Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I am a Catholic, Pt 3: Everything made sense! And really all the rest.

Nothing made sense and then everything made sense.

Even though I would have never previously admitted that there is a need for authority outside of the Bible, I began to realize that there were popes all around me. Every pulpit came with a pope. He would never say it, or believe it. And he would encourage me to go home and read for myself and let the Holy Spirit speak to me. Maybe your pastor has said this, too. Well intentioned? Yes. Born from a sincere desire for each member of the congregation to know God deeply and personally through His Word? Yes! But truly, had I taken his advice and came up with another interpretation of the same passage he preached on that day, would I be allowed to preach my angle from the pulpit? I knew I wouldn't. Of course not. None of us would. There is authority, there has to be. In your church now, it is there. Still, we are divided. A church on every corner reminds me that there are countless men and women, reading the exact same book, under the inspiration of the exact same Holy Spirit, winding up divided on every other letter. I saw the church around me rejecting human authority but silently assuming it because the flock still needed to be led. But it has yet to lead us to total oneness. We can all attest to that, right?

The need for an authoritative presence in the Church made sense. And in a hidden way, I knew it also made sense to the thousands of pastors currently intermingling with one another on every side of the modern Christian divide. All confidently poised as some leader with some interpretation and some sincere belief that theirs is the right road. (Aside: I believe these are mostly leaders of good, noble, and sincere faith. And they bring many, many to the truth of Jesus.)

By the time I found myself concerned with this division, that road had split over 40,000 times. That's how many denominations there are. And an authority is always present, and it is always human. Good, wonderful, faithful men and women, I cannot stress that enough. But the resulting fracture was a clear proof to me of the failure of the method.

Ok, so what else made sense? You're yawning, I know.

Opening the Bible as an almost-Catholic was like this beautiful illumination of some secret code embedded in the pages I thought I had known so well. It was electric and firework-y! Catholicism is biblical! It's so biblical. Let's face-palm here together a bit...

Baptism is not just an "outward symbol of an inward change." It *actually* forgives our sins and gives us the Holy Spirit! Oh hey now, Acts 2:38- "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

And you, Acts 22:26, I see you there- "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name."

Oh and this- "in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God's patient. waiting in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, we're saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." I Peter 3:19-21

And I saw Scripture defending Sacred Tradition! I saw it St Paul's first letter to Corinth when he says, "I commend you because you remember me in everything and you maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you." (11:2). And I saw it in his second letter to the Thessalonians- "so then brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." (2:15)

And how about that Sacred Tradition being passed on? Oh yeah, here! "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is Jesus Christ and what you have heard from me before many witnesses, entrust to 
faithful men who will be able to teach others also." 2 Tim 2:1-2

And the Eucharist was there, too. It was realllllllly there.

"'Amen, amen I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. This is bread which comes down from heaven, that a man
may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.' The Jews then disputed among themselves saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' So Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do
not have life within you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." John 6:47-55
(emphasis added, y'all.) and go on and read the rest. It was a hard saying, but didn't renege. Eat my 
flesh, says Jesus. True food, true drink.




#hadto

And, I even found (cough, cough) Mary and a very, very Catholic prayer (Hail, Full of Grace!)

And really, there is so, so, so, SO much more.

I'm not intending to give you all the biblical reasons for why you should be making your way to the nearest Catholic parish to sign on up. That isn't my intention for any of these posts. My enthralling take? Yep. A defense of what I know to be true? Yep, yep.

I'm gonna to slowly shuffle this towards a wrap up, but, it's important for me to share that when I did 
begin to believe that the Catholic Church was the one established from the very start, by Jesus himself... when I realized that the Word of God included also the traditions of the Church, it's not as 
if I had to rationalize all the contradictions of Catholicism with Scripture. Isn't that such a common 
assumption? That Catholic teaching contradicts the Bible? That couldn't be any further from the truth.
Catholicism is in and with Sacred Scripture; and when I became a Catholic, it felt more mine than it ever had before. And it all made sense.

Another common (false) assumption of Catholicism is that it is oppressive and heavy handed. Keeping the faithful from the Word of God and from the truth revealed in Scripture, stacking rule upon rule on the heads of her faithful... you know, all that. But, do you know what I felt like when I 
submitted myself to the Church and her teachings? Freedom. Total and absolute freedom. I was tired of being my own authority, I was tired of it being all up to me to discern the truth of Scripture when still so many disagreed. All alone, with my Bible, to sort out what it all meant. That is pressure. That is a suffocating pressure.

I love that I have a Mother (Church) to defer my questions to. A Mother who's job is to lead me to Christ and help me to be holy. A Mother who gives me the mass so that I can eat Jesus, like He told
me to. A Mother who offers the sacraments of Reconciliation and Baptism, among others, so that I can receive injections of grace throughout my life. A Mother who wants me to learn and to think. A 
Mother who loves Science! A Mother who I'm no longer protesting.

A comment on another post reminded me of that, and it such a valuable reminder for me and for any faithful Christian. The reformation was a protest. Its result and its movement away from historical Christianity is still the same protest. Protestant.

If you pay attention to any part of this series, I think I'd like for you to pay attention to this...

From Martin Luther, founder of the reformation, in a reflection on what came of his descent-
"This one will not hear of Baptism, and that one denies the sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day; some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he 
thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet."
....

Luther watched his co-reformers run in opposite directions with their flocks, all propelled by personal interpretation, and he lamented. We are still running, y'all. We are still running.

I never intended to include some big, wordy series on my conversion in this blog. I'm not a scholar or an apologist. Maybe some of you think my reasoning is poor or uninteresting. That's really ok with me. I have not lost my love for a good post on mom jeans or how to do your laundry efficiently. I'm still just a thinking, feeling fool and I'm grateful that I got to share a bit with you. I may not know you but I deeply respect the intimacy of your spiritual journey. It's not mine to command or boss around. 
And that's the real.

But, whether you like it or not (any of it), I'm praying for you. In fact, I say the fourth decade of my daily Rosary for you. And maybe you don't love the fact that I'm offering up some good, ol' Catholic prayers for you. But someone, somewhere was saying them for me, too.

Do I think you are saved? Absolutely. Brothers and sisters, we are! Do I think the Protestant Church 
is missing something? Absolutely. And they are big things. Or else I wouldn't have wasted a second trying to figure all of this out.

I was a Protestant for 23 measly years but I know how you think. I think it's safe to say that a good number of us don't think too hard about the why's, right? We don't really know Church history or 
even why we belong to the denomination we do. I know I didn't. Don't feel bad! We are not typically taught to care that much. We know we find truth in our respective church communities and in the Bible and in a personal relationship with Jesus. And that is good. Please, don't get me wrong. That is essential. My hope for you is that you start thinking more. That's it. Did Jesus intend a method for us? Did He give us one Church? Does He long to meet us in the sacraments? Is there something that you're missing?

I am the chief loser. I need knowledge and understanding the most, hear you me. Let's be people that know why we stand where we stand on Sunday. For all the knowledge I lack, that is one truth I know. 
And hence.... All this yip yap.

Love all y'all, seriously.



38 comments:

  1. Your conversion is so inspiring to me -- a cradle Catholic who is struggling to build a more meaningful relationship with her faith. First your recommendation of the St Josemaria app and now these last few posts have given me a real resource AND inspiration. So much appreciated.

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  2. Soooooo... This was awesome too. I like your posts. You talk like I talk. I virtually fist bump you! :)

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  3. As a Protestant, I've enjoyed reading this series and learning more about what you believe as a Catholic. I'd like to gently add that I found the picture in this post making fun of what Protestants believe about Communion to be a little offensive and I think it takes away from your well-thought-out post. I will continue to read and it's not that big of a deal but I wanted to let you know how it came across to me in case you wanted to rethink including it in your excellent series. Thank you!

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    1. Rachel- I'm so happy you're reading and I'm so sorry you felt offended by that meme. I didn't intend it to offend at all! Honestly, my Protestant friends and I joke a ton about our differences now and I find it a well-meaning and cathartic way for us recognize how we differ and manage to have a laugh about it. We get poked fun at all the time "oh, you don't read the Bible, right?" "Oh, did your pope tell you you could eat that sandwich?" It's all in good fun and maybe I'm just too used to it! Again, I'm so sorry you felt offended. By no means was it meant to belittle how important your communion is to you (or anyone!). It's just a silly little joke about something that is a much heavier, touchier subject. I had already written on the matter (the discourse of the bread in John) and, to be honest, I actually popped the meme in to lighten it up a bit. I'm sure many a Protestant friend could find my words offensive but it's truly unintended. I think it's still important to recognize our doctrinal differences- especially core beliefs like the Eucharist. I suppose that's why I've written these posts. While I'm meaning to shed light on my conversion, I'm also not wanting to hide the importance of some of these differences. It's really important for me to still keep things light when I can, as concepts are hard things to consider. I hope you can understand.

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  4. I very much enjoyed reading your series. Thank you for being such an honest and informative witness of our faith.

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  5. I loved this. I haven't had the chance to read parts one and two yet. So I'll go backwards cause yeah. But! Something Jennifer Fulwiler points out in Something Other Than God is that she realized that following the teachings of the church actually saved her from potential health problems which she wasn't et equipped wih the knowledge to know better! It's amazing and great to have an authority we can trust as we continue our faith journey in life.

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  6. I agree with all you shared. It is so encouraging to realize I'm not crazy in that I came to all the same conclusions you reached. It took much grappling and even scripture wrestling with some friends but putting into words what was in my heart was a very important part of my conversion. I feel more free now than I did when I was a Protestant and thought that Catholics were in bondage. Funny that.

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  7. Love this series. Thank you so much for sharing your conversion. I was born and raised Catholic, went through a 10 year or so major questioning period in my 20's. My protestant friends totally helped out of that and encouraged me in growing closer to Jesus personally, though it is my Catholic faith and the Sacraments and Saints that has drawn me deeper and deeper in a life long journey towards holiness and Jesus.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. Blythe, I really enjoy reading your blog (thanks to Grace for pointing to it originally!). You have a lovely, real style of writing and your commitment to your family and your faith is wonderful. I am not a Catholic - I was raised a born-again Christian in a Free Methodist church - but I have gotten so much out of your conversion story. I am fascinated by the differences in denominations and have always been intrigued by the how's and why's of the fragmentation of the Christian church, probably even more so since I met my husband (who is Irish, thus Catholic!). We have taken turns since we started dating, going to Mass together and to Protestant church services together. At the moment we tend towards the latter since that church is more child friendly than the Catholic church we found over here and I am unable to keep my kiddo quiet/sitting still during ANY church service! (Tips would be welcomed, ha!)

    I love the ancient traditions that embody Catholicism and the solemnity of a full Mass, and although I brushed off NFP when we went to our premarital coursework I definitely see the merits in the closeness it brings to a relationship and the reminder that every time you have sex, you can be blessed with children.

    My husband and I have a very open dialogue about our faiths, especially now that we have a daughter and want to raise her believing in Jesus and faith, and we both struggle sometimes explaining to each other certain things in our respective religions that we both took on faith ;) and never questioned, so the explanations and answers that your conversion posts (and your video) provided have been pretty useful. I think my biggest questions that remain unanswered surround the emphasis placed on Mary, the existence of Purgatory (which most people haven't been able to explain much about), and that some people have explained to me that the route to Heaven is through good deeds and penance/confession. (I don't know if that is a teaching of the church or a misinterpretation but it is a hurdle to my understanding Catholicism better when I believe that it is only through Jesus that one can be forgiven and brought to the Holy Spirit, who in turn grants you eternal life.) However your point on baptism and the Holy Spirit made me question my assumption that the good deeds/penance part of what I've heard is correct... Any good reading you can point me to on those topics? :) Apologies for the huge rambling 'comment'!

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  10. Rebecca - I really loved the descriptions of purgatory and faith vs. works in a book called "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic" when I was trying to figure out my Catholic husband (I did later convert). You'll also want to read up on the topic called "justification" because Catholics do believe that God alone grants Grace (like Protestants), but that we're still expected to do good and follow the rules, be sorry when we mess up, etc. and that's the works part. There's also a great section in "BF, BAC" about the "language" of Catholicism and how their definition of things like devotion, prayer, etc. are different, and therefore cause misunderstanding, with Protestants. =)

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  11. i have so enjoyed this!! it has encouraged me to finally write down how I became Catholic. thank you!
    and your video is precious!!
    blessings,
    courtney

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  12. I am a convert from the Baptist faith and absolutely love talking and reading about conversion. I have loved this well-written series of yours and am so glad I've found your blog!
    From, a new reader, Catholic convert, stay at home mom to 4 littles up in Canada!

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  13. Thank you, Molly!! Great suggestions, I will check them out :)

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  14. As an Evangelical Protestant this is my take on your Biblical references. I read your scriptural references in my ESV study bible and used the study notes to help me exegesis.

    On Baptism

    Acts 2:38
    "Repent and be baptized"

    Repent- the need to believe (Faith in Christ) is implied in the command to repent.

    1 Peter 3:21
    Peter is making a comparison between the Ark and Baptism. The mere mechanical act of Baptism does not save- "not as a removal of dirt from the body"- the passage of water over the body does not cleanse. Baptism saves b/c it represent inward faith as evidence by ones "appeal to God"- for the forgiveness of ones sins.

    So water baptism is an outward sign of the inward reality of regeneration which is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit which may be received only by grace through faith.

    Solo Gracia
    Solo Fide

    Titus 3:5 Salvation comes- "not b/c of works"- but "by the washing of the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." You might understand this as saying baptism- "the washing"- causes salvation. However, in the context human deeds are clearly downplayed- "not b/c of works" - and the emphasis is on divine action- "he saved us" (Solo Christo). "The washing" is a spiritual cleansing which is outwardly symbolized in baptism.

    On Tradition

    1 Corinthians 11:2- This is a reference to head covering. You cannot cherry pick scripture. You've got to look at the context and exegesis.

    2 Thes 2:15
    This contrasts with verse 2:2 were Paul warns the Thessalonians not to be shaken by false prophecies, teachings, or forged letters. Rather they are to stand firm and hold the tradition that were communicated directly to them by Paul's spoken word during his ministry there.

    On the Eucharist

    John 6:47-55

    Again you must look at context. Jesus isn't even talking about the Lord's supper. Thus you cannot take the- "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son or Man and drink his blood"- literally b/c no one ever did that. This is just a day after Jesus feed the 5,000 and Christ is speaking in terms of physical items in the world to teach about Spiritual realities.

    To "eat" Jesus flesh has the spiritual meaning of trusting in Christ especially in his death for us. (in verse 35 Christ speaks of coming to him as satisfying "hunger" and believing in him as satisfying "thirst") "Drink his blood" means to trust in his atoning death represented by the shedding of his blood.

    See 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 for a Lord's Supper reference.

    It has been very interesting reading your conversion story. It has sharpened my faith a lot.

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  15. To the Anonymous exegesis above, since we are talking about context, I have a question and would really like to hear a non-Catholic perspective on it.

    In John 6:52 the Jews say "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" and after Jesus speaks more on the topic "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve 'will you also go away?'" Do you have a clear explanation for why those people left Jesus over a symbol? Why didn't he call them back and explain that he did not really intend for them to eat his flesh?

    As a cradle Catholic I have only ever taken this 100% literally, and am having trouble even theoretically reading it in any other way. So I am genuinely interested in your perspective.

    I am constantly worried about how tone comes across over the internet, so I would like to explain that I am not trying to be confrontational here! You seem to have given this some real thought, and I am only trying for dialogue, not debate :)

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  16. Will you pray for me to see and love Jesus and belonging to Him? Thank you.

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  17. Hi B.C. I am anon, I am a SAHM and a HS mom to two. I love Jesus, theology and my study bible! My husband went to seminary and I had his help in answering your question. I think I sounded like a robot in my previous comment, so didn’t mean too just was super focused.

    It is so important when reading the Bible, to read it in context. For those verses at the end of John 6 you are asking about, you need to go back to the beginning of John 6 and read from there. The day before, Jesus feeds the 5,000 so the idea of this miraculous “bread” is on everyone’s mind. They want more… thus Jesus’ saying, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

    Also keep in mind that the Gospel of John was written is a mysterious way (think back the first few verse- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God , and the Word was God”) it isn’t part of the synoptic Gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke…) The Book of John is very typological. John has lots of hidden meanings- Jesus didn’t want to come out and say who he was and prematurely set things off. John is also full of “I am” statements… I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the good shepherd, I am the door, I am the true vine, I am the way, the truth, and the life, I am the resurrection and the life.

    The Gospel is very deep and God through the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to understand it.

    So, to answer your question as to why Jesus let those other disciples leave after he tells them to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. Jesus was separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. Jesus knew who would truly follow him and who wouldn’t. And the disciples who left were not true disciples of Christ. Their faith was not real, maybe they were following him for the free bread he handed out or the healings he made? The example shows that only those who the Father draws to himself will be saved.

    Look at verse 44 “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” God draws us to him. We do not come of our own free will.

    Look at verse 65 “ And he (Jesus) said, “This is why I told you that no can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

    On another note maybe it will help you to see Jesus talking symbolically when you reread John 4 where Jesus meets the Samaria woman at the well. Verse 13- “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give will never be thirsty again…” Jesus doesn’t literally have a cup of water that will quench all thirst. He is talking about salvation.

    Blessings Friends!

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  18. Hey Anon. Thanks for your comments. I sincerely love conversation with my Protestant brothers and sisters. But I think this is sort of a perfect example of the problem with private interpretation. You say potato, I say patato. Of course, I believe the Holy Spirit can inspire us and speak to us through Scripture, but in terms of how Scripture influences or supports doctrine, I'm not coming up with my my own idea of what the text means, I'm referring to what all of early Christendom thought. Thats the difference. You are deciding what God is saying through Scripture, I am aligning myself with the teaching of the early Church supported by Sacred Tradition. The discourse of the of Bread has always, historically, seen to mean a literal sharing in His body and blood. And, I see what you're getting at ie the Last Supper having not yet occurred, but Christ refers often to His death, resurrection, the last days, the tearing down and rebuilding of the Temple, all of which had not occurred while He lived. Those statements are no less valid simply because they refer to future happenings. Anyway, like I said, I see this is an important example of our core divide and how self-interpretation can lead us to a billion different viewpoints. I find it interested that you are really concerned about the context of these passages (as you should be, none of which were ignored or overlooked by me) yet you have no problem drawing your own conclusions about what the text actually means. We can't pick and choose with Scripture, you say. I say "AMEN!" we cannot decide whats literal, what is symbolic, what is poetic, etc, to suit our own doctrinal viewpoints. That was my largest struggle. When we all land on a different answer to what Scripture is teaching us, what do we use to measure our various truths against?

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    1. Hi Blythe, I am puzzled with your term "private interpretation". I didn't just come up with my statements but looked to what classic reformed scholars have to say on this... this is what we believe. There are not a billion view points on this topic. Anyway, just wanted to mention this thus anyone think I just came up with these ideas on my own.

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    2. Hi there:) I was going to ask a similar question to Bonnie's so I'll just keep my eyes on that thread. I didn't literally me "a billion"- I just meant to refer to interpretation without authority leading to many possibilities. And when you refer to private interpretation as something you specifically aren't doing (referring to the reformers, which I see as tradition and an acceptance of their authority-like Bonnie mentioned)

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    3. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding but are you saying you do not believe in private interpretation? Thanks so much for you dialogue!

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    4. Hi Blythe:
      I hope you see at some point the error in your conclusion about how "all of early Christendom thought" and "teaching of the early church supported by tradition". You are bringing modern day Roman Catholic teaching understanding and revisionism back 2000 years.
      Early Christendom was not consistent and homogenous in deciphering what different pieces of scripture meant. Their beliefs were more consistent with Protestant belief, Protestant worship, and Protestant understanding of faith and salvation, than the current beliefs espoused by the Roman Catholic Church.
      Please see
      http://christiantruth.com/scriptureandchurchfathers.html
      It seems that you are laying your confidence in the mirage of Roman Catholic teaching on authority and tradition when you should be laying your confidence elsewhere.
      Private interpretation, whether good or bad, forces us to rely on Christ and Scripture (Gods word) for the truth 2Tim 3:16. It is evident from your testimony that your are relying on the Traditions of Man.
      -sp

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  19. Me again. Will you please pray for me to have humility before God and be able to see him as GOD and myself as nothing and not be offended? Please and thank you

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    1. I will pray for you. I will pray right now for you. Thank you for reaching out!

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  20. Anon, I have a sincere question and hopefully you can help me understand this. Since you are an evangelical protestant, I assume that you believe Sola Scriptura - that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you read the Bible and that the Bible is all that is needed to know Christ and follow Him. However, you said to Blythe, " I didn't just come up with my statements but looked to what classic reformed scholars have to say on this... this is what we believe." To me that sounds a lot like a sacred tradition and a form of the magesterium. So why is your tradition correct but the Catholic tradition (which is older and historical)is incorrect?

    Also, even if this doesn't apply to you, maybe you can help me understand this: I've had evangelical Christians tell me that the Holy Spirit will guide them as they read and interpret Scripture yet they've read such teachings straight from their study Bible, which is full of clarifications. I don't get that. Either the Holy Spirit will guide you or you need help to understand the context. What am I missing here?

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    1. Hi Bonnie! (I'm a long time reader of your blog! ;-) ) I will get back to you. Great questions.

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  21. Blythe, just a quick question from a fellow convert. I was wondering if you could say a little bit about how you have gone about choosing and then integrating Catholic devotions (the rosary, novenas, etc) into your day to day life since your conversion. I have found it kind of difficult to know what I should be doing just because there is so much out there!

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    1. Hi Elizabeth! I totally know what you mean. I still feel overwhelmed with all the options for devotion. I had a great priest once advice me to just start small, with the morning offering. So, I decided to just focus on that. When I felt like that became routine, I added another. Now I try to say that, the angelus/Regina coeli

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  22. ... And the rosary (when I'm driving, usually). I'm trying to now add a short examination of conscience at night. But -start small! I love the morning offering because it covers your entire day. Maybe start there if you haven't already?:)

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  23. I could write pages and pages on this but I’m going to keep this short.

    Protestant scholars cannot mandate what the evangelical Church believes regarding doctrine.

    Protestant scholars have contributed significantly over the centuries to evangelical doctrinal issues. They offer insights in to language, history, theology, cultural, and Christian ethics. These scholars are free to disagree with each other. For example some scholars may be Reformed or Arminian, liberal or conservative. Core doctrinal issues (death and resurrection, virgin birth, atonement, grace) are not up for debate.

    Yes, I believe the Bible was written in such a way that it is understandable by all who read it seeking God’s help (John 14:26). Study Bibles, commentaries, and other books that protestants use help them go deeper into the text. Not everyone knows Hebrew or Greek or has a deep understanding of ancient near east culture… etc. So they read what others (who have the knowledge and training) have to say on these topics.

    Keep in mind I am coming from a Reformed-charismatic background.

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  24. Anonymous, I would like to give you a quote from a first century Catholic Christian who was a disciple if St. John the Apostle.
    "Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God… They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes". —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 6. - St. Ignatius

    St. Ignatius lived from around A.D. 35 to 107. He was the third bishop of Antioch and tradition records that he was a disciple of the apostle John (cf. The Maryrdom of Ignatius).

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  25. I can't comment on anon and what she believes, but as someone raised in the Lutheran church (several years of Confirmation and some lovely pastors to back me up on this)- for us, sola scriptura does not mean that the bible is the only authority in the church. We believe that the bible is the only *infallible* authority in the church. (I don't think all Protestant denominations share this view- you'd have to ask them.) We Lutherans love our traditions, our Eucharist (fist bump on the meme), our bishops, and our Early Church leaders and writings. If you came to a typical Lutheran service, you'd be quite at home in our liturgy. I firmly believe that my pastor, my bishops, the writings of the early church can all support and enhance my faith. These are all important things to me. But the Bible is what I must come back to- what the church must come back to. Humans are just humans- even with 4 years of seminary and ordination. Hope that helps with some questions.

    Blythe, thanks so much for continuing to share your story!
    (And I'll take some Catholic prayers any day of the week- know some Lutheran ones are being thrown up for you as well.)

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  26. Mr. McGurk, what is the point of that statement? I don't understand, maybe you can explain it further. Or anyone who has time, really.
    Tracie

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  27. Mr. McGurk
    Regarding your point on Ignatius please see
    http://vintage.aomin.org/JRWOpening.html
    "To the ear trained to hear the Fathers as Roman Catholics, Ignatius sounds as if he is referring to transubstantiation. He is not. Going back to the context, one finds he is making the same argument that Tertullian made above. He is arguing against the docetic gnostics who denied the reality of the physical incarnation of Christ."
    Seems like you are reading into Ignatius statements the modern Roman Catholic definition of the Eucharist.
    -sp

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