Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Cool, Smart, & Talented Guy Finds the Prize

by Steve Ray on November 18, 2008

Thought you would all like to read this e-mail I got from musician, teacher, family man, and new Catholic!

Hi Steve,
This is Tim!  I feel as if we are old friends from the emails and your videos.  We saw most of them on EWTN over the last few weeks.  Our journeys are very similar.  Oh, by the way, feel free to post as much of my story as you like. 

Much like you, I identified with the apostle Paul because of his hatred for Christ’s Church.  I perscuted all Christians in my atheist days, feeling that I was doing any theists a favor by stripping them of their faith.  I studied just enough philosohy to be dangerous.  After my radical conversion to Christ in the early 90′s the first song I wrote was about Paul on the road to Damascus.

Like Paul even more as a Protestant, I hated the Catholic Church more than ever.  I saw it as completley contrary to Scripture and my own experience and a hindrance to the saving faith of many.  After becoming disillusioned with the thousands of denominations and attending most of them in pursuit of faithful adherence to Christ, I became somewhat of an apologist.  That was never my intent, but God had given me a wife who was brutally honest with herself.  She lived the Protestant faith that I professed and came up empty.  After all was transformed by Jesus, the “Church”  nearly destroyed us more than my former atheism.

From Consevative Mennonite to Foursquare to Calvary Chapel, Baptist and even Eastern Orthodox, we were exhausted.  I have been “married” to the same woman (Donna, of course) four times in as many denominations without ever being divorced!  I needed to learn hermeneutics and theology to repair the damage of Protestant theology that demanded a changed life and provided no remedy for sin other than rededicating one’s life to Christ again and again.

The more heresies I confronted, the more I appealed to historic Christianity and the Creeds for my basis of explanation.  Refuting both “The Da Vinci Code” as well as the teachings of the “Emergent Church” (spearheaded by the dear brother who first discipled me back in the early 90s) drove me deeper into Church Tradition and the Councils.  I began to realize the value of the Historic Catholic Church, but still saw it as flawed and the papacy as a complete insult to Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Convinced of the truth of Christ, Donna returned to the Mass of her youth where she still felt peace.  I was concerned for her soul, but saw the changes as she began recieving the sacraments after I agreed to a marriage convalidation.  Long story short, the Journey Home, your videos and other Catholic resources have shown me that I was grievously errant and wrongly persecuting Christ’s one, historic, apostolic Church.

I have become familiar with numerous great minds and apologists over the last year and they are all Catholic I realized I held so many misconceptions and stereotypes from just plain wrong information.  I still can’t belive it, but here I am radically excited to have a Magesterium to guide me, and a unified Church to belong to.  I am amazed when I reflect on the amount of time I spent wrestling with Bible passages like 1 Corinthians 11, or the “women’s roles” passages in Timothy and Peter, when all I needed to do was ask my Papa.

Anyway, we would love to get together and tell long funny stories over a glass of wine some time my new, old friend.  (I have a good one regarding confronting two, loudly vehemently anti-Catholic, Southern Baptist pastors sitting behind me on the plane while enroute to my vasectomy-reversal this summer– during the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae!!!  This was clearly no coincidence, as I was listening to the James White vs. Patrick Madrid debate onSola Scriptura over my Ipod when their Catholic-bashing became so loud it caught my attention! )

The Ellises love and appreciate you; thanks for all of your prayers and support. In Christ, Tim

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You can view his wife Donna’s website and VERY interesting conversion story here. I have never seen a story told in this way before — it is great and would be very interesting especially for young people. I wrote a blog about her here a year ago.

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