"Conversion Story Chapter 1"
33 years ago I went to Bible study hosted by a friend of mine whose parents were ex-Catholics. There was tremendous joy and peace in the folks we met and I knew they had something I needed and wanted. That night I asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my life. I recited a prayer known as the Sinner's Prayer. God heard my prayers and I was set free from much sin and bad life choices in just one night. I had a very emotional experience and remember it as "better than any high that was out there." I was "born again" and my life took an abrupt and markedly different course. The local Catholic Church was very suspicious of what had happened and my parents reacted very negatively. The group of Christians we started to meet with were from a very anti-Catholic persuasion(School of JT Chick) and as I had mentioned in my earlier blog. I soon was told that Catholics worship Mary, pray to dead people, believe that they only need to "be good" to get to heaven and "just look at their crucifix!" "They think Jesus is still on the cross and didn't rise from the dead!" I had no real objections to this since I had no idea what Catholics really believed.
I had never opened a Bible in my life until the night of my "born again" experience. My "devout" Catholic grandma who was divorced and actually living on and off with her second husband (who was an ex-Catholic religious brother) used to come over to the house and tell me I would have a lifetime of bad luck based on my astrological. Thanks Grandma! but you were wrong though, God is bigger than the Zodiac, He created the Stars! (but I digress)
So you could see how easy it was for me to accept a view that Catholicism was not the True faith but "a form of godliness that denied the power thereof." That is what we would tell eachother to explain away 2000 years of Catholicism. I still had a nagging question of how could so many people be wrong for so many years and where were the "born againers" in the early times? My Bible study leader told me that the way is narrow that leads to life and wide that leads to destruction. It seemed to make sense. I knew nothing about the history of Christianity and was told that there had always been "a remnant" of true believers who operated outside the Catholic Church in an "invisible church" so to speak. I can still remember the day I was in a Christian bookstore in Northern NJ pondering this question when I read the "remnant" theory in some tract. So I figured ok, that makes sense, sort of....