Been Here Before

Three times I've been in this predicament. After being a member of a church community for a while I subsequently discovered their doctrines were suspect.

  1. As an enthusiast of Calvary Chapel and other fundamental evangelical teaching — I adopted dissenting views of Eschatology, Creationism, Charismatic, and whether we are judged for our works. I drifted for a long time before discovering Catholicism.
  2. As a Catholic — I learned of the Eastern Orthodox church after studying church history and discovered I had no reason to choose west over east.
  3. Returned to Catholicism — but my outrage at the lukewarm (or worse) bishops and priests finally took its toll. I went back to the apostolic and early church to discover "true Christianity".

In each of these episodes I was left orphaned without a Christian community to belong to. I was not able to fully participate in any church because I was an outsider. As a Catholic I was not be able to participate in any Protestant or Orthodox church; as a fallen-away Catholic (but I did not fall into sin) I could not go to confession or the Eucharist.

During each of these phases I wrote various articles describing my views. In round three (fallen-away Catholic) I developed two movements:

The problem with attempting to limit the church to the earliest generations is that the Catholic church (with apostolic succession of ordination, clergy vs. laity, and autocratic bishops) appeared on the scene long before the Nicene Creed and the Canon of Scripture. What justification did I have for rejecting these "Catholic" elements but accepting the rest? (Although many of the other teachings of the early church were also Catholic such as: (1) baptism remits original sin; (2) the Eucharist is not merely a symbol; and (3) the Church is the authority, not the Bible.)

Another unsettling experience that became all-to-familiar in my adopting these various alternative views of Christianity was: I was forced to acknowledge I was the only person on earth who had the correct views; that the Holy Spirit for some unknown reason singled me out and revealed this essential truth but didn't enliven me to evangelize the world with it. There were certainly no established churches at all sharing my views. At first I was very uncomfortable with this but after a while I accepted the weirdness of it all.

My conclusions:

My Views

The Catholic Church has changed its views:

How are good Catholics to know what teachings to believe and obey?

Here is a list of some controversial items and my views: