What should I do? I need your opinion


#1

We have a battle going on at our house. I was a Baptist for most of my life. I became more and more frustrated with the Baptist faith, because it didn’t seem to match what I was reading in the Bible about Salvation - mainly in the areas of “Faith alone” and “Once Saved, Always Saved” - things that the Baptist church strongly teaches.

I stopped going to the Baptist church a few years ago, because of this frustration. I was so confused by the conflict between the Bible and the Baptist faith that I was stopped reading my Bible, and stopped praying altogether.

A few months ago, I found the Catholic faith, which nicely knits together the teachings that were so confusing to me. I enrolled in an RCIA class, and will be officially joining the Catholic church next month.

Hence the battle. My wife and 3 children are still Baptist. My wife is concerned that my children will desert their faith if I don’t continue to go to the Baptist church with them. (She thinks I should go to both churches… to keep everyone happy). She has always been a very forceful person, and she’s quite upset about this issue.

Being such a recent convert, and being so frustrated with the Baptist beliefs that defeated me for so many years, I’m not willing to continue going to the Baptist church, even if it brings temporary peace to my family. Besides that, I don’t want my children to misunderstand my attendance as acceptance. (My kids are 14, 12, and 9)

My wife has her therapist, her ultra-devout Baptist family (not surprising…) and my Mom on her side. (My mom is Catholic)

What should I do? Do I continue to go to the Baptist church even though I strongly object to what they teach? I could really use some advice here.

Thanks,
Tom


#2

I’m having a difficult time knowing what to answer because you mention that your wife has a therapist.

I don’t know if the therapist is for some personal problems that your wife is facing or if this is a marriage therapist or something else. If there is reason to believe your wife is unstable then maybe you do need to temporally accompany her to her church until the storm in her life caused by your conversion settles down a bit. I say this with trepidation because I don’t think new Catholics should expose themselves unnecessarily to imperfect truths or outright falsehoods.

Is there any chance of bargaining with her? You will accompany her to the Baptist Church if she agrees to come with you to the Catholic Church.

Your wife probably sees your conversion as you deserting the Faith rather than finding it. You might need to give her a chance to see that you have not abandoned Christianity. You’ve found the fullness of it. You can still pray together at home and read your Bible to/with your children.


#3

Perhaps the book “When Only One Converts” might have some insight and advice for you.


#4

For a more definitive answer, you might submit this question in the “Ask an Apologist” forum.


#5

Thanks for your reply!

My wife sees a therapist because of an anxiety disorder that she’s had since before we were married almost 18 years ago. The problems are genetic - and along the lines of bipolar disorder, but not quite as severe. She tends to be very nervous, angry and controlling. These tendencies have been very hard on our marriage, so yes, we’ve also gone in for marital counseling to the same counselor. I think it’s safe to say that she will never outgrow these tendencies.

Lately, every time we get into an argument, she makes another appointment with her therapist because she wants someone to “understand her.” This is getting really expensive!


#6

Thanks, ReginaNova. I just posted it there now.


#7

I was looking at that book last week. Looks like a good one, so I just bought it. Thanks for your recommendation.

Tom


#8

You could go to Baptist services with them as well as Mass. Scott Hahn did that when his wife and children were still Protestants after he became Catholic. Now, they’re a strong Catholic family. As long as it doesn’t jeapordize your faith, it would probably be OK. Talk to a priest. They deal with these issues all the time.

Congrats on converting! I’m a convert myself and it was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I will definitely pray for you and your family.


#9

Tom…the advice given to consult with your priest was very good. Also remember to pray without ceasing for your wife. And be strong in your faith as a good example. God bless.


#10

My husband converted from Pentecostal to Catholic when I was pregnant with our first so that we would raise the kids in one faith. When he attended RCIA, he grew in love for and faith in the Church and became a “true” Catholic. Is there any way you could get her to attend RCIA with you?

Also, why is your mom on her side?


#11

If your wife has a mental illness, I’m not sure what you should do.

What if she and the kids come with you to Mass, and, you go with her?–even possible? Don’t they have good music at the Baptist Church–could you go for the music?

I guess I would go for peace sake while trying to gently evangelize.

Kids always want to do what their dads do–so, you’ll probably end up with Catholic kids, anyway. :slight_smile:


#12

I’m also a convert, and I do go to protestant services with my family and friends–occaisionally. I don’t go every week, because it drives me crazy! I know they are wrong. Well, just don’t have the fullness of the faith. It’s like being college educated in algebra, then having to go to preschool to learn to count. Frustrating, to say the least. But for the sake of peace, I go. I never miss mass, and always invite them to come with me. My mother does come to mass with us now occaisionally too. So do some of our friends. But no, I understand totally your not wanting to go every week. I say compromise, go maybe once or twice a month, at least for now.


#13

I would say you need equal time. If your wife insists on you and the children accompanying her to the Baptist church, insist that she go with you and them to your Catholic masses.


#14

That’s great about your husband! Pentecostals can be pretty anti-Catholic sometimes (just like many Baptists). You’re very fortunate!

Believe it or not, she IS going to RCIA with me, but I think it’s more of a control thing than actually being open to learning. She’s kinda “babysitting” me.

Hmmm… why is my Mom on her side? I dunno. I’m open to the possibility that she’s right. I just know that I left that church 6 years ago because I couldn’t stand it. There’s so much arrogance and judgmentalism.

The doctrinal issues were the “straws that broke the camel’s back.” I haven’t been there is such a long time, and I just am really dragging my feet on this one.


#15

I was raised Baptist and once “made” my wife (cradle Catholic) attend services with me at my church and out of respect and love for her we attended Mass. Early services at “my” church and late morning Mass. But after a while it dawned on me that it was the Catholic Church that had the fullness of the faith. Now my Church is the Catholic Church. There are many different reasons why I finally came into full communion. Just be patient(not easy), live the faith and she will most likely follow when it is time. My wife and I was married 18 years before I finally saw the fullness of the faith in the Catholic Church. But it was her faithfulness, along with the faithfulness of many non-pushy Catholics living out their faith that helped pull me in. God’s timing is not our timing.

nemo potest venire ad me nisi Pater qui misit me traxerit eum et ego resuscitabo eum novissimo die
No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. And I will raise him up in the last day. John 6:44

Welcome Home!


#16

This is my vote too… If she wants to go to the Baptist church and wants you to attend, then she should be willing to go to mass with you. As far as the kids go, it will probably help them more to see your wife and you compromising and sharing your faith with each other. My kids went to mass with me and Baptist services on Sunday nights with the babysitter (only way her dad would let her babysit my kids on Sundays so I could get alone time when I was a single mom)


#17

The arrogance and judgmentalism are what drove me away from the Baptist Church as a teenager. The amazing thing that I have discovered though is that as I have grown in my Catholic faith, I have not only much more tolerance but even more understanding of the “fervor” of my Baptist relatives. All of the things that they used to say and do that used to get under my skin, just really doesn’t bother me anymore. I know that they sincerely love Christ and that is a love that we share. I am much more comfortable discussing my faith with them now than when I was supposedly a Baptist.


#18

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