New book boasts evangelical seminary is hotbed of conversions to Catholicism

A new book from a Catholic publisher boasts that Southern Evangelical Seminary in NorthSem Carolina is a hotbed for conversions to Catholicism. Why would that be? Actually, I’m not surprised at all. Although the book’s blurb (see below) states the school’s founder, Norman Geisler, is a critic of Catholicism, the actual truth of the matter is quite different. While Geisler did critique aspects of Catholicism, he also accepted it as a legitimate branch of Christianity that preached the Gospel. See my review of Geisler’s “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” here. Both Catholic and evangelical ecumenists cite Geisler’s work as an important bridgehead in their cause.

I returned to the Lord in 2014 after walking away from Him for 23 years. I subsequently found a small Baptist church in the area with a new pastor fresh out of seminary – another NC seminary just 3 hours down the road from SES. The pastor was quite enamored with Catholicism and frequently namedropped such Catholic stalwarts as Aquinas, Pascal, Chesterton, Muggeridge, and Kreeft. We stuck it out at that church for 13 months, which was a lot longer than we should have. The apostasy within evangelical seminaries appears to be even more widespread than this book suggests.

Decades ago, Christian apologists faithful to the Gospel warned that the ecumenism spearheaded by Billy Graham and others would inevitably lead unwary souls to Rome and the gospel of legalism and ritualism.

Evangelical Exodus: Evangelical Seminarians and Their Paths to Rome by Douglas M. Beaumont

“Over the course a single decade, dozens of students, alumni, and professors from a conservative, Evangelical seminary in North Carolina (Southern Evangelical Seminary) converted to Catholicism. These conversions were notable as they occurred among people with varied backgrounds and motivations—many of whom did not share their thoughts with one another until this book was produced. Even more striking is that the seminary’s founder, long-time president, and popular professor, Dr. Norman Geisler, had written two full-length books and several scholarly articles criticizing Catholicism from an Evangelical point of view.

What could have led these seminary students, and even some of their professors, to walk away from their Evangelical education and risk losing their jobs, ministries, and even family and friends, to embrace the teachings they once rejected as false or even heretical? Speculation over this phenomenon has been rampant and often dismissive and misguided—leading to more confusion than understanding. The stories of these converts are now being told by those who know them best—the converts themselves.

They discuss the primary issues they had to face: the nature of the biblical canon, the identification of Christian orthodoxy, and the problems with the Protestant doctrines of sola scriptura (“scripture alone”) and sola fide (“faith alone”).” – from


6 thoughts on “New book boasts evangelical seminary is hotbed of conversions to Catholicism

  1. Your review tells me nothing except you don’t trust Catholicism. What does the author offer as reasons for such conversions? Is a Catholic interpretation of different Scripture passages reasonable or plausible? This “review” sounds as if you are afraid.


    1. Thanks for your comment. I didn’t review the book – I haven’t read it yet – I was simply giving notice of its publication. I certainly wouldn’t call my reaction fear. Why would I be “afraid”? “Concern” would be the correct term. I question why anyone so close to the Gospel of grace would opt for empty religious legalism and ritual. But if you want to see real concern, read the many Catholic commentators who bemoan the fact that the evangelical to Catholic and Catholic to evangelical conversion ratio is about 2/10 according to the latest PEW data.


  2. The Catholic Church actually gets a steady flow of Protestants coming in. The Protestants who enter the Catholic Church tend to be people who were very knowledgeable of their Protestant faiths, and usually very happy in it, and while seeking the truth and a deeper understanding of the Christian Faith and history, end up being led to the Catholic Church. When one honestly researches the claims of the Catholic Church, they are confronted with truth that they must either accept or reject, and most who’ve gone through this process will tell say that they had to become Catholic because they couldn’t say no to God. The Catholic Church has received hundreds upon hundreds of very faithful and well studied former Protestant pastors, and for them, the journey is even tougher and requires a lot of courage and integrity, because they risk losing so much.
    On the other hand, the Catholics who leave the faith for Protestantism tend to be Catholics who were not well Catechized, and didn’t know and understand the faith as well as they might think, or lacked a conversion and relationship with Christ.

    A great show featuring the conversion stories of people who have entered the Catholic faith (mostly Protestants) is “The Journey Home” hosted by Marcus Grodi (former Protestant pastor). There are stories of people from all brackgrounds, including hundreds from former Protestant pastors alone in the archives of The Coming Home Network www[dot]chnetwork[dot]org


    1. Catholicism gives lip service to “grace” and “faith” but every Catholic must ultimately merit their salvation. Why spend even another dreary second with your ecclesiastical liturgy and rituals when your pope says even atheists will go to heaven if they are “good.” The bottom line for Catholics is being “good” but no one is good but God, which is why Jesus had to die for you. Accept Him as Savior. Don’t place your trust in what others may do.


      1. I have already accepted Jesus as my Savior, and He’s central to my life, and am closer to Him than I’ve ever been. I am a revert to the Catholic faith, because it’s where God has led me, and I’m Catholic because I believe without a doubt that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church, and I trust in Him. I have an appreciation for the Mass and liturgy and those “rituals” because I now understand them like I never did before. I don’t think the Catholic understanding of salvation is much different from most Protestants, except that we don’t believe in “once saved always saved” to which the Bible says quite the opposite – that one can lose their salvation and that they must endure to the end to be saved. Salvation is entirely a free gift, and it’s not by our doing, but by the grace of God. However, it’s like a gift that can remain unwrapped and unused. Conversion is not a one time done deal, it’s a process and transformation that is meant to continue throughout our lifetimes. I think most Protestants actually do believe in doing good works, and that we do them because of grace and our faith in Christ. This is also what Catholics believe – we don’t believe that we can “earn” salvation.

        Whenever you want to know what Pope Francis really said, you should go to Catholic sources, or a reliable source that lists the full transcript in context. Pope Francis did not say that even atheists “will” go to heaven. He said that all of us (even atheists) are redeemed through Jesus. Being redeemed and being saved are not the same, and this is not new teaching. He said something to the effect that even atheists are capable of doing good, and they must follow their consciences to do good. It is ancient teaching that all are capable of doing good by following their conscience or the “laws God has written in our hearts” and by doing so, the hope is that unbelievers will progress to the knowledge and belief in God, and ultimately salvation.
        Here’s a link about what he said about atheists and salvation, and about what the Church teaches about it:


      2. Catholics believe good works merit salvation. Evangelicals believe salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone which leads to good works as the fruit of our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10). These positions are not similar but are opposite. Jesus said few would find/accept the way to salvation through Him. If salvation is a matter of following one’s conscience and being “good,” exactly how “good” must one be? No one is perfect so what is the cutoff point? At what exact point are my works good enough so I can merit heaven? What is the point that my good works are not enough? Does God have a huge scale in heaven that weighs our good against our bad as most Catholics believe? If that is so then Jesus died in vain (Gal. 2:21). You have not accepted Christ as your Savior since you are trying to merit your salvation.


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