It was the day after Ash Wednesday in 2012 when I called my mom from my dorm room at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and told her I thought I was going to become Catholic.
“You’re not going to become Catholic, you just know you’re not Southern Baptist,” she said.
“No, I don’t think so.”
A pause. “Oh boy,” she sighed.
I started crying.
I cannot stress enough how much I hated the idea of becoming Catholic. I was bargaining to the last moment. I submitted a sermon for a competition days before withdrawing from school. I was memorizing Psalm 119 to convince myself of sola scriptura. I set up meetings with professors to hear the best arguments. I purposefully read Protestant books about Catholicism, rather than books by Catholic authors.
Further, I knew I would lose my housing money and have to pay a scholarship back if I withdrew from school, not to mention disappointing family, friends, and a dedicated church community.
But when I attempted to do my homework, I collapsed on my bed. All I wanted to do was scream at the textbook, “Who says?!”
I had experienced a huge paradigm shift in my thinking about the faith, and the question of apostolic authority loomed larger than ever.
But let’s rewind back a few years.
I grew up in an evangelical Protestant home. My father was a worship and preaching pastor from when I was in fourth grade onwards. Midway through college, I really fell in love with Jesus Christ and His precious Gospel and decided to become a pastor.
It was during that time that I was hardened in my assumption that the Roman Catholic Church didn’t adhere to the Bible. When I asked one pastor friend of mine during my junior year why Catholics thought Mary remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth when the Bible clearly said Jesus had “brothers,” he simply grimaced: “They don’t read the Bible.”
Though I had been in talks with Seattle’s Mars Hill Church about doing an internship with them, John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life clarified my call to missionary work specifically, and I spent the next summer evangelizing Catholics in Poland.
So I was surprised when I visited my parents and found a silly looking book titled Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic on my father’s desk. What was my dad doing reading something like this? I was curious and hadn’t brought anything home to read, so I gave it a look.
There's much more.
I love convert passion and zeal. We reverts and cradle Catholics can learn tons from them.