Holding Open The Door
I'm Ed The Protestant. For now. Greg Smith (creator of Considering Catholicism) has invited me to not only consider the Catholic faith, but to record our (already ongoing) conversations for his podcast. You can follow my walk toward Catholicism on the podcast, and here on the blog.
Before I seriously considered Catholicism, I was looking at it and thinking that maybe some of it might be okay. I was worn out on the super-casual feeling in Evangelical churches, so the stateliness and weightiness of the Catholic mass looked inviting.
But I was still looking for a way to find all that in the Protestant world. I looked into the Anglican Church and thought at first it might hold some promise. I checked out the website of the one Anglican Church in town, and they proudly announced that their minister was a Lesbian and then spent a paragraph talking about her cat. So that lasted all of three minutes.
I had to admit, finally, that I was looking for a way into the Catholic Church that didn't violate what I assumed to be the truth of Christianity as expressed in Protestantism. I was having no luck. I kept bumping up against praying to saints, Mother Mary, lots of things I just KNEW weren't right.
My worldview would not allow them. We, the Protestants, were following the Bible, I thought, so we had THAT going for us. But I could also see that among Protestants there was much disagreement about what the Bible said. I mean, a LOT. There was this sort of desperate, ongoing pressure to find out what the Bible REALLY meant. I began to see that this uneasy search for the meaning of Scripture went all the way back to Martin Luther, and branched out from there. Endless searching, never finding. If the Protestants were going to find it, settle it, they would have by now.
And then about a year and a half ago Greg said something that broke the logjam for me. "How do you think the early church grew so much without a Bible to read?" This was a question I had considered, but I'd never found an answer. Greg supplied the answer: the Apostles and those that succeeded them passed the knowledge down. These were the Church Fathers, and they handed down their leadership as time passed. And here was the kicker: THEN came scripture.
In other words, the Bible didn't create the church--it was the other way around. It had to be, because it was these men that wrote the Bible. So the truths of Christianity were first known by a small group of men, and then passed down.
This was undeniable to me, and opened the door to accept what I now know as Apostolic Tradition. With the door held open by this one revelation, the rest of the Five Solas of Protestantism quickly fell. Greg's taking down of my Only Scripture worldview now held the door open to consider the rest of what Catholicism believed. If the early Christians, the Fathers of the faith believed something, shouldn't I be considering it too?
Greg and Cory explore this more here, in the podcast. In my opinion this is FANTASTIC stuff.