David Anders

A Protestant Historian Discovers  the Catholic Church

by A. David Anders, Ph.D.

I grew up an Evangelical Protestant in Birmingham, Alabama. My parents were loving and devoted, sincere in their faith, and deeply involved in our church. They instilled in me a respect for the Bible as the Word of God, and a desire for a living faith in Christ. Missionaries frequented our home and brought their enthusiasm for their work. Bookshelves in our house were filled with theology and apologetics. From an early age, I absorbed the notion that the highest possible calling was to teach the Christian faith. I suppose it is no surprise that I became a Church historian, but becoming a Catholic was the last thing I expected.

My family’s church was nominally Presbyterian, but denominational differences meant very little to us. I frequently heard that disagreements over baptism, the Lord’s Supper, or church government were unimportant as long as one believed the Gospel. By this we meant that one should be “born again,” that salvation is by faith alone, and that the Bible is the sole authority for Christian faith. Our church supported the ministries of many different Protestant denominations, but the one group we certainly opposed was the Catholic Church.

The myth of a Protestant “recovery” of the Gospel was strong in our church. I learned very early to idolize the Protestant Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin, because they supposedly had rescued Christianity from the darkness of medieval Catholicism. Catholics were those who trusted in “good works” to get them to heaven, who yielded to tradition instead of Scripture, and who worshipped Mary and the saints instead of God. Their obsession with the sacraments also created an enormous impediment to true faith and a personal relationship with Jesus. There was no doubt. Catholics were not real Christians.

Our church was characterized by a kind of confident intellectualism. Presbyterians tend to be quite theologically minded, and seminary professors, apologists, scientists, and philosophers were frequent speakers at our conferences. It was this intellectual atmosphere that had attracted my father to the church, and his bookshelves were lined with the works of the Reformer John Calvin, and the Puritan Jonathan Edwards, as well as more recent authors like B.B. Warfield, A.A. Hodge, C.S. Lewis, and Francis Schaeffer. As a part of this academic culture, we took it for granted that honest inquiry would lead anyone to our version of Christian faith.

All of these influences left definite impressions on me as a child. I came to see Christianity as somewhat akin to Newtonian physics. The Christian faith consisted in certain eminently reasonable and immutable laws, and you were guaranteed eternal life provided you constructed your life according to these principles. I also thought this was the message clearly spelled out in the official textbook of Christian theology: the Bible. Only mindless trust in human tradition or depraved indifference could possibly explain anyone’s failure to grasp these simple truths.

There was one strange irony in this highly religious and theological atmosphere. We stressed that it was faith and not works that saves. We also confessed the classic Protestant belief that all people are “totally depraved,” meaning that even their best moral efforts are intrinsically hateful to God and can merit nothing. By the time I reached high school, I put these pieces together and concluded that religious practice and moral striving were more or less irrelevant to my life. It was not that I lost my faith. On the contrary, I absorbed it thoroughly. I had accepted Christ as my Savior and been “born again.” I believed that the Bible was the word of God. I also believed none of my religious or moral works had any value. So I quit practicing them.

Fortunately, my indifference lasted only a few years, and I had a genuine reconversion to the faith in college. I found that my need for God was deeper than simple “fire insurance.” I also met a beautiful girl with whom I started going to Protestant services. Jill had grown up nominally Catholic, but failed to keep up the practice of her faith after confirmation. Together, we found ourselves growing deeper in our Protestant faith, and after a few months we both became disillusioned with the worldly atmosphere of our New Orleans University. We concluded that the Midwestern and Evangelical Wheaton College would provide a more spiritual environment, and we both transferred in the middle of our sophomore year (January 1991).

Wheaton College is a beacon for sincere Evangelical Christians of various backgrounds. Protestants from many different denominations are represented, united in their commitment to Christ and the Bible. My childhood had taught me that theology, apologetics, and evangelism were the highest calling of a Christian, and I found them all in plentiful supply at Wheaton. It was there that I first thought of committing my life to the study of theology. It was also at Wheaton that Jill and I became engaged.

After graduating, Jill and I were married and eventually found our way to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. My goal was to get a seminary education, and then eventually to complete a Ph.D. I wanted to become one of those theology professors who had been so admired in the church of my youth.

I threw myself into seminary with abandon. I loved my courses in theology, Scripture, and Church history, and I thrived on the faith, confidence, and sense of mission that pervaded the school. I also embraced its anti-Catholic atmosphere. I was there in 1994 when the document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” was first published and the faculty was almost uniformly hostile to it. They saw any compromise with Catholics as a betrayal of the Reformation. Catholics were simply not brothers in the Lord. They were apostates.

I accepted the anti-Catholic attitudes of my seminary professors, so when it came time to move on in my studies, I decided to focus on a historical study of the Reformation. I thought there could be no better preparation for assaulting the Catholic Church and winning converts than to thoroughly understand the minds of the great leaders of our faith — Martin Luther and John Calvin. I also wanted to understand the whole history of Christianity so I could place the Reformation in context. I wanted to be able to show how the medieval church had left the true faith and how the Reformers had recovered it. To this end, I began Ph.D. studies in historical theology at the University of Iowa. I never imagined that Reformation Church history would move me to the Catholic Church.

Before I began my studies in Iowa, Jill and I witnessed the birth of our first child, a son. His brother was born less than two years later, and a sister was arrived before we left Iowa (we now have five children). My wife was very busy caring for these children, while I committed myself almost entirely to my studies. I see today that I spent too much time in the library and not enough time with my wife, my infant sons, and my daughter. I think that I justified this neglect by relying on my sense of mission. I had a high calling — to witness to the faith through theological study — and an intellectual view of the Christian faith and my Christian duty. For evangelical Christians, what one believes is more important than how one lives. I was learning how to defend and promote those beliefs. What could be more important?

I began my Ph.D. studies in September of 1995. I took courses in early, medieval, and Reformation Church history. I read the Church Fathers, the scholastic theologians, and the Protestant Reformers. At each stage, I tried to relate later theologians to earlier ones, and all of them to the Scriptures. I had a goal of justifying the Reformation and this meant, above all, investigating the doctrine of “justification by faith alone.” For Protestants, this is the most important doctrine to be “recovered” by the Reformation.

The Reformers had insisted that they were following the ancient church in teaching “faith alone” and for proof they pointed to the writings of the Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354–430). My seminary professors also pointed to Augustine as the original wellspring of Protestant theology. The reason for this was Augustine’s keen interest in the doctrines of original sin, grace, and justification. He was the first of the Fathers to attempt a systematic explication of these Pauline themes. He also drew a sharp contrast between “works” and “faith” (see his On the Spirit and the Letter, 412 A.D.). Ironically, it was my investigation of this doctrine and of St. Augustine that began my journey to the Catholic Church.

My first difficulty arose when I began to grasp what Augustine really taught about salvation. Briefly put, Augustine rejected “faith alone.” It is true that he had a high regard for faith and grace, but he saw these   mainly as the source of our good works. Augustine taught that we literally “merit” eternal life when our lives are transformed by grace. This is quite different from the Protestant point of view.

The implications of my discovery were profound. I knew enough from my college and seminary days to understand that Augustine was teaching nothing less than the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. I decided to move on to earlier Church Fathers in my search for the “pure faith” of Christian antiquity. Unfortunately, the earlier Church Fathers were even less help than Augustine.

Augustine had come from Latin-speaking North Africa. Others hailed from Asia Minor, Palestine, Syria, Rome, Gaul, and Egypt. They represented different cultures, spoke different languages, and were associated with different apostles. I thought it possible that some of them might have misunderstood the Gospel, but it seemed unlikely that they would all be mistaken. The true faith had to be represented somewhere in the ancient world. The only problem was that I could not find it. No matter where I looked, on whatever continent, in whatever century, the Fathers agreed: salvation comes through the transformation of the moral life and not by faith alone. They also taught that this transformation begins and is nourished in the sacraments, and not through some individual conversion experience.

At this stage of my journey I was eager to remain a Protestant. My whole life, marriage, family, and career were bound up in Protestantism. My discoveries in Church history were an enormous threat to that identity, so I turned to biblical studies looking for comfort and help. I thought that if I could be absolutely confident in the Reformers’ appeal to Scripture, then I essentially could dismiss 1500 years of Christian history. I avoided Catholic scholarship, or books that I thought were intended to undermine my faith, and focused instead on what I thought were the most objective, historical, and also Protestant works of Biblical scholarship. I was looking for rock-solid proof that the Reformers were right in their understanding of Paul. What I did not know was that the best in twentieth century Protestant scholarship had already rejected Luther’s reading of the Bible.

Luther had based his entire rejection of the Church on the words of Paul, “A person is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3: 28). Luther assumed that this contrast between “faith” and “works” meant that there was no role for morality in the process of salvation (according to the traditional Protestant view, moral behavior is a response to salvation, but not a contributing factor). I had learned that the earliest Church Fathers rejected that view. I now found a whole array of Protestant scholars also willing to testify that this is not what Paul meant.

The second-century Church Fathers believed that Paul had rejected the relevance of only the Jewish law for salvation (“works of the law” = Mosaic Law). They saw faith as the entrance to the life of the Church, the sacraments, and the Spirit. Faith admits us to the means of grace, but is not itself a sufficient ground for salvation. What I saw in the most recent and highly regarded Protestant scholars was the same point of view. From the last third of the twentieth century, scholars like E.P. Sanders, Krister Stendhal, James Dunn, and N.T. Wright have argued that traditional Protestantism profoundly misread Paul. According to Stendhal and others, justification by faith is primarily about Jew and Gentile relations, not about the role of morality as a condition of eternal life. Together, their work has been referred to as “The New Perspective on Paul.”

My discovery of this “New Perspective” was a watershed in my understanding of Scripture. I saw, to begin with, that the “New Perspective” was the “Old Perspective” of the earliest Church Fathers. I began testing it against my own reading of Paul and found that it made sense. It also resolved the long-standing tension that I had always felt between Paul and the rest of the Bible. Even Luther had had difficulty in reconciling his reading of Paul with the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistle of St. James, and the Old Testament. Once I tried on the “New Perspective” this difficulty vanished. Reluctantly, I had to accept that the Reformers were wrong about justification.

These discoveries in my academic work were paralleled to some extent by discoveries in my personal life. Protestant theology strongly distinguishes belief from behavior, and I began to see how this had affected me. From childhood, I had always identified theology, apologetics, and evangelism as the highest calling in Christian life, while the virtues were supposed to be mere fruits of right belief. Unfortunately, I found that the fruits were not only lacking in my life, but that my theology had actually contributed to my vices. It had made me censorious, proud, and argumentative. I also realized that it had done the same thing to my heroes.

The more I learned about the Protestant Reformers the less I liked them personally. I recognized that my own founder, John Calvin, was a self-important, arrogant man who was brutal to his enemies, never accepted personal responsibility, and condemned anyone who disagreed with him. He called himself a prophet and ascribed divine authority to his own teaching. This contrasted rather starkly with what I was learning about Catholic theologians. Many of them were saints, meaning they had lived lives of heroic charity and self-denial. Even the greatest of them — men like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas — also recognized that they had no personal authority to define the dogma of the Church.

Outwardly, I remained staunchly anti-Catholic. I continued to attack the Church and to defend the Reformation, but inwardly I was in psychological and spiritual agony. I found that my theology and my life’s work were founded on a lie, and that my own ethical, moral, and spiritual life were deeply lacking. I was rapidly losing my motivation to disprove Catholicism, and instead I wanted simply to learn the truth. The Protestant Reformers had justified their revolt by an appeal to “Scripture alone.” My studies in the doctrine of justification had shown me Scripture was not as clear a guide as the Reformers alleged. What if their whole appeal to Scripture was misguided? Why, after all, did I treat Scripture as the final authority?

When I posed this question to myself, I recognized that I had no good answer. The real reason I appealed to Scripture alone was that this is what I had been taught. As I studied the issue, I discovered that no Protestant has ever given a satisfactory answer to this question. The Reformers did not really defend the doctrine of “Scripture alone.” They merely asserted it. Even worse, I learned that modern Protestant theologians who have tried to defend “Scripture alone” do so by an appeal to tradition. This struck me as illogical. Eventually, I realized that “Scripture alone” is not even in Scripture. The doctrine is self-refuting. I also saw that the earliest Christians knew no more of “Scripture alone,” than they had known of “faith alone.” On the issues of how-we-are-saved and how-we-define-the-faith, the earliest Christian found their center in The Church. The Church was both the authority on Christian doctrine as well as the instrument of salvation.

The Church was the issue I kept coming back to. Evangelicals tend to view the Church as simply an association of like-minded believers. Even the Reformers, Luther and Calvin, had a much stronger view of the Church than this, but the ancient Christians had the most sublime doctrine of all. I used to see their emphasis on Church as unbiblical, contrary to “faith alone,” but I began to realize that it was my evangelical tradition that was unbiblical.

Scripture teaches that the Church is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Evangelicals tend to dismiss this as mere metaphor, but the ancient Christians thought of it as literally, albeit mystically, true. St. Gregory of Nyssa could say, “He who beholds the Church really beholds Christ.”1 As I thought about this, I realized that it spoke to a profound truth about the biblical meaning of salvation. St. Paul teaches that the baptized have been united to Christ in His death, so that they might also be united to Him in resurrection (Romans 6:3-6). This union literally makes the Christian a participant in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). St. Athanasius could even say, “For He was made man that we might be made God” (De incarnatione, 54.3). The ancient doctrine of the Church now made sense to me because I saw that salvation itself is nothing other than union with Christ and a continual growth into His nature. The Church is no mere association of like-minded people. It is a supernatural reality because it shares in the life and ministry of Christ.

This realization also made sense of the Church’s sacramental doctrine. When the Church baptizes, absolves sins, or, above all, offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is really Christ who baptizes, absolves, and offers His own Body and Blood. The sacraments do not detract from Christ. They make Him present.

The Scriptures are quite plain on the sacraments. It you take them at face value, you must conclude that baptism is the “bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NAB). Jesus meant it when he said “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (John 6:55 NAB). He was not lying when he promised “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them” (John 20:23 NAB). This is exactly how the ancient Christians understood the sacraments. I could no longer accuse the ancient Christians of being unbiblical. On what grounds could I reject them at all?

The ancient Christian doctrine of the Church also made sense of the veneration of saints and martyrs. I learned that the Catholic doctrine on the saints is just a development of this biblical doctrine of the body of Christ. Catholics do not worship the saints. They venerate Christ in His members. By invoking their intercession, Catholics merely confess that Christ is present and at work in His Church in Heaven. Protestants often object that the Catholic veneration of saints somehow detracts from the ministry of Christ. I understood now that the reverse is actually true. It is the Protestants who limit the reach of Christ’s saving work by denying its implications for the doctrine of the Church.

My studies showed this theology fleshed out in the devotion of the ancient Church. As I continued my investigation of Augustine, I learned that this “Protestant hero” thoroughly embraced the veneration of saints. The Augustine scholar Peter Brown (born 1935) also taught me that the saints were not incidental to ancient Christianity. He argued that you could not separate ancient Christianity from devotion to the saints, and he placed Augustine squarely in this tradition. Brown showed that this was no mere Pagan importation into Christianity, but rather tied intimately to the Christian notion of salvation (See his The Cult of Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity).

Once I understood the Catholic position on salvation, the Church, and the saints, the Marian dogmas also seemed to fall into place. If the heart of the Christian faith is God’s union with our human nature, the Mother of that human nature has an incredibly important and unique role in all of history. This is why the Fathers of the Church always celebrated Mary as the second Eve. Her “yes” to God at the annunciation undid the “no” of Eve in the garden. If it is appropriate to venerate the saints and martyrs of the Church, how much more is it appropriate to give honor and veneration to her who made possible our redemption?

By the time I finished my Ph.D., I had completely revised my understanding of the Catholic Church. I saw that her sacramental doctrine, her view of salvation, her veneration of Mary and the saints, and her claims to authority were all grounded in Scripture, in the oldest traditions, and in the plain teaching of Christ and the apostles. I also realized that Protestantism was a confused mass of inconsistencies and tortured logic. Not only was Protestant doctrine untrue, but it bred contention, and could not even remain unchanged. The more I studied, the more I realized that my evangelical heritage had moved far not only from ancient Christianity, but even from the teaching of her own Protestant founders.

Modern American Evangelicals teach that Christian life begins when you “invite Jesus into your heart.” Personal conversion (what they call “being born again”) is seen as the essence and the beginning of Christian identity. I knew from my reading of the Fathers that this was not the teaching of the early Church. I learned studying the Reformers that it was not   even the teaching of the earliest Protestants. Calvin and Luther had both unambiguously identified baptism as the beginning of the Christian life. I looked in vain in their works for any exhortation to be “born again.” I also learned that they did not dismiss the Eucharist as unimportant, as I had. While they rejected Catholic theology on the sacraments, both continued to insist that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. Calvin even taught in 1541 that a proper understanding of this Eucharist is “necessary for salvation.” He knew nothing of the individualistic, born-again Christianity I had grown up with.

I finished my degree in December 2002. The last few years of my studies were actually quite dark. More and more, it seemed to me that my plans were coming unhinged, my future obscure. My confidence was badly shaken and I actually doubted whether or not I could believe anything. Catholicism had started to seem like the most sensible interpretation of the Christian faith, but the loss of my childhood faith was shattering. I prayed for guidance. In the end, I believe it was grace that saved me. I had a wife and four children, and God finally showed me that I needed more than books in my life. Quite honestly, I also needed more than “faith alone.” I needed real help to live my life and to do battle with my sins. I found this in the sacraments of the Church. Instead of “Scripture alone,” I needed real guidance from a teacher with authority. I found this in the Magisterium of the Church. I found that I needed the whole company of saints in heaven — not just their books on earth. In sum, I found that the Catholic Church was ideally formed to meet my real spiritual needs. In addition to truth, I found Jesus in His Church, through His Mother, in the whole company of His saints. I entered the Catholic Church on November 16, 2003. My wife also had her own reversion to the depths of the Church and today my family is happily and enthusiastically Catholic. I am grateful to my parents for pointing me to Christ and the Scriptures. I am grateful to St. Augustine for pointing me to the Church.

Dr. David Anders was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He began college at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he met his wife, but they both completed their degrees at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Dr. Anders earned a B.A. from Wheaton (1992), an M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (1995), and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (2002), where he studied Reformation history and historical theology. Dr. Anders taught history and religion in Iowa and Alabama. He currently reside in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife and five home-schooled children (ages 1-14) where he have worked for 7 years in investments. Dr. Anders entered the Catholic Church on November 16, 2003 and is currently a member of the EWTN choir. Dr. Anders was a guest recently on the Journey Home program. Copies of this show can be purchased from EWTN by calling 800-854-6316, item number JH 359.   

Dr. Anders’ Website: www.calvin2catholic.com

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  • Fisherman

    A wonderful, enlightening story. Could you offer us more in the future? An explanation of how other devout Protestants who study the same Church history as you did can fail to come home to the Catholic Church would be interesting.

    • Guest

      I can only imagine they start to live a lie at some point out of sheer hatred of the Church. Their one true threat is the One True Church, This is the very reason they preach hatred and that Catholics are “not true Christians.” This is the only way their preachers can continue to have any church goers – by making sure the masses are blinded with hatred, even leading them to believe that reading Catholic authors could lead to sin!  That way they can’t find out the truths.  There are many Protestant to Catholic conversion stories, apologetics. They are all great stories. Even C.S. Lewis, he mentions his father reading, became a Catholic. Scott Hahn is great too.  Try watching Journey Home on EWTN.  Research stories of scientist who, bent on proving there is no God, became believers.

      • Parmenter

        No, it is that we don’t find arguments that seem well to actually be valid logically and factually. It is not hatred at all, though there are a few left who, believing that Roman Catholicism keeps people from salvation, hate it for that reason. But that is a minority. In my discussions with Roman Catholic apologists I keep running into circular logic, appeals to emotion and so forth, and while they might make Roman Catholics feel good about it, they aren’t going to persuade those who care about truth and have studied at the same level.

        • Happiest convert

          I have found the opposite to be true. I practically begged a friend of mine to explain to me certain inconsistencies in Protestantism and how she could remain Protestant after studying Catholicism with me. I thought maybe she had come across some stronger Protestant arguments than I had heard. She hadn’t. She had NO ANSWERS and kept questioning my own motives for becoming Catholic, suggesting emotional reasons, when she knew very well that I was fully convinced for biblical reasons, and that my motive was truly to follow Christ. I did not question her motives, and tried to accept where she was at without attacking her, but it baffles me to this day how she could reject the Church after studying the Church fathers and the weaknesses of “sola Scriptura,” etc, etc. And where in Anders’ testimony is the “circular logic” and appeals to emotion that you speak of?

          • Michael S Clifford

            It doesn’t exist. Parmenter obviously wasn’t paying attention. The Church has four Marks: Oneness, Holiness, Catholicism, and Apostolicism. She is one because all of her members have the full Truth, the same Faith, the same Sacrifice, the same Sacraments, and the unity of under one Head. She is holy because she teaches a Holy Doctrine, offers the means of holiness to all her members, and is distinguished by the eminent holiness of so many of so many thousands of her children. She is catholic because she subsists in all ages, teaches all people of all cultures of all nations, and is the Ark of Salvation for all people. The word “catholic” is Latin for “universal”. She is apostolic because she holds the Doctrines and Traditions of the Apostles and derives her Mission and Holy Orders her Bishops and Pastors through their unbroken succession.

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  • Jessica

    Beautifully written! 

  • RJO

    May God bless you and your family.  I’d be interested in how the rest of your family responded to  your conversions.

  • RB2

    I’m interested in David Anders opinion about Protestantisms invented history. It would seem that Reformation historians either made up lies out of whole cloth, and in other instances just  overlayed a history of just connecting their theoretical dots.  David Anders what say you and shouldnt there be a book that details the psuedo history of the Protestant Church and what it teaches of the Early Church, that lists historians and their lies, assumptions, etc. regarding all, but to include the apparent ‘Great Apostasy’, and what historians at the time and just after the Reformation used to justify these opinions they called history.

    • aChristiansinner

      There are many books, try starting with C.S. Lewis himself!

      • RB2

         Not what I was asking! Historical treatment by true historians debunking/pointing out the lies of protestant historians and their publications since from around 1550 and beyond.
         My shelves are stocked with the relative fluff of Hillaire Belloc, GK Chesterton and CS Lewis which I mostly use to lend to beginner Christians. Good day.

  • RB2

    further things the lie about Constantine paganizing the Church, protestant historians saying various things about the state of the Catholic Church at certain times.

    • Fr. Jim

      There are some protestant that say this and at one time it was more common. Most Protestants do not teach this. It is only the fundamentalist groups that continue this view. Just take a look at seminary syllabi and you will find that included in the readings are many of the Post-Constantine greats. In a Southern Baptist seminary I attended briefly, for instance, one course had readings from St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, the desert fathers, et al.
      There is much in the history and state of the Church to criticize…. Roman Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Burch/545674683 Karen Burch

    Thanks for the story.  I too came to the Church through a study of history.

    • friar

      Same here.

  • Efstathi

    Hello, I was raised in the Nazarene Church. My back ground sound similar to yours. In 2004 I started studying reformed Theology on my owned, and became a loyal fan of R.C. Sproul. I was so proud when I received my Official reformation study Bible. Eventually, my research and studies, and believe divine intervention, led me to the Orthodox Church as the historically true and Theologically genuine Christian Church. I would be interested to know what led you to the Franco-Latin Church over The Old Calendar Traditional Eastern Church?

    • Brodjon

       You are one step to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. We need a human leader to lead us. Christ chose Peter and his successors to shepherd his flock. The orthodox church do not have a father (Pope) in the family of God. 

  • FabianAgrudaJr

    Your history, coming across it, made me very happy and inspired. Welcome, my brother in the faith!

  • AStev

    “Augustine taught that we literally “merit” eternal life when our lives
    are transformed by grace. This is quite different from the Protestant
    point of view.”

    With all due respect, no, it’s not.  The Reformed (and I would argue Augustinian and Pauline) teaching is that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us, at which point we merit eternal life.   In other words, we merit eternal life not because of anything inherent in us, but because we are treated as if Christ’s righteousness were our righteousness.   If our faith is genuine, it will certainly and without fail manifest itself in ongoing good deeds, but the grounds for our salvation is on Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, not our post-conversion virtue.

    • Brodjon

      Are you declared righteous but remain a sinner? or Are you declared righteous and made righteous by the grace of God?

      • J. J. Luce

        IMHO, you are declared righteous because of Christ’s imputed righteousness.  That’s justification— a judicial declaration that says you are as righteous as Christ and therefore NOT GUILTY before God! You are MADE righteous by sanctification (after regeneration at conversion) which is both a one-time setting apart as well as a life-long process of growing in, and conforming to, the image of Christ. And ALL of that is by the grace of God!

        • Friar

          By the grace of God yes, but justification is not by faith alone. As we see from the only verse in the bible that says faith and alone in the same sentence. (The major reason you cannot reconcile Luther with the book of James.)

          • J.J. Luce

            If justification is not by faith alone, then please explain Rom 4:1-6, 11:6, and Eph. 2:8-9. If you think it is faith plus something, what is that something, specifically?

          • David

            Love.

            “…faith working through love.” Galatians 5:6…

            also read 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

            Also, we can only love this way through God’s grace. So it is still Sola Gratia.

          • Roger McDonald

            Where in the bible do you see words saved by faith ALONE? Nowhere! Try listening to a download on “being saved by faith alone” on this website: Christian bible society. They are free but most importan, it will educate you and all them protestants who refuse to see the truth!

          • Michael S Clifford

            It’s all over the Bible that if you believe Jesus, you go to Heaven, and if you don’t you go to Hell. It’s also all over the Bible that if live in righteousness, you go to Heaven, and if you don’t, you go to Hell. When one plus one equals two, it becomes clear that one must die with faith, hope, and charity in your heart. Charity implies doing the good works which God Himself did when He walked the earth.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thank you, J.J.; that is EXACTLY what the Scriptures proclaim and teach, without ANY doubt.How ANYONE could not get that simply stuns me.

      • Parmenter

        Yes.

      • zhenmei

        My own understanding is that we are born with free will and always have the option to choose the good or the bad in any moral decision. I’m not sure what you mean by righteous but I don’t think being declared as righteous is that important. I believe in each moral decision we make, we are called to choose the more loving option – more loving to ourselves and to others – but it’s always up to us whether we heed the voice of our conscience or act contrary to it.

        • Michael S Clifford

          In the eyes of God, there are only two lives we can live: a righteous life, or a wicked life. You can’t serve two masters; you will love one and hate the other.

    • aChristiansinner

      This is the one thing you try to dispute?  Try reading Augustine and then try to dispute what Augustine said.  Anders is, of course, correct.

      • Fr. Jim

        The author’s lack of understanding of a more nuanced view of “merit” among protestants is not unlike the general tone of the article itself. (And yes, I have read Augustine – fairly extensively, since it was part of my dissertation work.)

        The article has many interesting points but makes some very profound errors. It’s characterization of “Protestanism” (as if there was even such a siingle thing) at times sinks to more of a caricature than an acurate discription. He describes “faith” for instance, as “belief” focusing on acceptance of doctrinal propositions, almost totally ignoring the relational teaching of both Old and New Testament. No wonder it falls short!
        On the other hand, he totally ignores the practices that the reformation sought to reform (both theological and ethical) as well as the current moral dilemas that haunt the church. Nor does he account for the many changes that have happened in “the church” over the last 2000 years. No wonder it looks so good!
        In short, while I appreciate deeply that he has found a closer relationship with Christ among our RC brothers and sisters he compares a dwarfed understanding of “protestantism” with a more fuller and nuanced version of “catholicism.”
        I’ve noticed that it is a common error of converts: to assume that their experience and learning in their former tradition qualifies them to speak as an expert on it, while, at the same time they have discovered the beauty, value and truth of the their new persuasion. I’ve seen it so many times over my 35 years as a Pastor that It is now almost as humorous to speak to the Baptist who has become a committed Catholic as it is to speak to the Catholic who has become a Baptist. Both are convinced that their former tradition was incomplete and they have found in the new what was missing in the old. I find that almost always they are comparing the best of the new with the worst of the old or, as in this case, a truncated view of the former with a fuller, richer view of the new.
        One reason for this is that they forget that while they were fully aware of the pitfalls and problems of their former faith and that their exposure to it is was largely random and at the “folk” level, the study of the chosen faith was done as an outsider where its study was presented to them in the most systematic, persuasive and positive manner. Often they, like this author, are adamant that they have made a searching and objective study.
        While I value many of the insights of the author I wish he would use his learning to find fault with errors wherever they are found or BETTER YET, to simply proclaim truth. Doing so, would do much more to help and heal the church he says he believes in.

        • Constantino

          If Protestantism were true, there would have been no divorce, no contraception, no abortion, no euthanasia, no same sex marriage, sins that some if not many protestant pastors accept and even encourage. Only blind guides (pastors) can’t see this.

          • Nico

            There are those things in the Catholic Church, even in it’s seminaries ( my friend attended one for awhile when deciding he wanted to be a priest ) but they hide their sin or its ignored as with pedophilia. How about theologians such as Hans Kung who can have very very liberal leanings, contemplate assisted suicide on himself, yet can teach theology in Tubingen Germany. All are sinners, and we must repent. My dad is a practicing Catholic, he was divorced, he had extra marital affair BUT it was annulled… kinda funny to me, I don’t see that in the scriptures though. My mom had the right to divorce him for infidelity. I don’t know, how would Catholics accept allowing actively gay deacons in their church? Would one still follow the popes teachings if he allowed it? I find it hard to believe that Moses would have been cool with that.

        • Lidia

          Thank you for an excellent, logical, and relevant response. We must love and so show the world we are one as Christ’s children demonstrating Truth. Live love and speak life. The world is watching and hungry while we are distracted by what is not love.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        With all due respect to you and Mr.Anders, while not denying the immense influence Augustine has had on much Christian thinking, he is NOT the be-all and end-all of said thinking, and I wasn’t aware that we had to be in lock-step agreement with his conclusions.Christ’s righteousness imputed to lost, Hell-bound, UNRIGHTEOUS sinners is what THE WORD OF GOD teaches, and taught that long before Augustine came along, and STILL teaches it now that he’s long gone.—PEACE IN HIM!

  • billybagbom

    Thank you, Dr. Anders, for this articulate and well-reasoned account of your journey to the Catholic Church.

  • Diondumagan

    A wonderful, enlightening story. Could you offer us more in the
    future? An explanation of how other devout Protestants who study the
    same Church history as you did can fail to come home to the Catholic
    Church would be interesting.
     

  • GAG

    Brood of Lies. they keep telling lies . welcome to the true church the one true church CATHOLIC CHURCH  :)

  • madirae01

    the rcc teaches heresy after heresy after heresy, don’t tell me you didn’t discover that while studying their bloody history. hmmmmmm that is very strange! to me this is another one brainwashed! so sad:(

  • Susan Kaness

    I remember seeing Dr Anders in the choir and then – out of the blue – he, and the rest of the choir, were gone. I do like the sung Latin and the cantor who usually chants is good. I haven’t liked any of his substitute as much as I like him. I wondered what happened to the choir. Thank you for the time you gave to sing with the choir, Dr Anders. I have seen you on the Journey Home show and am so glad you came home!

  • Solai Singbird

    God bless you.you guide me to the truth!!!

  • Rocky

    I have not looked at this clip yet, but already I “smell’ ethnocentrist Christianity: “Western Franks” and “Eastern Romans”. These terms are used by Greekodox (ethnocentric Orthodox) to undermine the orthodoxy and authority of the Western Church. The logic goes: if the West is no longer Roman but Frankish, then legality and authority reside only in the Byzantine Church. The logic itself is flawed as the Church is above race, ethnicities and governments, but even if it WERE true, it ceased to be true with the fall of Constantinople when the remaining vestige of any type of secular Roman citizenship and law ceased to exist. And now I will watch the video to see if my ramblings are accurate or unwarranted. Ut Unum Sint! Amen!

    • Parmenter

      The Roman west is just as ethnocentric with its reliance and elevation of the vulgar tongue, Latin over the original.

      • stan zorin

        It hurts certain people to this day that the ancient Romans used to, in their day, dismiss and laugh at the barbaric-second hand-Asiatic ghetto-degraded-Greek which was much used in the Church in the first century.

      • Phil D

        Makes no sense, and in fact is simple nonsense.
        The use of latin could only be considerd “ethnocentric” if the message of the church was that through the use of latin we all become “romans”, and “original” romans to boot.

  • Angelico Baňaga Funtanares

    God bless you and your family for sharing your life to us.

  • Jodan

    Before I start rambling, I first want to let you guys know who I am. I am a Protestant. I grew up studying in Catholic Schools, where I learned a lot of Catholic teachings and was required to attend, but not partake, in the Catholic Mass/Church celebration. I’ve learned a lot about both the Protestant and Catholic faith growing up. I’m only 20 years old, still very young and naive so some of my thoughts might be very biased or dumb, so if you think I said anything wrong in this comment, don’t hesitate to tell me. I am very open-minded and truly would like to find the truth about life and about religion.

    He said: “I also believed none of my religious or moral works had any value. So I quit practicing them.” The Protestant Church does not believe that good works can bring a person to heaven. A person goes to heaven only through accepting Jesus, and good works are fruits of this acceptance. If a person accepts Jesus and continues to do bad deeds or continues to be a “bad person,” then he didn’t truly accept Jesus in his life. If he truly accepted Jesus, then he wouldn’t have stopped doing any religious or moral works and he wouldn’t have had any doubts on the Protestant faith. Therefore, faith alone does give a person salvation.

    He said: “Augustine taught that we literally “merit” eternal life when our lives are transformed by grace. This is quite different from the Protestant point of view.”

    As I explained in the previous paragraph, this is actually very similar to the Protestant point of view. It is only through the grace of God that we are saved. When we accept Jesus, we are transformed by grace and become better people. Accepting Jesus doesn’t allow us to do whatever evil deeds we desire and expect to get into heaven. After we accept Jesus, we become better people which is a sign showing that we truly have accepted Him.

    “Luther had based his entire rejection of the Church on the words of Paul, ‘A person is justified by faith apart from works of the law’ (Romans 3: 28)” “I began to realize that it was my evangelical tradition that was unbiblical.”

    There are many other verses from the bible that affirm the Protestant views. Off the top of my head I can remember a couple. “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, for whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). How was it unbiblical? There are many verses that support the Protestant view of faith leading to salvation. There are many verses that say that we cannot do anything to get into heaven, it is only through the grace of God that we are saved. I may be wrong but what I understood from my 12 years of Christian living education in a catholic school is that we get to heaven if we do more good than bad deeds. I don’t think that there is a verse in the bible saying that, if Good deeds>Bad deeds, then we go to heaven. From my experience, I noticed that the average Catholic rarely ever reads the bible. Most just go to Church to give an hour of their time to the Lord. A good portion of the Church time would go to soulless recitation(by soulless I mean the routine saying of words without even understanding or thinking about the meaning); things like “peace be with you, and also with you. The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The average Protestant, however, would read the bible AT LEAST once a week. Most Protestants read the bible a lot and memorize a lot of verses. If you were to ask a protestant child what John 3:16 was, chances are he/she could give the right answer. The memorization of verses aren’t simply for the heck of memorization, most Protestants would be able to explain the meaning of these verses in depth.

    “What if their whole appeal to Scripture was misguided? Why, after all, did I treat Scripture as the final authority?”

    To this I ask, why would the Protestant’s appeal to Scripture be misguided, and why should we not treat Scripture as final authority? The Bible is the word of God. The belief is that It was written by God through the hands of men. So why is the Bible not the final authority? The words written in It comes from God, Himself. Are we supposed to believe that the words of an authoritative man, such as a priest or pastor, could have more weight than the words of God?

    At this point I just want to ramble on about things I observe with the Catholic faith through my experience in growing up in a Catholic school.I can’t find a short quote of him talking about the importance of tradition in Catholicism, but it has been implied at some points in the text. An example of the importance of tradition is, telling priests your sins. Why tell a mortal man your sins if you can pray and ask God Himself for forgiveness? Man cannot forgive sins, so why tell him your sins? The priest also tells the confesser to pray something a certain number of times, like ten Hail Marrys and five Our Fathers. This leads me to believe that the recitation of prayer is like a punishment for the sins we do. That after we recite these prayers, that’s it, we’re clean. I’m sure that there are many Catholics that think this way. The veneration of saints is also something that I find misleading. Saints are venerated veering to the point of worship. There are as much(maybe more) prayers made to saints than to God, and even prayers to God would end in asking saints to pray for us. I have honestly seen some booklets prayers to be recited by an entire school that refer to a saint as their savior. This might be seen as the mistake of whoever wrote that prayer, but this just shows how important saints are to the Catholic faith. Saints would almost be more important than the Lord. Marry is also a person of great importance to the Catholic faith. The Rosary prayer, which is done soooo often, is circled on Marry. In this prayer, Hail Marry is recited ten times more than Our Father or any other prayer for that matter. Why pray to Marry more than God or Jesus? Don’t get me wrong, Marry and the saints are amazing people, but I don’t believe that they should be given all those praises, which makes them seem more important than the Lord. Prayers have become mostly recitation. Before eating, the class would pray “Bless us Oh Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, Amen.” The recitation of this prayer is done as fast as possible, without any thought or emotion, often taking less than 10 seconds. The Rosary, which consist of more than 50 Hail Marry prayer, is a recitation prayer that takes about 15-20 minutes. I don’t think that repeating the same thing over and over and over and over again for 20 minutes is a good prayer and most of the repetitions in the Rosary Hails and praises Marry. Everything has become so routine in celebrating Church, the kneeling, the praying, almost everything about it is the same everytime. The only thing that i think would differ is the Homily, where the priest takes a few minutes to talk about something that he would like to share. I believe that every religion has flaws, even Protestantism. But I think that the reason that Mr Anders rejected the views of Protestantism was because of his lack of or his improper understanding of the Protestant faith. Also, maybe my views against the Catholic faith is like this because of my lack of understanding of it, if so, please enlighten me.

    If you’ve made it this far, I want to thank you for taking the time to read the entire thing. I know that my understanding of both the Catholic and Protestant views aren’t perfect, so if you believe that I am incorrect in any way, don’t hesitate to let me know.

    • totus2m

      Hello Jodan – i think that many question the same things you are questioning about the Catholic Faith due to either lack of understanding of the faith or wanting to do things my way. Let me try and answer your questions. 1 – telling a priest your sins. When you confess your sins to a priest you are actually confessing them to Christ himself as it is Christ who absolves your sins. Christ gave authority to a Catholic priest to not only absolve sins but to also turn wine and bread into his Body and Soul not to mention healing. A Catholic mass is so Holy – you are actually experiencing Heaven on Earth. In the old Testatment in Exodus when “manna from heaven rained down” – today that Manna is Christ himself in the Eucharist. You should check out stories of Eucharistic miracles. So profound. The reason why you are given prayers to say after you are absolved is to help you to pray for Thanksgiving as well as to pray to sin no more. Our lives should be filled with continuous prayer to bring us closer to Christ and to make us Christlike. Prayer is a powerful things and can move mountains:) 2. Veneration of Saints and Mary. The question i would ask you, “do you ask a family member, friend or acquaintance to pray for you when in need?” Why would you then not want to prayer to a Saint or the Blessed Mother who is closest to Christ to intercede for you. When you are in trouble with your Father, don’t you sometimes go to your mother and ask for help with your Father? 3. The Rosary – such a beautiful prayer. When reciting the rosary a person should be reflecting on the Mystery, visualizing being there with Christ and Our Blessed Mother. Try a spiritual Rosary which will give a meditation for each Hail Mary which BTW are all Biblical and help recall the stories of Christ. Even the Hail Mary prayer comes from the Bible – The Annunciation and the Visitation to Elizabeth. 4. Prayer before a meal. Again with any prayer – it should be from the heart and not just habit – although they do become habit they should still be from the heart. 5. Routine – ah this is a problem with a lot of people wanting to do it my way, wanting to change. This is one of the main reasons for the Reformation and the thousands of denominations that exist today. Someone didn’t like one thing and went off and created there own. There is a reason behind the standing, kneeling, praying. Do you know that you can go to a Catholic church in any part of the world and know exactly what how to respond and what is being said even if you do not speak the language? I think this is amazing. The Catholic Church was created 2000+ years ago – can any other church claim this?

      • totus2um

        Also – do not let what others do or don’t do sway you from finding out the truth. Also on the note about Catholics not reading the Bible – a Catholic that attends mass each week (considered a sin if you don’t without good reason) – will hear the entire Bible in a year. I do agree that Protestants are better at reading the Bible than Catholics but that does not mean we do not know it.

        • Ronald Orso

          It’s actually more like 3 years to hear the great majority of the Bible.

          • Fr. Jim

            and many protestants also use the lectionary which does the same thing…. reading through the Bible in approx 3 years – since it is very similar to the RC lectionary. In the “free church” tradition, however, there is less Bible reading in the service.

          • ClintLowell

            “RC” lectionary?? The Dioceses of Rome, or the Roman Rite?

    • Sam Gallo

      Jodan, what I grasped from your essay was, “20 years old.”

    • Vert

      If you take into consideration Dr. Anders’ background of studies, you won’t contradict his total conversion. I believe what he sighted here are just few points or highlights of his justification and conversion. probably, if you will meet Dr. Anders he could share and enlighten you more taking into note he is a well schooled person than you do a 20 year old guy..

    • Teeno

      Hi, Jordan. You asked, “why should we not treat the Bible as the Final Authority?” IMHO, one of the explanation to this is the 35,000 protestant denominations splintering daily since Luther taught that the bible is the final authority in matters of faith. Another answer is sola scriptura collides head on with Paul’s teaching that the household of God which is “the Church is the foundation and the pillar of truth”, not the scriptures. It collides also with Paul’s exhortation to hold on to the traditions. The bible is the Word of God. True! It is God speaking in the scriptures. The problem is “man”. It is “man” who is hearing or listening. There are ignorant men, half learned men, learned men, stubborn men, brainwashed men, biased men, bigots, unbelievers, agnostics, and there are atheists. In this spectrum of man, we cannot expect that all men will understand what God meant to say with His Words or would want us to understand Him. So someone has to have the final say. Someone has to be the Final Authority to say “this is what God meant in what He is saying the the scriptures” . Without that final authority, there is only anarchy. I would compare the scriptures to the last will and testament of a deceased father. The heirs would each want to interpret the will according to his desires and interest. It takes a Judge to settle the differences.

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  • Rubin Pat

    we need to understand the difference between sacred book and secular books. the term Old testament is brought by the Roman pagan belief. technically Catholic church and protestant church are same…. only difference is lead by different people. study who added the 27 books as new testament. why Sunday worship. what is Easter. why Christmas is celebrated. the name Jesus came from Iesous – which is Ie Zeus – means hail Zeus. when you believe Paul’s writings more than the Torah. that means you believe Paul is greater than god. who is Paul to contredict the word of god?

    • ClintLowell

      Rubin Pat:
      If we are the same as, say, Mennonites, Pentecostalist’s, Calvinists, Lutherans, then why are we the only ones to recognize the Sanctus? Why are we the only ones that see that the “todah” is fulfilled in the our Holy Communion? What secular books do you speak of? Catholics recognize that the Old Covenants were all fulfilled in the final, perfect and everlasting sacrifice of our Lord as the Paschal Lamb ( Passover ). We understand, through holy and Apostolic succession and tradition the unveiling in the last book of the Bible — the Revelation — we can see that this is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

      Which 27 books were “added” the New Testament? Perhaps you are understandably confused with the Septuagint — the Greek translation of the Old Testament that the New Testament writers used, which derives from the Latin “septuaginta” which translates LXX, or “70″ — which indicates that the deutero-cannonical books of the Old are indeed inspired and worth the read .. Protestants leave out 7 book and only claim 63 — in the Old Testament. And the name Jesus comes no where close to the Greek god Zeus .. Christ means Messiah and Jesus comes from Yeshua .. Joshua is a closer understanding.

      Christmas is celebrated as a celebration of our Lord, Savior, High Priest, King and Final Sacrifice – Jesus Christ’s birthday. No where in Catholic Doctrine well you find we claim His date of birth December 25, but rather you will find this date to be put in effect as a mere sign of us conquering paganism. This date used to be celebrated by pagans for a false god. Much like Yahweh had Israel do things symbolically as a sign of exile from Egypt, such as killing their god the Nile River by turning it to blood, slaughtering there “cow god” Apis, the Egyptian fertility god, much like Numbers 33:4 says.

      The Torah, or “teaching”, the only books the Sadducees adhered to all lead to what Saint Paul, a Pharisee, had to say. Please, explain to me how Paul “contradicts God?”

      Easter is the most important time of the Liturgical year for us Catholics. Many people think that Christmas is the most important day in the Catholic Liturgical calendar, but from the earliest days of the Church, Easter has been considered the central Christian feast. As Saint Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Without Easter—without the Resurrection of Christ—there would be no Christian Faith. Christ’s Resurrection is the proof of His Divinity, for Christ was truly human and truly Divine.

      God bless you friend!

      • Andrew Patton

        The Seventy refers to the seventy rabbis who translated the Old Testament into Greek. There are only 46 books in the Old Testament.

  • Annie Miller Ibarra

    Welcome home

  • Mc Kyle Fanonte-Vilaz

    wow! this is a great story that i wish to share to my students. Thanks so much for generously sharing your story Dr. Anders. i really believe that the angels rejoice over your coming Home.. Can i ask you Dr. Anders a favor? Please pray for me and for my students most especially those Born Again that they may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and like you, one day may come back to the Church, and for my Catholic students, that they may be strengthened and never be snatched from the Church. Thank you! Benedicat Vos omnipotens Dei.

  • Rosa Morrow

    TY!! You’ve explained the Catholic Faith better than I, a born & raised Catholic ever could to friendsof mine, whose church, I did go to for several yrs., but, always felt something was not there & YES, I truly was devastated every time I heard & still hear others whom put down the Catholic & even the Jewish religion,afterall, Jesus was born a Jew. ((; Now, by your exstencive explanations, I can post this to my website & PRAY that at least 1 of my non-Catholic friends will be able to comprehend that we are NOT evil, ect. Bless you!!

  • Jag100

    I am quite taken by the rather snarky comments made on this site by all of those “good Catholics.” Rather than react in your clearly superior faith and love, you react quite nastily.
    Good day.

    • RoodAwakening

      Who is being “snarky” and “nasty”?

      • Jag100

        Guest, GAG, RB2 (a couple of times), to name some.

        • ClintLowell

          Well know that I love you Jag100!

          • Jag100

            Back at ya, CLU.

  • Jag100

    Further, if the Catholic Church/Faith were indeed transformational, how does one account for all of the less-than-Christian acts of the Church over the years? If not by faith alone, then the Church is really in trouble.

    • ClintLowell

      The Catholic faith is not transformational in the sense you suspect it is Jag100. The “less than Christian acts” throughout the past 2100 years are not the Catholic Church, or her doctrine, but simply put, bad Catholics. Although most Protestants do not “recognize” the Didache, we can still read it and see what the first Christians did, how Mass was conducted and the Eucharist was, as it is now, the center of our faith. Historical and traditional accounts are easily tossed out by most Protestants and nasty fights are brewed, but nonetheless, history and tradition are very important part of ALL Christian faith. Sola Fide, or faith alone does not mean were “saved” by simply “asking Christ into our hearts” as if we were Presbyterians at an “alter call.” Lets talk about your comment on “if not by faith alone, then the Church is really in trouble..” –

      First of all, the Catholic view of salvation is not faith plus works, if by works you mean purely human efforts to win God’s favor.

      Catholics believe in salvation by grace alone, yet grace must not be resisted, either before justification (by remaining in unbelief) or after (by engaging in serious sin). Read carefully 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5.

      Second, the Bible nowhere uses the expressions “justification by faith alone” or “salvation by faith alone.” The first was directly the invention of Luther; the second his by implication. Luther inserted “alone” into the German translation of Romans 3:28 to give credence to his new doctrine.

      Although we cannot earn God’s unmerited favor by our good works, we can reject his love by our sins (that is, by our evil works) and thereby lose the eternal life he freely offers us in Christ. Good works are essential — such as not sinning, or at least trying to .. praying, giving freely to charity, praying for others .. these are all good works.

      The only superior faith and love is that of our Lords …

      • Jag100

        Please define “or at least try to”. Any particular reason why the early church tried to have Martin Luther killed? Or is that 1) A lie, or 2) Failing at the “or at least try to” part?

        • ClintLowell

          I have never came across any authentic documentation; books or historical letters, that suggest anything of the sort. Father Martin Luther left the Church, he was not excommunicated to my best knowledge. He stopped following the magesterium. He heretically rewrote the Bible, leaving out key inspired books.

          • Jim

            January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, which excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.

          • ClintLowell

            Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t came across that yet. Even so, he was rightly and justifiably excommunicated. Heretics were serious business and look how many millions have been lead astray by his shenanigans.

  • MPerez

    When I was in the 7th grade in Catholic school, the wonderful Felician sister we had as a teacher asked me to illustrate on a poster why the Catholic Church was the true church. I took my camera and took pictures of different Protestant churches. On the poster, I put a picture I cut from a magazine of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome along with the verse from St. Matthew’s Gospel 16:18 where Jesus tells St. Peter “Upon this rock I will build my Church.” I put “MY CHURCH’ in bold capital letters. Around the picture of St. Peter’s in Rome, I put the photos I took of the other churches and by whom they were founded and when. I never needed a PHD to figure out that Jesus founded only ONE church and not thousands of different churches with conflicting beliefs.

  • will

    Excellent! Thank you for faithfully following truth!

  • zhenmei

    Fascinating read. I’m a Catholic myself and I believe faith (or belief) is born out of a personal encounter with God and we grow in this relationship as we nurture it and respond to the grace we experience in our lives. Faith changes our whole being and this in turn shapes how we live and relate with others, or in other words, our morality. I believe it’s our experience of love–of people’s love for us and God’s love for us–that saves us and we are then moved to live our lives in love as well. The religious experience is one of love and the Christian call is also to love.

  • Onegi ogen

    This is a true story that depicts reality. Thanks to Dr David Anders for the discovery that i hope may bring light to many. True faith is in the catholic church and just take it from historical point of view, catholicism began on the day of Pentecost. just a simple question would do: Can something that began later out of disobedience and revolt have complete truth than the original. Henceforth am on my way to priesthood in the Catholic Church

  • Cursillista

    Dr. David Anders, the 21 st century Saint Paul on a holy mission. Thanks be to God.

  • Jhun Twelve

    I’m a catholic and my wife is a protestant but we get along together just fine. When I proposed to her in a beach way back 1999, she asked me if I’m willing to convert/baptized to protestanism because she has been a protestant all her life. In my mind I asked God for an answer because I don’t want to lose her. The answer came in a flash and I told her “You know, when we die and face God, he would ask what religion we are in in but would definitely ask us how we loved.” In the Philippines to be married in the Catholic church both Bride and Groom should be Catholics but in the Protestant Church it is not a requirement, in fact in a protestant mass not all attendees are baptized Protestants that is why part of the mass is inviting people to be baptized. So we got married by a Protestant pastor in a beautiful garden setting with me still a catholic and her a protestant. By the time we have kids we decided they will be baptized as catholic because in the Philippines protestant schools doesn’t require students to be protestant but applying to a catholic school requires baptismal certificate. So the kids being catholic will give them the benefit to choose the school where they want to go to.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Wow.So that’s what your so-called ” faith” boils down to–whichever particular-”ism”holds sway; it actually has NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRIST HIMSELF. Wow.

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  • John Mary

    If you have not known the truth, you grope in the dark like St. Paul. But when you get to know the truth, the beauty of Eternal Light you are made free to live and witness to others. God bless you, family and friends, all who read your faith story and all Catholics. May the Catholic Church-the true BODY OF CHRIST live forever!

  • Roger McDonald

    Beautiful conversion story and so helpful to find out how rich our church is in tradition and history. I listen to you every Thursday and thanks for sharing that beautiful gift of knowledge our Lord has given you with such humility, or as scripture says the beginning of wisdom.

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  • Michael S Clifford

    All of my Protestant friends need to see this! :)