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 04, 2009

Why Did You Return to the Church?

I recently was in an e mail discussion with a ex-Catholic Christian who asked me directly why I ever would want to return to the Catholic Church. This was my response:

I believe Jesus gave us a Church in order to lead us in all truth. I don't believe he left it up to our individual private interpretations of Scripture to sort out the truth on our own. For one thing, there was no Bible for the first 380 years of Christianity until the Catholic Church canonized the New Testament and gave us the list of books that were considered inspired by the Holy Spirit to be part of Scripture, including 7 books of the Old Testament which Luther removed 1500 years later. So the Church grew and flourished through the ancient world for amost 4 centuries without the Bible as we know it, and the majority of the population was illiterate. So the people heard the gospel and truth as it was passed down from the apostles and preached in the Church.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth and I believe He does that through the Church that he started, the Catholic Church. Paul told Timothy that the pillar and foundation of Truth is the Church, not the Bible.(1 Timothy 3:15) Especially since the complete Bible was not canonized or available at the time Paul wrote those words to Timothy.(only the old testament was)
It is obvious since the Church did indeed canonize the Bible and discerned which books should be in it, she loves Scripture and believes it to be the infallible word of God.(St Jerome said in the fifth century: to be ignorant of Scripture is to be ignorant of Christ) But the Church has always held that the teachings of the apostles passed down from generation to generation of believers makes up a sacred deposit of faith called Sacred Tradition. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). (Paul did not condemn tradition, and Jesus only condemned tradition when it was used wrongly by the pharisees to get them out of their responsibilities)
So we Catholics believe Scripture and the Sacred teachings passed down from the apostles comprise the Word of God, not just the Bible alone. Sacred Tradition never contradicts Scripture and Catholic teachings can all be supported by the Bible if one looks to the whole scripture.
So I don't suspect we will agree, but I appreciate your willingness to ask "why would you ever want to do that???" regarding my return to the Catholic Church.
The bottom line is that we are called to worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
I believe the Church is true and I can find no purer worship here on earth than in the Holy Mass where Jesus comes to us from heaven and allows us to eat his body and drink his blood.
May God bless you as you pursue Him and feel free to pass my thoughts along to others. It is my hope and prayer that more ex-Catholics will look back and re-consider the Church they left in their youth, not fully understanding what they were leaving.

In Him

Russ Rentler, M.D.


Blogger kkollwitz said...

Very pithy, thanks for posting this.

November 05, 2009 10:49 AM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Very poignant, TJ. I couldn't agree more! I sure wish someone would come out and ask me someday. I'd love to pour it all out to one person honestly asking, without ulterior motives. Of course, even those would be preferable to the "wall of silence" of which we're both familiar. Have not heard from J. again. The 'seeds' were sowed. Someone else will water, and I only hope she'll be illumined by grace like I was and come to love the Church Jesus built like you and I have. Pray for J.

Off topic: I found this quote for my FB wall and thought of you immediately.
“It is the best of all trades, to make songs, and the second best to sing them.” Hilaire Belloc

November 07, 2009 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear sir,

I am an Anglican/evangelical/Catholic who was raised RC. I am coming home!!
I live in Hunterdon County NJ.
Is that far from you? I am married with 5 kids and I am a pastor. Soon wont be. Also, without a job most likely. But I know the Catholic Church is the Fold of Christ.


November 07, 2009 5:26 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Anonymous pastor:
Congrats and welcome home!!! please contact me at dobrodoc1 at gmail dot com. I am not far from hunterdon, probably 40 minutes west.

Have you contacted Marcus Grodi of the Coming Home Network yet? He will have some resources to help you.

November 07, 2009 7:50 PM  

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