Hi. I’m going in this week or next to inform my pastor and his wife(also a pastor) that I am renouncing my membership there at the protestant evangelical church to convert to Roman Catholicism. Normally I wouldn’t need to go much further than this. My wife is also going to a church and was baptized a year ago. The pastor officiated our marriage, and as my wife told me, he and the pastor’s wife speaks to her heart and she really likes what his sermons. And she wants to consult with them on my choice to convert.
I’m trying to avoid division and conflict here but I expect them to try to evangelize me as they seek to persuade me to not convert. And of course, I fear my wife may get caught in the crossfire, which I am trying to avoid. Maybe I am overthinking things, but I want to be prepared in case they try to evangelize me, so I need help in mounting a defence against the Four Spiritual Laws from a Catholic stance.
How do I resist it. What do I say as a defence to it? What is wrong with it and why is it in error with the Catholic faith? Is it considered a heresy?
Frankly, I don’t understand why you would go to these people and “consult” about anything. When I decided to become Catholic, I just stopped going to my old church and started going to my new church. I suggest you do the same. No announcement necessary. In fact, I think it’s a bad idea because it sends an “I’m open to being argued with about my decision” vibe.
I wouldn’t use the term “renouncing my membership.” Unnecessarily confrontational. You have no responsibility to debate with Protestants. If some people are schismatics, that is their problem, not yours.
There is nothing wrong with the “Four Spiritual Laws” of Campus Crusade. They just do not go far enough. Christians are called to all seven Sacraments and the entire Creed, not just 4 laws.
I would read Marcus Grodi’s conversion story and watch his EWTN show ‘The Journey Home.’
I agree with 1ke, that it is not necessary to create a confrontation over your decision. Why must your “renounce membership”? You can still attend services with your wife, if you really want to avoid division and conflict. It seems like you are purposefully putting yourself in a position to be subjected to retention.
As far as the four spiritual laws, there is not much in them that needs to create a problem. What makes you assume it is an error?
The theological underpinnings tend to be Calvanistic. In the second law:
“Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.”
This is not consistent with Apostolic teaching. The apostles taught that we cannot reconcile with God apart from His grace, but that we are able to experience His grace drawing us to Him always. We are made in His image and likeness, and therefore, we still can hear the call of God in our separated state. He calls all men to repent and be saved. The difference is that Calvanism (and Lutheranism) and most Protestant communities influenced by this theology are taught that man is “totally depraved” and unable to receive the grace of God when dead in sin. The Apostles’ taught that our nature was not totally ruined, but only wounded. Thus, we can desire and search for fellowship with God, but cannot enter it without grace.
Catholics will not have an argument about the other four laws, at least, I don’t think they should. And even with this second Law, we are all in agreement that we need to be saved by grace, through faith.
I am not looking for a confrontation or to put myself into a position of one.
Actually, my wife and I have many friends there. The pastor and his wife is our friend. Many church members are our friends. So, we are not looking for a confrontation.
When I became a member of church, I agreed that I would not be a member of another church while I remained a member there. It isn’t as simple as get up and go and not tell anyone. People there would still think I am a member and if I became a member of the Roman Catholic church, I’d be breaking my agreement with them. Especially since as a member, I am allowed to take part in the voting process of our church an so on.
Usually people who wish to join other churches make a request with them to transfer membership to another church and it gets announced to everyone. We had a staff member recently resign and announce that he had some disagreements with the church and was going to look for another church and had to speak in front of the congregation. I might have to do that. These aren’t just mere people but actual friends of mine of my wife and I. And these are people we wish to still keep in contact with whether I stay or leave, and so far, my wife and I plan to attend the church and continue on as usual, with the addition of my taking RCIA classes this august at the local rc parish.
For me, this is also a matter of keeping a good conscious, which is a motivating factor behind privately talking to church staff about it before I announce to everyone there
I think you need to make it clear, upfront, that this is not a pastoral counseling session and your conversion is not up for debate or challenge. Take whatever materials you feel you need, but keep them holstered. Unless you thrive on the back-and-forth of theological/sectarian discussion and debate, this may be very draining, both personally and on your friendship. A way to avoid this is to just tell your story, what led you to see the truth of Catholicism. It’s harder to argue with a person’s story.
Also, be upfront about your intention to keep attending with your wife to preserve unity in the marriage as much as possible.
From a protestant perspective; I think you have thought and prayed about this and need to follow what you feel called to do. I think you are approaching it the right way, and honoring the vow/agreement you made with this congregation. I don’t think I’d start a conversation with precondition, just tell them. If they start nagging you, simply tell them the truth in love; that you have no wish to argue and that you still love them, etc… and then go.
If the four spiritual laws come up or any other theological issues arise, you don’t have to debate if you don’t want to.
They would not feel this way if you were joining the Baptist church down the street. They would just shake your hand and give best wishes. It is because you mentioned “Catholic” church. They feel you are going to hell and will try to save you. That is what they do. It is from their good will that they do this.
I would put a time limit on it as soon as you greet one another if you decide to meet.
Tell them that you have an open mind . So you are going to look into the another faith that believes in Jesus Christ to see first hand what they believe. And is it not good to have an open mind with others who believe in Jesus? Shouldn’t we be tolerant of others? Shouldn’t we be understanding? How can I be understanding and tolerant if I do not know what they teach? Would you have a problem with me if I looked into the Presbyterian Church? Or Evangelical? Or Baptist?
I would just keep that theme on their plate and not swerve from it. If they said anything against the Catholic church, then ask them if they are saying that first hand or second hand. Did they ask the catholic priest or did they just hear this from someone else who may not know the faith and not give correct info. If they say anything against the faith, just ask them if this is first or second hand info. What you want is first hand info and that is about what you want.
If they have a Catholic who is no longer Catholic talking to you, and say that this person is first hand info, then just say that you need to find out for yourself exactly what the church teaches, from the horse’s mouth.
And then if they say that they are just concerned for you, then just say that what you are doing is what you would do with any church, and that is to research it. Ask them, “don’t you feel that that is what everyone should do, to know what is really being taught?”
Just keep it away from any article of faith. Keep it along the lines of investigation, openness, tolerance, truth, from a primary source and not hearsay or bigatry. That noone can make a correct choice until all the true facts are in.
Just keep bringing the conversation back to this and nothing else. Just keep repeating this over and over in various ways.
As far as cancelling membership there, maybe just let it die a natural death without it being formal.
I was under the impression that if a Catholic were to change parishes that the Church wants them to make that membership clear? Maybe that was in the good ol’ days? Anyway, it is similar to what most protestant churches expect IF a formal membership is put on the rolls.
Calling a Parish Office Secretary to forward paperwork to a new Parish is a little different than having to appear before the Star Chamber to argue your eternal salvation with your soon to be former Pastor. (I guess he would be former if he permits you to leave.)
ETA; Meaning, I don’t see the OP as being worried he’d be held against his will, as as he has said, he hopes to remain in good standing because of his wife. I think a simple statement would be respectful, and to know it is ok to not undergo any anticipated 3rd degree.
I hadn’t planned to really do much talking with them to begin with except to make an announcement and leave it at that; However, my wife wanted to approach the female pastor and consult with her on her opinion. I felt it best if I be there as well if she does this so I can at least defend my decision it it comes to that. I plan to say “It’s a personal decision and has to do with church history and theological differences. It’s nothing personal against anyone here.” I’d like to point out to them it’s not just them but also the baptist and anglican church I once attended too, as well as the united church I was initially baptized in. You’re right, if they no longer want to be my friend, then I’ll count that as suffering for Christ and a loss as a result of seeking to follow Him.
I may have to write up a letter and read it to the congregation. It would be an excellent opportunity to evangelize people if that was God’s will, but my intention is to avoid division and controversy. I intend to speak to them and inform that this my personal choice and that I wish to remain friendly. You’re right; The bonds of friendship truly will be tested. And it isn’t like going to another protestant church such as anglican, baptist, united church, ect.
August 2016 is this expected month. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says to examine ourselved
to see whether I am in the faith. Investigating the catholic faith and claims has been a part of that. It makes more sense to me than prostantism. I don’t believe in once saved, always saved. I believe it is the ancient christianity I’ve been looking for all my life. Peter has the keys, and RC is the one true church. I want to be where the Holy Spirit is, and I want to love God with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength.
Frankly, I am in a state of mortal sin and need the sacrament of reconcilation and healing. I fear I may be running the race in vain in a protestant faith that is flawed that may be teaching a different gospel. I don’t want to judge protestantism as following another gospel that Paul talked about, but it seems saying calvary is a one-time event for the forgiveness of sins past, present, and future and once saved, always saved is a different message of the good news of Jesus than the one traditionally taught in the bible, the early church fathers and the Roman Catholic Church today. Maybe Jesus IS really present in the Eucharest and I was too blinded by protestant beliefs to accept it. Protestantism was stared by a man branded as a heretic. I found this website persuasive: protestanterrors.com
I feel moved to join the Roman Catholic Church and feel persuaded it is the one true church and the one true faith that I was looking for most of my life. I feel by not doing so I cannot in good conscious love God with my whole heart, soul, mind and body and thus be proven to be faithful.
This is my plan. I intend to say I believe I was moved by the Holy Spirit to join the Roman Catholic Church and that I still intend to keep attending with my wife to preserve the unity lf my marriage as much as possible. Yes, prayers are needed for this difficult time.
Of course. This is what I expect. I’d be motivated to do this too as a protestant christian. I am a baptized christian who is seeking to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And they feel my future sins are forgiven as a christian, so if they feel I am committing a sin, wouldn’t they believe I am still saved regardless?
I feel I in good conscious I am loving my neighbour(them) by approaching them in honesty and informing them of my decision. I don’t pay any membership fees at the church, however I do have certain obligations that are expected of me such as being called to vote on church matters and so on. They need to know where I stand as a christian. I don’t want to deceive them and lead them to think I am still a member and a protestant when I consider myself no longer a protestant by faith.