Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Devin Rose on his conversion to Catholicism

Found this wonderful post on Called to Communion. Here's an excerpt:

....Around this same time, I learned that Catholics had seventy-three books in their Bibles. I assumed that they must have added books to the Bible, since I had already accepted the claim that Catholics “contradicted Scripture” in many ways, adding extra man-made traditions onto God’s Word. But, I soon began asking how, exactly, I knew that the Bible was composed of the particular sixty-six books that I was given. I asked the canon question and at first was blithely confident that I would find the answer from my Protestant friends. But their answers weren’t convincing–in fact, most of them hadn’t even considered the question. So I turned to the internet to find what I knew must be solid Protestant arguments for the canon. Much to my chagrin, the answers I found there were weak as well, and I began to grow uneasy.
The “answers” that Protestant apologists gave to the canon question often focused on pointing out the historical testimony that was in favor of the Protestant canon as reasons for believing it to be true. But though there is some historical testimony in favor of the Protestant canon, there is at least as much testimony for the Catholic one. (Not to mention the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Churches also accept the deuterocanonical books.) If the canon had been universally agreed upon in the Church by the early second century, perhaps it could give one certainty that that particular canon was obviously the true one, but that simply didn’t happen. Instead, for over three centuries different canonical lists were proposed and discussed in the long and winding road of the Church’s discernment of the canon. The ambiguous historical testimony regarding the formation of the canon cannot provide conscience-binding certainty for any of the different canons accepted today by the major Christian groups. I realized that my belief in the Protestant canon could not be maintained without making anad hoc claim that God protected the Church from erring as she determined which books belong to the canon, but did not protect from error anything else the Church did....
I read the writings of the Church Fathers and grew even more uneasy. Whether their teachings squared with those of the Catholic Church I did not yet know enough to confirm, but one thing I did know was that their beliefs differed significantly from my Baptist faith. For instance, the Fathers’ unanimous belief in baptismal regeneration was undeniable and disturbing because it meant that either that doctrine was true (and my symbolic-only baptismal doctrine was false) or that the Church fell into serious error in her teachings almost immediately. As I investigated more doctrines which divide Catholics and Protestants, I found that the Fathers’ writings strongly favored the Catholic positions. For every one quote that could possibly be construed as supporting uniquely-Protestant teachings, twenty more existed that were utterly incompatible with Protestantism. 
After a significant period of study and prayer, I became Catholic. Why? Because I already had placed my faith in Christ and had faith that He could and did work infallibly through fallible human beings (in the sixty-six books of the Bible I accepted at the time). “So what’s to stop Him from working infallibly through fallible human beings in other matters of the Faith? Or perhaps even in all matters of faith?” I couldn’t see anything unreasonable about that, and accepting the Catholic Church’s claim of infallibility resolved the ad hoc rationale I had accepted as a Protestant that He worked infallibly in sixty-six specific instances but in no others. (Well, to be more accurate, that He had done so sixty-seven times: in the sixty-six inspired books plus the decision about which books those were)....

Read the whole thing here.  My own thought process was very similar, as I note in Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (Brazos, 2009)

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