Paul met Connie, a practicing Catholic, at the laundromat, and, after a short conversation about the nature of our lives and worship in the Lord Jesus Christ, sent her a follow up e-mail with the links to A Protestant Minister Converts to Catholicism and Our Testimonies. We write further and in more depth following Connie’s lengthy letter.
Thank you for the web site and your letter to Scott Hahn. I haven’t read all of your testimony as I am leaving to go to a Catholic Conference in Spokane. I will indeed read all of it later.
I do hope and pray Scott Hahn responds to your letter. You raise some interesting, thought provoking questions. You seem like a very intelligent person that likes to dig deep into answers. That is a wonderful gift–to explore the truth. Let me ask you have you ever read the writings of the Early Church Fathers? Have you studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church–which is very in-depth but very easy to follow. Throughout the Catechism it refers to Scripture, the writings of the Early Church Fathers–dating back to the first century. Many Catholic who were raised Catholic leave the Catholic Church for what they think it teaches but not what it actually teaches. Both you and Victor Hafichuk are former Catholics who left the Church for what you and Victor think it teaches. The only way to know for sure what the Catholic Church truly teaches is to study Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Early Church Fathers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyons–you can get these from the Library or go to www.ewtn.com and search on the web site for these names.
I am not going to try and convince you to come back to the Catholic Church–because this is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. I just ask before you condemn the Catholic Church get the facts straight and then make a good judgment based upon all the information not just partial truths. I was also raised Catholic–and about 10 years ago–I left the Church and went to the Assembly of God Church for a little while–it was through this experience and through some very caring friends who showed me the way back to the Catholic Church through prayer and explaining he the teaching of the Church to me and comparing them to Scripture that I came to realize that I needed to find out what the Church does teach–so I would not be deceived by those who believe in “The Bible is all I need theory.” However, this notion is not taught in the Bible itself. In fact, the Bible teaches the opposite idea (2-Peter-1:20-21, 3:15-16). The Bible alone theory was not believed by anyone in the early Church. Sacred Tradition which is not written in the Bible should not be confused with mere traditions of men, which are more commonly called customs or disciplines. Jesus sometimes condemned customs or disciplines but only if they were contrary to God’s commands. Mark 7:8) Jesus never condemned sacred tradition. Sacred Tradition and the Bible are not different or competing revelations. They are two way that the Church hands on the Gospel. Apostolic teachings such as the Trinity, infant baptism, the inerrancy of the Bible, purgatory, and Mary’s perpetual virginity have been most clearly taught through Tradition, although they are also present in and not contrary to the Bible. The Bible itself tells us to hold fast to Tradition, whether it comes to us written or oral form ( 2-Thess. 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2). Sacred Tradition should not be confused with customs and disciplines such as the Rosary, priestly celibacy, and not eating meat on Friday’s in Lent. These are good and helpful things, but they are not doctrines. Sacred Tradition preserves doctrines first taught by Jesus to the apostles and later passed down to us through the Church, under the leadership of the apostle’s successors, the popes and bishops.
Jesus said his Church would be the “the light of the world.” He then said that a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matt. 5:14. This means his Church is a visible organization. Jesus did not establish lots of churches–he established one and has four chief marks: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. The Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2000 years despite constant opposition from the world. It is more than a mere human organization, especially considering that its human members —even some of its leaders have been unwise and corrupt. But Jesus promised: I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). Through the power, love, wisdom of the Holy Spirit the Church continues on.
I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and He is My God, My Lord and it is him whom I serve. The Holy Spirit lives within me and Jesus Christ is the reason why I leave, breath and have my being. I love Jesus Christ and his Church. I receive Jesus Christ–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Communion every day. He is my strength. He is my rock of my salvation. The Catholic Church teaches that the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred “once for all”. It cannot be repeated (Heb. 9:28). Christ does not “die again” during Mass, but the very same sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar. That is why the Mass is not “another” sacrifice, but a participation in the same, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Paul in the Bible reminds us that the bread and the wine really become, by a miracle of God’s grace, the actual body and blood of Jesus: “Anyone who eats and drinks, without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1-Cor. 11:27-29) Jesus said in John 6:53 —Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life within you. He wasn’t speaking in symbols or analogies–Jesus said exactly what it says. After he said this many of his disciples went away because it was a hard teaching and one that required faith to believe. I just know for me–I receive daily grace upon grace receiving Jesus. He is my spiritual food along with His Holy Words in Scripture for my journey. Mary, Jesus mother–was chosen from all eternity for a special role. God saved her from all sin (Luke 1:28, 47); made her uniquely blessed among all women (Luke 1:42) and made her a model for all Christians (Luke 1:48) At the end of her life he took her, body and soul, into heaven–an image of our own resurrection at the end of the world (Rev. 12:1-2) We are all members of the Body of Christ and are called to help one another through prayer. Through prayer we are all member’s of God’s family whether on earth or in heaven. We believe in the communion of saints–that great cloud of witnesses talked about in Hebrews. Just as I would ask you to pray for me–we can also ask Mary to pray for us. We do not pray to her–we only pray to God but we ask her to pray for us and ask her intercessory prayers. Mary’s prayers are especially effective on our behalf because of her relationship with her Son, Jesus. We do not pray to any saints. We do not worship saints or statues or Mary. If we did that would bring disgrace to God not honor. We honor Mary and the saints because of their example of holy living. Jesus has a special relationship with his Mother and a great respect for her–and we would do well to also honor her–not worship her. We honor presidents past and present and other people who have done great things–why can’t we honor Mary? You may say, you see Catholic kneeling before a statute of Mary and it may appear they are bowing down and worshiping her but quite the contrary–we know she is special because she bore Jesus Christ who is God in her womb. We have pictures and statutes in the Church and our homes to remind us and help us to center on God. We do not worship these pictures or statues. We have our family pictures hanging on our walls–we do not worship these pictures, is not the Mother of Jesus and Jesus himself worthy enough to hang on our walls? We can say without error Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death amen. We believe Jesus is God! Some question–how do we know what Jesus looked like or Mary looked like There were no cameras’ back then. True–but if you study the Saints of the Church –there were times that Jesus appeared to them. Or Mary appeared to them and that is where many of the images come from. Jesus is Jewish and so is Mary. I believe Jesus’ physical looks is Jewish as well as Mary. Mary’s role today is that through her intercession, brings us closer to Jesus her son–who but Mary knows Jesus better?
I am sorry to go on and on–and I could continue–but I believe you truly love Jesus and want to serve him all the days of your life–so do I. Seek out the Truth: God’s plan is simple. Your loving Father wants to give you all good things—especially eternal life. Jesus died on the cross to save us all from sin and the eternal separation from God that sin causes. When he saves us, he makes us part of his Body, which is the Church (1-Cor. 12:27-30) We become united with Him and with Christians everywhere (on earth, in heaven in purgatory) The Church as seven beautiful sacraments to heal, feed, and strengthen us. Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Penance/Confession. Holy Orders, Matrimony and the Anointed of the Sick. They are signs that actually convey God’s grace and love and it is up to the individual to respond to that grace and love–some do some do not–but God continues to offer them. After my journey away from the Catholic Church I am home-here to stay until Jesus calls me to be with him in Heaven someday. I know and I believe with all my heart and my studying of Scripture and Church’s teachings that the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus Christ established and has the fullness of faith. I do not want to settle for the crumbs, I want the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ–it is there for the asking. I am not a theologian or have a degree in Church teaching but I continue to discover more and more about the richness of my faith daily.
If you want to visit more please let me know. Check out the web site: www.ewtn.com for a very good resource. Also that radio station is 88.5 FM -Brother Bob Fischman Catholic Hour. It is on Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. From 8 to 8:30-the teachings of Father John Corpi on the Catechism of the Catholic Church–Praise God!
May God’s blessing be upon you this day,
Connie, Victor here. Paul and I are brethren in Christ, and sharing this ministry, which the Lord has given us. I would like to respond to this letter you sent to Paul, and which he shared with me. I will be direct with you, not in enmity, God forbid, but for His sake.
Paul was not ever Catholic. I was. I am quite familiar with Catholic doctrine. I did not leave the Catholic Church because I thought it was teaching error, or because I did not understand its teachings. I did not leave it because of what it taught or because of what I thought it taught. You write:
“The only way to know for sure what the Catholic Church truly teaches is to study Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church…“
That is true, in part. If the Holy Spirit does not enlighten the student of Scripture, study is in vain. Many study and are as ignorant of the substance and power as those who do not. Many of the Jews in Christ’s days in His own flesh knew the letter of the Scriptures, yet they killed Him, fulfilling the very Scriptures they studied. Of and to them He said, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures or the power thereof.” I have studied the Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and more, by the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God.
I will tell you directly that if the Holy Spirit does any work with one, it is to lead him out of, and not into, the Catholic Church. It, its teachings and practices are very contrary to the Holy Spirit and Scripture, contrary to your perspective. Read my testimony (Victor’s Testimony) and tell me what you find there. I expect you will see what you wish to see, but what you ought to find is there, and will not permit you to walk away the same person, I assure you.
Why did I leave the Catholic Church? I didn’t. The Holy Spirit of Christ took me out. He delivered me from its darkness, fear and bondage, its lies and superstitions, its blasphemies and deception. He is the Spirit of Truth, and you will read, in my testimony, how I had purposed to go back to the Catholic Church after He had freed me and forgiven me of my sins, and given me understanding. He opened the Scriptures to me and made it very clear that what the Catholic Church taught and practised and what the Bible taught were as night and day. You would say the devil did that, and not the Holy Spirit, and I would warn you not to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, to your peril.
While we do not condemn Catholics, we do condemn the Catholic Church and its diabolical doctrines. Our condemnation is not based on half-truths, but is inspired by the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom you say is its Founder, but Who has nothing whatsoever to do with the organization of devils. Our stance is not on “all information” as you recommend, but on the knowledge of the truth of all things:
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” (1 John 2:20).
This is something you, your priests and the pope do not know. None of you have experienced the Holy Spirit’s anointing. We do not subscribe to the “‘Bible is all I need’ theory.” We subscribe to, and know, the “Jesus Christ is all we need” truth. That sets us quite apart from you and others (Protestants). Our intention and desire, however, is not to set us apart from others, but to bring the knowledge of Jesus Christ to them, so that they too will not be deceived by the Catholic Church or the “‘Bible is all I need’ theory.”
What makes you so sure that those who taught you concerning the Catholic Church and persuaded you to believe its teachings were right? There are many who could teach you otherwise. What makes you right and sure of it? I too thought it was right until God opened my heart and eyes. Now I know that you are in delusion, as are all Catholics, as was I.
I am pleased to inform you, long before you ask, and thankful for the ability to be able to do so, that I have honored your suggestion or request, that being, “I just ask before you condemn the Catholic Church get the facts straight and then make a good judgment based upon all the information not just partial truths.“
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture came into being of its own private interpretation. For prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
And: “And think of the long-suffering of our Lord as salvation (as our beloved brother Paul also has written to you according to the wisdom given to him as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction)” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
Did it never occur to you that those who teach Scripture according to Catholic doctrine are the ones guilty of private interpretation, that they, as carnal men, though ever so educated, and having a form of godliness, yet without the Spirit, are the unlearned, the unstable, and destroy both themselves and you by their teachings? It is so.
Jesus never referred to “sacred tradition,” Connie. At any time that He did speak of tradition, He condemned its use because it rendered the law of God void. Paul once promotes traditions to the Thessalonians. However, what kind of tradition are we talking about? Because Jesus and Paul commended “apples,” does not mean that they commended “rotten apples.” Your addition of the adjective, “sacred,” is no different, considering the traditions you espouse are antiChrist. Your leaders teach you that.
They teach you that the non-Catholic rejection of the teachings of the “Church” is based on partial information, misinformation, lies, and half-truths, through ignorance. Your spiritual leaders pride themselves in thinking they are the educated and sophisticated ones, and that we, outside of the RCC, are the “lost children,” the “prodigals,” the spiritual riffraff. While it is no secret that many outside the Catholic Church are as lost as are Catholics, there are those whom the Lord has redeemed out of all church systems, out of men’s works of the flesh in the Name of God, and they stand before the Lord, walk in the light as He is in the light, and have fellowship with Him, unlike any Catholics. The Catholic Church hates them with a passion, and has an on-the-record history of slaughtering millions of those who disagree with the Catholic Church. I can guarantee you that if the Roman Catholic Church had dominion over the earth today as it once did, things would be no different. But for the grace of God, I would be dead by now. It may come to that once again, and soon. It may also come that now is the time for the Roman Catholic Church, and yes, all of men’s religious works, to fall, as God has promised, never to rise again (Revelation 18:21). That this will come is certain.
You may argue regarding the history of murders, “That was then; this is now.” Can the trunk of an evil tree produce good fruit? It is contrary to all nature and the laws of God. Furthermore, it is just as guilty today as it ever was. Rwanda is a case in point, not to mention the myriads of other things happening by Catholic influence, both direct and indirect, such as the sexual perversion and abuse of its own members, for example. Connie, you are deceived. I too was there, so I cannot and do not condemn you, but I can speak the truth, and if that condemns the Catholic Church, so be it…and it does, unequivocally.
Jesus certainly condemned some traditions, those that contradicted God and Holy Scripture. Those you cite are just such doctrines, all but the one of the inerrancy of the Bible (speaking of the original tongues). You say the doctrines are in agreement with the Bible, but you speak in perversity, indoctrinated, blinded by the prince of darkness, who lies and kills ever so sweetly. Rather than receiving the Truth from God, you trust your leaders and take their word for it. God will and does hold you personally accountable for every one of your decisions.
Why do you not keep the Sabbath, for example? Show me where in the Bible there is agreement on keeping Sunday? The princes themselves of the Catholic Church declare that there is no substantiation in Scripture whatsoever of the Sabbath ever having been changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. By legitimizing tradition on a par with Scripture and God’s law, you can do anything you please. If it is not in the Bible, you can justify it by pagan or carnal tradition. Then, find a way to read it into the Word of God, and voila! you have your way, making null and void the Scripture, yet, in vain, worshiping Him with your lips. I assure you that those “sacred doctrines” you mention are perfectly contrary to Scripture. Only darkened minds think otherwise.
Trinity? “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord.” Infant baptism? “Repent, and be baptized…” When was the last (or the first) time you witnessed a baby repenting? Mary’s perpetual virginity? “Lord, your mother, brothers and sisters are without, seeking You….”
I know your answers. I have heard them, not from you, but from your leaders. You believe them, and not the One you profess to worship.
“The Bible itself tells us to hold fast to traditions“? Yes, depending on what traditions, because it also says, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do” (Mark 7:8).
What makes you think your traditions are not those of men rather than of God, especially when they contradict the Word of God? You cannot have it both ways, Connie. “Sacred tradition is not written in the Bible” you say, but neither are men’s customs to be confused with sacred tradition! If I call a dog a star, then it is a star, and I ought not to be confused about the matter, and neither ought anyone else; right? Does not the emperor have fine clothing, Connie? But so it is, and not to be questioned. Why? Because some arrogant, ignorant, cunning, sophisticated tyrant, calling himself “Father,” against the injunction of Christ, says so!
Customs and disciplines such as praying the rosary? “Be not like the heathen, who think that by repetitious prayers, they shall be heard.” Also, “In this manner, pray, ‘Our Heavenly Father…'” not “Our Heavenly Mother…” or “Mother of God.” “Mother of God”? Is praying the “R”osary a good and helpful thing? Hardly! The Buddhists and other religions do it as well, though not to Mary.
You say you do not worship Mary. If God is worthy of worship, would not the one that gave birth to God be worthy also? You do worship her, if only because you call her the “Mother of God” with a capital “M.” If you deny that you do, you lie, and contradict yourself. Does the Word of God agree with your custom of lying and self-contradiction, Connie?
And we know what “priestly celibacy” has done for the priests, for the members of the parishes, for the altar boys, the nuns, the natives, the boys in boys’ schools…. We are able to read all about it in the newspapers, court reports, and magazines…. Are those all lies, Connie? “Good and helpful things“? You need repentance, Connie, not confession to a priest, but repentance, the genuine, transforming, permanent kind, the kind you have never known, because your spiritual mentors have never, in all their celibate priestly powers, been able to impart it to you. All the “sacraments” in the world will not suffice. They will oppose. Only the independent grace of God can and will do so. It happened for me, and it can and will happen for you.
You describe the characteristics of the Church of Christ. You say that it is:
Visible – I am a member of the Church. I am visible, as are all saints upon earth. However, our lives are hid in Christ. As it says:
“For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. When Christ our Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4).
By the way, your definition of a saint is perverse. Saints are automatically saints by virtue of a new birth through the Spirit of God, and not through canonization by a presumptuous and corrupt, howbeit religious, organization led by a man with a forbidden title of “Papa.” Together we are a body, His Body, not a dead, corrupt, grotesque, yet appealing, organization of men, but a living organism, made without hands, pleasing to God.
One – Indeed we are one. All those who are His are in one body:
“For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Holy – Indeed we are set apart for the Lord, sanctified by His Spirit, His workmanship, not by anything we have done.
Apostolic – Our foundation is not the apostles, but Jesus Christ Himself, Who is also the Head, although the apostles are those whose faith is founded in Him, and them He has appointed to minister to the Church. Yours is a deceitful claim of being apostolic, a representation by murder and usurpation, as with Athaliah (2 Kings 11). You trust in carnal history and authority, but Jesus Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world. He said so, but you, by your assertions that I now address, make a liar of Him.
Catholic – We are “catholic,” with small “c,” in that we are universal, even as Christ is universal, because we are in Him and He is in us. You use the capital “c” because you set your mind on earthly things, and not on those things that are above. That is because you are yet in your sins, unredeemed, proud, ignorant, murderous, self-righteous, and antiChrist. That is not a vindictive description of you, but a true one, fully substantiated in the Bible, of which the RCC blasphemously calls itself the “mother.”
You say, “The Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years, despite constant opposition in the world.” Not true. It has been around much longer, ever since Cain offered up faithless sacrifice and murdered Abel, his brother, because Abel’s sacrifice was of faith, and acceptable to God. As an official organization, the RCC has been around since Constantine (1700 years), a pagan sun god worshiper to his death, who united church and state to consolidate his political power as emperor.
China has been around a long time as well, and today is the most populated nation in the world. That does not make China right or good before God. The Buddhists go back 2600 years. Does that make them right? The Hindus claim that their religion was the very first. They worship many gods, cows and rats included. The Jews have had their religion going back 3500 years or more. Would you deny their right to supreme legitimacy, while claiming yours by virtue of longevity?
As for the opposition, few have been opposed throughout history as have been the Jews, slaughtered by the Catholic Church much of the time, as in the Inquisition, led by a canonized “saint,” Ignatius Loyola, a murderous, merciless butcher, inspired by the pope, yet the Jews are still around. That does not make the Jews the right and holy ones. If opposition is a legitimate credential to justify the Catholic Church above all others, then Jews have rights that supercede that of the Catholic Church. Opposition to something or someone means nothing at all in and of itself, though the RCC makes a very big deal of both longevity and opposition, and that though it has been the chief opposer, yea, butcher of humanity in the last two millennia. The deeds of the Catholic Church are all on record, Connie, and your willful ignorance and allegiance to it, makes you, wittingly or otherwise, a “murderous, merciless butcher,” like the “saint” you venerate. Truly, the Catholic Church, as an institution, has more blood on its hands than any entity of which anyone has ever heard.
I have not scratched the surface by the true report I now give you. Will you believe me? No. You will not even bother to search these things out independently of the biased. That is because you are not interested in the truth. You are only interested in being right, being Catholic (which is not right). You are only naturally interested in protecting that which you were made at infancy.
The Catholic Church puts its boast and confidence in earthly splendor, carnal wisdom, size and age. Of such did Jesus say:
“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:150).
Is not the Catholic Church highly esteemed among men? Surely. Is not higher education esteemed among men? Surely. Is not the pope of Rome highly esteemed among men? We just witnessed the funeral, with leaders from all over the world attending, including three US presidents and Muslims. Should we be impressed with such honor paid the dead pope? One of the presidents is a sexual pervert, adulterer and liar, publicly proven so. One is an oil tycoon who, with his cronies, has waged war on a nation purported to have “weapons of mass destruction” and apparently has none. Oil and multi-billion dollar contracts for Cheney and others seems to be the agenda. Then there is the father of the president who also stands to gain much financially through the spilt blood of Iraqis, Britons, fellow Americans, and others. Media coverage focused intensely upon the promotional funeral event for days. It is all a heinous display of pomp and arrogance, a contemptible abomination to God, just as Jesus said, Connie, just as Jesus said.
By the way…the Assembly of God Church, though different in appearance, doctrine, and superficial practice, is no different than the Catholic Church in spirit and substance. It is also a vile organization, with super heroes exhibiting its essence, men like Jimmy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. It is yet another city of devils.
You say, “Some of the leaders in the RCC are corrupt“? Try, “every last one of them.” If it were otherwise, those who are not corrupt would not continue to identify with the RCC. As it says:
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
A priest or any member of the RCC has never known the Lord, as demonstrated by the fact that he is still a member of the Catholic Church. The Spirit leads one into all truth, and does not leave His child in consuming lies and darkness, “touching the unclean thing,” and therefore responsible for the continuous bloodletting. So much for your love and “acceptance” of Jesus Christ. “Acceptance”? Who are you that you “accept” Him, as though He is some beggar or someone to whom one can condescend? Connie, how much in darkness you are, by a “light” that blinds!
That the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus, Paul does not at all “remind us in the Bible.” That is the Catholic heresy that reminds you. The custom itself finds its origin with pagan sun worshippers, whose priests held wafers up to the sun in ritual. You are deceived. The Scripture you misinterpret speaks of partaking of His Body, that is, associating with the members, the saints, who are His Body, and how one relates to them in whom Christ dwells. This is something you know nothing about. When Jesus spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, He was speaking of partaking of Him in Person, and not in pagan, carnal religious rites, which, though the entire Roman Church indulges, is full of every conceivable crime, its “saints” and popes included. Your darkness amazes me, but it is, after all, the mystery of iniquity. I was there too, Connie.
Concerning our sister, Mary, you say, “We do not pray to her…” I see you are trained in spiritual acrobatics. “Holy Mary, Mother of God…blessed are you…pray for us sinners….” And you say you do not pray to her? You lie, Connie, you lie. Your prayer rosary with capital “R” has fifty-three beads on it, all used to count off prayers to her. Why do you not simply “call a spade a spade”? As Jesus said:
“But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil” (Matthew 5:37).
Perhaps it is not prayer, as you say. Perhaps it is “vain repetitions as do the heathen.” Yes, you are right, it is not prayer at all. Mary is not at all impressed, I can assure you, and her Lord, Whose body she bore on earth, no more impressed than she.
You say, “We believe in the communion of saints…“
I say to you that we have that communion. What is dead doctrine to you is living reality to us.
You say you do not worship statues. If I were to smash a statue of Buddha, you likely would not find that a big problem, but if I were to smash a statue of Mary, how would you feel, even if I offered to pay you twice what it was worth, before I destroyed it? Be honest, if you can. You say you do not worship Mary. We have discussed that. If you worship God, why would you not worship His Mother? Is she not worthy of it? Face it: you people are liars, children of darkness, idolatry and superstition, through and through, Connie. Do I condemn you? No. I was there, and only by the grace of God am I no longer there. I speak to deliver, not to condemn.
You say, “We have pictures and statutes in the Church and our homes to remind us and help us to center on God.”
It amazes me how you and others can condemn yourselves out of your own mouths and not know it, but I did it too. The Catholic Church has perverted the record from Scripture of the Ten Commandments, omitting the second one, which forbids images. It then divides the tenth commandment into two to make up for the omitted one. Why does it do so? It does so to justify the pagan “sacred tradition” of images that it cherishes so much. Why does it cherish it? It does so because it is carnal, sensuous, and devilish. It is the false, harlot church.
Why do you need a reminder? That is because you do not have Him within. Your mind, in spite of all the pagan partaking of “His flesh and blood” every Sunday, does you no good whatsoever. You still need a reminder, contrary to the unequivocal command of God. I can guarantee you that it is not pictures or statues that keep our minds on Him. It is He Who keeps us, and not vile and false representations of the works of our hands that do so! Pictures and images are the stuff of pagans and idolaters. No wonder you need reminders! Yet you receive nothing.
You say, “Mary’s role today is that through her intercession, brings us closer to Jesus her son–who but Mary knows Jesus better?“
While on earth in the days of His flesh, even His mother opposed Him, not actively, but she and His earthly siblings (which you are taught He did not have) did not understand, as much as others did at that time, what He was about. Here is the Biblical record:
“Then one said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers stand outside, desiring to speak with You. And He answered and said to him who told Him, Who is My mother? And who are My brothers? And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, Behold, My mother and My brothers! For whoever shall do the will of My Father in Heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:47-50).
Those truly in Christ know Him, Connie. You cannot comprehend that because you have never tasted of Him, though you think to eat Him with your mouth all the time. We bid you repent.
You say, “Your loving Father wants to give you all good things—especially eternal life.“
We have eternal life here and now, Connie, because we know the Father through Him. Jesus Christ is our eternal life. As it is written, “In Him was Life.” You matronize us when you have no right or understanding to speak to us on these matters as you do.
You mention “the sacraments” saying, “The Church as seven beautiful sacraments to heal, feed, and strengthen us. Baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, Penance/Confession. Holy Orders, Matrimony and the Anointed of the Sick.“
These are perversions of some true things (not all), distorted from their true essence, purpose and form, to exercise control over souls. You are trapped, Connie, by the enemy, because, contrary to your profession, you do not love the Lord, and never have. Is that not the truth? You say you know the Catholic Church is the true church. You know nothing. You are convinced you know, even as Muslims are convinced that Mohammed is a holy messenger of God, and that by killing others through suicidal sacrifice, they have an instant entry into paradise, as Buddhist monks are convinced they can find peace with God through their religion, just as one can be convinced that her adoptive parents are her biological parents, never having been informed otherwise. It is all the same. But you know what, Connie? I believe you say you know that the Catholic Church is the true one not because you are trying to convince us, but because you are trying to convince yourself. If I am right, then the reason why you are trying to convince yourself is because it is not true, and deep down, you know it is not true, and the Lord is working in you to deliver you from your darkness. Oh, I hope I am right!
You write: “I do not want to settle for the crumbs, I want the fullness of faith in Jesus Christ–it is there for the asking.“
You seek another Jesus, the false one. However, if you desire to know Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and King of kings, the Savior of all mankind, and not His imposter, then believe us; receive us, but more particularly, the Truth we speak by the True Lord Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, of your own righteousness, of your own understanding, turn from yourself to the One Who died on the cross for you and was raised from the dead and Who lives here, now, and you will have His fullness, I guarantee it. We know whereof we speak, Connie, and you know nothing. It is that simple, as arrogant, impudent and presumptuous as that may sound.
In Christ, delivered from the darkness, thankful, preaching with hope for you, earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, and again thankful,
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, Connie,
In reply to your letter I will add some things from my perspective to what Victor has already said. Like Victor, what I have to say is formed by the common life in the Lord that we share. Unlike Victor, I have not been a Catholic with the same familiarity that he has with the doctrines and practices of Catholicism and its apologists. I am glad that Victor is able to address those things more particularly for you. However, our answers are not from our carnal knowledge (our testimonies and the Scriptures bear this out), but are founded on the rock of revelation of Jesus Christ, the faith which was once delivered to the saints. It is the worship of which Jesus spoke:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
As Jesus told the woman to whom He spoke these words, this worship is not centered on the earthly Jerusalem (v.21). It is not in any earthly city, Rome included. Nor is it found in a natural setting (as some attest), for neither, Jesus said, is it in an earthly mountain. The true worship that all saints of God have (those to whom He has given faith) is in Heaven, where He is. That is where we are now, with Him. That is where His church is, all of whom worship Him in spirit and in truth:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the First-born who are written in Heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).
Oh, how much is said to you here, Connie, to dispel every dark notion you have been taught and try to affirm. If only you had the ears to hear! Nevertheless, you are now hearing wonderful things that will serve you well in the fullness of time. The Truth of God prevails over death and hell. Jesus Christ proved it by His resurrection from the dead. The world crucified Him. Not one person stood with Him. Yet He, by His own power, both died and rose again to life, ascending to Heaven. He prevailed over all and for all!
So, what we have here is that God tells us that the church of the firstborn is not the earthly but the heavenly Jerusalem. Neither is that spoken of in the future tense, for the Spirit tells us, through the author of the letter to the Hebrews, that those who believe “have come” to the city of the living God. We testify that this is true. Did not Jesus say that the Kingdom of God is within you, and that it does not come by observation? He did. Why do you not only doubt His words, but also deny them by your insistence that men should pay homage to Rome and an impostor instead? You listen not to God, but to men, who misrepresent Him.
Connie, do not be discouraged by what I say here, because there is yet more to hear from these few verses of Scripture than from all the writings of not only the Catholic Church, which you urge us to study, but all the religious works of men. It is time that the truth is spoken, and it will not be without effect. Praise God for His judgment by His Word!
For if, as in the verses of which we speak, it is written that we who believe have come to God the Judge of all, then our judgment day is present tense also. Do not the Scriptures say this as well?
“For the time has come for the judgment to begin from the house of God. And if it first begins at us, what will be the end of those disobeying the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
If there is a present judgment, there is also a present deliverance from sin, the life of Christ victorious where death has prevailed. Sin, much less carnal and religious men, will not rule over us if we are alive in Christ. Eternal life is here and now. Jesus has called us to be with Him, now and forever:
“Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3).
You think this is only after our physical death? Think again, for Jesus also said:
“And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You go, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:4-6).
The way is not death, as men practice in their religion (the Catholic one being a prime example), but Life, the Life from God, Jesus Christ, here on earth in earthen vessels! We come to God by Him, now. All you religious are wrong to preserve yourselves by putting His judgment in the future.
What is more, it is written in the verses we read here that we have entered the company of “the spirits of just men made perfect.” Do we then pray to them? God forbid! For we have also, it is said, come to the Mediator of the new covenant, Who alone has reconciled us to God by His blood.
“And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him” (Isaiah 59:16).
“For God is one, and there is one Mediator of God and of men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Jesus Christ brings man to God, and when He reconciles us, there is no further need of mediation, even as He said:
“At that day you will ask in My name; and I do not say to you that I will pray to the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:26-27).
Connie, you do not love us, and do not believe that we have come from God in Christ. Therefore, you are cut off from the Father. Repent.
We have come to “the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” As the rest of the verses we look at speak of heavenly things, so also is the blood of the sprinkling. It is not a carnal drink; God forbid! It is the fellowship of the saints walking in the light, as He is in the light. It is there, in the light, writes the apostle John, that His blood cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). The reality of God is in the spiritual, Connie. Men have made a religious show, and as glorious as it may appear, and wonderful as it may feel to carnal man, it is a diabolical and false representation of those things in Heaven. That very lie holds one in, or leads directly to, death. It is robbery, stealing from God those things that belong to Him. It is blasphemy, denying His Holy Spirit and fighting against Him and His righteousness. We know what we are saying to you.
We are neither Catholics nor Protestants. We do not say “only by Scripture,” as did the Jews in their day when they rejected the Lord at His coming in the flesh, and as do many of those who name themselves Christians today, who yet reject Him. We do not deny the authority of men of God, those whom He sends as He promised He would. He Himself came as a man. We, by His will and choosing, are also men of God. It is not us, but God, you reject in rejecting us. He is the only Only there is. It is only through God in Christ that we are saved. All else is idolatry, vanity and deception. You are deceived, taken captive by the devil. But we are here in the Name of the Lord to destroy the works of the devil. That is the heritage of all His saints:
“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalms 149:5-9).
“No weapon that is formed against you shall be blessed; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the inheritance of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me, says the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).
You have asked us to read your materials. While we are familiar with the arguments that are written and said by those you would have us read, you do not know what we preach, and more importantly, the true Lord Jesus Christ Whom we preach. You need to hear what we have to say. It is your choice if you wish to leave us; we have unsubscribed you from The Issues of Life as you request. It is not we who are terminating this conversation. Our door is open, Lord willing. Do not forget that Jesus did not come with pomp and circumstance, but lowly, riding on a donkey. Better the Lord’s humble donkey, without self-preservation and with His presence, than men’s fancy racehorses in extravaganzas with grandstanding in bullet-proof “popemobiles,” glorifying and preserving man, as you now have and choose.
I will sum up for you, Connie, in a sentence, the difference between what you have told us, and what we have told you. You preach Catholicism, and we preach Christ.
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:23-29).