The Best Preparation

In Catholic, Christianity on March 24, 2011 at 8:37 am

What is the best preparation for becoming a Catholic Christian?  One might answer, “The combination of Catholic schools and catechesis that existed in the U.S. during the first six decades of the twentieth century.” And certainly this system resulted in strong formation of young people who became Godly, productive Christian adults.

But I would argue for a second path—and one that may be followed more frequently in the twenty-first century: conversion of well-studied evangelicals, and even fundamentalists. How might one support this assertion?

Once a student of the Bible sees the scriptural basis for “the one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic Church,” then the depth of that person’s Bible knowledge and the seriousness of their struggle for sanctity become strong anchors in the Church. Even anti-creedal Christians don’t ignore Ephesians 4:5—”One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” They just say that true Church is invisible.

So, when a Christian seeking authority, sacramental grace, transcendent worship, aids to holiness, and biblical unity arrives at the door of the Church founded by Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:15-19), only a short step remains to cross the threshold. That step usually involves overcoming a lack of information, or misinformation, about the Church.

For example, most evangelical or fundamental Christians don’t realize that their baptism—if performed with water, and in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit—is regarded as valid by the Church, not to be repeated. That would not be true for a Catholic Christian entering some protestant assemblies. One might ask which group takes the scriptures more seriously?  But the point is not to be contentious. The point is to get beyond caricatures of each other.

All Christians should rejoice in the many fine schools and religious assemblies that continued to teach God’s Word faithfully during the decades of infatuation with modernism. I regret the misunderstandings I was taught in such places, about the Church, but I trust those who taught misinformation honestly imagined it to be true, even while I wish they had more adequately investigated their assertions. But we only know what we have been taught—and perhaps nothing ever challenged them to question their lifelong denominational affiliation.

Are you uncomfortable with your present Christian experience? The best preparation for your next steps may have been from the least likely starting point. “Seek, and you shall find”¹ . . . the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church: Christianity Richly.

¹ Luke 11:9-13

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