In this apologetics classic David Currie recounts his conversion story. He also outlines what convinced him of the Catholic truth. From Real Presence to Authority to the Papacy and Salvation. Each chapter describes how his thinking changed from the Evangelical mindset to the truly biblical Catholic teaching.
I love reading conversion stories. They are so unique and personal yet at the same time they follow a very specific pattern. The Catholic Church is always misunderstood at the beginning. Once the person gives the Church a chance, and evaluates its teaching there is no going back. Protestantism in its many forms always needs to pick and chose different bible passages to justify their position. Only in the Catholic Church the bible becomes fully alive.
Few quotes from the book:
Catholics agree with Evangelicals that justification is by faith but not that it is by faith alone—works continue the justification after faith has begun it. Catholics agree with Evangelicals that justification has a starting point at a moment in time but not that justification ends at that moment in time: it continues throughout life. Some Evangelicals have likened Catholic justification to Evangelical justification and sanctification rolled up into one. A Catholic would respond that justification is not complete without complete sanctification: “Justification entails the sanctification of [man’s] whole being” (CCC 1995).
Catholics unashamedly start with the Gospels and base their soteriology on Jesus’ teachings. They look at all the rest of the New Testament as an expansion on Jesus, which must be understood in the light of his teachings. Evangelicals start their study of soteriology with the Pauline epistles. They relegate all the rest of the Bible to being a footnote to Paul, including the teaching of Jesus. This may sound like a harsh generalization, but a check of the Evangelical literature bears this out. This approach to Scripture bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to the Marcionite heresy. Marcion was a second-century Gnostic who relegated most of the New Testament and all of the Old Testament to second-place status under ten Pauline epistles. He also taught that people of the Old Testament lived under an entirely different spiritual economy from people of the New Testament. (That will sound more than vaguely familiar to many Evangelicals, particularly dispensationalists and hyper-dispensationalists.) Because Marcion led the first major split in the Church, Polycarp (a disciple of the apostle John) called him “the firstborn of Satan”. Thankfully, the heresy later exhausted itself.
When one starts with the gospel of Jesus, I believe it is inevitable that a Catholic view of salvation will be developed. We are saved by grace, justified by faith and works. Separate the faith from the works, and it dies. We can take no credit for our salvation, because both the faith and the works are a result of God’s grace being operative in our lives. God has ordained that this is the method by which we merit salvation. He might have ordained a different way instead, but Scripture teaches us he did it this way.
They ask people, “When you die, and Jesus asks you at the gates of heaven, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ What will you say?” What a question! Jesus nowhere implies that judgment will be a quiz in which the correct answer gets you in and the wrong one forces you out. Perhaps someone has been watching too many game shows on television. “Wheel of Fortune” has nothing to do with entering heaven. Entrance to heaven is preceded by a judgment: a judgment of what we have done in our lives. The criterion in every judgment scene in the New Testament is works: ”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father” (Mt 7:21; see also Jn 5, Mt 23, Rev 22, and 1 Cor 3).