Tim Pereira was an altar boy and his father played guitar in the church's folk music group. The family often gathered in the church basement after Mass to drink coffee and eat doughnuts with friends in their tight-knit parish. They ate spaghetti dinners with the rest of the church, browsed church bazaars, and went on family retreats. Their priest was a caring man who oversaw a close congregation.As Carl Trueman recently noted, most Roman Catholics are so for cultural reasons.
Pereira remembers only community and warmth from his childhood in the Roman Catholic Church. He has no horror stories of cold churches or abusive priests. So why is Tim Pereira, 30, now an evangelical?
Pereira joins the 10 percent of Americans who have left the Catholic faith. While some high-profile Protestant intellectuals, such as Richard John Neuhaus in the 1990s, have converted to Roman Catholicism, the overall trend seems to be in the opposite direction. According to David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam in American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, the Roman Catholic Church is "hemorrhaging members." The Pew Forum's 2007 "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" found that Catholics have experienced the greatest net loss of any American religious tradition....
Pereira, whose grandparents immigrated from Portugal, said his Catholic identity was "almost like a nationality." Chris Castaldo, author of Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic, echoes Pereira: "Catholicism is more than propositions that you believe. It's your culture. It's your identity. . . . It's hard to just walk away from that."
Norman Geisler put it into perspective:
So, while we are losing a few intellectual egg-heads out the top of evangelicalism to Rome, we are gaining tens of thousands of converts out the bottom from Catholicism. The trade-off highly favors evangelicalism. So, invite a Catholic to your Bible study or church. There is a good possibility that they will get saved! They have a least been pre-evangelized by Roman Catholicism to believe in God, miracles, Christ, His death and resurrection. Once they find that works are not a necessary condition for salvation (Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:3-6) but that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, they will make great evangelical Christians. They will realize that we can’t work for grace but that we do work from grace.Of course, there are some of us, many of us, who are rejecting Rome because of its ungodly doctrines.