, but I came to realize suddenly that the Medieval Ages had been a time where the Western World was Christian for a thousand years, and after that thousand years, rebellion and other ideologies exploded out into the world, initiating what is now commonly known as “the post-Christian era.” I continued to research and found other scripture passages that also indicated that the Medieval Ages was the Bible’s Thousand Years.

This led me to a chain of discovery. Initially, I tried to find ways to argue that my Protestant faith was just as valid as the Catholic, and just in line with God’s will. One of the turning points, for me, was Pope Benedict’s statement that Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians (to a lesser extent) were “wounded” by their lack of unity with Rome.

I first wrote a letter to the Vatican expressing my disappointment in their statement, and why I felt it was out of line with the Bible. However, as my ideology of examining the Medieval Ages from a very new perspective developed further, I began to think again, and I dug into the Catholic arguments against Protestantism to find out if there was any merit to them. I was stunned by the clear logic behind their claims. For instance, they argued that Protestantism is inherently relativistic, because it involves everyone interpreting the Bible for themselves, and thus doctrine becomes subordinate to the will of man, rather than man subordinate to doctrine. I realized that the vast shattering of believers into countless denominations or private views that exists in Protestantism is the logical result of a lot of personal perspective and human interpretation going into the Bible, rather than reliance upon a historical theology that was believed in the Early Church from day 1.

It was an impressive discovery. A lot more came to me, as time went on. I prayed for protection repeatedly, because the beliefs I was coming into were so foreign from those of my Protestant family and of my own upbringing, and I was concerned about the possibility that I might be being led astray. Each time I prayed for protection, the Lord came to me and comforted me.

It culminated one day when I went on a prayer walk through the block outside my house. I turned over to God at that moment my entire point of view regarding the millennium, Catholicism, and other beliefs I’d been coming into. I surrendered it all to God, praying that his will and not mine be done, begging again the protection he promises believers in scriptures, and saying that whatever he taught me at that moment, I would follow him in faith. I put my soul entirely at his feet and trusted him to lead me in the way that was right.

I’m going to finish this story in my next post.


#8

Continued . . .

Then I started my walk around the block, listening carefully for God’s reply. Three fifths of the way through my walk, I glanced up and saw a big red stop sign, and I felt a powerful feeling in my soul that God was calling me to stop at that moment. I obeyed and stopped in my tracks. Then I looked around.

The first thing my eyes came to rest on was a young tree supported by a white post. The top of the tree rose higher than the post that supported it. Around the tree were several cactus plants, and surrounding them, a brick wall.

The white post, to me, represented the millennial kingdom of the Medieval Ages. The tree represented the spiritual kingdom of God. Just as the tree rises higher than the millennial kingdom, the spiritual kingdom of God continues to thrive after the millennial kingdom passed away. It is supported at all times by the millennial kingdom, though, for the time of the Medieval Ages was a time before the swamp of modern liberalism could take its toll on Christian beliefs. It, therefore, is what the church can lean on, what the spiritual kingdom leaned on then and what it leans on now. The brick wall, to me, represents the rock that the Church is built on, and the cactus within that retaining wall represents Christian truths that seem hard and unacceptable in the eyes of the world. Truths that I’d been writhing against for several months.

I looked at this symbolic tree, but as I was looking at it, I realized, “this could easily be coincidence that I happen to be looking at a tree that could be representative of all the things I’ve been struggling over for the last few months. There are trees all around the block. I can’t make so drastic a decision based on this tree.”

Then I glanced around me, and I found that the one house I felt the Lord had wanted me to stop in front of had a statue of the Virgin Mary in front of it. It was a Catholic household, the only one that was visibly so in the whole block. And I had “happened” to stop in front of it because of the stop sign. The tree was also in its lawn.

Then I prayed, “It is clear to me now that it is your will, Lord, that I enter the Catholic Church, and that what you have revealed to me over the last few months, in response to my prayer that you reveal to me truths about your kingdom, is all true. Now all that remains is for me to decide whether or not to trust you.”

The moment I prayed that last sentence, I happened to glance down. Right in front of my feet lay a dime, and I picked it up. Written on it were the words, “In God we trust,” responding directly and instantly to my prayer.

That I should feel compelled by the Lord’s Spirit to stop, on seeing a stop sign, right in front of the only visibly Catholic house on the block, which I noticed was a Catholic house only a couple seconds after I prayed for more evidence than the tree, and that I should also stop right in front of a dime saying, “In God we trust,” and should only notice that dime the moment that I prayed, “Now all that remains is for me to decide whether or not to trust you,” is too much coincidence to be plausible, in my view. I saw these signs the next second after I’d sent prayers to God that these signs directly responded to.

Anyway, that was what finally, ultimately convinced me, and I’ve been living on faith ever since. I’ve seen loads of evidence since that moment of spiritual experience and before it that confirms to me through reason and the scripture, as well as the witness of God’s Holy Spirit, that what I’m doing is right. So I’m becoming Catholic now, praise the Lord. I’m entering a new layer of God’s kingdom, one that I’d never before experienced and which was revealed to me through prayer and the supernatural revelation God breathed.

Interestingly enough, my sister received a dream from the Lord that confirmed my new journey, and it was my Mom who gave me the card that linked Catholicism, the kingdom of God, and the Medieval Ages right after my prayer. My grandmother gave me another birthday card, as I was going through these discoveries, and in it, one looks down on planets from space. To her, it represented looking down on society from God’s perspective, and she felt the Lord wanted me to have it. It means the same thing, to me. It came to me at the end of a series of visions the Lord had been giving me, in which I saw myself rising above a forest of cultural assumptions, so that my gaze was no longer obscured by the foliage, but could look directly at the sun, or down from above. So from my Protestant grandmother, sister and mother, I’ve received confirmations of what’s going on in my life.

To me, this is confirmation of God’s will from within the Body of Christ, which God got to me in a special way. My family all rejects my experience and feels that it is either my delusion or a demon leading me astray, but the Lord spoke through them to confirm my journey in spite of their protests. To me, this helps to make clear that my journey is the correct one, for if it was a demon that led me astray (which doesn’t make sense, anyway), the demon shouldn’t be able to control my Protestant family too. That puts way too much power in the hands of the enemy. So they try to explain away my sister’s dream, Nana’s card and my Mom’s giving me the other card as coincidence.

At the same time as I felt the Lord leading me toward the Catholic faith, one of my college classes suddenly required that I buy a new Bible- one that has the Catholic deuterocanonical books. So at the same time as all the rest of this was happening, by “coincidence,” I suddenly had a complete Bible.

I’ve had LOADS of “coincidences” happening in response to my prayers, as I proceed down this path. The Lord has been faithful, too, coming to support me whenever things become rough between myself and my family, and becoming present to me in all his love. The Lord bless us all.


#9

Another Amen!

I came to the realization that, as we all have a “God-shaped” void in our lives (evangelical term), we also have a “Pope-shaped void.” (My own term).

I had my authority. Actually, I had two. Most immediately, it was my pastor. So, instead of 2,000 years of magisterial teachings, I submitted myself to the authority of one man, and his vast knowledge and personal interpretation of scripture.

But then I realized who really was my “protestant Pope,” who I admired and adhered to more than anyone else, as did everyone I knew, and it was Dr James Dobson.

:eek: YIKES!


#10

Dr. Dobson is a wonderful Christian. Not a pope, though, I agree :D.


#11

But he has that role, whether he wants it or not. Many good-hearted, well-meaning, faithful Christians have made him their personal Pope, their “Authority.”
“What does Dr. Dobson say?”
“Dr. Dobson says…”
“WWDDD?”

He alone has the wisdom of one man, versus 2,000 yrs of Magisterial Teaching.


#12

I have never been a Protestant, but I have flirted with it in the past intellectually and spiritually, including devouring Protestant literature and attending a Reformed Baptist service with the intent of exploring the possibility of apostatizing from the Catholic Church. All in all a sad state of affairs. This happened when I was knee-deep in mortal sin for a long time, to the point where I could no longer recognize the truth.

Wouldn’t you know, as soon as I finally made it to Confession (I was getting dangerously close to separation from the Church, and frankly, this scared me in my soberest moments) everything changed. Once again I was able to see with clarity that the Catholic Church is the One True Church. I guess you could say that I was “saved.” By the grace of God I have since begun acting accordingly, so that I may never be deceived in such a way again.


#13

WWDDD:D That’s a good one!


#14

That’s true, and I agree with you.


#15

Books? You want books? :newidea:

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie
By What Authority by Mark Shea
Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard
Lead, Kindly Light by Thomas Howard
and there are 2 other Surprised By Truth books, too!


#16

I just want to thank everyone who has responded. Please keep the responses coming.

I ordered Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic before I made my first post. It came in the mail yesterday and I got through the first 60 pages! It is a great read so far!

God Bless


#17

My favorite book has been LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT by Thomas Howard. But I’m looking forward to reading John Henry Newman and Peter Kreeft. So many books, so little time…

As to pivotal moments, my first big step was into the Episcopal Church. I was a Philosophy student at Wheaton College (Evangelical college) and was studying the creeds and early theology. I started to believe the Eucharist was truly central to worship. Of course, Catholicism was too foreign, so I could never consider that (God truly does have a sense of humor).

As an Episcopalian, I very quickly started to see signs of moral decline in the church, and the more I researched, the more dismal the picture became. I began to speak out in my parish about the blatant contradiction of Scripture, but I could get nowhere, because there was no final authority to appeal to.

But the last straw wasn’t a theological point at all. An acquaintance, through her kindness and godliness, gently led me to the local parish priest and got me started in RCIA.

So, all you cradle Catholics, PLEASE reach out and share your faith. I’m not talking about forcing your faith on another, but simply being open about your love for God, and about what you believe.

Thanks be to God for the Magisterium and for the Holy Father. It is such a powerful comfort to have something absolute and eternal to hold to in this relativistic and shifting world.


#18

Amen. That is one of the reasons I’m becoming a Catholic, also.


#19

I realized that I didn’t answer this part - “One Church” from the Bible Christian Society was my burning bush. :smiley: Once I heard that CD there was no turning back. I’ll admit that I’d occasionally have moments of doubt, but then I’d echo St Peter’s, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” If I wasn’t going to become Catholic, I had NO other place to go.


#20

Well, I was received into the Church in the Dark Ages (BSH–Before Scott Hahn) :slight_smile: so I don’t know if my conversion story will be much use to you, but here goes.

I was brought up in the Episcopal Church but left it in my early teens when my widowed mother took our family into the Assemblies of God.

What brought me out of the AoG and back to the liturgical side of Christianity was reading C. S. Lewis. As a former Episcopalian his writings helped me realize that one could be a committed Christian despite not expressing spirituality in Evangelical terms.

I also read “Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien in which I saw, for the first time, a Catholic understanding of sin, redemption, sacrifice, etc. I read the greater part of it in one weekend and by the end of that weekend I knew I could no longer find what I needed in the AoG or any other Evangelical community.

The thing that put me over the top was the ah-ha moment I had when I saw Mary’s place in the Church during a Stations of the Cross at a Cursillo at a Lutheran Church. I had read “The Faith of Millions: The Credentials of the Catholic Religion” by Rev. John A. O’Brien, but hadn’t been able to accept what I had read.

Also, I bought a lovely rosary at a rummage sale, telling myself I just liked the look of it. I began holding it in my hands when I prayed, meditating on the crucifix. I know that Mary was reaching out to me through that rosary.

Anyway, there were lots of little epiphanies along the way. There was very little popular Catholic apologetics works at the time I became Catholic.

I also recommend the books others have listed. Also, if you have a philosophical turn of mind, “The Everlasting Man”, “Orthodoxy”, “The Catholic Church and Conversion” by G. K. Chesterton.


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