Your walk with the Lord: Daily intentionality vs. fits and starts

Along with all the other stuff I’ve had going on recently – painting the house and getting the repairs to our roof finalized – the lease to my car is coming due at the end of this month. I’m definitely not a car guy. For me, a car is something that gets me to work and brings me back home every day. In the three years I’ve had the Volkswagen Jetta, I’ve never washed the outside and I never cleaned the inside. I certainly wouldn’t say the interior of the car was disgusting, although my wife surely would (and has). Three years of dust had accumulated on the dash along with some dead grass strands and gravel embedded in the carpet and the inevitable stray sesame seeds and French fries from a few Extra Value Meal #1s (don’t tell my doctor) wedged into the gap next to the driver’s seat. Yes, there was also some solidified goo from coffee and Coke spills in the beverage holder. Don’t judge me. It sounds worse than it looked.

With the lease due date and inspection approaching, I knew I had to give the car a thorough cleaning, so I spent half the day last Saturday washing the exterior and cleaning the interior. Armed with rolls of paper towels, carpet cleaner, Formula 409, Windex, and our vacuum cleaner, I worked very hard for about four hours. When I was done, the Jetta looked almost as clean as the day I drove it off the lot. A third-party rep inspected the car yesterday and gave it a thumbs up, so I’ll be going back to the dealership very soon to pick out a new vehicle. In the meantime, I’m really enjoying driving around town in my pristine car. Why did I wait so long to clean it?

As I was driving into work this morning in my like-new car, I thought about how we can also approach our relationship with the Lord far too casually. A sorry analogy? Please hear me out. We neglect prayer. We neglect studying His Word. We neglect applying the Word to our daily lives. We seek other things first before Him. Days, weeks, and months go by and before you know it, our relationship with the Lord is a real mess. It then takes a huge effort to get back into the “spiritual groove” and get right with the Lord again. Been there, done that. Bigtime. But if we walk with the Lord intentionally, every day, every week, we can enjoy the sweet intimacy of being close to Him. Why would we not want that? Don’t get me wrong, walking with the Lord doesn’t mean checking a daily “to do” list, but it does mean being intentional about the relationship.

No, I’ll never be a motorhead, but I plan on keeping my next car a bit cleaner (no eating inside!) so I can enjoy it far more. I agree, keeping a car clean may not be the most “appropriate” analogy in this case. Our walk with the Lord is FAR more valuable than maximizing our driving experience in a silly car. But everyday circumstances sometimes do provide spiritual lessons. The Lord has provided all the necessary means – through prayer, the Word, and the lifechanging power of the indwelling Holy Spirit – so that our walk with Him can be sweet and deeply intimate on a daily basis.

“So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:10

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17


Seven months later…

On the morning of March 8th, the local television weathermen predicted a substantial afternoon wind storm for the Rochester, NY area. My wife was very nervous before we left for work because our neighborhood is heavily wooded with tall oak trees. I reassured her that not one of those mighty oaks would come down in our lifetime.

That afternoon, as I walked the halls at my workplace, the wind was really howling outside like I had never heard it before. When I returned home, everything looked okay from the driveway, but when I walked into the backyard, argh!, I could see a huge limb from our neighbor’s tree had fallen onto our roof and had done a good amount of damage. Many homes in the neighborhood and in the Greater Rochester area sustained tree damage, some much worse than ours.

Well, here we are almost seven months later and I’m happy to report the repairs on the house were finally completed last week! First off, it was hard getting a contractor because the damage was extensive throughout the county and every roofer and general contractor was immediately booked solid. When we finally did sign with a contractor, we had to wait for an opening in their backed-up schedule. Then, when the contractor was ready to start, they determined the amount of work needed was going to be double what the insurance adjuster originally estimated. So we had weeks and weeks of back and forth negotiations with the insurance company and the contractor.

After a LOT of red tape, everything was FINALLY resolved. The insurance company sent the checks and the contractor completed the work. The contractor will be coming by later today to pick up his money. The total bill for tree cleanup and home repairs was around $14K, just about all paid for by insurance.

You may be wondering, “Why is this guy whining about tree damage to his house in light of the catastrophic hurricane damage in Texas, Florida,* and Puerto Rico?” Yes, we got off relatively lightly compared to many. Some people lost everything in those disasters. But the message is still the same. Nothing this fallen world has to offer is for sure. Circumstances can turn against you in one day, in one hour, in one second. Thousands attended a concert in Las Vegas last night and were thoroughly enjoying themselves, but that all changed in a moment. The only sure thing is Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and accept Him as Savior today!

I’m so grateful to the Lord that our home is finally repaired. But that pales in comparison to my gratefulness to the Lord for saving me! In the end, if you don’t have Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have absolutely nothing.

“And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:16-21

*I had posted that two of my sisters living in Naples, FL had to evacuate to Alabama as Hurricane Irma approached. They recently returned to Naples and report no damage to their home other than some landscaping issues. Thanks to all who prayed for them!

Emotional feelings and religious rituals no substitute for genuine faith in Christ and His FINISHED work

When I first began this blog over two years ago, there was a flood of comments from Roman Catholics objecting to my posts. One person, a convert to Catholicism from Judaism, engaged me in a somewhat lengthy debate, which included many individual comments back and forth. I did my best to answer her concerns and felt I made several valid points using Scripture and referencing church history. She ended the exchange by stating that, in the end, any arguments I made were irrelevant because the Lord had unmistakably led her to Catholicism and that was all that mattered.

This same individual was recently featured as a guest on the Roman Catholic EWTN cable television show, “The Journey Home,” which features converts and reverts to Catholicism relating their testimonies. In the interview, the woman stated that she was brought up in Judaism, but eventually “accepted Jesus Christ” at a non-denominational evangelical church. She became very involved in the church, but had a gnawing feeling that something was missing. She states that she had grown up with a vast number of traditions within Judaism, but her non-denominational church regrettably had no traditions or ceremonialism (“no altar,” “no candles,” “no reverence”). The tipping point came when she felt the strong desire to pray in a “chapel setting” during the work week. None of the evangelical churches in her area were open during the day to her great disappointment. A friend suggested she read a book about Jewish-to-Catholic convert, “saint” Edith Stein, aka sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, which led to inquiries into Catholicism and the discovery that many Catholic churches are open during the day for people to enter and pray in. One thing led to another and she eventually went through the year-long RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) training and was baptized into the Catholic religion.

As a person who has gratefully been led out of Catholic legalism to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, this story was very sad to hear. I must examine this individual’s testimony and ask a few questions and make a few observations.

This person says she “accepted Christ” at an evangelical altar call. What does she mean by “accepted Christ”? If a person genuinely accepts Christ as Savior, they could not possibly join a religious denomination that teaches a person must merit their salvation by receiving the church’s sacraments and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). Non-christians, like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, also use the same religious jargon as evangelicals – e.g., “accept Christ,” “have a relationship with Jesus,” “trust in Christ” – but they also mean something entirely different than what evangelicals understand. If a person genuinely accepts Christ as Savior, they could not affiliate with a religious group that teaches salvation by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!).

The woman made it very clear that she was attracted to the rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, and traditions of Catholicism, which in many ways mirrored the traditions of her former Jewish religion. A genuine relationship with Christ is based upon saving faith in Him and His finished work. Externals like candles, incense, statues, robes, chanting, holy water, ritualistic motions and postures appeal to the senses and become a substitute for a genuine relationship with Christ. I don’t need to drive across town to pray to my Lord inside a “holy” church building. Many people are attracted to “high church” ritualism and ceremonialism, which have little to do with genuine, personal faith in Christ.

For this woman, subjective feelings and seemingly supernatural experiences overrode doctrinal truth. Converts to the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other non-Christian groups also appeal to subjective truth and being “led by the Lord” into their false religions. Emotions and seemingly supernatural experiences cannot be the basis of genuine faith. We must come to Christ by faith without one single plea of our own as directed by Scripture.

As Christians, our faith rests upon Jesus Christ, His finished work on the cross, and His perfect righteousness that He imputes to all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone. Christianity proclaims DONE (in Christ). Catholicism proclaims DO (to try to merit Heaven). One is right, one is wrong. If our friend was truly trusting in Jesus Christ by faith alone, she would not have joined a religion which teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit.


But our Catholic friends may never understand that their church does not preach the Gospel of grace if we do not point it out to them.

“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16

Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests

“Boy, if I only had $700 million dollars, then I would be happy!”

Seven Elevens and Mom and Pop groceries all across the country are doing a brisk business today as customers queue up to purchase tickets for a chance to win tonight’s $700 million, Power Ball jackpot.

The odds of winning the jackpot are reported to be about 1 in 292 million, but that won’t stop a huge portion of the country from daydreaming about how they’re going to put their winnings to use.

We could never even imagine the deleterious effects such a windfall would have upon a person’s life. Statistics reveal 70 percent of those who win a lottery or get a big windfall actually end up broke in a few years. Not to mention the resulting failed marriages and overall family disharmony.

Lotteries are successful because we are greedy. We want what we don’t have. We think, if only I had a lot of money, THEN I would be happy. But most lottery winners can attest that the opposite is true. And even for the nouveau millionaires who claim to be happy, the money provides pleasure for only so long.

Only the Lord God can bring lasting fulfillment to your life. Trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and then seek the Lord’s will in your life. Your walk with the Lord is the ONLY thing that truly matters, everything else is sinking sand.

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” – Proverbs 30:8-9

Unlike the lottery, eternal life and fellowship with God doesn’t cost a thing. Jesus Christ paid for all your sins. All you have to do is repent of your sins and accept Christ as your Savior by faith alone. What are your chances of eternal life after accepting Christ? 100%! That’s right. Jesus promised He would not lose a single person who trusts in Him. $700 million dollars is chump change compared to eternal life in Christ. What are you waiting for? Come to Jesus in prayer. Accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

How Walter Martin sowed the seeds for the current Hank Hanegraaff controversy

Back in early April, I posted the news about Hank Hanegraaff (photo right), the successor to Walter Martin (photo left) as president of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and host of “The Bible Answer Man” radio show, converting to the Greek Orthodox church. See here. The news caused no small stir among evangelicals, many of whom called for Hanegraaff to step down as the leader of what was always a distinctly evangelical para-church ministry. At least one Christian radio network stopped carrying “The Bible Answer Man.” But Hanegraaff refuses to consider giving up his position and maintains that the core beliefs of Greek Orthodoxy are the same as Bible Christianity.

Walter Martin’s two daughters have taken opposite sides in the ongoing controversy (see article far below). Jill Martin Rische, Martin’s oldest daughter, claims Hanegraaff “stole” the CRI presidency following the death of her father and that Martin definitely did not view Greek Orthodoxy or its cousin, Roman Catholicism, as Christian denominations/churches. See here for Rische’s You Tube video expounding on Hanegraaff’s “conversion.”

Rische makes many valid points comparing Greek Orthodoxy with Bible Christianity, but makes a serious blunder in her criticism of Hanegraaff’s claim that he still supports the core beliefs of Christianity as espoused by C.S. Lewis in his popular book, “Mere Christianity.” Rische states Lewis “might be rolling over in his grave, now,” knowing Hanegraaff was using “Mere Christianity” to support his conversion (7:15-7:22). In actuality, Lewis differed with evangelicalism on several important doctrines and certainly DID view Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as valid Christian institutions. See my review of “Mere Christianity” here. Rische’s and evangelicalism’s inexplicable love affair with C.S. Lewis actually fosters the kind of accommodation and compromise that leads to “evangelicals” joining works-righteousness denominations as Hanegraaff has done. Question: Why would Rische refer to C.S. Lewis in her argument when Lewis most certainly would have sided with Hanegraaff in this debate? Answer: Spiritual blindness.

In opposition to Rische, her sister, Cindee Martin Morgan, claims her father did recognize Greek Orthodoxy and Catholicism as Christian institutions and supports the continuation of Hanegraaff’s tenure as president of CRI. See her video here. At the 6:21 mark, Morgan inserts an audio recording of Martin as supporting evidence that he believed Catholicism was a Christian entity. In the audio, Martin states that he believes if any Catholics are Christians, “they are Christians not because of the Roman Catholic church, but despite the Roman Catholic church” (9:03-9:22). So far so accurate. But he then goes on to say that Catholicism teaches the basic core beliefs of Christianity including “justification by faith” (10:24-10:30). He continues by saying he believes pope John XXIII was a “sincere Christian” (14:33-14:35). It’s with these two points that Martin stumbles VERY BADLY. Catholicism has ALWAYS taught the doctrine of justification by faith AND works. Even Catholics will admit to that. Question: So how could the evangelical church’s leading apologist and “expert” on cults of a generation ago have been so ignorant of Catholicism’s teachings on justification? Answer: Spiritual blindness.

Martin’s confused and contradictory view of Catholicism helped open the door to future ecumenism with Rome and the current controversy involving  Hanegraaff. Martin’s examination of Catholicism, “The Roman Catholic Church in History” (1960), unexplainably sidestepped the issue of justification (see my review here), and now I know the reason why.

Daughter of CRI Founder Defends Hank Hanegraaff Amid ‘Fake News’ Charges That He Stole CRI Presidency

Catholicism: A spiritual chain gang

Imagine believing that you had to obey the Ten Commandments perfectly in order to be allowed into Heaven. That’s right; no lying, no lusting, no stealing, no envying, no road rage, no gossiping, no pride, always putting God above yourself. And then believing that every single time you messed up and disobeyed God you had to see a priest and confess the sin in order for it to be cleansed away. Repeat cycle. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

1.3 billion people believe the above. They are called Roman Catholics.

Roman Catholics acknowledge that God the Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross of Calvary for their sins, but they also believe they must do their part by receiving the church’s grace conferring sacraments and “cooperating with grace” by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments. I could not perfectly obey the Ten Commandments for one day let alone a week.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” – Romans 3:21-25

Go to the Lord, Jesus Christ, in prayer. Repent of your sins and accept Christ as your Savior by faith alone. No one can be saved by trying to obey the Law. He is the only One who lived a life worthy of Heaven. He desires to be your Savior. Won’t you trust in Him by faith alone?

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21

The 25 most frequently viewed posts from the past two years

To borrow a hackneyed expression, my, how time flies! We’re quickly approaching the second anniversary of this blog, excatholic4christ. I’m not a big sentimentalist but it is interesting to stop and take a look back at a few aspects of my blogging experience the past two years.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the unusual circumstances that led to the creation of this blog. See here.

I thought it also might be interesting to briefly review the 25 most frequently viewed posts from the past two years (as of this morning). Many thanks to WordPress stats!

As Christian writers, we send our humble creations off into the blogosphere, hoping and praying they will honor the Lord and be useful to another soul. Some land with a resounding thud (in our estimation) in blog “limbo” while others seem to take on a life of their own.

Jim Tetlow wrote this fascinating book about Islam’s veneration of Mary. Could a future Marian apparition be the catalyst for a one-world religion?

Apologist James R. White’s masterful debunking of KJV 1611-Onlyism.

James McCarthy’s book is one of the best examinations of Roman Catholicism available.

Rob Zins has been reaching out to Catholics with the Gospel for decades.

Robert Jeffress is one of many conservative evangelical pastors who oftentimes put American nationalism ahead of the Gospel.

An examination of one of Catholicism’s most popular sacramental talismans.

A look into the gradual rise of Mariolatry in Catholic theology.

Evangelicals love to quote Spurgeon but many would not abide his stand against Catholic error.

Karol Wojtyla, pope John Paul II, was canonized as a saint but his unusual relationship with a married Polish woman was kept under wraps.

Zacharias, one of evangelicalism’s most popular apologists, is an advocate of ecumenism with Rome.

Quoted by evangelical pastors ad nauseum, “Mere Christianity” is less than orthodox in several regards. Charles Colson cited the book as the inspiration behind his “Evangelical and Catholics Together” ecumenical project.

In his 2015 address to the U.S. joint congress, the “Vicar of Christ” didn’t mention Jesus Christ even once.

Few evangelicals are aware of the pagan origins of Catholic saint veneration/worship.

Convent escape narratives, popular in 19th and 20th century Protestant literature, were routinely dismissed as “Protestant/Puritan porn” by Catholic spokespersons, but they had no comment on this 2015 convent expose by a respected historian.

Zondervan’s important series on the 5 Solas was published in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year.

National Geographic’s cover story on Mariolatry was a revealing glimpse at the high priority Mary is given in Catholic theology.

I’m not sure how wise it is for Christian street preachers to disrupt a Catholic mass, but the Holy Spirit does not always follow our reasoning.

Catholicism’s refusal to bury unbaptized babies in “blessed” Catholic cemeteries defies comprehension and basic charity.

No doubt many people googled “cilice,” a strange contraption pious Catholics use for self-mortification, and were led to this post.

Apologist James R. White confronts Zacharias’s sellout to Rome. Sadly, White himself has recently compromised the Gospel with his controversial dialogues with a Muslim imam.

Many Catholics googled “Maria Goretti,” the popular “saint” whose body toured the U.S. in 2015 and were led to this post.

Cult expert Martin’s decision to omit any critical mention of Catholicism from “The Kingdom of the Cults” was inexplicable.

This excellent cable channel program examined some of the dark underside of Mariolatry.

A very simple post but with many hits, revealing the popularity of Mary worship within Catholicism.

I attribute the many hits for this post to google searches for “Clavius Aquila Valerius Niger,” the protagonist of the novel.

My thanks to all of those who have supported me and this blog ministry with friendship, prayers, and comments over the last two years. In this post-modern era, when relativism and plurality are cherished idols, I understand it’s not popular to associate with a blog titled excatholic4christ.

We are but clay pots with many flaws and weaknesses. May the Lord our God use us despite our shortcomings! May Roman Catholics and others soften their hearts to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“Call no man your father…”

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” – Matthew 23:9

Taken at face value, the above verse records Jesus’s command to His followers that they address no man as “father.” In violation of this instruction, the Roman Catholic church directs its members to call their priests “father.” The supreme ruler of the church of Rome is called the “pope,” a variation of the Latin “papa,” which we all know means “father.” The church even addresses the pope as “Holy Father,” a title that would be appropriate for God alone. How can Rome justify addressing its priests as “father” when Jesus strictly forbids it?

Catholic apologists claim Christ’s words aren’t to be understood literally in this case. They point out that Jesus approvingly refers to biological fathers many times in the synoptic Gospels (e.g., Matthew 15:4, Mark 10:7, Luke 15:20, etc.). They also refer to Paul’s writings such as 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Philippians 2:22 in which the apostle refers to himself as a spiritual “father.” The apologists say Jesus only meant in this passage that His followers should not elevate spiritual leaders above God or to a God-like status.

The context of Matthew 23:6-12 clearly shows that Jesus was warning his disciples not to elevate those in the coming church who would be in leadership and teaching positions. The Jewish pharisees craved honorific titles (teacher/father/master/leader) and the honor, admiration, and benefits that went along with them. But all of Jesus’s followers were to be equal brethren in the Lord and were even to become servants to each other. Catholics point out that Jesus accepted the title of Rabbi (teacher) when some addressed Him as such, thus violating His own commandment, but, oh yeah, Jesus did claim exclusive rights to the title of Rabbi in Matthew 23:10.

Protestant apologists agree that Jesus obviously wasn’t referring to biological fathers in this passage. They also say Paul referred to himself as a spiritual “father” only in a metaphorical sense, as in being a mentor. Paul was not asking believers to address him as “father,” and would have corrected them if they had.

Even Karol Wojtyla, pope John Paul II, acknowledged Catholicism’s designation of the pope and priests as “father” was problematic and could not honestly be justified theologically beyond its roots in tradition:

“Have no fear when people call me the “Vicar of Christ,” when they say to me “Holy Father,” or “Your Holiness,” or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical to the Gospel. Christ himself declared: “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah” (Mt 23:9-10). These expressions, nevertheless, have evolved out of a long tradition, becoming part of common usage. One must not be afraid of these words either.” – pope John Paul II from “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” p. 6

But Catholics respond by saying Protestants who object to priests being called “father” are hypocrites because they regularly refer to their own church leaders with honorific titles such as “Pastor,” “Reverend,” or “Doctor.”

Do Catholics have a point? Do evangelical Christians also defy Christ’s teaching in Matthew 23:6-12 by elevating brethren with the gifts of leadership and teaching and by addressing them with honorific titles, which to some degree surely engender pride, envy, and class distinctions within the body? As one case in point, the independent fundamental Baptist newspaper I used to subscribe to decades ago referenced more “Dr.”s than an office directory at a medical building. Okay, so I’m exaggerating just a little bit.

Without question, the Catholic pope and priests certainly do attempt to take the place of Jesus Christ as spiritual mediators as indicated by their titles; “Holy Father,” “Vicar of Christ,” “persona Christi,” and “alter Christus.”

Are the titles we give Protestant ministers merely signs of love and respect for the ministry they share through Christ, or do we go too far by venerating with titles those in the body with the gifts of leadership and teaching?

Feedback is welcome.

“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Catholic leaders meet to try to stanch alarming exodus from the church

The article below reports the U.S. Catholic church is currently losing six members for every one it gains. That’s an amazing statistic. Why the sharp drop-off? Older Catholics look around at the empty pews on Sunday morning and wonder what’s going on. Catholic leaders from across the country are meeting in Orlando this week to try to figure out how to stanch the exodus.

Most Catholics participate in the church’s mandated obligatory rituals only sporadically. From there it’s only a short step to dropping away entirely. Most Catholics would say they “don’t get anything out of” their religion. But, as the article points out, many who leave are attracted to evangelical outreach, accept Christ, and attend evangelical churches instead.

After having been a Roman Catholic for 27 years, and with many friends and family members who are still Catholic, at least nominally, I can speak to some of the frustrations:

  • The mass is boring beyond description – Few these days want to sit through an hour-long liturgical ritual that is as dead as a door nail.
  • The eucharist is a case of the emperor with no clothes – Catholics line up to receive the all-important Jesus wafer during mass with the grace that it supposedly confers, but don’t feel ANY different afterwards. Nothing changed.
  • No relationship – Catholics are taught they were “born-again” when they were baptized as infants. Christians know that’s NOT how it works. Catholics haven’t accepted Christ as Savior and do not walk with Him. They have no joy or peace in Christ. Religion for them is legalism and sacramental ritualism. Some pious Catholics may claim joy in the Lord but they actually have no assurance of their salvation because their salvation depends on their obedience.
  • Treadmill fatigue – In Catholicism, one must do, do, do, do and hope to die in a “state of grace” with no serious sin on their soul. But the Bible says no one is good and no one can merit Heaven by trying to obey the Ten Commandments. The commandments only show us we’re sinners in desperate need of the Savior. Many Catholics become tired of the religious treadmill and step off, hoping for the best.
  • Confession – Confession to a priest at least once a year is MANDATORY upon threat of damnation but hardly any Catholics participate. Honestly, who would want to tell their deepest, darkest thoughts and actions to a sinful man? Many abusive relationships began in the confessional.
  • Conspicuous gaudiness – While Catholicism’s worldly and ostentatious displays of wealth and power may have impressed the masses in bygone eras, they hold much  less appeal today and are even seen as negatives by many.
  • Pedophile priests – With all the newspaper headlines, Catholics can’t help but look at their celibate parish priest and wonder about HIS propensities.
  • Birth control – The RCC absolutely forbids birth control but 98% of the women of child-bearing age in the pews use it anyway. Catholics legitimately wonder, “If the church is wrong about birth control, what else is it wrong about?”
  • Divorced remarrieds – Catholics who had divorced and remarried were made to feel like Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter” by being barred from communion. Pope Francis is trying to surreptitiously get around this “infallible” restriction with his infamous “Amoris Laetitia” footnote but the damage has been done.
  • Why bother? – Their pope says even atheists will go to Heaven if they follow their consciences and are “good,” so the laity logically wonder why they need to bother with all the ritual and exacting religious legalities (1752 canon laws)?

To my Catholic friends, Christianity is not an institution or a religious treadmill. Christianity is a Person, Jesus Christ. He came to save sinners. Do you qualify? Put institutional religion aside forever, repent of your sin and accept Jesus as your Savior through faith alone. Let go of the 100 lb. religious weight on your back and accept Jesus Christ. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise. Only after you repent and accept Christ as Savior can you follow Him joyfully as Lord.

God bless you as you desire for the Truth.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

‘For every person baptized, the U.S. Church loses six Catholics’

Actual church vs. virtual church?

My very long prodigal “season” away from the Lord and church gave me an uncommon perspective. I’m not bragging, it’s just what happened.

When I returned to the Lord in 2014, things sure looked different in churchdom. Very different. On the decline were such things as getting dressed up for church, hymns accompanied by piano or organ, expository preaching, and three services per week. Instead there were now mega-churches with hip names that featured CCM rock music and light shows, pastors in skinny jeans with swag haircuts, coffee and donut bars, topical doctrine-lite preaching, huge video screens, and weekly community groups instead of a mid-week service.

Oh, my.

And there was also the internet. In the old days, everyone pretty much relied on their pastor for their Bible teaching. Sure, many read their Bibles during the week and a few might even have had hardbound commentaries and other Bible aids. We also had Charles Stanley and a few other solid preachers on television. But the bulk of the teaching was from the pastor at the local church. That may not be the case for many today. Now we have tons of Bible aids online as well as sermon podcasts galore from many solid (and unsolid) pastors. There’s also many Christian forums and blogs like here at WordPress. Need some godly advice about a personal or doctrinal problem? There’s thousands of articles and You Tube videos just waiting out there in cyberspace, more than enough to make your head spin. Sunday worship? You can spend all of your waking hours on Sunday interacting with other believers without ever venturing out the front door just by trolling through the posts here at WordPress. Some even see that as the preferable option given the style and substance of many of the churches today.

The article below discusses how “virtual church” is impacting shoulder-to-shoulder worship and fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord. The internet can be a great tool for the Gospel and spiritual growth. I truly appreciate many of the online resources that are available. But there’s also a danger. We can easily separate ourselves from family, friends, neighbors, and fellow Christians in our community that we could otherwise share “real life” with as we instead increasingly become “virtual church” shut-ins.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

In today’s world, can “meet together” mean online interaction or must it be physical face-to-face? A twenty-five-year-old would probably answer that question differently than I would.

Online Sermons Causing Low Church Attendance?