A powerful new convert stories book is out from Ignatius Press, and you need to pick it up. Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Paths to Rome recounts the stories of nine converts to Catholicism.
Evangelical Exodus Begins
But these converts aren’t just run-of-the-mill Joes like I was.
They were all:
- Protestant seminarians
- From the same seminary: Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES)
- Who learned from a prominent Protestant scholar, Norman Geisler
And who all decided to become Catholic, not in spite of their Protestant schooling there, but in many ways because of it!
My good friend Doug Beaumont is the editor of the book and himself one of the converts. He and I first corresponded online many years ago. I knew right away that he was a deep thinker and a Protestant who was open to finding the fullness of the truth, wherever the search led.
After long years of reading, studying, and praying, he entered full communion with the Catholic Church. And so did many of his former peers at SES.
More Than a (Conversion) Feeling
These converts were all getting graduate degrees from SES. Many now have doctorates from well known institutions.
In Evangelical Exodus they each describe their own journey from Protestantism to Catholicism through study of the Church Fathers, St. Thomas Aquinas, philosophy and theology.
These men were committed Evangelical Protestants who believed in sola Scriptura, sola fide, an the Protestant canon of Scripture. They were not to be moved toward Catholicism by shallow arguments or evidence. Rather, as they demonstrate, they pierced into the depths of the reasons supporting the Faith and discovered that Christ’s Church was there waiting for them.
Doug Beaumont writes:
During my time at SES I had been told that we were learning to defend the “historic Christian faith.” But as I enlarged my studies, I began to realize that many of SES’ distinctive teachings could not be counted as historic in the implied sense.
Much of SES’ doctrinal statement (to which students and faculty were held) contained a mix of Reformation theology, Anabaptist doctrines, and even late nineteenth-century beliefs.
True or false, these did not seem legitimately to constitute the historic Christian faith.
Commendably, SES directed its students to study Aquinas and the Church Fathers. Most Protestant seminaries don’t dare do that, or do so in a tightly curated fashion.
But ironically such study had the opposite effect: the students came to see that their seminary wasn’t teaching what the Fathers taught!
For Better and For Worse
Becoming Catholic was not easy for these men. And since becoming Catholic some have had very challenging times. They had invested years of their lives into becoming Protestant teachers, pastors, and scholars, only to leave Protestantism.
I am so glad that they have told their stories in this volume. They lay out clearly, succinctly, and in a heart-felt manner the way that God led them to Catholicism. None expected it nor sought it.
Do yourself a favor and get Evangelical Exodus today.