Wednesday, May 7, 2008


So here I am, wading into uncharted waters and really I am the only one that is understanding what is going on in my head and I really can't let anyone else know where I am going and what what I am thinking. I had no real idea what the repercussions would be in my life and how my family and my church would respond. In regard to Laura, I had confidence in her love for me and her commitment to our marriage, so I wasn't afraid that this could end our relationship but I did know that it would cause some issues so I chose to hide my thoughts from her as long as possible. I still was in a "discovery mode" at this time and was trying to discern between being enamored with what I was seeing and what if any truth the Catholic Church contained, but I was committed to find out what was drawing me and why, but where was I to start......discreetly. I remembered my buddy Stewart who had brought me the Catechism said that he had gotten it from a little Catholic bookstore around the corner. I had no idea about any Catholic bookstore, but I was about to find it as quick as I could. I still remember taking that lunch break and driving down the road to find the bookstore, Our Lady's Jubilee. I had no idea where it was and what to expect when I got there, but I had a good idea that what I was going to find was going to be a good bit different than the Lifeway and Family bookstores to which I had become accustomed. Come to find out the bookstore was within a mile from the dealership, which made this easy because I could get there and back in under 10 minutes; this left the better part of an hour to walk around and find out what was going on. Now I have always had a pretty "tame" personality and the only way that I can compare my first visit to this bookstore would be to compare it to what I think it would feel like to enter some type of "adult establishment" if you catch my drift. There is no way I would want ANYBODY to know that I was visiting this bookstore and I was really wishing that I had a trench coat and sunglasses right about now, but I didn't and all the sudden I had that feeling like I had to go to the bathroom....really bad. "Deep is is just a bookstore...nobody has to know yet." The lady greeted me with a smile and asked how she could help me, so I briefly informed her of my quandary, being that a Reformed Presbyterian in a Catholic bookstore was a little strange and uncomfortable. That is when I found a book that would literally change my life and solidify my move to the Roman Catholic Church. She explained to me in brief form about a book by
a gentleman by the name of Scott Hahn, who I had heard of before in my reading, but I really didn't put 2+2 together until now. Scott Hahn is very popular now within Catholic apologetic circles and is truly a part of a re-awakening that is taking place in re-catechising Catholics and explaining to Protestants in a concise and beautiful way what we as Catholics ACTUALLY believe. So I picked up the book knowing that I was on my way out of town in the next week or so.
Now remember, this all had gone on within a couple week period, from the death Pope John Paul II, so things for me were moving pretty quickly. At this time, Laura was planning to go out of town to Birmingham to see my family, which coinsided with a trip that I needed to make to Atlanta for a BMW training event so this was going to work out perfectly for me; I had planned it out in my head. I would leave Birmingham one morning early to go to my meeting, but I would stop off in Irondale at EWTN. That day was the morning that the conclave( was meeting to start the process of selecting a new Pope, so off I headed to Atlanta. Walking around I really didn't even know what I was looking at and there wasn't a whole lot there, but I spent most of my time in the bookstore, chapel and another meeting room that they had that had benches and Confessionals in it. I had already began reading the book and began to understand what was happening. After I left EWTN I decided to call my buddy Stewart (which by the way resulted in an enormous cell phone bill for that month) and inform him of where I was heading.
To summarize, Scott Hahn was a student at Gordon Conwell Theolgoical Seminary in the mid 8o's when he did a doctoral research paper on the faults and lackings of the Roman Catholic Church. During this period he found that the very opposite was true and one by one all the supports that upheld his protestant beliefs fell like dominos until he had no other option than to come Home. I did go to Bible College, but I wasn't a theological genius shown by the fact that prior to my move to the Presbyterian Church, I had never heard of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide and now those were starting to fall rather quickly. The problem is that for my entire life that I can remember I had been taught these two principles, even though I didn't know the theological terminology :
1) Sola Scriptura which is defined by the Westminster Catechism as: "The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God."
2) Sola Fide is the Protestant doctrine that our Salvation is based on our faith alone.
The problem with both of these doctrines are two fold. First of all, neither of these doctrines are supported by Scripture and secondly without either of these doctrines, protestantism fails to exist. This is why my entire world was falling apart; the foundation of everything that I believed was shifting and I was very quickly becoming unable to focus on anything else except for getting answers.
After I got off the extensive phone call with Stewart, I knew that I was in desparate need of help and I wanted to know that I was going down a road that if followed to it's conclusion would change my life forever. Then I made a second call to my then pastor, Rob. At that point, I really think that Rob was taked off guard. He returned my call and I started drilling him with questions about Scott and the Catholic Church. At that point, I don't think he really understood how serious I was and that was a lack on my part. Rob assured me that we would get back together and chat once that I got back in town and I needed that greatly...I had to have questions answered fast.


Heath said...

Help me understand how Sola Fide isn't backed scripturally? Is it our reprimand from James that faith must be accompanied by works? This I can agree with, but is it actually the argument that backs your statement?

Allan Richards said...

LOL............How is Sola Fide not backed up Scripturally...You didn't even ask about Sola Scriptura! I am sure that we will get to that later. The fallacy of Sola Fide is that we are saved by our faith ALONE and that the phrase "Faith Alone" is only mentioned one place in Scripture: James 2:24-
"See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." Having said this I will say that when we come to a knowledge of Christ as our Salvation, that revelation to us is a complete free gift. No amount of works can merit us the ability to come to Christ.....period. Once we come to Christ we then have a responsibility of obedience to Christ and his commands:

1Jn 2:3-4:3
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his command ments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

(Now) this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if (our) hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God
and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.

1Jn 5:3-4
For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

So what we know also is that by James 2:26 that if our faith doesn't produce any works that it is usesless....dead. That is why we say that we are not justified by God by our faith alone. Our faith has to be put into action and produce works. It CANNOT be an either or sitution. It is a both and. Works on their own, on the other hand, if not done out of our faith, and service to our Lord are useless and are unable to merit salvation.

Talk to you soon.

Heath said...

That's what I thought and can completely agree with that. So, tell me about Sola Scriptura. Not that I disagree, just want to see/hear the argument for it. BTW, I'm a little brain dead from a really busy week at work. I want to continue our "intellectual" discussion from your first post but will actually make a practical comment/argument first.

Heath said...

Another thought as I reread this. I understand what God is saying through James and in I John. My concern is that people confuse actions with "piety/holiness"-not sinning. Living right. I don't think it's about that, but about loving others and serving those in need. I think people get messed up when they are so concerned with acting right and fail the second commandment, love you neighbor as yourself

Allan Richards said...

As you can see, a little busy on my end as well. In regard to Sola Scriptura, What is your understanding and inform me on why you believe that Scripture (66 books Genesis-Revelation) are the final authority for all that we believe in our faith?

I will look forward to what you find