This is an excellent examination of some of the aspects of what drives Evangelical Protestants to convert to Roman Catholicism (and I would add that conversions to EO have similar aspects.)
Basically the root of this Psychology is the demand for absolute certainty about doctrines, interpretations and church and unity, and thinking that the RCC and Papacy gives you that absolute infallible certainty. God never expects humans to have kind of certainty. We can have creaturely reasonable certainty about God and Christ and salvation (1 John 5:13; Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 1:6), but God never expects the attribute of infallibility from us as humans. The same goes for the RCC Pope and Papal claims of 1870. There is no such quality as infallibility for the bishop of Rome!
Matt Fradd of “Pints with Aquinas” said, “I could never be Protestant” (because of the desire for absolute certainty about doctrines that Protestants disagree with other about). Matt seems like a really nice guy and having a burger and beer with him would be cool; but I say: “I could never be Roman Catholic because of all the man-made traditions (Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 15:1-20; Colossians 2:8) (slowly developed doctrines over centuries) that the RCC has added to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”. Jude 3
As Geoff (A Goy for Jesus) said in his video, “the last link in the chain is always your own mind and decision to trust the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church”. (my paraphrase)
Roman Catholics have been using tactics on Evangelicals for the past some-odd 30 years, especially since Scott Hahn and Gerry Mattatics’ conversion to the Roman Church – (based on Cardinal John Henry Newman’s ideas, skepticism, development of doctrine theory, acorn to oak tree, etc. ) – they say basically – “you are leaning on your own mind and your own interpretation to decide what church to be apart of.” “you are your own Pope” – this is exactly what my friend Rod Bennett kept saying to me over the years.
The quotes by Raymond Brown are especially enlightening. Be sure to listen to the whole video.
Basically, “The Roman Catholic Church does not change her official stance in a blunt way.” Raymond Brown (from my memory) – I am going to type it up later with the references and add to this article.
This (psychology of wanting to have absolute certainty) is exactly what happened to my friend Rod Bennett. (click on the side bar category for articles on Rod Bennett). Rod was looking for 1. certainty (especially over different interpretations of certain passages of Scripture.) Rod kept asking me, “how do you know for sure?” – about everything we debated over for 8 years. 2. history – connection with church history through the ages and 3. unity (he was sick of all the disunity of Protestant denominationalism), and only found those things when he submitted to the Pope in Rome. (authority) – Gregg Allison mentions those 4 aspects in the video below that is from Scott McKnight’s helpful article, “From Wheaton to Rome”, in the Journal of Evangelical Theological Society.
Gregg Allison makes some great points here in the video below.
One of the best things about Dr. Allison’s analysis is the 2 Axioms of Roman Catholic Theology:
It seems to me that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have the same basic paradigm:
- The Nature – Grace principle. That God’s grace enters our souls through physical things – like water, bread, wine, oil – I would add church buildings and architecture, statues, icons, trafficking in relics, incense, rosary beads, etc. see my article “Christ’s Incarnation Sanctified Matter?”
- The Christ – Church principle – The Roman Catholic Church declares itself as the one true church on earth and the extension of the incarnational body of Jesus on earth.