Greetings to you all again! As many, if not most of you know, I have been lurking/posting on this board since late June. I first came here to satisfy my curiosity about Catholicism (sparked by seeing the “Prayer of St. Michael” taped to the inside of the windshield in one of my platoon’s humvees here in Iraq). I have learned an enormous amount about Catholicism here, and I even ordered several books from Amazon.com by Patrick Madrid and Dave Armstrong. I have come to have a much more positive opinion about Catholicism and am this close to becoming Catholic myself.
The problem is, against all logic it seems, I still am struggling with all of this. I think twenty-five years of Protestantism is a difficult thing to suddenly toss aside, especially when it would be to join a Church I have always been taught was false.
And yet, I have learned enough about the early Church, as well as about the early Protestant Reformers, to know that there is something fundamentally flawed about every Protestant denomination. They all say the Bible is their sole source of doctrine, and yet they cannot agree about what it says. And, ultimately, with their insistence on private interpretation, they have no authority to tell anyone what the correct interpretation is. Thus, there are numerous contradictory denominations full of members who, in most cases, do not even fully agree with their own particular denomination’s teachings.
So, right now I am in a confusing situation. I’m not quite prepared to accept Catholicism, but I also have no basis for selecting any Protestant denomination.
So, to get to the point, my main problem with Catholicism is that it claims to know so much. For example, as a Protestant, when my church said that non-Christians would go to Hell, I could just say to myself, “Well, the Bible does seem to state this clearly, but perhaps my church’s understanding of this is wrong, and perhaps God will do something to save those who, through no fault of their own, never heard and accepted the Gospel message.” My Protestant church claimed no infallibility for itself, it just taught the truth as it saw it. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, comes right out and says, “This is how it is, this is what you must believe, and we are never wrong.”
This is nice if it’s really true, but what if it isn’t? To become a Catholic, I would have to accept every doctrine of the Church. Until I am prepared to do so, I am in the uncomfortable situation of knowing Protestantism does not have a leg to stand on, but also not knowing if the Catholic Church really has the authority it says it has. Quite confusing.
So, please pray for me about this! Also, I would greatly appreciate any help you can offer to get me through this time of confusion. Thanks!
I’m supposed to leave Iraq in a few days!!!