In the most recent edition of Nova et Vetera, the Dominicans of the Eastern Province have published an extremely well-written and well-researched reflection on the Catholic doctrine on marriage, divorce, “remarriage,” annulment, and communion. (Please read it here.) In anticipation of the upcoming Synod on the Family, these Catholic theologians – faithful to the Church’s Magisterium – respond to some recent suggestions for changes in Catholic pastoral practice on divorce, remarriage, and communion. (Continue Reading…)
The Bishops of History and the Catholic Faith: A Reply To Brandon Addison
On March 24 of this year we posted a guest article by Brandon Addison titled “The Quest for the Historical Church: A Protestant Assessment.” We had invited Brandon some months earlier to write an essay for Called To Communion on the topic of his choice, and we are very grateful for his generosity, trust, and yeoman work in putting together such a thorough essay. Brandon’s essay is one of the first posts we have published written from a Protestant perspective, and we hope it leads to further, ever-more fruitful exchanges of this sort. Continue Reading…
BlogPlease read our posting guidelines before commenting. Subscribe to blog only.
July 25, 2014
July 19, 2014
Over the Fourth of July weekend, a number of Called to Communion contributors came together in Steubenville, OH, for a retreat partim spiritual renewal, partim business meeting, partim face-to-face fellowship. (Continue Reading…)
June 21, 2014
In theologically conversant Evangelical circles, it is (or used to be) common knowledge that one of the most basic conflicts between Dispensational theologians and Covenant theologians is that they give different answers to the question, “What is the most fundamental purpose of God’s dealings with the world, as revealed in Scripture?” The classical Dispensationalist answer is “God manifesting his own glory,” whereas the Covenant theologian is likely to answer, “God’s saving work on behalf of man.” The Dispensationalist answer focuses on the various stages of biblical history in vertical relation to God, while the Covenant theologian’s answer focuses on the horizontal aspect of this same history, i.e., the various events or stages of biblical history considered in relation to one another.
May 26, 2014
Most Americans probably think of Christianity as either Protestant or Latin Rite Roman Catholic. They may have a vague understanding of “Orthodoxy,” which they identify with the Greeks, Russians, or other Eastern Europeans. But, by and large, “Christianity” means the Latin West or, to a lesser extent, the Greek (and Cyrillic) East. As generalizations go, this one is not terribly far from the mark. Out of the estimated 2.2 billion Christians in the world, the vast majority are Roman Catholic (1.1 billion), Protestant (800 million) or Orthodox (200 million). Most of the Orthodox are Russian (150 million) or Greek (25 million.) (Continue Reading…)
May 13, 2014
Whoever tells you that theology does not play a role in Bible translation is selling you something. It is probably a “very accurate” translation, or maybe a “very literal” one. There are lots of problems with being too literal when translating, though there is at least one potential benefit: there may be less injection of theological bias into the translation (note that I do not say no injection of bias). The problems arguably make literalistic translations more dangerous in some ways for the average layman. Why? Because the layman is almost certainly not a Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic or Latin scholar, and is hence unqualified to make decisions about interpreting literal translations. There are plenty of cans of worms that can be opened when an unskilled individual—no matter how bright he may be—starts making guesses about what literal translation ABC really means. Does it mean DEF, or maybe JKLMN? How does one decide? Generally, the layman decides by interpreting it (if he can) in accord with whatever theological tradition of which he is already part. If he finds himself unable to do that, he will turn to his pastor or some other person he reckons to be a reliable source and find out what that person says. If the answer makes sense, he may adopt that person’s opinion as his own, but please note: that does not make him right, and it does not make his trusted authority correct, and it certainly does not make his theological tradition correct either. So all this theological baggage gets tossed into the mix and is rarely noticed (and even more rarely discussed). (Continue Reading…)
May 8, 2014
Several weeks ago, I spoke to the RCIA class at St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church (Charlotte, NC) on the topic of prayer as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. My focus was on the prayers of Sacred Scripture, and how these form the bedrock of the traditional prayer life of the Church. This seems like a good topic for our “Catholic Life and Devotion” series at Called to Communion, so here is the audio recording of that talk (the written outline is included below):
I was particularly pleased to participate in the RCIA class at St Thomas Aquinas because this parish has extended great hospitality to my own home church, St Basil the Great Ukrainian Greek Catholic Mission, allowing us to use their chapel for our Sunday liturgies and other feast days, and to arrange the chapel for the particular needs of the Byzantine liturgy. This is truly a case of the one Church “breathing with both lungs” (Eastern and Western), and it has been one of the great joys of my own “Catholic life and devotion” to be a part of this mutual action at first hand, on the local level. (Continue Reading…)
May 7, 2014
On April 16, Tim Challies, a Reformed pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, and co-founder of Cruciform Press, published a post titled “The False Teachers: Pope Francis.” That generated much discussion, as one might imagine. I responded to it in comment #335 of “Does the Bible Teach Sola Fide?” One of the criticisms Tim received in response to that post was the following: “You do not understand the Roman Catholic view of justification; if you understood Catholic theology you would see the pope as a defender of truth rather than an opponent of truth.” So Tim responded on May 6th with a follow-up article titled “Anti-Catholic or Pro-Gospel?,” in which he seeks to show not only that he understands the Catholic doctrine of justification, but that it is contrary to Scripture. He does this by examining six canons from the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent, and claiming implicitly that they are contrary to Scripture. So let’s take a look at these canons one at a time.
April 19, 2014
Christians have been venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary for a long time. A really, really long time. Nevertheless I think one may be excused from wondering whether its antiquity doesn’t tell us something about its validity as a form of Christian piety. For now though I will simply appeal to what Jason Kettinger has designated the “Noltie Conundrum,” which you may read here, because I would like this post to be short. (Continue Reading…)
April 9, 2014
Reformed Christians have a special relationship with beer. I discovered this my junior year in college after spending my first two years at LSU exploring nearly every other Christian faith tradition on campus. The combination of rich fellowship, deep theological discussion, and high quality beer, while sitting outside on a Louisiana front porch on a humid night, always seemed like a taste of heaven. Reformed Christians understand that beer is good. Like any other inherent good it can and has been abused, but Reformed Christians are right to point out that the real problem is not beer, but the human heart. Catholics share this appreciation for good beer consumed in moderation. (Continue Reading…)
April 1, 2014
On the Index page of Called to Communion, there is a section entitled “Catholic Life and Devotion.” This section features reflections on life in the Catholic Church based upon CTC contributors’ growing experiences as members of the Church in full communion.
There are three reasons for calling attention to this section of our website: First, as time goes by, converts naturally come to focus less on the process of becoming Catholic and more on simply being Catholic. We want this refocusing to be expressed on our website without in any way displacing or diminishing the purpose of this site, which is to facilitate dialogue between Catholic and Protestants who desire unity in truth. Secondly, non-Catholic onlookers, both critics and inquirers, are often curious about daily life and devotion in the Catholic Church. “Catholic Life and Devotion” provides us with a distinct forum in which to discuss being Catholic in addition to our many discussions of the reasons for and against becoming Catholic. Finally, although we have already written several blog posts along this line, in the near future we intend to write more of these posts (without writing less of the other kinds of posts) by way of sharing with you some of what we are discovering as members of the Catholic Church. (Continue Reading…)
For older posts, visit the archives.
August 11, 2013
This is a guest post by Michael Rennier. Michael received a BA in New Testament Literature from Oral Roberts University in 2002 and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 2006. He served the Anglican Church in North America as the Rector of two parishes on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for five years. After discerning a call to conversion, Michael and his family moved to St. Louis. On October 16th, 2011, he and his wife were received into full communion with the Catholic Church by the Most Rev. Robert Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis. Michael tells the story of his conversion in “Into the Half-Way House: The Story of an Episcopal Priest.” In May of 2012 he wrote another guest post for CTC titled “Immortal Diamond: The Search of Gerard Manley Hopkins for Beauty. He currently works for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
January 27, 2013
This is a guest article by Casey Chalk. Casey was born and raised in a Virginia suburb of Washington D.C. Casey was baptized into the Catholic Church and received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion before leaving the Church with his parents for evangelicalism at the age of eight. Casey attended the University of Virginia, where he was introduced to Reformed theology. Upon graduation in 2007 (B.A. History, Religious Studies; Masters in Teaching), Casey became a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and enrolled in Reformed Theological Seminary. However, an intensive period of study of the “Catholic question” ultimately resulted in Casey’s reunion with the Catholic Church in October 2010. He was confirmed at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Chantilly, Virginia at the Easter Vigil in 2011. Casey works for the federal government, and joyfully also received the sacrament of marriage in August 2012 with his wife Claire. (Continue Reading…)
December 12, 2012
This is a guest article by Dr. Kenneth J. Howell. Dr. Howell earned an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Linguistics and Philosophy from the University of South Florida, a Ph.D. from Indiana University in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Science, and a second Ph.D. from Lancaster University (U.K.) in the History of Christianity and Science. He was a Presbyterian minister for eighteen years and a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary for seven years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1996. He taught in several universities until 2012, the last of which was a decade at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) where he also was the Director of the Institute of Catholic Thought. He now serves as the Resident Theologian and Director of Pastoral Care of the Coming Home Network International. He continues his work of translating and commenting on the early Church Fathers, having already authored Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna: A New Translation and Theological Commentary and Clement of Rome and the Didache: A New Translation and Theological Commentary. In June of 2010 we posted the video of his talk titled “The Issue of Authority in Early Christianity,” which he delivered at the Deep in History conference in 2009. (Continue Reading…)
September 23, 2012
This is a guest post by Jason Stellman. Jason was born and raised in Orange County, CA, and served as a missionary with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in Uganda (’91-’92) and in Hungary (’94-’00). After becoming Reformed and being subsequently “dismissed” from ministry with Calvary, he went to Westminster Seminary California where he received an M.Div. in 2004. After graduation he was ordained by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America and called to plant Exile Presbyterian Church in the Seattle area, where he served from 2004 until resigning in the Spring of 2012. He is the author of Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet (Reformation Trust, 2009), and The Destiny of the Species (forthcoming from Wipf and Stock Publications). In 2011 he served as the prosecutor in the trial of Peter Leithart in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the PCA. He currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church on September 23, 2012. (Continue Reading…)
August 6, 2012
May 27, 2012
This a guest post by Joshua Lim. Joshua graduated this Spring from Westminster Seminary California, where he earned his MA in historical theology. He was born and raised in the PCUSA. He spent a few years in college as a Baptist before moving back to a confessional Reformed denomination (URCNA) prior to entering seminary. He was received into full communion with the Catholic Church this year on April 21st, the feast day of St. Anselm. He plans on continuing his studies in systematic theology.
March 14, 2012
“Have you been Born Again? Catholic Reflections on a Protestant Doctrine, or How Calvin’s view of Salvation destroyed his Doctrine of the Church”
When I first began to study Calvin in earnest, I was puzzled by what seemed a glaring omission in his writings and sermons. He never counseled his readers and listeners to be “Born Again.” This struck me as odd because I knew our denomination (PCA) considered Calvin to be our true founder. I also knew that the evangelical doctrine of “New Birth” (regeneration), understood as the moment of personal, conscious conversion, was the linchpin, the central dogma of our congregation. As an Evangelical Presbyterian, I had grown up constantly hearing these exhortations to be “Born Again.” My pastors and teachers revered evangelistic luminaries like Billy Graham and Bill Bright right along with the great Lion of Geneva. (Continue Reading…)
March 5, 2012
On Monday, March 26, ACT 3 and Wheaton College will be hosting “A Conversation on Unity in Christ’s Mission,” involving a dialogue in Edman Chapel between John Armstrong and Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago. The event will be streamed live from the Wheaton.edu website. In light of that forthcoming event, we invited Devin Rose to review Armstrong’s most recent book. Devin is well known to CTC readers. In July of 2010 he wrote a guest post for us titled “Faith and Reason in the Context of Conversion,” in which he recounted his conversion twelve years ago from atheism to faith in Christ. Devin is also the author of the recently published book If Protestantism is True: The Reformation Meets Rome (2011). He blogs at St. Joseph’s Vanguard. We’re grateful to Devin for his thoughtful review of Armstrong’s book. – Eds.
February 13, 2012
Readers of Called To Communion will recognize the name Fred Noltie, since in July of last year he wrote a guest post for us titled “The Accidental Catholic.” Recently we invited Fred to join the CTC team, and we’re delighted that he has agreed. Fred was in the Presbyterian Church in America for twenty years, attending both Covenant College and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. On the Easter Vigil of 2005 he, his wife Sabryna, and their son were together received into full communion with the Catholic Church at St. Lawrence parish in Monett, Missouri, where they are presently members. In this article Fred tells the story how he and his family became Catholic. Fred, welcome to CTC! -Eds.
In The Accidental Catholic I described how I realized that Protestantism’s proposed means for discerning revealed truth in the Bible do not afford us any basis for certainty about what that truth actually is. This fact, which struck me like a bolt out of the blue, forced me to realize that I could not remain a Protestant. But on the day that I decided that I was no longer Protestant I was equally certain that I would never become Catholic. I was just not interested in that at all, because – after all – it was the Catholic Church, and I just “knew” it was wrong! Why did I change my mind? (Continue Reading…)
February 7, 2012
Please welcome our first of two newly added authors at Called To Communion, Jason Stewart. Jason was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) before he and his wife Cindy entered into full communion with the Catholic Church in January of 2011. He earned his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Reformed Seminary (Dyer, IN) in 2005, and subsequently served for 5 1/2 years as pastor of Trinity OPC in eastern Pennsylvania. Jason and Cindy live in Rockford, IL, and have four children. He is currently completing a two year course of study with the Diocese of Rockford’s Diaconal Program. Jason wrote the following narrative about his conversion. We are blessed to have him aboard. (Our other new addition, Fred Noltie, will be properly introduced shortly!) Update: Jason tells his story on The Journey Home here. -Eds.
I hope to tell my story simply, because it is genuinely uncomplicated. Complex, yes. Multi-layered, sure. Who’s journey in the Christian faith isn’t? But I do promise to keep the telling of it simple by concentrating on the main catalysts that gave my wife Cindy and me the courage to approach the doors of the Catholic Church and with confidence begin to knock. (Continue Reading…)
Called to Communion PodcastDownload Individual Podcast Epsiodes | Subscribe to the podcast
April 16, 2014
Protestant criticisms of the Catholic Church frequently target the medieval Catholic Church as a prime example of the Church’s problematic relationship with politics and the secular order. These critics often claim that the medieval Church was ruled by a greedy hierarchy bent on increasing its power in Europe and abroad, eager to silence or even eliminate its detractors or opponents, and rocked by internal scandals, corruption, and ultimately confusion. The seeds of the Reformation, so many Protestants believe, were sown during this tumultuous period where attempts at reform, like conciliarism, were destroyed underfoot by power-hungry popes. (more…)
November 11, 2012
In July of this year, Jason Stellman wrote a Called To Communion guest post titled “I Fought the Church and the Church Won,” in which he explained briefly why he was becoming Catholic. Last week I had an opportunity to talk with Jason about this paradigm change, and the four years of internal wrestling that preceded it. (more…)
June 17, 2012
In this episode, Tom Riello, a former PCA pastor, interviews Jason Stewart, a former pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and his wife Cindy on the topic of their conversion to the Catholic faith in 2011. Jason earned his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Reformed Seminary (Dyer, IN) in 2005, and subsequently served for five and a half years as pastor of Trinity OPC in eastern Pennsylvania. Jason and Cindy currently live in Rockford, IL, and have four children. He is completing a two year course of study with the Diocese of Rockford’s Diaconal Program.
February 17, 2012
August 2, 2011
Stephen Beck was raised Evangelical, but read his way into the Reformed world. He became a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and then the Presbyterian Church in America. Stephen and his family were received into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2011 at St. Andrew’s by the Bay Catholic Church in Annapolis, Maryland. He has a Master’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin at the Catholic University of America. Stephen is a brilliant thinker with a deep love for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. In this episode, Stephen’s personal friend and regular CTC contributor, Jeremy Tate, interviews him to find out the reasons behind his conversion.
Right click here to save the MP3 file.
July 16, 2011
On Friday, July 8, I was the guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio program, taking calls and questions from non-Catholics. The one-hour broadcast featured the following questions and discussions:
7′ A discussion of John Calvin’s view of his relation to the Catholic Church, the Catholic positions he affirmed, and his rejection of denominationalism.
15′ A discussion of the Catholic doctrine of communion of the saints, and whether the saints can hear our prayers.
22′ A discussion of legalism and scrupulosity among Catholics.
28′ Why is it difficult for Protestant leaders who recognize the truth of the Catholic Church to become Catholic? Wouldn’t remaining Protestant, in order to hold on to reputation, livelihood, etc. be contrary to Protestant theology?
33′ What are some resources for non-Catholics who want to understand the differences between Calvinism and Catholicism?
36′ What is the Catholic understanding of the relation between divine sovereignty and human freedom?
41′ How does the Catholic understanding of justification address the Reformed claim that the scriptural evidence supports the Protestant notion of justification by the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ to the believer?
51′ What is the Catholic position on eternal security and the possibility of apostasy, and what is the support for that position?
Listen to the program:
Or download it by right-clicking here.
November 24, 2010
In this episode, Tom Riello, former PCA minister, interviews Annie Witz, a convert from the OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church). Annie’s father is an elder in the OPC church and serves on the board of Westminster Seminary California. Annie shares her personal conversion story from being a devout OPC member to a Catholic in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (an Eastern Catholic Church). Of particular interest is the role that the women saints, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary, played in her conversion. We are thrilled to have our first female guest on the show!
To download the mp3, click here.
August 25, 2010
May 30, 2010
April 27, 2010
In this podcast episode, Tom Riello interviews Called to Communion regular, Jeremy Tate, on his recent conversion to the Catholic Church. Jeremy is currently finishing his degree at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Download the mp3 by right clicking here…
From the Blog
In the most recent edition of Nova et Vetera, the Dominicans of the Eastern Province have published an extremely well-written and well-researched reflection on the Catholic doctrine on marriage, divorce, "remarriage," annulment, and communion. (Please read it here.) In anticipation of the upcoming Synod on the Family, these Catholic theologians - faithful to the Church's Magisterium - respond to some recent suggestions for changes in Catholic pastoral practice on divorce, remarriage, and ...
Over the Fourth of July weekend, a number of Called to Communion contributors came together in Steubenville, OH, for a retreat partim spiritual renewal, partim business meeting, partim face-to-face fellowship.
In theologically conversant Evangelical circles, it is (or used to be) common knowledge that one of the most basic conflicts between Dispensational theologians and Covenant theologians is that they give different answers to the question, "What is the most fundamental purpose of God's dealings with the world, as revealed in Scripture?" The classical Dispensationalist answer is "God manifesting his own glory," whereas the Covenant theologian is likely to answer, "God's ...
Protestant criticisms of the Catholic Church frequently target the medieval Catholic Church as a prime example of the Church's problematic ...
Jason Stellman In July of this year, Jason Stellman wrote a Called To Communion guest post titled "I Fought the Church ...
This is a guest post by Michael Rennier. Michael received a BA in New Testament Literature from Oral Roberts University in 2002 and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School in 2006. He served the Anglican Church in North America as the Rector of two parishes on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for five years. After discerning a call to conversion, Michael and his family moved to St. Louis. On October 16th, 2011, he and his wife were received into full communion with the Catholic Church by the Most Rev. Robert Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis. Michael tells the story of his conversion in "Into the Half-Way House: The Story of an Episcopal Priest." In May of 2012 he wrote another guest post for CTC titled "Immortal Diamond: The Search of Gerard Manley Hopkins for Beauty. He currently works for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
This is a guest article by Casey Chalk. Casey was born and raised in a Virginia suburb of Washington D.C. Casey was baptized into the Catholic Church and received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion before leaving the Church with his parents for evangelicalism at the age of eight. Casey attended the University of Virginia, where he was introduced to Reformed theology. Upon graduation in 2007 (B.A. History, Religious Studies; Masters in Teaching), Casey became a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and enrolled in Reformed Theological Seminary. However, an intensive period of study of the “Catholic question” ultimately resulted in Casey's reunion with the Catholic Church in October 2010. He was confirmed at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Chantilly, Virginia at the Easter Vigil in 2011. Casey works for the federal government, and joyfully also received the sacrament of marriage in August 2012 with his wife ...
Christian Unity in the News
Pope Francis on Unity in the Body of Christ
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Attend Pope Francis’s Inaugural Mass
Catholic Church and Four Reformed Denominations Agree to Recognize the Validity of Each Other’s Baptisms
“Bartholomew is Seeking to Reinvigorate Dialogue With Roman Catholics”
Anglicans Becoming Catholic
Anglican Cathedral in Orlando Becomes Catholic
PBS: Episcopal-to-Catholic Converts
Wheaton Joins Catholic Schools in Opposing HHS Mandate