Converting with Questions...


#1

Hello everyone…

My name is Bryan, as you can probably tell, and I am currently a member of a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). I have felt the need to convert to Catholicsm for awhile now after I used to go to mass and church activities with a friend. For me, I feel there is a deeper truth to Catholic doctrine that I hunger for, like it is more complete than my own and many other protestant docrtines. I do not say this with little education in the matter, for I have done much research and have a pretty good grasp on various protestant, non-christian, and Catholic views. I enjoy, what I can only define as, a more wordly use of the Bible, in that more of it seems to be harnessed by Catholic doctrine, while the nit-picking of many protestant groups makes me feel lessened. Like I’ve read “The Razor’s Edge” and found out afterwards that the version I read was the abridged version, only 70% of the actual story.

I’m writing here to ask those protestants who converted to the Catholic faith why they did so and how the transition was. I’m looking for all guidance in this matter from both Catholics and non-catholics.

Thanks,
Bryan


#2

Hi Bryan,
I am a convert/revert. Although an infant baptism into the Catholic Faith, my parents did not raise me in the faith. (Stopped going when I was 4).

My walk with God was in the more fundamental branches: Nazarene, Assembly of God, and Evangelical.

Ultimately, it came down to the Real Presence of Christ for me. Here I was in a Church that took the Bible literally, except for… The list seemed to grow. Real Presence, Women Pastors, Faith without works. And now back in the Catholic Church, the list continues to grow. There were alot of other issues that I looked into before making the jump, (Mary and the Saints being one), but ultimately, it was the day I sat in the pew at the Evangelical Church, tears running down my cheeks, and realized I could not take communion because they only believed it was a symbol.

The transition was very hard. It still is. Many of my friends, since I came from fundamental branches, think I am going to Hell. My children invite kids to church or education classes only to be slapped in the face with, “We are Christians, we can’t go there”.

Well, my 3 year old is now trying to help type, so my time is done.

May God Bless you on your journey.

Your sister in Christ,
Maria


#3

Maria,
your quote:
but ultimately, it was the day I sat in the pew at the Evangelical Church, tears running down my cheeks, and realized I could not take communion because they only believed it was a symbol.
"Hit the nail on the Head"
I’m Catholic (born and raised)… however I often wondered WHY would a beleiver in Christ just want to receive him in communion as a symbol? instead of the real “body of Christ”…the Holy Eucharist!
To me this is one of the most impotant part of my Catholic faith, along with going to Mass…I love the Mass, the Blessed Mary ever Virgin and all the Saints too!:love:


#4

I am a convert from Methodist. I was a bad Methodist and my wife was a good Catholic, when our 1st daughter died after less than 48hrs and Fr. Diocetes was so kind I started thinking about converting. I became good friends with Fr. and after we moved back to the Chicago area and our 2nd daughter was born I converted. I did not fully understand the faith then, I just knew it was the right thing to do. I am no expert in our faith today but I know and understand a lot more. Stay on these forums and you will learn an unbelievable amount. I learn more everyday. :thumbsup:


#5

Hi! I’m a convert from the ELCA Lutheran Church. I’ve always had a liturgical bent anyways, so that might contribute. Basically, as a Lutheran, I kept finding myself defending Catholics from the usual gross caricatures and getting blasted for it. This led to more study of the claims of the Church, and it just rolled on from there. Thank God for our enemies… :wink:

Scott


#6

I am a former Jehovah’s Witness and a former LCMS Lutheran. If you want to ask questions…fire away!!!

Jeff Schwehm


#7

HI Bryan. I have always been Catholic, but my father was a Lutheran who converted to Catholicism and he has told me a lot about his experience. He said his main reason was that the Lutheran chuch left too much uncertainty in his life and he liked the firm comfort provided by the Catholic Church. For instance, Lutherans say that all you need to do to have you sins forgiven is ask God for forgivness at the end of the day in prayer…This idea scared my dad to death, because he was never sure whether he was doing it right or not, whether his efforts were sincere or not and it seemed to him that it required more self disipline than he had. He found that he loved Catholic confession because the priest is such a knowledgable guide, able to tell you exactly what you need to do with regard to repentence. There were many other things like that, but I thought it was important to share what he felt was the most important.


#8

I am a convert. It happened in April 1955. That’s about 50 years ago.

What was the reason? The fact that Catholocism is the oldest Christian Church and it’s founder was Jesus Christ. At Mass, and it was all in Latin then, had the Real Presence right there in the Church. Going to confession was a chore at first with lots of preparation and some prayers for courage to really confess. But it was so great afterward - like a big load lifted off my shoulders.

Any disappointments? Yes. Saying Mass in English is still not wanted. And the new singing at Mass. But all other is O.K.


#9

Wow…

So many replies so quickly, I can tell there are some good Christian people in here, so eager to help. Thanks guys! Well, I’m currently a member of a LCMS Lutheran Church and by practice we are very scripture based, unfortunately I also find a lack of security like Contrafool’s father did. And like Scott Wadell, I have always found myself defending Catholics from unfair judgement. When it comes down to it…fundamentally there are many things I disagree with in my church. I don’t believe all sins are equal, and I do believe in some sort of Purgatory. The later I believe in because in the Bible (Cor. I think), it says unpure cannot enter heaven, yet we die with sin…so purrification must take place, right?

There are other things as well, the Saints for instance. I don’t find a problem with asking them to pray for me. But there is more than just doctrine that interests me. The Church has a sort of ancientness to it that is very attractive, why at first I even thought that may have been the reason I was considering converting. Then I started researching and found that I agree with the doctrine more than with my church’s protestant doctrine. But I am also quite confused, not on doctrine, but within myself as in what to do. I am already an accepted member of my Lutheran Church, and I was thinking of getting involved in the youth ministry, etc. Is it ok to believe in such thing as venial sins and purgatory while worshiping in a protestant church? In all honesty, I have considered joining the clergy on MANY an occassion, I am right now actually…but I feel that it would never happen in the Catholic Church. What is interesting is that I’m a graduate student, getting my Masters of Science in Mass Communications and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I feel like I really need to get involved. Like, really get involved…as a protestant, a catholic, whatever. And it has been within that feeling that I have found the Catholic faith to bring a deeper sense of truth to my thoughts.

Guidance. That’s what I need, guidance.


#10

I’m a convert from Atheism. When I finally understood that God truely existed, I was faced with the task of “finding” Him.

I studied many protestant faiths, only to be more confused. So many different denominations with differing beliefs, some major, some minor, but all slightly different.

Then I looked at the history of each faith. All starting at or around the 1500’s. That fact confused me even further. If Jesus suffered His death (Passion) and was resurected (sp) around the year 33 AD, what happened during the next 1500’s years?.

This is when I discovered the Catholic Faith. Started about the year 33 AD and by one man, Jesus Christ Himself. I was hooked, I knew I had found the right place to call home.

Reading the early church fathers helped me to understand the truth and unchanging teachings of the Church. That what the church believed and taughted in the year 100 AD, is the exact same thing as is being taught today. Yes, our understanding and clarifications are growing and being better understood, but the teachings are the SAME.

May God grant you an open heart and mind on your journey toward the truth.


#11

[quote=jschwehm]I am a former Jehovah’s Witness and a former LCMS Lutheran. If you want to ask questions…fire away!!!

Jeff Schwehm
[/quote]

jschwehm,
I’d sure like to see you start a thread on the JW faith and how we can discuss theology with them effectively. We all have so many questions about JW’s and yet so few JW’s will discuss anything with us since they are somewhat banned from talking with us aside from converting us. (So I’m told).

I look forward to seeing more of your posts!:yup:


#12

: Is it ok to believe in such thing as venial sins and purgatory while worshiping in a protestant church?:

I’d say absolutely. For one thing, many Protestants do make something comparable to the venial/mortal sin distinction. Even Luther admitted that it was a valid one (see his sermons on the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:27-30; in Luther’s Works 21:88-89).

Protestants, after all, do not claim to believe in infallibility. Lutherans in particular claim to adhere to the historic Christian faith. I don’t see any reason why you can’t work to emphasize the more Catholic side of the Lutheran tradition. There are lots of other Lutherans doing it. Are you at all familiar with the work of theologians like Carl Braaten, Robert Jenson, or David Yeago?

In Christ,

Edwin


#13

I’m in the process of conversion so hopefully this will still be valid. I was “raised a heathen” by very secular parents who were very hostile to organized religion. My mom occasionally attended a Unitarian Church (because they never talk about God or Jesus but they are focused on social justice issues). I attended with her, and also attended a Methodist church. I really wanted to know more so I enrolled in a two year program in spiritual direction at an Episcopal Church and grew to love the liturgy, the music, the feeling of reverance and awe. I considered joining the Episcopalians

BUT I couldn’t reconcile either the Methodist or Episcopal (or any other Protestant) church’s position on human life and other moral issues. The Episcopals are apparently willing to destroy their church to name a gay bishop. The Methodists went back and forth over the gay clergy issue, finally deciding this time to continue to prohibit gay clergy. But who knows what will happen next confernece. Some of these are the “church of what’s happenin’ now” You can’t count on anything.

The most distressing thing about all of the mainline Protestant churches is the position on abortion. They are all self righteous about the death penalty but consider abortion a “choice.” Kill the innocent and save the guilty. What’s with that? After a Methodist minister told me women had a God given right to abortion at will I lost all hope for that denomination. The official position is well we don’t like it but we won’t speak up. If the church won’t speak up for those who cannot defend themselves who will?

Something inside me said to look to Catholicism. I explored the Catholic church because of their focus and consistent position on human life. Once I put my toe in the water I realized how rich the tradition, how entrenched in history and how beautiful the services. I am just enchanted by all of it. Right now I’m in RCIA and find the process absolutely uplifting. Maybe we are extraordinarily lucky but the priest is just a joyous, comitted and dedicated shepherd of his parish. I am so glad I listened to the still small voice that said to become a Catholic.

BTW I like the EWTN show 'Coming Home" and that will give you some very good examples of converting.
Lisa N


#14

[quote=Scott Waddell]Hi! I’m a convert from the ELCA Lutheran Church. I’ve always had a liturgical bent anyways, so that might contribute. Basically, as a Lutheran, I kept finding myself defending Catholics from the usual gross caricatures and getting blasted for it. This led to more study of the claims of the Church, and it just rolled on from there. Thank God for our enemies… :wink:

Scott
[/quote]

Hey Scott! I am from the ELCA too!! I haven’t fully converted yet, but I have been doing research and I too, find myself defending Catholics. Especially when I went to a Bible college. They claimed Catholics didn’t even know Jesus. I knew in my heart that this just wasn’t true. I’m really glad that I get the opportunity to research and I am confident that I will find the answers I’m looking for. :slight_smile: Thanks!!!


#15

Part 1

Bryan,

I can see you found the faults in protestant theology just like I did. When I asked questions about theological contridictions I got three main answers in protestant churches. 1) That verse was only symbolic. 2) Are you Catholic? 3) All you need is faith in Jesus to be saved, “NOTHING” else matters!

I am a revert/retread to Catholicism. I was born and raised Catholic and went to Catholic Schools through grade 12. I only went to mass on Sundays with my parents and basically had no home Bible study with my parents. In colledge I drifted away from the Catholic Church as the Catholic schools did not prepare me spiritually or factually for the protestant propaganda I endured in colledge. I began going to protestant churches, mostly Baptist. I fell for the myth that all we need to be saved is faith in Jesus Christ as our personnal Lord and saviour. I even stopped going to church at times since with faith in Jesus you didn’t even need organised religion. I married a protestant who was rasied in several different protestant churches, mostly Pentecostal and Baptist. My wife and I becam “Buffet Line” protestants where we just picked and choosed (is choosed a word?) what we wanted to believe. Jesus’ teaching were secondary to our own “good feellings” about a church or theology.

I too went to a Lutheran church and loved it there. Strangely enough there was an “EX”-Catholic who complained about the possibility of the church going from communion once per week to monthly to save time. She was outraged and said she would join another church if this happened because she just had to have the body and blood of Jesus in communion each week or her life would be incomplete! She believed in “Real Presence” while the Lutherans did not?:confused: By the way, you couldn’t shake a stick in any protestant church I attended without hitting “EX”-Catholics everywhere!

So why I am I Catholic by desire? I started attending a Baptist Church in Tooele, UT. One day in Bible study the Doctor of theology was teaching from James. He condridicted the preachers sermon later that day and the both of them condridicted Scripture! This all happened one morning at church! Baptists should never try to teach from James. Even my wife, a devoute protestant noticed this condridiction before I pointed it out to her. Not to mention I was sickened by all the “RE”-baptisims of the “ANA”-Baptists I was with. (I refused to attend “RE”- Baptisims because it was a disgrace before God!)


#16

Part 2,

Anyway, I was studying Mormonism since I lived in Utah at the time. Joe Smith said to follow the truth wherever the truth was. I took his advice. I studied Scripture without any preconcieved notions on theology to justify. I just studied to see what it said and not some church or preacher. I studied history from protestant sources and later Catholic sources. I studied what the early Church Father’s wrote too. I read many books on reconciliation (converts) to Catholicism as well as all the anti-Catholic ‘lies’ I could find.

I must add that while away from the Catholic Church for 26 adult years of my life I accepted many protestant myths about the Catholics too. It was hard to read anything Catholic and I refused to even talk to Catholics during my search for truth.

Well, the Holy Spirit lifted the ‘scales’ off my eyes and I could no longer avoid the truth. (It was the Holy Spirit that led me not Jesus.:love: This is a shock for most protestants I know since they really only talk about Jesus 99% of the time.) Jesus founded the Catholic Church, the early fathers were Catholic, Catholic Faith and Morals are the same today as 2,000 years ago (they don’t change like protestant sects with the wind and opinions), Catholic Dogma does not contridict itself or Scripture. In fact Catholic Dogma enhances Scriptures to the fullest. Jesus did not give us Scripture, the Catholic Church did. Jesus gave us His Gospel and preserved it in the Catholic Church, His pillar of truth, His body of which He is the head.

My wifes’ family scournes me, my wife has not yet devoriced me, my old Baptist friends turned their back on me, my wife and our kids. My wife, who is NOT Catholic is struggling with my new "F"aith but she is slowly ‘seeing’ the truth in it too.

To become Catholic will cause trouble in protestant families but your soul - the important thing here - will sing in praise to God like never before!

Follow the truth, not some Buffet Line of theology.

Believe it or not, I left a-lot out! Thank God!


#17

welcome, Bryan, you are close, so close. Whatever you do, don’t start praying the rosary, because that will push you over the edge. I enjoy all the stories posted here, all roads lead to Rome. some people get here by long and devious routes, but all who are content with nothing less than the fullness of truth will arrive eventually. Mary provides a short-cut for those who ask her.

Recently I visited a Methodist Church where a conference was being held, and amused myself by scanning their bulletin board for all their outreaches, apostolates, ministries etc (as you can imagine, there were dozens of activities listed). One post was about the opportunity to confess your sins to a preacher, specially trained for this ministry, and a conference on the benefit of confession! Well I never . . . my methodist grandmother must be rolling over in her grave. She never forgave my mother for marrying a Catholic, converting, and having 6 kids (so lower class). But my uncle, during his last illness and suffering from cancer, converted to Catholicism, in part he said, because of the long witness of my parents and their children.


#18

Hey, Puzzle! Many Lutherans pray the rosary! But you’re right. Mary’s lasso is BIG trouble!

Bryan, keep on walking. It is clear from what you write that the Holy Spirit is pushing/guiding/drawing you to something! And it is clear that you love the Lord deeply.

You say that you had felt called to ordained ministry but that in the Catholic Church that would not be possible (Let me guess. Celibacy?). A friend of mine put it this way when he was confronted with a similar situation – something he desired but thought was impossible: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water!”


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