I joined the Catholic Church, as an Evangelical, at what I’ve come to recognize as a tumultuous time—for both “us” and “them.”
I became a Catholic, after a long journey, partly because of the Catholic Church’s solid foundation, its strong footing, its rootedness. So it’s a touch strange to see, around me, my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters lamenting the impending collapse of the Holy Catholic Church—its demise at the hands of the theologically and morally liberal.
Those slippery snakes. They’ve got an agenda.
But, OK, I understand. I felt the same sense of impending doom as an Evangelical; I felt the same nostalgia for when we used to be so confident in our beliefs, so sure of our interpretations of the Scriptures, and so willing to stand steadfastly in defense of them.
But the times they are a’changin’.
As an Evangelical, I watched many of the things that I held to be true, that most of us held to be true, slowly erode over time. In some cases, actually, it happened in a flash.
When I committed my life to Christ, in a fiery and dramatic moment of conversion as an angsty teenager, I would’ve been hard-pressed to find an Evangelical church that would’ve support a non-traditional view of marriage. It was, fifteen years ago, nearly unthinkable.
I would’ve have a hard go of it, likewise, to find anyone in my broadly Evangelical circles, even 6 or 7 years ago, who would’ve come out in support of changing what “marriage” meant.
Even five years ago.
But the ground beneath the feet of the Evangelical Church began to shift.
And there are a myriad of other shifts too (and not all social-moral).
Suffice to say, as an Evangelical I felt my solid foundation start to shift, and crumble, and I looked to something more sturdy.
See, that’s the difficulty with a faith rooted in Sola Scriptura, I quickly learned. When everyone can bring their own interpretation to Scripture, then everyone can interpret it their own way.
But what shook me, and ultimately shoved me into the arms of Rome, were the echoing words of St. Paul.“Be in the world, not of the world.”
And of our Lord, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.”
Slowly, in my experience of Evangelicalism, my faith became cozy with the values of the world. It was no longer difficult to be a Christian; our moral norms aligned swimmingly with the shifting moral norms of the world. And that worked well. But I gradually began to see that as a compromise and in places where Scriptures were clear, we began to make difficult twists, turns, and contortions to make things fit (with the world).
It is not, I decided, generous and loving to accommodate each other’s feelings and points of view.
It is, ultimately, most loving to tell the Truth.
And so I became Catholic.
Because in the Catholic Church is, I strongly believe, the last bastion of Truth.
G.K. Chesterton, my favourite Catholic convert, said it this way,
“The Catholic Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”
The Rock, I’ve called it before, in the shifting sea.
While the tumultuous waves lap at its shores—as they’ve always done, age to age, make no mistake—the Rock, the Lighthouse, stands firm.
It’s always been a compelling image to me.
But, I understand.
I understand the compulsion to worry that liberals are taking over the Church. I understand the fear that the Spirit of Vatican II will continue, unceasingly, to haunt the hallowed halls of our faith.
But understand this, too, that Jesus made a promise regarding our Church and so far, two-thousand years later, it seems pretty legit.
Things seem challenging, sometimes, inside our beautiful Catholic Church but, guys, don’t worry. It’s far worse out there.
And, sure, maybe there are legions of infiltrators within our ranks trying to bring the Church down around our ears. Maybe there are vast and sweeping conspiracies but there is, also, the most effective conspirator we could fathom.
The Holy Spirit.
And although his saintly reign pre-dates my time in the Church it seems like the ultimate mic drop in terms of our present situation, and a prophetic echo down through the ages: Be not afraid.