Personal testimonies about our journeys to Orthodoxy
Why I converted.
The story of a former baptist minister
Perhaps I should entitle this post, Part I. I do not have a simple, short answer to the question: why did you become Orthodox? But, I can give several reasons, most important being that I wanted the whole Bible. What do I mean by that? Growing up in a conservative Protestant church, I was taught to value the Holy Bible, and I still do. But, over time I noticed that various passages were ignored, or given very strained interpretations.
Here is an example. In 1 Corinthians 7: 8 the Apostle Paul wrote that “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am.” He dwells on this thought throughout the rest of the chapter, with the bottom line that to serve the Lord fully, the single life is better than the married life. The Apostle is not introducing a new teaching, but is in line with a teaching by Jesus found in Matthew 19:12 also ignored by Protestants: “and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” And one more—in Revelation 14:4 virgins are given special honor. In order to believe and practice the whole Bible, therefore, I need to be in a Church that honors and encourages monasticism, the life-long commitment to the single life.
Here is another example. In I Timothy 3:15 we read “the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” If that verse were not in the Bible, I would not have reached that same conclusion. In other words, if asked what the “pillar and bulwark of the truth” was, I would have answered “the Bible.” As a conservative Protestant, then, I did not have a correct understanding of the proper role of the Church, and of the true relationship between the Church and the Bible. In order to believe and practice the whole Bible, therefore, I need to be in a Church that knows itself to be the pillar of truth in the world.
Finally, for now, the case of The Apocrypha. As you may know, the Protestants use a shorter Old Testament than the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Growing up, I gathered the impression that Rome had added books to the Bible. Not true. The Protestant founders deleted books that the Church had used since the beginning. The “Reformers” adopted the official list of books from the Jews of their day. But, when the Church began, there was no official Jewish list of sacred books; the modern Jewish canon (official list of sacred books) was created about A.D. 90 by a group of Pharisee rabbis, who dropped several books in use at the time of Jesus, because they had been written in Greek, not Hebrew. The Church from the beginning had been using a Bible that included those books. In order to believe and practice the whole Bible, therefore, I need to be in a Church that uses the whole Bible.
I could go on and on, and perhaps will do so in the future. May God bless you.