Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Fathers, The Hours and a Little Hermitage.

Last night on the Journey Home, Marcus interviewed a Brethren in Christ pastor who Crossed the Tiber after 18 years of pulpit ministry. This was of particular interest to me because the first friend I made when I joined the Church knew him when he was an assistant pastor and was from the same spiritual background. I posted earlier about this here.

The highlight of the interview for me was learning that he had obtained two master's degrees as well as a PhD from respected evangelical theology programs and had never been exposed to the Church Fathers! His first exposure to them was when he started praying the Liturgy of the Hours. So I don't feel so bad about never having heard about the writings of the Church fathers as a layman! But, methinks there is a reason why so many of us were never exposed to these seminal writings. It takes all of about 7.5 to 10 minutes of reading Ignatius, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus to come to the uncomfortable reality that the early Church was Ca... Cat... Catho... Catholic! One of my moments of Truth was reading the early Church fathers on the Eucharist and realizing that Catholics had Jesus all along! I felt cheated. I really did. Why hadn't anyone told me I can find Jesus down the street in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church in the world? Sheeesh. But I digress..

Another interesting comment he made was the sense that his Mom was praying for him after she died and how it gave him an almost supernatural understanding of the Communion of Saints.
This too was a pivotal moment for me as well and I have also had the almost palpable sense of my mother's intercession for me after she died about 4 years ago.

Finally, Dr. Hall's story of taking a sabbatical at John Michael Talbot's hermitage while still in ministry and volunteering to drive to the airport to fetch their conference speaker, who turns out to be a Catholic convert from his own seminary (Gordon-Conwell). None other than Dr. Hahn. God's sense of humor, eh?

Keep Dr. Hall and his wife in prayer and all those in his circle of influence. God will use him to help others to see the beauty of the Catholic Church.

14 Comments:

Blogger Theo said...

Dr. Hall should try reading Ephesians and Romans. :-)

Seriously, it is interesting that the testimony of the early Church affected him as it did. I would expect that scripture itself also played a role. It would be no small thing for any well-educated Christian Pastor who embraces sola scriptura to abandon it without some sort of confirmation from scripture itself.

It must be very unsettling for someone who has relied on sola scriptura as a safe haven against heresy to begin seeing that scripture itself testifies against sola scriptura. I've never had to go through that process. TJ, how did you deal with it? Was it a quick revelation or a slow process? Did you resist it or embrace it? Was it frightening or liberating?



Your bro,
--Theo

January 15, 2008 10:13 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

After experiencing many of the excesses and heterodoxy of unchecked charismania, whether I knew it or not, I was already accepting that not everything is in the Bible. (Though, I knew being slain in the spirit was scriptural, though the recipients of that experience in Acts never lived to tell about it :)
But seriously, I was slowly growing away from the construct that the Bible was self explanatory and contained all we had to know. About two years before my conversion, I remember asking Prodigal Daughter what exactly is the Good News? Is it what we think Scripture says it is, do we really know the heart of God regarding what Jesus meant when he preached the good news? I began to question in my mind whether the 4 spiritual laws paradigm was all there was to the Good news. I even went through a very short period where I thought I would like to get a master's degree in theology, but gave up the idea when I realized, I would not know which program or theology to embrace. How did I know that one program vs another would give me the whole truth, vs their version of it.
So, for me, it was a tremendous freedom to discover that Christ had given us a Church with a promise attached, that the Holy Spirit would lead us in all Truth, not just the truth we discover when it's just me and Jesus and my shortened version of the Bible.

Sola Scriptura was not a safe haven for me as I began to distrust it based on the negative effects of it I saw in my life and others. I saw many people come and go over the years in and out of fellowships because of their peculiar view of "God speaking to me through the Scripture."

I dunno, but I suspect there was always a Catholic Church shaped hole in my heart and
becoming Catholic (again) was like stepping into an extremely comfortable well worn shoe. Sola scriptura if ever had any vestige left in my theology, quickly melted away for my glad acceptance of the safe haven of the Church.
That's not to say I easily embraced every doctrine from the day of my conversion, but decided to put my trust in this Church Jesus started vs my interpretation of Scripture. It has been a great liberation!!!!

January 15, 2008 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

hi, i'm so glad i stumbled across this blog! dr. hall gave a website (www.heartforgodltd.org), but when i tried to go there it seemed to be an invalid address. did anyone catch the web address? i must have jotted it down wrong...

January 15, 2008 5:15 PM  
Blogger Hidden One said...

Everybody has a Catholic Church-shaped whole inside - more people need to notice.

January 15, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger Thos said...

My real blessing last night watching this show was that my wife put it on, not me (she's less interested in Catholicism). And it wound up being (I think) a very good program as she reflects on some of the stuff I talk about.

His testimony was a great blessing. Excellent point about not knowing the Fathers and Dr. Hall's several degrees, thanks!

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

January 15, 2008 6:08 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Peace to you thos.
Yes I think his testimony may cause many to take a look at Catholicism. Many from his background
would never have even considered it a possibility but a man of his academic and spiritual standing is going to be hard to ignore. His preaching is very good, I went to his old church's site and listened to his farewell sermon.

"Clearly, he never was saved" is not a valid response to this conversion. :)

January 15, 2008 6:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

donna, I think he gave his e mail as DLH@heartforgodltd.org?
I didnt think he gave a website. But I will try to contact him to see if he has his site up and running.

January 15, 2008 6:51 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Well, Joanna, an interesting "start." What is this "love" of which you speak?

January 15, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

We listened to his farewell sermon also. I was very impressed with his story last night. He is a very sincere and articulate man, and very easy to listen to also. I only hope some of my friends watched, but when I ask them to or ask if they happened to catch anything I've told them about on EWTN, I get, well, pretty much ignored, or really trite excuses...my t.v. broke, had to do the ironing, my toilet overflowed...well, THAT's one I haven't heard yet.

January 15, 2008 9:50 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I don't really market the JH program to my protestant friends other than to readers of this blog. You are braver than I. I did send the DVD on Protestant/Catholic dialog from Nineveh productions awhile back to some protestant friends. I haven't heard back. At least you get an excuse!
I did get a really nice call from an old evangelical friend who was channel surfing the night PD and I were on JH. He was very kind and thought we were very gracious to our past experiences, and he had been with me through some of those experiences.

January 15, 2008 10:05 PM  
Anonymous PD said...

Theo,
I still remember the unsettled feeling I had when realizing that the Bible "alone" didn't have all the answers. It was like discovering that the surface I was standing on for all those years was made of quick sand rather than granite. For me Sola Scriptura was the first thing to go. After that it was eclesial no-mans land for a while because I wasn't ready to embrace the CC. I just prayed that Jesus would show me what was true and you know the rest of the story. :)

January 16, 2008 12:54 PM  
Blogger Heart for God said...

Thanks to all for the kind comments. I do not have a web site yet (I am woefully techno-illiterate). I will try to respond to reasonable emails at DLH@HeartforGodLtd.org

Blessings to all in Jesus,
David Hall

January 16, 2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger Thos said...

Dr. Hall,

The real Dr. Hall? How cool! What a change to ecumenism and sharing the faith and the gospel this internet is! Never before has such an open exchange of theological beliefs and views been possible.

Thanks for sharing; as I said, you were a blessing to me and to my wife.

Peace in Christ,
Thos.

January 16, 2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger liturgy said...

Greetings

I have been working hard to provide a simple introduction for those starting out on praying the Liturgy of the Hours. This is what I have prepared:
http://www.liturgy.co.nz/ofthehours/introduction.html
I would be happy to receive any constructive suggestions to make this a better starting resource. I will incorporate suggestions if they appear helpful – and if other suggestions don’t say the opposite ☺

Please consider placing a link called “Liturgy of the Hours” or “Liturgy of the Hours (ecumenical)” to http://www.liturgy.co.nz/ofthehours/resources.html

Blessings on your venture

January 23, 2008 3:13 AM  

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