My friend Bret who I've mentioned before in my posts is at the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio. He wrote a post about his first experience there and all the drama that went on. It seems there will continue be drama as he talks about the debates going such as the one for and against Calvinism. One of the major issues that started me on my journey into Catholicism was trying to figure out which of all the religious denominations was the "best for me" or which one of them was at least the most right. Why did we have so many off-shoots of Christianity? What made the Baptists more right than the Lutherans, or Methodists or Episcopalians? Even the Baptists don't agree any more as there are now branches of Baptists like the Southern Baptists, American Baptists, Conservative Baptists and Reformed Baptists. According to Wikipedia Baptists are represented in more than fifty separate groups. But then there are all the other denominations to consider including those claiming to be "non-denominational." According to The Christian Sourcebook, there are approximately 20-30,000 denominations, with 270 new ones being formed each year. Virtually all of these are Protestant. (Source) If all those denominations "know" the truth by revelation of the Holy Spirit, yet not all of them agree on their teachings, how does one really know the truth? Is the Holy Spirit telling one group this and another group that? How can the Holy Spirit contradict itself?
I started looking at the timelines of all these denominations. The Baptists have been around since about 1639 and Southern Baptists only since 1845. Methodists began in the 18th century while Presbyterians began around 1572. We all know that most of this began with Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517. Luther might have had some good reasons to question things going on in the Church at the time, which ultimately led to the Church examining itself. This is what led me to realize that the oldest Christian Church was Catholic. And for over 2000 years it's teachings haven't wavered. The Church has clarified teachings and pronounced it's doctrines, but nothing has ever been changed. Although we have both the Tradition and the Bible, neither contradict one another. There have been some bad leaders and bad priests, but yet it has stood the test of time. There are no debates as to whether Mary should be venerated or whether the Eucharist really is the body and blood of Christ. Although different Parish's have different styles - the Mass is still the same. There are more traditional Churches and those that would be considered Contemporary, but regardless, it all has the same teachings from one Magisterium. And when I examined the specific teachings of the Church, I couldn't disagree with any of them. They all made sense to me and that is what ultimately led to my faith journey.
I've always had a problem with many of the basic Protestant beliefs like sola scriptura and the concept of salvation which I've written about before. I know that my friend and I don't agree in several areas of beliefs, but I hope that he realizes that I am far closer to his concept of "salvation" in the Catholic church than I ever was in the Baptist.