My Early Years
I was born into a Roman Catholic family. My mother brought me up to be a good and faithful Catholic. She taught me to pray to Mary and the saints, to go to confession every Saturday, and to go to church and communion every Sunday. I attended Catholic grade school where the nuns further reinforced the teachings of my mother. I was well indoctrinated in the teachings of the Catholic faith, both at home and at school. I was taught to believe that a person could not go to heaven unless he or she was a Catholic, but I had no assurance of salvation. As a result of my upbringing, I can truly say that I had a very strong faith in the Roman Catholic religion.
I believed all that I was taught because I had no reason to believe otherwise. I was taught that the Pope took the place of God on earth, that he never made a mistake, that he never did anything wrong, and that he spoke for God. This is what resulted in my eventual departure from the Roman Catholic Church.
My Loss of Faith in the Catholic Church
When I was 26 years old I was attending evening classes at a two year college in California. I found that I was required to take a philosophy class in order to graduate. At that time, there was only one course available that met the requirement. The course was called Comparative Religions of the World. I was a good Catholic and I did not have any interest in studying anything about other religions, but I wanted to graduate, so I took the course.
As a result of my studies in religion, I learned that the Roman Catholic Church was not the perfect church, as I was brought up to believe. I learned of many evil things the Catholic Church was responsible for throughout history. When I learned of the Inquisitions, I was shocked.
In short, I came to realize the Catholic Church and the Pope were not perfect, as I had always been taught to believe.
My faith in the Catholic religion was totally destroyed. I did not know what to believe, but I came to the realization that I still believed in the existence of God. I decided that it did not really matter what a person’s religion was as long as a person believed in the existence of God and was sincere, God would accept him. I was confused and nothing else made sense to me, I could not see any reason to believe in any one religion. I came to the belief that all religions were nothing more than man made schemes to control the minds of men.
I was working as a plumber at the time. A new man hired on and was assigned to work with me. His name was Bill Murphey, he was 55 years old and had been a born again Christian most of his life. As I drove to our work site each day he would take out his little New Testament and read a verse or two and then he would talk to me about it. This went on for about three months. He would tell me that a person could have all their sins forgiven, and that they could go to heaven, and know that they were going to heaven, if they would only believe in Jesus Christ. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I was very interested in what he read and said, but I never let him know that I was interested. I would tell him that he was nuts and that there had to be more to it than that. I knew that I was a sinner in need of forgiveness, but I could not understand how a person could be forgiven by simply believing in Jesus Christ.
Up until that time I had never read anything from the Bible. As a Catholic, I had been taught that no one should read the bible. Bill suggested that I should read the bible if I wanted to know the truth about God and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He further suggested that I should start with the book of John. I eventually read, John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Then I read, John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The light came on in my mind and I realized that Jesus Christ was indeed the God of creation. I further realized that it was because He was God that His once for all sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to save me.
Later I read, John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I realized that there really is only one way to be saved and that it does not matter how sincere a person is, if a person does not believe in Jesus Christ, that person will not be saved.
Now my faith is in Jesus Christ, not religion.
Having been deceived so completely by the false teachings of the Catholic Church, I determined that I would never again allow myself to be deceived. I know that the truth is found in the word of God and not in any religion. John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
I believe the word of God even though I do not always understand everything I read. Deut 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Our ability to understand comes from God, not from men, and not from religion.
I am now 59 years old and I know I am secure in Jesus Christ. I am saved, and I always will be because salvation is by grace through faith, not works. It is all of God’s doing, not my doing. Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Jesus Christ saved me and He will keep me saved forever. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
I now have everlasting life and I know it because the bible is God’s word and God is perfect, He does not lie.
All Scripture taken from King James Bible
* Bible Studies by Max Swan
Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. (NAS) Jer 9:23-24