Oh yeah, the wife still isn’t a huge fan. But a la Luther, “I can do no other” if I think it’s true.
I was raised second-wave evangelical in an independent baptist church that paid dues to the SBC so our youth could attend their colleges for the reduced rate. I attended secular university, but a local program allowed students to take classes at the nearby baptist seminary, which is where a lot of my friends went anyway. So I did that. Even briefly considered becoming a full-blown seminarian! (One sememster I took more classes at the seminary than I did at my home school).
So I attended more classes there than I should, read all of the books my seminary pals read and went to any hot-topic lecture I could. I was present enough that the president of the seminary even knew my name. It was during this time that I fell in love with reformed theology and became a full 5-point Calvinist (much to the chagrin of my home church which was adamantly free-will baptist).
But as time when on and the zealous heat of youth cooled, I began to see the flaws of election; particularly as Calvin presented it. I then began to see the serious structural flaws of evangelicalism on the whole. It seemed to me (and still does) that if “my bible and me, in the Spirit” can generate so. many. competing and conflicting “truths”, then it was bankrupt as a primary methodology for learning about God. The results were not reliable nor consistent from person to person.
So I flirted with atheism for a few years while always asking myself “what is the true church?” and “does it/could it even exist?”
I began to focus on the idea that the church, if extant, couldn’t fail. Not even temporarily. Christ explicitly said so in Matthew. So if the true church existed, then it was observable from the 1st century to the present. This leaves only 2 real, defensible options; Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Unsurprisingly, they’re the two biggest groups in Christianity, together accounting for roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of the Christians walking around on this globe.
I had to get my head around the theology, but I had the capacity to do that, so no biggie. The best part about it though was the realization that “the truth” was not “up to me”. After studying theology for decades, that was so, so liberating.
This is getting long. Cutting it here. Ask any follow-up you please.