What do Protestants experience when they describe a “personal relationship with God”?
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(09-12-2019, 04:37 PM)1Faith Wrote: So I was raised nominally Catholic, in a Christmas-and-Easter-only type of family. I was baptized and confirmed. I rejected the faith at a young age. I had a "born-again" type of experience when I was 19. I got involved in Protestant circles for years. Eventually, through study and prayer, I came home. I discovered the true Catholic faith in its entirety, made a general confession, received our Lord, and from there discovered tradition. So i'm very familiar with this phenomenon and have experienced it myself. These are my thoughts.

I believe some protestants do genuinely have a bonafide encounter with God. My "born-again" experience involved getting into a serious accident, calling on Christ to help me, and following that being overwhelmed with conviction of sin and a general sense that I was on the road to Hell. As best I knew how at that time, I cried out to God for mercy and surrendered my life to him. Prior to all of this I had been witnessed to, but only by protestants. Not one Catholic ever shared Christ with me. Not one. The protestants did, and with zeal. Despite the egregious flaws in their theology, they planted a seed in me that came to fruition later.

I firmly believe that God really did do something that day when I cried out to him for mercy. My whole mind shifted. I went from being an atheist and a degenerate kid, to falling in love with Christ. I didn't know the truth faith, I was ignorant, I catechized myself with fundamentalist protestantism. But something genuinely happened to me, I firmly believe that.

Some things about protestantism never sat well with me. I tried really hard to believe in "once saved always saved" and reformed theology but it never sat right with me. Its like that still small voice of the Holy Spirit was convicting me of the need of holiness of life and perseverance, you know, basic elements of the Catholic faith. It took a few years but God led me more and more to study theology, Church history, morals and everything I could about my faith and eventually I came to realize that the Catholic Church was in fact the true Church. And I came home.

So to conclude I believe many protestants do have a genuine encounter with God, and these are led, eventually, if they assent to the grace of God, to discover the traditional Catholic faith and come into or return to the Church. Many of course resist this grace and cling stubbornly to their heresies because these heresies provide a sort of security and comfort in one's sin. But a protestant who's been touched by the grace of God, and genuinely loves Christ as far as he understands him, will I believe be led to the truth, as I was.

Sometimes the whole "born-again" experience is a real act of God's grace, which leads to the fullness of faith and union in the one true Church of Christ.

While I'm not meaning (in any way, shape or form) to sanction Protestantism, you've spoken well for the most part and your sincerity totally comes across and you've given me even more pause for thought.

After all, while I shouldn't be speculating as to the Will of God, I will say that maybe God was trying to reach you and to bring you back to the Faith via this indirect route, since possibly it was less likely to be direct, on account of your earlier lapse from the Faith.

Like you, I am a cradle Catholic that hasn't always lived up to that (to put it politely) and is serious about living up to my full potential - which humanity in general and each person in particular can only achieve through Catholicism. Besides, though an implacable opponent of Protestantism, I try not to let that (or anything) interfere with my objectivity in this or anything.

All of that said, I can't and won't accept that the description of 'born-again' or having a 'personal relationship' are acts of God's Grace or are right in themselves at all.
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RE: What do Protestants experience when they describe a “personal relationship with God”? - by Stephanus ignotum - 09-12-2019, 07:43 PM



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