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.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Church Fathers Know Best

Blame it on the Fathers. Yet another revert as a result of The Early Church Fathers! Here's is Dr. Beckwith's statement made on his blog today regarding his conversion/reversion.

"The past four months have moved quickly for me and my wife. As you probably know, my work in philosophy, ethics, and theology has always been Catholic friendly, but I would have never predicted that I would return to the Church, for there seemed to me too many theological and ecclesiastical issues that appeared insurmountable. However, in January, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I began reading the Early Church Fathers as well as some of the more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors. I became convinced that the Early Church is more Catholic than Protestant and that the Catholic view of justification, correctly understood, is biblically and historically defensible. Even though I also believe that the Reformed view is biblically and historically defensible, I think the Catholic view has more explanatory power to account for both all the biblical texts on justification as well as the church’s historical understanding of salvation prior to the Reformation all the way back to the ancient church of the first few centuries. Moreover, much of what I have taken for granted as a Protestant—e.g., the catholic creeds, the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the Christian understanding of man, and the canon of Scripture—is the result of a Church that made judgments about these matters and on which non-Catholics, including Evangelicals, have declared and grounded their Christian orthodoxy in a world hostile to it. Given these considerations, I thought it wise for me to err on the side of the Church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians that followed Christ’s Apostles."


Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Yes, isn't it totally awkward when one reads the works of the Early Church Fathers and finds how the 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation of people who actually were converted by the Apostles and the disciples brought forth the Church from their direct knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ? I smile and shake my head when my Protestant friends badger me like they think the Church was "invented" and truly understood after ignoring 1400 prior years of comprehension of how Jesus Christ wanted His Church to be founded. It makes me sad to see that they do not understand how the Holy Spirit (abundantly documented in the scriptures) keeps the Catholic church true through these 2000 years.

O God, who didst teach the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit: grant, by the same Spirit, that we may relish what is right, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Per Dominum nostrum in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti...

May 06, 2007 1:06 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the comment.Yes, very awkward indeed. I wrote a post about it awhile back called Inconvenient Truths. I have to say for myself, when I read that the Church fathers believed that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist, I was aghast at the thought, that there exists a Church(more correctly two, Orthodox) that still maintain this belief and that I walked away from it.
How could I be a Christian who desired to worship "like the early Church" but have absolutely no knowledge of what that early Church looked like and practiced, other than my "man-made" construct derived from my interpretation of scripture.
But conversion is still a mystery and we commit all souls to Christ(ours included) and pray for the unity of the body of Christ.

May 06, 2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I knew you'd have the update.

: )

May 06, 2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

I think that one key to conversion is to work to comprehend all of the scriptures, rather than cherry pick in order to be self justified, and especially, comprehend the scriptures as real events that took place with real people in a certain time in history's challenges. I have many dear Protestant friends and acquaintances and when I need to be around people who love the Lord, sometimes they are more of a comfort to me than, for example, secularized "Catholics." However, as dear and kind as they are, it does not take long for their smugness to ruin the moment. It's like being at a spelling bee for self justifying bible quoting, and that's depressing and a waste of time. The bible has much about those who think they are wise, so I need not say more on that point :-)

The Catholic church, now there is where the comfort resides. One can go into an empty Catholic church that has the Eucharistic presence and immediately feel the living Jesus Christ. That does not mean that we don't all hold Jesus Christ in our hearts, and that he is not everywhere in the world, but Christ knew that after he left, that people would need his tangible presence and support. The Holy Ghost provides that in the mind and soul, but the Eucharist provides comfort in the heart.

I never hear my bible quoting non Catholic friends quote the words of Christ himself here:
John 6:48-60
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and have died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that if anyone eat of it he will not die. I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
The Jews on that account argued with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus therefore said to them, "Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father has sent me, and as I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever. These things he said when teaching in the synagogue at Capharnaum.

John goes on to report that many disciples found this hard to hear, and were scandalized, and many left. Jesus asks the Twelve if they would leave too, and they say no. This is where my Protestant friends usually start quoting the bible again. But Jesus spent a lot of time and care to spell out a physical image of eating and drinking of him, knowing full well that there would be scandal and accusations, and desertions. The Early Fathers fully comprehended that this, coupled with the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ's declaration of being the New Covenant was the creation of a real, tangible, sacramental relationship with the flock, in the form of the Holy Eucharist. I think much of conversion is really listening to and comprehending all of what Jesus Christ said and did, and following the example of those who he charged with translating these teachings into the structure of the physical church on earth.

You know what shocked me? When I was a little girl and when I first realized that Protestant gatherings did not have the Eucharist! That scandalized me beyond belief and I'm still shaking my head about it :-)

Praying for unity! Looking forward to reading some of your posts from before.

May 06, 2007 4:02 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I just left a "welcome home" comment on Dr. Beckwith's blog. How wonderful for him. It's hard but worth the struggle.


May 06, 2007 4:16 PM  
Blogger japhy said...

It's hard to read some of the responses on his blog... coming from Christians. Pray for unity, unity in the Catholic Church.

May 06, 2007 10:43 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Some of the reponses truly were painful and manifested the way Catholicism is viewed in the evangelical world but the positive aspect is that about half the comments from non-Catholics were gracious.
I think the negativity of the comments was so painful, I had to make the "borg" as a joke. If you don't laugh, it's too painful. I found a website calling Dr. Beckwith an sad.

May 07, 2007 7:53 AM  
Blogger Joe D. said...

Are you, by chance, reading the series "Ancient Christian Writers"?
What an amazing set of books!

May 07, 2007 9:38 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

No Joe, but I will check it out. I have read the Mike Aquilina "short course" of fathers,The Mass of the Early Christians, Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett and am still reading a rather voluminous compilation of the fathers broken down by topic.

May 07, 2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

Joe's wife Ma Beck here...
It's a series of about, oh, 20 or so books - starts with St. Ignatius of Antioch and moves forward from there.
It's fascinating.
I'm reading St. Justin Martyr right now...

May 07, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Cool, thanks for the tip

May 09, 2007 8:55 AM  

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