Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Anglican in Japan joins the Catholic Church

I'm a sucker for conversion stories. I'm always interested in why one person changes churches or religions. I find that my knowledge and my thinking are greatly improved by looking at and reading about the area that divide beliefs, worldviews, and paradigms. Different beliefs and denominations can have very different ways of looking at the world, and reading about those that change often clarify the differences.

Russell Stutler is one person who has gone on such a journey. He writes:
I live in Tokyo. I was born in Japan to an American father and Japanese mother, and was raised in Ohio.

In 1987 I was sent to Japan by a small missionary board (sort of a renegade organization comprised of evangelical Episcopalians). I was their only missionary assigned to Japan, and my task was to find a place to live, learn Japanese, and find a way to serve God here.

On August 14, 2011, I joined the Catholic Church. I had previously been a member of the Anglican Church and was a non-denominational evangelical Protestant before that. I'm still thoroughly evangelical, and always will be. Why did I do such a crazy thing? I wrote an explanation for those who are curious.
That explanation is here. It is a detailed intellectual exploration of the issues and that appeals to me. While lengthy for a blog post, it is not overly long and is broken into different sections.  To give you a fair idea of all the various sections would require much too much space, but here is an excerpt from one:
But can I trust them?

When I first took a serious look at the Catholic Church I had the major obstacles that all Protestants have, such as the pope, Mary and the saints, and I began my investigation like any Protestant would, by looking for evidence in the Bible. Then I turned to the early Church Fathers, church history, and also a big fat book called The Catechism of the Catholic Church to see what the Catholic Church actually taught about these issues. Even as I came up with enough evidence to overcome some difficulties, other issues popped up that I needed confront. I suspected that even more issues might surface later on, and the quest could go on forever if my goal was to pursue every difficult teaching to a satisfactory conclusion.

My problem was I was going about it the wrong way because I had missed the main issue which was whether or not the teaching authority of the Catholic Church is trustworthy. I wouldn't have to prove every doctrine that I came across if I could just trust the Church and accept that it has been guided all along by the Holy Spirit...
If you are like me and like such stories or if you are interested in an intellectual and Bible-based summary of a key Catholic-versus-Protestant issues, read the whole thing.

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