Conversions

 Many people know Jimmy Akin. I call him my friend and have great admiration for this friend. He is also a Square Dancer. But do you know his story?

Get a cup of coffee, turn off the TV and settle in for a great story. Not just gut-wrenching and edifying, but also an Introductory Course in Apologetics. Enjoy the conversion story of the man I now call “The Godfather of Apologetics.”

A TRIUMPH AND A TRAGEDY
James Akin


I broke off a piece of the popsicle in my hand and placed it carefully in the mouth of my dying wife. Renee lay on her back, restless in the hospital bed, suffering from an advanced case of colon cancer which we had discovered a little more than a month before.

jimmy-390x390The doctor said she still had a chance of responding to the chemotherapy and might conceivably live for a few months, possibly even six or more, but that a year would be miraculous. In light of the urgent state of Renee’s condition, we talked about accelerating my entrance into the Catholic Church. It didn’t look like there was much time.

My Early History

I was born in 1965 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My mom and dad took me to a local Church of Christ until I was five or six, but then quit going. After that I was raised outside any church. This did not mean I was uninterested in religion-I was. When I was thirteen or fourteen, I started reading the Bible, but only those parts I thought dealt with the “end times.”

As a result of what I read in the Bible, I got scared, seeing terrifying visions of God’s wrath and judgment without having them balanced by the message of his wondrous grace and mercy. This helped drive me into the next phase of my religious development: the New Age movement.

555d5cf0ecdd9dd21e0127734456dc7f--speaking-in-tongues-catholic-answersThe reason I moved in that direction was that New Age philosophy holds that there is no hell. New Agers believe we reincarnate through many lives until we become perfect. This made the New Age attractive to me, not only because it presented reincarnation as a bold adventure where you get to go to exotic places and be exotic people, but because believing in reincarnation allowed me to escape having to believe in hell.

I was a New Ager for about five years. But in my first year of college I broke with the New Age movement and began to drift into a no man’s land between religions. During this time I did believe in God, but I didn’t believe anyone knew anything about him or what he wanted. The only stable thing in my personal religion at this time was an intense dislike of Christians, whom I had learned to detest in high school. The mere sight of a person with Christian mannerisms aggravated me. It was not until some time later that I found a preacher who acted enough like a non-Christian for me to be able to listen to him.

Click here for the rest of the story…

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Evangelical Protestant flagship periodical asks: “Why do evangelicals convert to Catholicism and how should we respond?”

Evangelicals Becoming Catholics: Former CT Editor Mark Galli

This Sunday, September 13, a man named Mark will become confirmed as a Catholic. Why is this significant?

Mark Galli, who will be confirmed under the name of St. Francis, is a former Presbyterian pastor and editor-in-chief for Christianity Today. Additionally, as RNS noted, for a few days last December, he was perhaps the best-known evangelical in the nation calling for the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump from the presidency.

Galli, however, says the timing of his conversion to Catholicism two months before the next election is for personal reasons. After 20 years in the Anglican Church, he believes moving to Catholicism is not a rejection of evangelicalism but instead taking his existing “Anglicanism deeper and thicker.”

His faith journey has taken him from Presbyterianism to becoming an Episcopalian, then Anglican, with a brief interlude of attending the Orthodox Church. This runs counter to trends in the U.S.; Currently for every one convert to Catholicism, six leave the tradition. But notable Protestants, from Elizabeth Ann Seton and John Henry Newman, to G.K. Chesterton, Francis Beckwith, and Tony Blair. The RNS article observed:

Some converts are drawn to the beauty of Catholic ritual. Others to the church’s rich intellectual tradition or the centrality of the Eucharist, the bread and wine used for Communion, which Catholics believe becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

That was part of the reason for Galli, but his fatigue with evangelicalism contributed as well. “I want to submit myself to something bigger than myself,” He said, a dding:

One thing I like about both Orthodoxy and Catholicism is that you have to do these things, whether you like it or not, whether you’re in the mood or not, sometimes whether you believe or not. You just have to plow ahead. I want that.

Why do Evangelicals Become Catholics?

A Catholic Perspective

Beauty: In the National Catholic Register, an article on the book Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Pathsto Rome noted beauty as one reason. No less than ten Southern Evangelical Seminary students contributed to this book, as did Francis Beckwith of Baylor.

Editor (and convert) Douglas Beaumont observed:

In Protestantism, there’s a tendency to dismiss any reason other than the intellectual. But as human beings, we’re both physical and spiritual creatures. In the Catholic Church, he found, intellect and reason are respected; but the Catholic Church is also more beautiful and more historical. There is an attractive package which draws the spirit, combining art and music and beauty, a long history, and tradition, with solid intellectual arguments.

Spirituality: Scott Hahn, another former evangelical now Catholic, in his chapter “Come to the Father: The Fact at the Foundation of Catholic Spirituality,” in Four Views on Christian Spirituality, notes the great diversity of expressions of spirituality from the

. . . silence of the Trappists and the Pentecostal praise of the Charismatic Renewal; the rarified intellectual life of the Dominicans and the profound feeling of the Franciscans; the wealth of the knights of Malta and the elected poverty of the Missionaries of Charity; the strict enclosure of the Carthusians and the world-loving secularity of the Opus Dei; the bright colors of Central American devotional art and the austere blocks of the German cathedrals; the warrior spirit of the Templars and the serene pax of the Benedictines; Ignatian detachment and Marian warmth.

He argues this shows the richness of Catholic spirituality which “presents a forest indiscernible because of the variety and number— and even the age— of its trees.”

For the rest of the insightful conversion story written from an Evangelical Protestant perspective trying to understand why the editor of his magazine would convert to Catholicism—click here.

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Maybe you’re like me (aside from being born with Cerebral Palsy and defying doctors’ pronouncements, by the grace of God, that I would be confined to a wheelchair and relegated to a vegetative state). Maybe you grew up in North America and lived a sheltered, comfortable life, and God was—although you would never say it, or consciously think it—there to do your bidding.

You want a new pair of shoes? Ask God. Scared of an impending summer storm that could possibly turn into a tornado? Pray to God. Promise Him that, if this storm passes, and you and your family remain unscathed, you will try harder to be a “good person,” get to know Him more intimately, and go to church more often.

Well, those shoes you wanted? You got them. That storm you were afraid of, that could have destroyed your house and taken your family? It passed. Out of thankfulness, you kiss the gold cross around your neck. You go to church on holy days. And you even listen to your grandmother tell you about how Jesus has changed her life, and she couldn’t do life without Him, without His word. It sounds so foreign. If you were around other family members—much less friends—while she would bear witness to Jesus, you just . . . smiled . . . nervously, and tried not to be embarrassed. When I was a child, I reasoned as a child.

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe, when you entered college or university, a couple things happened: One, you were old enough to drink and go to bars with your buddies. Awesome. Two, the things you were taught about, well, everything, growing up—the things you took for granted about religion, history, life itself—began to be challenged. It was at this stage that I began to notice something: I was raised a “Christian.” North America was a “Christian” civilization.

How was it, that I, a Christian in a Christian county (Canada), could go to bars, even strip clubs, with a cross around my neck, with the aim of getting smashed, talking crudely about women, all while having no qualms about bragging that I had been saved. I was heaven-bound because Jesus died for me. I believed that. And that . . . was enough. (Or was it?) The greatest history lesson I ever received, which literally, single-handedly sparked years of spiritual journeying, didn’t come from a university classroom.

It came from a hip-hop artist, Killah Priest. In Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, KP explained to me how the first Hebrews were not white-skinned Europeans. The blonde-haired, blue eyed Jesus was really Caesar Borgia. The original people of the planet Earth were black. Africa was (and is) the cradle of civilization. Those in power knew the truth. In order to destroy a people’s history, and plunder, pillage, and oppress them, an image (white Jesus) and a religion (Christianity, a white man’s religion), were forced upon them.

For the full story, click here.

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“Dear Mr. Bible Guy, Thanks for Confronting my Son…”

August 15, 2020

Posted in National Catholic Register: Dear Mr. Bible Guy Who Tried to Convert My Son and His Friends: These kids don’t just know the Bible, the Catechism, and Church history. They know how to think. Excellent article written by Jennifer Fitz Dear Christian Bible Guy, I want to thank you for coming up to my son and […]

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Founder of Protestant movement returns to Catholic Church

June 25, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus Punalur, India, Jan 15, 2020 / 02:42 pm MT (CNA).- The founder of a prominent non-denominational movement in India has returned to the Catholic faith of his baptism, after more than a decade as a Pentecostal pastor and traveling preacher. Sajith Joseph, 36, was confirmed Dec. 21, 2019 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in […]

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Must Watch PBS Special on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas! Excellent in Every Way!

May 20, 2020

My wife and I watched “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in his Own Words.” It was a fabulous biography of a young black boy abandoned by his father living in squalor in the Deep South during debilitating racial segregation. It is his story of perseverance, love for the Catholic faith, a rock-solid illiterate grandfather, and a […]

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Interview with Steve Ray (Jerusalem Jones)

May 7, 2020

Here is my interview on YouTube with Will Deatherage from Clarifying Catholic. We discuss my conversion story, Scripture and Tradition, the origins of my ministry, and more in 5-minute video clips. Head over to YouTube to check out the full playlist. You can also listen to the interview on Spotify.

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Conversions at Hillsdale College

May 3, 2020

CONVERSIONS:   Hillsdale College is a conservative nonsectarian college in southern Michigan. This year, 18 Hillsdale students will be entering the Church — and this seems to happen every year. “It took me a long time to get around the doctrine of Mary, the doctrine of the saints, the doctrine of adoration,” said Aidan Cyrus, who […]

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“My Parents are Good Folks? Will They Go To Heaven?”

April 27, 2020

A young man wrote today telling me of his coming into full communion with the Church having been raised Catholic but fallen away during university. Now he is back with full joy and appreciation for the truth. He asked about his parents who were previously lukewarm Catholics but now just a theist and the other […]

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(Link fixed) Our Conversion Story in Easy-to-Read Format with Lots of Pictures

April 2, 2020

I can still smell the green vinyl of the used couch in our living room as I knelt with my mom, with my face buried in my hands and my nose pressed into the vinyl. She had decided I was old enough — after all I was four years old. She didn’t want to wait […]

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Filipino Moves through many Religions and Philosophies before Returning Wholeheartedly to the Church

March 12, 2020

This man has run the gauntlet of religions, cults, and philosophies in search of the truth. It is always painful, but the end result is always joy and reassurance. Hopefully, stories like this will keep others from wandering away and suffering the pain that Duane Catujano experienced. ********************************************* Did I become a die-hard Catholic because […]

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White Bread and Shot Glass of Grape Juice: But Now I am Home!

February 20, 2020

Revet Elizabeth wrote: I grew up Catholic, left off practice of my faith, then wandered around several churches before coming back.  It just seemed like the preaching I was hearing treated the Bible like Ann Landers, and people wanted to be soothed rather than challenged.  There would be preaching and singing but no Eucharist.  It’s […]

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Conversion Stories Galore!

January 13, 2020

Many people don’t realize that we have a Conversion Story page on our website with hundreds of stories. There are wonderful, emotional, educational and exciting stories of Catholic converts from all walks of life and all types of religions. Some are long and some are short, but they are all interesting with their own story […]

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Queen of England’s Former Chaplain Converts to Catholicism

December 21, 2019

UPDATE: Queen’s chaplain speaks out on his conversion mentioning political correctness, relativism and the meaning of truth. Good read. https://specialenglish.tumblr.com/post/189766765858/former-queens-chaplain-to-become-catholic

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In 60 Seconds or Less; Why Do We Need A Church?

December 7, 2019

For a larger image and more readable, click here.

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The Tisor’s Come Home – Nice Conversion Story

November 24, 2019

Intro: Kim Tisor was reared in a Christian home that emphasized weekly attendance at their Southern Baptist Church. She remained a Baptist well into adulthood and was content to be one, until radio airwaves carrying Catholic teaching reached this Christian, music-playing DJ’s ears. It placed her on a journey of discovery that would ultimately lead […]

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