BIBLE CONVERTS PROTESTANT TO CATHOLIC FAITH
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at the age of eighteen, I began for the first time in my life to read the Bible with eagerness and interest. I'd come into a new relationship of faith and love with Christ, and it was in the pages of Scripture that I could learn what I needed to know about Him. I spent an entire summer reading the New Testament from cover to cover. Truths sprang out at me; insights, rivers of wisdom flowed from the pages. I was surprised to find Scripture so gripping. "That's because of the Holy Spirit," I was told by the friend who had led me to the Lord. "He's within you now, revealing what the Word of God means."
For the next ten years, as I worshiped at a variety of different churches, the Bible remained the touchstone of my faith in Christ. All that I needed to believe as a Christian could be found in the Bible; it was my sole authority in matters of belief, and I found it to be totally reliable. I read the Bible many times during those years and became very familiar with large portions of it. I loved the Bible, because it was in the Bible that God's will could be discovered, the answer to every one of life's questions. Scripture nourished my Christian life, helped me to grow spiritually, and drew me closer to Christ. And ultimately it was Scripture that convinced me of the truth of Catholicism.
When a close friend announced that she was becoming a Catholic, I was appalled. As far as I was concerned, the Catholic Church was a vast, mysterious organization which was only doubtfully Christian and full of erroneous, non-essential teachings contrary to the Bible. I couldn't understand why anyone with true faith in Christ and a living relationship with Him would ever become a Catholic, so I decided to find out. And where to look for answers? In the Bible, where else?
My attitude was that of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who, when Paul came to them preaching the gospel, "received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." The Catholic Church proposed certain doctrines to me as true; like the Bereans, I would examine Scripture concerning these doctrines to determine whether or not they actually were true. If Catholic doctrines didn't agree with Scripture, they could safely be rejected. I had no doubt that I would find this to be the case.
The Bible doesn't say how long it took the Bereans to discover that Paul's teaching agreed with Scripture, with the result that "many of them therefore believed." For me it took five years. I researched the teachings of Catholicism in the light of Scripture, always relying on the Bible as my sole authority in determining truth, and in the end I found that Catholic doctrine is indisputably Scriptural. Having discovered this, I had to go on behaving like a Berean. Scripture had shown me that Catholicism is true, and I believed.
Scripture convinced me of the truth of all Catholic teaching, but nowhere was it more persuasive than in the matter of the Eucharist as the true Body and Blood of Christ. As a Protestant, I believed that when Christ spoke in John 6 of giving us His flesh to eat, He was speaking in symbolic, not literal terms. "Eating His flesh" was figurative language for "believing in Him," I thought. Scripture itself showed me that this belief is unscriptural. All my training as a Protestant had been to read the Bible literally, to take the words of Scripture at face value, without trying to "interpret" them in any way. Christ told us that He would give us His true flesh to eat. At the Last Supper, He held up bread and said, "This is My Body." Reading these things in the Bible, I asked myself, "If the Bible is to be taken literally and not symbolically, why not here, too?" It seemed clear to me that if Christ told us His flesh was real food (John 6:55), we could safely assume that He meant what He said.
I have been a Catholic now for six years. As a Catholic, what is my attitude toward the Bible? I loved the Bible when I was a Protestant; it was God's own Word and in it I found all the treasures of His wisdom. I relied on it to guide me into truth. Now that I am a Catholic, I love the Bible still more, if that is possible, for in addition to all that it was to me as a Protestant, I see it now for what it truly is a Catholic book, belonging essentially to the Catholic Church.
Scripture itself showed me where to look if I wanted to discover what doctrines are true. It guided me to "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)
(Lois Day is a homemaker in Northern Virginia. She teaches New Testament Greek and is on officer in the Legion of Mary.)