Over the past twelve months, we at the Coming Home Network have worked to put out some of the best online content possible to help our members and readers grow closer to Christ. As 2017 comes to a close, we’ve compiled the top ten most visited personal stories, articles, and features we published this year, so you can revisit some of your favorite pieces, and hopefully share them with others who might benefit from them. Here they are, in order of popularity:
Why should Christians care what the Early Church Fathers have to say? Mike Aquilina reminded us that the same world that produced the New Testament also produced a number of saints, many of whom were devoted to the study, teaching and application of the Word of God. In order to better understand how we should read the Bible, it’s important to get to know those first generations of Christians who were engaging the words of Scripture before they were even compiled together as a book.
This Fall, we began publishing a 12-part series with former Presbyterian pastor Dr. Norman McCrummen, in which he shared some of the main reasons that he decided to leave a career in ministry to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. Addressing topics such as the Eucharist, Mary, the Communion of Saints, and the impact of history, Dr. McCrummen’s take is both a personal and a practical exploration of the reasons committed Christians from a variety of denominational backgrounds find themselves drawn to the Catholic Church.
“My quest to stump the Catholic Church turned into a desire to become a part of it.”
Nathan Wigfield was active in his Christian faith growing up, and while he had a few family members who were Catholic, he always saw it as a ritualistic religion with no real life in it. However, his mother, who had been raised Catholic, used to take him as a child to Good Friday services at the local parish. That early experience of reverence and awe in the liturgy stuck with him, and caused him to have an ongoing curiosity about the Catholic Church.
Don Johnson was active in evangelistic outreach to nonbelievers, and the more they challenged him on doctrine, the more he began to research and learn about his positions on salvation, justification, and the Church. As he found himself defending the Bible, his interpretations of it started to come into conflict with some members of his nondenominational congregation, which left him wondering who had the true authority to interpret scripture. That line of questioning led him to an in-depth study of Christian history, and eventually opened his heart and mind to the claims of the Catholic Church.
Though strong in her Mormon faith through college, the more Kendra Clark read the Bible, the more she began to doubt some of the teachings of the Latter Day Saints that she’d believed her whole life. She tried to conceal these doubts, but when her son went on an LDS mission to Poland and began to question Mormonism himself after meeting so many committed and faithful Polish Catholics, more of her questions about the Latter Day Saints started to bubble up to the surface. This, plus a series of dramatic life events, were part of a long process that eventually led Kendra to discern a call to enter the Catholic Church.
Many of us have been approached by our well-meaning Protestant brothers and sisters and asked whether or not we’re “saved.” For Catholics, this can be a difficult thing to answer, because it’s often difficult to understand what exactly is meant by the question. Employing his trademark clarity and wit, Dr. Paul Thigpen broke down what our non-Catholic brothers and sisters are asking, and provided Biblical support and handy examples to help us better articulate the relationship between faith, obedience and perseverance that makes up the Catholic understanding of salvation.
We made available a number of our Deep in History talks this year in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In one of those talks from our 2005 conference, popular Catholic author and speaker Kimberly Hahn took a look at the effects of the Reformation on the understanding of vocation in Western Christianity – especially its impact on the understanding of marriage and celibacy. Hahn also looked at how the individualism and relativism that accompanied the Reformation’s fallout have led to a gradual and ongoing erosion of the traditional family. A must watch!
David Shawkan was born Muslim, and grew up in Iraq. His family didn’t have much of a place for Jesus in their devotional life, but he remembers that his mother had a special love for Mary, and even carried a rosary. While David was working away from home, war broke out in Iraq. He returned to his community to find chaos, terrorism, and constant threats against him and his family because of his work as a US contractor. When he was finally able to flee the violence and get his family settled in the United States, he began to ask deeper questions about faith. Who was this God who had been watching over his family and protecting them through so much instability and danger?
In our 2nd most popular article of 2017, Br. Rex Anthony Norris, who serves as a Spiritual Advisor to The Coming Home Network, looked at the role of Spiritual Directors in the lives of believers. What is a Spiritual Director’s main purpose? What should you expect in a Spiritual Direction session? What are some ways to go about finding the right Spiritual Director? It’s a handy article, worth printing out and sharing!
500 years removed from the Reformation, many myths, legends, and misunderstandings about it persist. What was Martin Luther’s argument with the Catholic Church? Why did his efforts lead to so much division and conflict? What reforms actually took place within the Church? Did Luther and the other Reformers accomplish their goal of purifying Christianity, or did they end up causing more problems than they set out to solve? In a 6 part series, Ken Hensley explored how technology, individualism, corruption in the Church and a number of other factors led to the Reformation, and offers some concise historical insights into Luther and other Protestants who broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century. Ken’s series, which was our most popular feature of 2017, is also available as a FREE eBook download at chnetwork.org/reformation.
As you can see, 2017 was another year jam-packed with great articles, conversion stories, and videos to share, and the list above only scratches the surface of what we were up to! We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for our staff and members for 2018. Please be sure to visit us often in the new year, and invite your friends to see some of the exciting things that are always going on at chnetwork.org!