Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-01-03 - Ken Hensley

Author Recorded Thursday January 3rd, 2019

There are 45 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

I met Ken Hensley on the Coming Home Network online community. Ken does pastoral care, manages online communities, writes apologetics articles, leads retreats and pilgrimages and much more for the CHNetwork. It was a real pleasure meeting him. • Support the CVS Podcast: • Be a guest on a livestream:

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
hello this is Ken Hensley and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic tell us a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe in how you came to believe what you believe okay well I I was raised in a in a home that really wasn't Christian particularly we had a Bible in the home but no one read it my parents were divorced when I was quite young my father when I was about 10 years old began to pick my brother or sister and I up and take us to church that was to the local Baptist Church and so I had an experience of standing up and going forward and giving my life to Christ when I was 12 years old or so but it today it's not something that really stuck in my life I I drifted off and for the next 10 years I I was well I was basically a rock and roll musician played bands around Southern California played in nightclubs professionally and I was 22 years old when I when I had a I guess what you could call just a radical personal encounter with Christ and a conversion in a non a totally nondenominational Christian environment a good friend of mine that I'd played music with three years had to become a Christian and he and I began to talk I began to read some of the important apologetic works at the time CS Lewis and whatnot and began to read the New Testament and I was basically converted to Christianity to Christ reading my Bible in my bedroom and from then I went to Bible College got a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology I went to Fuller Theological Seminary in Southern California received a master's degree I was in a doctoral program for a short time but I ended up dropping out of that to go into the ministry and I was an ordained Baptist pastor for 11 years just bringing back to the earliest memory that you can recall it has some sort of religious content if you can talk about that I would be good I think that the earliest memory that I have really is just looking at the big King James Family Bible that we had at home and opening it up when I was little looking at it with my brother and my sister and just sort of knowing that this was God's Word I don't think I knew anything about what it taught or but that's an impression that I have early on I have a much stronger impression when I was about 12 years old because I was invited to go to a winter camp up in the mountains were for junior high school kids and up at that camp I had a camp counselor in my cabin probably a twenty year old guy but he was a really devout Christian and just a beautiful example of a christ-like faith in life and he had a lot of joy to him and I had to be honest I think I was kind of a morose kid raised again in a broken home it was a bad situation I found out that my father had been married and divorced five times and that my mother was his fourth wife and there was a lot of anger it was a lot of pain in my home and so this camp counselor was really a striking thing to me and I remember up at that camp going out and sitting on a boulder out in the snow in the winter and praying and thinking to myself then Wow there really is a God and and I belong to him Wow I guess one of the typical questions that I ask my guests is about the dark years rebellion sin indulging in sin you don't need to go into detail but just talk a little bit if you could about your dark years okay well as I mentioned a little while ago my um my spiritual awakening at the age of 12 or so didn't really last too long I I became inspired by the Beatles I began playing the guitar pretty soon I was forming a band with some of my friends in fact I was in a band by the time I was 10 years old and that developed through my teenage years and I drifted away from church and I drifted away from having any spiritual life and a lot of the usual stuff you know came with that as I got older you know openness to immorality openness to drugs openness to this and that you know and but I have to say looking back that I never did entirely lose my sense of what was good and what was not so good and well what was right and what was wrong because I never felt right engaging in the kinds of things that that often teenagers and rock-and-roll type people can engage in I never felt good about it I never felt right I didn't really want to go down that road and in many ways I didn't looking back I can see that I really held back so the experience that I had early on really did stick in a way although consciously I wasn't thinking about God I wasn't thinking about Christianity I wasn't going to church in like that but when I was about 21 years old I'm I'm in the backyard probably smoking hash with a friend of mine and for some reason we were digging a hole in the ground I think my memory is we were gonna plant a little butcher we're gonna do something like that and my friend who was an atheist although we didn't talk about that I didn't really know he looked at me at one point and he said he looked at the dirt and he said that's all we are dirt and the second he said that this voice inside just said no that's false and I remember I turned my head I looked up at him and I said no we're not just dirt so you know in a way although I drifted off and I did a lot of things that I'm not proud of I can see that God was always there with me there was a memory and that I couldn't really entirely shake and so when it came to the time when I heard that my friend had had become a Christian I think there was a voice in and even then saying to me you know this is the right thing you know this is where you're gonna go something like that mm-hmm can you focus in for us on the intellectual conversion from Protestant form of Christianity to Catholicism was it intellectual was it an intellectual transition and if so can you talk a little bit about how you worked your way through that sure well what happened was was this David I uh I was a Baptist pastor as I said and I had never even thought about the Catholic faith there's some strange aspects to this because I was invited out to a to a Benedictine monastery years before for a spiritual retreat and I went out there and I really loved the place I love the the spirit of it the ambiance I love the sort of the artistry of it I'd have to say but I love the spirituality of it I loved going in with the monks into the chapel and chanting the Psalms and all that and so I actually had begun through my years as a pastor traveling out to this monastery for retreats when I could and yet I never once asked myself whether Catholicism could be true I just kind of knew that it wasn't true that it was kind of a some kind of a cult although I knew they were Christians it's a strange sort of dissonance in my mind that I loved being there but I never said to myself could the Catholics really have something so Catholicism wasn't on my radar screen at all and what happened was almost out of the blue I discovered that an old friend of mine an old acquaintance from my days in seminary whose name is Scott Hahn quite famous now but he was an old acquaintance of mine in seminary and I found out he had become a Catholic someone in my parish literally came up to me on a Sunday night and said to me he goes I've got this set of tapes by somebody named Scott Hahn called answering common objections against Catholic faith and he wondered if I'd listened to the tapes and sort of tell him where the Catholics are wrong because he was sort of struggling with it and you know proverbially my my my jaw hit the floor and I thought to myself this cannot be the guy that I knew at this time it had probably been ten years since I'd spoken to Scott Hahn but I got the tapes it was him I went home and I listened to his conversion story and this is where it started for me and yes my my um journey was very much intellectual I was already open to the idea that Catholics were Christians that was fine and I was also open to the idea that that when it came to spiritual life and spirituality the Catholics had a lot to say because I had read some books written by Protestants on the spiritual life and I noticed that whenever they wanted to quote some heavyweight you know about meditation or silence or prayer or fasting or anything they were they be quoting st. Torres they be quoting st. John of the Cross st. Teresa of ávila they were always quoting Catholics and so I kind of knew that Catholics had that area of things you know nailed down pretty well so the issue for me was could the Catholic Church's claims really be true you know the claim that it was the church that had preserved the apostolic teaching intact and handed it down through the generations all of that because I was a Bible only Christian entirely by you know from top to bottom and so in terms of an intellectual journey I would say that it began David with with this question how in the world could someone as smart as Scott become a Catholic and then listening to his arguments and thinking to myself I think I can answer most of what he says here but he's saying some things I've never heard before and so the question was at that point was how could I have studied as much as I have and read as much as I have because I was sort of an academic type you know again when I went into my doctorate I my master's degree was pre doctoral studies in theology and my plan was to become an academic and so the question was how could I have learned as much as I have learned and not know the case for the Catholic faith and so really it began with that and I began to become obsessed with listening to every debate I could find between Catholic and Protestant read every article you know pretty much we're working through many many many of the issues the most important theological issue was the issue of authority I had already been struggling for a while I could see with this issue of how do I know that my interpretation is the right one you could read Protestant writings and they would say you know pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you you know study hard make sure you study in a correct way and God would lead you to the truth and yet all I had to do is look around to see that in 500 years since the Reformation there were hundreds there were thousands of separate Protestant denominations and in each one of these denominations you know possibly in each one of these churches there was someone smarter than I was and there was someone that prayed more than I did and ask the Holy Spirit to lead them with more sincerity than I did and yet we disagreed you know we disagreed on the form of government the church ought to have the structure of the church we disagreed on the doctrine of baptism who should be baptized what does it mean what does it accomplish we disagreed on the Eucharist the Lord's table what it meant how it was to be done we disagreed on salvation what does it take to be saved can salvation be lost yes or no we disagreed on everything and so I had begun to struggle with the realization that I was sitting in my office by myself studying theology studying various scholars from different traditions deciding for myself essentially what the true doctrines of the Christian faith were and then standing up at a pulpit every week and telling everybody and and and knowing that they would basically accept what I said because I studied more than they did and they were busy people with families and jobs who weren't able to keep up with my level of study but it just didn't seem entirely correct and so when Scott brought out the issue on his in his conversion story that a student asked him one day where does it actually teach in the Bible that the Bible is to function alone as our authority that question rattled him and that question rattled me and so I went deep into the study of Sola scriptura scripture alone is it really justified is that what the New Testament teaches or is it more like what the Catholic Church says that authority resides in the written text of Scripture but also in the oral teaching of the Apostles as it was known in the early church and passed down and then is there an authoritative structure within the church you know we call within the Catholic Church the Magisterium the bishops and the bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome in a particular way well when I looked in the New Testament I had to admit that that threefold structure is actually what I saw there there was the written word of God there was the teaching of the Apostles that was viewed as authoritative and then when the church faced its first really serious theological crisis the Judaizers saying that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and they must keep the all of the traditions of Moses in order to be saved the leadership of the church met in Jerusalem in council and it was in a council of the Christian Church but it's referred to as the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts chapter 15 that a decision was made on that issue and a letter was drafted and sent out to all the Christians announcing what the decree was are announcing what the decision was so as I looked in the New Testament I could see that it was Scripture it was the oral tradition of the Apostles and it was the Magisterium meeting and council and making decisions when they had to be made so the issue of authority was a big one for me and I became convinced over time that the Catholic view was the right view and it was the only view that could possibly result in a unified church mm-hmm did you let Scott Hahn know the effect that he had on you it was he's shocked by your conversion what happened there yeah Scott Hahn found out quickly because I hunted him down the very next day I called him on the phone to say what in the world have you done you know and I'm so so right away he and I were in conversation and then we began to debate with each other somewhat and then what happened was I I just began to realize that I had a lot of learning I wanted to do you know the right that I needed to go back in a sense and I needed to learn the Catholic faith and I need to rethink my worldview from the ground floor up in terms of Scripture of theology church history and so you know maybe a month later I said to Scott hey listen you're busy and I'm busy send me a list of you know the 10 or 20 books that you think would be the most important for someone like me and I went off on my own then I contacted Scott very rarely for the next two or three years but when I did resign finally resigned my position as pastor of the church to become Catholic Scott found out through another person and this is kind of funny so I'll tell it to you my phone rang I'm out here in California Scott lives in a let's see yeah he lived in Ohio at the time he was with Franciscan I believe already Franciscan University is stupid though so my phone rings had like 4:30 in the morning in California which is 7:30 where Scott Liz and he wasn't thinking of this at the time change I pick up the phone and I heard this voice hello this is Martin Luther what have you done you know it was a real it was a real crack up and and since then if I can throw in one more words Scott Scott and I have kept in touch he and I have been on the roster together speaking at various conferences we used to be on the roster speaking at the National Catholic family conference every year out in California and we would make sure to see each other and have lunch or something and and we we talked from time to time on the phone what kind of obstacle was infallibility and the same question with Mary was she an obstacle to be overcome can you talk about infallibility and our Blessed Holy Mother Mary okay yeah the issue of infallibility is always going to be somewhat I mean it's always going to be one of the stumbling blocks initially for a Protestant obviously because our view but the view that was so deeply ingrained into me is that infallibility resides in the Bible alone and and that it was pure arrogance to speak of infallibility existing or manifesting itself anywhere outside the Bible but when I began to understand the Catholic Church was saying about infallibility it all began to make sense you know and I'm sure you know this but I just want to restate it for the people who are listening infallibility resides in the church first of all meaning in when all believers around the world agree on something you you can know that it's true the Spirit of God resides in all of them and then infallibility is manifest itself when the church meets in council and that meant ecumenical council it met all the bishops basically in the world meeting to decide something and the issue that really brought this home for me was the issue of the Canon of Scripture itself which I'm sure you're familiar with but I remember maybe this brings Scott back into the conversation I don't know whether I was talking to Scott or to Jimmy akin who had become kind of a friend of mine too at the time but one of them said to me at one point you know listen Ken read about how the New Testament Canon was brought together and how the decision was made as to what twitch 27 books would be included in the Christian New Testament because in the early centuries of the church about 25% of what we have in our New Testament was disputed to one degree or another literally six or seven of the books were disputed in one area of the church or the other and the decision that these 27 books would be considered inspired and included in the Canon is the decision that was made at a series of Catholic councils Council of Roman in 382 council of Hippo 393 Carthage 397 and a couple of others and so I remember I'll say it with Scott Scott saying and he can do you believe that the Holy Spirit led those councils to a decision that is firm and binding call it infallible if you if you want infallible firm binding true do you believe it yes or no and I recognize that I was sort of hung out on the horns of a dilemma because if I say yes then Scott says to me welcome to the Catholic Church you know you're essentially a Catholic this is what Catholics believe if I say no I'm with Martin Luther councils air Pope's there everybody airs I can't trust necessarily the decision they made then Scott could say to me well then I guess you can't even really be sure you've got the right 27 books in your Bible in your New Testament I guess you should go back in the mode of a good Protestant and not only decide your own inter rotation but decide altima be your own books your own Canon by restating the issues trying to figure out whether this book belongs and that one doesn't and all that does Hebrews belong second Peter does it belong Jude Matthew and so would I began to understand infallibility in a broader context like that that it resides in the church it's manifest in the church's Magisterium when all the the bishops meet to decide something as they did in Acts chapter 15 and then in a particular way as they meet around the Bishop of Rome who holds a particularly important place and that infallibility is manifest in a peculiar way in the Bishop of Rome but then in a very circumscribed kind of way only when and I'm sure you know you know when these conditions are met when he is formally speaking as universal Shepherd of the church when he speaks on a matter of doctrine or morals and he states categorically this is the teaching of the church than it's binding and once I understood what it meant and once I understood that infallibility had to exist somewhere on earth or we're back to every man in his own interpretation of the Bible then it all kind of fell into place for me and I didn't have a problem with it okay Mary I can I can state a little more quickly Mary of course is completely out there in in the in the space for Protestants mostly and especially for Protestants on the Baptist end of the spectrum because that's more nondenominational almost Bible only kind of thing and so the Marian doctrines all seemed strange to me but again once the the primary fundamental bottom line issue of authority was settled then I didn't have a problem you know I don't need to go into each Marian doctrine and try to show you where in Scripture it fits and all that but I view there's nothing that is taught about Mary that that is contradicted by anything in the Bible much that is taught about Mary that is easily supported by things that are in the Bible and the bottom line is if I trust the authority of the church and the church's ability to preserve the apostolic truth and pass it down and also to develop that truth as John Henry Newman you know said in his great book essay on the development of Christian doctrine as new implications over time can be drawn out of the teaching of Scripture and the deposit they then know I had no problem in fact my wife understood this even before I did in a way cuz early on early on she said you know Ken the only the only really important issue is the issue of authority because she said however she said for instance she said if the angel Gabriel really did dictate the Quran to Muhammad then Islam is true and you better become a Muslim you know the issue of authority is what it is and so if the Catholic Church really is what it claims to be and is always claimed to be then you need to become a Catholic you're not going to wrangle over well do I believe this one aspect or not you know or do I think it's firmly supported from the New Testament and so that's how it came together for me as with many converts it took a long time for me to really get a feel for the beauty of it and the value of it it took learning to pray the rosary and praying the rosary consistently but I love it now I mean I I view all these things as being not contradicting what I the simple truths that I learned as a Baptist and my love for Christ my love for scripture salvation in Christ I view all these things as simply filling them out and and enhancing and in making the making the truth that I know and believe much richer and larger and better nice there's a whole cluster of questions I have I'll sort of I'm gonna give you sort of the general idea of my my cluster of questions and you can attack it as you want okay okay it has to do with the dogma that there's no salvation outside of the Catholic Church and Vatican 2 which reiterated that dogma while also talking about our separated brethren in the Protestant churches and the Orthodox churches although the Protestant churches aren't strictly speaking churches but communities of believers but Vatican 2 goes a long way to emphasize the fact that the Church of Christ subsists in the Holy Roman Catholic Church meaning that there are elements saving elements outside of her visible boundaries for example baptism anyone can baptize in the state of in a situation of emergency even an atheist can baptize in its violet so there obviously are elements of the Catholic saving truth outside of her borders and yet Vatican 2 also emphasized that there's no salvation possible outside of the Catholic Church so I want you to talk about that I want you to talk about humanism generally a relationship with non Catholic Christians and with non-christian religious people and with atheists and everyone down the line so it's a very very broad topic that I just want you to talk about if you would please okay first of all it began experientially for me and that is that when I came into the Catholic Church I knew that I had been a Christian for twenty years before that you know there's no way that someone could have convinced me oh by the way you were never a Christian and you were never saved you know you know you didn't have a relationship with Christ until you became Catholic so sort of on an experiential level intuitively I believed immediately that there were all sorts of Christians outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church and then in the writings of Vatican 2 into the Catechism which quotes from them you know I found confirmation of this and and that's one of the passages that I really like and I end up talking to people about quite often the passage in the in the Catechism that says this essentially it says whatever guilt I'm doing my paraphrase my understanding whatever guilt may be assigned to those who caused the fracture in the church back in the sixteenth century at the time of the Reformation it says we cannot assign guilt now to those who are born into these separated Christian communities are raised in the faith of Christ and love for Scripture and whatnot and we receive them with affection and respect as brothers and sisters in Christ so that's the teaching of the church and I say amen to that it goes on to say in fact the Holy Spirit uses these communities these Christian communities meaning the separated churches Protestant churches whatnot uses them as means of salvation the truths that the Protestant churches took with them they took leaving the Catholic Church they took from the Catholic Church in the Catholic faith and the Bible and the Holy Spirit still uses those truths to bring people to himself to bring people to God so my view of them no salvation outside the church the point of that is to say that the salvation of Christ oh the salvation came through Christ and the message of Christ and the doctrines of Christ were entrusted by the Apostles to the church and they exist in the church and they've been handed down preserved in the church and brought down and that since salvation comes through the Catholic Church but that doesn't mean that groups that have broken off from the Catholic Church didn't take truth with them didn't take truths with them and so there are truths outside the Catholic Church and there is salvation outside the Catholic Church again as the Catechism says the Holy Spirit uses these churches as means of salvation so I want everyone to become Catholic because I want these Christians and Baptist churches Presbyterian Church and Lutheran churches and whatnot I want them to enter into and to experience and to rejoice in the fullness of the Catholic faith that has been preserved bits of which they have thrown thrown off and and they've only taken other bits with them and some of the bits they've distorted and and are confused about but I want them brought back in so now to broaden that out you mentioned acumen ISM to broaden that out to those who are maybe not in Christian communities at all Muslims Jews Hindus Buddhists Sikhs atheists all the way out the the Catechism speaks of invincible ignorance to the church right those who through no fault of their own are raised outside the Catholic Church and if they knew that the Catholic Church was the true church they would want to enter it God knows their hearts and that they can be saved as well that they can be saved as well and I guess I take invincible ignorance as he's some people take it in a very strict sense and saying what that means is that if it's in if it's literally impossible for you to know that the Catholic Church is the true church then you're okay okay but if it's possible for you to know you're not and I debated with one fellow on in a facebook group and the comment coming home network Facebook group one day who was insisting that no one now has an excuse for not knowing that the Catholic Church is the true church no one because of the internet he said he said you can go on the internet now and you can find articles the you know and they to prove every aspect of the Catholic faith and I came back to and I said yeah I said but people that are growing up in the Western world now grow up confronted with a bunch of worldviews people insisting that all of those various people insisting to each of those worldviews is true now unless you're willing to say that every single person has the responsibility then to pick up a stack of books on Buddhism Hinduism Jainism you know Sikhism Confucianism Islam Christianity you know Protestantism Catholicism Judaism study them all down to the hilt decide which ones are not true and which one is true and become that or they're lost and some people do hold that position I view that as being just insane I think that people are invincibly ignorant now simply by virtue of the fact that there are so many choices before them and they don't know which ones right and the work of sorting through all of them in deciding is something beyond most people I mean I don't think that everyone is saved because of that but I think that what the Catechism is says is true that God reveals himself in our consciences as he's written his law in our hearts and those who were raised in the tradition that they're raised in who do their best to follow that light and with a true heart seek the truth that they can be saved even if they never come to know that um the Catholic Church is the true Church or I would say even if they never come to know that Christianity is true yeah I agree with everything you've said so far so I want to ask you something personal about Luther what do you think of him as a man recently the Catholic Church I thought went a little bit too far by celebrating the anniversary of the Reformation I don't want to focus so much on that stance that the church took although if you have some insight I'd love to hear it but what do you make of the man Luther I just recently listened to some Anglican lectures by a professor that's a big big big big fan of Luther and I actually was warming up a little bit to Luther's theology can you just talk a little bit about your impression of Luther the human being Luther sure it's interesting because when when the Protestant world was celebrating a year ago the 500th anniversary of the of the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther and you know nailing his 95 theses to the door of the castle Church in Wittenberg on the last day of October 1517 I was in Germany traveling with a group through Germany and lecturing on Martin Luther and the Reformation from a Catholic point of view so uhm Luther is someone that I've read a lot about and have spoken about a lot and I've got audio tapes and whatnot that are on that subject I really loved Luther as for many many many years for one thing Luther is a fantastic read he's super bright super colorful in his writing so he's the kind of person you could you could be reading him and laughing half that half the time just because the illustrations he uses and the way as he describes things but I think the Luther was a troubled person Luther describes his upbringing as being a troubled upbringing he describes his parents as being extremely harsh with him he had a situation with his father where he felt he could never ever please his father and make his father happy and it's hard for me to not see how this kind of carried over into his relationship with God because Luther had this feeling that no matter what he did no matter how hard he tried he could not believe that God accepted him he could not believe that God loved him and some Protestants like to take that and turn it around and say well there you go that's Catholic theology for you it's Catholicism that taught him that God basically hates you and there's nothing you can do about it and you know you know but that's not true there are plenty of people who who were Catholics at the time who understood and knew God's love for them in fact one of them was the vicar general of the Augustinian order that Luther belonged to johann von stupids he is known to have counseled Luther he was Luther's confessor for many years and he was and he struggled mightily with trying to get Martin Luther soon I mean father Martin Luther who had become a priest and it became a scholar dr. Martin Luther to get to get him to to understand God's love for him and to believe it and he was frustrated with Luther's inability to see that so I view Luther as coming from a place in which he had a distorted conception of what Catholic theology really teaches about salvation because he was viewing it through through the lens of his own personal struggles and I believe that he came to his view of justification I don't to go off into the details of it but he came to his view of justification by faith alone as a way of answering his own struggles you know to realize that by faith alone simply looking to the cross of Christ that he would receive everything that he needed and that it wasn't about him needing to struggle to obey to fight the if a thing like that was something so wonderful to him that he said it was like the the doors to paradise have been swung open and he walked through and he was a free man and so I view him as is coming to his basic view of salvation a distorted view based on based on the fact that he was viewing it through the lens of his own psychological need and experience but then the read the rest of it kind of followed because the church rejected what he was saying and he felt pushed away and this his collaboration or his discussions with the church didn't go well and when the church finally demanded that he recanted his views then then he just pushed it away and rejected the authority of the church entirely and then he just kind of went in my view he went off the deep end because very soon I mean within two years or so he's calling the Pope the Antichrist I mean two years before he was saying that he would gladly submit to the Pope if the Pope would understand his view of salvation two years later the Pope's the Antichrist all the bishops and Cardinals and priests are a bunch of demons and he's calling on all monks to break their vows and leave the monasteries and the nuns to break their vows and leave the convents and he's he's basically writing the crest of an entire rebel revolution Wow what is the Catholic teaching on freewill are we libertarian free will or compatibilist free will I know we don't subscribe to determinism I was just reading a little book about Calvin and Wesley and these different Protestant interpretations of free will what is the official Catholic position if you can speak in very precise philosophical terms that would be even better I don't know if I can that's not an area of expertise for me but um determinism yes off the table compatibilism though is a term that is usually used by atheists right yeah you know in trying to have their cake and eat it too yeah and in the minds of atheistic neurobiologist neuroscience and whatnot what it actually means it seems to me is determinism baptised with some sweeter words analogous because in the end like electrochemical processes in the brain are seen are viewed as really determining everything physical law chemical law what not determining everything but then they want to view freedom is kind of an emergence of that but I'm not sure how much reality it has so I'm not sure if I and speak too much beyond that so if you look back at the major heresies of Christian history we can see a pattern of where the heretical views were always propounded by those who were not willing to hold a mystery in tension and and felt that they were required to rationally resolve the tension in one way or another take the doctrine of the Trinity the heresies at the time fell to one side or the other there were those who wanted to rationally resolve the idea of the Trinity in the direction of three and they would say hey listen let's just be honest there are three gods there's the father their son in the Holy Spirit we believe in three gods they were the tri theists on the other side were those who tried to rationally resolve the teaching of the church in the direction of oneness and they said hey come on let's face the fact there's one God and this one God simply manifests himself or simply appears in various forms appears as the father sometimes that son sometimes the spirit is sometimes and they were called the modal Asst who believe that God appears in modes one God appearing in various modes and when the church met in councils though to hammer out the doctor of the Trinity they came out saying no the Trinity is a mystery and we must hold it in tension God exists as one one in essence eternally existing is three divine persons you try theists are wrong on the one side and you modal lists are wrong on the other side well when we when we step forward or backward in time to the doctrines concerning Christ human and divine natures we see the same thing all of the heresies surrounding Christology were propelled by those who again felt the need to rationally resolve the issue in one way or another so they would say Jesus was really a man who just appeared to be God the Holy Spirit descended on him in a special way that he was a man and that was one set of heresies on the other side were those who said no Jesus was God and he just appeared to be a man the dosa tiss he just appeared to suffer he appeared to have a human body he appeared to eat and drink but he really didn't and again as the church the Catholic Church and councils hammered out what the truth was that had been received from the Apostles and preserved in the church's tradition they said no we hold cry as a mystery he is 100% God 100% man and the heresies on both sides again were thrown out and my my sense is that the Church's teaching on predestination and freewill is the same where the heresies are always those who have to roughly resolve it so like the Calvinists for instance or that the radical Calvinists would resolve it in the direction of predestination and God's sovereignty and every single thing is ordained and ruled by God and freedom ends up being an illusion I mean then on the other side there are those who emphasize free will and God's is wringing his hands and hoping things turn out all right but has no control my view is that this again is a mystery that is only resolvable in the mind of God and and we hold them together and so what I say is that God is in control of the universe God's will is being done God is sovereign over all things and we are truly free we truly make decisions and so I guess I would have to say that the Christian doctrine of free will is libertarian free will it was closer to libertarian free will than it is to compatibilism definitely not determinism but that in some mysterious way God controls the flow of history God's will is done in history and yet it's done through the secondary causes which are entirely free you know the soldiers were free to pick up the nails and they were free to lay Jesus on the cross and they were free to pound the nails through his hands and to kill him and yet it was ordained from all eternity that he be that he be crucified one of the most touching things I've ever read about Mary so that if the soldiers had refused to do it then she would have picked up the hammer and nails and done it herself that's an evocative thought I've never thought of that before I was Saint Alphonsus Liguori there's no way to get around the fact that Jesus wept over Jerusalem and he said how often I would have gathered you but you would not and then the scripture also says I mean jesus also said no one can come to the Father but through me and unless the spirit draws and no one can come to the Father so I hold the two in mystery and I think that's the Catholic view for sure talk to me if you would just a little bit about what you do day to day what you're excited about and what sort of Catholic work are you doing on the ground well this is something I'm excited talk about and there are reasons one of the reasons is that when I left the ministry at the age of 42 I'm 64 now when I left the ministry at the age of 42 I had a family I had a mortgage I lost my income I lost my occupation and although I imagined at the time that a master's degree in theology would take me far in the business world I found out that is worth nothing anyway whether I made the best decisions or whether I didn't I wound up for 18 years David working other jobs I waited tables for a while I became a headhunter in the biotech world as an independent 100% commission headhunter trying to find people for companies and whatnot and then I became a stockbroker and I was a stock broker for eight years again 100 percent commission life but my point in saying that is that that I went to Bible College because I loved the study of Scripture and theology and I wanted to be in the ministry I went to seminary for the same reason and then I found myself because I became Catholic I found myself in a sense thrown out of all formal and official ministry for 18 years straight except that I was asked to speak at conferences kind of on a fairly regular basis and I did some teaching and parishes and I spoke at conferences and whatnot but mainly I worked in the regular I guess you know just as a layman in the regular world for 18 years and so I truly didn't think I would ever be back into full-time pastoral ministry again and so this is why I'm so excited that I was hired by the coming home network and I've been I've been with the coming home network for two and a half years now the coming home network so many Protestant so many Konrad's feel when they become Catholic that they've come home that's a typical phrase that they feel like after searching and bouncing around and so many have gone many go through five six seven different denominations always trying to figure out who has it right just this real feeling that they have come home to the historic Christian Church when they become Catholic the coming home network was begun by another congregation a Marcus Grodi who was a Presbyterian minister who became Catholic about 27 years years ago I think and he just started a little newsletter at the time because he realized there were others that were going through what he was going through and Protestant ministers resigning and had to figure out how to reinvent themselves and all that he started a little newsletter that would try to network some of these people together to help each other to pray for each other and this became the coming home network it blew up some when Mother Angelica asked Marcus to start a show that has been on EWTN now for about 25 years called the journey home and what it is is an hour-long interview where Marcus is the host and he interviews a convert to the Catholic faith and it's an hour-long interview so it's you know it's somewhat in-depth and there are people coming from Judaism people coming from atheism people coming from every one of the you know varieties of Protestantism and evangelical faith and he interviews them and anyway I was hired by the coming home Network two and a half years ago and I work on the pastoral care staff I work on the website as well so I'm partly responsible for some of the design of the website for a lot of the content especially the theological resources and whatnot to go into the website but I would say the main thing that I do is his pastoral care I believe it was in 2017 I don't know the number for this year yet but we had over 200 ordained Protestant ministers contact the coming home Network 200 ordained Protestant ministers contacting the coming home network basically with some level of interest about Catholicism all the way from I just read a book and I'm curious or I just listened to a you know a recording conversion story and I'm curious all the way to I've been studying the Catholic faith and I'm convinced that it's true help me because I'm thinking I'm going to have to resign my ministry and many many of these not all of them but meant because we have several others on staff but many of them are funneled through to me and my job is to make contact with them to befriend them and to try to help them in any way that I can answering questions leading them to good resources and often just providing more moral support I'll give you one illustration that is current right now I spent about an hour and a half on skype with a Presbyterian pastor in Brazil a week ago who is studying the Catholic faith and is very strongly coming to the realization that the Catholic Church is what it claims to be and that he needs to become Catholic and he's this facing the terrifying decision of about how to do this how to tell my people how to tell my supporters he's fearful because so many people are gonna be discouraged by what he does many of them may reject him entirely some will say that he's been taken captive by the devil and he's in the middle of that right now so that's mainly what I spend my time doing all day long I guess I could summarize it as my job is to help people to come to see the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith and I spend my days um trying to help people come home do you have more rapport with Baptists or no well it's natural for me to understand them better than others so I guess you could say the rapport is easier and more natural because they understand me too or let's put it this way when they speak to me they know who they're talking to someone who can understand them but my position requires me to understand Methodist and Methodist theology anglicanism Lutheran Presbyterian everybody Wow very exciting I'm very I'm very proud of you and the whole network and I love Marcus Grodi and Mother Angelica and the Pope said she's in heaven already so that's pretty cool well you should tell people then although I guess I'm doing it right now that they should come to the coming home Network website if they are lifelong Catholics and they want to know how they can help other converts along joining the coming home network as a way to be in ministry and joining the online community were they coming oh never that you have joined is a way for those who are Catholic now to to reach out to and support and to help all kinds of people who are still on the journey into the Catholic Church we have retreats that we do from time to time there are wonderful retreats for converts and for those on the journey this next year in fact we're having our very first deep in history coming home network pilgrimage to Italy to study the history of the Catholic Church in Rome and I'm going to be a part of leading that Marcus Grodi and and I and Monsignor Geoffrey Steenson wonderful priests are going to be leading that trip next September to Rome to study the history of the Catholic Church and this is something that converts you know can just fall in love with the idea of the first time going to Rome and seeing the Vatican and and learning about so much they are in the area so we'll be doing that it really is amazing so this is a question that I do ask faithful Catholics it's a little bit off-putting you don't to answer it if you don't want to what would it take for you to abandon Jesus Christ most of our knowledge is not is it's not knowledge like two plus two equals four it's not proof it's a coming together of many many many probabilities and there are so many things that come together now and they have come together over the years to convince me that Christianity is true and that Christ is who we claim to be there's so many things and these are intellectual but they're also experiential things my worldview is built up by it's like a big brick building and there are many many bricks that go into building it and putting it all together and if someone comes along and pulls one brick out it doesn't change the building you know they'd have to pull out enough bricks to where the walls start to collapse in some way and so but truthfully I have never thought you know what is the one thing you know there's no way anybody's gonna turn up the bones of Jesus and it's not going to be printed on there and even if neuroscience were to show I don't think they can at all but it but even if neuroscientists ignorant is were to somehow attempt to prove that the that the mind and the brain are absolutely the same thing and that there is nothing to you beyond synapses firing and that pile of mush in your skull I don't even think that would do it because I God can use the physical world as a secondary cause and be operating through it and God is spirit and and God creates human spirits and so I don't see anything nothing convincing yeah for sure yeah the the one example that I give to atheists that asked me that question is the bones of Jesus the bones of Mary but it is true I agree with you it's a network it's a web of things that point together to the truth of Catholicism and there's no one thing that would do it for me and like you said if they did claim to have the bones of Jesus I would you know it would take a lot to convince me I want to talk about sexual morality a lot of people poopoo the church they think the church is obsessed with sex when really the reason that a lot of people refuse to enter the church is because they're in love with their own sexual proclivities can you talk about that aspect of convert does it play a role or is it something that people feel relieved once they come into the church that they can try to be pure for Christ and that they can try to be chaste and it becomes a joy rather than a burden can you just talk in general terms about conversion to the Catholic Church human sexuality and what that struggle is like okay I would say that it's a that it's a it's a joy to become a Catholic to become a Christian and then to begin to realize that God made you to live a certain way in your life in general in your sexual life your your sexuality as a part of that to strive to be what God created you to be is a joy in us of freedom because any false path is a burden jesus said all those who sin are slaves to sin and whether it's an addiction to pornography that's a slavery breaking from that and becoming the pure chaste person God wants you to be to use Luther's phrase that's like walking through open gates into paradise most people kind of know in their heart of hearts that that's not good and it's not right and it's not it's not good for instance to treat people like objects it's good it's not good to be having multiple sexual relationships with people that you're not committed to for life becoming a Christian is not taking this burden upon me like oh my I can't do this anymore I got to stop doing that oh it was so great to be able to commit these sexual sins now I have to stop no it's exactly the reverse because again I have been created in the image and likeness of God there is such a thing as manhood and and God is the one who designed it and when I become a Christian that I began to look to him to tell me what it is to be a true man and that includes a lot of things being loving being prudent being tampered being courageous but it also means being pure being chaste and when I began to strive to live out what God has created me to be its freedom each step toward that is a step toward freedom and every step away from that is a step into bondage and so so I think that that view is entirely wrong when people just look at the Catholic faith and they all my word you can't do this you can't do that it's just laying all these burdens on you it's exactly the opposite way era and of course God created us with sexuality too that's a that's a part of our nature but it has to be fulfilled in the right way to be truly meaningful and good so um at the end of my interviews I do ask my guests to close the show with a nice little thought something positive for the listener little message of hope so what could you say just to end the show one of the things that is most precious to me about the Catholic faith Christian faith is the truth that I am NOT a biochemical machine driven purely by physical and chemical laws and whatnot that there is a God that God exists that God loves me that God created me in His image and likeness and that God wants me in relationship with him and I guess I would say to people out there I know that there are a lot of examples that are poor examples at least in your in your estimation poor examples of what a Christian is maybe poor examples of what the Catholic Church is look at the crisis that we're going through because there's so much sin in the priesthood in the bishopric and I know that many just may have a very negative impression and I guess I just encourage you you know it is Christianity that teaches that the human race is fallen and that in that in that we were capable of sin I wouldn't want the sinfulness of people to block you from looking in to the truth claims of the Christian faith Jesus really did exist Jesus really did teach the things that we say he taught Jesus really did perform miracles he lived he died he was crucified he rose again from the dead and you really can have a relationship with God through Christ and I encourage you if you have doubts about that I mean Oh pick up some books and look into it read CS Lewis's book Mere Christianity and try to answer the things that he says in there it's a great book and that's the one thing I want to say to you I guess