Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Review: No Price Too High

No Price Too High
A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic
Then I read 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Paul tells his followers to be careful to observe all the paradosis he had delivered to them. And the word paradosis means traditions. Whether written (as in the Bible) or oral.

Well, that knocked Sola Scriptura (the "Bible alone" theology) right out of the water. The Church has never ever adopted the position that the Bible is our only teaching authority. That's why we realize that Martin Luther didn't attempt to reform the Church; he reinterpreted it. He tried to make changes without authority and didn't go back to the beginning, to what was handed down from the apostles.

In the early days of the Church, Christians weren't running around with Bibles in their hands. All that were available were the Old Testament Scriptures and very few of those. Plus, most people couldn't read anyway. The teachings of the Old Testament had already been interpreted by Jesus and the apostles, and those teachings were handed down orally. The Christian faith was handed down through the traditions of the Church. This only made sense.


By the end of 1998, I had come to understand that the Catholic Church was, indeed, the Church of Jesus Christ. The traditions of the Church were authentic. This was how the Church had evolved, not the way we thought it had evolved. I decided we needed to identify with the Church, but I thought we could do that without becoming a part of the Catholic Church. I wanted to replicate it. I wanted to become like them, not be them. Heck, I didn't want to just throw my church away! Although this was authentic Christian worship, I decided I didn't need to be Catholic in order to worship that way.
All minister Alex Jones wanted to do was to take his Pentecostal flock closer to the authentic roots of Christianity, back to the time when Jesus walked among us. He turned to the Church Fathers’ writing and found himself being inexorably led to the Roman Catholic Church. Time after time he would admit that the Catholic Church got it right and see how he could adapt his own church’s services to serve the new truth he’d discovered. Eventually, he wound up converting, as did his wife, and 55 others of his congregation.

This is an impressive story that takes us inside the Pentecostal movement as we learn Jones’ history. I particularly enjoyed the story as he began researching Church history and was led to realize that conversion was inevitable if he was going to follow God’s will. We also hear what Jones’ wife, Donna, was going through during this time as she was an intelligent, faithful Christian who was anything but ready to become Catholic. In telling his story, Jones also speaks for other Catholic converts, including me, when he says:
I wanted to know why he would call me to his Church so late in life. Why? Why did this happen to me now? Why didn't I see the truth of the Catholic Church when I was in my twenties or thirties? I could have given my entire life to it. And why was I able to see this truth when other Protestant ministers, far more intelligent, far more gifted, far more educated, and far more holy than I am, didn't see it? How had I stumbled upon this -- a man who is very ordinary in every sense of the word? It was so plain to me -- as though it had just peeled back and was revealed to me. I saw the truth so clearly. Why couldn't these intelligent, gifted Protestant pastors see this?


I began to see the breadth and the dimension of those who are converts and those coming into the Church. I began to meet those -- hundreds of them -- who had come into the Church pretty much the same way I did. I began to realize that my conversion was not unique. It was a typical conversion, maybe a bit more public, but it was a typical conversion.

People become Catholic because they have discovered the authenticity of the Catholic faith, generally through three different avenues: they recognize the authority of the Church; they have discovered the Blessed Mother; or they have studied the Church Fathers. The more I traveled, the more people I met, the more I began to realize that God is at work renewing his Church. He is stirring the cradle Catholics, and he is bringing in converts who have a relationship with him, a profound love of God, to build up the faith of the Church, to strengthen it.
Most enjoyable and highly recommended.

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