BaptistConversion StoriesEvangelicalFundamentalist

A Bible-Believer Becomes Catholic by Believing the Bible

By: Wesley Vincent Ph.D. February 1, 2014 86 Comments

Our devout, fundamentalist-evangelical family of six children attended Sunday School, Sunday morning and evening worship services, Wednesday evening prayer meeting, and choir rehearsal after prayer meeting — even when traveling. My parents alternately took us to Nazarene and Baptist congregations. Nazarenes taught Arminian doctrine; that sinning resulted in loss of salvation. Baptists taught “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for eternity.” As early as grade school I became aware that different denominations taught contradictory doctrines, yet logic dictates that only one can be correct. Fundamentalist-evangelical pastors taught the precepts: (1) the Bible is the only authority; (2) salvation is by faith alone; and (3) the requirement to live according to biblical morality while simultaneously believing that our actions (works) had nothing to do with salvation. Fundamentalists erected legalistic barriers around immoral behavior in order to avoid any occasion for temptation.

I never remember not believing in Jesus Christ, though our family had faith, we were not happy. There was, however, one bright spot in my childhood: Bible Club.

The late Allan Emery, Jr. and his wife, Marian, held Bible Club in their living room for 50 to 90 teenagers every Thursday night. Allan was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. These loving Christians made everyone feel special and welcome at Bible Club — Protestant, Catholic, or un-churched. On alternate weekends, twelve teens were taken to Whisperwood, their New Hampshire farm, for weekend retreats. The strict rule was no more than two weekends, per teen, each year. One year, because the Emerys knew about each teen’s home life, every weekend they found a way to “need” one more boy. I was that fortunate boy. The Emery’s personal commitment led me to view them as being “Christ to me.” Bible Club was a godsend where my first happy memories were formed and where I  met, courted, and (in 1975) married Paula (the perfect girlfriend) in the Emery’s flower garden.

Innate desires

Besides Bible Club, two other childhood factors influenced my faith journey. I had an intense yearning to participate in communion, but to receive communion in my childhood church required being twelve years of age, baptized, and a member. After communion one Sunday, at about age eight, I discovered that the communion trays of Matzo crackers and cups of grape juice were left unattended in the kitchen. On subsequent communion Sundays, after the ushers returned from disposing of the trays, I would ask to use the restroom and proceed to reverently serve myself communion. When our family moved to a new congregation, communion was infrequent. Later, as a busy student at Wheaton College, the congregation I attended never seemed to have communion, yet my deep desire for communion never faded.

Besides a desire for communion, I was drawn to the story of Christ’s birth and the Ave Maria (my mother’s favorite music). Our beautiful (Catholic) Advent Calendar was a treasured Christmas tradition; however, because my mother was the choir director in all the congregations we attended, and my father was a deacon, we children were advised never to discuss these topics with other members. None of the congregations we attended were open to ecumenism with other Protestant denominations and utterly rejected the Catholic Church. The serene image of Mary brought a sense of peace to me, especially as a child in an unhappy family. Interestingly, the Emerys were the only Protestants I knew who openly recognized Catholics as Christians. Although Paula, who was Catholic, joined me in Protestant congregations, the Emerys never encouraged her to leave the Catholic Church.

A jigsaw of interpretation

Living with many mutually contradictory doctrines made understanding the faith similar to trying to complete a complex puzzle from a combination of different jigsaw puzzles stirred together. As a teen I viewed the contradictions with perplexity. For example, altar calls in the Nazarene congregations (when only members were present) made sense based on the Arminian doctrine of the possibility of losing one’s salvation. However, in the “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for eternity” Baptist congregations, altar calls to members seemed utterly absurd. In one congregation, this only impacted one mentally feeble woman who tearfully went forward each time and “finally accepted Jesus — again.” As an adult, maintaining the theological tension between contradictory biblical interpretations eventually led to a minimalistic faith. That is, the acceptance of Jesus was the only necessary aspect of the faith; nothing else mattered. So after college, since both Paula and I were employed at different evangelical agencies with weekly chapel services led by pastors and missionaries, we readily substituted the chapel services for Sunday attendance. But there persisted a desire to find a church that taught all of what we knew Scripture taught.

In 1979, a move to a small New England town resulted in a limited choice of congregations. Two of the local congregations were so theologically liberal that the pastors were more likely to quote sentimental poems than Scripture. One fundamentalist congregation was pastored by a high school graduate whose exegesis was agonizingly embarrassing. Another congregation was so unreceptive to newcomers that not a single member of the congregation, or the pastor, greeted us.

Discounting the Catholic church in town, Paula and I hesitantly visited the remaining small Episcopal chapel. The beauty of the liturgy and the opportunity to receive communion at every service was such a blessing that that congregation became our spiritual home. Two years later, in 1981, we moved again for graduate school and attended a large, active, Episcopal congregation with dynamic liturgy, powerful sermons, and some of the best music we have ever enjoyed. Yet, sadly, it was in that congregation where it became evident that, while the words were biblical, a double-speak was at play. The realization that something was amiss occurred after learning that the rector’s “wife” was actually still married to an ex-parishioner. Gradually, it became evident the evangelical and biblical language was actually code for left-leaning political messages.

Without describing every issue, my Protestant experience confirmed that there was no congregation in which I could trust that all (or only) biblical truth was being taught. Certainly, much truth was taught at all the congregations we attended, but never was “all truth” (Jn 16:12) taught. In fact, it took only a few sermons to identify some false, unbiblical doctrine being proffered. It became increasingly evident that every pastor and member — not the Bible — was his or her own final authority. Utter discouragement with the contradictory theological doctrines led us to live our faith on our own for more than two decades. During that time many evangelical clients came to my practice specifically because I am listed with insurance companies as a Christian psychologist. Often, what these clients believed and practiced was foreign to what I previously knew to be evangelicalism. This made it apparent that evangelicalism had changed radically during those two decades. Many aspects of moral living were also conspicuously absent.

“Correcting” Scripture

These experiences made it obvious that the “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for eternity” doctrine was “a different gospel” (Gal 1:6-7). The carefully guarded and entrenched belief regarding their prerogative to a personal, private interpretation of Scripture insulated these individuals from recognizing the fallacy of their beliefs and practices. I came to recognize that the schismatic nature of Protestant denominations is likely due to this non-biblical and faulty assurance that individual believers are guaranteed to be led into “all truth” (Jn 16:12). Yet, as I later discovered, Scripture is clear that only the Apostles, individually (Jn 16:12), and “God’s household, which [is] the Church of the Living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Tim 3:15) were given any assurance of acquiring “all truth.”

This forced me to face up to the fact that sola Scriptura (the belief that the Bible is the only source of authority) is not found in Scripture and sola fide (the belief of salvation through faith alone) was soundly rejected by James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Accepting these doctrines would suggest that the Holy Spirit leads entire denominations of sincere, devout, Bible-believers to contradictory conclusions on such vital matters as salvation and morality with modern denominations contradicting basic orthodox doctrine and adopting pop-culture morality. As Marcus Grodi would say, I discovered Bible passages I had “never seen” before and those passages did not support Protestant doctrines.

One evangelical congregation near my practice hired a new pastor who did his first communion service “In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Allah, Buddha and all other deities.” Evidently sola Scriptura gives one a license to interpret Scripture, free from all authority, in violation of 2 Peter 1:20, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” These experiences made me recognize that something was terribly wrong in evangelicalism. I was forced to realize that I, like all Bible-believers, didn’t accept what the Bible actually teaches.

From our wedding on, Paula and I had followed the advice of a number of devout Protestants and used contraception in order to get our careers and finances established. Years after having stopped using contraception, we concluded that we were infertile. Then, in 1991, Paula and I finally had a son, Sean. Paula’s labor of forty-eight hours seemed to last longer than the concurrent Desert Storm invasion. Selfishly, we had waited too long so now he is an only child who will face the responsibility and demands of our last years alone.

By Sean’s teen years, we realized home-based devotions were not enough. Because of the rejection of biblical truth in the liturgical Protestant denominations, we returned to a non-liturgical congregation for biblical, orthodox doctrine. Being away from evangelicalism for twenty years allowed us to recognize how many changes had occurred and how often Bible-believing pastors “corrected” Scripture. We heard statements like, “That passage doesn’t mean what it says” or “The word ‘is’ doesn’t mean ‘is’.” The phrase “faith alone” was verbally inserted into biblical passages in which it was not written. After declaring there was no need for baptism, one pastor explained, “See those lines in the text separating the verses? You don’t have to accept anything between those lines. Those verses are not in the manuscripts our scholars consider valid.” What a shock to be told to ignore Scripture! Sean’s teen Bible study interpreted Christ’s comment, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me…” (Mt 25:32-46)  by concluding: “Jesus is not saying you will be judged for what you do. He is just talking about having faith.”

Exegesis of this type resulted in our spending virtually all of our Sunday afternoons reviewing the morning’s biblical passages and correcting the faulty interpretations contained in the sermon. How? By merely reading the passages in context, reviewing topically related passages, and taking Scripture for what it actually said. Despite a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Wheaton College, a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, I found myself, approaching sixty years of age, entangled in a theological belief system fraught with contradictions that required me either to ignore, reinterpret, or wildly over-emphasize biblical passages.

All generations will call me blessed…

About eight years ago, my dear friend Bob Frasco, a Catholic, asked, “Why do evangelical Christians ignore, demean, and even reject the role that Mary played in redemptive history?”

I responded, “Evangelical Christians, led by the Reformers, have learned the lessons of the Old Testament and faithfully guard against idolatry. Therefore, we utterly reject the worship of Mary.”

Shocked, Bob exclaimed, “Catholics don’t worship Mary. We only worship God. We honor Mary, as we are told to do in Scripture.” He finished with what I thought to be the demonstrably absurd comment, “Don’t you know the Hail Mary is biblical?”

As a theologically trained evangelical, with no knowledge of Catholic theology, I intuitively knew my friend must be wrong, because no authentic translation could possibly contain pagan material. To my chagrin, once I learned the Hail Mary and re-studied chapter one of Luke, I was faced with the fact that all Protestant Bibles contain the text of the Hail Mary. More unsettling was Mary’s statement, “From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48). Never in my entire life had I ever heard Mary blessed. Rather than hearing Mary be blessed, I had uncritically accepted the teaching of pastors who downplayed her importance. In fact, what was commonly taught about Mary is summed up in statements such as:

• “Mary wasn’t born sinless.”

• “Mary didn’t remain a virgin.”

• “Mary wasn’t assumed into heaven.”

• “Mary never became a Christian, because there is no evidence in Scripture that she ever accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.”

• “Mary was rejected by Christ at Cana, because she was a social status-seeking mother, trying to show off her son as a miracle worker.” With a snarling voice, a pastor once quoted John 2:4 (KJV), “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” and almost spat out “woman” and “thee”, as if Jesus, righteous in all things, would have violated the Fourth Commandment and dishonored His mother.

One pastor said, “Mary was only a vessel and any teenage girl would have sufficed.” He named two teens in the congregation “who just as easily could have been the mother of Jesus.” Even as a twelve-year-old, since I knew that the one girl had a lengthy history that precluded her from being a virgin and the other girl was quite rebellious, that suggestion seemed wrong.

In one Christmas sermon, a pastor only used the phrase, “the virgin.” As a child, I was afraid to ask my parents who the virgin was, since I knew the word had some questionable connotation. It was not until the car ride home, when my mother complained to my father about her discomfort that our pastor was referring to Mary “like that,” did I understand.

During my childhood, I heard sermons on most biblical characters, godly and ungodly, familiar and obscure — even a sermon on what Christ’s coming meant to the ass on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Mt 21:2-7; Jn 12:14-15). But, in more than fifty years of sermons, I had never heard a single sermon on Mary. I became aware that in an effort to avoid being in submission to the only source of authority established by Christ, Protestants, including me, had defied Scripture and failed to bless Mary.

Breaking through misunderstanding

To understand my point of reference: my parents and childhood pastors had taught us that our varied denominations (despite theological contradictions) were members of the true church that had been persecuted by Catholics throughout history. Our denominations were on a quest to replicate the Church of Acts. We were taught: that Catholics had turned biblical characters and deceased Christians into demigods (called saints) whom they worshipped; Catholics, contrary to the Bible, believed we must earn our way into heaven; that the pope was the antichrist and the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon from the Book of Revelation. Most pastors held that the majority of Catholics were apostate and pagan and thus, were consigned to hell. My mother would draw attention to the Catholic neighbors who were kind, sober, caring, charitable people, and state, “They are such wonderful people, it is too bad they believe they can earn their way into heaven by going to church every day. It is sad to think such nice people will end up in hell, because they refuse to accept Christ.”

My friend Bob gave me a subscription to National Catholic Register and recommended EWTN’s The Journey Home show. The discovery that Mary was to be blessed by all generations caused me, for the first time, to begin studying the writings of the early Church Fathers. The seven letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. ad 90 – 110) proved that the first century Church was undeniably Catholic. I consumed books by Catholic apologists and read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In my first reading through the Catechism, I intentionally included only those portions discussing doctrines shared with Protestant denominations. Unfamiliar material (e.g., penance, purgatory, indulgences) would have been far too easy to reject out-of-hand. What I discovered was comprehensive biblical support for all Catholic doctrines. Nowhere did I encounter the simplistic proof-texting, which is so prevalent in Protestant theology.

Having presumed that none of the denominations I attended taught “all truth” (Jn 16:12), I had developed a complacency when reading Christ’s words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:53-56). In verses 60-69, Christ didn’t reassure those who hesitated, because they thought He was suggesting cannibalism, which made it explicitly clear that Christ intended His words to be taken literally. It was with great distress that I became aware that the Apostles and the early Church did not view communion as symbolic. Of greatest concern was the reality that I had been excluded from receiving the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, which, according to Christ, is necessary for eternal life (Jn 6:51-53). Receiving Him in this way was only possible through His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

As a family, into the biblical Church

When taking Scripture at face value, the Catholic understanding of Mary and the Eucharist were correct and biblical. Sadly, what all the denominations we attended had taught about the Catholic Church was absolutely wrong and some of what these congregations taught as truth was actually anti-biblical. Since the first century, heretics viewed the Eucharist as merely symbolic, but not the heirs of the Apostles; not the Church. After discovering that Catholic doctrine on the familiar theological issues was based on a comprehensive view of Scripture and, thus, indisputably true, I realized the doctrines that are rejected by Protestants could then be recognized as true and necessary.

As a family, we explored Scripture and compared Catholic and Protestant doctrines, and together we discovered the historical longevity and biblical nature of Catholic teaching. We all agreed there was only one reasonable response. During late summer of 2007, I visited a local Catholic church to request how to enter the Church and was helped by a wonderful priest who met with Sean and me for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and Paula for a review of catechetical material. For me, recognizing the roles of Mary and the Communion of the Saints in salvation history was the one puzzle piece that brought comprehension of the bigger picture.

In order for Sean to avoid unnecessary pressure from his lifelong evangelical peer group by a sudden departure, we attended Mass weekly, but also attended the Protestant congregation on alternate Sundays. The time to make a full departure occurred close to Christmas when the evangelical pastor found it necessary to launch into a debunking of all the “Catholic myths” about Mary, proclaiming virtually every anti-Mary comment I previously listed. I now find it horribly sad that, as a Protestant, I had ignored the teaching of Scripture regarding the Eucharist, baptism, and other sacraments, as well as demeaned Mary’s role in salvation history.

Sadly, the doctrinal errors of sola Scriptura and sola fide lead to a faulty interpretation of the Bible and allow some evangelicals to be trapped in sinful lifestyles, while believing themselves to be “saved” — safe and secure for eternity. It is not that Catholics are immune from sin, but the type of error is qualitatively different. Orthodox doctrine allows for correction, whereas false doctrine prevents correction. If a reasonably catechized Catholic chooses to sin, they know they are sinning. In contrast, the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura promotes the right to a personal, private interpretation of Scripture and, therefore, does not allow for the correction of a faulty interpretation that leads to an anti-biblical lifestyle.

Devoid of any and all authority, Protestants have divided the visible Church into thousands of competing denominations in violation of Christ’s prayer, “I do not pray for these only [the Apostles], but also for those who believe in me through their word [all subsequent believers], that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn 17:20-21). There is no more explicit condemnation of Protestant denominationalism than that last phrase.

In contrast, Catholic doctrine consistently teaches what the Apostles taught, making Bible reading sensible. The Catholic Mass is composed almost entirely of scriptural passages. Celebrating the Eucharist involves the glorious experience of sitting at the Lord’s Table receiving Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

And then, there is Mary. While God could certainly have worked salvation history in some other way, Jesus would not be the Messiah if Mary refused to accept the angel Gabriel’s request (Lk 1:38). This biblical fact repudiates the hyper-omnipotent Calvinistic doctrine. Salvation history actually demonstrates that God subjected His omnipotence to the will of one young girl.

At Easter Vigil 2008, our family entered the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ. That Church was led by the Holy Spirit to establish all orthodox doctrines. I came to realize that the claims made by Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers (not to mention all those Protestant books about what the Catholic Church teaches) are false. Furthermore, we discovered that the faith, which all Christians in every place for fifteen hundred years had understood to be true, was stood on its head by the Reformers.

Though I previously considered abortion as an unfortunate, but unavoidable reality, I had an instantaneous conversion of heart when I became aware of the need to enter the Catholic Church. In addition to participating annually in 40 Days for Life, it has also been a joy to attend weekly Eucharistic Adoration and to serve as a lector and as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Paula volunteers weekly to publish the bulletin. Our son, Sean, is now an officer in the United States Air Force, training as a pilot.

In gratitude I offer the following prayer:

Heavenly Father we pray that, in Your mercy,

You will forgive those of us who have grieved Your Son,
Jesus Christ by ignoring His Mother Mary, the Woman, (Gen 3:15; Jn 2:4; 19:26f; Rev 12) 

whom He honors. (Ex 20:12; Lk 2:51; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15) 

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that in Your mercy 

You will forgive those of us who have defied Scripture
by not blessing Mary. (Lk 1:48) 

By the power of the Holy Spirit, 

grant that we may enjoy full communion with Your Church and with all Your saints. 

Grant that by recognizing You as our Savior and brother, (Rom 8:23; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5) we may recognize Mary
as our Blessed Mother. (Jn 19:26-27; Rev 12:17) 

Blessed be Mary, at whose request,
You revealed Your glory at Cana. (Jn 2:1-11) 

Blessed be Mary, Mother of the “Lord of lords.” (Rev 17:14) 

Blessed be Mary, Mother of the “King of kings.” (Rev 17:14) 

Blessed be Mary, “Ark of the Covenant.” (Rev 11:19) 

Blessed be Mary, Mother of God. (Lk 1:43; Jn 1:1) 

Blessed be Mary, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1) 

Blessed be Mary, who reigns as Queen Mother
of Your Kingdom. (Ps 45:6-9) 

Grant that all who love You, grow to love her. 

Grant us understanding that to honor You, is a blessing to her, and to bless her, is to honor You. 


  • 1sola1verita

    This is a wonderful, inspiring story. Having come to the Catholic Church from a Protestant denomination, I think you appreciate the Truth – free of error – better than many “life-long” Catholics. I was not a life-long Catholic but came from a Catholic background. I too, hungered after the Truth which I have now found in the Catholic teachings… God bless you all!!!

  • Faithful1

    What an inspiring story. I am a life-long Catholic and this story reassured me that Catholic doctrine is based on scripture and has and is relevant. I think all Catholics need to read this story for that assurance, and I continue to pray for those Catholics how don’t appreciate what the Bible conveys and the Catholic Church teaches. Thank you for sharing.

  • ms

    Beautiful! I especially love the prayer. Thank you!!

  • Kenneth M. Fisher

    Don’t forget one of the greatest gifts God gave us Catholics, the Sacrament of Confession, and frequent it as often as possible, even weekly, especially weekly.

    May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
    Viva Cristo Rey!

    God bless,
    yours in Their Hearts,

    Kenneth M.
    Fisher, Founding Director
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

  • TheMule

    I pray that anyone
    that reads this realizes that it Catholic propaganda and should be taking with
    a grain of salt. I find it truly sad that most “lifelong”
    Catholics know very little about the Bible and blindly trust every word their
    priest says. Isiah 6 say ” But we are
    all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy
    rags”…..your best ‘works’ is trash in God’s eyes. No work you
    could ever do will get you into Heaven, you are saved by HIS grace.

    Countless people were SAVED by faith alone in the Bible. I know that most of
    you are Catholic and might not know but there were 2 thieves on crosses with
    Jesus that day. One chose to believe and by faith was instantly saved.
    What works could he have done before he died?

    What about Jesus preaching to the multitudes? The Bible tells us thousands were
    saved….is this not true? Maybe the Bible should have been clearer and
    said that they were saved, as long as they lived the rest of the lives during
    good works.
    I pray you do some reading on your own and realize that most of what you are told is to keep you in your place and never question the church.

    • Conor Carroll

      Hi themule,

      I think it is great that you are passionate about your faith and are willing to engage in debate like this. Your error is not in what you say, rather your understanding of catholic teaching. The Catholic church agrees that people are saved by faith. What it rejects is adding the word “alone” to that statement. The bible does not ever say that we are saved by faith alone, and James specifically says the opposite (as referenced in the article). The bible does make it clear that we are judged by our works. Think about the passage where Jesus explains judgement day and those going to heaven he says you clothed me, fed me etc, and to those condemned he says you did not clothe me, feed me etc. Think of the beatitudes.

      The Catholic Church entirely agrees that we are saved by Christ and our faith in Him, but do you really think that you can believe Christ is your personal saviour but then live a terrible sin filled life and still get into heaven? The bible certainly wouldn’t agree with you

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        I glad you made that last point, Conor Carroll, because NO sane, Spirit-filled, discerning Protestant believes that either; WE DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THE SCRIPTURES DON’T TEACH.Ill-informed, dull, undiscerning, wrongly-taught people, catholic, protestant, orthodox, too often fall prey to unscrupulous wolves teaching erroneous doctrines, doctrines that confuse unwary sheep and lead them astray (As Paul warned about in Acts 20th chapter), but even so…My own”go-to mantra”, if you will, is Proverbs 3 : 5-6—Mull, and reflect.

    • Hegesippus

      ‘Catholic propaganda’. Please prove this is so, or remove this.

      ‘Catholics know very little about the Bible and blindly trust every word their
      priest says.’ Please prove this is so, or remove this.

      It is better to stick to accurate facts than to throw insults around. Especially if these insults are based upon what seems, from the article, to be protestant propaganda, where protestants indeed are guilty of what you describe regarding scriptural knowledge. So refuting the article with an argument will help more than throwing back the conclusions the article finds, but aiming them at others.

      A brief historical consideration is worthwhile: the Catholic Church compiled the Bible, and its NT writers were Catholic. The Catholic Church rationally carried out exegesis on its passages for around 1400 years (even before the NT Canon existed as a group, as defined by the Catholic Church). Several rebelled against the authority of the Church (Mt16) and claimed the right to interpret beyond the Body that had the authority in Christianity, given by Christ. Luther, who regarded reason as a ‘whore’ and saw salvation as a very unpleasant word (unrepeatable here), wanted to lose the Book of James as it did not fit with his novel theories; he was successful in losing the Deuterocanonical books, which were regarded as Scripture (septuagint) in Israel/Judaea at the time of Christ.

      Luther was also successful in losing the idea of works, so attested as scriptural by BrotherinChrist above. However, as pointed out, it is grace that “gets you to” Heaven. Grace is given freely, and it is for us to respond to it. Faith is necessary for this, and works must be in conjunction with faith:
      Do not hide your light under a bushel;
      Use your talents or they will be taken away;
      The good thief did not merely believe but he SPOKE.
      If the good thief had not spoken, Jesus would not have replied and told him he would be in paradise that day with Him. By responding to grace and having faith, he acted and was rewarded with beautiful words. Can you guarantee that, without witnessing to Christ in those words, he would definitely be in Heaven? Actually guarantee?

      Approach the actual teachings of the Catholic Church with an open mind, heart and spirit. Then engage with them. It is your soul at stake: if you have been right, then congratulations, but if wrong, we welcome you. It is not an easy journey, I know.

      God bless

      • BrotherInChrist

        Beautifully and concisely explained…Thank you!

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        I’ll just ask this quick question, Hegesippus, and I’ll await your reply (or whoever cares to answer.)—Who compiled the Scriptures Jesus and the Apostles, Paul, the Bereans, Timothy, and taught from? Since there was no such institution known as the roman catholic church yet in existence, how do we know that the New Testament writers/readers had the right texts? (And they were all Jews, NOT catholics. {Really?})–When the Berean Jews …”searched the Scriptures”…to see if what Paul said was true, what Scriptures did they search? (Acts 17:11)–Frankly, you catholics need to cease repeating that tired mantra about…”giving the world the Bible”…; only catholics still hold on to that boring and useless canard anyway.The Word of God had been well-known and firmly established centuries before your various councils caught up. Give it a rest, why don’t you? (And do yourself a favor:Don’t bother answering”The Mule”; he’s a joke.)

        • Wesley Vincent

          Laurence, I check this article occasionally to see if anyone has asked a question, etc., so my responses are not always timely. Your question, “Who compiled the Scriptures Jesus and the Apostles, Paul, the Bereans, Timothy, read and taught from?”, is easily answered. They read and taught from the Septuagint, i.e., the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The apostles, initially did not teach from the New Testament since NT books were not written until AD 50 and later. The Early Church Fathers also taught from the Septuagint as is evidenced by their quotations. There is no ancient evidence, of which I am aware, that suggests any concern was given to “right texts” by first century or earlier Jewish scholars. It is only us later Christians who need to ask that question and, without going into all the complex details here, there is an enormous amount of information available regarding more or less accurate manuscripts discussed in scholarly journals and the books written by scholars that you could check out.
          Your claim that the books of the Bible had been “well known and firmly established centuries before your various councils caught up” is, sadly, historically inaccurate. A casual reading of the history of the councils will clearly display that there were still many debates going on until the matter was officially settled at in approximately 394 at the Council of Chalcedon. In response to your statement that there was no “roman catholic church” Please read St. Ignatius of Antioch (c. AD 100) who refers to the “catholic church” in his epistles. Catholic doctrine can easily be seen in all of his writings. The early church was Catholic. The “Roman” deignation came later but is not inconsistent with what St. Inatius wrote.

          • Hegesippus

            Good reply. I’ve thrown in my tuppence worth too in a reply to him.
            God bless!

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            I don’t deny the designation”catholic”, I.e., universal, is one I can embrace wholeheartedly-That’s not the problem, as you well know. The sticking point (And may well ALWAYS be.)is twofold: Authority and interpretation. That’s mainly it.I’ve studied, and am studying Roman Catholicism for over 25 years now, and even after all that time, as far I’m concerned (The many, many wonderful catholics I’ve known and know notwithstanding), it’s a religious system/Institution that doesn’t appeal to me IN THE SLIGHTEST.I don’t say that to be insulting; it’s simply the truth. I have a 400+ volume library of literally anything one would want to know about the Christian faith and its history, so I’m not ignorant of the issues that are being discussed on these sites. At any rate, I’ve discovered nothing so far that gives Roman Catholicism any favor in my eyes, and as far as goes, it doesn’t have to.I’m not saved by any institutional religious system, including Protestantism. My Saviour was, is, and ALWAYS WILL BE my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ-Lord, King, God and Judge. I thank Him that when all is said and done, I won’t have to answer to any earthly tribunal, Unam Sanctum, notwithstanding.

        • Hegesippus

          I’m with Wesley, below, in this.

          I’ll add that it is worth reading Early Church history to plot the journey from the writing of the various “books” in the NT to their canonisation through the councils. Take Irenaeus’ list, for instance. Pretty accurate, even if that makes it a ‘boring and useless canard anyway’. So sorry that that naughty Early Church (universal, thus catholic, hence its name Catholic) was so consistent and, for some, boring.

          BTW, the ‘Roman’ prefix came much later, basically being used by Protestants to show the difference between others who still claimed to be Catholic even though they were certainly not trying to be universal.

          It really is worth studying the history of how the Early Church developed over the first few centuries. Then you will come to discard that image of ‘tired mantra’. It was Newman, a convert from Anglicanism, who made a very telling statement: ‘To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.’

          Blessed reading!

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            Hegesippus, I find your quote of Newman hugely ironic, indeed, more than a little amusing, given that MY reading of history leads to flee in the very opposite direction, I.e.away from Roman Catholicism! Given the fact that I am a long standing history buff, I’m still sorting out the uncovering of the vile, sordid,and heinous history of this religious institution, vicious and unbelievable acts perpretrated with the full approval of various popes.So…I’m sorry if I don’t buy into the re-configured, watered-down version of ecclesiastical history spoon-fed to the average catholic, but I don’t. The Cadaver Synod,the heinous, vile,and vicious tortures and murders of the Inquisition, the massacres of the Cathars during the”crusades” against them,the massacres of Jews during the Crusades, the Pornocracy of the Renaissance Papacy,the ridiculous hubris of Boniface VIII’S”UNAM SANCTUM”, the kidnapping of the 6-year-old Jewish child Edgardo Mortara by your pope Pius IX…I could go on (the pedophile scandal?), but I think you get my drift. catholicism, small”c”started out well, but once the Church married the State in the person of Constantine,and your pope became ” Pontifex Maximus”, that was the beginning of the end of authenic catholicism.I have read all of this authenic history of the Roman Catholic Church, and so…I KNOW.

            • Wesley Vincent

              Laurence, I am not the one with the knowledge to discuss all the points you listed above. You point to a number of problems that have occurred in a two thousand year history of the Church and condemn the Church. To take just one of your criticisms, the sexual abuse problem. First, there is no excuse at all for what some priests did. There is no excuse for how some bishops responded. Those who are guilty of such a crime will surely experience whatever comes to those who should have millstones hung around their necks and be cast into the sea. However, are you aware that research on the percentage of men who molest is as follows: for Catholic priests it is 3% to 5%; for regular citizens it is 8%; for Protestant ministers it is 8%. While even 3% to 5% is inexcusable, it is well below all other categories of men. On another point, you should read and discover what the Cathars/Albigensians actually taught and practiced. Many of the Protestant prejudices against the Catholic Church I was taught growing up, involved accusations that the Catholic Church taught what the Cathar/Albigensian taught and practiced. While I may be very wrong, I cannot help but believe that most of your study of the Catholic Church has been through the writings of anti-Catholic authors. It would be better to gain an understanding of the Church by studying the writings of Catholics. You seem to have pointed out all the stereotypical criticisms of the Church. If you are interested in gaining an understanding of Church teaching and doctrine, I would recommend as a place to start. What is intriguing to me is that I used to hold all the same views as you have expressed. Once I started reading actual Church teaching, as mentioned in my article, I gained a very different view and now relish in the sound, biblically based doctrine found in the Catechism of the Church. God bless you as you work out your salvation.

            • Hegesippus

              I think I will place more trust in Newman’s position than yours, with all due respect…

              As for your clear a priori position with regards to the Catholic Church in history, with your very typical list of supposed historical “facts” and highly emotive language, together with the usual suspects of anti-Church propaganda, all carefully confirmed by your beginning position of introducing your expertise as a ‘history buff’, I suggest that you start reading balanced viewpoints, trustworthy sources and consider the possibility that history is a little more complex than the prejudice that you are promoting.

              Start by reading about the near 300 years of the Church before Constantine started journeying south east towards Rome…

              I hope one day you will see what Newman was “getting at”.

              God bless you deeply!

              • Laurence Charles Ringo

                Seriously, Hegesippus?Seriously? Are you actually denying long established, bona-fide historical facts gathered over millennia of actually living this history by the protagonists, facts admitted by YOUR OWN CHURCH’S historians?? Are you kidding me?(Let me remind you that you offered no rebuttals to the small number of examples I posted; indeed, how could you? Your OWN historians affirm the reality of these events taking place, so…I have no idea what you’re talking about.)—Trust me, Hegesippus, I am all too familiar with the history of catholicism; don’t attempt to hide behind the faux presumed”outrage” of “catholic-bashing”, it’s just silly.And being a history buff doesn’t imply any particular”expertise”per se; it simply means that I love history (particulary Christ history. ), and refuse to…”willfully submit my will and intellect”…to the supposed ecclesiastical masters who presume to be in charge of whatever ecclesiastical construct/system that’s dominate in society. Our Saviour put NO human beings in charge of other human beings’ souls or ultimate destinies, including the bogus, contrived, man-centered, pseudo – theological construct known as roman catholicism. So, repeating Newman fails to make the case for roman catholicism being a legitimate, useful institution. I don’t deny that there has/are been wonderful people throughout history who accomplished awesome, great things that demonstrated the greatness of Almighty God working in the lives of innumerable Christians who considered themselves Catholic, but your institution doesn’t have a monopoly on the authentic Christian life, and frankly YOU need to recognize that. Neither you, your church, or your pope is in charge of Almighty God,Boniface VIII’s”Unam Sanctum”notwithstanding (“bull” was an apt title for THAT idiocy! ), And EVERY baptized Christian belong to OUR Saviour, not just catholic Christians—PEACE IN HIM!

                • Wesley Vincent

                  you have actually hit the nail on the head by listing a tiny amount of the things that some bad Catholics (including popes and bishops) have done over the past two thousand years. The list could be so much longer and probably much more gruesome. The following response is mine but is loosely based on what other, far greater minds, have said before me. When an institution has as many problems and has been run as poorly as the Catholic Church, there is no other explanation for
                  its continued existence than the fact that it is protected by the Holy Spirit, “And I tell you… on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death (Sheol/Hades) shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18)”; exactly as Christ said He would do, “forever”, guiding the Church into “all truth”, “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever… the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:16-17a)” [and] “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come (Jn 16:13).” It is worth noting that the Catholic Church is the oldest, continuously existing institution on the face of the earth with the same organizational
                  structure with which it was created.

                  I know, as you said in another response, you do not like trading verses, but that is how I seek the truth. That is what brought me to the Catholic faith, i.e., I began to accept what scripture actually said, not what pastors told me it did or did not say. That brings me to your comment,

                  “Our Saviour put NO human beings in charge of other human beings’ souls or ultimate destinies, including the bogus, contrived, man-centered, pseudo – theological construct known as roman catholicism.”

                  Scripture teaches that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Scripture demonstrates that He always put someone in a position of authority; Moses, judges, prophets. If Old Testament history is understood then a believer will know that Christ made Peter His prime minister when He said to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Mt 16:18-19) [and] “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (Jn 20:23).” Those sayings, combined with His comments in John 14, 16 & 17 about the Paraclete and leading the Apostles into all truth and being with the Church forever, fairly clearly establishes that authority persists throughout history until His second coming. The author of Hebrews makes it clear that we are to be in submission to
                  those in the Church who are placed in authority over us “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch
                  over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you (Heb 13:17). St. Paul states, “Take heed to
                  yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of the Lord which he obtained with the blood of his own (Acts 20:28)” [and] “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient (Titus 3:1).” I am curious as to how you can make
                  the statement you made. Doing so makes it clear that you are your own authority. You interpret scripture, you apply scripture, you determine if what you have decided is correct… You are your own pope, bishop, priest.

                • Hegesippus

                  Yes. Really.

                  Please name a reputable Church historian who has ever agreed with your anti-Catholic propaganda list, which includes both sheer fiction and also completely inaccurate interpretations of actual events. Here’s your list to help you…

                  ‘The Cadaver Synod,the heinous, vile,and vicious tortures and murders of the Inquisition, the massacres of the Cathars during the”crusades” against them,the massacres of Jews during the Crusades, the Pornocracy of the Renaissance Papacy,the ridiculous hubris of Boniface VIII’S”UNAM SANCTUM”, the kidnapping of the 6-year-old Jewish child Edgardo Mortara by your pope Pius IX…I could go on (the pedophile scandal?’ [SIC!]

                  The closest you get is the Pius IX issue, which is a lot more complex when you approach it with a balanced viewpoint. Although wrong in current understanding, the ability to read the contemporary situation would help you. That and the problems around some of the ‘Renaissance Papacy’ [SIC!] show that the Popes are as prone to sin as any human being. What does this prove?!?

                  As for your need to claim that ‘Our Saviour put NO human beings in charge of other human beings’ souls’, please consider Mt18 (Primacy of Peter), Jn20 (Feed my sheep) and Mk16 (Go and preach). These are only the foundation; there is much more!

                  Finally, while appreciating that you recognise that there have been some good Catholics, this does not validate your claim that, as you wrote, ‘your institution doesn’t have a monopoly on the authentic Christian life, and frankly YOU need to recognize that’ [SIC!].

                  As I have never held that viewpoint, written it anywhere, nor used it against you, it would be useful for you to avoid a rather unpleasant straw man. Please do not accuse me of such a thing, especially without evidence of my guilt in this regard. This will allow us to have a fair, accurate and Christian debate, sir.

                  Oh, and please research the origin of the Papal Bull, thus to avoid unpleasant innuendo.

                  God bless!

    • gghd

      1. The Bible does NOT say, ‘by faith alone.’ Just the opposite is said; see the testimony by the doctor; and see the Bible, James 2: 24, “NOT by faith alone.”

      2. The Catholic Church teaches salvation by the Grace of God. The Catholic Catechism paragraph 1987, “The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism. Many people argue against the teachings of the Catholic Church >without accurate knowledge of teachings.

      3. When reading the Bible, we find Jesus Christ did NOT walk the holy lands ~handing out Bibles, saying, ‘here read this book and argue about what’s in it.’ Instead, Jesus Christ established and built a Church. (It’s in the Bible.) My recommendation is to look for the Church brought into this world by Jesus Church. Until 1054 AD, there was basically ONE Christian Church.

      4. As to the multitudes saved, >your analysis is based on >your conjecture. What we know about ‘works’ and salvation is found in the Bible in Matthew 25. We also can learn from the Bible, that there is ~NO free ride in Christianity;~ because that is taught in the verses about Simon the Cyrene; he carried the Cross for Jesus.

      5. One >work everyone can do is ~give up Pride, and give up our sense of entitlement.~ The Bible, Job1: 21, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~Giving up Pride, and giving up our sense of entitlement, is the >hardest work anyone can do. It takes True-Humility to say, “Let it be done to me, according to thy word.”

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        MY recommendation, gghd, is to seek the Lord and Saviour of the Church, whatever men designate their various bodies (HINT:”roman catholic”is NOT a Scriptural designation.)–There’s only ONE NAME GIVEN whereby we MUST be saved, and that Name is JESUS CHRIST, PERIOD.

    • The_Monk

      TheMule asks, “One chose to believe and by faith was instantly saved. What works could he have done before he died?”

      Actually, the fact that this incident is recorded in Luke 23:39-43 is witnessing to the world, which is a work. It would be good that all of us should be so recorded in our witness, don’t you think?

      But, also, God can save whom He will. Please don’t deny the power of the Holy Spirit as He works in the lives of us sinners.

      God bless….

  • BrotherInChrist

    Obviously, “The Mule” missed the scriptural passage Wesley mentioned above: James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”…and has to revert to name calling; However, the Catholic Church has nearly 2000 years of history on it’s side…we must continue to pray for our separated brothers and sisters in Christ that their eyes, ears and hearts be made receptive to the truth and fullness of the faith, In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

  • Renita

    Beautiful! I can so identify with Wesley’s love for Mary. When I had doubts about seeking Mary’s intercession, I asked Jesus to help me love His mother like He did, and the Lord did just that. I am a better Catholic today, thanks to Mamma Mary’s support and prayers.

  • TheMule


    I realize that I am not preaching to the choir on this one
    and you are right, I do rather enjoy a good debate. To me the Bible is simple….it is the people
    that screw it up and make it confusing.
    The answer is yes, I do think you accept Christ as your personal savior
    and live a horrible life and still go to heaven. I would go a step further in saying that I
    even think you can accept Christ, murder someone, not repent, and still go to
    heaven. The reason for this is the precious
    blood of Christ covers all sin both past, present and future. If this was not the case we would still be
    sacrificing animals every year to atone for sins committed like in the Old Testament. For this reason alone God sent Jesus to die
    on the cross for us.

    I far as works are concerned I would like to reflect back to
    my earlier example because it is easy to understand and it a profound symbol of
    salvation. The thief on the cross that
    accepted Christ of his savior was saved by faith and faith alone. At what point did he or could have completed
    any work to coincide with his faith for salvation? All the thief does is acknowledge Christ as
    savior and believe, it is a free gift and the easiest to obtain. This is not single situation for the Bible
    gives us several examples of this but in my opinion it is the clearest and
    easiest for even a non-believer to understand.

    • BrotherInChrist

      “TheMule”, Where in the Catechism, the official teaching of the Catholic Church, does it teach that we can “work” our way into Heaven? You can’t, because it doesn’t. The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught a doctrine of salvation by works…that we can “work” our way into Heaven.

      Second, show me where in the Bible does it teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” You can’t, because it doesn’t. The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone” appears, is in James…James 2:24, (As Wesley stated) where it says that we are not…not…justified (or saved) by faith alone.

      So, one of the two main pillars of Protestantism…the doctrine of salvation by faith alone…not only doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the Bible actually says the exact opposite – that we are not saved by faith alone

      Third, if works have nothing to do with our salvation…then how come every passage in the N.T. that I know of that talks about judgment says we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone? We see this in Rom 2, Matthew 15 and 16, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20 and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses.

      Fourth, if we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

      As Catholics we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We can do nothing, apart from God’s grace, to receive the free gift of salvation. We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace. Protestants believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe that the only response necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics believe a response of faith and works is necessary…or, as the Bible puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith “working” through love…faith “working” through love…just as the Church teaches.

    • gghd

      ~The “work” preformed by the Good-Thief on the Cross appears to be an ~Act of Spiritual Mercy,~ to (1) >rebuke sin. Luke 23: 40-41, “The other (Good Thief), however, >rebuking him (Bad Thief), said in reply, ‘Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.'”
      ~All “works” of Spiritual and Corporal Mercy must be preformed with Christian Charity, = “Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s impossible to argue someone into Heaven. I’m another Catholic ‘publican of sorts’ hiding in the back-pew of the Church. FIY: the Eucharist is real! & All questions you may have about the Catholic Church have an answer, and the answers are available on the Internet. The doctor, in his testimony, makes an excellent argument for the Catholic faith.

    • gghd

      ~An excellent explanation of Christian ‘works’ can be found in Matthew 25: 31-46. Jesus Christ is describing people that >actually get into Heaven through the Gates. When I read those verses, I see Jesus Christ looking for ‘good works’ and NOT just ‘easy talking.’ The Good Thief >rebuked sin. There is plenty of Catholic information available on the Internet about the Catholic faith.
      ~The Church is here to help people ~make into Heaven,~ and NOT to just point out the road to Heaven. Please read those verses in Mathew 25. We all need to be working-sheep and NOT just talking goats.
      ~Remember the Parable, where the father asked his two sons to work in the vineyard. One big-talker said, ‘Yes’ but did No work. The other son said, ‘No’ to the father, but he >’went out and worked in the vineyard.’
      ~There’s plenty of information on the Internet about the Catholic Church. (Some advice: As an atheist would NOT provide good information about Christianity; = someone in opposition to the Catholic Church, may lack discernment-understanding.)
      ~You may ask, “What about folks confined to bed, and they can’t do any work?” Everyone is given sufficient Grace by God to make it into Heaven. We can ALL be prayer warriors. And, remember the Parable about: the friends of the paralyzed man that was lowered through the roof of the house to Jesus? >Everyone can be a prayer-warrior and help other people! Friends can help friends with their good-works! John the Baptist ‘leaped for joy’ in the womb. All the questions you may have are answered on the Internet. +The doctor is a good-friend of yours; he’s trying to help you into Heaven. The doctor knows, ‘The Eucharist is real.’

    • Texas Convert

      Regarding the thief and his works that accompanied his faith:
      (1) He rebuked a sinner.
      (2) He accepted responsibility for his own sin.
      (3) He publically confessed Jesus as a King.
      (4) He publicly confessed that Jesus is God.
      These works of the thief are the works of God within him. Thanks to Dr. Scott Hahn for this wonderful explanation in his massage, “The Seven Last Sayings of Christ.”

      • BrotherInChrist

        Very clear explanation! We sometimes forget that “work” is an “action” however small it may seem but, if it is the works or actions of God within us, it is “Good Works”…

      • rjt1

        I think one might also say he died in union with Christ, therefore the offering of his life/death was a redemptive work.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Are you high? Or drunk? That is THE worst non- biblical eiesegesis I’ve EVER read on any of these sites. What is wrong with you??

  • TheMule


    Where in the Catechism does it say that you “work” your way into Heaven? Did you not admit it at the end of you post “We also believe, however, that we have to respond to God’s grace. Protestants
    believe that, too. However, many Protestants believe that the only response
    necessary is an act of faith; whereas, Catholics believe a response of faith
    and works is necessary…”

    As far as James 2:24 looking for exact words or taking things out of context only muddies
    things. The Bible never say the words “Holy
    Trinity” does this mean it does not exist?

    The Bible does say that we shall be judged on our works, but this judgment is not
    the one that gets you or keeps you out of heaven.

    The meaning of 1 Cor 13:13? I like to think
    it means that the love that Christ had for us is greater than anything on
    earth, including our ever wavering faith.

    • Wes Vincent

      Discus will not let me sign in under my own name but I want to thank each of you who have made such heartwarming comments.
      TheMule, Thank you for your challenges. I used to be far more rejecting of the Catholic Church than you seem to be. But, when you seek truth, you will begin to realize that God is not divided nor is God contradictory. When you take scripture at face value you will realize that Christ speaks of judging our works, not our faith and Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you…” before he, on the night of the last supper said, “This is my body… this is my blood…” I agree with you, scripture is very simple if taken directly as written. Sadly, as Protestants we allegorize passages that should be taken literally and literalize passages that are allegorical. Your comment regarding the Trinity is well taken. Are you aware that it was the Catholic Church that defined the trinity in the early centuries? Wes Vincent

    • Morrie Chamberlain

      “The Bible does say that we shall be judged on our works, but this judgment is not
      the one that gets you or keeps you out of heaven.” Let us stay on Mathew 25 which I believe you are referencing here. The final verses say in regards to the goats “44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

      Yes there is theological tension between faith and works but like so many theological tensions, the Catholic Church never seeks to resolve the tension by ignoring the whole truth.

    • FaithNReason

      “Do whatever He (Christ) tells you.”
      When Mary speaks, God listens so, let’s pray for our Mother’s intercession to bring soon to the fullness of the Truth to all separated brethren.
      Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with Thee, blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

      In Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

  • Kieran Troy

    Thank you Wesley for a beautiful and candid story. Our little daughter Francesca was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil of 2008 also. I’m going to print out your story and show it to her when she gets a little older and is able to understand. Thanks again Wesley for the care you have taken in recording your journey. It is a great form of catechesis for Catholics who maybe don’t think about their faith as deeply as they should. I think your story will be of immense help to others. Best wishes to Paula and Sean

  • kirk

    When I began reading yours I guessed your first protestant church even before you named it, for it was the one I grew up in and embraced, attended their college in Idaho and believed the doctrine as the only one with the whole truth. My prior study of Church history was not as extensive as yours, but there was always that spiritual searching, the feeling that I was missing something, maybe a lot. Then, when I turned 30, married with 4 children, living as far away from civilization as one can be and still be on US land (Alaskan Bush country), I argued theology with a Jesuit priest. We both won – he the argument, I the Church. I often think that all my prayers for enlightenment, for Truth, for peace of mind were answered instantaneously. The History lessons followed while the remaining questions resolved. (My story: see January 2012)
    Your story was beautiful! God works with each of us from where we are, the path unfathomable.

  • B Enright

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this story. I have great admiration for many of Christian brothers and sisters. I hope they are inspired by your story.

  • mikey

    What a wonderful narrative. I to was a Baptist. Welcome to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

  • Bonaverabella

    Great article. If only all Catholics has such a thorough understanding of their faith and the Bible! Thank you for sharing.

  • George Loring

    A beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.

  • John

    Below there are some unfortunate arguments about “faith alone,” citing James as asserting that works are necessary. For an insightful examination, from a Protestant point of view, of the Paul (faith alone) vs James (faith and works) controversy, here’s a link:

    • Wesley Vincent

      John, please forgive me for the delay in responding and for the possibility I am reading your comment incorrectly, but it appears that you may be discounting the Catholic doctrine of salvation by offering a Protestant article about faith “alone” written by Robert H. Stein, Ph.D. Since the article you reference is several pages long, I cannot respond to each and every point made. However, appealing to a scholar or expert should be utterly unnecessary since all reasonably intelligent, educated, well intentioned persons should be able to come to a clear understand of a Biblical passage without assistance if the foundational Protestant doctrines of sola scriptura and perspicuity of scripture (i.e., the Bible is the only authority and is self-interpreting) are correct. There is much in the article that is common with Catholic doctrine. For example, as the author states: “If, when a person is justified, he is also born again and made a new creation through the gift of the Spirit, (though Stein must have accidently left out “born of water and…”) the issue of whether faith must be accompanied by works is a moot one. Good works are not an option for the believer, but a necessary fruit. A “good tree bears good fruit” (Matt 7:17). A true faith, unlike mere intellectual assent, must bear good fruit.” I, and I believe the Catholic Church agrees.

      Also consistent with Catholic teaching, Stein debunks the false assertion of some Protestants (most notably Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism), that there is conflict between Paul and James. That clarification by Stein is fully compatible with two thousand years of Catholic teaching. However, many of the author’s conclusions are ideologically driven, and not Biblical. The author uses the word “alone”, as in “faith alone”, several times (as is the want of Protestants – I used to do so as well) despite the fact that Paul never said such a thing! It just isn’t Biblical. And if it isn’t Biblical, it is a man-made tradition. Third, the Pauline passages that refer to salvation are speaking to the issue of the process of becoming a Christian, whereas James is speaking to the issue of living out the Christian life. An analysis of Paul’s statement, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not because of works, lest any man should boast,” is incomplete without looking at the further context of the passage, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:8-10). Note: “created in Christ Jesus – for good works”. Paul and James are compatible, the Catholic Church recognizes them as compatible, the idea of “faith alone” is an addition to, and faulty exaggeration of, the text by Martin Luther and subsequent Protestants that has developed into the travesty known as “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for
      eternity”. So, Dr. Stein’s following final comment is peculiar at the very least in that it displays that the Catholic “both/and” is correct while the Protestant “either /or” is false. “A true faith, unlike mere intellectual assent, must bear good fruit. Such good fruit or works can never be the cause of salvation. Here the Reformation cry of “justification by faith alone” must be affirmed at all costs. But James’s warning that the faith that saves cannot be alone but will be accompanied by works must also be affirmed.” Either it is “faith alone” making both Paul and James wrong or it is “faith and works” as both Paul and James state. Stein’s ideology traps him in an absurdity. How gloriously freeing it is to be in the Church Christ established where faith and reason are recognized and practiced; to be free of the mental gymnastics required in Protestantism. We are saved by grace alone, through faith in order to do good works. No good works = No faith. The coin cannot be split.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        I don’t know who you are,”Wesley Vincent”,but you are one of THE worst Biblical exegetes I have EVER ran across on these sites.I don’t know what your area of expertise is, but hermeneutics is definitely not one of them.When our Saviour said in the Gospel of John that…”This is the will of Him who sent Me:that I should lose none of those He has given Me”… (John 6:39), and…”My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.I give them ETERNAL LIFE, and they will NEVER perish”… (John 10 : 27, 28)—what part of”ALWAYS SAVED”aren’t you getting, Mr . Vincent? Eternal life either is, or it isn’t; it’s a free gift, or it isn’t; Almighty God either keeps His promises, or He doesn’t; His…gifts and callings are irrevocable, or they aren’t.You can’t play Scripture against itself, sir. Frankly, when it comes to my salvific assurance, I’ll take Jesus’ Word for it, and I don’t think it requires all that much interpreting; seems pretty straightforward to me.I’ve been a born-again, blood-bought child of God for 38 years, and I have NEVER, EVER doubted my salvation-EVER, and I NEVER will . Almighty God has sealed me unto Himself in Christ, and I believe Him, PERIOD. So…Proverbs 3 : 5-6 is my foundational verse, along with Acts 4:12 and Romans10:9-10, and I for one am fully persuaded of the absolute truth of those Words.By the Grace of God I live the life I live in Christ because I LOVE MY SAVIOUR, not because I am afraid that HE will lose me, no; as long as JESUS IS LORD, THAT will NEVER happen, and I have HIS WORD on that.—PEACE IN HIM!

        • Wesley Vincent

          Lawrence, I accept your criticism. I am not an exegete.
          Regarding your comment, “By the Grace of God I live the life I live in Christ because I LOVE MY SAVIOUR, not because I am afraid that HE will lose me, no; as long as JESUS IS LORD, THAT will NEVER happen, and I have HIS WORD on that.”
          I do not mistrust His faithfulness; I do not trust in my own faithfulness. He gave us free will and there are many passages in scripture that caution against falling away. Even if some denominations contort Scripture to make it appear to teach this heresy, it is in direct conflict with other explicitly clear passages that point out the risk of falling away; the need for perseverance; and the need for works (falling away, cf.: Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 6:6; perseverance, cf.: Mt 7:21-23; 13:21; 25:11-13; 1Cor 9:27; 10:12; Gal 5:4; 1Tim 4:1; 5:15; Heb 3:14; 6:4-6; 10:36; need for works, cf.: Mt 7:21, 12:50, 19:21 & 25:31-46; Lk 11:28; Jn 5:28-29 & 14:15; Gal
          5:6b; Phil 2:12-18; Jas 2:18b-24; & 1Pet 1:17).
          By his grace, I pray that “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” That I will “also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”

          • Laurence Charles Ringo

            Sorry, Mr.Vincent, but again,your ripping verses from their contexts and reading your conclusions onto them is, again,the sign of poor exegesis(or in your case,eiesegesis.)-I’ve been a student of Scripture for almost 40 years (I’m 60; I was saved in 1976.), and I have NEVER extracted the concept of”lost salvation”from the Word of God.(Ask yourself why the phrase”lost salvation”isn’t found in Scripture.) Concepts like The Trinity or the Incarnation can easily be exegeted out of Holy Writ, but one has to literally read the idea of losing one’s eternal life INTO God’s Word. I’ve the verses you sent a thousand times, Mr.Vincent, but since I learned to read them within their proper contex [What was being said, who it was being said to and why,WHEN it was said, etc.] , I’m firmly convinced that so-called ” lost salvation”is the actual heresy, without doubt. So…I’m afraid you and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue . Almighty God IS my my salvation, and if He can be lost, then so can I. And THAT’S Scriptural. So…I won’t waste time engaging in”dueling verses”with you anymore–Take care, and God bless you.

            • Wesley Vincent

              Laurence, you coined a phrase “lost salvation” and then declared that that concept is not in scripture. However, as I pointed out, “falling away” and the need for “perseverance” are in the Bible. Why would Christ and the authors of scripture have spent so much ink on those concepts if they do not matter? You should be aware that the concept of “once saved, always saved,safe and secure for eternity” is no older than about fifty years; ten years longer than you have been a Christian. That is 1/40 of the history of Christianity. The full implications of free will have been recognized by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches for two thousand years. While I may not be an exegete, what I have stated, as poorly as it is stated, is what two thousand years of Christians have held to faithfully. Stop and consider, if your fifty year old reinterpretation of scripture is correct, anyone who believes in Jesus, is safe and secure for eternity; you and I are safe. In fact so are all Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who also believe in Jesus. However, if the two-thousand-year-old Church is correct, many of those once saved, always saved, safe and secure for eternity believers may discover that they are the ones who, “On that day… will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers” (Mt 7:22-23).

              • Laurence Charles Ringo

                Wesley…Sigh.Please, just let it go, O.K.? I’m trying not to be insulting here, but I must tell you, I’m finding it bizarre that someone who has a PH.D can be so remarkably obtuse when it comes to Biblical hermeneutics.Common sense alone ought to tell you that some superficial”I believe in Jesus”claim, by ANYONE, has no Biblical validity whatsoever; one might not even have the right Jesus!(And none of the groups you listed do.You do at least realize that, right? )–Further, I am not sure what inserting”free will” into this dialogue adds to it; what exactly is your point? What sane person, once grasping the full reality of what Eternal life entails, would willfully choose to lose said life, even if they could? When the Lord God granted me the Gift of Eternal life in that jail cell in 1976, it was literally a life-transforming, life-saving, life-giving experience in every sense the Scriptures describe it. In fact, I don’t have the exact quotes at hand, but the 5th century churchman Cyprian described the experience almost perfectly; it almost mirrored my own.I could go on, Mr.Vincent, but I’m hoping you will get my point.I really don’t have to defend my understanding of what Almighty God has gifted me with, freely, to you or anyone else.I live my life in deep, profound gratitude for the Blessed Eternal Life that my Saviour lives in me, and my trust in HIM to keep me from everlasting to everlasting, I’m 1,000% confident.I don’t have to struggle, doubt, hope, wish, or hope I’ve done enough (Like the Muslims, for instance) for My Saviour to keep me; He said He would, and I BELIEVE HIM–NOTHING will EVER make Almighty God a liar in my eyes–I’ll say this once more, then I’m done with this conversation: IF JESUS CAN BE LOST, THEN I CAN BE LOST. So…believe whatever way suits you, Mr. Vincent . I’LL take the Saviour’s Word over yours ALL.DAY.LONG. When all is said and done neither you nor any given church is my Judge; that’s Jesus’job too, in case you’ve forgotten. My Eternal life is in the Hands of He who gifted me with that life, and I’m sure He will keep it far, far better than I EVER could, so I’m most definitely not afraid of that Life being lost.—Peace, and God bless you.

                • Wesley Vincent

                  Laurence, I do not understand the reason for the insulting nature of your comments. We are brothers in Christ with a different understanding of what that may involve. You point to a very modern understanding of scripture, I point to a two-thousand-year-old understanding of scripture. You may be surprised to know that the two-thousand-year-old understanding of scripture contains almost all of what you believe. So, as I said above, if your perspective is correct, then neither you nor I need worry. On the other hand, if the Church is correct, then you may want to consider reassessing your feelings in light of Church teaching. For your sake, I hope and pray that you are correct. May God bless your faith greatly. I am very happy to discuss issues with you if you desire a discussion. I won’t, however, argue with you. If in the future you respond to me or anyone else on this blog, please keep in mind that we are not your enemy. Many of us are fervently praying that Christ’s prayer in John 17:20-21 may be realized in our lifetime, “”I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

                  Laurence, please pray for us. I assure you that every day I pray for all of the more than thirty five thousand Christian denominations, that teach different doctrines, that are divided from the Catholic Church.

                • Wesley Vincent

                  Laurence, In criticism of my comment you state, “some superficial”I believe in Jesus”claim, by ANYONE, has no Biblical validity whatsoever; one might not even have the right Jesus!”

                  I agree, “one might not have the right Jesus.” That idea makes it explicitly clear why, without an authoritative interpretation of scripture regarding who Jesus is, what He did, how we must respond, etc., “one might not even have the right Jesus.” The necessity of the Catholic Church is so very evident, the only Church established by Christ; teaching the same message for the past two thousand years.

  • RosLyn

    Sir: I love your story, and thank you for an inspirational comments and prayer about / for Mary. One of my roommates adamantly rejects Catholicism and I would like to know what to do to inspire him to read the material / books which I leave around the house. I cannot even get him to engage in conversation about it.

    • Wesley Vincent

      RosLyn, Thank you for your comment. I wish I knew the answer to your question. I spent more than fifty years viewing the Catholic devotion to our Blessed Mother as superstition. What was required for me was the time away from evangelical congregations followed by a return, in order to discover how far removed some of those congregations had moved away from scriptural truth, combined with the timely question of my friend Bob. Maybe encouraging your roommate to answer the same question regarding why evangelicals reject, ignore and demean the role of Mary would get him to begin thinking. But keep in mind, when encouraging a Protestant to consider anything Catholic, you are, in a sense, asking someone who believes he has all the truth he needs to consider pagan material (from his perspective) as being helpful for a deeper understanding of Christ. Few Protestants will even dignify the encouragement with a genuine effort to learn something new. Previously, as a Protestant who knew nothing about Catholicism, I knew Catholicism was in error.

    • Jim Giordano


      Tell him about the “Rosary for Protestants” the Divine Mercy Chaplet (just half-kidding, but it is a good way to introduce him to it in a non-threatening way to his indoctrination.

      And that brings up another thing, his indoctrination. He has been brain washed, so you have to be very careful to be a great Catholic all the time so his preconceived notions will start to implode. I read a lot of conversion stores that started with the faith and devotion of Sisters or others breaking down the wall of resitance.

      and again, Pray.

      Let him see you pray, especially the 3 o’clock prayer and chaplet of Divine Mercy, remembering the suffering and death of Our Lord at that time. If he truly loves Jesus, that will put a ‘bug in his ear’.

      and Pray.

  • kennyg357

    Oh, I don’t know. It all sounds good on paper but if the Catholic Church was truly lead into all truth I don’t think it would embrace things such as Adam & Eve being created by God through a process of evolution or their souls were created but their bodies evolved. I think Jesus was pretty clear when he said “in the beginning, God created them…” He did not say when he breathed into them.

    We all, whether Catholic or Protestant interpret Scripture privately. You would not be in agreement with the Catholic Church if you did not agree with their interpretation of Scripture. I think when the Scripture says you are not to make a graven image or bow before it, the Catholic Church is in violation of this commandment according to my private interpretation of Scripture. You on the other hand, whether you admit it or not, privately interpret it to not include statues. If I am wrong then you are reduced to a mindless zombie. All you have done is choose a different denomination so to speak which you are in agreement with as I have in the Lutheran Church and that is OK according to your own Church teaching. You can point your finger at Luther, I could point mine at some of your Popes.

    Personally I do not think it matters if one is Catholic or Protestant, but if he is following the example Christ gave. I think we can agree hell will be filled with both Catholic and Protestant, do you think Heaven will be filled with both? I do.

    • Wesley Vincent

      Kenny, I broke your comment down into five different components and will try to answer each separately.

      First, the Catholic Church makes no specific claim about how Adam and Eve came into being because the Bible does not explain the mechanism. However, the Catholic Church does make it explicitly clear that all that is, visible and invisible, was created ex nihilo (out of nothing). Since the Catholic Church recognizes that all truth is God’s truth, then, as science proves things, science is proving God’s truth. By the way, just to be clear, science is nowhere near explaining how the universe came into being, let alone how any of life developed, despite what some evolutionists claim. Here is an excellent discussion of that topic (

      Second, you are correct, all of us join the group we believe teaches what we agree with. Yet, there is merely using one’s self as the barometer (Protestantism) or using reason to distinguish which claim of
      truth is most reasonable. Since most, if not all, Protestant denominations claim that much of Catholic teaching is due to Catholicism “going pagan” at the time of Constantine (AD325), it is of significance that Catholic doctrine existed before the time of Constantine as demonstrated by St. Ignatius’ writings (c.
      AD107), St. Clement I (c. AD88-97), Justin Martyr (AD100-165). The first two would have been students of the apostles, yet their writings are unmistakably Catholic in nature. If they taught wrong, then Christ was wrong that the Holy Spirit would protect the Church from error and lead the Church into all truth (Jn
      16:12-15). So, if we cannot trust the teaching of the disciples of the apostles, how can we trust anything, ever? In accepting Catholic doctrine, I did not accept what I liked, I would much rather live under “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for eternity” than to have to confess my sins face to face with my priest. Rather than accept what I liked or agreed with, I accepted what was demonstrably reasonable, scripturally consistent, internally consistent and, thus, most likely to be true. Sadly, all Protestant theologies are only made internally consistent by ignoring certain passages or entire sections of scripture. The beauty of Catholic doctrine is that it is consistent with a comprehensive reading of scripture and with Church teaching since the earliest written Christian material. Not a single Protestant denomination can make a similar claim. I would recommend that you read Born Fundamentalist –
      Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie.

      Third, you are absolutely correct that God forbid worshipping graven images. But, did God forbid the making of statues or is it possible he only forbid worshipping statues? God ordered Moses to create the bronze serpent to save the Israelites from the poisonous snakes and to build the Ark of the Covenant with two golden angels (statues) on the top. God ordered Solomon to build the temple with statues of angels and other figures throughout. That leads me to ask, if I kneel to pray with my Bible on the chair in front of me, am I worshipping the Bible or the Chair?, certainly not. Likewise, when I worship God by kneeling in front of a statue of God’s mother, an apostle or one of the martyrs of the Church, I am not committing idolatry. I am worshipping the triune God and honoring those whom he loves as members of the Son’s body. If we are forbidden to have statues, shouldn’t we also be forbidden to have pictures
      of Christ, crosses, crucifixes, picture Bibles…?

      Fourth, I don’t intend to point a finger at Luther. He probably was a much better Christian than me. I am pointing a finger at his, Calvin’s, and all Protestant doctrines; only the doctrines… not the people. Like
      you, I can point the finger at some of the popes, a number of recent bishops, (some who probably should be in jail for their handling, enabling and possibly participating in the sexual abuse of children), or point at some lousy priests and certainly, most appropriately, at myself for being a repetitive sinner. But,
      I am only pointing a finger at the many Protestant doctrines that are, like God’s creation, ex nihilo; never heard of during the first fifteen hundred years of Christianity. Faulty doctrines have led to many denominations ignoring blatantly clear moral teaching in scripture. I addressed this above in regard to one issue “once saved” versus the need to repent of subsequent sins to avoid losing one’s salvation. If the “once saved” theory is correct then the “repent of subsequent sins” crowd is covered. If “once saved” is false, then many of the “once saved” believers may be lost. Getting that doctrine correct is really, really, really important – because if I believe there is no need to repent subsequent sin (but
      there is, in fact, a need) I won’t even know I am in trouble.

      Fifth, I agree with you. Hell will be filled with lots of Catholics and Protestants. That leads me to point a finger again at some lousy leadership by certain popes, bishops and priests throughout history and point
      at Calvin’s double predestination/no human free will doctrine, Luther’s “I can commit adultery a hundred times a day and murder as many men and not lose my salvation” doctrine and modern evangelicalism’s “once saved – always saved – safe and secure for eternity” doctrine. Please forgive what sounds like sarcasm (such is not intended) but, with the Calvin, there is no reason for me to pay any attention to religion – it’s all in God’s hands. With the Luther – what can I say – “Whoopee”; with the third – I’ll just start trying on crowns. But note: despite the presence of some grievously sinful popes and/or heretical bishops and priests in the Catholic Church; the doctrine remains unchanged. When there is correct doctrine there is correction of error. When there is incorrect doctrine, there is no possibility of correction. The truth was, is and always will be present in the teaching of the Catholic Church. And the presence of correct doctrine is not there because the Church teaches it – it is there
      because the Church can only teach truth as per Christ’s assurance to the apostles that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth (Jn 16:16). So rather than move to a Church I ordained as correct, I moved to a Church that demands I change radically to conform to what is correct. By getting on the Catholic
      train, I moved from comfort to great discomfort. And while I am being bounced and slammed around, I know, at the very least, that I am on the train that started with the apostles, that still teaches the same Gospel and that is headed heavenward. We don’t know if it doesn’t matter if we are Protestant or
      Catholic. In fact, what I have come to realize is that it doesn’t matter what I think or believe. What matters is what God says matters. It was Christ who said, “I do not pray for these only [the Apostles], but also for those who believe in me through their word [all of us subsequent believers], that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn 17:20-21). As I said above, there is no more explicit condemnation of Protestant denominationalism than that last phrase.

      • Wesley Vincent

        Sorry about the awkwardness of the formatting; I don’t know what went wrong.

  • What a beautiful prayer and a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing, and welcome to our wonderful faith. 🙂

  • Julie

    I am currently a baptist. My father was a Baptist preacher. I do not understand what type of church you attended. How disappointing it is to see that you were so doctinally mislead. I have never attended a service where Mary was dismissed. We may not have a prayer to her or for her but by no means could any girl have picked up that mantle. As far as salvation, The Romans Road to salvation is spot on. Faith without works is dead but it is merely an indicator of your salvation. If salvation were based on subjective works, we would all be going to hell. Praise God it is not. Also, the idea that we do not know or recognize sin is absurd. I have never been to a church where the pastor or any leader was in open sin. It simply was not tolerated. One last thing,for the time you said you were a Baptist, I am surprised you learned nothing about Baptist history. If you had, you would not have referred to us over and over again as Protestant. Protestants are churches tha
    t broke away from the Catholic
    faith. Baptist were never part of the
    Catholic faith. I am Baptist and would Never refer to myself as Protestant. God is the only judge when it comes to issues of heaven and hell. He knows your heart. He knows

    • guest

      What? Who are you addressing in this reply?

    • Wesley Vincent

      I am aware of the Baptist claim that it was never part of the Catholic Church. Any historical analysis will clearly demonstrate that claim to be fabricated. There is no trail of tears or trail of blood of the “true” Christians (Baptists) back to the time of the apostles. The groups often pointed to as precursors to modern Baptists are heretical sects, one of which, depending on your Baptist source, is the Albigensians (i.e., Cathars). Please read up on that group to see if you want to claim them as one of your early ancestors in Christ. The fact is that Baptists hold to all of the foundational Protestant doctrines of sola scriptura, sola fide and perspicuity of scripture, thus, are Protestant. I am happy for you that you never heard Mary demeaned in your experience. You are very fortunate that the ministers in your past have held a higher view of Mary than is typically the case in many Baptist denominations. Have you never heard claims that Mary was not a perpetual virgin? Have you not heard claims that Mary, after Christ’s birth, had sexual relations with Joseph? Is it ever respectful to hold such a discussion about any Godly woman, let alone the Mother of God? I consider those discussions to be horrifyingly perverse and demeaning. The actual reason for my family’s last attendance at the Baptist congregation we were attending is that, once again, after many years away from the Baptist denomination, during the Christmas season (2007), the pastor reiterated virtually all those same criticisms of Mary I had heard as a child. How blessed I am to enjoy membership in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that has always recognized the uniqueness of our Blessed Mother.

    • Kaleb Lippert

      I am a former Baptist now Catholic this year. Baptists were part of the Church of England, and the English Church was with the Church of Holy Rome.

  • chesterlab

    I also had a similar journey, and after growing up Methodist, (my mother would NEVER step into a catholic church unless forced) and I was also raised with a negative mindset towards Catholicism, even though my father was formerly Greek Catholic and as a child I spent a lot of time in his family church where an aunt of mine sang in their choir.

    When I grew up and got married I went through a series of evangelical churches, always feeling empty, or missing something with every one I tried. They would all start out all right, and then they seemed to well, splinter, as the Catholics like to say. So I finally left the evangelicals and started to worship in the Episcopal church in the town were I was raising my kids at the time, still being dismissive of the Catholic church, but it was always in the back of my mind, The episcopal church was a truly historical and beautiful old, little church, made of stone, with a side altar, confessional and a statue of the blessed Mother. I looked at that statue with discomfort all the time too. but I found that I really loved the liturgy,and when the Episcopal church became apostate, our priest died and they unwisely brought in a female priest, which was a disaster. I could no longer bear to worship mass there. I think the blessed mother was making me uncomfortable on purpose!

    I started attending the Anglican break-a-way groups that began to form after the Episcopalian apostasy, but I found that they were always small, far away and unstable congregations, not unlike the evangelicals, and I was never satisfied with them either.

    After recalling my experiences at my dad’s church, I realized that I could no longer worship in anything but a liturgical church. So I began to pray and explore the possibility of converting to Catholicism, and after a few years of searching and a geographical move, I finally found what I was looking for all my life, and that was a traditional Latin mass church. It may not be old church slavonic like my dad’s church, but the Latin is truly beautiful and there is something about hearing a mass in Latin which fulfills me. I love to hear the priest say latin prayers, his blessings, all of it is beautiful. I am now almost done with my RCIA classes and I joined their choir, being the only Anglican, and I trip over my Latin pronunciations (I sound too American) but they have welcomed me because I love their church and I love to sing their ancient music. I am learning Gregorian chant and polyphony and It is truly an honor to be able to participate in the mass by answering the priest’s chants with that call and response of the mass, and I never tire of it. The Gregorian chant is supernatural, incidentally, and anyone who wants a truly “spirit filled” church experience will find it among the traditional Catholics.
    Thank you for your story, Dr. Vincent!

    • Wesley Vincent

      Welcome to the Church Christ established that is represented in every culture, nation and race; the one and only universal, catholic, Church. God bless.

      • chesterlab

        Thank you, dr Vincent. God bless you as well!

    • Bob

      Jesus is the Way. Catholic or Protestant. Jesus is the Way.
      Don’t limit God’s power with religion. Religion is mans best effort to improve on God’s plan of salvation. I know what it is like to be lost and I know what it is like to be spiritually awakened. My first true prayer was “God if you are real please help me”. He is and He did. I wound up at the foot of the Cross not at a church door.

      • chesterlab

        I’m sorry. I get sick of people who say “you don’t need church. You worship in your own way”. Christ instructed the apostles on how to evangelize and then set up the church. If you don’t like the RC chuch, check out the armenian apostolic church which developed apart from the western church. Yet it is remarkably similar. The Armenians have been Christians for more than 1700 years-and were a Christian nation prior to emperor constantine’s conversion. ALL Christians need a church, period. The church and its believers make up the body of Christ.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well shucks, chesterlab, which one is it? You claim that you’re…”sick of people who say they don’t need church”… (not that’s it’s any of your business anyway, you’re no one’s judge-are you? [Read Romans 14th chapter.], and then you proceed to direct the readers of this site to TWO different churches, the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is, according to you, “remarkably similar”(just 300 years short?)—I mean, seriously:what the what are you talking about??-I also noticed in your long discourse NOT ONCE DID YOU MENTION WHO JESUS WAS/IS TO YOU, or what place, IF ANY, He has in your life.It’s apparent you value”religion”over relationship. Sad.

          • chesterlab

            Duh, Jesus is the basis for the Catholic faith, in case you didn’t notice. I get the impression you aren’t a liturgical christian, so It’s sad that you are so ignorant of what the liturgical church believes. And it’s as much my business to comment on what I see taking place in the world as what others -like you-have to say about what they think I believe. You can think whatever you want. It’s your soul and you have free will.

            • Wesley Vincent

              Bob and Lawrence, 1John 2:19 says “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.” Protestants went out from and rejected the only Church that had existed since the time of Christ. Christ established “His Church” Mt 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” He did not establish “a bunch of competing denominations.”

              • chesterlab

                And they just keep splintering and splintering too…

  • Christopher Binkowski

    “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of
    darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that
    darkness!” Matthew 6:23. Be careful that the truths you cling to are from the Lord, and not from the traditions of men.

    • Wesley Vincent

      Christopher, That is what is so wonderful about being a member of the Church Christ established and gave authority to interpret scripture. What was so hard for me, and many others who have entered the Church, was to recognize that, rather than Catholic doctrine being “the traditions of men” it is the 30,000+ Protestant denominations that represent the traditions of men. Christ commissioned the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church to be His chosen shepherd of the flock John 21:15-17.

  • veronica c. fernando

    While reading your testimony as a former protestant, there was a fire burning in me, my heart felt a mix emotions. To realize the role of Mama Mary in the History of Salvation is a blessing. And I’m so happy that you and your family finally made it. I know that you are a man of wisdom, but he Holy Spirit leads you to discover the truth. May you be an instrument of God in transforming other non Catholic to the only one true church established by our Lord Jesus Christ, the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.

    • Wesley Vincent

      Thank you for your kind comments. What joy there is to be part of the only Church Christ established. It strikes me as so profound that there are individual congregations that consider themselves to be the only true church but they are neither represented in most towns, nor counties, nor states/provinces, nor countries and certainly not on every continent nor with members from every race, tribe, culture, nationality, etc. While I cannot speak to any Catholic Church on the continent of Antarctica, the universal/catholic Church has existed in every nation, race, tribe, culture for close to two thousand years teaching the same Gospel as it did two thousand years ago. God bless.

  • Judith Sears

    I’m coming to this discussion quite late – just saw the Coming Home episode this evening. I am so happy for Dr. Vincent and his family.

    I wanted to mention – I was raised in the Church of the Nazarene and am a Catholic convert. As I listened to your testimony, there was much I identified with, but also some differences. It underscored your point about the differences between congregations depending on pastors, regions, etc.

    My father was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene his entire life. I grew up in Oklahoma. We certainly had altar calls and sometimes people, after coming to the altar and praying (and being prayed for), would give a testimony, but they might or might not make reference to whatever sin they had felt that caused them to go to the altar. This was not viewed by us as “confessing.” It was, as I said, a testimony. They might make only the most general reference to whatever issue had been on their heart and in the context of how they felt God had answered their prayer at the altar and their faith and conviction reinvigorated.

    But, the basic principal was the same: it was understood that salvation could be lost and Christians must stay responsive to the Holy Spirit to stay in the grace of God.

    Also: a modest amount of make-up and jewelry was allowed.

    I have always heard the “age of reason” as occurring around the age of 7, not 12, and I don’t think that’s a Nazarene thing. Be that as it may, I was baptized around the age of 8 or 9, after having “accepted Christ as my Savior” at family devotions. I asked to be baptized, no one pressed it on me or even mentioned it. Baptism was a symbol, that’s it.

    We also rarely had communion. Maybe not even once a year. Another symbol.

    I never heard Mary “put down,” but I did hear a lot of ‘Catholics worship Mary’ stuff and of course, she and Joseph had other children. Of course.

    As you talked about the preacher who said, “It could have been any teen-aged girl,” I realized how misogynist this is, in spirit. Mary as a person has no role, no dignity, no vocation, she just gives physical birth and can be discarded. Really demeaning of womanhood and the basic vocations of women and mothers.

    At any rate, I enjoyed hearing your talk and rejoice that you and your family found Christ’s Church.

    • Wesley Vincent

      Welcome to the Church. Thank you for your comments and your different experiences. Besides Nazarene and Baptist, we attended several different denominations, but all were fundamentalist/evangelical and, sadly enough, tended to have a very anti Catholic and anti Mary tendency. I think that perspective was sought by my parents as consistent with their upbringing.

  • BEE

    Loved your story on “The Journey Home” and the more complete story on this website. Reading the last line about your son Sean an Force Officer – as the mother of two retired military {one a LT Col. in the Air Force} I will add him to my prayer list. God Bless

    • Wesley Vincent

      Thank you for your prayers for Sean

  • Wendy B. Beniahan

    I salute you three for the courage to be converted to the Catholic church. I am a Catholic all my life, but reading your story made me realize that there are a lot of things I need to know about the Catholic faith.

  • Allah is the Arabic word for God but you’re not going to hear someone Christian say in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit etcetera etcetera that are Arab. Although Arab Christians do use the name. a little confusing about Buddha though since Buddhist don’t usually even consider him a god

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