How to Go from Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-Five Difficult Steps:

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Press: Wipf & Stock Pub (June 9, 2011)
Author Name:Smith, Christian


American evangelicalism has recently experienced a new openness to Roman Catholicism, and many evangelicals, both famous and ordinary, have joined the Catholic Church or are considering the possibility. 
This book helps evangelicals who are exploring Roman Catholicism to sort out the kinds of concerns that typically come up in discerning whether to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
In simple language, it explains many theological misunderstandings that evangelicals often have about Roman Catholicism, and suggests the kind of practical steps many take to enter the Catholic Church.
The book frames evangelicals becoming Roman Catholic as a kind of "paradigm shift" involving the buildup of anomalies about evangelicalism, a crisis of the evangelical paradigm, a paradigm revolution, and the consolidation of the new Roman Catholic paradigm.
It will be useful for both evangelicals interested in pursuing and understanding Roman Catholicism and Catholic pastoral workers seeking to help evangelical seekers who come to them.

About the Author

Christian Smith is the William R. 
Kenan, Jr.
Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame.
He is the author of The Bible Made Impossible (2011), What is a Person? (2010), and Souls in Transition (2009).


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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     Insightful read. I feel as though I need to read it again. So many prejudices and biases I had towards Catholic Church plate unfounded, and that in matter of face, was grounded in...
  •     It's a goofy title, but the content is clear, accessible, and systematic. Further, it is one of the only books I have seen that lays out what others only hint at through their narratives: that conversion is a paradigm shift. Failure to see conversion through this perspective (pun intended) is often at the root of confusion over conversion.After explaining what that means, Smith takes the reader on a journey through the Evangelical paradigm, introduces some interesting anomalies within it, then more serious anomalies, then turns to the Roman Catholic paradigm (which would, BTW, nearly always work for other ancient Church traditions) and looks at how it can explain those anomalies better.Whether one finds the book convincing or not is not so much the issue. This is not so much a polemic as an explanation of what one is going through when one experiences a religious paradigm shift.
  •     Overall this book (Kindle edition) was informative and enlightening. Chapters 4 and 5 deserve 5 stars so the book is worth those two chapters alone, while Chapters 1-3 were not...
  •     This book is informative and serious. The title sounds like it may be tongue in cheek but it is not.
  •     I have been intensely studying Catholicism for the last 6 months and thought I had read most of the standard arguments/explanations for the big topics of Catholicism...
  •     This book has been very helpful in getting another perspective on Catholicism, and is quite thorough in its debunking of Catholic myths.
  •     A helpful read in terms of the 95 steps the author proposes, but at times I felt he was a bit abrasive, as well as having some points that were quite weak ans somewhat repetitive.
  •     Smith does a great job articulating the differences between orthodox theology and that of a Reformed Evangelical. I am a Protestant, but really enjoyed the book. He lays bare many of the unjustified stereotypes many Protestants have regarding Catholics. Moreover he uses specific quotes from scripture, the church fathers, and official teachings of the Catholic Church to prove his points.He mainly focuses on the idea of sola scriptura (scripture alone) as opposed to the idea of scripture plus the tradition of the Church to interpret scripture. Most of his book focuses on the shortcomings of the doctrine of scripture alone. This would be the easiest argument to defeat amongst the three solae statements of the reformation that are: sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and sola scriptura (scripture alone). I would really recommend the book for Evangelicals to learn more about Catholicism, but I'd also recommend the book to good Catholics looking to combat stereotypes they face from many Protestants. And no, you don't need to be a biblical scholar or theologian to read this. I'm a physician in training with no prior experience in this area and found it to be a great, quick read.
  •     Overall this was a good book. It doesn't require you to know much about Church history in order to get something out of it, while other books in this category usually do.
  •     I read this mostly because I was intrigued by the title, in spite of the fact that I was received into the Catholic Church 2.5 years ago.
  •     Very well written. A page turner for anyone interested in the Catholic Church.
  •     I found this book to be incredibly important in laying aside a number of misconceptions I had about the Catholic Church. A little of my background will contextualize my interest in reading this book.With a non-religious upbringing I came face to face with the need for God in my early twenties. Not being content with do it yourself spirituality I gravitated toward the Catholic Church. Part of the reason for this was that many of my friends were Catholics. Part of the reason for this was the comfort of certainty in an institution that has no difficulty remaining at least theoretically true to its beliefs. And part of it, I am more and more convinced, is that the Holy Spirit led me to the Church.I was a more or less seriously practicing Catholic for many years. I was married in the Church, and have one son who was baptized in the Church. The marriage was long but never really happy and, without going into the gory details, ended after twenty years in divorce. Although I had been received into communion by the Church as an adult, until recently, over a decade later, I misunderstood the teachings of the Church concerning divorce. I never remarried and had (and have) no desire to remarry, and have remained celibate for many years. That having been said, as I understand it now, once I have confessed and received absolution for any specific sins consequential to the divorce, and acknowledging that in the eyes of the Church I am still married, I am free to fully participate in the life of the Church.But I thought that divorce was enough to exclude me from communion with the Church, so after the divorce I stopped participating. My son remained with me after the divorce, and having been baptized and receiving first communion in the Church, and attending CCD classes, now found himself along with me without a spiritual home. Eventually we found our way to a wonderful evangelical Presbyterian church. I became fascinated by the study of scripture and eventually applied to and was admitted to an evangelical seminary, from which I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree.One of the things that engaged my attention in the seminary was a sense that evangelical Christians are really doing a lot of soul searching about the church. I fell in love with God’s word and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles but I, along with a number of thoughtful and intelligent evangelical thinkers, recognized that the reality of the North American Protestant church little resembles the covenant community Jesus established, as it is portrayed in the New Testament. So again there is a lot of soul searching about how leaders might move the church toward a more authentic community.I recently, unexpectedly, and rationally inexplicably felt called back to the Catholic Church. I attended mass for the first time in years and as I sat in the pew of the local church I heard a voice say, “welcome home.”It was then that I started considering how I might make the journey from the Reformed evangelical tradition I have adopted back to the Catholic Church, and after a little research found this book. It is a remarkable discovery.The author does an excellent job of dispelling misunderstandings many evangelicals have about Catholic practices and teachings. I believe it is not possible for an evangelical to read this book with an open mind and not end up seriously questioning the foundations of Protestant theology and practice.On the one hand I found the observations about Catholic belief in Tradition and the Magisterium well-presented and, if accepted, devastating to Protestant theological fundamentals, particularly sola scriptura. On the other hand I found that the kinds of issues evangelical Protestants are soul searching about have been and/or are being addressed in the Catholic Church.One of the serious conclusions that I and many of my Protestant colleagues have long sensed to be true is that the Church doesn’t need to re-invent itself it needs to rediscover itself. Reading this book suggests quite convincingly that when the Protestant church rediscovers itself it will find itself Catholic.I am now left only with the very difficult option of leaving behind the ministries I am currently engaged in to make my way back to Rome. I love those whom I serve and I love those who have cared for, loved, and nurtured me during my years in self-imposed exile, but it is time to return home. “I will arise and go to my Father.” (Luke 15:18 ESV)
  •     I am a Protestant who has great respect for the Catholic Church and I hope that one day we can all be united again. I recommend this book for anyone who has questions about Catholicism. The author does a wonderful job describing many misconceptions about the church. This book may not convert you but it will least give you a greater understanding and appreciation for your Catholic brothers and sisters in the faith. I am truly grateful for the Catholic Church and pray that his providence we will stop celebrating the reformation as a party and begin to grieve it like a divorce. God help us all as believers to be united as one.

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