What the title of this series of posts on which I am embarking refers to is the Church of Rome. I was raised by wonderful, devout Roman Catholic parents, baptized as an infant, and attended Catholic elementary and high schools. I married in the Catholic Church, and even went through the church’s annulment process in order to wed my previously married and divorced husband. We had three children before our fifth wedding anniversary and all of them were baptized into the Church.
But soon after the birth of my third child, I experienced a definite stirring in my soul . . . a yearning for something that I felt difficult to understand or express. Looking back on it now, I believe it was the activity of God in my life, drawing me to seek the truth, and find him.
Back then I would have told you that I was a believer in God and, more specifically, a Christian. And even more specifically than that, and with a touch of arrogance, a Catholic. I distinctly remember my attitude when my neighbor asked if I was a Christian. I simply said, I’m Catholic, but my unspoken response was, not only am I a Christian, but I belong to the Christian elite. Yet I had come to see her, hoping to find what I didn’t have and couldn’t even be sure I was seeking, as she had demonstrated a vibrant, personal, substantive faith that was unique, at least in my contacts and history at that time.
So this neighbor and new friend immediately opened the Bible and showed me passages that taught how we are saved by faith alone. This was strange teaching to one who had been told that God judges our suitability for Heaven based on how well we obeyed his commands. But there it was, in red and white, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24
We began meeting together regularly and just looking at what the Bible says. And very quickly I realized that this was what I had been searching for . . . a real, personal knowledge of the one, true God. I gave my life to him and, because much of what I was learning from God’s Word was different from what I had been taught by the Church, eventually renounced my adherence to the Catholic faith.
That was over 25 years ago, and I am now more familiar with the Catholic Church and its doctrine than I ever was as a member. Over the next 30 days I intend to highlight and explain 30 reasons why I reject Catholicism. Not because I want to pile on the criticism, but because I believe God has called me to proclaim truth, and that necessarily involves exposing error. And, unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of it in the Roman Catholic Church.
I do want to acknowledge and affirm though, that they have always taught and upheld the authority and inspiration of the Bible, the deity and humanity of Christ, the mystery of the Trinity, the reality of sin and our need for salvation, and many other core biblical Christian doctrines. I am indebted to my parents and Catholic upbringing for instilling in me an awe of God and an understanding of his total sovereignty. For teaching me that I am not a product of chance and random mutation, but rather a marvelous, intentional creation of a loving God.
What’s more, Catholics are often generous, selfless, God-fearing people; I count a number of family members and friends in this group. And the Catholic Church has been and is doing some exceptionally God-honoring service to the poor and underprivileged, the homeless and the sick.
But . . . I believe she has also dishonored God in many of her practices and doctrines, and actually done much damage to the cause of Christ. For these reasons, I embark on this series, and hope and pray that I will be fair and kind. And that God guides me in presenting what I believe to be true.
I don’t claim that I “have already obtained [all truth] or am already perfect” (Philippians 3:12), but if I wait until I have or am, I will never be a light for the truth that I do have. I pray often for God to humble me so that he can use me more. If anything I say comes off as arrogant, please consider its truth value before criticizing me. I am mindful of a propensity to arrogance, which helps me to guard against it, and if a criticism is warranted, I will receive it. But any character flaw in me does not affect the truth or falsehood of what I present. I pray you will focus on that.