Many converts to the Catholic faith say they “read their way into the Church”. It is not a stretch for me to say that as well. These are the books I have read that have lead me to understand and believe the teachings of the Catholic Church are true.
Ever since I was young, I remember reading things in the Bible that did not seem to line up with what I was being taught by pastors. Baptism was one of them. I was told that it had nothing to do with salvation, just an outward proclamation of what God has done for me. Yet no where in scripture do we find this. In fact we find quite the opposite: 1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, Colossians 2:11-12, John 3:5, to name just a few references.
Also, through out my life I have read and heard of different salvation theologies (losing your salvation vs not losing your salvation, etc.), yet none of these systems seemed to fit with ALL the verses in scripture. And this bothered me. In my investigation of Catholicism, I have found that Catholic soteriology (study of salvation) incorporates ALL of Scripture in it’s thought. It’s amazing!
Since throwing out the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (read my post about it), I firmly believe I have become far MORE biblical in my thinking and understanding of theology. This made perfect sense when I finally understood that Catholics, with Catholic theological assumptions, wrote the Bible.
Rome Sweet Home – Scott and Kimberly Hahn
This is the conversion story of a young couple, Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Scott Hahn was in seminary to become a Presbyterian minister, and Kimberly was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Scott was anti-Catholic, firmly believing Sola Scriptura. He and his fellow seminarians studied the Bible late into the night, discussing theology. Scott became a Catholic, not because he did NOT know the Bible well enough, but because he knew it “too” well. The Bible and 1st-5th century Church Father’s lead him straight to the Catholic Church.
Scott and Kimberly have a humorous, gentle and engaging way of writing. I could hardly read this book without either crying, or laughing, or crying some more through each and every chapter. I highly recommend Rome Sweet Home.
Or, you can listen to a talk by Scott Hahn that condenses this book into one hour. Scott narrates his testimony from how he first became a Christian as a teenager, then later converted to Catholicism.
The Protestant’s Dilemma – Devin Rose
From back of the book: In The Protestant’s Dilemma, Rose examines over thirty conclusions, showing with solid evidence, compelling reason, and gentle humor how the major tenets of Protestantism – if honestly pursued to their furthest extent – wind up in dead ends. The only escape? Catholic truth. Rose patiently unpacks each instance, and shows how Catholicism solves the Protestant’s dilemma through the witness of Scripture, Christian history, and the authority with which Christ himself undeniably vested his Church.
Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic – David B. Currie
This is the conversion story of a man named David Currie, a loving husband and father to 7 children. He says, “This is the story of my inner burning for a closer relationship with Christ -and of where the Truth led me.” (11) He writes with a heart full of humility, patience, and charity for his Evangelical brothers and sisters.
From the back of the book: David Currie was raised in a devout Christian family whose father was a fundamentalist preacher and both parents teachers at Moody Bible Institute. Currie’s whole upbringing was immersed in the life of fundamentalist Protestantism – theology professors, seminary presidents and founders of evangelical mission agencies were frequent guests at his family dinner table. Currie himself received a degree from Trinity International University and studied in the Masters of Divinity program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This book was written as an explanation to his fundamentalist and evangelical friends and family about why he became a Roman Catholic. Currie presents a very lucid, systematic and intelligible account of the reasons for his conversion to the ancient Church that Christ founded. He gives a detailed discussion of the important theological and doctrinal beliefs Catholic and evangelicals hold in common, as well as the key doctrines that separate us, particularly the Eucharist, the Pope, and Mary.
The Faith of Our Fathers – James Cardinal Gibbons
This book was published in the 1800’s and you can get it free from Project Gutenberg.
The introduction from the author begins with this: “MY DEAR READER:- Perhaps this is the first time in your life that you have handled a book in which the doctrines of the Catholic Church are expounded by one of her own sons. You have, no doubt, heard and read many things regarding our Church; but has not your information come from teachers justly liable to suspicion?…”
I feel this is so true. So many Protestants, myself included, think we know what the Catholic Church teaches. But how many of us have actually sat down and learned from a Catholic who really knows what the Church teaches?
This book was written to explain Catholic teachings, and is very straight forward. I have enjoyed learning from James Gibbons.