Ordained Baptist Becoming Catholic

Tyler and his wife, Autumn

Tyler McNabb and I just recently started getting to know each other, and he just informed me yesterday he is becoming Catholic!

He is finishing a graduate degree in philosophy from a Southern Baptist Seminary and has his undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies. Here’s an excerpt from his intriguing story:

Like most of those who belonged (or currently belong) to the WayoftheMaster movement, I quickly found myself with a reformed view of salvation. What would eventually come from this view would be a view that harbored a lot of anger towards Catholicism and those that taught it. I didn’t see this of course as an evil anger but a righteous anger, that is, an anger that is analogous to Jesus’ anger towards the Pharisees or Paul’s anger towards the Judaizers. The more I read the contemporary reformed, the more I believed that the Catholic Church was in grave error.

His study eventually led him to the CREC denomination and to the Federal Vision, the Presbyterian/Reformed Protestant version of the New Perspectives on Paul that N.T. Wright is a famous champion of.

Tyler details how he went back and forth on the doctrine of baptismal regeneration:

Reading books from both sides of the isle, I found myself in a vicious fluctuating quantum vacuum. For several months I would read certain theologians who would have me convinced on one view of baptism and then I would find myself convinced of another view of baptism in virtue of reading another set of theologians. It was also during this time that I began to become restless with the current state of Protestantism.

This is an example of the exact thing I discuss in the second chapter of my book: “what you said sounded good…until I listened to this other guy give the counter-argument.” Eloquent apologists on either side of an issue can make (what seems to be) compelling cases for their beliefs.

He continued praying and studying, discovering Catholic Answers’ site and Called to Communion and finding both extremely helpful. Tyler also saw the strong witness of Catholic pro-lifers and that made an impact on him.

But don’t take my word for it: go over to his blog and read the whole beautiful thing!

22 thoughts on “Ordained Baptist Becoming Catholic”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It is helpful for me to see others who have gone through these same struggles. I was confirmed at Easter, however , I am still learning about the Catholic theology. I have so much to learn and at times it has made me very tense. I have seen people who have said they have so much peace when they finally convert. But I have found that it is been mixed for me. I believe the tension comes because my view that I had of God and my relationship to him was seen from the Protestant viewpoint for many , many, many,(you get the point, lol) decades. Now I am coming to see a different understanding of my relationship and this is a foundation in my life and this foundation feels changed! It is like viewing God and Myself from another perspective and this can be un-nerving at times. It has also caused family tensions. I have seen the need for patience in my learning process, and the need for a continual trust in God’s leading and giving light for me to understand these new concepts. RCIA and private study are good, but it takes a lot more time to understand all of the differences in doctrine!

    1. Kim,

      Thanks for your comment. It took me many years to learn about the Catholic Church’s teachings and also to learn to read the Bible without my old Baptist “lens” on. Our interpretive paradigm is hard to switch over because it gets so ingrained.

  2. It’s not too far a departure.

    Baptist and Catholic theologies are very similar. ‘A lot of God and a little bit of me’.

    It’s really not that big of a switch, even though it looks radically different.

  3. Thanks, Devin.

    I can’t help but do so.

    Just last night I spoke to an Aunt on the phone (a lifelong Catholic) who stated that what ‘we do’ in this life determines whether to not we go to Heaven.

    I said, “Then why the cross. Why bother?”

    A lot of Baptists/Calvinists/non-demons/and Lutherans :D…basically believe the same thing. It’s a shame, in my opinion. That cross of Christ was intended to free us from that sort of belief, (Gal. 5:1).

    1. Right, Steve, but the question is how the Cross gets applied to us. If it automatically applied to everyone then that is universalism and everyone is saved no matter what they do or don’t do.

      I believe in Jesus. But making an act of belief (assent of faith) is in some sense something I *do*, even though I believe it is only by God’s grace that I could do it.

      For an interesting thought experiment for you, check out this article: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/04/thought-experiment-for-monergists/

      God bless,

    2. Seems to me the “doing” is following Jesus’ words: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

  4. Devin,

    It is applied to the “whole world”.

    But not everyone who hears the “Good News”, really hears it, and come to faith.

    So while that death and forgiveness was (is) for all…not all will go to Heaven.

    So much for universalism. So much for Calvinism (they don’t seem to read the Bible very well).

    1. > “So while that death and forgiveness was (is) for all…not all will go to Heaven.”

      So the question then is, who failed? God or man?
      If man failed, then surely your Aunt’s statement makes sense.
      If God failed, then we’re all in serious trouble….

  5. That’s actually a good way to become converted, if you start reading outside your theological circles, you’ll find (I did as a long time baptist) many positions that are weak or rely on very circular reasoning. The more you dig, the harder it becomes to decide what is posturing and what is truth, and it really makes you doubt your faith.

    One deciding factor for me was how open Catholics where when I first showed up on their doorstep, I was nervous over how I would be treated. They could not have been more welcoming and gracious, and went out of their way to share their faith. The other thing that hit me hard was when I discovered that the Catholic church was not interested in converting me, they do RCIA classes and the decision to join or not is purely yours. There’s no pressure, they are there to share what they believe, but YOU have to decide when your ready. That is MILES away from how we did it in Baptist faith, or the way of the master where it’s a battlefield and anything goes in converting people.

    Tyler, Congrats.

    I expect to see your name all over the reformed blogs very soon, decrying your heresy and angrily pointing out how mistaken you are.

    Just take that as a sign, your doing the right thing 😉


  6. Man, the Reformed bloggers are going to have to start working overtime to cover all this apostacy. It’s been a big summer for the Romanists.

    Welcome to the Church, Tyler!

    1. Yes Tyler told me that he decided yesterday that he wanted to continue his discernment and do RCIA out of the limelight, so he and his wife can carefully study and prepare for entrance into full communion, God willing.

  7. “furtheringchristendom.wordpress.com is no longer available.
    The authors have deleted this blog.”

    Any clues as to what happened?

  8. @Nick, It’s because the Shepherd is calling His flock together. “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

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