Reasons of Faith
This post is the third of four posts detailing my reasons for returning to the Catholic Church. You can read the first post here. You can read the second post here. I wrote “Journey Home” to explain my decision and give people the chance to ask me sincere questions about this decision. I will make every effort to answer all sincere questions.
In this post, I’m not interested in arguing theology. I’m simply laying out the reasons I made the decision I did. My oldest son, whose vocation is Protestant Apologetics, disagrees with my reasoning but respects my decision.
When the church I attended adopted the program they did, I was quite shocked because I felt it was a significant departure from their earlier focus on the Scriptures. However, in most Protestant Churches, there is no real structure of authority particularly in churches with strong local control. Either the pastoral staff is in control and presents changes in a take it or leave it manner or the Church Board completely runs the show to the detriment of pastoral leadership.
If you do a simple Google search, you will be amazed at the number of pastors, who have been forced out or stepped down due to a scandal. Six months to a year later, they restore themselves to ministry and start another congregation. Since no authority exists to prevent these abuses, many men continue to serve as ministers despite Biblical prohibitions against them serving in these capacities.
After my conversation with the Christian at my son’s church, I started listening to an Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) show named Called to Communion. While it is pointed at non-Catholics, Dr. David Anders does a great job of laying out the tenets of the faith. It was listening to this show during November 2016, which led me back to the Catholic Church. Dr. Anders did so by convincing me of something I had already grown to believe. Sola Scripture is unworkable. The theological tenet, which lead me away from the Catholic Church, would eventually lead me back to it.
Stated simply, I do not believe it was ever God’s plan for every man and woman to pick up their Bible, read it and lived out their faith by their understanding of Scripture. Many Protestant ministers say the Bible is so simple a child can understand it. The number of denominations today clearly illustrates the fallacy of this thinking.
If the statement was true, you would have about four churches: the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church and the Protestant Church, because all Protestants would believe the same things. The only reason we would have four churches is because three don’t recognize the Holy Father as the successor of St. Peter and Head of the Christian Church.
I also do not believe professing the name of Jesus and saying the Jesus Prayer provides you a get out of jail free card to do what you want for the rest of your life. I don’t see how this view squares with the whole of Scripture. It certainly doesn’t square with 2000 years of church teaching.
Bishop Robert Barron nailed it on the head for me, when he answered the question, “Are you saved?” Bishop Barron’s answer, “God and I are working on it.” Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; Phillipians 2:12
I’m not a trained seminarian. I don’t want to get into the weeds of theology for fearing of misstating something or spreading error by mistake. I will conclude this post with the following statement: I believe the Catholic Church, along with the Orthodox and Coptic Churches, are the churches found by Jesus and the Apostles. I believe these churches teach historic Christianity. I believe the Holy Father is the Head of the Church as the heir to the See of Peter. As a Roman Catholic, I affirm both the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed as my statement of faith. I affirm to practice historic Christianity, you need Sacred Scripture, Holy Tradition and the Magesterium.
If you have been considering the Catholic faith or want to ask a sincere question about my decision to return to the Catholic Church, you can reach out to me in the comments below, on email or social media. I will honestly answer your question to the best of my ability or refer you to an authority better able to answer the question.
In my final post, I will discuss my first few months back in the Catholic Church, my struggles with feeling like a fraud and why I kept it quiet for five months. Take Care.