I have found online back and forth to typically be a huge waste of time. If you are still active on Facebook, I'm not currently, you know what I mean.
No human lead me to the Catholic Church. It was all God's direction for my life and I cannot say "NO" to God because of professing Christians like Sean being wrong about what they think Catholicism is especially those who believe it's a cult.
It never ceases to amaze me how so many people "do not get" Catholic Christianity. Whether they are a former Catholic or have never been Catholic, professing Christians like Sean are often confused about Catholicism, but I get that he is trying to help me based on his personal understanding of scripture and Christianity. However, with only so much time in the day and seeing comments like this over and over, I do not engage everyone that I come across online, so I am sharing my thoughts here.
Sean wrote to me via my web form:
"How if you are a born again Christian and are living a life without any known sin can you stay in a cult? Catholic Religion sorry to inform you is a cult. To worship Mary and to pray to saints that are dead is not scriptural. God and Jesus are the only ones we should be bowing down to and worshipping. If you are still living in sin then you have either not been born again or are a backslider. Read the word for yourself and pray to God to show you the truth. We only get one life and to stay involved in a cult is not what God desires. Pray you receive this and God shows you the truth and sets you free."
My take on what Sean wrote above:
1... Yes, I am born again the BIBLE way. Not sure what Sean's definition is.
2... "Catholic Religion sorry to inform you is a cult." This is not the first time I've come across this nonsense. The comment truly shows me that I'd have a difficult time with email back and forth trying to share why Sean is not accurate on this point.
3... Yes, Sean, the "Worship of Mary is 100% a sin." The Catholic Church even teaches that. But to show great respect for the mother of our Lord and "not" to worship Mary is NOT a sin.
4... "Pray to saints that are dead is not scriptural." I could really do down a path on this not scriptural part as I'm sure Sean is doing things that are not scriptural like maybe a mid-week Bible study, Sunday School, celebrating Christmas, wearing a tie to Church and all kinds of things that Christians do that are NOT technically scriptural. But I'm not saying these things are wrong. As for praying to the Saints, I believe that the Apostle Paul is with Christ in heaven, he is free of sin now in heaven and that he is more alive in Christ than anyone on earth. So if I can ask my friends and family here on earth to "PRAY FOR ME" then I can sure say, "SAINT PAUL, PRAY FOR ME." It's not the same as praying to Paul as if he were GOD. Paul's earthly body is dead and gone, but most Christians should know that the soul lives forever. It only makes sense to include the saints in heaven as part of my prayer chain.
5... Bowing down to and worshipping anyone or anything but God is a sin if done for worship purposes like that object or person is God. However, if I bowed to Queen Elizabeth, it doesn't mean that I worship her as God. I only worship Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If I bow down beside my bed holding my Bible, that doesn't mean that I worship the bed or the Bible. Many men get on one knee to propose, are they worshipping their future spouse because getting down on one knee can be considered bowing. Do you get my point here of how people like Sean can get confused? Can you also see the double standard?
6... "If you are still living in sin, you are not born again or a backslider." We'll that helps me with a couple of key things about Sean's theology. He likely doesn't believe in once saved always saved and neither do I and saying "backslider" reminds me of my youth in the pentecostal church. Sean and I could possibly be more on the same page on a few things here. However, if anyone believes that we can live with ZERO sin in our lives, they are confused about the human flesh that is at war with the spirit. The goal is to strive for holiness and not to live freely, knowingly in sin, but we are going to slip up. When we do, we confess and turn back to God. I do believe that Christians should not knowingly live in a state sin. Sean may be surprised that I am more conscience of sin in my life as a Catholic because of the encouragement to examine my conscience and the accountability of confession. There is nothing like a good confession. I know because I was a protestant Christian. But praise be to God, I am now a Catholic Christian.
7... "Read the word for yourself and pray to God to show you the truth." Well, I do read the word for myself and the more I learn about both the Catholic Church the more I see it from cover to cover in scripture. It's amazing how clear the "WORD" is now that I'm Catholic. God did show me the truth. I was left with becoming Catholic or having my own form of Christianity making up my own rules because there are no other churches that I want to be a part of. That doesn't mean that there are not some good churches out there, but for me, the fullness of truth is where I am and where I plan to stay. I cannot in good conscience turn my back on Catholic Christianity. No one brainwashed me. I took it upon myself to weigh the evidence and do the research. I encourage others like Sean to do the same whether they were brought up Catholic or not. Being raised Catholic doesn't make someone truly understand the faith by default.
8... Sean's last two sentences "We only get one life and to stay involved in a cult is not what God desires. Pray you receive this and God shows you the truth and sets you free." I agree that we have one life to live, God doesn't want anyone to be in a cult. However, I am where I am because I know that I have one life to live and the Catholic Church is key to my life. I have prayed that God would show me the truth which is why I'm Catholic. God has already set me free as a Catholic. I'm not following self like before when I picked a protestant church based on things like music, the size of the church, whether I/we liked the preacher, etc. It wasn't easy to get past my own stubbornness to become a Catholic Christian. I'm not sure if Sean noticed that I was a protestant Christian for over 40 years. I get both sides of this.
Closing Note: I have come to the point that if I'm NOT Catholic. I'm just going to do my own thing and not be involved in any Church. I'm going to define my own view of scripture. But there is a problem with that, Christ left us a Church and not a book. Let me repeat that, CHRIST LEFT US A CHURCH NOT A BOOK. If that it is the case, and I believe it is, then I need to remain in the Church that Christ left us and not make up my own rules about the book. Personal opinion and interpretation about scripture is why there is such a mess in the Christian community and not unity. Christ wants us all to be ONE. That's how he set it up: One Faith, One Baptism, One Church. That's all part of what makes communion mean so much as a Catholic.
Call to Action...
If you don't know Christ as your Savior, turn to him now and begin the journey. Christ knows your heart and repeating a 3 sentence prayer is not the be all end all. You can begin by turning from sin, turning to Christ and praying to God in your own words. He knows your intentions. Then, I encourage you to meet with a priest at a local Catholic Parish ( Church ).