Leaving the Roman Catholic Church
Question: Being a former catholic I'm sure you understand the doubt and guilt that one feels when I even entertain the thought of leaving the Catholic Church.
Answer: When you become a Christian you do not leave; you join the catholic church. You become a living member of the catholic church, i.e., the "universal" church of Jesus Christ. His church is greater and wider than any particular denomination, and it is composed of all genuine Christians throughout the ages and in all the world. Any local assembly of people who love the Lord and obey his Word, albeit imperfectly, is a manifestation of the catholic church of Jesus Christ.
Of course, when you are born again, it would be inconsistent to remain a member of the so-called Roman Catholic Church because it teaches some very serious errors, especially with respect to the doctrine of salvation. Rome undermines the grace of God because of the insistence that, along with the work of Christ, a person is justified by the merits of his work and penance. Many Catholic practices are unbiblical, such as bowing down before statues and praying to the dead, confession to a priest and the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ during the mass. It is the experience of countless number of Catholics who, after resting in Christ alone for salvation and subjecting themselves to the ultimate authority of the Bible, are convicted by the Holy Spirit to leave the Roman religion.
Surely you should not reject every Catholic teaching. There are many Catholic doctrines that are genuinely biblical such as the Trinity, the incarnation and Deity of Christ, Heaven and Hell, etc. Hold on to these truths which you learned as a Roman Catholic.
In a sense I want your heart to remain in the Roman Catholic Church; to love and understand dear Roman Catholic people, who are often sincere and zealous in their religion. They need to know the truth of the Gospel, and they must hear it (and see it) in you.
If you believe in Christ, you are a member of His body, the church. Therefore join a sound Christian church in your area where the pure Gospel of Christ is preached and practiced. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25).
The Lord does not want His people to be 'lone-rangers' but to function as members in a body. You need your Christian brothers and sisters, and they need you.
Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A