|Arthur and Theresa Beem|
My Protestant friends all told us to relax, all we needed to understand Scripture was the Holy Spirit. Yet, we knew there were false prophets (Ellen White!). As sincere Christians, how could we guarantee that we would not fall prey to false doctrine again? Had God abandoned us to correctly, infallibly interpret Scriptures with nothing but our average IQs? God sent a Catholic friend to introduce a revolutionary idea. He cut through our despairing cloud of confusion with a new inquiry. “Perhaps you are asking the wrong question. Maybe, just maybe, instead of finding what you think is perfect theology, try looking for the church God set up as His authority.” That haunting statement changed our lives as we took it to Christ in prayer and study.
For years, we had watched an online Catholic-Protestant discussion group, but we had dismissed the Catholics’ defense of their faith because it was too biblical. We thought it was just another plot of deception. We had been warned about online Jesuit plants—tricky papist spiders—drawing the web into their ultimate antichrist designs. We purchased a Catechism to find out if the tricky papists were lying about what Catholics believe.
After all, what they were saying wasn’t what we had been taught they believed. Yet there they were! Catholic beliefs! Just as the Catholics claimed—in the Catechism, the Catholic Encyclopedia, history books, and everything else we could get our hands on to read. So Arthur and I immersed ourselves in our new quest of discovering real Catholicism. As my husband and I began reading the early Church Fathers, we were shocked at how Catholic they were. Could it be Catholic corruption had already been trickling in before the Apostles died? But that cannot be right, can it? These early writings were not just by any convert; these were writings by bishops who had been taught by, anointed by, and chosen by the Apostles themselves to lead the churches they started. That just didn’t seem to make sense that they would have become apostate so soon. If God had abandoned His Church so quickly after its inception, then we really have a problem because we can’t trust the Trinity doctrine, the canon of Scripture, or the divinity of Christ because these were the men (and later Fathers) who defined these doctrines and who attested to which writings were by the apostles and which were forgeries.