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Friday, April 07, 2006

A Lutheran friend is reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn

My friend Lito of extra nos (his blog) is reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn's "Rome Sweet Home," which is by now commonly cited by many Protestant converts to Catholicism as especially helpful. The conversion story taped from an interview by Scott has also been very popular. The audio from another venue can be found here, along with other audio resources of Scott and Kimberly. Scott was a presbyterian minister who found his way to the Catholic Church through a series of hard questions raised by others and himself about Protestant doctrines. Kimberly, a presbyterian minister's daughter and herself highly educated in a seminary, found her way in differently, but not long after. Her taped audio story is here. Their journey home took several years of study and prayers, and the book Lito is reviewing covers both their stories.

I'm sure Lito is discussing the book online to solicit comments about his take on the book, one of my favorites. Should you wish to contribute some input at his blog, please do so with all charity and respect. Lito is a good man and, while we have had disagreements (as a Lutheran and a Catholic would), his sincerity and devotion to Christ is unquestionable.


L P Cruz said...

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for putting a word on my take on Dr. Hahn and Mrs Kimberly Hahn's conversion. Very quickly, I honestly believe that he and she were already attracted to RCC even before they found justification to convert. They were quite impressed with RCC's stance on anti-contraception. Yet there were protestants that do not do contraception either - this was left to conscience. The theological aspects of his discussion like covenant and so forth were -- not relevant. It was propensity not theology that did it.

Thank you for giving me the book, I have some more take on what confessional Protestants might think of his encounter with the Virgin Mary.

I welcome other people's comments and even taking me to tasks.

Jeff Tan said...

I am not so sure that "it was propensity, not theology" that caused his conversion. The discovery that the Roman Catholic Church had something right was significant, but I think it was more significant in the light of everyone else getting it wrong in the 60s.

Bear in mind that, to Scott, the Catholic faith was without question a false religion. His belief in Protestant Christianity was absolute, as was his contempt for the Roman Catholic Church. Through Kimberly's research into the issues of contraception, and through his own study of the matter, he made his first shocking discovery: in the light of the Bible, the Protestant shift in favor of contraception after almost 2000 years was unacceptable. It was not about being impressed with the Church that did it: I think it was the disappointment and shock that sola scriptura revealed Protestant Christianity to be in error about contraception from the 60s on.

In fact, think about your own insistence in many occasions, that you do believe in the one, holy, catholic and Apostolic Church, but that this is the "pure" Catholic Church before the Roman Catholic Church was born at some time in the past. Scott had this same belief, and then he discovers that the truth about contraception was abandoned by everyone except the Roman Catholic Church (he wasn't looking into the Orthodox Church at the time). His study from Scripture does not allow him to conclude that it is a matter for the conscience. In his study and prayer, the Bible is not silent on the matter. Anyway, that strange shift from the truth (about contraception) in Protestant doctrine and practice would have unhinged his convictions up to that time. He trusts in A, and distrusts B vehemently. And then he finds that A gives up on some crucial truth while B upholds it, and has been upholding it along with A for almost 2000 years. So he goes "what gives?"

I also point to something else that suggests, not a gravity towards conversion, but a conscious effort to avoid at all costs, the Roman Catholic Church: he makes huge efforts to study the matter, years of late nights going through hundreds of books. Even more telling is the fact that he was risking so much -- career, congregation, friends, family -- for, what, a mere attraction?

I do not think so.

Anyway, since you're into the book, all I can say is: tolle et lege! Pick up and read. Read on! :-)