In 2002, after 47 years of faithful and enthusiastic involvement in many ministries in various evangelical churches (we switched churches whenever we moved to a different city), we were kicked out of an Evangelical Free Church.
A woman pastor in that church leveled heinous and false claims against me specifically, and also against our family. Briefly, we were accused of undermining the authority of that church because of various questions we had raised in private with the pastors, and because of various family practices.
An example of one of these “family practices” is that we encouraged our younger daughter to sit with her boyfriend during church, instead of insisting that she sit with the youth group.
Another example of a “family practice” is that both of our daughters were involved in figure skating and usually missed Sunday morning worship service, although both of them were faithful in attending the Youth Group meetings on Wednesday night.
When she was a Senior in high school, my older daughter asked the Youth Pastor if they the Youth Group could hold a Bible study instead of just a discussion and fellowship time. He told her that most kids would stop attending if they had a Bible study.
Another decision that the Youth Pastor made was to hold a beach camping experience (at a lake–we live in Northern Illinois, so there’s no ocean) DURING Vacation Bible school. My older daughter asked the pastor to please hold the beaching camping experience during a different week so that the teenagers could be free to volunteer to work at Vacation Bible school, but the Youth Pastor told her that most teenagers didn’t want to help at VBS.
A few months after this, my older daughter met with her Leadership Committee and the Youth Pastor and told them that she was resigning, because it was obvious that they were more interested in socializing rather than learning about God and serving Him.
These were the kinds of things that we did that upset the church pastors.
In addition, the woman pastor accused me of frightening the children, and implied worst things. Thank God I had always held any children’s events or meetings with other parents PRESENT, so that there was no proof of what this woman pastor was saying.
A tribunal consisting of men that we didn’t even know and who didn’t know us, along with this woman pastor, met, tried, and condemned us. None of the parents from my children’s ministries were present.
The meeting ended by them asking us to leave.
Forty seven years were gone, and suddenly, we had no life. We went from spending 5-6 days/evenings in the church or involved with a church ministry to nothing.
From then on, most of the members of that church shunned us.
A year later, I learned that the woman pastor had been fired after she was caught in a lie. Apparently she was a pathological liar.
After the woman pastor was fired, no one in that church ever called my husband and me to tell us that they might have made a mistake and to apologize for their cruel treatment of us.
Our daughters stopped attending church after the ousting. They were furious at the church for treating us so badly after all our service.
I refused to enter a Protestant church after that, and it took several years before I was able to walk into a Protestant church for anything other than a concert or a funeral. I had seen a vision as we ran crying out of the Evangelical Free church after the tribunal kicked us out of a huge Bible shearing away, like mica, and I knew that sola Scriptura was a lie created by Satan and his evil human followers here on this earth. So I wouldn’t even consider a Protestant church that believed in sola Scriptura. Other Protestant churches , especially the mainlines, have accepted the evil of abortion, gay marriage, and open marriages.
So we had no church for several years. I actually told my husband that I would never join a church again unless we were wooed into it by God Himself.
But we knew that it was wrong for Christians to forsake assembling with other Christians, so we began attending Sat. evening Mass at the parish down the street from us. We had never had any objection to Catholics, mainly because during our years of pro-life work, we came to realize that they were “real” Christians. But we believed, as many other evangelicals do, that Catholics have added man-made rituals to the Bible.
We began to realize that everything we were seeing and hearing in the Catholic Church was in line with the Bible. So we started attending an apologetics class offered by the parish, and eventually we joined RCIA.
This process took two years. We did not easily convert. But we were definitely wooed by God. Both of us, at one point, were spoken to by the Holy Spirit, Who told us, “This is the truth. If you reject it, you are in danger of hellfire. Do you accept My teaching and will you say ‘Yes’ to the Catholic Church? Or will you reject My teaching?”
We accepted the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and in 2004, we were received into the Catholic Church.
My older daughter was received into the Catholic Church a few years later.
Our younger daughter still does not go to church. We have reason to believe that she may have been molested in some way at that Evangelical Free church.
We love being Catholic! Based on history and theology, we believe that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Christ founded and intended for human beings to be part of. We believe that Protestant churches have a portion of the Gospel and that Protestants have a hope of heaven through their triune baptism and their invincible ignorance. We pray that the Church might one day be ONE, as Jesus prayed in John 17.
I encourage all Protestants to seriously study the Catholic Church, and not to be afraid.