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, August 26, 2008

An American Conversion

Conversions to Catholic Christianity are always an interest to me. I recently read the fascinating story of a conversion which occurred in the days shortly after the American Revolution. Reverend John Thayer was an ordained minister of the puritan sect of Protestantism. He traveled to Europe and heard of the miracles that were occurring as a result of the intercession of a soon to be canonized saint. He attempted to debunk the "miracles" by interviewing the people who were healed. This lead to a study of the doctrines of Catholicism and to his surprise he had been grossly misinformed. (Hey, this was even 2 centuries before Chick Tracts!) His heart was slowly converted as he traveled to Rome and met with priests and religious. He found that Catholics were very different than his pre-conceived notions of them in the past and their piety was something which influenced him greatly.

He gave up his ministerial credentials in the Protestant church and studied for the Catholic priesthood. He was ordained a priest in Europe and traveled back to the states where his conversion story made quite a stir in the New World. Such a thing as a Protestant becoming Catholic was unheard of particularly in the strongly anti-Catholic new nation where Catholics were not allowed to vote or hold public office! His desire for the rest of his life was to help others see the truth in the Catholic faith. He was less than successful as a diocesan priest in the states and eventually ended his ministry in Limerick Ireland where he passed away and left his estate back in Boston for a religious order of sisters. This was later burned down by an anti-Catholic mob in 1831.

His brother was a Protestant minister who apparently was less than enthused over his conversion.
 Rev. John Thayer wrote down his conversion story as well as published a letter to his brother. His apologetics regarding papal infallability and discussion of sola scriptura are excellent and still stand the test of time. It is amazing that he was writing only 200 years after the reformation and identified the key issues that today's apologists still deal with.
Check out his book here. At 40 pages it is a quick read.


Blogger Tim A. Troutman said...

Nice story. We don't hear as much about Catholic miracles as I think we should.

If the Catholic Church is a false Church, why would God allow so many miracles? If the miracles are fake, then what do we say of the popes who are incorruptible? Are they forgeries?

August 29, 2008 12:52 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

St. Francis DeSales used this very argument to try to win back protestants to the faith. He argued "show me the miracles in your new church" If you can't show me miracles as have been happening since 33 AD, how can yours be a true Church? He used language that was not PC but his point was well taken. . The writings are called Catholic controversies and can be found by googling them or searching my blog site for the link to them.
The miracles that occur in the Church are carefully studied and vetted before they are approved. These are not the "miracles" seen on any cable preacher's show, where there is never adequate documentation or proof. For instance, the latest healer/preacher Todd Bentley in Florida has no documentation of the miracles yet nite after nite we see people supposedly being healed.
Catholicism absolutley has always supported miracles and prayed for them, but we don't demand from God and when the miracles dont occur, we know we can unite our suffering to His and the suffering is never in vain. What a great Truth!!!

August 30, 2008 5:36 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

TJ: "...but we don't demand from God and when the miracles dont occur, we know we can unite our suffering to His and the suffering is never in vain. What a great Truth!!"

Amen! That's what I was starting to witness in our evangelical circles. Not all of the time from everyone, but even well-meaning folk can get way off track, by beginning to "dictate" to God how or what "they" want to see and experience in regard to healing or other "miracles." The prosperity Gospel as it has come to be known, is borders on presumptuousness. There's a tinge or arrogance floating through that 'mindset'/theology that is actually frightening.

What I have been so blessed by is the teaching of suffering in the Catholic Church, and how even if we aren't given a physical healing, we ARE healed "enough" to offer it up and unite it to the sufferings of Christ and our Blessed Mother's sorrowful heart. When one finally does see and does understand that it's not a 'one time deal' [Christ's suffering] that we "claim" and sometimes "demand" and use as a "get out of jail free card," then the "true" healing happens, i.e. the healing of our inner soul, touched by God to see that "His ways are NOT OUR ways!" But if we make His ways to be our ways, His will to conform to ours, then we are in a dangerous and perilous place, both physically and spiritually, for we don't discern His Body and Blood and many are sick and die as a result of that grievous, erroneous, potentially lethal belief.

Lord, hide me in our wounds and never let me go! In your wounds am I safe, and in your wounds is the only place I can unite my whole being, all my sickness and suffering and even my joys to Yours, where we then become One as you ardently prayed for Your Church. That's my prayer for today. ~ susie

September 04, 2008 7:23 AM  

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