From Protestant Pentecostal to Catholic
I was asked by a dear Christian lady: "Why would you EVER consider changing your faith to Roman Catholic?"
Here is a shortened version of my answer to all who ask me this question, for it would take a thick book to describe my recent joy filled journey to a home I had once been taught was *Babylon's Harlot*.
My journey began several years ago. I looked all around, and saw with increasing dismay and growing frustration that every time a person takes a view of Scripture that's a tad different from another they up and start a new church. Strangely, they seem to feel justified in declaring their own way of doing things is the Truth others can't see.
The use of around 27,000 different Protestant denominations clearly reveals something serious is wrong.
Where was real Truth? I felt Jesus wouldn't have ascended to Heaven to give us comfort, guidance and Truth through the Holy Spirit - then allow so many to come up with their own interpretation of what Truth is.
So, I decided to start searching. I wanted to know how Christian's believed from the first Apostles, how they set up Churches, how they handled folks who wanted to teach their own ideas, and how unity of interpretation had been maintained?
Very soon my study of the Early Church and Church Fathers boggled my mind. I was clearly seeing the Catholic (means Universal) Church unfold right before my eyes. I couldn't accept it -- after all I'd been taught it was the mother of Harlots (so . . . if that WERE true -- what did that make all Protestants?). I fought and grew quite upset over what I was discovering, for it was not at all what I had expected. Not Catholic! I kept saying to myself - this couldn't be!
But it was.
To show my ignorance of beginning Church history, I had actually thought there had been Protestant type groups, like Baptists, Pentecostals who had been founded with the Apostles (from John the Baptist and from the day of Pentecost) and had carried through, outside of, and in spite of the Catholic Church. I've run across a couple others who think that too. Ignorance is NOT a good thing.
I soon came to view the Catholic Church as a sort of parallel to the Jewish Chosen Ones, from the time of Abraham, in the Old Testament. You know, how most things in the OT was a "type or reflection" of the NT. Jews had great and holy leaders for many seasons, then others would be tempted and stray, but God would turn them back to Him over and over. They were a rebellious lot at times. Yet, God chose the Jewish nation as His very own, beloved children among all the nations on earth.
As the Jews taught and reflected God to those in Old Testament times, God chose the Catholic Church to teach God and His Truths since Christ. They held Christ's teachings along with all the Traditions of Holy Christians from Peter and Paul's days together since the beginning. It is ALL that kept God's children together in unity, and the only true guidance they had for well over 1,000 years.
Slowly, I began to grasp the awesomeness of the Church's undertaking. God had used ONE Church (His glorious Bride) to hold His children in unity of teaching and faith for all those years. Our Father had not left His children to wander about in the New Covenant desert alone, thirsting for Truth, One Truth, like I had felt so many times. His Catholic Church, which Jesus Christ used Peter as it's first founder, had nourished, guided and expounded Christ's word to souls since the beginning.
As early as A.D. 110, an early Christian martyr and church bishop, Ignatius of Antioch wrote (while on his way to Rome to be martyred):
"Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church." [in his letter to the Smyrnaeans]
I had never been told these interesting fact in the churches I attended, and soon decided they very probably didn't know either. Growing up Protestant, I wasn't taught our history past the Day of Pentecost. Few realize Protestant means PROTEST - ants, a name given to those who were in rebellion to God's chosen Catholic Church.
Discovering that any of my ancestors who were Christian more than 500 years ago had been Catholic or nothing, really came as a shock.
Reading on I realized there have always been those who twist the Lord's word and tried to cause divisions. Because of this around the time of 372 AD (my year may be wrong) a special Christian council gathered from many countries to determine what was false and to root it out, for God's children were being confused by dissenters and various doctrines creeping in. St. Paul speaks of those who were doing this evil in some of his letters, so it was from the beginning that Satan tried to bring division on His Word.
It was Catholics who God chose to save Scripture from the start of His Church. It was interesting to learn Bishops, who had been in existance since Peter's day, from various parishs, had preserved the letters of the Apostles along with many Jewish Books.
They gathered all that were available and held a meeting to decide a New Testament Canon, approved by God for them to teach from and protect as Holy and True. These Godly men fasted, prayed, sought the Lord for guidance. Because of them, God, through them, gave us the glorious Bible we have today. After a full evaluation of all verified letters presented, they finally came to an agreement on the New Testament Canon. Many acknowledged a few additional books were excellent for added study, but not Canonized for good reasons
It was several years later when the Old Testament Canon was decided (the Jews were having a battle at the time trying to decide their own Canon, other than the Books of Law (Torah) and some of the Prophets. They didn't come to a final decision until years after our full Bible was decided).
So, to discover MY Bible, that said Kings James Version, came to me only as a gift of love from God to and through His Catholic Church! This left me shocked and humbled.
Unity of Christian teaching lasted via ONE Christian Church - the Catholic Church for the first 1,000 years. A thousand years is a mighty long time!
In 1054 AD, for several reasons, the Eastern part of the Catholic Church which spoke Greek, separated from the Western part which held Latin as the language to use. This seperation of East and West was the first splinter of God's Holy Catholic Church since Peter's day. However, the Christian Orthodox (the Eastern Church) which includes Western, Greek, Russian, etc, remained Catholic.
In the Roman Catholic Church members learned Latin as all children can learn a language when it is used repeatedly. The priest also gave small sermons in their local language. I discovered it was the MASS which was kept in Latin. They felt Latin prevented misinterpretation of words and meanings (we have a LOT of this today) no matter what country and demanded unity of teaching to prevent false teaching.
It was during a time of problems from a bad leader in the Roman Catholic Church (didn't Jesus chose 12 and 1 was a Devil?)when a disgruntled priest named Martin Luther was used to cause a division. The Church had not been perfection, but God always reforms His children. (Israel had never ceased to be His Chosen or His nation, even when they were straying.)
But, Luther, rather than reform from within (which God had done before)wanted to make his own decisions and not be under Church authority. I'm sure Satan was quite happy for the division. This disobedient spirit brought more and more disobedience, fo his was the first of many to follow.
Luther quickly saw the devastating effect his action had wrought.
"There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit Baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the alter; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams. " (cited in Leslie Rumble, Bible Quizzes to A Street Preacher [Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books, 1976], 22).
Martin Luther even conceded in a letter to Heinrich Zwingli, that reformers would again have to take refuge in the Holy Catholic Church's councils, in order to preserve the unity of faith. Why? On account of the many interpretations that were given to the Scriptures by those who had seperated from Mother Church. Satan was dividing and dividing and on and on till about 27,0000 denominations are active today. Each saying, "My way is right, not his!"
So, that's PART of how I came to Mother Church.
Oh, I also discovered the enmity that attacked and killed and was drunk with the blood of the martyrs (in Revelations) was the horrible Roman Government at the beginning of Christian era. The Roman Circus saw many a saint destroyed. They sat on seven hills and thought they controlled the whole world. They were even in power as Christ walked the Holy Lands.
God's children are scattered everywhere and He ministers to them through willing vessels, this I know. I am so thankful for the journey God has had me in for 52 years. And especially thankful for Him bringing me HOME! Praise God!
I still do not have every single question answered about a couple of Catholic teachings, as I am still studying, but ohhhh, the contentment to know that main (foundational) doctrines are right and can be traced back to the beginning. I no longer follow Private Interpretation of Scripture and find great peace and joy.
I do not mean this in anyway offensive to you or any teachings you might hold as true. This is MY journey and you asked. :-)
My Favorite Web sites
Angelfire Home Pages
Eternal Word Television Network
Conversions and Converts Pages
Veils: Should the Woman Have A Sign of Authority on Her Head?
Women:Will You Cover Your Head?
Early Church Fathers (their letters)
Every Violation Begins With Something Small
Full Of Grace News