Sunday, November 04, 2007

Catholic Conversion Stories

Here is a letter written to Chris Arnzen, host of Iron Sharpens Iron, and his response.

Mr. Arnzen, Why are there so many Protestant ministers, one after another, from all denominations continuously converting to the Catholic faith? Just tune into EWTN's, "The Journey Home" program (just one source) and you can hear one conversion story after another. What gets me is that these men and women are not just your run of the mill, Sunday going church folk, who you could argue were just misinformed, or duped into buying into the grandeur and allure of the RCC. No, these folks are more often than not degreed ministers, some with doctorates degrees and theologians as well? Why?

Thanks for your interest in my "Iron Sharpens Iron" program, and taking the time to write. As for your question, I could have just as easily asked you why did so many brilliant Roman Catholic priests and theologians, in addition to common laymen, risk their lives and at times endure torture and death (and that of their families) in converting to Protestantism during the Reformation (sacrifices no guest on "The Journey Home" ever faced)? I can also add that the many testimonies of conversion to Catholicism I have seen on "The Journey Home" have never even come remotely close to impressing me or to cause me in any way to rethink my conversion from Roman Catholicism to Biblical Christianity 22 years ago.

I could also ask, specifically in relation to your question, why Catholics convert to Evangelical Protestantism even today in numbers hundreds if not thousands of times greater than the numbers of Evangelicals converting to Catholicism? Why is there an abundance of Evangelical ministers and a shortage and rapidly shrinking number of Catholic priests? Let's face it, the intelligence of those converting and the numbers of those converting in either direction proves nothing. There are Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, Occultists and Atheists who are geniuses. Conversion is a matter of the Holy Word and the Holy Spirit, and a simple, uneducated man will often see and embrace Truth while scholars in their ivory towers often embrace a lie. As a Catholic you can certainly appreciate the phrase "Athanasius contra mundum," or, "Athanasius against the world." This giant of the Faith upheld as a hero by Catholics and Protestants alike stood nearly all alone against the entire leadership of the Church in his day defending the deity of Jesus Christ, so joining a "Journey Home" bandwagon of conversion to Rome is not the slightest temptation to me.

All I can tell you, as a former Roman Catholic who converted to what I now believe to be the Biblical Gospel of Christ, the more years that go by and the more evidence I continue to see from history and from Holy Scripture, the more I am convinced that Rome does NOT possess the true Gospel. That should not be taken as mockery by me of your faith, since, as you know, centuries before I was born, Rome dogmatically declared at Trent that the Gospel I now embrace is false, and that subsequently I am accursed, and Trent still stands today as an infallible council of Rome despite the infinitely more liberal public relations efforts of Vatican II.

Thanks again for your interest in my "Iron Sharpens Iron" program, and I hope you call in with a question sometime, especially when our topic is related to Roman Catholicism. I pray that you prayerfully and humbly continue to search the Scriptures until you discover true grace and peace from the true Gospel of Christ.

In His grip,

Chris Arnzen
"Iron Sharpens Iron", host

22 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carrie said...

Anonymous,

Your comment is not only over the top, but disgusting.

Shame on you.

johnMark said...

anonymous,

That was highly uncalled for. I agree with Carrie that it's disgusting.

Mark

anon said...

Yuck

That person has sullied the name "Anonymous." I shall henceforward go as "Anon."

anon said...

Frankly, I thought Mr. Arnzen's reply was good, but lacked one thing: it did not actually answer the question. Ii looks like he simply assumed the questioner was some Catholic trying to make a point rather than someone trying to get Mr. Arnzen's, and answered to "head off the point" rather than answer the question.

anon said...

" ...centuries before I was born, Rome dogmatically declared at Trent that the Gospel I now embrace is false, and that subsequently I am accursed..."

He got it half right:

--"Rome dogmatically declared at Trent that the Gospel I now embrace is false"
True. Salvation by faith alone is not the true Gospel.

--"and that subsequently I am accursed"
FALSE! Trent ruled that precticing Caatholics who preach or teach that savation is by faith alone cannot remain in full fellowship with the Catholic Church. Given that Mr. Arnzen himself would no doubt confess himself that he is not in full communion with the Church, I hardly find this ought to disturb him in the least.

Yet another myth retold by someone who ought to know better. Oh well.

anon said...

Man, I really ought to proofread. sorry 'bout al the mis-spelling.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

You should check out the Catholic Apologist on this week's White Horse Inn...

Grace said...

anon--
Look here:
http://christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=2290
for an article that addresses the question.

Peace

James Swan said...

Sorry, I did not catch that stupid comment this morning, but I did delete it.

My apologies.

pilgrim said...

--"and that subsequently I am accursed"
FALSE!


I guess they changed the meaning of anathema.

anon said...

"I guess they changed the meaning of anathema."

Indeed, the meaning of anathema has changed over many years through a process philologists call amelioration. Its earliest meaning is approximately "something set apart" and for many generations implied, "dedicated to God."

But that's beside the point. Anathema of cannon law if applied to a teaching meant that the teaching is contrary to Catholic doctrine to the extent that to follow it could hinder one from being in full communion with the Church. When applied to a person it means that the person's actions could hinder him from communion with the church, and as such he or she could be subjected to a formal rite of excommunication. At the time of Trent, its use explicitly meant very strong condemnation indeed, but it did not then, nor does it now, mean "accursed" or "damned" in cannon law. It has come to take on that meaning in common vernacular, especially among those who seek to find the greatest offense at its use--as remains true today.

This is yet another deceptive tale that those who wish to be offended by Catholicism love to spread. Yet if you can find a single Catholic priest or Catholic theologan on the entire planet that teaches that those who believe in faith alone are damned, and I'll show you someone whose heterodoxy has rendered him "anathema" himself.

The only people I've ever encountered ***EVER*** who claim sola fide believers are "accursed" under cannon law are Protestants.

This is another fine myth you've gotten us into. :-)

anon said...

Grace:

That turned out to be an intersting article. thanks.

Anonymous said...

You guys do realize that the question was framed as why Protestant MINISTERS convert to Catholicism (not regular people)? Why would a Protestant minister leave Protestantism to enter the college of effeminates? The answer seems obvious. Keep in mind I mean clergy, not laity.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the meaning of anathema has changed over many years through a process philologists call amelioration. Its earliest meaning is approximately "something set apart" and for many generations implied, "dedicated to God."

It might have meant that centuries before the LXX was written, Anon, but certainly the LXX and the Latin Vulgate use it to mean a "curse." At the end of Malachi where God says unless the Jews turn to him he will "smite the land with a curse" in the LXX and Vulgate the word anathema is used. And there is the passage in the NT where Paul says "if anyone doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ let him be anathema." Did he mean "let him be set apart for God" or "let him be accursed?" Your attempt to warm and fuzzify Trent will not work for those who have ever read the Scriptures in the KJV or Douay, since anathema is still there in them used to mean cursed.

Anonymous said...

In other words, you are trying to make "anathema" to have meant "consecration" at the time that Trent took place, and you are claiming that since Trent it has changed meanings to "cursed." However, it is a historical fact that "anathema" already meant "cursed" a few centuries before Christ!!! And certainly, through the usage of the LXX and the Vulgate, the meaning of anathema continued to be "cursed" and through the Douay and KJV continues evil still to mean "cursed." There is no room for your obfuscation.

anon said...

"It might have meant that centuries before the LXX was written, Anon...."

That's why I said it was beside the point.

"In other words, you are trying to make "anathema" to have meant "consecration" at the time that Trent took place, and you are claiming that since Trent it has changed meanings to "cursed."

No, I did not say that it's changed since Trent, I said cannon law, even at that time did not mean anathema to mean cursed, as in "damned." Let me be more clear: It is our very creed that Jesus and Jesus alone shall coe to judge the living and the dead. It is ot the role of the Church to damn. Not our Job. What is retained earth is retained in Heaven but nowhere did God give men the ability to damn any soul to hell. At the very ost we see St. Paul turnig over a believer's body "to the devil" that his soul might be saved--and that would have to be the uttermost limit any representative of the Church could exercise along those lines.

Further, if you interpret the Douay, KJV or any other translation of anathema to mean cursed as in "Damned" where it is not God Himself performing the action, you got it wrong.

As I said it was indeed strong condemnation. It was not nor can it be "danation." God gave us the power to forgive sins. He did not give us the power to damn people for them.

Anonymous said...

"God gave us the power to forgive sins. He did not give us the power to damn people for them." (anon)

So you only beleive in the power of loosing but not of binding and loosing?

Anyway, I take it your basic contention is that anathema means "excommunicated" rather than "damned." Is this not equally offensive to Christ for Trent to excommunicate people for not worshiping a piece of bread? or for not believing that the substance of the bread is wholly gone? Damning people who don't believe silly things that men have made up is certainly horrible, but is excommunicating them for the same much better?

Anyway, you can't change the meaning of anathema. The following passages make it quite clear that it means more than "excommunication" and that it in fact means "damned" because these passages obviously speak of people not in communion with the anathemizer to begin with:

Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

1 Cor 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus anathema: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

1 Cor 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha [maranatha prob. when the Lord comes].

Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema.

Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema.

Anonymous said...

...and another one bites the dust!

http://willembro.blogspot.com/2007/10/conversion-and-disappointment.html

Anonymous said...

"Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema."

And sola fide is not the Gospel. It makes sense to me.

anon said...

"So you only believe in the power of loosing but not of binding and loosing? "

Who said that? But remember Jesus said, "those sins you bind" not "those who you damn. We are obliged to discern sin and virtue and the Church is responsible as Christ's vicar to bind and loose--thus we have Jesus himself as the very source of the sacrament of reconciliation. But damning people? Uh-uh. The power was not given and the Church does not do it. It is a matter of our creed that this is Jesus' power alone.


"The following passages make it quite clear that it means more than "excommunication" and that it in fact means "damned" because these passages obviously speak of people not in communion with the anathemizer to begin with:"

1) None of those passages say the person is damned.

2) The question is what does anathema mean in terms of CANNON LAW. Nobody who is not subject to cannon law can be disciplined to it. ONLY someone who is subject to cannon law may be anathemized under it.

Try to tell me that the Church confesses other than it has for 2000 years or that it teaches other than it has for 2000 years and I react with pure contempt. You don't know what you're talking about, yet you act as if you're the authority.

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"You guys do realize that the question was framed as why Protestant MINISTERS convert to Catholicism (not regular people)? Why would a Protestant minister leave Protestantism to enter the college of effeminates? The answer seems obvious. Keep in mind I mean clergy, not laity."

Anyone else think this guy has some issues?