Story of Recovery: Phil
My story started with the Seventh-Day Adventist cult. I was very young as a kid who learned about the seventh day (Saturday) still being holy, that the Pope was the anti-Christ, etc. I didn't know if they were right or not, but they were very judgmental on those who didn't follow their founder, Ellen G. White, which drew me away. Little do they know she said "The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty" (Letter 32, 1899, quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129). And little do they reason with Galatians 3:13-14, Colossians 2:14-18, 2 Cor 3:7, 2 Cor 3:14-15 that the mosaic law is dead. Then this verse Romans 14:5 after the resurrection totally passed their heads, "Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God."
Around the age of 15, I started attending non-denominational Sunday churches. I went from one church to the other. My first one closed down after a few years. It was started a few years beforehand. Then I went to a Pentecostal church, to my mom's United Church of God which is another "cult". In short, I attended about 6-8 churches after my time at the SDA church, all founded by different people again with a wide range of their own beliefs.
The problem for me was they were all teaching different doctrines. Different founders. The seventh-day churches were particularly separating themselves from the "Sunday worshipers" too. I looked into how many divisions there were in Christianity, and I read 30,000 denominations and growing. Christ said "they will be one, as we are one". That means universal in one faith. Where was that church?
I stopped attending church for about a year. I thought it was really ridiculous that there were so many faiths when the apostles protected the One truth and sent out representatives in Acts. Where was that church? What came before the Protestant movement? Shouldn't they be more accurate to the truth than our modern teachers?
My dad introduced me to the Catholic Church, meaning Universal Church. He now jokes "I left the church and my son goes in." It was at first odd to me. I was taught a lot of lies to gain hatred about the church, which kept common in the Protestant churches. As I looked into it, I found my home.
I had to look into the source of the church. I'll admit as we Christians are pretty ignorant about our own church history. We were taught to believe the bible is the only source of authority, so who cares what successors came from the apostles. Who cares if they said "follow our traditions" - yet we Protestants were taught tradition is bad! But then read Malachi 2:7, 2 Thess 2:15, Hebrews 13:17, etc.
The fact I had to learn was all of our Protestant churches were started by somebody other than Christ. Christ said "I will build my church". In fact, Paul outlined the roles for bishop, priest, and deacon - I began to ask myself: where is that church? Who is my bishop? I had to unlearn to learn, and look into the source of the church. What was the early church practicing? What was their mindset back then?
These are some things I found worth noting:
a) John 20:21-23
21 Again Jesus said, ?Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.? 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, ?Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone?s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.?
b) The Didache (70 A.D.) - The Teachings of the Apostles
?Assemble on the Lord?s Day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one.? - The Didache 14:1.
Their mindset was already sounding different than our churches today. These are people in authority!
?Where the bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church? - St. Ignatius, student of St. John of the Apostles 110 A.D.
"Wherefore, as children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there follow as sheep. For there are many wolves that appear worthy of credit, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captive (2 Tim 3:6) those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place.??Keep yourselves from those evil plants which Jesus Christ does not tend, because they are not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found any division among you, but exceeding purity. For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the passion . - St. Ignatius
The most joyful part was finally hearing Christ's words, of what I've been searching for so we may not walk blind:
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
One Authoritive Church:
With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul? 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In closing, I was so glad to find Christ's Catholic Church that is still here today 2000 years later. Everything makes sense now from my studies and what the scriptures reads and what the early church told us to do under the bishop. I am home, no longer in someone's modern church, but I'm now in Christ's church. Praise the Lord!
But I can't go silent. Christ's church is for all of us to enjoy and partake in.
Some links to look into that helped me out:
God bless you on your faith journeys!
- Recovering From: Protestantism
- Date: June 24, 2013
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