Evangelical Convert

Jason Workmaster

Jason is a lawyer and Evangelical convert to Catholicism who entered the Church in the Summer of 2011. He lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with his wife Nikki and four children. You can read Nikki's conversion story (from the Baptist tradition) here.

As a lifelong evangelical Protestant, I am right now at a place I never thought I would be, having just entered the Catholic Church with my wife and kids at the Feast of the Assumption in August. How I "came home" is difficult to explain. As many Catholic converts have commented, "all roads lead to Rome," which makes it hard to know where to start the story.

Before anything else, though, I must give thanks that I was raised in a Christian home. Because of that, I can't remember a time that I did not believe that Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, and that on the third day He rose again from the dead. I also was always taught that I should follow Jesus no matter where He led. And, so, from that time to now, although there have been detours and a number of twists and turns, I've had this sense that I've been chasing Him. It was only as I came closer to the Catholic Church, however, that I felt that He--to an unimaginably greater extent--had been pursuing me.

I'll start my story with one of my earliest memories of what it was like, at least for me, to be a Protestant--especially an evangelical one. I was in the sixth grade at a private, Baptist school. My family, however, was not Baptist at that time, and I had decided I did not agree with the Baptist (and Calvinist) doctrine of the "perseverance of the saints"--aka "eternal security" or "once saved, always saved." For a guy wired to enjoy debate (I eventually became a lawyer – which shocked a total of zero people who knew me when I was a kid), it was only a matter of time until I got into it with one of my teachers, and that's what happened my sixth grade year. I marshaled all of my Biblical proof texts to demonstrate beyond all doubt that it was possible to lose one's "salvation" after being "saved," and then accosted my teacher. Poor woman – I don't think we were discussing anything remotely concerning "perseverance of the saints" that day. It wasn't one of my finer moments.

As I grew up, nothing really changed in my faith experience. Un-refereed doctrinal debate remained the order of the day--whether it was critiquing the minister's sermon on the way home from Sunday services or jousting with other folks in a Bible study. These debates often would end with someone saying, "Well, this difference of opinion doesn't really matter so let's just agree to disagree." It didn't occur to me at the time to ask, "Then why did we just waste the last hour fighting???"

All of this was done under the protection of the Protestant understanding of the doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers," which meant, in practice at least, that each of us individual Christians had virtually unlimited authority to interpret the Bible for ourselves. I felt free to question everyone else's positions, including my pastor's, on pretty much any doctrinal matter. And so, in Bible studies, we'd seriously debate whether we should insist on the doctrine of the "Trinity" because that word did not occur in the New Testament. One of the few topics generally off-limits, however, was the question of why only the 66 books contained in our Bibles were the ones that should be there. That those were the books that should be there – and no others – I accepted without question, along with the doctrine that the Bible was the sole ultimate authority for the Christian.

This whole system meant that folks even within a particular congregation were at liberty to disagree on any number of issues, and there was no authoritative way even of deciding which differences were important to resolve and which ones weren't. If someone decided the difference was important enough, they'd just leave and find another pre-existing group of people that seemed to agree with them more than their old group, or they'd go rent their own building and put a sign out front with the word "church" on it. Everyone would say that they thought this system was unfortunate, but none of the congregations I was in did anything about it. We just seemed resigned to the fact that the Body of Christ had been torn into a million pieces over doctrinal issues that most of us denied had any real significance. And yet, at the same time, the main point of going to church every Sunday seemed (at least to me) to be merely to learn more and more about doctrine, both in the worship service, which revolved around the sermon, and in Sunday school, so that eventually I could get all the answers right on some divine SAT test. What tended to get lost in all this, of course, was the idea that living a virtuous life in my day-to-day existence was all that important in determining where I'd spend eternity.

Up until about the time I went to law school, none of what I've described so far seemed exceptional or particularly problematic to me. Around that time, though, things began to change. First, a few months before I started law school, my wife and I were married. As I would think many would attest, being married either changes you for the better or you end up miserable and married or miserable and divorced. From where I am now, it seems to me the difference for Christian couples is whether they come to the point where they recognize the sacramental nature of marriage --that is, whether they come to see that Christian marriage itself is a means God uses to convey grace to us to help us reach heaven. In my case, God blessed me with Nikki, a wonderfully patient Christian woman who cares about following Him wherever He leads and always has had an intuitive sense that marriage is a sacrament.

So, when we discovered during law school that the Pill can cause abortions, there was no need to have a big debate on what we should do: we quit using it immediately. We, like so many other Protestant couples we knew, had not been let in on this little secret before we got married. Even though the more general question of artificial contraception remained an open issue for us, this was the beginning of our thinking on the subject. It will come up again later in the story.

The other thing that happened about this time was that I first read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. I'd first heard of Chesterton from the Protestant apologist Ravi Zacharias while I was in college, and I will always be grateful to Dr. Zacharias for introducing me to the man who turned my faith upside down. When I finished Orthodoxy for the first time, I recognized that Chesterton's faith was not my faith, but I couldn't put my finger on why. So, over the next decade, I read and re-read Orthodoxy trying to figure out what I was missing.

Eventually I learned that Chesterton had become a Catholic some time after writing Orthodoxy, but I didn't immediately grasp that the book makes absolutely no sense outside the context of the Catholic faith. I can now see that what most fundamentally shook me was that Chesterton spoke with the conviction that he was speaking for more than himself--not on everything, but certainly on the important things. None of my Protestant ministers or the Protestant authors I read (including C.S. Lewis) sounded like that to me, and I mean that without disrespect to them. They'd often have very good things to say, but it was always apparent (and often even explicitly stated) that they were only speaking on behalf of themselves. Chesterton, on the other hand, at the beginning of his book disclaimed that he was even going to describe "his" philosophy but rather would only attempt to explain the philosophy in which he had come to believe. He said he could not call it "his" philosophy because "he" did not make it. Rather, God and humanity made it, and it made him [footnote 1]. I eventually came to understand that, as a Protestant, I couldn't say that about myself.

My encounter with Chesterton pointed out to me that, when it came down to it, my doctrinal positions were simply "mine." For example, I rejected Calvinism, not because the Calvinists didn't have an argument, but because I, on my lonesome, didn't think the Bible in its totality supported the Calvinist position. (I still don't, by the way, but that discussion will have to wait for another time.) I also knew that my acceptance of the Biblical canon was supported by very little. If I was going to be a thorough-going Protestant and take the Protestant understanding of the "priesthood of the believer" seriously, then I didn't see how I could avoid taking it upon myself to determine which books (out of all the ones ever written) were divinely inspired and which ones weren't.

This enterprise of constructing my own canon fell apart when I co-taught a Sunday school series on the development of the canon in the early 2000s. I quickly saw that it wasn't obvious, even to the earliest Christians, exactly which books should be in the Bible. And if it wasn't obvious to them, how could it be obvious to me? All of this led me to another question: did God really intend for each individual Christian to decide for themselves whether the Didache or the Shepherd of Hermas--books that were on the early Church's short list for inclusion in the canon--should be in the New Testament or not? That just didn't seem to square with how the Church described in the New Testament settled doctrinal issues. As described in Acts 15, that Church held the Council at Jerusalem to settle the question of the Judaizers. It didn't say, "Well, everyone, just figure it out for yourselves."

Now I'm guessing that some of my readers may be thinking: "No, no, Jason, you're being unfair. Protestantism isn't nearly as subjective as you're making it out to be because there's plenty of stuff that's Protestants accept as settled. For hundreds of years, the overwhelming majority of Christians have accepted the Bible (at least the New Testament) we have today and doctrines like the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. That's the stuff that's really important." I've given this argument a lot of consideration, and I just don't see how it holds water. For starters, where do we get the notion that the truth of Christian doctrine comes down to a "majority" vote or a "consensus" of opinion? Isn't it possible that the alleged "minorities" that denied the "orthodox" understandings of the Trinity and the Incarnation were right? If so, then it could be that the "majority" got their way simply because they had more power. But, if that's the case, then we can't be sure they were right. It is a fundamental Christian precept that "might does not make right"; otherwise, we'd have to reject what Jesus had to say about the last being made first. Also, if we determine what constitutes the real essentials of Christianity by majority vote or consensus, how do we determine the appropriate universe of people to poll in the first place? Is it everyone who simply says they're a Christian? That doesn't seem right. Lastly on this point, even if we accept the "consensus" or "majority"-type approach to determining Christian truth, doesn't that also point us towards Catholicism since the vast plurality of self-identifying Christians in the last 2,000 years have been Catholic? So, even if we play the numbers game, it seems to me that comes out in favor of Catholicism as well.

Also, I think it is impossible to deny that the doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers" within Protestantism means exactly what I've suggested above -- that each of us is on our own to figure out Christianity from the ground up. It makes no sense to me to say that a Christian can simply accept that certain doctrines are Christian doctrines because the early visible Church decided them and then, at the same time, assert that that Church was a fallible Church that eventually fell into utter doctrinal apostasy. As an example of this argument, R.C. Sproul (among others) has suggested that the Biblical canon is a "fallible list of infallible books." With all due respect to Dr. Sproul, that idea is nonsense, and it means that there could be other books floating around out there that should be in our Bibles. But, if that's the case, the Protestant assertion that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority for the Christian must be rejected. If we can't even be sure the books we have in the Bible are the only ones that should be there, how can we insist that those books alone are the ultimate Christian authority?

One last thing to address a typical Protestant argument regarding this authority issue: I do not believe that invoking the "guidance of the Holy Spirit" saves the Protestant position. Everyone calling themselves Christian always says that what they're doing is at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and it is often diametrically opposed to what someone else says they're doing at the prompting of the same Spirit. The problem with this, of course, is that God cannot contradict Himself: He is the same "yesterday, today, and forever."

I began to wonder, if God is good (and He is) and if He loves us (and He does), why would He leave us with a system like this where Christians can never settle any question with finality? It also prompted me to think again about how the Gospel tells us that those who heard Jesus were amazed by Him because He spoke with authority--unlike the teachers of the law. It seemed to me, though, that the Protestant system was the same system that existed prior to Jesus: no one really had the ability to say anything definitively because everyone else had the right to respond, "Well, that's your opinion!" How could that be, though, if the Church is the Body of Christ in the world? If Christ spoke with authority, doesn't His Church need the ability to do so as well, at least on the core of doctrine regarding faith and morals that binds Christians together? This free-for-all also seemed inconsistent with Christ's promise that we would know (not forever guess at) the Truth and that the Truth would set us free. John 8:32. (2)

All of this began to hit me on a more personal level about five or six years ago, again with regard to the issue of artificial contraception. My wife and I were trying to reach final resolution on this issue and were perplexed by the guidance we received. We were told artificial contraception (except for techniques that could cause abortions) was OK because nothing in the Bible explicitly prohibited it -- so it was a matter of "Christian liberty." On the other hand, we read Protestants who made the case that using artificial contraception was not Christian, based on their reading of the Bible. Those were two mutually exclusive positions: someone had to be wrong, and the "Bible alone" didn't answer the question.

It was in the context of researching the artificial contraception issue that I first considered Catholic doctrine on a matter that affected my personal life in a significant way and that would have a profound and immediate impact on my life, my wife's life, and the lives of our children -- both born and unborn. And it involved everything I've talked about so far regarding how we interpret the Bible and the question of who gets to determine the Christian answer on the most critical issues of faith and morals--the individual, autonomous self or the Church. What I discovered was that Catholic teaching on this issue was profound and resonated with everything I had been taught and believed about the preciousness of human life. How could God, if He is good and if He is love and if He is the source of life itself, not give us one answer on this issue that goes to the heart of how new human beings enter the world--and an answer we could be sure was the right answer?

The Church's position on artificial contraception made so much sense and was so consistent with everything I believed about God's love for us that I began to wonder how the Catholic Church explained its other doctrines that I'd always rejected. Thus began a years-long investigation of the teachings of the Catholic Church. What I discovered utterly surprised me. All of my Protestant assumptions and prejudices were completely wrong--whether the issue was the Mass, the other sacraments, the celibacy of the priesthood, the papacy, or (that ultimate stumbling block for many Protestants) the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Toward the end of Nikki's and my journey to the Church, having accepted so many of its doctrines as true, I also experienced first-hand how accepting those doctrines actually can help me live on a day-to-day basis. As I've already discussed, we struggled with the artificial contraception issue throughout our marriage, eventually reaching the conclusion—before we became Catholic—that the Church's teaching was true and that we should live consistent with that teaching. Because of this, we welcomed our daughter Catherine into our family in September 2009. But also because of this, starting in May 2010 through June of this year, we lost our little Mary, Zachary, and Henry to miscarriage. None of these losses make any sense to me. I've asked God so many times why we've lost these children, following a decision we are convinced was in keeping with His will for our lives. But, at the same time, I've found it a comfort in dealing with these losses not to feel that the conception of these children was something Nikki and I had micromanaged. I feel that, if I'd felt that their conception had been something we had totally controlled, I (at least) would have felt guilty for their losses. But because we'd simply been open to what we are convinced is God's will for the giving of life, it made it easier for me to say good bye for now to our little ones.

When we lost Mary, it was the end of the line for me with Protestantism. Much as I loved every single person in our Protestant congregation, I could no longer go on in a system that, at the end of the day, left me feeling alone and without access to the grace I was convinced the Catholic Church offered to help me live life – both in times of joy and in times of sorrow. So, for the first time in my life, in the summer of 2010, I went to Mass. And when the priest raised the host and said, "Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is My Body, which will be given up for you," and the bells rang, I knew that I had found what I had been searching for and what God, in His grace, had been leading me towards--Christ Himself in the Eucharist. And to that, I can only respond: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You. But only say the word, and I shall be healed."

 


 

[1] If you're a Rich Mullins fan, listen to "Creed" some time. You'll hear his paraphrase of this concept he got from Chesterton: "And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am. I did not make it. No, it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man." Rich Mullins sadly died in a car accident in 1997 on his way to a concert. Had he lived, he would have received his First Holy Communion as a Catholic the weekend of that concert.

[2] John 8:32 became a key driver in my journey towards the Catholic Church, and I think it is no accident that, when I first met with the priest conducting my Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults ("RCIA") classes and he gave me his business card, this verse was on it.

You can learn more about Jason and Nikki's ongoing journey in the Catholic faith by visiting their blog "The Roman Road".

If you have found this story helpful in your spiritual journey we hope you will consider sharing it. Have feedback or would like to share your story? Email us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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25 comments

  • Comment Link Erik Wednesday, 14 December 2011 17:59 posted by Erik

    Congratulations and Welcome Home!

  • Comment Link Manny Thursday, 15 December 2011 03:13 posted by Manny

    I loved following the reasoning you outlined. Thanks for sharing and welcome!

  • Comment Link Jason Thursday, 15 December 2011 23:41 posted by Jason

    Thanks, Erik and Manny! God bless!!

  • Comment Link susie Friday, 16 December 2011 14:08 posted by susie

    The verse Saint John 8:32 is also my favorite verse and has been for years. I am also a convert from Methodism / Evangelifundacostalism. I had a long and winding journey Home to Rome. God bless you. Excellent post and welcome HOME! :)

  • Comment Link susie Friday, 16 December 2011 14:12 posted by susie

    also, i'm a Rich Mullins fan. We got to see him 7 months before he was killed at a concert in Bellevue NE. He surely had the glorious baptism of desire! He was a most sincere and HONEST Christian, and was "Catholic" in his heart the whole time i'd listened to him or knew of him. God rest his troubadour soul! Bet he and King David and St. Francis are having a Ball in heaven! :)

  • Comment Link Jason Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:21 posted by Jason

    Thank you, Susie! God bless!!

  • Comment Link Art Wednesday, 04 January 2012 17:21 posted by Art

    Jason,
    You misunderstand RC Sproul when you wrote "As an example of this argument, R.C. Sproul (among others) has suggested that the Biblical canon is a "fallible list of infallible books." With all due respect to Dr. Sproul, that idea is nonsense, and it means that there could be other books floating around out there that should be in our Bibles. But, if that's the case, the Protestant assertion that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority for the Christian must be rejected. If we can't even be sure the books we have in the Bible are the only ones that should be there, how can we insist that those books alone are the ultimate Christian authority?"
    It is possible there could be a book or letter of an apostle that we don't have. Its doubtful though. Paul mentions another letter to the Corinthians we don't have.
    As for your authority position, all you have done is to entrust your faith in men who are fallible who have contradicted the Scripture. Just look at the requirement for leadership. Scripture teaches you must be married while RCC says you must not be.

    blessings

  • Comment Link Jason Friday, 13 January 2012 14:47 posted by Jason

    Thanks for commenting, Art. I have a couple of questions. Are you saying that the other letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, if we ever found it, would have to be added to our Bibles? If so, you're suggesting that the Bibles we currently have really are not complete. And, if that's the case, then it seems to me just as reasonable to conclude that God could inspire new books for the Bible today. Heck, that's pretty much exactly what the Mormons say. So, if you believe in sola scriptura (which it appears you do), it does seem to me you're saying you're not entirely sure whether the Bible you have is complete. How then do you insist that it's the "sole" ultimate authority for the Christian? And what was the ultimate authority for the Christian in the time period before the Bible we have was put together?

    As to your take on 1 Timothy and Titus' statement about a church leader being the "husband of one wife," what do you with St. Paul? He was unmarried, and (in 1 Corinthians 7) said it was "preferable" to be so. Do you contend he was not a valid leader of the Church? In any event, the Catholic Church's requirement for priestly celibacy is a matter of Church discipline. The Church does not teach that Scripture imposes the celibacy requirement. As a consequence, there's no "contradiction" between the teaching of the Church and the teaching of the Bible on this issue.

    Blessings to you as well!

  • Comment Link cybro Sunday, 22 January 2012 14:28 posted by cybro

    One thing I never understood about Protestants is if they really believed that they are saved by grace alone why would they have a problem with me taking advantage of the free after life insurance offered by the Catholic Church in the form of sacraments like confession and communion?

  • Comment Link Ed Kilby Sunday, 22 January 2012 17:13 posted by Ed Kilby

    I too found the Roman Road Home from a Baptist faith.
    It was not easy for me and it took a full year of instruction two hours a night, twice a week from a wonderful priest with a very strong Hungarian accent.
    We are still married and have kept the faith together for fifty years.
    God Bless you for sharing your story.

  • Comment Link Lisa Monday, 23 January 2012 03:35 posted by Lisa

    @ JASON
    "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church (NOTE: NOT CHURCHES!), and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." ~Matthew 16:17-19 People find the Catholic Church through The Eucharist (John 6), The Early Church Fathers, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and Our Blessed Mother, Mary.

    The Holy Spirit inspired the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as to what books to put in the bible. From the late 300's, ALL Christians had the same (Catholic) bible. Then, men played God. Martin Luther through out the 7 books that he didn't like (For example he didn't want the doctrine of purgatory and through out Maccabees 1 and 2. The Orthodox Church begane in the 1100's over the papacy. The Protestant Reformation occurred in the 1500's leading to 200 denominations by 1900AD. Now there are 28,000+ denominations!?! How can you tell which one is accurate? By the one closest to the time of Jesus of course. The Church offers the same 7 sacraments that Jesus gave us, not only Baptism and Marriage.

    My favorite bible? The CATHOLIC ANSWERS BIBLE as it contains 88 questions commonly asked of Catholics. ROME SWEET HOME is an excellent book outlining Scott and Kimberly Hahn's conversion to Rome. He was aghast at where his search lead him as he was so opposed to the Catholic Church.

    Also THE JOURNEY HOME on EWTN (shows on youtube) shows many various backgrounds that all got lead by the Holy Spirit to Rome.

    God Bless all as they seek to find the fullness of His faith,
    Lisa

  • Comment Link Janet, dJM Monday, 23 January 2012 05:04 posted by Janet, dJM

    Thanks for such a wonderful sharing. I enjoyed reading your story.

    I've been blessed to be raised Catholic. I always thought it curious that Protestants rely on Scripture alone, and disregard tradition. Coming from a Jewish heritage, oral tradition was much more trusted than written--and the early Church did not even have the Bible assembled yet! And when the Church did discern what was inspired and to be included, it was hundreds and hundreds of years before there were printing presses so it could be more available, and even hundreds of years later that there was public education so more people could read! Jesus formed the apostles for years, and appeared to them after His resurrection still explaining His teaching, and as the Bible says, it does not contain everything! We rely on what has been handed down. One final thought, Jesus' final prayer before His passion is that we all be one, as He and the Father are one. There is one truth, one Spirit--it is the work of Satan to cause division and confusion. You are right, how can there be so many different beliefs? That is not what God wants.

  • Comment Link Donald Monday, 23 January 2012 08:01 posted by Donald

    One thing I never understood about Protestants is if they really believed that they are saved by grace alone why would they have a problem with me taking advantage of the free after life insurance offered by the Catholic Church in the form of sacraments like confession and communion?

    As a protestant, I don't have any problems with your taking communion such as the sacraments and confession. I do not believe they are "after life insurance".
    Yes, I believe that you are saved by grace alone. The thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when He went into His kingdom and Jesus replied "Verily, you shall be with me today in Paradise". The thief had no time for confession or anything else.
    If it makes you feel more comfortable, do it!

  • Comment Link Donald Monday, 23 January 2012 08:08 posted by Donald

    "I've been blessed to be raised Catholic. I always thought it curious that Protestants rely on Scripture alone, and disregard tradition. Coming from a Jewish heritage, oral tradition was much more trusted than written--and the early Church did not even have the Bible assembled yet!"

    We protestants rely on scripture alone and disregard tradition because.... sometimes tradition is.... wrong! I trust the written far more than I trust the oral because people tend to........... tell their own story.

    The early church did not have the bible assembled because... the new testament was about the early church.

  • Comment Link UltraMontane Monday, 23 January 2012 08:15 posted by UltraMontane

    "No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother"
    -St Cyprian

  • Comment Link Donald Monday, 23 January 2012 08:16 posted by Donald

    As a protestant, I would like to add my issue about the Catholic church. What irritates me about Catholosism is it most Catholics I meet tell me that since I don't belong to the Catholic church, I won't go to heaven even though I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. This is nonsense. Show me where the bible says this.

  • Comment Link Anthony Maximilian Oi Monday, 23 January 2012 08:44 posted by Anthony Maximilian Oi

    Protestants are part of the Catholic Church!

    "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter." Lumen Gentium 15

    "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church" Unitatis redintegratio 3

    These quotations can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (number 838).

    God bless you Donald!

  • Comment Link M GUZMAN Monday, 23 January 2012 13:15 posted by M GUZMAN

    I thank God that I was born in a predominantly Catholic country. Altho I must say that Catholicity is synonymous with our culture... we are very thankful that somehow it is part of our culture. I was born and baptized Catholic and my family had never thought of anything else. Now that I am here in Canada where more than half of the population are roman catholics, I know that my faith is protected.

    God bless us all!

  • Comment Link Katherine Grote Monday, 23 January 2012 16:49 posted by Katherine Grote

    I was raised Catholic and jumped through all the necessary hoops to get to heaven. In 1978 I was shown Colosians 2:8,9: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ"

    As a Catholic, I understood and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, was crucified, died, and rose again on the third day - just as I believed that Abraham Lincoln was once the president. It was all head knowledge.

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

    When I understood that I was a sinner and deserved hell; when I believed that Jesus was scourged and nailed to the cross to pay for MY sins; when I thanked Him and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior; at that moment, the Holy Spirit came into my body and I am now saved and sealed and I HAVE eternal life.

    I do not believe that I could possibly add anything to His perfect sacrifice by doing good works. Just like the thief on the cross who believed and only believed and was in Paradise with Jesus that day.

    If you believe it's faith plus works then you are believing another gospel and you will not end up in heaven. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  • Comment Link Walt Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:32 posted by Walt

    Jason, welcome to Catholicity. After almost 2 thousand years of tradition and guidance by the Holy Spirit, it is a treasure to be mined. You'll find pockets of spirituality so deep that you will never get bored.

    You may have already noticed that "unity" is a theme that many Catholics do not embrace. They're not being obedient to the Church but doing it their way. Having been one, I familiar with what that's like. However, about 19 years ago I was introduced to a work called True Life in God being written through a Greek Orthodox mystic by the name of Vassula Ryden. The main theme of this work is unity. The Lord wants His church united. In my own life, it has taught me the obedience of faith. Instead of being constantly critical of the Curch, it helped me fall in love with it. You can find the whole 12 volume work here: http://tlig.org/ The work has been translated into 40+ languages and has an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat.

    Jason, I wish you and your whole family a wonderful journey in His Church.

  • Comment Link Vince Tuesday, 24 January 2012 14:08 posted by Vince

    Grate ecclesiæ.....

    I appreciated reading your story. Its your unique story and so similar to many who journey back.

    What came to me was something I've never considered. Would a protestant claim he could add a book to the bible today under his Interpretation of the Bible?

    I have a baptist friend who is willfully ignorant of the teaching of the Catholic Church. I believe having one answer eliminates spiritual wiggle room and forces all of us to decide if the Truth is the Truth or not. In protestant circles you so nicely point the closing argument, "Well its your opinion so let's agree to disagree."

    I also liked how you pointed out the continual splits found in Christian. We are one body and many parts, AND we must function under ONE leadership.

  • Comment Link floro Monday, 30 April 2012 13:11 posted by floro

    hi M. Guzman,

    Pax tecum!

    reading your comment, it gave me reason to believe that you are from the philippines. i may be wrong, but at any rate, i would like to know how happy i am for you to be in a place now where more than half of the population are Catholic.

    let us keep on praying that we will have more people entering priesthood and that they would be good priests once they are ordained to the ministry. let us also keep on praying for the unity of Christians.

    One with you in the Catholic Faith,

    Floro Fortunato Salvador (Filipino expat in Dubai)

  • Comment Link bernadette Monday, 04 June 2012 13:27 posted by bernadette

    If anyone wants to understand the Catholic position on faith and works a little better, think of it this way. The Lord chooses us first. That's his extension of grace to us. Then we choose him - the only thong that is our own is our free will. We commit our will to Him every day in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Our will is still our own nut He gives us the grace to do it...everything else is His. Our merit is in our will. He will always allow us to choose because love isn't forced, but if and when we choose Him in obedience, He will draw us ever nearer and bestow the grace we need to walk through.the gates of heaven and 'work out our salvation' as Paul puts it. Therefore, faith is a gift (first extension of grace) but also involves our will. Faith alone, from the perspective that faith is all our own initiation, could never save us because that would be our own power. Instead, our continual yes and God's grace, Like in Mary, full of grace, will lead us (with our consent) home. To an even more full extent, the true Catholic believes in the great and awesome power of God, in one Church, by Christ's sacrifice, we can be saved. But like the prodigal son, it is our choice.

  • Comment Link jos Sunday, 08 June 2014 20:05 posted by jos

    The problem I have with the Catholic Church is your ongoing horrible abusive, misguided actions in history. I just cannot reconcile a history that the devil continues relishing in. God is so forgiving of us but as a institution that still has so much darkness about priests homosexual escapades, hiding priests who committed child molestations, priest having children out of wedlock ..etc..etc.. that continues with countless abuses of Gods grace that is another thing. I hope the best for you and pray for you.

  • Comment Link Nico Tuesday, 17 June 2014 20:51 posted by Nico

    @Jos: I always come back to Rev. Francis J. Bredestege on this matter:

    "What is hardest in the task of the... teacher in religion is to show how the human element in the Church is continually thwarting the divine, and how at the same time Divine Providence is daily making use of this human element in helping the Church achieve her destiny."

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