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Author Topic: Dad is considering Roman Catholicism  (Read 1889 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: July 08, 2013, 11:55:37 AM »

A lifelong Protestant who was once a preacher is now considering RC.  He's been attending Mass and watching EWTN.  It's true that to study history is to cease being being Protestant, but I'm praying he'll give give Eastern Orthodoxy equal consideration.  What books do you suppose might pique his curiosity?  He's a retired University president and is fairly well read.  Also, it probably wouldn't hurt to pray for him and my step mom.  Thanks a million y'all!
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 11:58:05 AM »

I forgot to mention I've suggested AFR.  I'm not sure if he's listened to any of it so I'll need to remind him about it.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 12:01:42 PM »

He might benefit from Clark Carlton's complete book series. The Way is very popular as an Orthodox pitch to the Evangelical crew (and arguably the best of the series), The Truth does the same targeting Catholics (arguably the weakest link), while The Faith and The Life focus on Orthodoxy in itself. All put together, there's a lot to consider.
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 12:08:09 PM »

Ask him why he is interested in Catholicism instead of Orthodoxy and tell your own perspective on the issue.
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 12:08:27 PM »

Try the Matthew Gallatin book:  Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells or something similar to that title.
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 12:18:37 PM »

Ask him why he is interested in Catholicism instead of Orthodoxy and tell your own perspective on the issue.

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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 01:00:27 PM »

Great suggestions!
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 01:02:33 PM »

What does he know about your religious experiences?
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 02:05:00 PM »

Do you live anyhow near him? You could invite him to come to your parish with you. And in case he is fascinated by Western Christianity, you might want to find out whether there are any WRO parishes/monasteries where he lives.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 06:28:07 PM »

He's a retired University president and is fairly well read. 

In my own experience, Henry Chadwick's The Early Church is what tipped the balance in favour of Orthodoxy at a time in my life when I was considering converting to Roman Catholicism.  I used to listen to EWTN's shortwave radio station and read a lot of Catholic books, and was pretty much sold on their version of the papacy.  Then I read Chadwick for an undergrad history course and realised that, contrary to what my Catholic sources were telling me, the administration of the early Church was not as clear cut and Petrine as they made it seem...it was the Orthodox model I was seeing modeled early on, and the "Catholic" model developed much later and under certain conditions.  Since that was, to me, the major difference between Orthodoxy and RCism, my "Catholic phase" was basically over--every other difference leaned in Orthodoxy's favour anyway. 

Perhaps he's already read this, but if not, I'd give it a try.  I recommend it to just about everyone whenever an opportunity arises. 
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 09:09:14 AM »

He lives in Palm Springs, CA.  He says there's a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church there that they've visited for the Greek Fest.  I don't know exactly what got him started on this journey, or what books he's read. I might order and send him some of the suggested reading.  I'll find out more when we talk next.
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 10:39:52 AM »

Send him Jaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine series (5 volumes). Remember to point out that Pelikan converted from Lutheran to Orthodox (OCA) in 1998.
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »

A lifelong Protestant who was once a preacher is now considering RC.  He's been attending Mass and watching EWTN.  It's true that to study history is to cease being being Protestant, but I'm praying he'll give give Eastern Orthodoxy equal consideration.  What books do you suppose might pique his curiosity?  He's a retired University president and is fairly well read.  Also, it probably wouldn't hurt to pray for him and my step mom.  Thanks a million y'all!

For me, The Vatican Dogma and  The Papacy--Its Historic Origin and Primitive Relations with the Eastern Churches by Abbe Guettee destroyed the Roman doctrine on the Petrine Ministry as dogmatized at Vatican I. These can both be linked from orthodoxinfo.com

As I discovered, to be deep in history is to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2013, 02:47:18 PM »

Or, just let him find his own way instead of encouraging him to read  and be engulfed in a lot of anti-Catholic invectives and polemics.  RC is a big step up from the vast majority of Protestants, though many RC congregations are involved with the same Sunday morning fluff that you see at Protestant churches (i.e. praise bands, no theological depth in hymns, lectures, entertainment venues).
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 03:01:01 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2013, 03:03:05 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.

Care to elaborate? Why to avoid history?
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 03:10:19 PM »

I don't know, but it requires of lot of our patience and understanding. God will open his eyes, but until then it can be a long process. I can only remember about myself and my own phases (there was no way you could've really done much for me unless you performed a miracle Smiley)

Yet, the problem is very simple even though the most well read people don't usually get to the bottom of it. The history of Christianity simply shows Orthodoxy to be the original and continuing Church that Christ established. Once you know this, yet choose to overlook it then you are immersed in presuppositions and wanting to see religion your own way (and we all are like that to whatever extent).
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2013, 03:23:18 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.

Care to elaborate? Why to avoid history?

I dunno, I just question how helpful it is. History seems like a rather muddy business to me, or leastwise muddier than the Bible or dogmatic theology. I mean, I found history helpful at first in convincing me that Protestantism (or at least the version I was in) wasn't where I thought I should be; it was a major factor in setting me in motion towards something more traditional/historically rooted. However, I think it can also make things more difficult than they need to be. Sometimes the right answer is the more vague one, not the more precise one, but is that helpful in a situation like this?

Jaroslav Pelikan was mentioned, yet I found his work, especially the sections dealing with east vs. west stuff, to make things less clear. All I heard before I read it was "he converted to Orthodoxy, you have to read this, he was a Lutheran scholar, but look what he wrote!" Yet when I actually did read it I felt like it slightly favored Catholic take on things, especially the second volume. It wasn't a slam dunk for Catholicism of course, but I definitely felt like some people were, while sincere, perhaps overstating it's Orthodox tone or views.

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2013, 03:25:02 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.

Care to elaborate? Why to avoid history?
I agree with Asteriktos. I personally see history as a good thing to understand the importance of one Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church.  Trying to understand figure out through history which of the Churches that claim that are correct is a bit more difficult as it is largely a matter of perception.  I believe that once you recognize that you need to be a part of one Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church, it is theology that guides you to the truth of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2013, 03:26:40 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Is that your current status?
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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2013, 03:33:38 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Is that your current status?

People got ticked at me changing my faith status often and/or talking about such things, so I sort of stopped talking about it (as best I could). I made a decision not to say specifically where I was ecclesiastically until I was a communing, confessing, regularly-attending member of a parish for a significant chunk of time. I haven't achieved that, so I don't claim to be Christian. The best way to put it is that I'm trying to be a Christian, with very little success.
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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2013, 03:35:16 PM »

[The best way to put it is that I'm trying to be a Christian, with very little success.
Sounds like the rest of us.
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« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2013, 03:37:54 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Is that your current status?

People got ticked at me changing my faith status often and/or talking about such things, so I sort of stopped talking about it (as best I could). I made a decision not to say specifically where I was ecclesiastically until I was a communing, confessing, regularly-attending member of a parish for a significant chunk of time. I haven't achieved that, so I don't claim to be Christian. The best way to put it is that I'm trying to be a Christian, with very little success.
I'm sorry to hear that people would be upset by that.  If we can't talk about where we are at spiritually on an Orthodox Christian forum, what is the point of this board?  Best wishes on your journey.
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« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2013, 03:38:37 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Is that your current status?

People got ticked at me changing my faith status often and/or talking about such things, so I sort of stopped talking about it (as best I could). I made a decision not to say specifically where I was ecclesiastically until I was a communing, confessing, regularly-attending member of a parish for a significant chunk of time. I haven't achieved that, so I don't claim to be Christian. The best way to put it is that I'm trying to be a Christian, with very little success.

Sounds like you have problems with the outward problems of Christianity which are very real, including on the surface of history and even within Orthodoxy (which can be a jungle on the surface of things). As TheTrisagion said in a previous post, it's both an inner battle (deciding to be part of Christ's one Holy and Apostolic Church) and question of history. Without Christ being a historical figure and one that continues throughout human history Christianity won't work (not that fallen human history is something of itself, but is necessary for life to make sense). In your case, maybe try to get over the surface problems and don't let yourself be affected by them when they come from without and focus on your inner life and relationship with God first. Just a suggestion.
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« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2013, 03:41:16 PM »

Thanks, though I don't want the thread to be off topic. Ok, well threads go off topic all the time, but this would be a strange and unhelpful direction to go in... so back to GabrieltheCelt's dad? Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2013, 03:41:42 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Thank you for the answer. I understand your point of view but I slightly disagree as for general historical outlines seem more understandable than endless patristic quote war.
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« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2013, 03:42:03 PM »

Thanks, though I don't want the thread to be off topic. Ok, well threads go off topic all the time, but this would be a strange and unhelpful direction to go in... so back to GabrieltheCelt's dad? Smiley

Just used the opportunity to try to do something good...and it's not that off-topic.
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« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2013, 03:43:21 PM »

Thanks, though I don't want the thread to be off topic. Ok, well threads go off topic all the time, but this would be a strange and unhelpful direction to go in... so back to GabrieltheCelt's dad? Smiley

Just used the opportunity to try to do something good...and it's not that off-topic.

I meant no offense, I just don't want this to become the 37th discussion about my struggles on this board. 37 isn't a verified number, but it's close.
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« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2013, 03:45:18 PM »

Thanks, though I don't want the thread to be off topic. Ok, well threads go off topic all the time, but this would be a strange and unhelpful direction to go in... so back to GabrieltheCelt's dad? Smiley

Just used the opportunity to try to do something good...and it's not that off-topic.

I meant no offense, I just don't want this to become the 37th discussion about my struggles on this board. 37 isn't a verified number, but it's close.

No offense taken! Only explaining myself. 37 is not that impressive to me; I hold better records regarding similar issues.
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« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2013, 03:48:32 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology

In that case (well, in any case) I would suggest Met. Kallistos' The Orthodox Way. One of the best introductory works there is, I think.
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« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2013, 04:12:26 PM »

I never could like The Orthodox Way, no matter how hard I tried. 
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« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2013, 04:12:49 PM »

I'd avoid all kinds of bookish suggestions if the person in question doesn't  express any interest in Orthodoxy. Otherwise suggestions may sound unnecessarily argumentative.
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« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2013, 04:18:03 PM »

Really, the best way to handle this situation is to to grab him by the lapels, shake him and scream "Why are you trodding the path to heresy!?!"  If the response is not favorable, knock the dust off your sandals and leave the house indignantly sprinkling holy water in front of you as you leave to purify your exit route.

Witnessing Orthodox style.  Cool
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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2013, 04:53:42 PM »

I never could like The Orthodox Way, no matter how hard I tried. 

I found the Orthodox Church very dry and uninspiring, but the Way was concise, readable and got more to the heart of things. The only thing I didn't particularly like were the collection of non-Christian quotes. What were your objections to it?
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« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2013, 05:42:37 PM »

I found the Orthodox Church very dry and uninspiring, but the Way was concise, readable and got more to the heart of things. The only thing I didn't particularly like were the collection of non-Christian quotes. What were your objections to it?

It seemed too esoteric to me at the time I tried to read it, I thought it would be a better read with weed.  The quotes were my favourite part.  Tongue

The Orthodox Church is rather dry and uninspiring by comparison, but I read it before trying Way and I enjoyed its straightforward presentation of the faith and church history.   
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« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2013, 07:17:16 PM »

Really, the best way to handle this situation is to to grab him by the lapels, shake him and scream "Why are you trodding the path to heresy!?!"  If the response is not favorable, knock the dust off your sandals and leave the house indignantly sprinkling holy water in front of you as you leave to purify your exit route.

Witnessing Orthodox style.  Cool

Axios!  Cool
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« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2013, 08:34:39 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Thank you for the answer. I understand your point of view but I slightly disagree as for general historical outlines seem more understandable than endless patristic quote war.
A good balance is required.  For me, historical accuracy is what helped me accept the theology.
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« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2013, 08:40:06 PM »

My advice...be supportive.  Let him search and be there for him.  Don't push Orhodoxy unless he brings it up or he may push back.  Encourage him to go deep into his study.  Even if he becomes Roman Catholic, it's tons better than being Protestant and he is that much closer to Orthodoxy.  On this forum there are dozens who found the Church by way of researching the Catholic Church.  Your encouragement will do far more good than anything else at this point, IMO.
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« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2013, 08:59:37 PM »

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

I don't want to put you on the spot or derail this thread, but I would be very interested in learning more about how your study of history led you to non-belief or at least struggles with your belief system.  I haven't seen any of the 37 explanations so far.  Would you mind making a thread sometime to explain your journey and what conclusions your studies led you to?  I don't want to judge or try to persuade, I just like understanding where people are coming from and the journeys they have taken philosophically. Or perhaps point to one of the previous convos you have had so I could read it.

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« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2013, 09:55:25 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.

Care to elaborate? Why to avoid history?

I dunno, I just question how helpful it is. History seems like a rather muddy business to me, or leastwise muddier than the Bible or dogmatic theology. I mean, I found history helpful at first in convincing me that Protestantism (or at least the version I was in) wasn't where I thought I should be; it was a major factor in setting me in motion towards something more traditional/historically rooted. However, I think it can also make things more difficult than they need to be. Sometimes the right answer is the more vague one, not the more precise one, but is that helpful in a situation like this?

Jaroslav Pelikan was mentioned, yet I found his work, especially the sections dealing with east vs. west stuff, to make things less clear. All I heard before I read it was "he converted to Orthodoxy, you have to read this, he was a Lutheran scholar, but look what he wrote!" Yet when I actually did read it I felt like it slightly favored Catholic take on things, especially the second volume. It wasn't a slam dunk for Catholicism of course, but I definitely felt like some people were, while sincere, perhaps overstating it's Orthodox tone or views.

I also cringe when I hear the whole Newmanesque "To be deep in history..." stuff. Really guys? When some people go deep in history they become Catholic. Others Oriental Orthodox, in knowing rejection of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. I became a non-believer partly through my going deeper in history. Orthodoxy at it's best can be seen, IMO, in it's theology and it's handling of the Gospel and other texts. I think this is doubly true for people who are described as well-read.

Concern noted, but I would like to think that a "a retired University president [who] is fairly well read" would be unlikely to be confused by Pelikan or Newman or, for that matter, by history, generally.
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« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2013, 10:37:18 PM »

A lifelong Protestant who was once a preacher is now considering RC.  He's been attending Mass and watching EWTN.  It's true that to study history is to cease being being Protestant, but I'm praying he'll give give Eastern Orthodoxy equal consideration.  What books do you suppose might pique his curiosity?  He's a retired University president and is fairly well read.  Also, it probably wouldn't hurt to pray for him and my step mom.  Thanks a million y'all!

Im not sure if this has been asked, but what enamored your dad to RC'sm in the first place?  What swayed him away from Protestantism?
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« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2013, 10:38:43 PM »

My advice...be supportive.  Let him search and be there for him.  Don't push Orhodoxy unless he brings it up or he may push back.  Encourage him to go deep into his study.  Even if he becomes Roman Catholic, it's tons better than being Protestant and he is that much closer to Orthodoxy.  On this forum there are dozens who found the Church by way of researching the Catholic Church.  Your encouragement will do far more good than anything else at this point, IMO.

encourage him to read the Church Fathers.  There is much Orthodoxy in these readings. 
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« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2013, 10:52:52 PM »

Echoing the hands off approach that other posts have advocated. I don't know exactly what your relationship with your father is like, but I, personally, would not feel comfortable proselytizing to either of my folks. Respect his decision, offer your thoughts when solicited, pray, and be a living witness. I think those are the most "Christian" things you can do in a situation like this.

I, for one, would be overjoyed if my protestant father were considering Roman Catholicism. As it is, neither of my parents are religious and may never be, at least in the outward sense. Not all paths lead to Christ, but that doesn't stop Him from walking on them to find us. That said, I definitely believe that the Roman Catholic Church leads people to Christ, and I would dare venture to say that there is a "fullness" in Rome that is lacking in Protestant groups. Of course, the ultimate fullness, I believe, comes from our Holy Orthodox Church. But I'm certain that no amount of reading or arguments will convince someone of that.
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« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2013, 11:41:35 PM »

I'd avoid history definitely, stick with theology or Biblical interpretation. Maximus the Confessor, Philocalia or Origen, etc.

It was the history that made me see the light and convert.  Was a Catholic for 30+ years.

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« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2013, 02:36:23 AM »

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