From Catholicism to Christianity Part 1: A Story of Death to Life

FROM CATHOLICISM TO CHRISTIANITY

A STORY OF DEATH TO LIFE:

 Ephesians 2:1 NKJV And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins

I was born into a devout Catholic family and culture, knowing only one non-Catholic family until I entered high school. As a baby of just a few weeks old, I was baptized by sprinkling with water. My parents, who simply knew no better just as I did not for so many years, believed that this baptism meant that I was “ born-again.” I went to a Catholic school and was so devout that I consistently went to novenas – nine day prayer vigils to honor Mary. On Saturdays it was customary to go to weekly confession (now called the sacrament of penance or reconciliation) where I would confess my sins, whether venial (minor) or mortal (punishable by hell), to the priest so he could grant me absolution (cleansing).  Normally, he would then have me say penance that my repentance would be deemed real – possibly two Our Fathers or 5 Hail Marys* or say a rosary* or perhaps do a good deed. Every Sunday would find me at Mass; every day of the 40 days of Lent period would also find me at Mass even if I had to get up at 5 o’clock to make my first college class. I also faithfully attended Mass on each of the Holy Days of Obligation*. I wore a scapular medal* so that Mary would rescue me from purgatory* when I died.

(*the definitions to all these unfamiliar words are at the end of this report)

Yet in spite of all my attempts at holiness there was a lack of peace within me and an emptiness I could not fill though I tried to appease it with food and alcohol to a certain degree. My prayers to fill my emptiness and to give me peace were often racked with sobs as I cried out to a God who seemed always just beyond my grasp, behind a wall I could not penetrate. Then one day, in His mercy, the Lord Jesus had a friend invite me to an evangelical prayer breakfast. For the very first time in 35 years I heard the gospel of salvation, the gospel of eternal life. When the speaker asked those present who wanted to receive Jesus into their hearts to stand, my friend was amazed at how quickly I got up. I sobbed and sobbed as peace flooded my heart and filled up the emptiness that had been in me all my life. Now, now I was truly born-again:

1 Peter 1:4-5Amplified Bible

4 [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are being guarded by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that [final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.

For over three years I daily read this book called The Bible and then the Lord led me to take a course on Catholic doctrine from a Catholic institution, the Knights of Columbus.  Now I could view Catholic doctrine through the lens of truth. (As the years went on I read additional Catholic-produced books including the official Catholic Catechism, approximately 800 pages long). How amazed I was to discover what my former church truly believed! As an example, as a former devout believer in Mary I had been told according to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that Mary herself was born sinless. That would mean she didn’t need a Savior. Yet she herself proclaimed she did:

Luke 1:46-47: Amplified Bible

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,

47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

And there were so many more conflicts as this report will evidence. Had I really been led to believe all those years as a Catholic so many things at odds with Scripture? My only excuse? I just didn’t know. All of us – myself, all my friends and all my relatives – simply believed what we had been taught. We never sought out the truth for ourselves from the only reliable Sources of truth: Jesus and His Word, the Bible.

John 1:1Amplified Bible

1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

No one comes to the Father but by Jesus. All these years Catholics have been told that it was through the Catholic Church, by Mary’s intercession, by going to Mass and by receiving communion that they come to the Father. I trusted what I was taught and was told that the Catholic way was the only way to eternal life. Yet, John 14:6 says there is only one way to eternal life. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I rejoice in the fact that before they died both my parents came to know the truth of eternal life. In fact it was the very uncertainty of the Roman Catholic Church’s (RCC) stance on eternal life and the absolute certainty of 1John 5: 13 on the topic of eternal life (see below) that opened my mother’s eyes. The two authorities quoted below – both cardinals – are ranked one step below the Pope. Therefore, their words carry great weight.

New York Cardinal O’Connor said in The New York Times  Feb.1, 1980, B4:

“(Catholic) Church teaching is that I don’t know, at any given moment, what my eternal future will be. I can hope, pray, do my very best – but I still don’t know. Pope John II doesn’t know absolutely that he will go to heaven, nor does Mother Teresa of Calcutta.”

In 1992 Cardinal Ratzinger, formerly Pope Benedict XVI, headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith which is the watchdog of Catholic orthodoxy, otherwise known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition. In that position he headed the commission that wrote the official Catechism of the Catholic Church. This Catechism was approved by Pope John Paul 11. In that Catechism that same uncertainty of salvation and eternal life is stated. (Death of a Pope: Dave Hunt in The Berean Call)

Yet those of us who are born-again know with absolute certainty what eternity holds for us:

1 John 5:11-13 (Amplified Bible)

11And this is that testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

  12He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life.

13I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life.

In reading this and sharing it with others, please know that the information in it truly is a story of  death to life – mine, yours and others.

  CATHOLICISM AND CHRISTIANITY: ARE THEY TRULY THE SAME?

The Lord has had me waiting over 30 years to share this. There is a great deal of information contained in the following pages but for the sake of yourself, your Catholic relatives and your neighbors please try to read it. It must be remembered that there are those in the Catholic Church who truly love the Lord and have had a genuine born-again experience yet remain in that church out of ignorance of her doctrines. If you are a Christian, you, like me, will feel great sadness as you see how the Catholic people are being misled. In these pages you will read of what the Catholic Church really practices during their Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and their Communion. You will read about grace and salvation; “it is finished”; Jesus as Savior, Redeemer and Mediator; the Inerrancy of the Bible; Mary – and yet none of these in the Catholic Church are what you think they are. Surely, Vatican II changed all this…but it didn’t and that is also documented.

It is important to realize that most of the clergy and lay people that teach Roman Catholic doctrine are not deceiving people with malicious intent. They are simply passing on what has been passed on to them, sincerely believing that they have the truth. Catholics must believe ALL dogmas of their church or be anathema (eternally condemned and accursed) by their church. Prayer, love, compassion and understanding are needed along with the power of the Word of God to penetrate their hearts. Patience is needed to untangle Roman Catholics from the dogmatic web in which they are held captive. (Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition by Mike Gendron).

Catholics need to know the truth of real salvation and we Christians need to know the truth about Catholicism that we may witness to them meaningfully so that they may know the true love of Jesus and have eternal life.

*DEFINITIONS OF TERMS ABOVE:

Hail Mary: A prayer of intercession to Mary. “ Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” (while the first portion of the prayer is Biblically accurate, the second portion is not. Mary was simply the mother of the human child, Jesus, not the mother of God. She also cannot pray for us since Jesus is our only mediator and intercessor before the Father:

1 Timothy 2:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Rosary: A string of beads headed by a crucifix. It is used to keep track of a set of prayers, primarily the Our Fathers and 50 Hail Marys.

Holy Days of Obligation*: Holy Days of Obligation in the Catholic Church. January 1: The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God*.  40 days after Easter Sunday: Ascension Thursday.  August 15: Assumption of Mary into heaven*.  November 1: All Saints’ Day*.  December 8: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception*.  December 25: Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord. (according to Canon 1246 Mass is obligatory on these solemn days. * indicates the unbiblical nature of these events.) The first celebrates that Mary was the Mother of God not simply the mother of the baby Jesus. The assumption denotes the supposed bodily taking up of Mary into Heaven without her dying. Mary is considered to have been immaculately conceived – meaning she was born without sin just as Jesus was. The idea of Mary’s immaculate conception is refuted by Mary herself in the Magnificat where she proclaims her need of a Savior, thus admitting she is a sinner:

Luke 1:46-47 New King James Version (NKJV)

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior

All Saints Day honors all the Catholic saints. In the Catholic Church, only after death can someone be called a saint. The person must have performed a designated number of miracles to have obtained this honor. Catholics then pray for the saints to intercede when they have problems. This is quite different from the Biblical definition of a saint:

In the context of New Testament passages, saints are those who belong to the body of Christ, saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). In other words, saint is another word for a Christian, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. https://www.gotquestions.org/sinners-saints.html

Purgatory: The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). The purification is necessary because, as Scripture teaches, nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27) and, while we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us, specifically venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. https://www.catholic.com/tract/purgatory. So says the RCC. According to one of the most eminent saints of the RCC, Thomas Aquinas, souls in purgatory suffer horrible physical pain from fire. “Indulgences” to alleviate the pains of purgatory may be performed such as copious prayers on the rosary.

This entire concept is a direct contradiction to 1 John 1:9 New King James Version (NKJV)

 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We are only at the beginning and already I pray that you have realized that by the use of Biblical knowledge and uncovering the truth beneath the smokescreen put up by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) you are aware that your eyes have been opened. 1Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to “prove all things.” I remember how often I shook my head in disbelief at the beginning of my journey into this topic. I just couldn’t fathom all the deception I had believed. Yet something far worse struck me as I went on. I realized how much I had, unknowingly, offended my Lord and how much I needed to repent. That shame made me determined to find out even more truth. No matter how much it hurt. And that is what we are going to do.

Works cited:

Death of a Pope: Dave Hunt in The Berean Call

Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition by Mike Gendron

https://www.catholic.com/tract/purgatory

https://www.gotquestions.org/sinners-saints.html

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