I promised myself that I would never vary again from my father’s advice. His advice is to never discuss religion or politics because it may turn into an argument and you could lose a friend. However, another question came up that has caused me to vary from his advice. A friend asked why I changed from Catholic to Baptist.
I was always a very devout Catholic. My mother and father were devout Catholics. My mother prayed to God daily. I thought I was a great Christian. I dedicated my life to God for one hour every Sunday. The rest of the week I didn’t think of God. Today I speak with God with every decision I make. My neighbor said that he would bet a year’s salary that I would never leave the Catholic Church. I never imagined that I would leave it. But I did. After reading the bible I decided to go to a Baptist Church because its service centers entirely on the bible. I realized that the only reliable information we have on God and Jesus is the bible.
It all started one day when I was shocked to find that my son, no longer went to the Catholic Church. I had raised all my kids as church going Catholics. My son had been a staunch Catholic, who had been an altar boy for many years. So I cornered him and asked him why. He tried to explain, but finally he said that I would not understand unless I did what he did and study the bible. I asked him why he chose going to a Baptist church. He told me that after he had decided, by reading the bible, not to go to the Catholic Church, he realized that he didn’t know where to go. Wanting God’s direction, he promised God that he would set aside a given sum of money which he would give to the church God would lead him to. He told me that several days later a man come to his office. My son is an optometrist. While examining the man they started to talk about religion. The man stated that he was a pastor of a Baptist Church. He explained that he was in the Akron area trying to put a sermon on the radio. He was told that they would not do it without a certain payment up front. My son asked him how much he needed. To my son’s surprise it was the exact amount he had promise God. After he told me that, I was convinced that I should read and study the Bible.
My son gave me a beautiful Bible. I started to read it every day for a half hour a day. I am still doing that. What I found was amazing to me. The Old Testament gave me a good start in understand and knowing God. I realized that God wanted to be loved. I also realized that to love someone completely, you have to know him. It’s difficult to love someone you don’t know. There and then I decided to know God. Once God understood that I truly wanted to know Him, He gave me the wisdom to get the answers I needed. There were too many places in the bible that changed me. I will just name a few that I feel were the most important.
The first place that interested me was Isaiah 29:13. It read as follows. “Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near to me with their words and honor me with lips but their hearts are far from me and they honor me with the traditions of men” It was also repeated in Matthew 15:8-9 and Mark 7:6-8. This says that instead of worshiping him as he asked, they worshiped him by rules made by men. The Catholic Church is the worse when it comes to worshiping with rules it made up that are not in the bible. First you couldn’t eat meat on Friday, and now it is OK. This is only one example of the Church rules that have changed in time. Please don’t miss understand. I do believe that some Catholics will go to heaven. The bible says that you only have to accept Jesus as your savior and call his name to be saved. What I am, discussing here is how God and Jesus prefer to be worshipped.
As I continued to read the bible I ran across other differences from the Catholic doctrines. In Matthew 7:9-10 Jesus tells us that anyone who asks receives and he who seeks finds and he that knock it will be opened. What the next two lines basically tell us is that we can go directly to God to confess our sins and speak to God not through an angel or a priest. The next thing that got my attention was Matthew 23: verse 9. “Do not call anyone on earth father for One is your father, He who is in Heaven.” I’m sure that what it is talking about is the spiritual father. What that tells me is that we shouldn’t call a priest Father.
Another interesting point is given in Mark 2:7 and luke5:21-24. These verses basically say that only God can forgive sins, not a saint or an angel of a priest.
One thing that the Catholic Church seems to ignore is what is given in John 3:3-7. Jesus says I verse 3, “truly truly I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” and in verse 5, “Truly truly I say to you unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Once one accepts Jesus as his savior, he is reborn in spirit and becomes a child of God. This is important because of the next point I want to make.
In John 10:27-29, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they know me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the father’s hand.” This is again repeated in Romans 8:38-39. What this means is that once you are born again you will never lose your salvation.
In acts 20:32 Paul said to the Roman Christians that those who accept Christ as his savior will be up lifted to a saint. This is reinforced in Romans 1:7 and 6:22. What it means is that all who except Jesus as his savior and is born again is considered by God as a saints. I looked up the word saint. It says that it means being separated. To God therefore I believe it means giving up the pleasures of the world and connecting instead with God and Jesus. Nowhere does it give a man the authority to determine who is a saint from his remains.
And the last point, which I feel is very important, is in Ephesians 2: verses 8 and 9. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so no one can boast.” The Catholic Church believes that you have to do good to get to heaven. The bible says we are saved freely by accepting Jesus. You do good works because you are saved and not the other way around. God doesn’t want anyone to say that he got to heaven by doing good things in effect working his way to heaven with no need of Jesus. Besides the Bible says all have sinned, not one is righteousness. Only Jesus was sinless. Incidentally this includes all on earth even the Virgin Mary.
There are other things in the Bible that are ignored by the Catholic Church such as the Rapture of Christians in Luke 17: 34-36 and that we are not to worship angels as described in Colossians 2:18.
In conclusion, I learned seven truths. They are as follows:
Don’t Worship God with rules of men. 5. Once born again you cannot lose your salvation
Don’t call anyone on earth father. 6. As a born again Christian you are a saint.
Only God can forgive sin, not a priest. 7. Salvation is free. You can’t earn it with works.
You must be born again in the spirit.