Why I’m Catholic

I am asked with increasing frequency why I converted to Catholicism as opposed to one of the other Christian denominations. Though this blog is sort of one long conversion story, I’ve never put together a post summarizing that part of my journey because that subject matter can be a hot (and divisive) topic.

Also, these types of posts are often interpreted to have an implication that people who have had different experiences and have come to different conclusions about religion and God are wrong and therefore not going to be saved. I want to make it really clear that that is not what I believe (nor what the Church believes — in fact, one of the many things that resonated as true about Catholic teaching is the belief that non-Catholics and non-Christians could also go to heaven).

Anyway, I’ve decided to go ahead and write about that part of the conversion process, but I want to add a big disclaimer that I’m sharing this in the spirit of telling my story. I am far too concerned about what I see happening in the world today to have any interest in causing division among Christians. We’re in this together.

As always, please take this for what it is: the ramblings of some fool with an internet connection. icon smile Why I’m Catholic Take it (and everything else I write) with a grain of salt.

——————-

My search for God really began in earnest when I started reading up on Christianity. For a couple years I’d been making half-hearted attempts to open my mind to the possibility of God’s existence but it never really went anywhere. And then I stumbled across some reasonable Christian writers who laid out a logical case for Jesus having actually existed, the events as described in the New Testament having actually happened, and for Jesus being who he said he was (former atheist Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ has a nice, quick summary). Not that these authors “proved” their case irrefutably or that no arguments could be made against them, but they had a much more compelling, evidence-based case than I’d thought they had. I was intrigued.

I decided to see what it meant to be a Christian. Some bad childhood experiences had left me with a bad taste in my mouth about the religion, but I decided to give it my best effort to start fresh, exploring this belief system with an open mind. I bought a copy of the Bible.

Before I even opened the cover, we had a problem.

I wanted to know if the people who did the English translation of this version were said to have been inspired by God as the writers of the original texts were. When I found out the answer was no, I was concerned. Translators have a lot of leeway and can really impact a text. If this book could potentially be the key to people knowing or not knowing God, I was uneasy about reading a 21st century English version of texts that were written in far different cultures thousands of years ago, translated by average people. Could God not have inspired all translators? Though I was concerned, I decided to set the issue aside for the time being and move on.

Somewhere around page two, we had another problem.

I found the creation story fit surprisingly well with what we know of the origin of the universe through science, albeit in symbolic form. I could definitely believe that this was true. I could not, however, believe that it was a journalistic style account of events, like something you’d read in the newspaper. So I immediately needed to know: is it required of Christians to believe that Genesis is to be taken literally? I asked people and looked around online, and quickly found that there was not unanimous agreement on this. I found people who laid out a pretty good case that, yes, it is required of Christians to believe that Genesis is a literal, blow-by-blow description of events that happened about 6,000 years ago; yet others made a good case that Christians should believe that it is truth conveyed through symbolism. I really couldn’t tell who I should believe.

I decided to move on and get to what I really wanted to know about: the Christian moral code. One of the things that had originally piqued my interest in religion in the first place was the fact that humans throughout history have all had this same sense that objective truth exists, what is “right” and “wrong” is not subjective. Also, I had begun to feel confused and lost when I looked at the world around me. This was around the time of the Terri Schiavo controversy, and when I tried to weigh issues like that, as well as the other big ethical dilemmas like human cloning, research on embryos, etc. I just felt sad and adrift. I really didn’t know what was right or wrong, yet I had this vague sense that a true “right” answer must be out there somewhere. If there was a God, surely he had opinions about these things. And surely he could guide me to find them.

So I picked the Bible back up and continued reading.

One example of the type of answers I was searching for was what Christianity had to say about abortion. At the time I considered myself staunchly “pro-choice”, yet something had started to nag at me about that position. I felt uneasy about the whole thing, and wanted to know if Christianity said that God is OK with abortion or not. I read through the New Testament (eventually reading it cover to cover), and couldn’t find much. I kept instinctively flipping to the last page for some sort of answer key. How was I supposed to find the part where God tells us what he thinks about terminating pregnancies? Someone recommended that I get a concordance. I was happy to do that, but it felt strange: in order to know how to live as a Christian you need a Bible and a concordance? And were the writers of the concordance inspired? What if they missed something big or made a mistake?

I wasn’t coming up with much so I Googled around to see what Christians had to say about it. And I found as many different opinions as I found people, everyone offering Bible verses to back up their claims. Each person stated their interpretation confidently as a fact — yet they contradicted one another. When I looked up the verses they cited in my own Bible, sometimes I felt they were right-on, other times I felt they were taken out of context, and other times I didn’t even know what the context was (e.g. some Old Testament verses where I just had no idea what was going on).

What frequently happened when I was looking for Biblical answers to my ethical dilemmas was that I’d read two contradictory opinions from two different Christians. I’d decide that Christian #1 made the best case based on Scripture, so I had my answer. But then Christian #2 would come back with a new verse that I’d never seen before that shed new light on it, and then I’d think his case must be the right one. And then Christian #1 would come up with yet another verse and I’d think he had the right answer. And then…well, you get the idea. It seemed that in order to form my own opinion about any of these issues I’d have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

So I started reading. I decided to skip ahead to the New Testament since that’s where Jesus comes in. And, as with the Old Testament, we quickly had a problem. Here is a sort of sample discussion I’d have with whatever Christian I could find to pester with questions:

ME: Ack! I just read this part in the New Testament where Jesus tells some rich dude he has to give away all his stuff! If I decide this Christianity thing is true am I going to have to give away all my stuff?! [Worried glace at brand new Dell Inspiron laptop.]

FRIEND: Hah! No, don’t worry, Jesus was just talking to that one guy.

ME: Where does it say that? Does he later clarify that that instruction was only for that one guy?

FRIEND: No, but that’s clearly how he meant it.

ME: That’s not clear to me. Anyway, there’s this part where he tells this woman Martha that her sister Mary did the right thing by putting Jesus before trivial stuff. Was that only a lesson for her?

CHRISTIAN: No, that’s a lesson for all of us.

ME: [Flipping to last page to look for answer key.] Where is that clarified?

This usually ended with my Christian acquaintances telling me to let the Holy Spirit guide me (and probably making a mental note to find less annoying friends). Even though I wasn’t sure I believed in God, I had been praying through this whole process. So I prayed for guidance. I asked God to lead me to the right conclusion about all these questions, to speak to me through Scripture about everything from abortion and experimentation on human embryos to whether or not I needed to give away all my stuff.

After a while of praying, reading the Bible, and visiting some churches, I felt like I had some conclusions. I decided that a good Biblical case could be made for “a woman’s right to choose” (as I thought of it then), that I didn’t need to give away all my stuff, that it was probably OK to experiment on embryos if it was for curing diseases, etc. I’d felt led to these conclusions, presumably by God, and had found some scriptures that would seem to support them.

But something didn’t feel right.

As I continued thinking and praying about whether or not I’d come to the right conclusions about what God wants for us, I realized what the problem was, the reason I couldn’t relax: I couldn’t trust myself. You have to understand, I am a seriously sinful, selfish person. I realized that my self-serving nature severely clouded my ability to be confident in my interpretation Scripture. I had some pretty passionate opinions about all of these issues, and it was so hard to tell what was leading me to my conclusions. Was my decision that the Bible would be OK with me continuing in my comfy American lifestyle led by the “Holy Spirit” or “Jen’s seriously deep desire not to give away all her stuff”? I couldn’t tell.

My confusion about all of this made me wonder how people who are severely unintelligent could use the Bible as their guide. I’m probably in the middle of the Bell curve on intelligence, and I was really struggling. For that matter, what about the illiterate? Widespread literacy is a relatively recent phenomenon, yet people who couldn’t read couldn’t use the Bible as their guide. They’d have to go through another, fallible person, which seemed dangerous.

Taking all of this as a whole, the writing was on the wall, so to speak. Christianity did not seem to be the path to God, if he even did exist. At least not for me. I just couldn’t trust myself to to get it right. I felt as adrift as ever in terms of the big ethical questions of our day. Though I thought I might have “experienced” God or the Holy Spirit or something from outside the material world a few times in my exploration, using the Christian holy book to find out how God would want me to live was just not working. I was leaning towards moving on to the next religion, seeking God through some other belief system. I prayed for guidance.

Around this time someone told me that one of the Christian denominations claimed that God did leave us this “answer key” I’d been yearning for. I found out that the Catholic Church claimed to be a sort of divinely-guided Supreme Court, that God guided this Church to be inerrant in its official proclamations about what is right and wrong, how to interpret the Bible, how to know Jesus Christ, and all other questions of God and what he wants us to do. I heard that it claims that God speaks to us through sacred Scripture and through the sacred Tradition of his living Church.

That got my attention.

Clearly there was a need for this. Surely I was not the only person to ever feel lost in the world, unable to trust myself to objectively interpret the Bible to discern what God wants from us, unable to clearly tell which of my conclusions about right and wrong were guided by the Holy Spirit and which were guided by deeply-rooted selfishness (or perhaps something worse).

Now, obviously I wasn’t going to become Catholic. I mean, the Catholic Church is weird and antiquated and sometimes the people in it do seriously bad stuff. But I was interested to at least explore this line of thinking and see what I found.

I could have never, ever imagined what I’d find. Reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church was like nothing I’d ever experienced. This was truth. I knew it. I’d finally found it. It described God, our relationship to him, the Bible, Jesus, moral truths — the entire human experience — in a way that resonated on a deep level.

When I started living my life according to Catholic teaching the proof was, as they say, in the pudding. It worked. It worked better than I could have ever guessed it would. And since I’ve been able to receive what they say is really the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, my soul, my entire life, has changed profoundly. But that is whole separate story (and, really, the main subject of this blog). To summarize my experience, I leave you with a quote from G.K. Chesterton, writing about why he converted to orthodox Catholicism:

I do it because the [Catholic Church] has not merely told this truth or that truth, but has revealed itself as a truth-telling thing. All other philosophies say the things that plainly seem to be true; only this philosophy has again and again said the thing that does not seem to be true, but is true. Alone of all creeds it is convincing where it is not attractive; it turns out to be right, like my father in the garden.

My thoughts exactly.

Again, I share this not to cause division, but for the same reason anyone talks about anything they love — that mysterious desire we all have to shout from the rooftops about the things that we find to be profound, beautiful, and true.

RELATED POSTS: On having proof; Love and conversion

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Enter the Conversation...

133 Responses to “Why I’m Catholic”
  1. Matt says:

    Jen,

    As a fellow convert (one year anniversary coming up next month!) I loved hearing your story. I was a protestant, rather than an atheist, but that feeling of finally finding Catholic doctrine having that weight, that resonance, that no other system has is very familiar.

    I almost think the protestant has a bit more baggage to get over in accepting the teachings of the Church, having been inculcated with explicitly anti-catholic propaganda from birth, but I’d be very interested to know if you had problems with things like the Marian dogmas or sacramental confession. Obviously, having been taught that these things were blasphemies it was quite a hurdle for me.

    Anyway, I’m glad you did convert and I’ve really enjoyed your blog.

    In Pax Christi,

    Matt

  2. tjic says:

    Excellent post!

  3. SirRobert says:

    I came here by way of your post over at Friendly Christian.

    I was born and raised in a moderately devout Roman Catholic household.

    Through my adolescence I drifted away from the dogmas of catholicism and now consider myself a ‘seeking’ atheistic-agnostic.

    All that said I have a very soft spot in my heart for Catholicism, the beauty of its ritual, the compassion of what it preaches.

    I truly believe of all the Christian faiths, Catholicism is the one most capable of change and therefore could stand the test of time.

    I wish you peace!

    Robert

  4. Sarahndipity says:

    Wow, this story is amazing. Sometimes it’s hard for me to articulate to “Bible alone” Christians why we need the Church and the magisterium, but you’ve done it so well.

    I’m wondering, how did your life change when you started really living the Catholic faith? I’m a cradle Catholic so I probably take a lot of these things for granted. Although maybe the answer to that question could take up a whole other post. :)

    I feel the same way you do about the Church, that it resonates very deeply with me. Whenever I’ve struggled with a teaching, it turns out the Church was right all along.

  5. el-e-e says:

    I was wondering JUST this morning, on my commute, what drew you to Catholicism specifically. You mentioned visiting a few churches early on… was one of them Catholic? And I wondered about your visiting – did you go with friends, or just slip in on your own? (What an adventure it must have been exploring.)

    And did you have a Catholic friend who gave you the Catechism? A little angel, maybe? :)

    …at any rate, I’m glad you found the answers.

  6. Kate says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Jen! As you’ve probably realized by now, us cradle Catholics love conversion stories. It helps us to appreciate the things we take for granted. :-)

  7. amy says:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for your blog! Though I was never an athiest, I never had a religious upbringing, came to Christianity as an adult, and I have experienced/am experiencing many of the questions and struggles you seem to have experienced during your conversion. So much of what you write resonates with me, and you write so beautifully. Thank you for helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  8. Tertium Quid says:

    Nice piece.

  9. Tertium Quid says:

    Thoughtful piece. I linked to you again. Keep writing. When I found the Church, I was theologically “literate,” if there is such a thing. I knew quite a bit about Christianity and thought I knew more than I did.

    You came to the Church like a kid who visits another planet and has not even seen a science-fiction movie. I mean this as a compliment.

    http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/10/jennifer-f-at-et-tu-discusses-why-she.html

    You discovered the Church as if Maria Montessori herself had taught you.

    http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/05/maria-montessori-misunderstood-genius.html

  10. Tertium Quid says:

    Thoughtful piece. I linked to you again. Keep writing. When I found the Church, I was theologically “literate,” if there is such a thing. I knew quite a bit about Christianity and thought I knew more than I did.

    You came to the Church like a kid who visits another planet and has not even seen a science-fiction movie. I mean this as a compliment.

    http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/10/jennifer-f-at-et-tu-discusses-why-she.html

    You discovered the Church as if Maria Montessori herself had taught you.

    http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/05/maria-montessori-misunderstood-genius.html

  11. jrg says:

    Jen,

    Thank you again for sharing yourself so openly. Your posts never fail to edify me and remind me of what I believe and why.

    The link you provide to the Catechism is to Amazon.com. I thought I’d also include a link that the U.S. Bishops have provided at their website.

    http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/index.htm

    One will notice, too, that the entire Bible is at their website, and that the two are side by side. To have one without the other is to have an incomplete resource.

    Thanks again for your generosity and for your great witness in the blogosphere. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide all of us who read your blog so that we might say with even more conviction, “Jesus Christ is Lord.”

    May He continue to bless you and your family.

  12. Jordana says:

    It’s wonderful to read how you came to the Catholic church. Growing up as a protestant (although in churches that would deny that they were anything other than the church and therefore not protestant at all) I never really questioned many of the things that you started out thinking critically about. It wasn’t until my husband and I started looking at the Catholic church and its claims from Catholic sources, that we realized many of our premises didn’t make as much sense as we had thought they did.

  13. AveMaria says:

    Jen,

    What was your Husband’s experience of coming into the Church?

  14. Jennifer F. says:

    Thank you all for your comments! I’ll try to quickly hit some of the questions:

    How did your life change when you started really living the Catholic faith?

    Oh, wow. There’s really no way I could ever properly describe it. It’s a different life, so much more rich than anything I could have ever imagined. Some posts that touch the tip of the iceberg are here, here, here and here.

    What was your Husband’s experience of coming into the Church?

    You know, I should do a post about that. I get asked that a lot. The short answer is, his experience was very similar to mine. He was a nominal Christian who never went to church or talked about God or anything like that (I didn’t know that when we met — I probably wouldn’t have started dating him if I knew he considered himself “Christian”). When I started my search I shared everything I learned with him. He found it all as compelling as I did, and we converted at the same time. He is equally blown away by the beauty and truth he’s found in the Catholic Church.

    And did you have a Catholic friend who gave you the Catechism? A little angel, maybe?

    It was actually my regular commentor (and sometimes guest author) Steve G. He recommended that I get a copy, probably sometime after I wrote this post (note his really good response to that post as well).
    http://thereluctantatheist.blogspot.com/2005/10/deal-killer.html

    And Robert – I wish you well in your search. You’ll be in my prayers.

  15. Alishia says:

    Nicely done. I’m an Easter 2007 convert, too.

  16. Abigail says:

    Thanks for your bravery in writing this piece. Sometimes it’s hard to articulate these deep matters of the heart.

  17. Kristen Laurence says:

    What a fantastic post. It is something I too have wondered about with respect to your conversion. It is so clear you allow your reason to rule your passions, and not vice versa. You are a beautiful person, Jen.

  18. Terri says:

    I’m glad you posted this. I’m not Catholic, but I’ve essentially grown up in Baptists churches and went to a Christian school; yet still I have some of the same questions you had while searching for the right answers. I get frustrated with all of the different interpretations of Scripture.

    Nevertheless, I am a Christian who believes in sola scriptura. In reference to your questioning the accuracy of the Bible translators, I can say I’ve wondered the same thing, but always come back to the verse that says God will preserve His Word (I can’t remember it exactly).

    Although I know several former Catholics, I don’t presently know any practicing Catholics. There are so many questions I’d love to have answered about Catholic doctrine. For example, why pray to the Virgin Mary or confess sins to a priest when we are able to pray directly to Christ? Also, I don’t understand where the concept of purgatory comes from. And there are others. I’d love to understand Catholic doctrine more whether or not I agreed with all of it just because it has been around so long.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  19. Irene says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. I have recently begun reading the works of C.S. Lewis (finished Mere Christianity and now reading the Screwtape Letters), and your writing is so similar for a couple reasons. Obviously, he is also a converted atheist, but his writing is also so easy and enjoyable to read. I am sure you have been told this before, if you aren’t doing it already…but you should write a book about your conversion. Your very thoughtful and interesting ideas and observations, combined with easy writing style and your obvious humorous anecdotes would be a great publication!

  20. AveMaria says:

    Terri:

    There are a bunch of excellent resources with Catholic doctrine info.

    Steve Ray’s web site http://www.Catholic-Convert.com would be a good place to start.

    Also see Marcus Grodi’s web site http://www.chnetwork.org/marcusconv.htm

    I’m catholic by way of an evangelical “non denominal” church with Baptist trained ministers.

    I’m in the Catholic church because of Jesus’ prayer in the garden just before the passion. If he wants Christians to be united and prayed for that while facing torture and execution, since he was obedient even unto death on a cross, I figured that should be my model too. Unity and obedience.

    Check out the Church, she’s not what you may have been told, and she is beautiful beyond compare as one would imagine Christ’s body to be.

  21. Mike Rizzio says:

    J.M.J.

    Jen,

    Thanks for sharing the profound insights into the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

    As a revert of nine years, it is a great consolation to be witnessing more and more souls being drawn into the fold. I pray that you continue deepening your understanding of the gifts of Holy Mother Church.

    For me, that depth was provided when I was called to the profound Marian-Trinitarian relationship that is found in the teachings of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

    You can look SOLT up at http://www.solt3.org on the web.

    Like the Catholic Church in microcosm, Our Lady’s Society has so much to offer this troubled world and yet it also manifests all the shortcomings that Chesterton writes so eloquently about in his classic, Orthodoxy.

    Ecclesial teams of priests, religious and laity serving together in the vineyard after the pattern of the Blessed Trinity and the Holy Family and the early Church—that is the essence. This complementarity of vocations is like a “triple cord” that is hard to break.

    Trying to get there…now that is where the struggle is. In this day and age of legalism and over-organization, it is a tough hill to climb.

    We sure could use a few good communicators like you, and no doubt your husband too.
    Congratulations on your third child too…

    Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,

    Mike

  22. Mojo says:

    Jen…I am a cradle Catholic, raised by cradle Catholics, in an extended family of cradle Catholics. When I hear of a person’s pursuit of what I may be guilty of occasionally taking for granted, it fills my heart to the brim with joy! Because I cherish my Catholic Faith so deeply and have a zeal for souls, hearing a story such as yours is deeply satisfying. (I was also curious about your husband. So, hearing his journey is similar makes me simply giddy!)

    Your drive to pursue Truth was/is most certainly a gift from the Holy Spirit. Since gifts can be unappreciated and ignored, a person certainly has free will to turn their back on the Holy Spirit’s grace-filled promptings. When someone like yourself enters into a full cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the Truth pursuit, the perseverance that takes is utterly amazing.

    Mind boggling, actually.

    I suppose grace fills you and you are then unstoppable. Many converts I know speak of an insatiable appetite for all things Catholic once they acknowledge that gentle tap-tap-tap of the Holy Spirit and begin the journey into the Church.

    I think therein lies the answer why we “cradlers” love hearing conversion (and reversion) stories! (Kate, that comment made me smile!)

    Jen, we have such deep admiration for your commitment. Thank you for reminding me to remain ever grateful for the most beautiful gift I’ve ever been given, that of my Catholic Christian faith.

    Terri…’avemaria’ is leading you well. Marcus Grodi has a television show, The Journey Home, on EWTN, which I am sure you can likely tune-in. Also, anything written by Scott and Kimberly Hahn are great resources.

    Another great resource is http://www.biblechristiansociety.com. My friend, John Martignoni, once left the Church, but later returned. He now works full-time as a Catholic evangelist and apologist and offers free CDs that are fantastic. Catholics and non-Catholics around the globe (not an exaggeration) love his stuff.

  23. TV says:

    Hello:

    I am certain I will be censored in this honest plea to you. If so, so be it. Jesus loves you and I do as well. I do so enough to tell you to seek Jesus Christ, who is Messieh and the Holy One of Israel, first and foremost regardless of the uncertainty and confusion you may suffer. IF WE SUFFER WITH HIM WE WILL REIGN WITH HIM. I Pray you will do all things in the name of Jesus Christ.

    I was raised fully as a catholic. By fully, I mean, I was schooled from kindergarten through High School in the catholic(universal) faith. I understood the sacraments, the rosaries, the indulgences, stations of the cross and practically everything else I could have given my age. I loved being in church. The music, the singing, the incense etc. I loved it until I walked away from it. I walked away from catholicism because no one would answer my questions. WHy did we have to have the pomp and ceremony and the men in the middle (the priests) when humility defined by scripture said otherwise. The one priest that really made me want to live that life, came and went. He would hang over the lectern and talk to us. He made us think like no one before. It was great. And he was going to be permanent until after about 2 months, he wasn’t. No one taught us to read the bible. WHat we got in church was said to be enough. When I went to read the bible for myself and had questions, I would be told by priests that I needed to pass the word of God through them first. Now where in heaven or earth is that required in scripture. Jesus died for me too and so as personal as I could get was to put a person between him and me in the form of a priest? Why was I worshipping statues and told I wasn’t? Why was I celebrating easter when it was at passover that the Lord Died and the blood was applied to the lintels? Believe me, I took the words of many to heart. I needed to learn history about the church. Over and over I saw that the church found it easy to convert pagans by taking up the pagans’ own practices. Animal sacrifices, idol worship etc and yet they believed they were immune when the Almighty said “DONT LEARN THE WAYS OF THE HEATHEN”. I suppose He said that because His people had no problem at all with the very same situations among the people about them. Look, the same traditions of men that the Lord Jesus Christ chastised the Jews for are the same traditions that “christians” refuse to eschew. Look closely. You will find it so. When man puts the words of men before the words of God and accepts “mystery” over “certainty” he has is not making thier “wilderness journey” properly. Do we cry out to God with our tears, souls hearts and minds against the sins in our lives? This is the heart that He hears. A humble and contrite heart He wil not despise. These are His words as is the rest of the bible. Seek Him first. WAIT. PRAY. PUT IT BEFORE HIM FIRST ALONE AND WAIT UNTIL HE ANSWERS. Don’t stop at catholicism. It is not enough because catholicism must diminish the word of God in pre-eminence to LESS THAN the plain word of an OMNIPOTENT, OMNISCIENT AND EVERLASTING GOD WHO CAN EXPRESS HIMSELF DIRECTLY FROM THE BIBLE. If HE does not He is neither omniscient omnipresent nor everlasting. He is absolutely all these things friend and so His word never changes and IS ALL YOU NEED. The ceremony is beautiful and inspiring yet we sit too high and decide we’re pretty nice people forgetting what miserable sinners we are. Forget Repentance Jesus will tell us it is okay to do so won’t He? You don’t neeed it you have penance. Do we earn forgiveness by penance? By our works? This is what the Jew believes. This is what the catholic believes. Live a good life and you’ve got your ticket. THERE IS NONE GOOD NO NOT ONE. Unless we understand WHY GOD SAYS THAT, WE DON’T HAVE A CHANCE. REPENTANCE MEANS GODLY SORROW FOR THE EVIL WE HAVE DONE. The problem is that we don’t fully understand evil because we forget evil is helped along by the best liar that ever was. Do you think that that is the “Devil” only? Sorry, God will allow us to be fully deceived by what we accept and believe that is contrary to HIS PURE WORD. His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge not because He doesn’t give it liberally and upbraideth not. His people are destroyed because they reject knowledge of Him. Does it come from the “church fathers” when Jesus told us not to trust the traditions of our fathers? Or does it come from the word of God. The day will come whrn MANY WILL BE OFFENDED IN JESUS CHRIST and those that continue in Him will be sought out and killed JUST FOR LEARNING THE WORD OF GOD AND HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR IT. Jesus said ALL must be born again of water to see the kingdom of God and ALL must be born again of the Holy Spirit to ENTER. Catholicism says don’t worry about ALL that. Did Jesus say “WORRY ABOUT IT”? Would he have presented it if it wasn’t important. Well of course to answer that question one would have to reduce the eminence of the word of God OVER the eminence of the “church fathers”. Jesus told the Jews the same thing by chastising them about the “traditions of their fathers” and they killed Him. I suggest to you you do what Jesus commanded according ONLY to His words. Now if He doesn’t answer you right away, especially since we are raised in a convenience store church world, then persist, press wait expect and hope with all you have UNTIL HE ANSWERS WITHOUT THE HELP OF MAN. Confusion? Yes the enemy kills more with that than we can imagine. How? He does so because the confused don’t seek Him to clear up the confusion. Anger? Absolutely because those who trust the word of God ARE HATED BY THOSE WHO BY HUMAN CHURCHES are satisfied and at peace. REMEMBER THIS, when they say “PEACE PEACE” then sudden destruction will come. If you don’t think christians will be offended in Jesus Christ then then wait and see. Read John 6 and pay attention what is culminated by the time you get to the 66th verse. Of course, that is not a case study is it. If you hear nothing in this hear this. WE ARE APPOINTED TO AFFLICTION ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD. To try to make life easier by changing the word of God and thereby reducing the fact that we are appointed to affliction is to tell GOD HE IS A LIAR.

    JESUS is the ONLY NAME BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED. Nothing else will do. Anyone that says anything else that doesn’t line up with the word of God is either lying or IS GOD HIMSELF. THOSE ARE THE ONLY CHOICES. You decide what is better when scripture says” LET God be true and EVERY MAN A LIAR!” Remember the man who stood in the back of the church beating his chest over his sins while the other man stood way up front thanking God he was not like other men… Who went home justified?

    • William Rogers says:

      I suggest you read “Why I am Not a Christian” written by Bertrand Russell
      in 1927 and readily available on line. It is short and compelling.
      Bill Rogers

  24. AveMaria says:

    TV:

    I believe you may be the unfortunate recipient of some poor post Vatican II CCD classes.

    Many of the things you touch on are common twists of the truth of the Catholic faith.

    If you were worshiping statues you were guilty of the grave sin of idolatry.

    Do you have photos of your family in your home or wallet? Do they remind you of your loved ones? When you look at them, do you worship them or are you simply reminded of how important they are to you? Same concept with status of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the Saints.

    Being reminded of the Saints by gazing on statues or other icons of God’s more ardent followers, especially those who love him and follow him more whole heartedly and sincerely than most of us are able to do in our weakness, simply helps the beholder to strive to emulate and ask for the intercession of those Saints. We look forward to meeting them, and think about God’s family while we are here. That is not worshiping a hunk of stone.

    I could go on and on, believe me I’ve given each of the Protestant objections a GREAT deal of thought, but I’ll contain myself.

    The fruits of the reformation and perhaps more importantly the fruits of the corruption that caused it are painful indeed. However, the issues at hand in the reformation revolve around HUMAN failures, NOT failures of points of the faith.

    Luther and Calvin both believed in Our Lady’s perpetual virginity, her immaculate conception and her assumption for example. Most modern Protestants do not. Well which is it? Truth is truth, it does not change. Were the reformers wrong about this point? If so what else might they have been wrong about?

    Jesus either is really and truly present in the Eucharist or he is not, they can’t both be true statements. He says he is and that’s good enough for me. He would not say to his people “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you have no life in you” and then not provide the means to do so. He’s not a big meanie.

    Truth exists, it is a person, his name is Jesus, he resides in every tabernacle on earth, he will come again to judge the living and the dead, etc. etc. He did not leave us orphans, he is not the author of confusion, conflict and division. That comes from the other guy, and it is one of the fruits of the reformation.

    Keep seeking the truth, it will set you free.

  25. Catherine says:

    This is so well said. Thank you.
    catherine

  26. pipsylou says:

    I needed this today! I am so confused (come from an evangelical background). Why do we protestants follow the 10% tithe rule but don’t stone our children in the parking lot?

  27. FatcatPaulanne says:

    Wow, I appreciate all the thought and prayer that went into your decision.

  28. Marie Anne says:

    Jen,

    Congratulations on your conversion! I am a cradle catholic and always loved being a catholic. However, I so enjoy reading about people like you, who search and came into the faith. When I read your stories it strengthens what I believe.

    Thank you for a great story and good luck on your faith journey!

    God Bless
    Marie

  29. Radical Catholic Mom says:

    Terri,

    Sola Scriptura? Could you please provide something out of Scripture that supports that?

    I can save you the time. It is not there. You will not find it.

    I am also a convert. Thanks, Jen.

  30. TV says:

    Well it is interesting that you make it so you may have the last word using no-reply@blogger as an email address. Are you sure sola scritura is not in the bible? Are you absolutely sure it is not there? I assure you that it is but you will not accept it EVEN if it is shown to you. But Im sure you don’t want to see it because of your “infallibility” and a “no-reply@blogger email. What? Can’t your faith stand an honest test?

  31. AveMaria says:

    TV:

    Show me the Sola. I’ve read the book, I’m not seeing it, but I’ll consider your position, site the source of your assurances. Chapter, verse, and translation please.

    In the mean time check out 1 Tim 3:15. I looks like St. Paul teaches that the Church is the source of truth.

    It would appear that you’ve had some bad experiences with the Church. I’m sorry for that. I hope you can forgive those who have hurt you.

  32. TV says:

    In quotes is scripture. I’d rather you look it up. It works better that way. Please read carefully and gather the sense and the context. A cursory glance will not do.

    “HE is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.” or “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…because they reject knowledge.” Important choice.

    Sola Scritura?

    “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” No qualifiers. Fully in context. Any version will do. Faith in who and what? Faith in Jesus Messieh and Christ, the only salvation we have and it comes from Holy Scripture FIRST, FOREMOST and without exception. His glory is shown everywhere (church fathers, history, creation etc.) but His WORD is the only One that can save us. A child would so receive it. No significance in that fact?

    “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”

    There is no saviour besides Him. His word says so. When we give Him short shrift are we still worshipping the true God?

    “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

    Honestly sister, I loved going to church. I needed better feeding and I thought I could get it elsewhere than from the bread of life directly..which wasn’t emphasized nor recommended. You remember the bread of life:

    “Man does not live by bread alone but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

    So that is how man lives?

    Jesus said that pretty plainly to the enemy. I believe Him. Given the state of the world and the enemy’s hand in influencing man to do evil or even be “double-minded” and “lukewarm”, I believe Him.

    “It is better to trust in God than to trust in men”

    and

    “Let EVERY man be a liar but let God be true” Even me.

    Look for the chapters and verses yourself. Not trying to be smart either. I know you, a good berean, would do that.

    “In the beginning was the word…..And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The word full of grace and truth from the beginning?

    And “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”

    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

    I am terrified that I have done this more than even once.

    If you think this last quote is only about a particular book, then please reconsider.

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

    Fulfil what? but the WORD of the law and the word of the prophets found in the Holy Scriptures which testify of Him.

    “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”

    Why?

    “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    I can’t mess with His testimony. If we can deny it just to argue about it, may he bless abundantly

    …but

    “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. “

    And how did Jesus say to receive the kingdom? Not the way most churches do…Not the way most people do relying on what most churches do as the proof. Personal responsibility goes into the trash except at the final reckoning before Him.

    “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God. … Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot ENTER into the kingdom of God. “

    The problem with being “born again”, unfortunately, as practiced by most is that man has determined to change the word of God and dilute the standard even here with an “easy-believism” that has destroyed many.

    “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”

    How many are hungry for the word of Go to want to eat it as the bread that Jesus corrected the adversary about? Each must answer by themselves.

    I love you In Jesus’ name

    As for 1 Tim 13: the church is the body of Jesus Christ and if His body operates contrary to His word He is a liar or we are. I would rather you call me a liar rather than Him. All I have done is “rehearsed” His words out of Scripture back to you. If that makes me a liar so is He because they are HIS WORDS. I will not tell Jesus that. Every person has the option of doing so however and denying the word of God or accepting it. What a valley of decision.

    This pretty much ends a feeble attempt to show you that Holy Scripture is the Testimony of Jesus Christ who is God. There is much much more. He is the Sola Scritura we need. There is much much more than can be contained here. Hungering and thirsting for His word is the thrust of John 6. I can’t give you that. HE CAN!
    But conside, in context what some of HIS disiciples did by verse 66. Doing the math is a little scary or at the least noteworthy.

    Mystery sells better however than the word of God. The enemy is quite happy with that because he knows when we accept mystery over truth (HIS WORD), GOD HIMSELF WILL GIVE US STROING DELUSION AND MAKE THE ENEMY’s LIES of FULL EFFECT.

    • Eva says:

      I know that it’s years since these comments were posted, but unless someone wants to impose a meaning on the scriptures, surely how could anyone think that these verses provided by scripture support or define sola scriptura?? Does TV understand that sola scriptura means that all truth is to be found in “the Bible ALONE”? Where at all does the Bible say this anywhere? TV just assumes that when the bible says “word” it means itself alone!Where does the bible define this word of God as the written word alone? The catholic church teaches and believes this word alone! That’s why our belief as to the truth is called “sola verbum” meaning “the word alone” written and oral (sacred tradition) and rejects sola scriptura which means written word alone.

      The eternal word is Christ and the bible itself tells us that not all he did and said was written- So why would anyone convince himself that these verses mean anything at all like what TV is desperately trying to read into them!!!

      v

      v

    • Angela Welliver says:

      So if you believe in Sola Scriptura…what did people do before the Bible was put together? and where in the Bible does it say what is supposed to be included in the Bible? My email is ruthsangels@gmail.com

  33. AveMaria says:

    TV:

    No scripture will refute the validity of the Catholic Church’s assertion that she is the body of Christ. The Church, guided as she is by the Holy Spirit, codified the the book. See Mark 3:25.

    If you are genuinely interested in what the Catholic Church teaches, I would suggest you read The Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the sources the Catechism sites, read the Didache, and read modern authors like Peter Kreft and Scott Hahn.

    If all you would like to do is convince your audience of the errors of the Church I would suggest a review of Mark 9:38-40.

    Ask Jesus to guide you to the truth, He will and it will set you free.

  34. TV says:

    Praise Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

    The exact point of all of this is, if you remember, was to answer your question and give scripture that Sola Scriptura IS in the bible and that, in the Holy Scriptures, it is fully shown in context and on its face. This has been done. It’s up to you to believe that scripture presented is the word of God or not regardless of version. You brought up the church as the body of christ as an associated matter and have used it (though it is true of ALL BELIEVERS not just catholics), to avoid the validity of the PURELY SCRIPTURAL answer presented regarding Sola Scriptura. The Catholic Handbook tells us that this “turnabout” method is an effective way of dealing with people that disagree with the general catholic party line. I hazard to guess that the technique is especially effective unless specific points addressed about Holy Scripture are kept on point and in context to avoid “jumping around”. Sola Scriptura and the church as the body of christ are two separate matters. The focus here is on the former.

    “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Sola Scriptura. No ifs ands or buts. To say anything else is to add or take away from Holy Scripture. Add to the word of God by any means whether poetic or philosophic and the plagues are added to us. Take away from the word of God and our names are taken from the lambs book of life.

    Holy Scripture proves that Sola Scriptura is in the word of God as of the highest of precepts.

    Rhantized, communioned, confirmed, grade schooled highschooled religion classed day in and day out and married catholic, I am well catechismed regardless of your opinion of me. God bless you abundantly in Our Lord Jesus Messieh and Christ’s mighty name.

    PS You think I am attacking the catholic church. The word of God has been in conviction doing so for as many years as people have opposed the word of God–jew gentile, protestant or catholic, by accepting something else other than “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” found in Holy Scripture. Everyone has the choice to ignore the preeminence of the word of God for a lesser’s words.

    • Angela Welliver says:

      Also where does it say the Bible ONLY? Catholics believe in the word of God and we are to use the word of God to listen to what God is telling us, but nowhere does it say the word of God ONLY. The Catholic Church teaches Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
      Worth noting about the Bible. It does say:

      Hold fast to the tradition I handed on to you 1 Cor 11:2

      Hold fast to traditions, whether oral or by letter 2 Thess 2:15

      Shun those acting not according to tradition 2 Thess 3:6

      No prophecy is a matter of private interpretation 2 Pet 1:20

      Paul’s letters can be difficult to grasp and interpret 2 Pet 3:15-16

      The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth 1 Timothy 3:15

      Hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you 1 Cor 11:2

      On this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven Matt 16:18-19

      If he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven Matt 18: 17-18

      I appreciate your sharing with us and hope you enjoy the friendly banter : ) Take care and God bless!

      ruthsangels@gmail.com

  35. pipsylou says:

    TV – I’m just not finding it. I’m an evangelical investigating the Catholic faith. I’m just not finding it, that it’s there, how you say it is. I posted recently about my own struggles with evangelicalism…here’s a direct link: http://pipsylou.blogspot.com/2007/10/new-directions.html

    This is all very fascinating to me.
    Rachel

  36. TV says:

    What’s not to get??? MARINATE on the words you read here in Romans 10:17. IT IS A DEFINITION of SOLA SCRIPTURA. Sola Scriptura is established in Holy Scriptures. We can read anything and everything else but when it comes down to it ALL WE NEED IS THE WORD OF GOD. It’s a matter of faith and faith comes…. Putting the word of God first and pre-eminent tells the Almighty that we are willing to put Him first because we believe HE IS WHO AND WHAT HE SAYS HE IS IN HOLY SCRIPTURE. What and who is that but Jesus Himself in the form of His own spoken testimony backed up by His fulfillment BUT NOT replacement of the law and the prophets all.

    Look here again: consider the words you are reading marinate them in your mind see and accept it…or not. Valley of decision time.

    Romans 10:17 >>

    ——————————————————————————–
    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.

    King James Bible
    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    American Standard Version
    So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Bible in Basic English
    So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Darby Bible Translation
    So faith then is by a report, but the report by God’s word.

    English Revised Version
    So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Tyndale New Testament
    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing cometh by the word of God.

    Weymouth New Testament
    And this proves that faith comes from a Message heard, and that the Message comes through its having been spoken by Christ.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    World English Bible
    So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    so then the faith is by a report, and the report through a saying of God,

    • Len says:

      Sorry to state the obvious.
      All your qoutes refer to “hearing” the word of God, not “reading” the word of God. (NO “sola Scriptura”) For there are many ways to “hear” God.

      And Jesus gave his apostles authority to “preach” the good news. And they did so with personal authority.
      And they specifically added other teachings than scriptural teachings. “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter” (2 Thess 2:15) No mention of scripture at all there (much less ONLY scripture) but there IS specific mention of truth passed on by tradition.
      Perhaps you are also called to “hear” the word of God…….from those he sent. His Apostles. And these Apostles laid hands on successors right down to the Catholic (& Eastern Orthodox) Bishops of today.

      And if Jesus had intended to start the Protestant Faith(S) he did so in a very odd way.
      He did not use his carpentry skills to invent the printing press! (Only a miniscule elite could have access to scripture for 1500 years).
      He did not write a book!!!
      He did not tell his apostles to “Go & write”
      Instead he founded a living community of faith, giving authority to its leaders and founded upon Peter’s particular authority (Matt 16 18….)
      This was to facilitate the very visible unity he prayed for “so that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me”.

      And he also promised that His church would NEVER fail (Matt 16 18…)
      But the Protestant premise is that the Church founded by Christ Himself did fail!
      And it failed for 1500 years!
      It had to be restarted by Luther, then Calvin…..then thousands of others

      Many recent theologically-educated converts from Protestantism undergo a Damascus moment on studying the early church and the early Fathers. They realised they were looking at the Catholic Church.

      Further issues on Sola Scriptura.
      When the epistle writers refer to “scripture” they are referring to the Torah, The Law, and The Prophets. There is no sense yet of “A Bible” and there is no sense of each writer saying (by the way) “this letter to such-and-such a church, about such-and-such an issue, is hereby included in the future bible.
      The Canon of scripture is a SELECTION, from various writings, of the writings that are the family history and reference-point of God’s living Body the Church. This SELECTION was made by the Catholic Bishops finally at the third Council of Carthage nearly 400 years AD…..after 400 years of Church life. The Church gives us the “bible” selection from her Christ-given authority.
      OK, Luther took out some books and called them Apocrypha. On what authority?
      Where is the Trinity in the Bible. It is the work of Catholic Councils. Do you accept it?

  37. pipsylou says:

    You are awfully sure of yourself, TV. What of those who have translated that text in a different way? It is interesting to me that those, like you, who see EVERYTHING only in black and white, saying MY WAY IS RIGHT, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY sometimes do a better job of alienating searchers than helping them into the fold.

  38. TV says:

    My that’s a terrible thing to say given what the bible says and what we know God to be (Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipotent and everlasting) spoke and speaks way before I ever could talk in the words of the bible. Such a Great God does preserve His word because of who he is. I guess he must not be able to be omniscient, omnipresent and onmipotent and everlasting. I guess He just can’t cut it. What the word of God says is true as written. The word of God tells me that and I believe that. If you want to cuss me out because I agree with something that predates me by millenia then go ahead. Believe what you want. I’m not stopping you. My suggestion is that somewhere words are exactly true to their meaning. Black is black and white is white not some shade that partially negates the meaning of black or white. The bible is that way belive it or not. I throw my lot in there. Do what you want. But have you ever noticed that when someone trusts that word implicitly and explicitly, even God forbid, as Jesus did, they end up despised. That’s what we get when we stand on His word: hatred, scorn, and every other term that has as it’s essence “kill the messenger” when all they are doing is reflecting the exact message. Sorry I offended you. He’s just looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth ON HIS TERMS. Be well.

    • Angela Welliver says:

      So if you believe in Sola Scriptura…what did people do before the Bible was put together?

  39. TV says:

    I am not sure of myself as much as I am sure of the truth of His word found in the bible. Only on this black and white basis can every man woman and child be allowed to see and believe or not believe. It is open to everyone. If I have alienated you. I am sorry. Jesus our Messieh and Christ is greater than us both by factors the degree of which we will never conceive.

  40. AveMaria says:

    TV:

    Faith Comes by Hearing and Hearing by the Word does not refute Catholic teaching. In fact this little discussion is a classic overview of the need for the Church’s teaching authority commonly known as the Magisterium. Here’s a link to an explanation http://www.catholic-pages.com/church/authority.asp

    You and I both agree that Faith Comes by Hearing and Hearing by the Word, however we have differing opinions as to the implications of this scripture. Since Jesus wants Christians united (See John Ch 17) and since he, being God and all, knew that folks would disagree he gave the authority to teach to his body on earth the Catholic church. What you bind on earth etc., etc.

    Clearly Sola Scriptura does not work. If you and I disagree on this or any other item of scriptural interpretation, we can’t both be right. Yet the truth exists. How to find it? Proverbs suggests to not lean on our own understanding. The Lord established the church for our benefit, so that we don’t get lost like sheep with out a Shepard. If Sola Scriptura worked there would not be umpteen Christian divisions with umpteen denominations.

    Christ wants Christians united. That can’t be more clear, he states that is how the world will know he is who he says he is. He established one church, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. In obedience to him, in imitation to his obedience even obedience unto death on a cross, we as Christians would do well have sufficient respect for him to do what he tells us to do, and not run off assuming we know more that the Almighty, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Lord and our King.

  41. TV says:

    The question was is Sola Scriptura in the bible or not? The bible proved itself. I love you in Jesus Most Holy Name.

  42. TV says:

    All man made.

    Our Lord Jesus, who is the true Messieh and Christ, said to the devil:

    Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    Discuss it with Him, if you want to live of course. This is the truth that will make you free sister. Sorry you dispute it. I Won’t bother you all any more.

    Oh just one more thing. The next time they hold up the bible at Mass and they proclaim with such certainty that it is the word of God, ask them if you can use it for toilet paper because apparently God can’t make His will known to all men all at the same time, all through history but only to a few who must be consulted for our salvation to stick. The only one to be consulted is Jesus The Only Saviour beside whom is no other. Toilet paper because you all don’t really believe it is the word of God for your own reasons. If they were Jesus’ reasons you all would be jumping for joy. Jesus Messieh and Christ is the only way and His words are fully revealed in the bible. He is all we need and we can learn of Him in the Holy Scriptures.

    John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

    I didn’t write it but I believe He said it.

    Be well in Jesus Christ.

  43. TV says:

    crtifThe only way anyone is right is by HIS WORD.

    Does He want people united or does He want what He says here:

    Deny it but He said it.

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    Now I’m done.

  44. AveMaria says:

    TV:

    This man explains the faith far better than most of us are able. Read his conversion story from begining to end. It is an eight part series.

    http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/08/my-journey-home-to-rome-part-i-romulus.html

    I admire your zeel for the Truth who is Christ Jesus.

  45. TV says:

    Admire Jesus and His word. I know what I am.

  46. Heather Claypool says:

    It was wonderful to read your story. It really moved me. As one who was formerly protestant and beginning the process of conversion, it’s encouraging, hearwarming and comforting to know that others have been where I am on my spiritual journey. Thank you so much for sharing!

  47. Lane says:

    Perhaps (?) my essay “Bible Verses that Do NOT Teach ‘The Bible Alone'” will be of help?

    http://catholicity.elcore.net/BibleOnlyVersesNot.html

  48. Oso Famoso says:

    I am always amazed at angry people attacking members of the Body of Christ with giant ALL CAPS…and statements like, “It’s so obvious…just read and you’ll see it!!!”

  49. Oso Famoso says:

    By the way…my wife loves your blog. She especially likes the post about anxiety…she only lurkes though…

  50. jackjoe FRANK says:

    I must say reading Catholic blogs is discouraging. For example, several of your commenters who were protestant continue to use the word “convert” although the RCIA manuel makes it clear that those who are already babtized should never be call “converts” but “Candidates”. Also the RCIA process, though supported by the church, is twisted and distorted. I am a christian recently in full communion with Rome but the effort so often seen here to trash your previous religious upbringing is scandalous. I have only met a handful of “candidates” who are not really old line “converts.” They love catholocism for many reasons some having nothing to do with religion…pageantry, mystery,nice costumes,pretty churches love of old Bing Crosby movies (Joke). My wife and I are helping a young man come into full union with Rome. Many of your commenters do not help. As a former football player with some bad past abuse and action he, of course, does not seek out blogs.He loves the Catholic Church because is does not speak only of personal piety as your commenters seem to. Jack

  51. jackjoe FRANK says:

    Browsing Catholic blogs is most discouraging. First of all your commenters need to learn the difference between “convert” and “candidate”. With all that catholic study you think they would know.It makes a lot of difference, but I think your “candidates” are enamored with a lot more than religion. My wife and I are guiding a young 23 year old with a ‘bad’ past and a victim of abuse to full communion with Rome. He loves Catholicism because it talks a lot about others not just about your own pious piety or lack thereof. Your commenters apparently don’t pay much attention to the second commandment.

  52. jackjoe FRANK says:

    Oh my, Apparently another catholic blog that won’t allow different opinions. Jack

  53. jackjoe FRANK says:

    Okay, I have to eat crow!!!You do allow difference of opinion. I am a new catholic, a former Episcopalian and I refuse to be called a “convert” as if I had wandered in error for decades. So terminology is important.

    If you or your readers ever have time to read the story of the young man we are helping, it might be found interesting. A fine boy gone wrong by growing up too soon. To see why he is changing look at his comment under Christmass (sic). right now he is emphasizing his own “bad” past; but how he is coming to Catholicism is fascinating. But what attracks him is the Church is interested in more than just ‘clean’ living. It is also interested in others besides yourself and maybe gives you a chance to make up for a ‘wild’past by helping others and helping you to see that a young boy’s errors can be forgiven. Thank you for letting me ‘on’ your blog. Jack(although Frank is doing the posts now).

  54. Maraleah says:

    It’s so good to hear about folks coming into the Church. I am a revert of 5 years, having grown up in the Church during Vat II and left at 17 somewhat due to my family’s lack of participation after my Confirmation. I spent 30 years in various Baptist congregations. Even from one Baptist group to another, there were differences in what was taught.

    God led me back into the Catholic Church and am so glad to be home. I finally have the peace and joy that none can take from me that only comes from Christ and being true to Him.

    For TV:
    If you really want to know the truth about what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches and why, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm). It sure helped me learn the truth and I found that it showed me that the Catholic Church was the only one that was in perfect harmony with the Scriptures I had studied, loved and taught for 30 years.`

  55. jackjoe FRANK says:

    You seem very nice and suncere. I read your conversion story and all you have done is substitute an infallible church for an infallible Bible. Both ideas are very weak, but good luck anyway. Jack

  56. Heide Seward (aka, Miss Climpson) says:

    Jennifer, I followed your comment on my own blog and found your conversion story. Very moving. I, too, was received into the Catholic Church with my husband at the 2007 Easter Vigil. Happy Anniversary!

    Your transformation was much more dramatic than mine. I was a protestant believer before entering the Church. It took me much longer to see the holes in the “sola scriptura” argument, though.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  57. Confessions of a Steubie Wife says:

    I usually have an attention span of 2 seconds, but your conversion story kept me reading! I sent an excerpt from it to my sister who is 22 and being confirmed this Easter. She has recently come back to the Church after too long away. I have never seen her more joyful and more truly herself. Our parents are hostile to Catholicism (and Christianity in general) so it’s even more of a blessing that the two of us are united to the vine together :)
    Thanks again for sharing!
    God bless,
    Lauren

  58. Anonymous says:

    I have a question Jen, I stumbled across your blog and find it very interesting.

    Can you explain Luke 4:8 where Jesus says, “You shall do homage to the Lord your God; Him alone shall you adore.” What does this mean? Can we worship the other saints as well as Jesus?

    If you could email me back at ericnovak@dls.net that would be great.

    Eric

  59. Tami says:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying reading through your blog. As a side note related to this post, if you enjoy Christian apologetics, you will likely enjoy the site:

    Apologetics Press

    There’s lots of science stuff, some general religious stuff, and it’s just all really interesting. I can get lost there for hours reading articles. They are also really good about annotating their articles with sources.

  60. Elijah says:

    Eric,

    When Jesus says “You shall do homage to the Lord your God; Him alone shall you adore” he means that we should only worship God. Catholics do not worship Mary or the other saints. We do have great love and respect for them, which we term ‘veneration’, but the distinction between Our Lord and His creatures is quite clear.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Jen,

    I thank you for your wonderful writing and freedom to share your thoughts and experiences. I am planning to begin RCIA courses this fall. My mother is a recent revert to the Catholic church, and I also, feel I am being led there as well. I struggle to hold back the tears at times when I attend Mass with her. My past has been very turbulent and I believe the Catholic church is the only place where I can find true healing from the sins of my past. I plan on reading more of your blogs. You are an encouragement to me. God Bless you and your family.

  62. Katie says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog, so much of it resonates with me! My husband and I also converted to the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil 2007. He was a hardcore atheist and I was an agnostic/weak atheist. Very interesting journey, I’ve only recently started blogging here but plan on discussing our conversion at some point.

    I’ll keep reading :)

    In Christ,

    Katie

  63. Ann says:

    Jen,

    Wonderful story! A quick word… as a “convert” from Protestantism myself, I must say that your restraint, (and other Catholics’ reasoned responses) to commentors like TV who merely want to pound their own ideas into everyone’s head and who are black/white thinkers, is one of the chief reasons I began investigating Roman Catholicism myself. There has to be a final arbiter of truth and a collection of epistles, poems, and prophetic stories cannot be an arbiter of truth. Only a living Body: the Church can be. Thank you for your story!

  64. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    I also converted at the Easter Vigil in 2007.

    I’m so glad I found your blog. You are a great writer…Off to put you in my Bloglines right now so I don’t miss a post!

  65. Amy says:

    Hi,
    I haven’t read a lot of your blogs yet but want to go ahead and comment on this post. I felt a lot of the same things you did about how protestants were all interpreting things differently for ourselves (I love protestants don’t get me wrong). However I found the answer to this dilemma in the Eastern Orthodox church… which I guess makes the same claim as the Catholic church: to hold the true understanding of the Bible. I’m not very familiar with the Catholic Church, do you know what the differences are between the two? I know they were originally one church until the schism in 1054-ish.

  66. Kate says:

    Jennnifer,

    I just stumbled across your blog this afternoon. This post is one of the most powerful things I’ve read. I am Catholic from birth, and I’ve felt like I’ve spent my whole life trying to explain what you’ve written here. Wow.

    I am sharing your post with my many Catholic (and non-Catholic friends).

    Keep up the good work.

  67. Joanne says:

    I am a cradle Catholic but my husband went through RCIA the year that we got married and I consider myself to be not converted but reformed in my spirit. I feel so lucky that God brought my husband to me and me to my husband because I feel like now we are both fully Catholic and so, so happy in the Church. We are not without problems but I cannot imagine living our lives now without both being Catholic and following the rule of the Church. I wish you luck on your continuing journey and Welcome Home to all starting RCIA this fall.

  68. Em the luddite says:

    Somehow, though this was the obvious first post of yours for me to read if I’m interested in your blog as a Protestant praying about Catholicism, I only just read it this morning. Right after writing a similar observation in my blog after thinking through my summer in Ireland. Frightening. One might think the Holy Spirit is working on me or something.

  69. hwimm says:

    Thank you for your story and being so willing to share your faith. I promise I’m not trying to be obnoxious, but your story sounded very much like Joseph Smith’s story (he was the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons). If you are interested, here is a link to the story:

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1

    Here is another link if you’re interested in learning more:

    http://www.mormon.org

  70. AF says:

    Jen,

    I was led to your site because of your excellent post comparing abortion to Nazi Germany.

    I can understand your plight which led you to the Catholic church. It was too hard to sort things out and compare Scripture with Scripture; you wanted the easy way out—someone to tell you what to believe and to be the final authority. Fellow believers in the body of Christ can certainly give us guidance in interpreting the Scriptures, but the Catholic church gives priests (what about those pedophiles? Were they to be trusted?) too much responsibility and elevates their decrees above God’s Word. Throughout the Word, we see that God rewards those that diligently seek Him. We need to ask Him for wisdom. We need to seek it as a precious treasure. Don’t take the “easy way out,” which may not be correct. Test everything against the Scriptures. You seem like a seeker, and if you continue to seek Him rather than man, I know He’ll guide you into all truth. I hope I don’t sound like a know-it-all here, but I just firmly in the individual priest-hood of all believers. There is no mediator between you and God except the Son Jesus Christ. Please read some good evangelical arguments against Catholicism. Though I am against Catholicism, I do believe you are a sincere follower of Jesus Christ.

    God be with you!

  71. Anonymous says:

    jen,

    i feel that your blog could use some non-denominational participation. i was raised with no religion and have never attended church of any kind. as a reasonably intelligent person who thinks and wonders about life, I am perpetually searching for my truth. your writing is excellent and i value your opinion more than most due to your religious history. it is more valid to me.

    i am not seeking wisdom nor am i writing to impress a religious opinion. i simply wish to represent the non-christian, non-atheist, non-agnostic, non-label readership.

    with an open mind,

    s.

  72. Anna says:

    Hi Jen

    Just wanted to say I loved this post – I searched in some of the ways you did, but found my home in the via media. I love Anglicanism and its three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, but I have a soft spot for Catholicism and feel most akin to Catholics than to other Protestants.

  73. Jacqui says:

    Hey Jen!

    I am also a Catholic living all the way here in Asia.

    I’d like to say this was a great read! I’m glad I stumbled into your site. I’m very happy that you’ve found exactly where you are supposed to be. I’m inspired by you and by how God works in you. I’m inspired by your courage in writing this.

    I’m just so amazed at how God works in each of our lives and how I have sisters and brothers all over this world.

  74. wulfine says:

    I am a cradle catholic … raised in a devoutly catholic family. I grew up never question any of it … any more than i questioned the existence of gravity. God just …. was.

    As I grew older, and began to search for the answers to those questions no one could answer … I began to wonder. The RC Church seems quite arrogant and self-aggrandizing … and quite hypocritical, when one considers the vatican’s involvement in history.

    I, personally, can no longer consider a church a vehicle to God, knowing what I know of the horrific slaughter of the Cathars, for example. I also wonder … is putting my faith in the works of the council of hippo et al is necessarily putting my faith in god?

    I can’t get into the notion that god lives in that fancy brassy-looking box. I believe that god lives in that wretched-looking, smelly homeless person we turn our noses at on our way to work.

    as for these questions ~
    (1) why pray to the Virgin Mary

    Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is God Incarnate … as such, she is a perfect vessel, flawless ~ she is not divine, but an instrument of worship … personally i consider her special because the life she lived and the suffering she endured.

    Put simply, remember being a kid and asking your mum for something coz you were too afraid to ask your dad? its like that …

    (2) why confess sins to a priest when we are able to pray directly to Christ?

    It is largely symbolic … a gesture of humility that we all must make in order to grow closer to god. Confessing something in silent secrecy is quite different than confessing something in speech to another human.

    (3) I don’t understand where the concept of purgatory comes from.

    where does it come from? from the fertile imaginations of some narrow-minded, educated men that formed some council or other …

    seriously … i always thought of purgatory as a state of being … rather than a place …

    if you want to really understand catholic doctrine, The Divine Comedy is a great place to start. Honestly.

    • Ron Kempen says:

      Frankly the Catholic Church is far from the “one true church” as it claims to be. I write my articles to show people how distorted it is. If you have a question, I’d be glad to answer it. Drop me a line if you want to talk about it.
      Ron
      Gospel Light Ministries

      • Thomas says:

        It’s great to read your story. Coming myself into a full life in the Body of Christ after investigating the biased claims of folks like Ron, who have read a distorted and misrepresented history, I sought to understand the teachings of the Church from the source. I’ve seen Ron’s information all over the net, and some of his temper tantrums, and keep him in my daily prayers. I’m sure our Lady will return him to our Lord one day.

        As to seeing Christ not in the tabernacle but in the smelly homeless man, the error is not having to choose one, but seeing Him in both. The Catholic Church has the oldest and largest for lack of a better word, “Network” of charities that go out to the sick, poor and homeless. The great cathedrals and artwork that the Church preserves draws Catholic and Non-Catholics both and the admissions to museums at the Vatican and elsewhere go in part to those charities, and the service of the poor and homeless.
        Silly comments like Our Lady not being Divine, show a frank ignorance of what the Church teaches. Anyone who believes that Mary is Divine does not hold the same faith as Catholics.
        As to atrocities, we don’t have to look far outside of the membership of the Catholic Church to see the same thing, from Baptist, to Evangelical Protestant, Buddhists, Hindus etc, Even among the Athiests, Humans after the Fall are flawed, but the path Christ Jesus gave us to perfect ourselves is clearly laid out in the Bible. We see if we read the Bible as a whole and not just a group of laws that we can choose and ignore that the Church is the pillar, and built upon the Apostles, we Read that a special authority was given to Peter. Not to each of us to decide on our own what we can and will accept, but to the Apostles and their successors so we can believe and hold what Jesus really preached.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Wulfine,

    As a cradle Catholic ho grew up knowing about many of the atrocities committed by Catholics and supported or sometimes endorsed by the hierarchy, I have to wonder what’s so hard to understand about the concept that if we, as a species, are so damaged by original sin that God had to become one of us and let us murder him, to get our attention and show us how far we are from our potential – that even in the course of learning to understand the gift he gave us by his life, death and resurrection, we would still manage to stumble pretty horribly along the way. There never was a guarantee that bishops would cease to sin, any more than anybody else.

    “I can’t get into the notion that god lives in that fancy brassy-looking box. I believe that god lives in that wretched-looking, smelly homeless person we turn our noses at on our way to work.”

    The Church’s answer to that is, “Dude, both.” Christ on the altar and in the tabernacle is there to give us grace to see Him in the guy who lives in the cardboard box.

    -Sue

  76. Tyler Storey says:

    I came across your blog by accident (a happy accident) and somewhere on it saw a reference to Father Walter Ciszek’s book “He Leadeth Me.” It stood out and I ordered it (I hope you have your Amazon account set up to get credit). I’m only on page 60, but wow! and thank you. I am currently in the final stretch of RCIA at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix, and just as I am really realizing the magnitude of the decision to come into the Church, this is the perfect book for getting me over that final “hump” leading into Lent and baptism at the Easter Vigil. Thanks so much for your blog, for sharing your conversion story, and for helping to point us in the true direction.
    God bless,
    Tyler

  77. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jen

    I am very happy that you and your husband took up the catholic faith. I myself am a catholic and I felt very blessed to be one as i have seen many graces and blessings from GOD. The only problem is that my husband is a very staunch buddhist and I dunno what i can do. I am very depressed as my newborn child has not been baptized yet and my husband refuses to let him be baptized unless our son decides to be a catholic when he is older. do u have any advise on this? What kind of prayers should i say? How did your husband convert to the catholic faith like you?

  78. MH says:

    Hi Jen,
    Thank you for your posting. I am a cradle Catholic and I am engaged to a young man raised with no particular faith and a somewhat atheistic father. I have been praying for years that he will open his heart to Christ, and he says that he is “heading in that direction” and that he will probably convert to Catholicism eventually, but I just wish there was more I could do to help him. Your story illustrates the fact that God works in mysterious ways, and gives me hope that if my fiancee just keeps seeking the truth as he has been, he will eventually come to the Church. The magnetic pull to the Church that you talk about sounds a bit like what my fiancee has been experiencing. I would definitely love to hear the story of how your husband converted too, if you decide to write it. Thank you so much for your written example, and I will keep you in my prayers.
    In Him,
    M

  79. angela michelle says:

    Hello, Thank you for this post. My husband and I enjoyed it very much. Sometimes I feel discouraged by all the anti-religion sentiment in our culture and in the blog world especially. So it was a treat to find you.

    We are Mormons and your story reminded us of the story of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. He was searching for truth but was confused by the contradictory interpretations of scripture, so he sought an answer to asking God directly, a la James 3:5.

    Mormons believe, like you say, in receiving truth from scripture and with the assistance and support of the organized church. We also believe that each individual can receive truth and personal guidance directly from God.

    Thanks again and best wishes.

  80. Staten Pilgrim says:

    Well, yes, Catholicism does teach that it is possible for genuinely ignorant and genuinely righteous non-Catholics and non-Christians to be saved (because God can do anything), but let's not be too flip about the necessity of conversion. Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through Him. He said that we cannot be saved unless we are baptized, have faith in Him and take up His cross (works/actions). There is no salvation outside the Church. I wouldn't want to tell non-Catholics that as long as they're good people and sincerely believe what they do, then they're on the right road.

    In any case, welcome home. The angels must be rejoicing in your conversion.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I was baptised Catholic, when I was an infant. I remember being raised in an orphanage. It was run by Franciscan Nuns. Everyday we had to get up at 5:30 and go to mass. The sisters were very strict, today at eighty years old I am well grounded in the Catholic Faith. I believe everything the Catholic Church teaches. Even that abortion is murder, and homosexual acts are an abomination.

  82. Nathan says:

    Great story. This key item: not being able to trust myself to hear God properly, was one of the major reasons I left evangelical Protestantism for Catholicism.

    The other part of this issue was that there are so many devout God-loving people of so many Christian denominations, yet they all have such radically different beliefs. I had to either believe that they were rejecting the Holy Spirit when reading scripture, or I had to believe they were using the wrong method of interpretting scripture (e.g. leaving out the Church).

    I also recognized the issue of illiteracy, and realized that the Christian really needs to trust some person or some body of people, even if just desiring a proper translation of the Bible.

    This, plus history were major factors in deciding to become Catholic.

    Oh, and to AF, I read some good Evangelical apologetics, but they don't really touch the reality of Catholicism. They just don't grasp that in Catholicism we believe that everything flows out from Jesus Christ, but that he comes to us from many angles in many forms.

  83. aodhoruairc says:

    I am amazed and dumbfounded that anyone in the 21st century can become a Catholic.
    I was taught as a "cradle" Catholic that babies that were not baptized would go to a place called Limbo and remain there forever when they died and that if I missed Mass on a Sunday and died without confessing my sin to a priest I would go straight to Hell. Also everyone who was not a baptized Catholic would burn in Hell when they died and that the Devil was constantly doing the rounds seeking potential Hell residents that he could torture and abuse for eternity.
    Of course that was Vatican One and I believe that they've changed the rules now — does that give millions of Hell residents a "get out of jail" card?
    By age 11 I began to wonder about all this and actually missed mass a few times to discover that nothing untoward happened. By then plain old reason and logic began to kick in aided by reading Tom Paine's Age of Reason who confirmed how illogical the whole Christian doctrine was. He wrote this in the 19th Century. It's quite depressing that 2 centuries later people are still buying into myths and superstitions. Why not believe then in ghosts, fairies, Santa Claus, Thor and any other thing that tickles your fancy.
    Please people wake up and smell the coffee.

  84. Patrick says:

    Jen,
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Accepting Pascal's wager was an inspiration from the Holy Spirit, aodhoruairc notwithstanding. I would pray that any skeptic, who thinks he/she has right reasoning, also accept Pascal's gambit. As a scientist myself, I find it difficult to believe that any scientist could be an agnostic. The order and beauty of the universe beg for a Creator. As for Paine and reason, it is no more than the age-old temptation to be like gods ourselves by rejecting God. We become like God by accepting God, the One who became our servant. Following the Way, the Truth, and the Light as passed down through the Church reveals true reason, as you found out in your "experiment." The quote from Chesterton is so appropriate. You were fortunate not have been burdened with an immature Catholic education terminated by the controversies of Vatican II that disrupted the Body of Christ. I, like many of the posters here, am glad that I took a second look at my Church as an adult. It is much different when we seek to understand her with experience, education, and, oh yes, humility under our belts. The fight to keep the Church true to Christ has been going on for 2000 years and will continue successfully until He returns. Thanks for your blog.

  85. Russell says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I just ran across your blog and found it interesting. I would just like to comment on some of your posts from earlier (October / November 2007) concerning the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. This topic seems to be really misunderstood and misrepresented by many Catholics, and I would appreciate the chance to defend the concept. One poster had suggested that Romans 10:17 proves Sola Scriptura, but I respectfully disagree. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is where I would turn to demonstrate that Sola Scriptura is a biblical concept. I believe that this passage is clear and is showing us that Scripture is the only infallible Rule of Faith for the church today.

    Another person suggested that Sola Scriptura just "doesn't work" because of the divisions in Protestantism. But there are also many disagreements and divisions within the walls of Catholicism. So, if the Protestant Rule of Faith (Sola Scriptura) is invalid because divisions exist in its ranks, then we would ALSO have to say that the Catholic Rule of Faith does not work, since there are divisions in its ranks, as well. So I think that this is one of many straw-man arguments against Sola Scriptura. I will be glad to address any other concerns on the topic from you or any of your posters. Thanks, Jen, for hearing me out.

    Russell

  86. Church Defender says:

    Hello Jen,

    Your story is amazing. Thanks for sharing this story to us. I linked your blog to mine.

    God bless.

  87. Wakay says:

    I love your conversion story to the Catholic Church. It makes my faith stronger.

    God bless you Jen and your family. Congrats for bringing forth your youngest angel to the world.

  88. mariaemancipium says:

    amdg

    Russell-

    You have rightly observed that the "debate" above was nothing more than a setting up and knocking down of straw men by both parties. In the disinterested pursuit of Truth then, perhaps we may continue:

    You cite 2 Timothy as Biblical support for sola scriptura. In my Bible, these verses read: 16 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, 17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work. I will note that these verses do not explicitly state that scripture is the only instrument by which the man of God can be furnished to every good work.

    However, rather than dwelling on any particular verse (I'm not a big fan of "sound byte" arguments from anything, especially the Bible) I would instead draw the discussion to a more fundamental question.

    Say that I am an atheist and I ask you why you believe that the Bible (i.e. the writings that have been brought together as the Bible we now know) is the word of God. Obviously, if we are considering whether the Bible is the word of God, a citation from the Bible will not suffice as proof. On what authority, then, does the fact that the Bible is the word of God rest?

    Another way of framing the question is by asking why certain books are in the Bible while others are not. For example, Paul wrote several letters to the Church in Thessalonica, so why were only two included in the canon of scripture?

    If the answer is (as I might suspect, however uncharitably) that you simply have faith that the Bible (as we know it today) is the Word of God, then one is tempted to ask why your faith is in that particular set of ancient writings? When Paul said "All scripture" as you referenced, he couldn't have possibly meant the canon as we now know it, because it had not yet been assembled as such. What did he mean by "all scripture"?

    Thank you in advance for a civil and stimulating debate. May we both humbly submit ourselves to the Truth and seek Him fervently.

  89. Russell says:

    Mariaemancipium,

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response.

    I’ll divide my response into two parts:

    Part 1

    16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
    17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
    (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – NASB)

    Concerning this passage, it is true that verse 16 does not explicitly say “Only Scripture,” nor does it use the word “sufficient.” But I think the impact of this passage is often missed when the phrase “every good work” (v. 17) is overlooked. If Scripture equips us for “every good work,” then it is, BY DEFINITION, sufficient as a Rule of Faith.

    Please allow me to share the “toolbox” analogy: If you were an auto mechanic and your boss gave you a toolbox that equipped you for “every mechanic’s job” possible, then this toolbox is sufficient for its specific purpose, i.e., for auto mechanic work, and it would be the only one you need. In the same way, Scripture is the “toolbox” which equips us for “every good work,” and is therefore sufficient as the infallible Rule of Faith. Now this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other sources of truth (e.g., creeds, councils, traditions, lexicons, commentaries, etc.), it just means that there is no other inspired (“God-breathed”) source needed (or even available, I would argue) today. These other sources may also be useful and “profitable,” but they need to be tested by that infallible source that Paul is speaking of.

    In the inquiring atheist scenario, you asked, “On what authority, then, does the fact that the Bible is the Word of God rest?” Well, I would share with him the fact that the manuscript evidence of the Bible (especially the New Testament) is far better than any manuscript evidence we have of any ancient literature… overwhelmingly so, in fact. If the manuscript evidence of the Bible is not good enough, then we could never accept any other ancient works of literature, either. Secondly, there is also much archaeological evidence which supports the veracity of the Bible. Furthermore, consider this… if we found only eight or ten different Old Testament prophecies pointing to the Messiah, the chances of all of these being fulfilled in the same Person would be astronomically slim. It would be virtually impossible (apart from divine assistance) in terms of probability. Yet we have dozens (perhaps hundreds) of prophecies that have already been fulfilled concerning Him. These are just some of the many examples of the Bible “proving itself,” or more accurately, God proving Himself through His Word. If we look, we can see the “fingerprints of God” all over it.

  90. Russell says:

    Mariaemancipium,

    (Part 2)

    Concerning the canon, and how we know which books are inspired, we all realize that no one alive today had anything to do with the formation of the canon, and therefore, we are dependent on others for this information. And, of course, we get this information from the early church. Now, the church did not “determine” the canon, the canon was “determined” by God. The church simply “recognized” the inspired books. But it doesn’t mean that recognizing the inspired books made those fathers infallible (as some believe), or that they needed to be infallible in order to recognize those books (as some believe).

    And finally, you asked, what did Paul mean by “All Scripture” in 2 Timothy 3:16? I think he meant exactly that. We all know that the New Testament is also Scripture, and is just as inspired as the Old Testament. It’s true that at that time there was very little of the New Testament available, but that doesn’t change the truth of what Paul was saying. As an analogy, if a Catholic says that all ex-cathedra statements given by the pope are true, does he mean that only the ex-cathedra statements made up until this point in time are true, and not future ones? Of course not. All ex-cathedra statements would mean ALL ex-cathedra statements, just as “all Scripture” would mean ALL Scripture, whether the canon was complete or not. Since Paul is speaking of the nature and purpose of Scripture in this context, we have no reason to believe he was limiting his definition of Scripture to ONLY what was available in his day.

    Thank you again, Mariaemancipium, and I’m certainly looking forward to your response.

    In His Name,
    Russell

  91. mariaemancipium says:

    amdg

    Russell-

    (part 1)

    I largely agree with your interpretation of 2 Timothy, and your clever “toolbox analogy.” But what is at stake, to my mind, in any discussion of sola scriptuta is the more foundational question of how the writings which make up our Bible (the word of God) are related to the person of Christ (the Word of God; cf. Jn 1:1) who is the fullness of God's revelation to mankind. Indeed, Christ is the self-revelation of God, and the self-communication of God to the whole of the human race, and any revelation available (eg. Natural law, Scriptures) must somehow flow from Christ Himself. What we seek, then, is the connection between Christ and the Bibles we have on our bookshelves.

    Thus, with respect to the canon, you correctly point out that the fathers of the Church “recognized” rather than “determined” which works were in the Bible. Yet, you insist, they did not need the charism of infallibility to recognize these works. While I won't argue with the letter of this statement (ie. it seems at least theoretically possible that one could recognize a divinely inspired work without the charism of infallibility) I will suggest that if the Holy Spirit had not bestowed infallibility upon those whose job it was to recognize the canonical works, then the Church would be lacking both a guarantee that our canon is perfect and a “connection” of authority between Christ and the works themselves.

  92. mariaemancipium says:

    (part 2)

    Now this last statement seems to beg the refutation that if the Holy Spirit had inspired the authors of the scriptures, then obviously the connection is in the act of writing the works themselves. I will not deny that; without this divine inspiration, we could not properly call the Scriptures authoritative. This, I believe, is what you mean when you say that God “determined” the canon, and rightly so. However, the assembly of the canon itself must also be authoritative, or else we cannot be sure that our Bibles include all of those works and only those works which were divinely inspired. If we cannot be sure that, for example, the Book of Mormon is not divinely inspired, then ultimately there is no objective canon, or rule, of our Faith.

    Now in response to the atheist's question, you mentioned a couple things. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by manuscript evidence, but I will venture a guess that this has to do with the fidelity of our current texts to the ancient sources. However, even if our texts were perfectly conformed with the ancient sources, that is by no means evidence of divine inspiration. You mention also the archaeological evidence and the inter-textual consistency of the Biblical writings, but even these things are a shoddy authority upon which to build the sort of life that you and I believe Our Lord is asking us to live. There are a million different archaeological and historico-critical arguments against the divine inspiration of the text of the Bible. In my opinion, any attempt to empirically demonstrate the divine inspiration of any text – not to mention the whole of the canon – is, by nature, going to fail.

    I'll stop now, before this gets really long. Let me know if I am making sense.

    MM

  93. Russell says:

    MM,

    Thank you again for your response.

    Concerning the canon and how we know which books are inspired, it seems that the goal (for Catholics, at least) would be absolute INFALLIBLE certainty. I, for one, would be more than happy to have infallible certainty, but the truth is we are all fallible creatures with fallible minds and hearts… and we make fallible decisions. No matter what we end up choosing, or who we end up trusting, we ALL start out with fallibility.

    Although you did allow for a third possibility, I so often see Catholics present a false dilemma: Either, 1) the books were INFALLIBLY chosen, or 2) they had to be WRONG in their choices – the middle ground seems to be lost. But I don’t believe any human today can have infallible certainty today on the canon (or anything else, for that matter). Infallibility is God’s domain. But that doesn’t mean that He won’t give us SUFFICIENT certainty about the things of God.

    We have to ask, how did the believer in the Old Testament know that the books of Jeremiah, or Isaiah, or Malachi were inspired? There was no “infallible church” back then to tell them. But just like the fathers who recognized the books of the New Testament, they too, had to evaluate the available evidence, and reason with their fallible minds to come to a conclusion. Again, we don’t need to be infallible to recognize “the Infallible,” or else NONE of us would ever be able to recognize God and His dealings with us.

  94. Russell says:

    MM,

    I’d like to share a couple of more points, if I may.

    Is it mandatory for EVERY believer to have INFALLIBLE certainty on the FULL canon in order to be saved and to live for God?

    If your answer is yes, then wouldn’t we have to say that out of the multitudes of godly people who lived before the fourth century, that not one was saved, or not one could live for God until after the Councils of Carthage and Hippo? Actually, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia (which bears the official Catholic seals of the “imprimatur” and the “Nihil Obstat”), the first time that the canon of Scripture was INFALLIBLY declared was at the Council of Trent (1546).

    The online “New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia” also confirms the above source. (Quotes for both sources available upon request)

    So, if these Catholic encyclopedias are correct, and if we really do need infallible certainty on the canon of Scripture, I find it strange that the Church waited for a millennium and a half before giving us an infallible judgment on the canon. Thus, no one was able to be saved or live for God for over 1500 years. Is this really the case?

    If your answer to the above question is no, then why all the emphasis on infallible certainty in the first place?

    The second point is this: Why does the Catholic insist on the need for infallible certainty on the canon of Scripture for Protestants, when he (the Catholic) has no real certainty concerning his own “canon” of Tradition? Can anyone tell us exactly what the contents of Sacred Tradition are? Does the Catholic Church have an official, infallible, and unchanging list of its Traditions? There seems to be no meaningful definition of “Sacred Tradition” in Catholic sources. All I’ve ever seen were definitions like “the living and growing truth,” or it is “all that she herself [the Catholic Church] is, all that she believes,” or “the dynamic and living teaching authority of the Church.” But this is all meaningless and very circular (perhaps, intentionally vague?). What it really boils down to is the Catholic Church saying, “Tradition is whatever we WANT it to be!”

    It’s pretty hard for me to see how anyone can claim inspiration or infallibility for something so vague and subjective. Ascribing infallibility to this kind of entity is surely a dangerous thing.

    So, I think that “infallible certainty” and the whole canon issue hurts the Catholic Church more than helps it… and the canon argument does nothing to negate Sola Scriptura.

  95. mariaemancipium says:

    amdg

    Russell –

    First of all, forgive me for the delay in my reply and for the length of it. It seems fitting to divide it in three parts. Hopefully we continue to advance the conversation in the direction of the Truth – may we serve Him unreservedly in our discourse and in our lives.

    (part 1)

    The reason I bring up the definition of the canon with respect to the sola scriptura discussion is that, at the end of the day, this discussion fits inside a broader discussion of the Church’s authority to teach definitively. The reason that the canon is what it is today is ultimately because the Church said so. There is nothing else in which we put our faith in the canon of scripture than the authority of the Church. So, sola scriptura is refuted even in the assembly of the Bible, because we need the Church to elevate those books which were divinely inspired to the position of Sacred Scripture.

    You also ask about Sacred Tradition, which fits into this discussion also. You seem displeased with the Vatican II definition of Tradition as “all that She [the Church] herself is, all that She believes.” Perhaps I might explain this a little. The Church does not have Tradition which is over and against the revelation in Scripture, but rather the understanding of Tradition is based in the recognition the God’s self-revelation to humanity was made complete in the very person of Christ. But there is no way that every aspect of this self-revelation (which is infinite) could be recorded in the Scriptures (cf. John 21:25) or even in all the writings of the Church. Rather, revelation is like a seed which was planted by Christ in His Apostles – in His Church – and which continues to grow, a living thing, throughout the ages. Thus Sacred Tradition is the sum total of this eternal revelation as it is formulated and unpacked throughout time.

    Christ said to Peter: “thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” He was providing a way for His authority to be transmitted through the ages – His Church. The idea of “infallibility” is so oft misunderstood by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Allow me an attempt at clarification:

  96. mariaemancipium says:

    (part 2)

    We are given the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Let us think for a moment about what that means. When Satan tempted our first parents into original sin, he said “No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” He got them to believe that something true was false and that something false was true. This is what it means, then, for the gates of hell to prevail. He upended the order of Truth, he undermined Truth Himself. Thus, when Christ says the gates of hell shall not prevail, and gives Peter the power to bind and to loose, He must also give the guarantee that Peter and his successors will not misuse this power (accidentally or otherwise).

    But as we see in the Gospels, Peter is a highly fallible creature, as have been all popes since. Therefore we say that infallibility is a charism which is granted to the Church by the Holy Spirit. It is God protecting His Church from teaching lies. We believe that “infallibility” means only that the Holy Spirit protects the pope (in solemn definitions – eg. an ex cathedra proclamation), or the bishops with the pope (as in an ecumenical council), from teaching formal heresy on matters of faith and morals.

  97. mariaemancipium says:

    (part 3)

    How does this relate back to sola scriptura? Well, even if the Bible had fallen out of the sky as it is, and the canon was not an issue, there are still many interpretations of the Bible, some of which are mutually enriching, but some of which are mutually exclusive. Since no text interprets itself, and furthermore every single person’s reading of any given text will be unique to them, we need a competent authority which can mark off “boundaries” of what is a licit interpretation and what is illicit. Therefore if St. Francis wants to focus on Jesus’ life of poverty and service, while St. Josemaria Escriva wants to focus on Jesus as the prototype of masculinity, the Church says: “Ok, these are different, but they are mutually enriching, and both valid interpretations” – i.e. they each describe different aspects of what’s going on in the scriptures. Meanwhile, if Augustine wants to say that Christ was Divine, while Arius wants to say He was not Divine, the Church will say: “Wait a second, these are mutually exclusive, so one of them must be an invalid interpretation. And it’s Arius’.”

    Without the authority of the Church, how could we know which readings of the Sacred texts were valid or invalid? Without a definitive rule of faith, we will tend to degrade into relativism and warring factions (as have the Muslims, for example, and also the Anglican Communion) or we will tend to allow so much of our own human error in that we might lose the Faith altogether (as have many modern sects like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, or even certain developments within Catholicism, such as so-called “liberation” theology or “Marxist theology” for example, although there can be some legitimacy in the former if one is careful). Yes, there must be room for individual spiritualities and faith experiences, but a rule of faith is still needed to separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy even when the Scriptures are taken as a given.

    I sincerely hope that your talk about no one being saved until Trent was just rhetoric; obviously the Church does not teach that one needs a solemnly defined canon in order to be saved. Hopefully the above has sufficiently exposed the reason why I brought up the canon in the first place: because it is so interconnected with the issue of the Church’s authority. I will also note that, while the canon wasn’t solemnly defined until Trent, it had been defined by the tradition of the Church since about the fourth century. That is to say, it’s not like there was no canon until Trent, it just hadn’t been set out in an ecumenical council yet.

    Mariae mancipium

  98. Russell says:

    MM,

    (Part 1)

    I know that sometimes it’s hard to respond to everything that we write, but I feel that there are a few points that I had made earlier that were too important to overlook. For example, the fact that all of us today start off with fallibility in all our decisions, including the final authority(ies) that we choose to follow. And the fact that we can have SUFFICIENT certainty on the canon (just as the Old Testament believers did). Also, your answer to the question about whether EVERY believer needs to have INFALLIBLE certainty on the FULL canon to be saved and to live for God, seems to be “No, they don’t.” And again, I am asking you: If they don’t, then why all the insisting on the “necessity” of infallible certainty in the first place?
    Now, you did address Tradition to some extent, but I’m still waiting for a clear and meaningful defintion of it, before we can ever claim it as inspired. If the Catholic can demand an infallible list of the contents of Scripture, then Protestants can also demand that Catholics provide an infallible list of the full contents of “Tradition” – please show us the list.
    Ok, you said, “…sola scriptura is refuted even in the assembly of the Bible, because we need the Church to elevate those books…” Once again, just because the church recognized the canon, it does NOT follow that the church is therefore infallible. You’re just ASSUMING the church is infallible, when there is no biblical evidence of it.
    You shared Matthew 16:18-19 in an attempt to show that the Catholic Church is infallible. But Jesus telling Peter that the gates of Hell would not prevail, and that he would have the authority to bind and loose, is NOT the same as saying that the post-apostolic church would have infallibility. First of all, this same authority was given to ALL the apostles, and not just to Peter and his successors (Matthew 18:18-20). Secondly, there is absolutely no indication of a promise that any particular leader(s) in the New Testament church TODAY (i.e., after the apostles) would be exempt from error in his official pronouncements. It just isn’t there, explicitly or implicitly.

  99. Russell says:

    MM
    (Part 2)
    You said: “I will also note that, while the canon wasn’t solemnly defined until Trent, it had been defined by the tradition of the Church since about the fourth century. That is to say, it’s not like there was no canon until Trent, it just hadn’t been set out in an ecumenical council yet.”
    MM, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t INSIST that we “really need” infallible certainty on the one hand, and on the other hand, say it’s no big deal that we DIDN’T have it until Trent in 1546.
    You also talked about the need for an infallible interpreter. But it is ironic that so very few verses of Scripture have actually been “infallibly” interpreted by the Catholic Church. The point is, there is all this insistence on infallible certainty and infallible interpretations, yet in 2000 years, only an incredibly tiny percentage of verses were thus interpreted (the exact number will differ from Catholic to Catholic).
    You said that in no way could every aspect of God’s self-revelation be recorded in the Scriptures, and gave John 21:25 as proof. I would agree with that, but Sola Scriptura does not mean that every single bit of spiritual information is in the Bible, or, e.g., that it is some kind of exhaustive encyclopedia of every word that God has ever spoken. This is another misrepresentation of Sola Scriptura that Catholics very often use.

  100. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post. As a teenage Catholic, strong conversion stories like these help me to fully realize where I am, and strengthen my faith.
    ~M. Catherine-Rose

  101. Magister Christianus says:

    I just found your post today, and it is wonderful. The "sola scriptura" thing just does not hold up logically. I have been a lifelong Protestant, but for the past year have been reading and praying and thinking intensely about "swimming the Tiber." Thank you for sharing your story.

  102. jennie w. says:

    I really enjoyed reading your conversion story. I'm a Mormon myself but went to Catholic high school. My Catholic friends were always so nice and non-judgemental about my religion, which I definitely can't say about my Evangelical friends, sadly.

    Blessings on your journey of faith!

  103. lennonknows says:

    just a great inspiring story im reading this to my students because very often i get the feeling that they feel like you -Moises C. [San Pedro CA. ]

  104. Lucy says:

    Jennifer, thank you for your beautiful post. Thank you for ALL your posts, written in the service of our Lord.

    aodhoruairc, if you ever come back here . . . please know that I pray, with all my heart, that you will one day accept the grace and the fullness of life that only Christ can offer you. He is the only hope that we have – "like it or not, believe it or not" – and you were bought and paid for by His blood. May you come to believe, before it is too late.

  105. DLitong says:

    I stumbled upon your post 2 days ago via SpiritDaily. I'm a cradle Catholic but still growing in my knowledge of the Catholic Faith. The more I know about Her, the more I love her, and the more I am thankful to the early Spanish missionaries who braved the Pacific Islands in the 16th century to sow the Word. It has been 2 days of intermittent readings but suddenly, like a cliffhanger, the episode of Russell & MM came to a halt. Is there any continuation? If I may say something, Russell seems to miss the point totally of what Catholics uphold as 'Tradition'. The Catholic Tradition is not bounded by time.

    By the way, the first time I looked at my faith more maturely is when I was in the graduate school trying to find a mathematical equation that defines the leaf of a tree, and to my amazement, not a single leaf is like any other. Suddenly, I have that 'Eureka' moment: God IS! And then I started to fall in love with my Faith, not as a teen's infatuation, but as a man seriously looking for a coomitment for life. And I am just forever grateful that this ever-generous good LORD, Who knew me even before I was born, gave me the grace to love Him.

    PS: I am planning to read your conversion story to my 3 children in episodes over dinner. Good discussion material.

  106. Sheba says:

    Dear Jen,

    I am from Uganda, Kampala, and was born in a Catholic family. But like my sisters was confused for a long time about religion and which church to follow. Uganda has a wide selection of churches and religion and needless to say, I tried a few, until last year after a long period of prayer I returned to the catholic church. The experiences you talk about are exactly what I have experience. Thank you so much for sharing with the world. May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

  107. Arthur Policarpio says:

    Hi,
    Fantastic story! Hope more and more people discover your story more and become strengthened in their Catholic faith. I've made it my small mission to use the web to try to help people understand the Catholic Faith more. Reading about stories such as yours inspire to continue forward. Can I interview you for our website? I'm the editor of a Catholic website on the Virgin Mary. I'd be very interested in sharing with my readers more details about how you came to accept Catholic devotion and teachings on Mary.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jen,

    I was heartened to read about your journey back from the "brink" so to speak and trying to seek God. God earnestly rewaards those seeking Him.

    I believe in love and compassion and I do have to point out that the Catholic organisation is *not* christian by the fact it :

    - Promotes prayers to Mary ( praying is worship ) and yet God requires exclusive worship ( see Exodus 20:2-17 )

    - Promotes Mary as co-redemptrix and yet Jesus alone is the one mediator between God and me ( 1 Tim 2:5 )

    - Requires catholcs to worship a wafer as God – this is idolatry ( Exodus 20:2-17 ). Note the part about *bowing down*

    - Why in the catechism is the 2nd commandment regularly omitted about idols? Could it be because of the use of statues in churches? yes.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/command.htm
    See the right hand side regards the "A Traditional Catechetical Formula"

    The protestant church exists primarily because the church of rome wanted to, through bloodshed, falseness and lies ( and recent sexual abuse…. ) to silence people and force its will on them. Protestants died rather than kneel to papal power or believe a false gospel.

    Its this false gospel, a gsopel of works which rome pushes, rather than believing the gospel of Christ which says salvation is by faith alone. Works come after salvation, they cannot GAIN salvation.

    (Ephesians 2:8-9) – "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."

    (Rom. 3:20, 28) – "because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin…For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."

    (Galatians 2:16) – "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

    Please see :

    http://www.pro-gospel.org/x2
    This site will open you eyes.

    http://www.justforcatholics.org
    http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com

    I would be uncaring had I not given you resources to see the lies of the catholic church.

    I applaud your earnestly seeking God, but dont rest – the catholic church is a half way point to Gods truth and love.

    If you disagree with anything here you can contact me at
    zinto44@yahoo.com

    in Christ,

    Zinto.

  109. Lucy says:

    Zinto, I write this with all warmth and love imaginable – you have many misconceptions of the true Church.

    And I would consider myself to be uncaring if I did not provide a link to a website that will aid you in discovering how Catholic teachings are supported by the Bible. Please visit http://www.scripturecatholic.com. God bless you immensely.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Hi Lucy

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ( Ephesians 2:8,9 )

    Intersting site. I should make very clear I have nothing against catholics themselves. As to the Vatican being the "true church"? WHat is a true church? Would it not be one that adheres to Gods word, as we are commanded to do?
    If we departed from Gods word through e.g. abstaining from meat or forbidding to marry like priests do ( whcih are doctrines of demons ), would that be the "true church"? I doubt any thinking person would answer yes.
    Am I blunt? Absolutely, time is short…..you dont have the time to muck about now. The catholic church CANT save you. How can you have a RELATIONSHIP with God which needs to be base don His will and His ways – if what you follow leads you astray from His word? You cant, now can you – just applying logic.

    "So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them." ( Matt 21:6)

    "Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
    ( John 8:31-32 )

    Are you free? Freedom means you can have a one-to-one relationship with God THROUGH Jesus – not rhough a human priest, not though a "saint", not through Mary.

    "Become you therefore perfect, even as YOUR FATHER in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

    "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are THE SONS OF GOD, For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, ABBA, FATHER" (Romans 8:14-15).

    One of the issues I constantly struggle with is how catholics manage to swallow catholic theology – Gods word is very clear on topics like idols, who is the one true mediator between God and man, what salvation is based on.

    While some people accuse me of being black and white, I'm just reflecting what it says in Gods word.

    Case in point, indulgences ( CCC 1498 ) – which says we can have temporal remission of sin through indulgences.

    "Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory."
    (Pg. 374, #1498)

    The ONLY way we have remission of our sins is through Jesus sacrifice.

    "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;"
    ( 1 Corinthians 15:3 )

    "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" ( Luke 5:21 )

    Its pretty clear.

    Now I'd like to mention worship ( also called "adoration" ) of God ( the host ) in the wafer during the Eucharist.

    Is Jesus in a wafer? Where is Jesus now?

    "The Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God." Mark (16:19)

    It never says he comes down from heaven to go into a wafer. This is nonsense and unbiblical. And to expect jesus would obey a priest to come down from heaven on demand is biblically unsupportable. Note it says "sitteth" which means present tense.

    - end part 1

  111. One Very Blessed And Joyful Catholic says:

    "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

    I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.

    I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

    The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"

    Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

    Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

    For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

    Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

    Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.

    This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

    These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

    Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

    Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

    It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe."

    Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, "For this reason, I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by my Father."

    As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

    Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"

    Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

    - John 6: 47-69

  112. dave ruiz says:

    It is funny but the only ones you claim thought Jesus was actually saying they must eat him were the unbelievers. They had the right interpretation ? Paul warns that false dogma is there to draw away false believers , and to make manifest true believers .So it is here . The Jews expected an earthly ruler now in Jesus , they understood not His death . That is why He further expounds with his Ascension- that would have really blown them away. So Jesus was referring to His death ,and we associate with it thru FAITH , symbolized by "remembering" as we break bread .This was not a disortation on transubstantiation. His "food" to me is the gift of faith that He died for my sins , so that I might be justified before the Father .This is free and is not a work. Alleluia.

  113. George says:

    I am a cradle eastern Catholic. I am amazed at how many miracles we see in the middle east taking place and performed by christian saints. One would be the healing of impossible diseases after praying for the intercession of these holy people that once lived. A lot of the proof of what the church claims is found in present day miracles which go unnoticed despite them being a requirement by the church in the canonization process. The bible worshipers crack me up, who do they think compiled the bible?(St.Jerome) The authorized KJV bible was authorized by the Anglican church, and where did they get it from?(clue: some boys dressed in brown robes). I wonder, what came first, the church that our lord began in the upper room, or the book that it created? Where were the sola scrip. maniacs when our first popes where being eaten by lions? Why do so many of the so called reformed churches accept doctrine laid down at early church councils, such as the trinity? Why does the early church history mean nothing to these scripture only types? I believe it's a kind of "anything except Rome" programming. Scripture can be taken out of context to such a degree, that any church can be a valid one. There are full blown cults out there using bible scripture.

  114. Anonymous says:

    George, it is interesting that I should read your comment today. I have been trying to research miracles within the Church. The argument from miracles can be very powerful if they can be shown with evidence. Can you tell more about them or lead me to resources on them? Since I may forget to check back on this comments section, here is my e-mail:

    windfish@sbcglobal.net

  115. Danuska says:

    I have just read your conversion story. Amazing… Subscribed to your blog.
    On another note, and I hope you do not mind, I will share another testimony with you – of one man I was honored to meet. Aneel Aranha, who founded a Catholic ministry called Holy Spirit Interactive. He was also an atheist. :-)

    http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/aneelaranha/returnoftheprodigal/download.asp

    http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/aneelaranha/returnoftheprodigal/

  116. dave ruiz says:

    George .I suppose if you think Jesus started Roman Catholicism,then for sure Roman Catholics gave us the bible.But if Jesus did not start Catholicism , then they did not give us the bible either.Oh indeed Jesus started His church , He being the chief cornerstone , and the Holy Spirit His Vicar on earth.Yes the Lord gave us His bible given to all thru the apostles and prophets , not from a pope or institutional church or a council…… Yes,early bishops of Rome were mostly martyred , but they were not known as popes nor did they totally rule over all churches, nor was there a Roman Catholic church , but only a thriving universal (catholic) church .It is only after persecution and government propagation that things started going bad. Rome then grabbed and asserted it's power over ALL churches.Please do not confuse any earlier shepherding by Rome to be papal or institutional .It was merely the largest , most influential city at the time.It shared influence with Jerusalem , Antioch and Constantinople etc. Please allow others to not agree with popery. It was NEVER fully accepted by ALL of Jesus's churches, to this day.

  117. Siena says:

    I came across your article "Eight Responses to the Pro-Choice Mindset" in InsideCatholic.com and was led to your blog. I'm definitely going to be a regular reader! I enjoyed this article so much. I'm a Youth Minister and our curriculum for candidates of Christian Initiation for Children (Youth) is founded upon Catechism of the Catholic Church–glad to read it had a profound affect on you! God bless :)

  118. Melissa says:

    I absolutely loved this post, and thank you for it! After growing up without much faith, I stumbled into the Protestant Church. I too felt like my questions were not being answered, and that there was much division and no universal truth. I have found my way back to the Church I was baptized in, the Catholic Church, and now both my head and my heart are satisfied! I can now see why the Catholic Church has been able to withstand persecution for over 2000 years; it is where God is!

    Thank you again for sharing your journey and God bless!

  119. observer says:

    Still, it’s difficult to get past the inescapable facts that catholisism is a marriage between Christianity and paganism and therefore a false religion. GotQuestions.org does an adequate job of explaining my position:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/catholicism.html

    observer

  120. Sane says:

    Stumbled on this site recently and thought I’d jump in! Non-Christian here just trying to give my own perspective.

    @geekchic9

    In particular, you said, “I encourage you to read Jennifer’s conversion story from atheism to Catholicism. It’s a sad tale of a non-thinking atheist moving on to non-thinking Catholicism.”

    From what I’ve read so far, I’m in agreement with you. That same quote really stood out for me too when I first read it for the same reason. If you recall earlier in that same blog post (entitled: Why I’m Catholic), Jennifer also said, “I just felt sad and adrift. I really didn’t know what was right or wrong, yet I had this vague sense that a true “right” answer must be out there somewhere.”

    It seemed to me her conversion had a lot more to do with emotional vulnerability than any sort of critical thinking on the validity of the Christian claims being made.

    @psalm

    In response to, “I don’t have time to read all the comments but I know the moral argument often gets misunderstood by atheists. It’s not that atheists can’t act morally. No, that’s not the argument.”

    It’s not that atheists misunderstand the argument, it’s that the argument is so often presented as an inflammatory remark by theists.

    Psalm continues, “If atheism is true, then there is no such thing as objective right or wrong. There is no objective standard by which to judge something as moral vs immoral.”

    So you claim God to be this provider of moral absolutes?
    I assume you are familiar with Euthyphro’s Dilemma. Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? In other words: 1) Is something good because God recognizes it as good or 2) Is something good because God commands that it is good?

    I highly suggest checking out Qualiasoup’s video series about morality on Youtube. His voice is rather monotone, but the presentation is done very well. Link provided to the first video in the series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7xt5LtgsxQ

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