For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
The Catholic was formed in 325 BC at a meeting in France, I believe as some others that when God poured out His Spirit at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost that was the start of the New Testament / Covenant Church, Acts chap 2, The Great Commission Matt 28:18-20,Mark 16: 15-18,Luke 24: 44-49, these all point to and mean what Peter said in Acts 2:38, which covers St John 3:5
I was a Catholic and I knew Jesus died on the cross, but I believed it was Mary that got me into heaven. It wasn't until I left the church, went into the world, was witnessed to the simple plan of salvation in Jesus alone, did I become saved and a believer. Back then I prayed to Mary and a few other saints. Then I read in the bible that Jesus said to pray to the FATHER only in His Name. Catholics are not taught that simple scripture.....in fact I was told only the pope understood the bible. So my opinion is......most Catholics who follow pope doctrine are gambling with their eternal destination. Sincere unbelief is still unbelief.
I'm making a correction to my first post. It should have been 325 AD, not BC. Thanks for posting my message.
I am also a reformed Catholic. I feel that reciting the rosary, veneration of Mary and intercession of the saints, as well as the idea of purgatory, praying for the dead, and that the Pope is a vicar and the only direct communicator to God himself is all in error and many have been led astray by this "cultist religion". Even as children, going to catechism, we were never encouraged to even open a Bible, let alone study it! Catholics believe that they are the one"true" religion. Sadly, I personally feel that many devout Catholics will miss the mark completely when it comes down to judgement day. Although, the work of Christ on the cross is an integral part of the belief system, I feel that it gets diluted in importance because of all of the other tenets, rules, traditions etc. that are taught. At this point I am actually so turned off and even a bit frightened by the hollow repetitions and stress on unimportant and even blasphemous teachings that I never intend to set foot in a Catholic church again. Needless to say I am fervently searching for an authentic Bible believing and teaching church to share discussion and fellowship regarding the truth about Our Lord and Saviour.
Dear Suzanne, I understand exactly where you are at having left the Catholic Cult myself. It took me a long time to find a strictly bible preaching/teaching church. I tried all leading churches, and attended all their bible classes. It was one disappointment after another. Finally I found the book by book, chapter by chapter, line upon line bible teaching in the Calvary Chapel churches. It was an incredible find and I Love this church. Its exciting to attend and learn the scriptures. Sometimes just 2 lines of scripture is explained and dealt with. It is exhaustive and exciting.
I hope you have one in your area, for it is well worth attending. God Bless you and Happy New Year.
Thank you Ann. I really appreciate your honesty and comments. I live in the Chicagoland area so I feel confident that I'll find somewhere that will be a "real" church for me- that is after I get over the "shell - shock" of this long overdue revelation. God Bless you and yours.
You are welcome Suzanne. Your initial letter struck my heart with force as it took me a long long time from when I first came out of that cult, to when I found a church that taught the bible alone. The Lord looks at the heart, and HE knows the one who truly seeks HIM and HIS truth. HE will always answer. God Bless you too until that day when we will see HIM face to face.
The interesting thing about Catholicism is that most Catholics don't know what their religion professes. That was the case for me for 68 years. I thought I knew. I thought the Bible was the core of the religion. I didn't believe everything in the religion (like transubstantiation), but no big deal. The mass felt holy, crossing myself with holy water felt holy, kneeling and praying to Mary and others felt holy. Communion - holy. I didn't question anything. Why should I - it all felt so holy and right.
Then one day I read the Catechism, and my world changed forever. The Holy Spirit lifted the veil from my eyes. After studying the Catechism and the Catholic Church - it's history, it's dogma, the outcome of it's councils - I have come to the conclusion that this religion is one of the cleverest schemes of Satan. This is a false religion with some connections to the Bible (to gain an appearance of authenticity), that wraps itself around an "infallible" Magisterium dictating unbiblical dogma (labeled Sacred Tradition), and demanding unquestionable "faith" in the truth of that dogma - a far cry from the Church established by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Those of you who have left Catholicism - rejoice! For you have not done this of your own accord. It is the Holy Spirit working in you. Keep your faith in Jesus. Follow Him with all your heart. And pray that you are used to free other catholics caught in this trap.
My pastor (rest in peace) said it best.....
It does not matter what religion you call yourself.....if you are not saved by the blood of Christ and call on him to save you... you are nothing.
It really grieves my soul when I see so many articles, conversations and debates regarding who is a 'Christian" and who isn't? Also, how scripture can be taken out of context in order to, apparently, support some statement that is being made by those [ on both sides of the fence ] who think that they are above being corrected because it says so in the bible.
I am in no way a biblical master of the study of the bible, however I have been acquainted with it for over 40 years.
Speaking generally my understanding, here, when it comes to reading the New Testament scriptures, especially those found after the gospels, is that the teachings are with regard to the believer's development as a Christian. And not as a means of providing some sort of Biblically Stamped authorization on how to attack 'non-believers' [those persons to whom WE have decided are not Christians].
Of late, it would seem that Satan is having a hay-day here.
As long as we are accusing each other as to who is and who isn't a Christian we will remain unfocused on our own inadequacies, as viewed by Christ and God. Inadequacies regarding our own individual responses to the call of focusing on our needs for dailly corrections on being disciplined, and on being obedient to the Word in our private walk with God the Father and God the Son, Jesus.
Isn't our duty, given by Christ, to proclaim the Good News?
I cannot recall ever having read that Jesus called us to be the desiders as to who is or who isn't a believer in Him.
Someone please correct me if I am incorrect here.
I don't take it that people are questioning others as to whether or not they are Christians. The issue in my mind concerns salvation. Catholics believe very strongly in Christ. They have faith in Him. By definition, they are Christians. And they also have many beliefs that are non-Biblical in nature (such as praying to Mary), many of which are not only non-biblical, but actually contrary to His teachings. Likewise with the Mormon religion. So how does God weigh faith on one hand with contrary beliefs on the other? Is it okay to believe whatever you want, just as long as you have faith in Jesus? Well, I don't think so. The Holy Spirit provided a pretty good book that tells us what we need to believe, and how we need to behave. Beliefs contrary to this book puts the believer at risk. I think that is the merit of what most people are saying in these comments.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. I left in my late teens when I found that Catholic beliefs don't follow the Bible. (Call no one Father, but your Father which is in Heaven. e.g.) The two biggest issues I still have are 1. John 3:3 MUST be born again, which there is no requirement for in the Roman faith. And 2. The Counsel of Trent teachings of the 16th century which are still in effect today. If one believes in faith based salvation, they are anathema (cast violently into hell) according to the 15th and 22nd Trent teachings. The Magisterium is the Roman rule book, and directly contradicts Scripture. Encourage Catholics towards the Bible. But their man made religion is NOT sufficient...