I notice there are quite a few former Baptist/Fundamentalist Christians on these forums.
I wonder, both current and former Baptist and Fundamentalist Protestants (and Jehovah Witnesses and Adventists, if any) does the emphasis your church places on opposing the teachings of the Catholic Church draw your attention to Catholicism? I can imagine parts of the Southern US where you could go through life never knowing about, or thinking about, Catholicism, unless your Protestant pastor brings up the subject in order to draw a contrast with what you believe?
Is there an element of ‘thou dost protest too much’ about this? i.e. people protest so vocally because inwardly they are drawn to Catholic ideas?
Also, perhaps ex Baptist/Fundamentalist Catholics frequent a forum like this because they are seeking the Church full of rules and rituals that their former Protestant pastors warned them about, but actually don’t find it among the lived faith of most Catholics in their home parishes? I know when I first converted, I did a very good impression of a bad Protestant stereotype of a Catholic hypocrite for the first few years. Do former Baptists and Fundamentalists find that the Catholic Church is not what they expected?
It didn’t play a role for me (former Baptist, dabbled in Church of Christ), it was the “everyone who doesn’t believe what I believe is going to burn in hell” attitude I saw too often. That just didn’t jive with the loving God I read about in the Bible.
Now since converting I’ve certainly experienced more anti-Catholic statements and that certainly helps strengthen my resolve to PRACTICE my faith. I don’t want to back up any stereotypes people have about what being a Catholic means.
I don’t think so. I was a Southern baptist and many of their beliefs line up with my new Catholic Faith, and some do not, I remember in Sunday school class every other week almost someone would bring up comparisons between our faiths, it seems to me that many are curious about Catholics, but there are many misconceptions out there.
And I believe many are drawn to the Catholic faith due to it’s history and traditions, it is just so rich in devotions, something others do not have.
I personally feel stronger physically and mentally in part I believe due to the sacrements of Confession & Reconciliation! The Eucharist is my vitamin E, no disrespect intended, it is superfood, Jesus is my all!
I know that you are asking former Baptists, but I thought that I would throw in my unsolicited response. I come from a Methodist background in a medium sized city in North Carolina. I can honestly say that the Catholic Church was rarely, if ever, spoken about in church, either positively or negatively. I must say that I can relate to never really thinking about the Catholic Church as at that time there were not many Catholics here. That has changed and continues to change. I would say that for me the Catholic Church was something that I saw in movies and on tv and I viewed it as a “European” religion. Now that I have been Catholic for several years, I can say that the Church is everything that I thought (after much study) that it would be. The only thing that surprised me was the Traditionalists vs Vatican II people, Latin Mass vs Ordinary Form debate. My impression had always been that everyone was on the same page! I guess that is what happens when human beings are involved in anything. Incidently, I love being Catholic and have never regreted my decision to convert.
I never was a baptist, but a very close friend of mine converted to Catholicism after being raised as an evangelical baptist. When he was in college at a Baptist university, he noticed that a lot of their assigned readings of the “Church Fathers” were, as we all know, Catholic. That raised his interest. He wanted to know why the Baptists were encouraging him to read Augustine, when he was a Catholic bishop. Then he went on to study the bible more closely, and ultimately came to a conversion in his life. It is funny though, because he had been raised against Catholics. He was always taught that Catholics aren’t even Christian. He went to school in order to prove a case against Catholicism, but found Truth in it instead.
My grandmother came from a strong New England Baptist family, her uncle was a minister. She became Catholic just before she married my grandfather over 100 years ago. Her family was always strongly supportive of her and maintained close relations.
When my grandfather’s family left the Catholic Church a year after their wedding, my grandfather, his father and my grandmother were the only ones to remain Catholic.
When my grandfather died, the priest invited the local Baptist minister, who was married to my grandmother’s cousin to join him in prayer at the cemetery. We always had good relations with all the Baptists in the area.
My grandmother was always especially devoted to Mary and the rosary.
I am a former Southern Baptist. I work overseas and one day I was just talking with one of my friends that I worked with and he was a Catholic. We briefly discussed religion but he encouraged me to simply study the history of the Church and Christianity itself.
I decided to do this. The first couple of points that stuck out to me was the proven line of succession of Popes since St. Peter and the second point was the fact that Martin Luther (just one man) came along and decided to take some books out of the Bible amongst other things.
Another big point that stuck out to me was on authority. (Just an example) One baptist preacher on one side of town can preach pre destination while the other preacher on the other side of town discourages that teaching. So how do you know who is right? The answer is you cannot.
Then I decided to do my own research in the Bible with an open mind. Once you go into it with an open mind, it really changes everything. To me everything with the Catholic Church just makes perfect sense.
I grew up in the southern US in a Baptist church for 35 years, attending church weekly. I never remember Catholic teachings being discussed or anything relating to the Catholic church.
For the past two years I have attended a Catholic church because my wife is Catholic. This has been the first time I have been exposed to Catholic teachings. From my view point, the Baptist church I grew up in and the Catholic church have harmonious teachings in about 80% of subject matter. It is the remaining 20% that keeps the two groups apart, in my opinion.
After attending a Catholic church for two years, i do feel that Protestants have lost something, but I am also not convinced of all the Catholic teachings.
I am planning on attending RCIA classes, but in all honesty, I have not felt very welcome in the Catholic church. Our church has written communion instructions on the bulletin that essentially states that non-Catholic Christians are not welcome to receive communion. I feel that this is very divisive, as no Christian was ever denied communion in the Baptist church I attended.
I have other things to discuss, but have to go back to work now.
Thank you for your kind and insightful post, and welcome to CAF!
If you don’t mind, I’ll try to explain the reasoning on why we practice a closed-communion (aka only practicing Catholics should receive communion. That’s right, not even all Catholics should be receiving our Lord in the Eucharist).
As you know, we believe that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. As such, it is completely sacred, and should not be taken lightly. One way of accomplishing this is by only allowing practicing Catholics in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist.
Another way to look at it is by contemplating St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Read this and contemplate on its significance. Paul says that many among the Corinthians have become sick because they did not discern the body of Christ in the Eucharist. We wouldn’t want to endanger anyone physically or spiritually by enabling them to potentially receive the Eucharist without discerning the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Finally, we view communion as a true participation in the body of Christ. In other words, receiving the Eucharist is a symbol of our unity as Christ’s body with the Lord as our head. Unfortunately, not all of Christianity is unified. If someone who is not unified with the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith, receiving a symbol of unity would be a lie, would it not? As a cherry on top, Catholics view receiving communion as being analogous to the consummation of a marriage. The spousal relationship is the most commonly used analogy used in the Bible to portray God’s relationship with man. Marriage is consummated with the marital act, in which man and wife become one flesh. Relationship with God is consummated by becoming part of Christ’s body in the Eucharist.
Even though we live in a society today that values sugar-coating differences, this doesn’t always bring us closer to unity. Think of it like this: if I were to get cancer, pretending it isn’t there wouldn’t do me any good. Rather, acknowledging the importance of regaining a healthy state would require that I understand that the cancer is there and do something about it. (disclaimer: this is purely an analogy, and I’m not trying to call Protestants “cancer” or anything to that extent. I know many excellent Protestant Christians.)
I know this is a lot to chew on in one post, but I sincerely hope it helps. Feel free to ask any questions about it or pose any disagreements. If need be, we can start a new thread so we don’t derail this one. May the peace of God be with you.
I was raised in a KJV-only independent fundamental Bpatist church. However, what was taught there (while emotionally charging at times) never really struck me as authoritative. Of course, I couldn’t have expressed this at the time, but as I mentioned in another thread, there were a lot of things that had to be “explained away.” My wife (a non believer no less) suggested that if i were going to be a Christian that I should at least be part of the oldest Christian church. Well, considering what I was being taught never really “clicked” for me, I thought, “Why not?” So, I began researching, and voila! It all made sense. So, I guess, to answer the actual question at hand, my former church didn’t really bring my attention to it at all.
Being a revert, I knew very well how many average Catholics measure up Christianwise, but that wasn’t why I reverted. Fundamentalism is full of such arguing and constant fighting, I longed for a place I could just rest.
Now, being older I can reflect on it differently. People who would spend hours studying thier Bibles, going to meetings, arguing over the trivial, now just looks plain silly. A royal waste of time. These same people I used to know did nothing in their lives to show they were christians. They KNEW a lot, but DID little. Their marriages were in shambles, thier kids rebellious, thier job performances abysmal. They never once showed interest in helping out their communities, feeding the hungry, tending to those who were sick, helping the poor. Many were emotionally immature and difficult to get along with.
Others lived lives that one would expect from people who were not believers at all.
But THEY KNEW THIER BIBLES!! They could argue OSAS, the Rapture, theology, all to no avail because nobody was really listening…
Fundamentalism is knowledge-based, not life based.
Every now and then I pass a church with a sign that has on it different ‘wisdoms’. One of them said: “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible” Sounds great…except its not true. And fundamentalists are proof positive that “knowing thier Bibles” doesn’t keep them from sin or make them better persons. It just makes them more arrogant persons.
It’s mentally easier for them to consign their opponant to Hell than to stretch thier brains into unknown territory. It’s “safe” for them. When I was a fundamentalist years ago, my world was very small. When one dwarfs themselves in that way they create a mental merry-go-round that can rationalize almost anything.
It’s called willfull ignorance.
As a former baptist, the opposition to Catholicism didn’t do much at all for me. I didn’t hear about it much, but when I did it was usually grouped together with other denominations which are considered cults (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, etc). The most negative comments I ever heard were jokes about Catholics and how they would do whatever they want and then just go to confession (my dad, an ex-Catholic, seems to have done this in his youth).
Either way, my consideration for Catholicism really only came from Catholic friends. I remember one day in particular when I stated to my Catholic friend, “I understand that you believe in the real presence, but really, why does it matter? Can’t we sort of just agree to disagree and all be Christians? Why is communion such a big deal?” For me, communion was just something we did every month or so, and it had little meaning since I “remembered” the sacrifice of Christ every time I went to church. He started waving his hands and seemed incredulous at the fact that I would think communion was unimportant. I started doing research and, a couple years later, BAM! I was Catholic
I think this is one of the reasons I’m sort of scared to tell KJB Christians I
am Catholic. I’m not assahmed it just leads to so much arguing. I am not a confitational person. I know I could plant a seed, but I am shy and it never works.
For a long time I wanted to do an outsider’s view blog and go to Mass and then attend a different church and write about it. The fundamentalists scare me away.
As a former Southern Baptist, my journey toward Catholicism began with my effort to develop arguments to REFUTE Catholicism. I read as much as I could, I prayed fervently, tried in vain to resist the call, I joined RCIA, then joined the Church.