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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Seeker's Group Last Night

The Seekers meeting was small but went very well. Thanks for the prayers. It was attended by only one non-Catholic woman but the meeting went for over three hours!

We were also joined by a graduate of Moody Bible Institute who crossed the Tiber in seminary and has been a diocesan priest for the past twenty or so years. I did not expect Father R. to attend but he was on our mailing list so I was very pleased and grateful when he showed up. He drove from another county to come to the meeting.

Our planned discussion was on faith and works but we also discussed baptism, confession, the Eucharist, “once saved always saved”, where the Bible came from, apostolic succession etc.

Father R. listened through much of the discussion as I explained to our guest the Catholic perspective on Faith and Works. She was surprisingly on-board with Catholic views! She is from a church that is an off-shoot of John Wesley's church and therefore has similar views as Catholics regarding holiness and the ability to lose one's salvation.

Regarding infant baptism that she questioned, Father R. gave a most eloquent discussion of how and why Catholics baptize infants beautifully tying in the concept of God’s grace. Babies can’t do anything to earn this free gift!

Our non-Catholic friend was very surprised to know that Catholics “love the Lord” just like she and her church folks do. She had experienced so many Catholics in her life that didn’t live their faith and had thus come to the conclusion, as many do, that Catholics aren’t “saved.” She readily admitted though that there were many people in her denomination that didn’t live obedient lives as well.

At one point, our non-Catholic guest remarked that she was not going to convert. We reassured her that we did not expect her to but were happy that she was interested in learning what Catholics really believed. She said that there is much anti-Catholic rhetoric in her church and now she will have some information to share when people repeat false perceptions about Catholicism. Some of the best defenders of Catholicism sometimes turn out to be folks who are not Catholic! The beauty of Catholicism is that God draws people in over time and the Damascus Road experience is rare. I do not feel that I have to pressure people into conversion and “make the sale.” We as Catholics can respect the journey of faith our non-Catholic friends are on, and they feel respected when we don’t shove the Catechism down their throats. I don’t know if this woman will cross the Tiber or not, but we will continue to have our monthly meetings to explain and discuss the faith to anyone who is interested in hearing. I am so thankful for this brave Protestant lady's willingness to discuss Catholicism.

At the end of the evening, I joked that this was probably the first time she had ever met a priest face to face. I suspect it will not be the last.

Thanks again for the prayers, and keep Fr. R in your prayers as he battles daily for the kingdom and defends the faith.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope she keeps coming back to your study. It will be interesting to hear her story in how she tries to defend The Church to her evangelical friends, to hear their responses and hear her responses to them...

I studied John Wesley's theology in great depth, before reverting to The Church.

To have a priest in your midst - what a privilege and a blessing!!!

I can relate to your expression of not feeling pressured to make a quick sale to evangelicals. But I admit when I see an evangelical ex-Catholic, I am very quick to tell them "Go Home!"

If I'm conversing with an evangelical born again ex-Catholic relative I'm more blunt and tell them "You are brainwashed!" Ha-ha!It's hilarious hearing their responses to that statement--at least we both get a good laugh :).

November 16, 2006 12:37 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I agree, its so hard not to want to grab an ex catholic evangelical and bring them to Mass to really explain what's going on! My brother who "accepted Jesus" with me at the same Bible study in 1973 is now a charismatic/evangelical pastor who loves Jesus very much and is very committed to holiness. My heart aches for him since I know that if he could only see who is in the Eucharist....
Sadly we don't talk about spiritual things anymore and recently when a religious discussion came up, he left the room. Please pray that God can lift the veil for him and his family.

Yes knowing this convert priest has been such a blessing. Devout and orthodox and understanding a converts perspective. I felt that we had experienced quite a blessing by having him come over!!

November 16, 2006 3:21 PM  

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