Three stages of conversion

This is an exerpt from a great book by Dale Ahlquist, All Roads: Roamin’ Catholic Apologetics:

23448315Chesterton describes the three stages a convert goes through. The first is deciding to be fair to the Catholic Church. But there is no being fair to it. You are either for it or against it. When you stop being against it, you find yourself being drawn towards it. Then comes the second step, the fun one. It is learning about the Catholic Church, which is like exploring an exotic country full of strange new animals and flowers that you had never imagined existed. It is fun because there is no commitment, and you can run away anytime you want. Which is what the third step is: running away. You do everything you can to avoid becoming Catholic. You know it is the right Church, and you will not admit it, because admitting it means changing your life forever. Your head is convinced, but your heart is still trying to talk you out of it.

One by one, I had dealt with each of my Baptist objections to Catholicism. Any good Baptist is raised with a subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle anti-Catholicism. The Baptist way could almost be described as a point-by-point reaction against and rejection of Catholicism. We rejected the Pope, the priest, the Eucharist, celibacy, saints, confession, crucifixes, and so on. We identified ourselves by the name of a sacrament we also rejected. Though we insisted on “believer’s baptism” and full immersion, we also insisted that it had absolutely no effect on a person whatsoever. It was merely a symbol. The Bible was our final authority in all matters, and we were quite convinced that the Catholic Church deliberately kept its members from reading the Bible in order to keep them ignorant and malleable—which is quite a trick, especially if you can do it for two thousand years.

There is a major hole in the logic of those Christians who protest against the Catholic Church: you cannot use the authority of Scripture to attack the authority of the Church because it was the Authority of the Church that gave Scripture its authority. The hierarchy, the sacraments, the major doctrines of the Catholic Church were all well in place before the Biblical Canon was in place. Centuries in place. And of course it was the Church that authorized the Biblical Canon. Chesterton says he can understand someone looking at a Catholic procession, at the candles and the incense and the priests and the robes and the cross and the scrolls, and saying “It’s all bosh.” But what he cannot understand is anyone saying, “It’s all bosh—except for the scrolls.” The Protestants took the scrolls and walked out of the sanctuary. They left the Church behind. It was a surprise to learn that the Catholic Church, in spite of its reputation among Baptists, is intensely scriptural. Ironically, at any Catholic Mass you will hear far more scripture than at any Baptist service. And it was also my observation that every Protestant sect at some point simply disregards certain Scriptures that are not convenient to its own teachings.

Ahlquist, Dale (2014-10-01). All Roads: Roamin’ Catholic Apologetics (Kindle Locations 384-405). ACS Books. Kindle Edition.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Three stages of conversion

  1. Kara October 25, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    I think I need to read this book. This was pretty much my experience in its entirety. The fact that some branches of Protestantism lie about what the Church teaches actually made it easier for me to become Catholic. How could I trust what they were teaching when they could not even present their opponents argument with charity? I know that some internet people have been especially rude lately. That Mike Riccardi guy really seemed full of hate and did not treat you fairly. But people have rarely treated Christians fairly. I think there is some good in being persecuted; it reminds us of what our Lord suffered.

    I just really cannot understand how they can continue to think that they know more about what Catholics believe than actual Catholics do. I mean, if a Buddhist came up to me and told me I misunderstood Buddhism, I think I would give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s because all of their presuppositions depend on the Catholic Church being evil. After all, if the Church isn’t evil, then they have to reason to be a part from it. The early church fathers made this quite clear: when in doubt, follow your bishop.

    Anyway, thank you for your time and for your moral support on these forums.

    God Bless, Kara

    Liked by 1 person

  2. matthewdatura October 25, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    Thank you Kara. I am used to being treated badly, and I can be a bit irritating at times too. He deleted tons of my comments, it seems to be his way of dealing with objections. It is much easier to silence someone then to actually reply to them. I can understand that. Perhaps we are the first Catholics that ever challenged his odd set of believes. I don’t even want to argue with them. I just simply want them to state our believes correctly.

    Like

    • standridgejl October 28, 2015 / 9:04 am

      Hey man I’d love to chat with you. I’m sorry you felt like you were treated badly. I’d love to hear your perspective all the way through not limited to a comment board. How can we do this?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s