Is it really possible for me to go from being a Lutheran believer, and pretty devout at that, to an atheist and then to a Christian believer again, though not Lutheran, all in the course of a few short weeks? I have recently encountered some people who have expressed doubts as to my sincerity in all of these changes, suggesting that I don’t really believe anything at all with much strength. That my jumping around has been somehow fickle and just a bit rude and mean to those I’ve left standing in one position or another.
This is not true though, the fact is I always leap into things with both feet, usually without bothering to look and see where I will land. When I became a LCMS Lutheran seven years ago it was without proper preparation and without knowing exactly what I was getting into. Nevertheless I strove with all of my might to come to an accommodation with Lutheranism, because I had made a commitment and that was very important to me. The fact that for the most part I kept my doubts and concerns private does not mean that I was not struggling with them all of that time, I was. I also brought my concerns to my pastor and we had several long talks about them over the years. I also did extensive reading, as I mentioned before.
Now, I admit that my declaration on September 22 that “I finally realized that I do not believe in the God of the Bible.” Was a massive overreaction to my rejection of the LCMS position on evolution and YEC. I had been convinced that the Confessional Lutheran version of Christianity was the most faithful to the bible, and to the faith that was originally proclaimed by the apostles, that it was indeed “TRUE” in a very basic way. Therefore, when I finally realized that it was not “TRUE” in every way, I, in my typical black and white thinking way, tossed out not only the Lutheran view of evolution but Lutheranism in general, and Christianity along with it, and theism too for good measure.
Now that I am investigating the Roman Catholic Church again it has been suggested to me I ought to simply return to my Lutheran Church instead. But the truth is I have been drawn to the Catholic Church for many years. This is not the first time that I’ve begun this process. I was convinced for a long time, before I went to Messiah even, that the Roman Catholic Church really is the original church founded by the apostles. But, I thought they had become too corrupt and had added too much “tradition of men” stuff to still be the true church. I thought that Luther had purified the Catholic Church and that Lutheranism was the True Catholic Church.
But without the authority that is found in the Roman Catholic Church doctrine cannot remain pure! This becomes obvious when you look at the number of protestant denominations there are in the world. All of them claim to follow the bible too! Even among Lutherans who claim to follow the bible and have the added benefit of the Lutheran Confessions as an exposition of the teachings and doctrines of the bible you have divisions, because there is no authority. Every man decides for himself what the bible means, and there is chaos and disunity. This cannot be right.
So now I am investigating the Roman Catholic Church, and they won’t just let you join because you say you believe and want join. They make you go through a long drawn out process of learning about the faith. Only if you can make a firm commitment to the church after learning about it are you brought into the church. I like this idea, and so far I like what I’ve been learning about the Catholic Church. My previous start with RCIA about ten years ago halted twice. Once when the first Catholic Church I went to turned out to be about as liberal as an ELCA church! They made a point of telling me that even though Rome taught certain things about homosexuality, abortion etc. Catholics still had to follow their own consciences on these matters. I had been thinking that the whole authority thing was very important and to encounter that attitude made me stop in my tracks. While I was looking for a different, more orthodox parish to go through RCIA with, and I had actually signed up with one in San Francisco, I stumbled upon Messiah Lutheran Church and was swept up in the feeling of being home, and the instant membership since I was a confirmed Lutheran. Now I realize that this was a mistake, I ought to have continued looking for an orthodox parish of the Roman Catholic Church as I had been doing then!
So, I’m going to go into RCIA at St Charles BorromeoCatholic Community in Livermore, unless something very odd happens again.