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Author Topic: The Truth by Clark Carlton  (Read 7726 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 12, 2007, 01:14:20 PM »

 Huh  Do I need any other books from him (The Way or The Faith) or are all of these teaching the same thing from different perspectives?
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2007, 12:08:26 AM »

Huh  Do I need any other books from him (The Way or The Faith) or are all of these teaching the same thing from different perspectives?
"The Way"  looks at things from a Protestant perspective and Mr. Carlton being a former Protestant does a good job of pointing out some of the fallacies in Protestant theology. I have read both The Way and The Truth and enjoyed them both although they are a little too polemical for my taste.

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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2007, 01:01:58 AM »

Huh  Do I need any other books from him (The Way or The Faith) or are all of these teaching the same thing from different perspectives?

Need? No. Are they different? Completely.

The Faith is a very basic catechism of sorts, designed for group study. Basic dogmas.

The Way is apologetic for Orthodoxy targeted against evangelical-style Protestants. Basically: Why Sola Scriptura is wrong and Orthodoxy is right.

The Truth is a similar style apologetic targeted for Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2007, 12:36:26 PM »

Need? No. Are they different? Completely.

The Faith is a very basic catechism of sorts, designed for group study. Basic dogmas.

The Way is apologetic for Orthodoxy targeted against evangelical-style Protestants. Basically: Why Sola Scriptura is wrong and Orthodoxy is right.

The Truth is a similar style apologetic targeted for Roman Catholics.

Okay so what is covered in The Truth is not covered in The Faith? Also, I noticed Paisius suggested that Carlson may be a bit overzealous or flat out Polemical... Is that what you find as well? I'm really 'burned out' on Polemical Pieces. It's almost nauseating to see how hostile converts have to be toward their old practices in order to feel 'truely' Orthodox and how hostile cradle Orthodox feel they have to be in order to spread the Word.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2007, 12:52:28 PM »

Okay so what is covered in The Truth is not covered in The Faith?

Right. They are completely different books.

The Faith is not polemical at all. It's pretty much just an introduction to major themes in Orthodox dogmatics (the Trinity, Christology, the Theotokos, the Fall, the Eucharist and so on).

The other books are basically intended to convince an Evangelical or a Roman Catholic that the Orthodox perspective is correct. Or, perhaps, to convince an Orthodox that the Evangelical or Roman Catholic perspective is erroneous. That kind of thing is bound to have a bit of Us vs. Them.
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2007, 01:00:17 PM »

Right. They are completely different books.

The Faith is not polemical at all. It's pretty much just an introduction to major themes in Orthodox dogmatics (the Trinity, Christology, the Theotokos, the Fall, the Eucharist and so on).

Thanks, I was kinda confused on this point.

Quote
The other books are basically intended to convince an Evangelical or a Roman Catholic that the Orthodox perspective is correct. Or, perhaps, to convince an Orthodox that the Evangelical or Roman Catholic perspective is erroneous. That kind of thing is bound to have a bit of Us vs. Them.

Yeah, I understand as long as they are mean-spirited... So you would recommend them or no?
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2007, 03:44:34 PM »

I'd recommend Carlton's The Truth, but if you want good apologetics for curious Roman Catholics, Two Paths by Michael Whelton (who, being a former Catholic, does a better job of speaking to Catholics...so I've been told by former Catholics, that is) is hard to beat.

Now, as for mean-spirited...I thought that's why we had Frankie Schaeffer!   Lips Sealed
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2007, 05:35:26 PM »

I'd recommend Carlton's The Truth, but if you want good apologetics for curious Roman Catholics, Two Paths by Michael Whelton (who, being a former Catholic, does a better job of speaking to Catholics...so I've been told by former Catholics, that is) is hard to beat.

Now, as for mean-spirited...I thought that's why we had Frankie Schaeffer!   Lips Sealed

Would you say that Whelton's is better than Carlson's works?
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2007, 07:44:12 PM »

If by the off chance I ever meet the man, I don't want him to think I am critiquing him, rather I am critiquing his work (the two are different, although we aren't taught that in our usa culture).
I think the Roman Catholicism book is HIGHLY polemical.  It smacks of Protestant jabs at Catholicism (standard bread and butter jabs) under the banner of Orthodoxy.  Anyone who grew up Catholic and has suffered at the hands of Protestants and some of the things they'll say to you just in passing, especially if they know you go to Catholic school.  It just sounds much like that, protestant jibbering about Catholicism under the guise of Orthodoxy.

A comparision needs to be written by a person who was Roman/Greek Catholic and became Orthodox and has a solid background in those areas. 
Mr. Carlton is highly educated in Evangelical matters.  He wasn't Catholic before he was Orthodox.  The one thing that many many many many many many Protestants in my experience are great at are taking out Catholics every chance they get. 
It would only be fair to have a catechumen read a book written by a former Roman/Greek Catholic, if he is a Roman/Greek Catholic joining the Orthodox Church. 

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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2007, 11:15:08 PM »

Also, I noticed Paisius suggested that Carlson may be a bit overzealous or flat out Polemical...

I found The Truth to be quite polemical actually.  I kept it though and a friend who is inquiring into Orthodoxy asked to read it.  She now calls the author "The Baptist Basher" of course with a smile on her face.

 Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 12:18:59 AM »

I thought Matthew Gallatin's Searching For God in a Land of Shallow Wells, while less satisfying intellectually, did a much more tactful job of addressing issues from former Evangelical days.

And yes, with regard to Orthodox converts from Catholicism, it's always better to listen to someone who was actually there.  Whelton was; Carlton wasn't.  So read Whelton if you're looking for something addressed to Catholics.
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2007, 12:53:40 AM »

I found The Truth to be quite polemical actually.  I kept it though and a friend who is inquiring into Orthodoxy asked to read it.  She now calls the author "The Baptist Basher" of course with a smile on her face.

 Cheesy
Let me clarify neither of the books are way over the top. For someone who is already convinced of the truth of Orthodoxy they're just fine but, if you were to give them to either a committed (no pun intended Wink) Protestant or Roman Catholic you would most likely anger or offend them rather than convince them.

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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2007, 04:34:22 AM »


A comparision needs to be written by a person who was Roman/Greek Catholic and became Orthodox and has a solid background in those areas. 
Mr. Carlton is highly educated in Evangelical matters.  He wasn't Catholic before he was Orthodox.  The one thing that many many many many many many Protestants in my experience are great at are taking out Catholics every chance they get. 
It would only be fair to have a catechumen read a book written by a former Roman/Greek Catholic, if he is a Roman/Greek Catholic joining the Orthodox Church. 


I know what you mean but the thing is I have read an apologist article written about the differences from a former Catholic and it was riddled with misconceptions about the Catholic church so you wont really get an unbiased presentation but I know what you mean.
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2007, 07:33:52 AM »

I thought Matthew Gallatin's Searching For God in a Land of Shallow Wells, while less satisfying intellectually, did a much more tactful job of addressing issues from former Evangelical days.

And yes, with regard to Orthodox converts from Catholicism, it's always better to listen to someone who was actually there.  Whelton was; Carlton wasn't.  So read Whelton if you're looking for something addressed to Catholics.

I'm very recently a former RC who has just this week read both Whelton's Two Paths and Carlton's The Truth.  Both are excellent, but Whelton's was a bit less polemic and added a bit of his personal experience.  However, Whelton focuses his arguments a lot more on the historical evidences against RC claims, while Carlton dives more into the doctrinal differences between Holy Orthodoxy and the RC. 

If the goal is to show an RC how Orthodoxy is truly different from RC (i.e., the difference between the two is more than just a refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of a pope), then Carlton's book is better.

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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2007, 09:16:35 AM »

I don't remember if it was "The Faith," but in a recent conversation with a respected colleague who is a religious educator, she strongly suggested not using "The Faith" (I think) because it made the assertion that men were created in the Image and Likeness of God, but women were created in the Image and Likeness of Creation.

Am I thinking of the correct book, or am I remembering her comment incorrectly?
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2007, 01:31:42 PM »

Thanks to everyone your advice!

After careful consideration......  Roll Eyes

I went with Whelton for this time around.  Grin

I'll let everyone now how I liked him.

Thanks again and God Bless!
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2007, 01:50:56 PM »

When I was Catholic I could not handle Whelton at first and thought he was meanspirited, although later on I reread it and didn't see it that way (go figure).  I always liked Carlton's work.
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2007, 10:57:38 PM »

Incidentally, the epilogue to The Truth -- a critique of some comments made by Scott Hahn in Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism -- is available online: A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome
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« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2007, 05:31:55 PM »

If by the off chance I ever meet the man, I don't want him to think I am critiquing him, rather I am critiquing his work (the two are different, although we aren't taught that in our usa culture).
I think the Roman Catholicism book is HIGHLY polemical.  It smacks of Protestant jabs at Catholicism (standard bread and butter jabs) under the banner of Orthodoxy.  Anyone who grew up Catholic and has suffered at the hands of Protestants and some of the things they'll say to you just in passing, especially if they know you go to Catholic school.  It just sounds much like that, protestant jibbering about Catholicism under the guise of Orthodoxy.

Sorry, I'm a little late to this discussion...

I couldn't agree with you more.  Whenever I'm given a book I always tend to skip ahead of the assigned reading (bad habit) and I was actually offended by some of Carlton's jabs at Catholic devotions.

It's interesting that I had similar problems with the devotions and spirituality of the Roman Church - or I would not have been in an Orthodox inquirers class in the first place! But having the attack leveled by a former evangelical who, IMHO, brought much of his anti-Catholic baggage along with him in his conversion to Orthodoxy really got my back up.  I was actually surprised by my reaction!

I guess it boils down to "I can criticize my mother but I dare you to try!"

In any case, I pointed out my concerns to the priest (a former RC btw) and he agreed with my criticism. The following week the (wonderful) woman who had ordered the book apologized to me for the content. The apology was unnecessary as she really had the best of intentions and didn't pick up on Carlton's polemics.

I would strongly urge any Orthodox parish working with Catholic inquirers to use another text.

Stephen

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« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2007, 09:35:06 AM »

I am the director of catachumens in our parish and one of the things that we have instituted is an individualized program for each catechumen.  The following is the questionaire that we give to each inquioror to assist us in the assigning of readings and programs development:
1. What was your previous religious background (Denomination, Christian or non christian---Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddist, etc, agnostic, or atheist)?
2. Were you raised in home in which religous belief was important or unimportant?
3. Are you married, divorced, engaged, or single? Do you have any children?
4. Do you have any family or friends who are Orthodox Christians?
5. What raised your interest in learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church?
6. Are there specific topics you wish more information about the Orthodox Church?
(Spirituality, Personal relationship with Chirst, the Liturgy, Saints, Theotokos, Prayer, Iconography, Church History, Church Doctrine)
7. What books have you already read about the Orthodox Church?

This questionaire helps us to guide  readings and make suggestions as to which of the classes offered in the parish might be more appropriate for the new catechumen. It helps avoid the issues you have mentioned. The discussion weekly or monthly with the catchumen also helps them toprocess the readings better.  We usually assign 4 books to be read through the catechumenate that address the needs of the  catechumen as they start on the road to Orthodoxy.


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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2007, 10:46:33 AM »

Thomas, I think that's an excellent approach.

I think the psychology of the convert has to be taken into consideration. While certainly understandable, I think it's a mistake to assume that he's rejected his previous faith in toto because he's sitting in an inquirers class. 

I can't speak for Protestants but conversion for a Catholic can, at times, be gut wrenching. It's more than a religion - it's a culture, a tradition, a way of life...

In my case, I never believed the pope was infallible (one example among many) but I had (and have) a deep respect for the RCC. 

 - My parents and 99.9% of my family and friends are Catholic.
 - Catholicism is practically a synonym for my ethnicity (Irish)
 - I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the selfless nuns who taught me in grammar school. Their   commitment - indeed, their total dedication - to Christ was remarkable.
 - I have great admiration for the profound and beautifully developed Catholic social doctrine.  You can't visit a decent sized city in this country without tripping over a hospital, school, or homeless shelter founded by poor, hardworking, and intensely dedicated orders of Catholic nuns.

My long journey to Orthodoxy (still incomplete) was a spiritual and even an intellectual process - it wasn't precipitated by hatred for the Roman Catholic Church. 

Had Carlton limited his attacks to Roman doctrinal developments, I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  But he makes the typical fundamentalist mistake of attacking Catholic practices and devotions. And that gets very personal! While I may have rejected such practices, I have warm memories of my grandparents' attachment to them. And, let's face it, there are far worse things that one can do than hang a picture of a merciful Christ by the front door...
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2007, 10:50:49 AM »

I am the director of catachumens in our parish and one of the things that we have instituted is an individualized program for each catechumen.  The following is the questionaire that we give to each inquioror to assist us in the assigning of readings and programs development:
1. What was your previous religious background (Denomination, Christian or non christian---Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddist, etc, agnostic, or atheist)?
2. Were you raised in home in which religous belief was important or unimportant?
3. Are you married, divorced, engaged, or single? Do you have any children?
4. Do you have any family or friends who are Orthodox Christians?
5. What raised your interest in learning more about the Orthodox Christian Church?
6. Are there specific topics you wish more information about the Orthodox Church?
(Spirituality, Personal relationship with Chirst, the Liturgy, Saints, Theotokos, Prayer, Iconography, Church History, Church Doctrine)
7. What books have you already read about the Orthodox Church?

This questionaire helps us to guide  readings and make suggestions as to which of the classes offered in the parish might be more appropriate for the new catechumen. It helps avoid the issues you have mentioned. The discussion weekly or monthly with the catchumen also helps them toprocess the readings better.  We usually assign 4 books to be read through the catechumenate that address the needs of the  catechumen as they start on the road to Orthodoxy.

Thomas,

Can you give us something like a decision tree of the responses you'd make as a catechist that work well depending upon the answers to the questions? I'd think that would be very interesting!
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2007, 11:49:32 AM »

Thomas, I think that's an excellent approach.

I think the psychology of the convert has to be taken into consideration. While certainly understandable, I think it's a mistake to assume that he's rejected his previous faith in toto because he's sitting in an inquirers class. 

I can't speak for Protestants but conversion for a Catholic can, at times, be gut wrenching. It's more than a religion - it's a culture, a tradition, a way of life...

In my case, I never believed the pope was infallible (one example among many) but I had (and have) a deep respect for the RCC. 

 - My parents and 99.9% of my family and friends are Catholic.
 - Catholicism is practically a synonym for my ethnicity (Irish)
 - I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the selfless nuns who taught me in grammar school. Their   commitment - indeed, their total dedication - to Christ was remarkable.
 - I have great admiration for the profound and beautifully developed Catholic social doctrine.  You can't visit a decent sized city in this country without tripping over a hospital, school, or homeless shelter founded by poor, hardworking, and intensely dedicated orders of Catholic nuns.

My long journey to Orthodoxy (still incomplete) was a spiritual and even an intellectual process - it wasn't precipitated by hatred for the Roman Catholic Church. 

Had Carlton limited his attacks to Roman doctrinal developments, I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  But he makes the typical fundamentalist mistake of attacking Catholic practices and devotions. And that gets very personal! While I may have rejected such practices, I have warm memories of my grandparents' attachment to them. And, let's face it, there are far worse things that one can do than hang a picture of a merciful Christ by the front door...


Grace and Peace Brother,

I, too, am Irish and Catholic and I share your journey into a deeper understanding of Orthodoxy as well. Recently I picked up a copy of Unseen Warfare which is an Orthodox retro-fit of a Catholic Classic. I honestly believe there are differences (i.e. emphasis) but I don't believe the polemics are valid. Too many individuals are still 'struggling' with the faith and these 'struggles' manifest as violent polemics on paper until they find peace.

God Bless.
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2007, 12:30:49 PM »

Recently I picked up a copy of Unseen Warfare which is an Orthodox retro-fit of a Catholic Classic.

When I first saw it in an Orthodox bookstore I was a little miffed that they didn't give old Lorenzo Scupoli credit on the cover Smiley

I honestly believe there are differences (i.e. emphasis) but I don't believe the polemics are valid. Too many individuals are still 'struggling' with the faith and these 'struggles' manifest as violent polemics on paper until they find peace.

I agree but the evangelical converts to Orthodoxy who never got over their "Catholic problem"  really annoy me. Carlton, IMHO, is a classic example. If Orthodoxy is true then it should stand or fall on its own merits. It seems that a certain class of converts are obsessed with a need to unfavorably contrast Catholicism with Orthodoxy.

I don't think Catholicism should even enter into it. Catholic apologetics don't make the case for Rome by bashing the Orthodox.  When authors do that they seem, I don't know, maybe a little insecure?

God Bless.

You too and good luck Smiley

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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2007, 01:45:59 AM »

I haven't read this book, but I would like to say that Carlton's conversion story is one of the best I have ever read.
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« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2007, 03:07:33 PM »

My long journey to Orthodoxy (still incomplete) was a spiritual and even an intellectual process - it wasn't precipitated by hatred for the Roman Catholic Church. 

What a great introduction to your posts, Navigator.  I especially agree with this part from the second one:

I agree but the evangelical converts to Orthodoxy who never got over their "Catholic problem"  really annoy me. Carlton, IMHO, is a classic example. If Orthodoxy is true then it should stand or fall on its own merits. It seems that a certain class of converts are obsessed with a need to unfavorably contrast Catholicism with Orthodoxy.

I don't think Catholicism should even enter into it. Catholic apologetics don't make the case for Rome by bashing the Orthodox.  When authors do that they seem, I don't know, maybe a little insecure?

Yes, yes, yes.  How wonderful that you're coming to Orthodoxy because of what's good about Orthodoxy, rather than what's bad about Roman Catholicism.  The former make much better converts, ime.

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But he makes the typical fundamentalist mistake of attacking Catholic practices and devotions.

True, he's not always known for his tact.  He came and spoke at a retreat of sorts we had here in the DFW metroplex, and basically dismissed out of hand a thoughtful, fair question posed to him by an Evangelical inquirer (so he ruffles our feathers, too).  Thank God, this inquirer was humble enough to let it roll of his back and was chrismated last Holy Saturday anyway.  Thank God also that Dr. Carlton seems to have found his niche in podcasting.
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« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2007, 02:38:16 AM »

I'd recommend Carlton's The Truth, but if you want good apologetics for curious Roman Catholics, Two Paths by Michael Whelton (who, being a former Catholic, does a better job of speaking to Catholics...so I've been told by former Catholics, that is) is hard to beat.

Now, as for mean-spirited...I thought that's why we had Frankie Schaeffer!   Lips Sealed

This Orthodox seminarian doesn't have much praise for Whelton:

http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol2-W-3%20Popes&Patriarchs3.PDF
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« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2007, 02:56:12 AM »

This Orthodox seminarian doesn't have much praise for Whelton:

http://www.cjoc.ca/pdf/Vol2-W-3%20Popes&Patriarchs3.PDF

The author is not an Orthodox seminarian, but is Eastern Catholic and an ecumenist.  I think his review makes a few good points which I pointed out before when this link was posted, but his review is overall unfair. It judges Whelton's books for things Whelton was not trying to accomplish.
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« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2007, 03:13:45 PM »

The author is not an Orthodox seminarian, but is Eastern Catholic and an ecumenist.  I think his review makes a few good points which I pointed out before when this link was posted, but his review is overall unfair. It judges Whelton's books for things Whelton was not trying to accomplish.

Thanks for the clarification.  Smiley My bad.
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« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2007, 03:16:52 PM »


Yes, yes, yes.  How wonderful that you're coming to Orthodoxy because of what's good about Orthodoxy, rather than what's bad about Roman Catholicism.  The former make much better converts, ime.


I think that's the basis of true interior conversion. Which may be why it's taken me so long.... 

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« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2007, 06:23:01 PM »

When I first saw it in an Orthodox bookstore I was a little miffed that they didn't give old Lorenzo Scupoli credit on the cover Smiley

I agree but the evangelical converts to Orthodoxy who never got over their "Catholic problem"  really annoy me. Carlton, IMHO, is a classic example. If Orthodoxy is true then it should stand or fall on its own merits. It seems that a certain class of converts are obsessed with a need to unfavorably contrast Catholicism with Orthodoxy.

I don't think Catholicism should even enter into it. Catholic apologetics don't make the case for Rome by bashing the Orthodox.  When authors do that they seem, I don't know, maybe a little insecure?

You too and good luck Smiley



Jumping in a bit late, but being in a bit of a unique situation, as a Protestant, who kind of did things backwards, I just wanted to share how these books and this fit into my conversion.

As our denomination grew more and more liberal, my husband and I knew it was just a matter of time before we would convert, and it was always assumed that we would become Roman Catholic.   Scott Hahn's books and tapes were the first thing we encountered and that was about 10 years ago.  Knowing only what I was taught by my Reformation/ very anti-Rome Lutheran Church, it seemed to neatly tie up all the misconceptions and loose ends.

But as Navigator says, conversion is a life long process, and God was not finished with me yet.  Several years before we actually left,  by chance, (I met them through something that had nothing to do with the Orthodox Church...it was an ecumenical type thing/and was exposed to some of the best Christian writings-I don't know if anyone is familiar with 8th Day Books, but I spent the next 3 years browsing, reading, not to convert to this or that Church, but to grow in faith) I encountered many Orthodox converts.  At the time I didn't know an Eastern Catholic from and Eastern Orthodox, or a Church Father from a Church Mother.  The bookstore owner just carries the best, not to mention hard to find, books from all eras of the Faith.  I read Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory and Ephraim, not about them. I also read Augustine, Aquinas and Ignatius.  It wasn't until we were coming down to the wire, and I finally did make some direct contact with the Orthodox Church, that I started to even entertain the notion of maybe, not going to Rome. 

This was complicated by the fact that my husband had already decided that  he was going to become Roman Catholic. 
His conversion to Roman Catholicism was based on the merits or Roman Catholicism; it was not a rejection of Orthodoxy (though my husband is very well versed in Church History).  Orthodoxy was not even on the horizon for him. 
I kept reading, though not to "decide" anything, but out of an intense hunger and thirst, almost to a point that I felt I was nearly dead from  famish, both physically and  spiritually from staying too long in a place that no longer preached the Gospel.

By this time I had read most of Ware, but another book, The Mystery of Faith" by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, along with participating in what was essentially  Orthodox Western Rite Worship, finally broke wide open my nearly dead  cold stone heart, and I and I knew that is was because I had found a place where it was possible to come face to face with Christ.

Still under the illusion that I would find the same thing in Roman Catholicism (because nothing I read, as of yet, could in any way be called polemic), I found a very Traditional Parish, with a Priest who is one of the holiest men I ever met, that did the NO in Latin, and changed over to the Tridentine the minute it was allowed by the Pope.  If there was a way to get a true, not watered down, Roman Catholicism, I found it on my first try.  I assumed that this "conversion" would continue, just in a different setting.

At first, and this was a Mercy I will always be grateful for, the truth of my path dawned very slowly and gently.  I was not thrown into a state of confusion, panic, heartrending, fearful for my marriage state, but started RCIA classes with the intention of converting with my husband, but at the same time kept up with my reading, and found it almost impossible to stay away from Orthodox Worship.  I had visited my first Eastern Divine Liturgy, and was in awe, but intellectualized it as just an "experiential" event, and did not let it influence me. (this was not just emotional, fuzzy good feeling, but ended up to had everything to do with  community, worship; it was  not a Jesus and me encounter).

Looking back, I interpret it as finally being  fully converted already to True Christianity, and the next step was finding a the place where God could continue the work of conversion, within a community of others working out their salvation. 
From then on it seemed the farther into Roman Catholicism I went the farther away I kept finding myself from  Christ.  I went back and forth for a long time, approaching and then distancing...and after enough times, that I am too embarrassed to mention, the full weight of what was happening began to fall. 
The decision to become join the Orthodox Church (I guess I was already Orthodox, since for me Orthodox=Christian).
Then I hit, or was hit by, some of the polemic books and authors mentioned here. I was not impressed with Carlton, and Hahn had long since  found it's way to the back of the bookshelf.  Then people brought out the "heavy hitters", a certain James Likoudis, a Catholic convert from the Orthodox Church (but the Orthodox Church he writes about resembles nothing I have ever encountered in Orthodoxy).
 
I haven't read Carlton's book, The Truth, but judging what he says Hahn said, and how quickly Hahn dismissed Orthodoxy, I would not be surprised (but very saddened) that he based much of his opinion on the writings of this man.  If Hahn placed his confidence in this book, and it wouldn't surprise me, since Likoudis is the leading unorthodox apologist, his unfortunate, and inaccurate view of the Orthodox Church is forgivable.  Mr Likoudis is very sincere, and very respected for his faith, reverence, and humility; all the more unfortunate since his misunderstanding of Orthodoxy has affected Roman Catholic/ Orthodox relations among the more zealous converts on both sides.

As to my feelings and judgment of Roman Catholicism, it is a struggle.  On one hand, I was heartbroken that I could not find union with Christ there and that inspires sadness, disappointment, anger, but it the  Church that is caring for the soul of my husband, and a place that he has found Christ, so I also feel a bit protective, and a deep longing for healing for the Church, but not at any price..

People think I chose the Orthodox Church over my husband, but it was Christ that I followed, and would have followed anywhere.  It is still all a mystery to me; I find comfort in that on a micro level, we are incarnating the healing that needs to take place in the Body of Christ, his Church.  It's a small comfort, and many times the pains outweigh it, but the Mercy of God covers all in the end.

Sorry for the length, and apologize if I bored anyone, or am off-topic  Smiley

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« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2007, 07:30:36 PM »

No, Kaarina - its a nice story.  Welcome to the board.
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« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2007, 11:46:47 PM »

The author is not an Orthodox seminarian, but is Eastern Catholic and an ecumenist.  I think his review makes a few good points which I pointed out before when this link was posted, but his review is overall unfair. It judges Whelton's books for things Whelton was not trying to accomplish.

I don't argue with your claim that DeVille is an Eastern Catholic, but I'm wondering what your basis is for saying that he's an ecumenist? I'm not saying you're wrong -- I don't know much about DeVille so you could very well be right -- but he doesn't strike me as ecumenical-minded, to say the least. For example:

Quote from:  Adam A.J. DeVille
Whelton persists in making fatuous statements about the papacy when he says that the pope tries “to rule the global church like a giant single diocese” (117). This is a charge that was first bandied about by that theological giant Otto von Bismarck, the imperial Prussian chancellor, in the wake of the First Vatican Council. It was rebutted by the German bishops in a letter that Pope Pius IX himself highly praised.

This charge was not only rebutted in the 19th century: it was also dealt with in the 20th in Roman Catholic canon law, which Whelton, not surprisingly, ignores (see canons 330-341 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law). Finally, one must consider that, according to this “logic,” if the pope did indeed run the global church as a single diocese, such a modus operandi would obviate the need for other bishops. Why, then, are there roughly 3000 Catholic bishops holding jurisdiction over an equally large number of dioceses scattered throughout the world?

Thanks,
Peter.
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« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2007, 09:46:21 AM »

Thomas,

Can you give us something like a decision tree of the responses you'd make as a catechist that work well depending upon the answers to the questions? I'd think that would be very interesting!

It is in the works, this is one of my Antiochian House of Studies projects for next year.

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« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2008, 10:02:14 PM »


I agree but the evangelical converts to Orthodoxy who never got over their "Catholic problem"  really annoy me. Carlton, IMHO, is a classic example. If Orthodoxy is true then it should stand or fall on its own merits. It seems that a certain class of converts are obsessed with a need to unfavorably contrast Catholicism with Orthodoxy.

I don't think Catholicism should even enter into it. Catholic apologetics don't make the case for Rome by bashing the Orthodox.  When authors do that they seem, I don't know, maybe a little insecure?


This book came out about the same time that a family member of Clark's converted to Catholicism. This anger comes through in this book. I recommend his other books, but cannot recommend to inquiring Roman Catholic friends of mine this book.

He got his Ph.D. from Catholic University of America, so I don't think he completely demonizes the RC church totally.

I personally like the guy. He's as nice as can be. He does ruffle some people's feathers, but when you write books and do public speaking events, one is bound to do so and that can't be helped.
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« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2008, 10:16:06 PM »

He got his Ph.D. from Catholic University of America, so I don't think he completely demonizes the RC church totally.

From his book (page 187):

"Evangelicals searching for the catholic tradition must understand that Orthodoxy is not simply an alternative ecclesiastical structure to the Roman Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church presents a fundamentally different approach to theology, because She posesses a fundamentally different experience of Christ and life in Him. To put it bluntly, She knows a different Christ from that of the Roman Catholic Church."

I'm not sure how much worse someone can get than accusing them of worshiping a different Christ.
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« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2008, 03:40:41 AM »

Anyone who grew up Catholic and has suffered at the hands of Protestants and some of the things they'll say to you just in passing, especially if they know you go to Catholic school.
Hey, I went to a Catholic school from Kindergarten to eighth grade.  Whenever we'd walk two blocks up the hill to go to church, we'd pass by a public school and would hear all sorts of... "encouraging" remarks.

I've read Carlton's book about Protestantism.  It wasn't too bad.  It mainly focused on "sola scriptura", but did have an air of polemics.  I haven't read his book for Roman Catholics yet, but have heard mixed reviews.

There was a book called "Popes and Patriarchs" that I had heard was well written for Roman Catholics.  I can't remember the author's name, nor can I recommend it because I have yet to read it! Roll Eyes
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« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2008, 03:58:56 AM »

Hey, I went to a Catholic school from Kindergarten to eighth grade.  Whenever we'd walk two blocks up the hill to go to church, we'd pass by a public school and would hear all sorts of... "encouraging" remarks.

LoL, tell me about it.  Tongue  Our uniforms made us stand out a bit.  Oh, and on Ash Wednesdays with the ashes on our forehead...

Quote
I haven't read his book for Roman Catholics yet, but have heard mixed reviews.

Lucky you, those are several hours of my life I would like back.  Tongue

Quote
There was a book called "Popes and Patriarchs" that I had heard was well written for Roman Catholics.  I can't remember the author's name, nor can I recommend it because I have yet to read it! Roll Eyes

Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton?  I wouldn't recommend it either.  He doesn't have the anti-RC air of Carlton but I found it poorly researched when it came to discussing RC views.  But, that is just my opinion, maybe my expectations were too high after I had read so many positive reviews of it.
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« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2008, 06:22:37 AM »

From his book (page 187):

"Evangelicals searching for the catholic tradition must understand that Orthodoxy is not simply an alternative ecclesiastical structure to the Roman Catholic Church. The Orthodox Church presents a fundamentally different approach to theology, because She posesses a fundamentally different experience of Christ and life in Him. To put it bluntly, She knows a different Christ from that of the Roman Catholic Church."

I'm not sure how much worse someone can get than accusing them of worshiping a different Christ.

Carlton says something similar in his Protestant-critical book.  I found this rather offensive and it actually
turned me off from the Orthodox Church for a short time.   However, his personal story is quite compelling.
If I were his editor, I would have said, 'Clark, interesting stuff, but tone is down a little.  After all, you want
Protestants to read this book, right?"

Franky & co would have been better off criticizing Catholics with one of their own than a Baptist.  Growing
up Catholic, I can say Baptists were our biggest detractors.  My mom still won't consider voting for Mike
Huckabee because he is a Baptist preacher.  (I admit, though, I haven't read this book).


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« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2008, 11:25:29 PM »

LoL, tell me about it.  Tongue  Our uniforms made us stand out a bit.  Oh, and on Ash Wednesdays with the ashes on our forehead...
Good times!  Tongue  But sad times nonetheless.

Quote
Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton?  I wouldn't recommend it either.  He doesn't have the anti-RC air of Carlton but I found it poorly researched when it came to discussing RC views.  But, that is just my opinion, maybe my expectations were too high after I had read so many positive reviews of it.
Yeah, that's the one.  Like I said, haven't read it but have heard mixed reviews.

Still, best book I've read about Orthodoxy goes to Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church".  I think what would be useful is one that is not so critical/polemical.
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« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2008, 11:10:54 PM »

Incidentally, the epilogue to The Truth -- a critique of some comments made by Scott Hahn in Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism -- is available online: A Note for Evangelicals Considering Rome

This is where Clark gets REALLY mean and nasty....gloves off as one might say!  WOW!  As converts, my DH and I can read it with amusement but for a current RC it would be really really offensive!!!
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« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2008, 01:26:53 PM »

Grace and Peace,

Well I finished The Truth by Clark Carlton and man am I glad I did. I didn't think it was really all that polemical. I rather enjoyed it from cover to cover. I never really understood Orthodox Ecclesiology until I read his chapter on The Church.

I also got The Faith and The Way because I really like the way he writes and was hoping it would add more to my understanding.  Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2008, 01:36:14 AM »

As a Catholic I found the Truth to be a good book myself. It helped to clear up some questions I had regarding the Orthodox's stance on the Theotokos. It is polemical. He goes into a big diatribe at one point about the "morbidity" of Catholics focusing on the Sacred heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary there is nothing morbid about that we just focus on the love coming from their hearts. In that way you can see that Mr.Carlton comes from an evangelical background. I did find his debunking of some of the Fatima "secrets" interesting too. As a Catholic some of that seemed "off" to me. It's a good book but written by a former " Sola Scriptura" Guy so keep that in mind.
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« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2012, 01:30:37 AM »

I am reading The Truth right now and it is making me deeply sad. To describe it as a polemic is being charitable, I think. I am forcing myself to read the footnotes, but that seems to be where a good bit of the worst anti-Catholic venom is located. I don't know why the tone has to be so confrontational and crude. If an inquiring Catholic less convinced of Orthodoxy read this book, I think it would be a disaster. Someone earlier in the thread said that it felt like good ol' fashioned "whore of Babylon"-style Protestant bashing of Catholics. I couldn't agree more. Coming on the heels of the punch to the gut that was being told that St. Francis of Assisi was a vainglorious charlatan possibly inspired by demons just last week, I think I am in the midst of the mid-conversion crisis that others have mentioned.

Note: I give my remarks on Carlton as someone who read and very much enjoyed The Faith.
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« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2012, 08:07:23 AM »

I've recently read Carlton's book and actually appreciated the bluntness of the tone. I'm a rather straight to the point guy myself so I wasn't offended.

Ultimately I think it succeeds in pointing out the glaring problems with certain aspects of Roman ecclesiology and theology. I don't buy all of the objections to certain Roman devotions and theological perspectives which seem to be of a secondary nature when speaking of the very real problems that separate the two Churches (papal claims, filioque etc.) For instance, I don't take The "Essence and Energies" idea as dogma. Neither do I discount Augustinian ideas of atonement. I believe these latter two to be theological ideas that can be debated but not grounds for maintaining the schism.

My "conversion" is going roughly in order of: problems in V2 Roman Church, fleeing to Tradition, trying (unsuccessfully) to make logical sense of what has happened to the Indefectible Roman Church headed by the Infallible pope, Investigating claims of Orthodoxy, diving into Church history, making the horrible discovery that the Roman pope hasn't always been considered to be the sole head of the Church-let alone infallible, discovering the difference in the "soul" of Orthodoxy as opposed to Catholicism, attending Orthodox services....
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