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.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The "Evil Medieval" Catholic Church

One of the joys and surprises of becoming Catholic again (returning after 31 years) was the discovery that the Church was not the evil organization depicted in Chick tracts that I devoured as a 14 year old. It's quite amazing how effective those horrible little tracts were in  brain-washing this young skull-full of mush!
   The prevailing wisdom that I heard from my bible teachers and pastors was that the Church went off the rails in the time of Constantine, and the Holy Spirit "went south" until 1517 when a devout Augustinian monk, named Martin Luther, found a dusty bible locked up in a church attic and read it for the first time! The Church back then was filled with fearful souls scurrying around to gain as much merit as possible to escape hell, even paying for it if possible. Nowhere, no how was the Gospel preached, because after all, no one knew what the Gospel was until Luther, oh wait, no, Calvin actually understood it better, but I digress....
    At any rate, everyone loves a conspiracy and these Chick tract stories stayed with me and countless others even through adulthood. The saddest thing is that they poisoned us so that we became incapable of thinking anything positive or good about Catholicism. As a matter of true fact, when I thought of the Church,  I would picture evil looking popes in big hats in black and white, just like the tracts I read.  Or the unshaven bald headed monks and priests with scowls and stink lines over their heads. Yep, Chick had done his job!
    Fast forward to the new Catholic apologetics. People with intelligence and honesty are starting to question the prevailing wisdom they were taught about Catholicism and voila! It turns out they were sadly mistaken about this "evil medieval" Church and its beliefs. If you wish to empty your mind of those swirling Chick tract caricatures, which have infiltrated the Protestant view of history, please read Renee Linn's recent post regarding the Medieval Church and works-based righteousness. She was a Thomas Road Jerry Falwell Baptist who by the grace of God, had the scales fall from her eyes. You maybe very surprised at what you learn from reading her blog.


Blogger Nena said...

What I'll never understand is if the Reformation was so great, why aren't all those who praise Luther, Lutheran?

July 01, 2013 8:24 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Nenea, that is a most excellent question. I think the answer is that by Luther's throwing off the authority of the church, he "gave" every believer the right, ability privilege etc to be theri own arbiter of truth. Therefore they immediately began to argue and disagree with Luther, using his very own construct of sola scriptura. Every man could become his own pope, and thus 30,000 denominations is the fruit of the reformation.

July 01, 2013 8:33 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Also if Luther's religion was the true religion that was found after scraping off the "barnacles of man-made religion" (AKA Catholicism) why did others feel the need to improve on it, change it and make it suit their own interpretation of the bible? Obviously Luther's new found religion wasn't all that.

July 01, 2013 9:13 PM  
Anonymous RenĂ©e said...

As an Evangelical, I was taught to admire Luther as the one God sent to reform His church - but we believed that Luther and the other Reformers had been a bit timid in their reforms, so in the fullness of time WE came along and did away with the holdovers from the bad old Catholic Church like infant baptism. When I finally got around to reading a biography of Luther (by a Protestant author), I was horrified. I remember thinking "Thank God I'm not Lutheran! I can't defend this guy's life, attitude, words - anything! If he came to my nondenominational church, we would NEVER allow him to serve till his life showed some sign that he was actually saved! Why did God choose such an ungodly man to reform His church???" It just didn't make sense.

Little did I know....

July 02, 2013 6:39 AM  
Blogger Christian LeBlanc said...

When my wife & taught RCIA years ago, we had the class go through Chick's Death Cookie a page at a time. It was like getting a vaccine.

July 13, 2013 3:32 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

wow, talk about a bitter pill to swallow! Good on you for doing that!

July 13, 2013 10:04 PM  

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