Question for Catholics About Conversion from Evangelicalism

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isaachunter
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Question for Catholics About Conversion from Evangelicalism

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Post by isaachunter »

If a Protestant (Baptist maybe, or even a confused Reformed) decided they were needed to convert from Evangelicalism to Catholicism, mainly because of their perceived call to the solitary vocation (which is not accepted in Protestant/Evangelical Churches):

1. What would be the steps in this process of conversion? Are they automatically accepted or are there tests, etc?

2. What Catholic doctrines or theological/beliefs would be considered essential or non-negotiable to become Catholic (most specifically: transubstantiation, confession, veneration of Mary or the saints, acceptance of the pope as the final authority of the church, acceptance of Church tradition as the final authority of interpretation of the Bible, and can a Catholic convert still hold to Sola Fide)? Basically, could someone convert to Catholicism while still maintaining some or all of their protestant theology? Or would this be grounds for rejection or non-admittance?

3. Are there within Catholicism a diversity of beliefs held by members (i.e. on end times, types of gifts, evangelism), such as in Protestant denominations, or does everyone pretty much believe the same tenets across the board?

4. If there are any protestant to Catholic converts answering, how is being a Catholic different from being an evangelical? How has your life changed since conversion? What parts of Catholicism drew you and has post-conversion been what you'd hoped (Likewise, anyone who went from Catholicism to Protestantism, please provide the same answers to this question if you like)?

5. How important is the attendance of Mass for Catholics (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)? Is it an essential (if you don't attend local mass you are not Catholic)? Is there a lot of interaction with others during Mass? Can non-Catholics attend Mass (to see what it's like)? If so, is there any particular protocol?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

IH

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Re: Question for Catholics About Conversion from Evangelicalism

Post #2

Post by RightReason »

[Replying to isaachunter in post #1]
If a Protestant (Baptist maybe, or even a confused Reformed) decided they were needed to convert from Evangelicalism to Catholicism, mainly because of their perceived call to the solitary vocation (which is not accepted in Protestant/Evangelical Churches):
A solitary vocation is not accepted in Protestant/Evangelical churches? What could stop a person from being contemplative? Anyway, I will go on to respond to your questions . . .

1. What would be the steps in this process of conversion? Are they automatically accepted or are there tests, etc?
There aren’t written tests if that is what you mean. But there is a process of conversion to make sure the person understands what it is they are committing too, also to help answer any unanswered questions and to educate the person even further on what it is the Church teaches. The program is called RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). It’s typically a year process.

I would also like to add it would be both weird and wrong for a person to become a Catholic if in fact he/she did not accept the teachings of the Church. So, a person shouldn’t become a Catholic simply because he/she likes the music or the Church offers some group or order the person thinks they would be happy in.

However, it is also important to point out a person need not wait until they fully and completely understand everything before becoming a Catholic. One’s understanding of the faith is a continual journey and we should be expecting to learn new and deeper truths our whole lives.

2. What Catholic doctrines or theological/beliefs would be considered essential or non-negotiable to become Catholic (most specifically: transubstantiation, confession, veneration of Mary or the saints, acceptance of the pope as the final authority of the church, acceptance of Church tradition as the final authority of interpretation of the Bible, and can a Catholic convert still hold to Sola Fide)? Basically, could someone convert to Catholicism while still maintaining some or all of their protestant theology? Or would this be grounds for rejection or non-admittance?
Depends what Protestant theology they want to hold onto. Some Protestant theology overlaps with Catholic theology. Protestants believe in Baptism as well as the Trinity. Someone joining the Catholic Church would not have to fully understand the mystery of transubstantiation, but he/she should accept the Church’s teaching regarding the Holy Eucharist and abide by the rules regarding proper reception of the Holy Eucharist. The same would be said of Confession. While a person joining the Church might not fully appreciate the truth of this beautiful sacrament, he/she would have to be willing to accept that the Church requires all Catholics to at least go to Confession once a year. If they are unable to agree to that, they should not become Catholic. And there have been many a Protestant turned Catholic convert who did not come to love our Mother Mary and full appreciate Marian doctrine until after they were Catholic. There is no requirement to pray the Rosary, but typically people come to see the beauty, wisdom, and efficacy in doing so.
3. Are there within Catholicism a diversity of beliefs held by members (i.e. on end times, types of gifts, evangelism), such as in Protestant denominations, or does everyone pretty much believe the same tenets across the board?
There is huge diversity within Catholicism regarding people having different gifts and being attracted to different styles/orders. Some are attracted to the charismatic movement. Some are attracted to more traditional or even Latin rites, some Catholics feel at home in Jesuit orders who seem to focus more on social justice, others prefer Benedictine, where education is emphasized. But all of these different groups believe in the same tenets of the faith. So, your example of differing views of end times wouldn’t cut it, unless the person admits he/she is speaking speculatively and not something the Church teaches. There is room for different theological views and dialogue as long as all parties admit their view is not necessarily confirmed by the Church. And it certainly couldn’t be condemned by the Church.

4. If there are any protestant to Catholic converts answering, how is being a Catholic different from being an evangelical? How has your life changed since conversion? What parts of Catholicism drew you and has post-conversion been what you'd hoped (Likewise, anyone who went from Catholicism to Protestantism, please provide the same answers to this question if you like)?
I am not a Catholic convert, rather I consider myself a Catholic re-vert. I was born into the faith, but wasn’t properly catechized and did not understand the faith until after college. At that time, I came back to the Church and it completely changed my life. It changed how I see myself and how I see others. The Sacraments of regular Confession and reception of the Holy Eucharist have given me greater peace and joy than I ever thought possible. To this day I find myself still discovering and learning new things and saying to myself, “How did I never know this before?”, “How does everyone not know this!”, “This stuff is incredible!”

If you are contemplating looking further into the Catholic Church, I strongly encourage you to do so. I truly believe it is the Church established by Jesus Christ Himself. History itself reveals this. Only the Catholic Church can trace her roots back to Jesus Christ Himself and the appointing of the first Pope, Peter, and an unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession ever since. Christ promised to remain with His Church and Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Only Catholic priests have been given the power to forgive sins on Christ’s behalf and to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is the Catholic Church who gave us the Bible. If you trusted her to do that, then you should trust her to have the authority to interpret it. Nothing else makes sense.

5. How important is the attendance of Mass for Catholics (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)?
The mass is essential as it is where we receive the Word of God as well as His literal Body & Blood. Every mass has readings from the OT and NT as well as proverbs and psalms. If you attend the mass for 3 years, you will have received the Bible in its entirety. Nothing is left out. Unlike, attending Baptists or Lutheran or Methodist churches where Pastor Paul can pretty much choose whatever Bible passages he may personally feel like emphasizing and leave out those he doesn’t.

The beginning of every mass starts with the parishioners asking for forgiveness for their sins. The mass has entire sections on just giving glory and praise to God. There is also a part of the mass to ask God for our needs and concerns and parts to pray for others. There are parts to hear Him speaking directly to us through Scripture, as well as a priest offering practical advice and understanding in a homily. The mass of course includes the perfect prayer, The Our Father, and culminates with the re-presentation of Christ on calvary, where He as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, dies for us and gives us His Body. He tells us in Scripture, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life in you.” Catholics take Him at His word!

Is it an essential (if you don't attend local mass you are not Catholic)?
A Catholic is expected to attend mass every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. Daily mass is encouraged but not required.

Is there a lot of interaction with others during Mass?
Only in the sense that we are all coming together as a community to give glory and honor to God. The mass is not meant to be like a BBQ or pot luck. It is a time to give our attention to God. There are many activities/social things after mass where Catholics can go to converse with others, but the mass is not the place for that.

Can non-Catholics attend Mass (to see what it's like)? If so, is there any particular protocol?
Of course! Come. All are welcome. Come and soak it all in. You can participate in every aspect of the mass except reception of Holy Communion. Because reception of Holy Communion means you are part of the Catholic Community and accept and believe her teachings. Catholics also teach that the Holy Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Christ, so if you like other Christian denominations believe, it is merely symbolic, we ask that you not receive. Scripture tells us this as well . . .

“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

“For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” -1 Corinthians 11


Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.
Thank you for your awesome questions. Hope they mean you are looking into the Catholic Church 😊

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