Nancy McCall believed, “The Catholic Church is a man-made institution that was leading others astray.” She was an ABC Christian, “Anything But Catholic” And so why did she become Catholic???
Nancy McCall: I had these clues; my first clue really was 1984, I was still in Campus Crusade. I was taking classes at their school of theology and I was walking across campus one day and this thought popped in my mind out of the blue, this thought comes; I WAS WONDERING WHY SATANISTS ONLY MOCK THE CATHOLIC MASS. They don’t like Protestants. They don’t like Baptism and they don’t like it when Protestants are baptized, but they turn the Catholic Mass on its head. That is the focus on just about everything they do. And I thought, oh well that’s interesting, and didn’t pay any attention to the obvious answer to that question.
I learned in my Campus Crusade days that the early Church is surrounded by Pagans and the Pagans were accusing the Christians of something and that Christians were cannibals. I always remembered that. That stuck with me…And the Christians were telling them we are eating the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And so what were they supposed to think? I mean they were not stupid. They thought well that’s what we do…
Why is the Lord’s Supper? Why is it so one sided? In 1st Corinthians 11, if you do not receive this in the right way, if your sins are not confessed, if your heart is not right with God, if you are taking it lightly and you so not receive this in the right way, YOU CAN INCUR CONDEMNATION from this physical thing this physical thing!, bread and grape juice, bread and wine and so I believed that. And I was taught that early. I mean Pastor Compton in my conservative Baptist Church; he was always emphasizing how this is to be entered into with enormous reverence. Do not receive this if you have not confessed your sins, to the Lord. It was this beautiful thing that only had a negative consequence. Because they never said, if you receive this in the right way, your sins confessed, humbly, heart open to God that you will receive GRACE. Because you know this is just a symbol and a symbol cannot convey grace. BUT THEN HOW CAN A SYMBOL CONVEY CONDEMNATION?
All these other clues came along. I knew that the Scripture said; “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. I know that we interpret Scripture privately on a daily basis. Every pastor, every lay person, every Bible study leader, let’s look at this first. What this means to you and what does it mean to you and what does it mean to you? We just assumed it meant everything and all of those things. That the Scriptures were so deep and wonderful that it could mean all these multiple things.
And then, I couldn’t figure out, and this is a question that I probably had most of my life. Why are churches (like I said I was in 9 different denominations over my life); why are they almost always so segregated, by race, by socio economic status?... A friend of Nancy’s had returned to the Catholic Church. She took us to Mass once or twice…the other thing that happened there was I looked around, (this was Saturday night, I think) and everyone was there. Not only was it full but there were Anglos, there were Hispanics, there were Blacks, there were Indians, there were Asians. The whole world was there. It wasn’t segregated like I had been accustomed to, which I thought was wrong. Everybody’s here; well that’s good.
And then how is it that we can say that our pastors have authority when we vote them in and we vote them out when we get tired of them. So coming and going the sheep have charge of the shepherd in terms of whether he comes and when he goes. We call that the Holy Spirit. And so I thought, how can you have authority over me as your pastor if I voted for you to come. And so when certain people get tired of you, they are going to vote you to another place.
The next clue, after that one, instead of being a question in my mind that I could just put on the back burner; this clue slipped out of my mouth as a question, that I didn’t even think had registered in my mind before I said it and I was with people; I was with other students and professors, and we were standing in the hall at Talbot. And I said, “you know do you think it’s possible that, at the Reformation and there after that we could have thrown out more with the bath water then God really intended us to?” And I got these looks like, what are you talking about; what do you mean? I don’t know what I mean.
Do you think that it’s possible because successive reformers, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli eventually they all threw out different things. Usually a little more and a little more, and we don’t realize that Calvin and Wesley were devoted to the Virgin Mary; prayed the Rosary. And Wesley prayed the Rosary on horseback when he was doing his circuit riding. They kept many very very Catholic practices. I don’t think they would recognize their own Churches now.
By the time that you get to John Knox, he is evangelizing Scotland; he threw out Baptism. And I thought wait a minute; you shouldn’t throw out Baptism. I mean, I didn’t want to throw out Baptism, I was a Baptist for a long long time. An Evangelical and we didn’t call it a sacrament, but we called it an ordinance. It was clear that Jesus wants it, well what it means we didn’t know, but it was important to do it. And I kept asking that question, seeing what people would say to it. I couldn’t figure out why I was asking it actually, but it started making me scratch my head a little bit.
Marcus Grodi: It is an interesting question, was there too much thrown out, because even as you ask that at a seminary like Talbot, which would have been interdenominational, Evangelical like the seminary that I went to. So you could have been saying this too a group of people who may been, a Lutheran, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, a Congregationalist, a Pentecostal, all of which have thrown out or kept completely different groups of doctrine. So that is not an easy question that the group could have answered together and come to one conclusion. That’s true and nobody really said anything in response to it.
Fast forward to the Fall of 1996. I was directing a crisis pregnancy center at that time and something happened to me. It was exactly the same thing that happened to Kimberly Hahn. I was stunned I changed my view on contraception…
I had this conversation with someone and I changed my view.
What happened was there was a brochure that we used at the pregnancy center and it was the best brochure I had ever run across. It had a little boy on the front of it about 3 years old dressed in a cowboy outfit. He had the hat, the boots and the little shorts and the gun. It was the most adorable picture and the caption said, “I thought this cowboy was going to ruin my life.” And it was a beautiful message to encourage women to consider keeping their child. This is what babies grow into these beautiful children.
And I thought it was great; I wanted some more. So I called the number on the back. It was “One More Soul” which is a Catholic Apostolate, but I didn’t know. And I called them up and said, “This is a great brochure and I want to get some more of them.” I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but the woman, we started the conversation and we got into talking about the origins of the history of contraception.
All Christian Churches were in agreement that contraception is disordered, up until 1930 at the Lambeth conference the Episcopal or Anglican Church decides were going to make this tiny concession, just for married couples that if the woman’s life might be in danger, if she got pregnant, that couple within marriage can contracept. That was the concession and in the space of my life time, my parents’ life time, and certainly 40, 50 years later, we are now at many many late term abortions, partial birth abortion, ramped abortion, 4,000 a day at that time.
I know what a theological slippery slope was; it takes 4 or 500 years for really bad stuff to start happening. This was in the space of my parents’ life time. It just shocked me so much and I changed my view on contraception. It was just like that, falling off a cliff into error. It wasn’t a slippery slope. And so that had just happened and I am walking around wow that’s amazing. And then I said you know what, the Catholic Church got something right. How about that!
Marcus Grodi: My guess is whether you realized it, while you were doing a lot of pro-life work a lot of the people you were working with were Catholics. Nancy McCall: No, they mostly were Protestant and they were not that pro-life. They believed in contraception and abortifacient.
Rosalyn Moss a good friend announces to Nancy that she had become Catholic. She said, “I was received into the Catholic Church at Easter. I’m Catholic.” There’s a long pause and I finally said, “That’s great Ross.” She said, “I can’t believe you’re saying that. How can you say that?” Well you haven’t left Christ and you’re happy and the last time I saw you, you were miserable cause that was when she was trying to sort through all of this.
But, I hung up the phone, Marcus and something happened to me. Remember those 12 years of clues. Well, all of the sudden this thing like tablets or like a list of things came to me and I looked at every clue I had had for the past 12 years and I understood them, not one at a time, but all at once. And I went, oh no, not the Catholic Church. Please tell me it is not the Catholic Church… Any way I was compelled at that point to start investigating the Catholic Church….
I wasn’t in yet. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want it to be true and so I took the next three years to look into the faith, went to RCIA, talked with a lot of different people. I read books. I tried to get my seminary professors to save me. They sent me all the wrong stuff. They said read the Catechism. The sent me Karl Adam’s “Catholicism.” They sent me chapters from Peter Kreeft’s book on ecumenical Jihad. All of it was a witness to the Catholic Church. I said, “Why are you sending me this stuff? I want you to save me. I want you to help me.” Somebody sent me tapes with Dave Hunt and Karl Keating, debating about Protestantism and Catholicism. And I wanted Dave Hunt to win and he lost miserably and I was disappointed.
But you know, it was thing after thing after thing and everybody I called, my pastor friends, my seminary professors, my Christian friends; nothing. I got no help… When she came into the Church, I felt that I would never have to change again. I would never half to Church hop. I would never half to find another home.