help with converting


#1

Hey all,

for sometime I’v been thinking about converting to Catholicism from my Baptist background. But I have a few questions that I just want to throw out there. My doubts with protestantism started with sola scriptura, but couldn’t one argue that the books of the Bible were infabllible by their very nature and would eventually emerged as the canon without the church? I guess you could say that they Holy Spirit would guide individuals to know what books were right, and not need an infallible church to do so. How can I know for sure that the early Christians were Catholics? I never hear the infallibility of the Pope talked about in the New Testament. I’v read a lot of the little quotes from Early Church Fathers on this website and others, but whenever I see a small quotation to justify a huge doctrine such as Papal infallibilty I tend to think that the quote was taken out of context. To be fair I think protestants do this all the time when they use Augustine quotes in an attempt to prove that Augustine was a calvinist. I’v read some early Christian writings, but I don’t really have the time to consume every early Christian writing ever in order to conclude whether they protestant or Catholic. Any suggestions?

Another broad question. Why the neccesity of the sacraments and huge amount of theology that go along with them? When I read the New Testament it seems fairly straightforward, something along the lines of “repent and beleive in Jesus”, repent meaning changing your lifestyle to conform with the teachings of Jesus. So why do we have penances, indulgences, purgatory, assumption of Mary, and many other complex theological ideas that do not appear in what seems a fairly simple Gospel message found in the New Testament. One could even argue that these obscure the all-suffciency of Christ because they get in the way of you and and Jesus.

I really, really hope that I don’t sound anti-catholic, because I’m not. I really respect the Church and her members, I just really need to have questions answered. There days in my spiritual journey where I think I’m for sure going to convert to Catholicism, and there are other day when I think I’m going to remain protestant . I guess this is one of my more protestant days. Any help would be great. And of course prayers. God Bless.


#2

I am a former Presbyterian minister and now a Catholic priest. Welcome, you came to the right place. There are plenty of people here who will help you.

You are in luck. Just today a new book came out by Mike Aquilina called The Fathers of the Church (expanded edition). It is a handy one volume overview of the Fathers. I highly recommend it. CA also has other books that you might find helpful.

While it was difficult at first I am deliriously happy at being Catholic. It was the best decision I ever made. No one pushed me and I did it at my own pace. I started with the problem of sola scriptura as well. That’s where it all started for me. So enjoy the journey, it’s worth it. I had many questions about Mary et al., but I soon found that what I had been told Catholics believed was not in fact what the Church taught. The Church had an answer for every accusation. Nothing in Catholic theology detracts from Christ.


#3

Thanks for the response and book recomendation. Its comforting to know that other have gone down the same path. Just curious, what exactly was your critique of sola scriptura and how did it lead you into catholicism?


#4

Are you a married priest?


#5

Hello!

The sacraments serve as channels to bring God’s grace to us. Basically, they’re kind of like the pipes that bring drinking water to the house. To me, the sacraments are not burdens, but great priveliges. If you believe that the sacrament is a source of grace, then it is a constant source of grace. God understands that we are physical and spiritual beings. As a result, he uses physical means to give us something spiritual. A sacrament is a sign that God respects our human nature.
As for the theology, remember, the Holy Spirit has been continously working with the Church for 2,000 years. As a result, the church remembers and builds on the insights of those who have preceeded us. The theology doesn’t interfere with my abillity to relate to Jesus, anymore than my knowledge of the theater (I was a history/theater major) decreases my abillity to enjoy the theater.
Have you ever read the chronicles of Narnia? In Prince Caspian, Lucy once again meets Aslan, and comments that he is bigger. Aslan responds that he is bigger because she is older. “Every year you get older, you will find me bigger.” The Church is 2,000 years old. So naturally, God seems pretty big.


#6

excalvinist

I think that you will find the following web links helpful.

chnetwork.org/
biblechristiansociety.com/
salvationhistory.com/

Also their are some very good books on CA web-store:

You can get books that have writting of the ECF. I believe that it’s the whole writing not just bit and pieces. Browse through the web-store: shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/shophome.html?E+scstore

There also is EWTN catalogue they have some good recources that maybe helpful to you: ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/shop.axd/Default

Also their is this web-store that maybe helpful to you: catholicfamilygifts.com/index.asp

One last thing that you may find helpful is the web link to the CCC (Cathecism of the Catholic Church): usccb.org/catechism/text/


#7

I began very simply by asking if sola scriptura is true then why don’t we all agree on what the Bible says? Why is my Calvinist view better then a Methodists? Who decided who was right? I began to take a look at how the canon was formed and discovered that the Catholic Church was the one that had canonized scripture. I guess I thought it had just dropped from the sky. I never asked where it came from or how it came to be.

I moved on to study more Church history. For example the Christological controversies and early Councils. The Bible wasn’t canonized for most of that time, so it was the Church and her Tradition that sustained the faith. The more I studied the more I found that Church looked far more Catholic then Calvinist. Especially when I researched the Eucharist in the early Church. That really clinched it and I wanted to receive the Eucharist.

I realize this is very brief. I would have to write a book, but others have. CA has excellent resources. I recommend the Early Christian Writers, Where We Got the Bible, and the Mass of the Early Christians. Once I realized sola scriptura wasn’t even found in the scripture and no one believed it in the early Church then I realized I couldn’t stay where I was. It wasn’t easy becoming Catholic. But even when it was difficult it was good because it forced me to delve more deeply into the Church’s real teachings.


#8

santoro, not last time I checked lol.


#9

Hi excalvinist,
I know of two converts from the Baptists to Catholicism who have books. Tim Staples, and Steve Ray. Mr. Ray has a website, www.catholic-convert.com. The site may have some information there on how he dealt with some of the same issues you are grappling with.
Godspeed
Lukelion


#10

Hi Excalvinist,

Ask yourself a question, if it does not come from the Bible, where does it come from? Paul told Timothy to “search the Scriptures” to understand the salvation of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15), undoubtedly referring to the Old Testament. The New Testament canon was known much earlier than the 4th century. In AD 180 a Roman Presbyter named Caius tells us in the fragment of his “canon muraturionis” the books of the New Testament he considered in the canon, and all were there except for 2. If you read the early Fathers, the New Testament letters they reference give us an understanding of the books early Christians considered in the canon. The number one thing which determines the canon of the NT is this: It was written by those who personally knew Christ! Read through the Gospels and consider how Jesus thought of the Old Testament. He always quoted from it as the highest authority. When a Pharasaic tradition, such as the case in Mark 7:8-9 contradicted the Old Testament, Jesus used the Old testament to confound the Pharisees. The New Testament (and OT) to us is what the Old Testament was to Jesus. The early Church Fathers, while we must recognize thier untrustworthiness, agree. In book 3 of Against heresies, chapter one, Irenaeus tells us that “we have learned the plan of salvation from none others than the apostles themselves, who were endowed with knowledge of salvation by thier personal audience with Christ, and when they neared the end of thier lives they, by divine providence, handed down thier teachings to us in the form of written scriptures to be the pillar and ground of the truth.” In the first paragraph of the following chapter he says regarding heretics, “but they, when they are confounded with scriptures, assert that the truth was handed down viva voce (living voices), and not in written documents”

If you are having a hard time right now I would suggest you read the scriptures. I am a former Baptist, and Christ reached out to me. Nothing has led me closer to Him than reading the Bible. I wondered, which Church? Study the Bible, and you will find it if you pray that Jesus will lead you to His Church. Everything in this world leads our attention away form the Bible. I for one thought I knew what it said, and almost became content asking others for answers, but Christ has answered them all in His written word, in which we learn the plan of salvation.

God Bless,

Servus


#11

So what are you know? And what were your problems with Baptist theology if you are no longer one?


#12

Could it come from the oral tradition of the church, the teachings that have been handed down by the apostles?


#13

And by the way thanks for all the respones so far, I appreciate them.


#14

Hi ex-Calvanist,
I am a convert from Evangelcial type Protesant churches. :wave:

What convinced me that sola-scriptura could not be right was the fact that for hundreds of years, there was NO BIBLE. Obviously God was using something else to instruct his people.

Also, the majority of Protestst churches are Bible alone. Who decides who’s right? What JW’s get out of the Bible is totally different from what Methodists get out of the Bible. Yet both claim to stand on the Bible alone.

I don’t believe that God left us only a Bible to guide & instruct us - I believe He left us a Church. The Bible is His Holy Word - and combined with the Magesterium and Sacred Tradition, God’s church is guided today.

May God bless & direct your steps.
CM


#15

I grew up Baptist, too. Southern Freewill Baptist. Here in the Bible Belt most Baptists (and other anti-Catholics: Church of Gods, Church of Christs, Pentecostals, SDA’s, basically most of the Protestants around here) call the Church the Whore of Babylon. That’s what my Baptist church did. Apparently the Catholics weren’t Christians at all and it was a sin to be one (the same as listening to rock music or dancing). Funny thing though, with me it backfired. I decided that I had to find out what the Catholic Church was really about. I couldn’t be happier now that I’m a Catholic!

All of the book suggestions so far are great ones. You might want to pick up Keatings Catholicism and Fundamentalism, too. Another good one is David Currie’s Born Fundamentalist, Born again Catholic. But actually, the first book I read, the book that started me on the path is Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson. It’s a very easy read, although it’s not an exhaustive explaination of all the why’s of the Faith, it’s a good starter. From there I proceeded to Surprised By Truth by Patrick Madrid (the original - the “sequels” hadn’t been written, yet), then to many of the others mentioned.

You should also check out the Scripture Catholic website and read the tracts in the Catholic Answers library, too.

God bless you on your journey!!! And feel free to ask us questions; that’s what everyone is here for!


#16

Another question, the other day I was reading Al Mohler’s(president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) blog and while being very respectful of the Pope he stated that the office of the papacy was unbiblical and not in accord of the New Testament. What is the Catholic response to this?


#17

Here is what he actually said,

“There are a host of issues of interest here. In the first place, this incident is yet another reminder of the danger of the papacy. This is not a popular point to make – even among some confused evangelicals – but it is a necessary point. Pope Benedict XVI is a man of incredible brilliance. His indictments of secularism and liberal theology are among the most masterful theological documents of recent decades. Nevertheless, the office he holds is an unbiblical institution based in a monarchial ministry that is incompatible with the New Testament’s vision of the church. Furthermore, he claims also to be a head of state – a situation that adds untold layers of additional confusion.”

here is the link albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=774

How do Catholics respond?


#18

[quote=Pillar of Fire; Pillar of Truth]Jesus gave Peter special authority among the apostles (John 21:15–17) and signified this by changing his name from Simon to Peter, which means “rock” (John 1:42). He said Peter was to be the rock on which he would build his Church (Matt. 16:18).

In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, Simon’s new name was Kepha (which means a massive rock). Later this name was translated into Greek as Petros (John 1:42) and into English as Peter. Christ gave Peter alone the “keys of the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) and promised that Peter’s decisions would be binding in heaven. He also gave similar power to the other apostles (Matt. 18:18), but only Peter was given the keys, symbols of his authority to rule the Church on earth in Jesus’ absence.

Christ, the Good Shepherd, called Peter to be the chief shepherd of his Church (John 21:15–17). He gave Peter the task of strengthening the other apostles in their faith, ensuring that they taught only what was true (Luke 22:31–32). Peter led the Church in proclaiming the gospel and making decisions (Acts 2:1– 41, 15:7–12).

Early Christian writings tell us that Peter’s successors, the bishops of Rome (who from the earliest times have been called by the affectionate title of “pope,” which means “papa”), continued to exercise Peter’s ministry in the Church.

The pope is the successor to Peter as bishop of Rome. The world’s other bishops are successors to the apostles in general.
[/quote]

I think you woud benefit from the book: CA sell it, catholic.com/library/pillar.asp


#19

I just wanted to add that I think it only costs a dollar.


#20

Yep $1.00 for one book.

It can also be bought in “bulk” and when you start buying “bulk” you get discounts on the price.

100 copies is $79.95 for example.


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