My Journey

I was raised in the Church of Christ. All Churches of Christ believe in a congregational form of church government – meaning there is no higher office than the local elder and the local elder is answerable directly to God, not to any man or board. They all claim to be the first-century church – either a reincarnation of it, or a continuance of it. They all teach that for the church to be what it should, our only guide should be the bible. My family attended only non-institutional congregations. This means that we taught that any formal cooperation between congregations is unscriptural. We believed that it is sinful to use the church’s money to help institutions, such as orphans homes or missionary boards/societies. Some people have pejoratively called these groups “anti” and their members “antis”.

I went to Florida College, which is officially and financially NOT associated with any church, but all of the faculty and almost all of the students are members of the non-institutional Church of Christ. I met my husband there. A year or two after graduation, we were married by a Church of Christ preacher in his house. We moved around a good bit the first few years while my husband was in school. Eventually he finished school and was offered a job in the suburbs. He took the job and we’ve been in the same area since then.

When we moved to this area, we found a “sound” (non-institutional) Church of Christ and visited once or twice and then placed our membership there. We attended there for several years. During that time, my husband was on the rotation of men that would preach once a month, and he also filled in sometimes when the preacher went out of town. After a few years, he decided he needed to be preaching more often and he found a preaching job at a small Church of Christ in the area. We moved to be closer to their meeting place. He preached there for a year. Toward the end of our year there, we became convinced that it was unscriptural for a church to own a building. (If it’s unscriptural to use church money to fund an orphans home because we can’t find that in the bible, then it must be unscriptural to have a church building, because that isn’t in the bible, either.) Because of this issue and a heavy dose of family politics, we were asked to leave that church. For some months we met in homes with two other families. We eventually realized that our house church didn’t really function like a church because it couldn’t. We went back to the church we’d found when we first moved to this area, and we bought a house within a 15 minute drive of that church.

One of the major themes in my journey is the status of women. We were always raised to believe that a wife should submit to her husband. This is de rigour for the Church of Christ. We were also always taught that people should dress modestly. We took these to extremes. At some point I began wearing only long dresses or skirts. When our daughters were born, we dressed them in long dresses exclusively, from birth. I grew my hair as long as it would grow. For a time, I wore a headcovering everywhere I went. After some time, I wore one only in church. I read Me, Obey Him? and took it to heart. I believed that I should obey my husband even when he asked me to break the law. I believed that God would protect me from sin if I simply obeyed my husband. I encouraged other women to obey their husbands the same way and to dress very conservatively.

Sometime during the time we were away from the church we attended when we first moved to this area, I became Calvinist. I read Romans 9, without blinders on, and recognized that God is much more sovereign than I had believed. I was also heavily influenced by Credenda/Agenda and Doug Wilson. Eventually, my husband also came to believe that Calvinism was true. We found a church in our area. This church had two other families and met in the pastor’s home. This church was working toward becoming a member of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. I won’t go into much detail about our time there. I will say that they encouraged us to relax our standards of dress some, and they encouraged us to strengthen our ideas about a man’s leadership and headship in the home. They had been heavily influenced by Bill Gothard. And it wasn’t long before I realized I did not want to be there.

The pastor there found the ex-church of Christ website and shared the link with us. It was there that I first “met” some Catholics who were adept at defending their faith. It didn’t take me long to realize that almost everything I had been taught about the Catholic Church, whether from the Church of Christ or from the Reformed, was incorrect. I had been miserably misinformed. I read some of the writings of the earliest Christians – Irenaeus, the Didache, the Protoevangelium of James, and others. And it was obvious that the Catholic Church is truly the historic church. I studied various scriptures again, and was convinced. I needed to become Catholic.

I started RCIA in the fall of 2007 and was received into the Church at the Easter vigil 2008. This caused an unbelievable strain on my marriage, as my husband remains Reformed. We have fought terribly over this, and over where our children should go to church. Eventually, on the advice of my priest, we now attend both my Catholic parish, and my husband’s PCA congregation. I pray for my husband, and I’m sure he prays for me.

Whew! That took longer than I expected. I intend to go into more detail about doctrine and faith in future posts.

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14 Responses to “My Journey”

  1. It’s so amazing how much your journey intertwines and is like my own and my wife’s. I think yours is a blending of both of ours. We too were “anti’s” (although I grew up in an institutional CoC and later converted.) We both came to believe owning buildings was wrong, and she always wore the head covering. I’ll definitely pray for you both, and thank you for such a wonderful account of your conversion and again, I’m just shocked at how much it is like ours.

  2. That is quite the journey. We share some similiarities. Churches of Christ and reformed doctrine and the eventual stop in the Catholic Church. As far as the situation with your husband, I know that is tough. I am in the same boat, my wife (though born and raised a Catholic) is pretty anti-Catholic. Just continue praying in hopes that middle ground, for now, will be found. How has he reacted to your journey to the Catholic Faith?

    I will pray for you and your family.

    It’s a pleasure to meet you and welcome Home.

  3. Wow! Welcome! It’s been almost 2 years for me. I hope you will go into more detail on your story…it’s pretty similar to mine. I was raised Independent Bible Church with some Plymouth Brethren influences. I know my parents have been to many Gothard conferences, but I don’t think they go anymore. They are more into church growth stuff now (Hybels, Warren, etc.) though I can’t say it’s working for their small congregation. As I matured in my faith, I also liked a lot of the stuff coming out of Moscow, ID. I eventually went Anglican though, then finally Catholic. Like you, my spouse is still happily protestant (reformed baptist) and we pray for each other and call each other heretic (lovingly, of course 🙂 )

  4. Great post! I’ll look forward to reading the discussions of doctrine, and how you overcame the issues you found difficult.

  5. Welcome to blogging! I still attend the CoC although my faith has also changed quite a bit over the past few years. I look forward to hearing more of your story and perspective.

  6. Welcome home! I look forward to reading your posts.
    God bless you on this journey.

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    Hi there! Thanks for giving me this link. I’m excited about reading what you are thinking. I love you heretic! LOL

    Elizabeth

  8. Welcome home! I am a convert from the Presbyterian Church as of 1995. I have experienced Calvinism, and am not too crazy about it. It drove me away from the Lord for many years. I love Mary and always have in my heart, and the Calvinists cannot comprehend Mary. Good luck and have a blessed journey in the Faith. I recommend Thomas Merton’s books highly if you are looking for a good modern Catholic writer.

  9. Welcome Home!
    Much prayers for your husband and family will be prayed.
    My wife sat quietly for over 5 yrs wanting to be Catholic while I bashed and maligned the Church. The Holy Spirit one out. Take heart, be of good cheer and see what God will do.

  10. Another welcome home! Looking forward to reading your blog. I entered at the Easter vigil this year, too.

  11. Welcome home!Although m far away in Africa I know I can still reach you through prayers.Will pray for your husband.All who read this post should also remember me in their prayers .M the only Catholic in my house-my siblings and folks are all protestants.Peace

  12. Wow, that’s quite a spiritual journey! I would be interested in exchanging views sometime, feel free to drop me a line. I’ve always been interested in what Catholicism has to say, but I can’t say I’ve ever discussed much in the way of theology with someone who converted rather than being born into the tradition.

    As for me, as much as I would like to say that I am in the process of conversion to being a Quaker, I feel that I have yet to really apply myself enough to it for me to start declaring myself this and that. The ideals, faith, and practice all line up with me, definitely, but there is a certain amount of dedication and application that still falls short. Or to put it another way, I’m lazy and still don’t like to wake up early on Sundays, but am increasingly uncomfortable with that. (I could make a wisecrack about Catholicism here and its reputation for guilt, but I’ve never really seen that to be any more true in practice than it is for anybody. Hard to resist a cheap shot *and* a pun, though.)

    I never was entirely comfortable with the subservient position of women in some denominations, although I certainly understand the supporting biblical interpretations. I’ve heard it explained and defended well, and I’ve heard it done poorly. I’m afraid the cases where it was done poorly tend to grate so very much on my own moral compass that it often clouds the waters for me, preventing me from truly resolving a foundation of reason behind my discomfort. Something to think about, surely. Conclusions reached on the basis of emotional reactions have rarely led me to good ends, not to mention their ability to turn a good debate into a shouting match. 🙂

  13. Just a word to the wise:

    Whether it be the Roman Catholic Church, Reformed Church, CoC, Lutheran, Bill Gothard, or whoever else you want to mention, they are ALL part of the CHURCH, if they proclaim Christ, according to His Word. True catholicity understands this.

    So, no matter where you are in your journey, don’t make another mistake and think you have “arrived”. You haven’t . There are enough skeletons in all these closets because they all have a history to prove it. As well, they are ALL made up of fallible men and women. That means: they are sinners; they miss the mark.

    The main thing is to be in a church where you are really challenged go grow in your faith. If church is just a place where you can go and have some individual “want” met, then you are mistaken about church. Church is family. It has problems because you and I are there. I’ll push your button and you’ll push mine. It’s like marriage. It’s good and non-always-good. That’s Life.

    We move around from church to church, many times, because of our own inner confusion. We don’t know who we are or what we are about. We haven’t grown up, yet. Different churches provide different aspects of Christ that we either “want” OR “need”. “Wants” usually only correspond to our individual, self-saving and self-serving demands. What we “want” is not always what we “need”, but through God’s faithfulness, He brings us around to His way of thinking, through various trials, tribulations and/or blessings, as well.

    By the sounds of your story, you could (very well) be jumping from one church to another because of your own inner confusion. Don’t worry too much about it. That’s fairly normal. Your Father, in heaven, is faithful. But, I would encourage you to be thankful for ALL of the places that the Lord has taken you in your journey. Each of us are full of complexities and baggage that many times require a complex process and experience, throughout the various expressions of the Body of Christ, in order to unpack all of it.

    I will pray for your continued progress. Yet, if your heart is truly toward Christ, He will do the work and give you Peace.

    L

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