If you used to be an Evangelical/Bible-based Protestant, what made you become Catholic?


#1

I have a very, very good friend who was raised in a strong Southern Baptist/Evangelical Protestant household, i.e., very Bible-based (she has a very strong background in Scripture). She has expressed an interest in joining the Catholic Church, because there are many aspects of it that she appreciates, but she’s coming up against a number of initial hurdles that are giving her pause. It’s just very hard for her to come to grips with the Church’s views on the saints, Mary, certain sacraments, transubstantiation, etc. I’ve tried to have discussions with her about these topics (using a lot of the information I’ve found on these forums), but it’s still tough sledding, particularly since it’s been drilled in her since childhood that these Catholic beliefs are borderline heretical.

But surely there are Evangelical/Bible-based Protestants who have converted to Catholicism out there. If so, what was it that made you switch? What made you move from a faith tradition that was so ingrained in you for most of your life (in my experience, that’s truer for Evangelicals than it is for Catholics), to leaving it for a Church that Evangelicals view with skepticism, if not outright hostility? How did you get past some of the “big” theological differences between the two camps? Did you actually sit down, evaluate both sides’ arguments for their faith, and decide? Or was there something more intangible that drove you to the Church?

I would really appreciate hearing others’ stories. Or if there are resources on the web compiling the stories of evangelicals who became Catholic, I’d love to know of them.

P.S. You don’t have to have been evangelical per se – just hardcore Protestant :slight_smile:


#2

I am very interested to read any responses to this thread. :slight_smile:

A friend of mine is a “True Christian” © of the Biblically-literal persuasion that has a tendency to turn any conversation we have into a “This is why Catholics are just bad nasty wrong!” discussion. Most of her points are ludicrous and I can’t even argue them because she thinks we do things that we don’t (like offer up communion to the crucifix instead of partaking of it. I mean, really? Really?). But again, I’m very interested in the responses to this thread. :slight_smile:


#3

There were several books and other resources that I found to be a great blessing during my own journey, including:

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie
Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating
Reasons to Believe by Dr. Scott Hahn (really just about anything by Dr. Hahn)
Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic by Francis J. Beckwith
Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard
By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark Shea
A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong
You might also suggest that your friend read Rome Sweet Home by Dr. Scott and Kimberly Hahn. This is the story of their journey from Protestantism to Catholicism. For other conversion stories you might suggest your friend read Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid.

I would also recommend the excellent Bible studies available to download for free at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: salvationhistory.com/

I hope this helps. May God bless both of you during this journey! “Ask God that your ways may be made straight and that all your paths and plans may propser, for none of the nations has understanding; but the Lord Himself gives all good things” (Tobit 4:19).


#4

Well the short version for me is I was raised in a semi-southern baptist church outside of Boston. (Odd I know, but there it is)

I was baptized in that church at 13, and somewhat fell away after that. Then, when I enterred senior year of high school and my freshman year of college I became an evangelical/pentecostal kind of fellow. From there I left to agnosticism or a clockwork god mentality. It wasnt until, by the Grace of God, I walked into a pro-life clinic in 2005 while working door to door sales that I had any major issues corrected in my understanding of the Catholic faith. I had many Catholic friends growing up that I tried to convert away from that demonistic, neo-pagan, polytheistic, antiquated, backwards, and downright rotten religion with zero success. And now I am a happy convert to the one faith founded by Christ himself through Peter.

There is much that happened between all that, but short versions are better most of the time.

The deciding factor for me was a combination of the primacy of Peter, the consistency of the teachings of the Church, and the writings of the Church fathers. I cannot argue with the Church fathers: they are more intelligent, spent more time studying and contemplating than I ever will, lived closer to the time of Christ before mythology would hypothetically spring up, and almost without exception agreed with what was taught in the Church today.

There was some suspension of disbelief that was required on my part. For instance, I had to just take it on faith in the beginning that people didnt actually pray to Mary since when you hear people saying the hail mary, the hail holy queen, the memorare, etc. it sounds that way. I have learned the truth of the matter on almost all counts with which I initially dissented, yet there will always be a bit of a blind faith in me. There are things I cannot understand, like the trinity, but “one thousand difficulties do not make one doubt”.

With love,

FSC


#5

Catholicism is the only thing that has worked! I was a Bible-based Christian, but the Bible didn’t solve my problems, nor could I see a way out of my darkness by reading the Bible and going to church.

The Catholic Church offers a living faith, where everything can be used to heal us. More important, the Catholic Church has the Holy Spirit tangibly present. We do not know how to grasp the Spirit, but when it is fully present, we can almost feel it. The peace that comes to my heart just by listening to people teach the Catholic Faith (particularly EWTN), visiting a Catholic Mass, praying the Rosary, reading about the lives of the Saints, is beyond anything this world could offer, including evangelical protestantism. Mercy, mercy, mercy! So much mercy is offered by the Catholic Church, not just as an idea in the Bible, but tangible in everything the Church does and teaches.

The Catholic Church’s strong moral teachings, if I had been exposed to them before, would have saved me from terrible darkness. I guess the Lord permitted me to sin gravely so that I could truly appreciate the goodness of His Law. I love the strictness and clarity of church teachings and hope and pray that my child will love and obey these teachings.

I don’t know how anybody could not love the Saints. They are like bright stars that show me there is still hope, even for me, even in my present state, that I, too, could become holy and worthy of our Lord. Protestantism tells me to simply believe I’m cleansed of my sins when I don’t feel clean, but Catholicism shows me how to actually get rid of my sins.

Catholicism is radical. There are priests, nuns, hermits who give up everything to follow Christ. Where else will you find these people except in Catholicism?


#6

Grew up So. Baptist and fell away during adolescence. My conversion was a process, but it started with my head and finally led to my heart.

In college I studied art history and was amazed by all of the biblical art and learned about the papacy. I continued to learn more and found Marian apparitions that were documented as a turning point. The lives of the saints and understanding the centuries of thought and debate that had formed the Catholic teachings. It was important to know Catholics worship God and venerate saints and Mary. That was a biggie! As far as the Eucharist, I had to have faith that the transubstantiation (sp?) occurred.

I attended RCIA for 3 years, just to be sure. Your friend could attend without a commitment to convert.


#7

I’m a born and raised Southern Baptist preacher’s daughter who is now a Catholic convert. My suggestion is to immediately order “Surprised by Truth” for your friend. I was one of those that was beginning to suspect the Catholic faith might be true, but kept teetering on some of the very issues you listed. This book is testimonials from several converts who had these same struggles. I highly recommend it.


#8

Hi :)

I used to be evangelical Protestant... and then converted to Catholicism (quite recently.) It was a difficult journey for me as well because I, like your friend, had a lot of initial disagreements...I found it difficult to accept the Eucharist, devotion to Mary, and the Papacy.. and just the "Catholic" way of looking at the world. It took a lot of reading and especially prayer... my mind slowly changed over time on these topics, as I prayed.

I wouldn't say that I made the decision in a day. I started out believing in the Eucharist and literally nothing else.. I wasn't even drawn to teh Church at first. I missed my old church and praise and worship and evangelical Protestantism in general. But I believed in the Eucharist and that kept me researching. With time, I began to love the Church... I'm not sure how this happened, but reading about the Saints and Catholic devotions really helped. I began to receive grace through the Church and I found it to be much richer, spiritually, than Protestantism. I still disagreed with many doctrines though...

Over the course of several months, I just prayed and researched, and one day I realized that I'm Catholic (in my heart if not officially.) I just found myself agreeing with everything. For me it was sort of a gradual process, and more something that God did than something I did. I believe He lead me to the Church precisely because I was so resistant... I simply did not see a reason to become Catholic, until the very end.

But people have different journeys :)

One big difference about Catholicism and Protestantism, is how Catholicism is "and/with" and Protestantism is "either/or". I'll explain ;) As Catholics, we believe that Our Lady, Saints, liturgy, traditions, etc, don't distance us from God, but draw us closer to Him and also glorify Him. In Protestantism, God is looked at in isolation from everything else (except perhaps the Bible.) I've found that the Catholic view is more helpful because it gives a greater purpose to the created world - to bring glory to God... it's like in the prayer, Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.

Hope that helps.. God bless :)


#9

there were several points that helped me :slight_smile:

the Catholic Church puts the Bible in its proper context

the Mass is the holiest moment of our lives

there’s no competition between Jesus and Mary, or Jesus and the Saints

the Pope was there in the early Church

the importance of having 1 Church that is the “pillar and foundation of truth”

salvation by grace through “living faith” - one that includes works… not faith alone. We can see this when we put James and the Gospels and Paul’s letters together…not look at Paul in isolation

Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano: miraclerosarymission.org/lanciano.html


#10

Raised in a Baptist church. I went to Mass for the first time when my husband took me (back before my husband and I married.) My first impression of Mass was how respectful the members were of the church. I was used to going in a sitting down and visiting until someone went up front to start the service. Nor did he warn me that you kneel before sitting...I liked to killed both of us! Anyway, I'm currently in the RCIA classes. Yes I have current reservations on some topics, but I'm reading reference books like mad between classes. But I do sit down and compare the differences, and when I get stumped, I come to CAF. It often puts a different light on the subject for me. Then I can go to the priest or deacon (as they both attend our class) and ask them questions. But my best advise would be for you and your friend to pray about it. If its meant to be, the concerns will not be such huge hurdles...it is OKAY to have mixed emotions during the transition!


#11

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