Before I go any further with my story I need to say something about “truth.” I know any discussion about “truth” and doctrinal differences among churches makes some Christians uneasy. I’ve heard all kinds of comments from people on this matter. Some people don’t really care about doctrinal issues or differences. Then there are those who care but would rather not discuss differences; they don’t talk about them for fear that acknowledging and discussing those differences will be divisive. Now, I do agree that discussions about doctrine can be handled without love and create division. Sadly, I’ve seen this happen many times. But I’m of the mindset that open and honest discussion that is grounded in love can be healthy.
True ecumenical dialogue involves identifying and discussing differences in an effort to create understanding and find common ground. You can’t find common ground if you don’t discuss the uncommon ground that exists. Ecumenism does not mean that we sweep our differences under a rug and pretend they don’t exist. Neither does ecumenism ask someone to deny, betray or hide their beliefs for the sake of some majority rule.
On the matter of discussing “truth” one of the most common comments I’ve heard is, “no church can claim to have the truth.” Some Christians will shut down any dialogue on the matter, asserting that if a church or Christian claims to “have the truth” they are wrong and even arrogant. I can see how someone who subscribes to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) would feel this way. Afterall, based on this doctrine no church has any binding authority over Christians on the issue of truth. It’s up to each individual to determine truth for himself. However, now no matter what any Christian tells me, truth does matter to them or else they wouldn’t be a Christian. Each of us choose to believe certain doctrines or “truths” about our Christian faith. In choosing to believe something, we automatically reject other doctrines or beliefs. In doing so we declare those opposing beliefs to be false. It’s simply a matter of logic. If you choose to attend one church because you agree with the teaching, then by virtue of this statement you are saying other churches that do not agree with your church are teaching things that are untrue.
I realize that because my story is centered on my quest to find “the truth” it may seem like I’m being divisive or critical of other Christian beliefs. This is not my intent. Nor is it my intent to be offensive. And yet, I know that the logical consequence of concluding one thing to be true is a declaration that something else is false. And, some people perceive this to be unsettling at best and “judgmental” or “prideful” at worst.
My heart in sharing my story on this blog is three-fold: 1) to answer questions some people have asked me about my decision to be Catholic; 2) to put into writing my story so that one day my daughters have a record of the journey on which God led Scott and me; 3) to share what the Catholic faith really believes in light of the many commonly held misconceptions and misinterpretations about the Catholic Church.
If you’re reading this story and you take offense, I am truly sorry. Obviously, by choosing the Catholic faith I am making a statement that I believe its teachings to be true. However, my belief is not a denial of the truth that does exist in the Protestant faith. It is important to remember that we have much more in common than not. We all have a faith journey to walk; we must form our faith, live according to our conscience and go where the Lord leads. And that is what my story is really all about.