Skip to main content

Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories

Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories Edited by Mark Gilbert

The road to Rome is paved with many people coming from a host of different backgrounds to the Catholic Church.  In the day when even Scott Hahn hosts a show called Coming Home, we hear of lot of people including such notable people such as Francis Beckwith joining the Catholic church.  Yet, we often don’t hear the stories of those who have been a part of the Catholic church and have stepped out in evangelical and Protestant communities.  Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories is a collection of stories edited by Mark Gilbert that is a window into those coming out of the Catholic church into the Protestant faith.  The stories are not designed to be anti-Catholic rants much less polemical diatribes, but more of the type of sharing a story around a dinner table.  What comes out of these stories is the beautiful way God was leading them to embrace the gospel of God’s grace and a faith dependent upon grace. 

In the first story told by Alex Morbelli we see the tender kindness of four women coming alongside Alex and her plight with her husband through cancer.  She writes, “What made a deep impression in my somewhat dazed brain was that there was something special about the way they went about doing all this. I couldn’t quite explain it. They were full of kindness and compassion. They gave without counting the cost or expecting anything in return. I had never experienced that from people outside my family and very close friends.” (11)  The body of Christ coming around Alex was instrumental in providing her with compassion, listening ears, and a kindness that is unsurpassed.  In other words, the body of Christ through this four women was one way God showered his grace upon Alex.  Alex mentions that she was given a Bible by a school mother and loved to study the Bible at the local Anglican church.  She describes this wonderfully by writing, “..and I was free to learn and read God’s word.  I had never been encouraged to do this…” (11)  The ministry of the body of Christ alongside God’s Word pushed Alex to be a part of the Anglican community and also seek God’s truth in His Word. 

We also see the strong power of the gospel at work in the lives of such as Tony Coffey.  Tony writes, “Like many Catholics, I had a Christian vocabulary but didn’t have the reality in my heart. For example, I believed that Jesus died for me but I didn’t know what that meant. It was a lovely, pious story, but it never reached my heart or became real in my life.      But here, in this evangelical church, the exposure to the living word of God grabbed my heart.” (37)  There was an important element here missing for Tony, and this wasn’t a certain historical teaching or doctrinal point but the very heart of the good news itself.  The appropriation of the gospel and what it means for me struck Tony like a lightning bolt as his time in an evangelical church became very fruitful.  There is a common theme among these stories in the book that hinge upon the letting go of religion in its external actions and the embracing of a grace centered life that is bound by God’s Word and strengthened by God’s people.

Stepping Out in Faith is a wonderful book that invigorates the faith of Christian believers from all backgrounds.  The book focuses on the forgiveness and grace found only in Jesus Christ and points to the Scriptures as God’s Word, practical for all of life.  I cannot commend this book enough to those struggling with Catholic teaching, those wondering about grace, and those wanting to strengthen their faith through the stories of others.

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Matthias Media for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

The Paraclete Poetry Anthology, Edited by Mark S. Burrows

Bringing words to life on a page is hard work, and no work is harder than poetry.  Poets take the visceral, the mundane, and the disjointed and frayed things of life and put them on their head.  This new anthology of poetry put out by Paraclete Press and edited by Mark S. Burrows, takes the best poetry of today and brings together old and new poems from these gifted creators.  You find poems from Scott Cairs, SAID, Phyllis Tickle, and others.  The collection stems the span of 2005-2016 and includes both religious poems and themes, as well as themes covering a broad swath of topics.

One of the beauties of this collection is the array of poems that the anthology includes in its pages.  One poem in particular stuck with me as read through the collection.  Anna Kamienska is a wonderful Polish poet who interacts with the wider lens of faith while looking carefully at the world we live in.  She says in her poem named Gratitude, (44)

A tempest threw a rainbow in my face
so that I wanted to…