This testimony is meant to enlighten its reader in my conversion from the doctrines of the Catholic Church Hierarchy. My testimony is not all an exaggeration of the teachings I received from the Catholic Church. I know what I heard, was taught and understood. My testimony also tells of my coming to thetrue, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; being enlightened by the Holy Spirit who brought me out of religious darkness and taught me truth. I will also express the teachings through which the Holy Spirit guided me.
Growing up in a Catholic home, I was taught by my mother and father and the eight years at St. Mary’s Catholic school that the Catholic Church was the ONE and ONLY true church because of its teachings, and that there was no other church but the Catholic Church. With my parents leading, guiding and teaching me and 8 years of catechisms, I was taught that Mary was a mediator between God and man and was to be prayed to for my penance for sins after my confession to the priest. Yes, I remember distinctly the priest telling me to go and recite ten hail Marys for my penance. The rosary was to be prayed every day and especially in May to Mary for grace and for her intercession with God on my behalf. In the month of May I remember going to church for the crowning of Mary the mother of God, queen of heaven, her immaculate conception and ascension to heaven. Oh, how I thought this was wrong, but did not know at the time where to find the truth, and never shared those thoughts with anyone for fear I would get into trouble. I thought, “Why are we exalting her so high and praying to her? This can’t be right?”
Another catechism taught me is that in order to go to heaven one has to go to purgatory to suffer first for one’s sins, and, that doing all the so-called important rituals, ceremonies and sacraments would build up graces and indulgences to be released from that place to enter heaven. I feared death! I thought, “Why did Jesus die on the cross and arise from the dead?” Oh how I longed to know for sure that I could go to heaven. The catechisms also taught me that praying to dead (people) saints would assist me in my life. I also thought this was wrong.
I spent eight years at St. Mary’s and I took Catholic Catechisms which taught me about Protestantism. I actually recollect reading in my religion book that it was a mortal sin to even step inside a Protestant church; a teaching reinforced by my parents. That reminds me of another teaching of the catechism, we have categories of sins. There are mortal, venial and sacrilege sins. Which I wondered and asked, “does God categorize sin?” He doesn’t. Sin is sin. There is one unpardonable sin which is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which is the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Going through religion class at St. Mary’s I was taught the word protestant was for a sect of people that protested against some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Of course, this evolved from the protest of Martin Luther the reformer which started the Reformation.
“This one sentence, “The just shall live by his faith,” produced the Reformation. Out of this one line, as from the opening of one of the Apocalyptic seals, came forth all that sounding of gospel trumpets, and all that singing of gospel songs, which made in the world a sound like the noise of many waters. This one seed, forgotten and hidden away in the dark medieval times, was brought forth, dropped into the human heart, made by the Spirit of God to grow, and in the end to produce great results.” Charles Spurgeon.
As I grew up I became more attuned to the teachings and life of Martin Luther the reformer and protester which induced me to read and study the Bible in later life. Martin Luther and the other reformers should have abated all Catholic false doctrines from their belief system. (Remember this; Baptists are not by-products of the Reformation you will find that in the Council of Trent and other documents of the history of Baptists. This subject is for another time maybe.)
My high school and adult years I received little catechism. I went to mass intermittently throughout the year. Starting my senior year, I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Alcohol seemed to be acceptable at all the functions with our relatives and friends and especially at the weddings. Is this why I became an alcoholic? No, but when you are around it all the time it can be an influence in your life. I am now an advocate against drinking any alcohol of any kind, as it is the cause of wives and children being abused, health issues, death and the taking of innocent lives. I see no use of it at all in one’s life. Being an alcoholic, I also became addicted to pornography for years. I am also an advocate against pornography.
While attending St. Mary’s I was elected to be in charge of the entertainment committee where I headed up some benefits, picnics and New Years Eve parties. Alcohol was present at these functions and I made sure it was. Never once was I questioned about the alcohol. It seems that it was the usual thing to do at many of the events.
Another scenario that influenced me to leave the Catholic Church in my early adult life was when I wanted to join the Knights of Columbus. I could not believe the initiation that was brought forth upon individual candidates wanting to join this organization. The Oath recited by candidates in the K of C is occultism. The K of C denies this oath stating that it was rewritten by Protestants to bring heretical allegations and polemic screeds against them. The K of C has roots of the Jesuit order and is an institution that promotes Mariology. I belonged to this secret society which told me that it is one of their functions to promote Mary and the rosary. I did not last long in the K of C’s. I abated my ties with the K of C and my beliefs within the Catholic Church shortly after this
My marriage was about to be terminated in 1983 because of my alcohol problems and other numerous problems until I heard a preacher tell me unless you are born again you will not go to heaven. I began attending North Sharon Bible Church to hear this preacher preach from only the Bible. I was amazed by the preaching of God’s Word. I never heard such preaching. I actually started to carry a Bible to church and open it, read it and listen to it preached. The songs we sang were about the Blood of Christ, His Resurrection, about being saved and being born again. Never did I hear that word “saved” in the Catholic Church or being “born again.”
1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
I heard the salvation story from the Bible over and over again. How wonderful this was to hear God’s Word preached with such urgency and warning. It was like the preacher really believed what he preached. He acted like he was alive. The pastor of North Sharon had an oration of urgency and warning preaching the Gospel. What truth he would preach from passages such as Romans 3:19-28, John 3:1-19, Romans 4:1-8andRomans 10:1-13.
On May 23, 1983, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and He completely changed my life! I was now truly a child of God according to God’s Word.
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 4:5 - 7 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 8:14 - 16 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
Ephesians 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
2Corinthians 1:21, 22 “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
I have never looked back since being saved. Praise the Lord! I was baptized by full immersion shortly after I received Christ as my Savior, and came to the knowledge from God’s Word that baptism had NOTHING to do with my salvation but had to do with sanctification for how I live my Christian life. Baptism identifies me with my Lord and Savior’s death, burial and resurrection. (Romans 6:1 – 22)
What a blessing to be identified with the Savior and know that I am justified and sanctified by grace through faith and that not of myself and not of works but by faith in Christ receiving the Gift of His Righteousness.
1Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
1Corinthians 6:11 “And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
2Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Romans 3:22, 24 “Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe; for there is no difference: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Acts 13:39 “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
Praise the Lord! My heart was completely changed by God’s Word. I so hungered after God’s Word. The truths started to fill my heart and change my life. I would find a little room where I worked and would eat my lunch and memorize Scripture. I then started to study every day and found many truths that nobody ever told me before were in the Bible. I would pray and ask God to show me TRUTH from His Word. No more alcohol. No more pornography. No more cursing and the filthy jokes. No more false doctrines. No more myths. No more man’s false commands and sacraments. No more formalism, ritualism and deceitfulness.
Through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God I FOUND REAL TRUTH!! The Truths from God’s Word completely changed my life.
“Man of sorrow’s what a name, for the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim, Halleluiah, what a Savior. Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood, sealed my pardon with His blood, Halleluiah, what a Savior.”[Phillip P. Bliss. author 1875]
Now I worship God in spirit and truth as Christ said in John 4:10 – 26. People at work wondered what happened to me. I separated myself from friends who drank, partied, cussed and looked at pornography. Charles Spurgeon said it best about separation when he said:
“Courtesy is due from the Christian to all men, but the unholy intimacy which allows a believer to receive an unregenerate person as his bosom friend is a sin. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers’ applies not only to marriage, but to all other intimate unions which amount to yoking together. I would not, as a Christian, link my name in the same firm with an ungodly man, because, whether I choose it or not, however high my integrity may be, if my partner chooses to do doubtful actions I must be held responsible in a measure for his sins both before God and men.”
I have since denounced all Catholic teachings I adhered to in the past which had no Scriptural evidence. The poem I wrote years ago was at the crossroads of my life. The Holy Spirit helped me pen this poem. I had no idea why at that time I wrote it, but God did. Praise God! Hallelujah! It is all about sharing the Gospel. Let me share that poem with you.
“A Whisper in the Wind”
By Rodney Houle
“A Whisper in the Wind”
By Rodney Houle
As I wandered in life, I came upon a hill. As I stood on the hill, I saw the blood stained cross that gave me a chill. Then I heard a whisper in the wind, “A man named Jesus came down from heaven to shed His blood and die, For it was on that cross that Jesus paid for your sin, for the wages of sin is death and in Adam you stand condemned, That's why Jesus said you must be born again,” said the whisper in the wind.
I said to the whisper in the wind how can this be? Then I heard a whisper in the wind, “Repent for your sins and believe on Jesus and receive Him as your Savior and then you will see, Come over here and see where He laid,” said the whisper in the wind, As I walked down the hill I came to a tomb convicted of my sin. Then I heard a whisper in the wind, “He is alive for he has risen, Here is where Jesus conquered death and sin,” said the whisper in the wind.
Where is He now I asked with my heart that I might know Him. Then I heard a whisper in the wind, “He stands at the door of your heart with a knock, Oh won't you let Him in, Invite Him in and He will change your life, for he will forgive you of your sins and give you eternal life,” said the whisper in the wind. So I bowed my head and repented of my sin, and believed He died and arose for me and asked Him to come in.
As I looked toward heaven, with tears in my eyes, I said, thank you for the forgiveness of sin. Then from within, a voice from the whisper of the wind, “I' am the Spirit of Christ that you asked to come in, now you are born again,” said the whisper in the wind. Oh whisper in the wind I said, now how do I stand before God in the end, then from within a voice from the whisper in the wind, “Free of guilt and the penalty of sin, forgiven, no more condemned,” said the whisper in the wind.
What is the most amazing, but sad, scenario of my testimony is that my mom and dad never read the Bible to me. Nor did I ever see them read it themselves in front of me. We didn’t bring a Bible to church with us nor did I even have one in my possession. To this day I never knew anyone in my family to have read the Bible in my presence, nor did they ever share with me that they do read it. None of them share a blessing they may have read from the Bible. To this day I do not know if any of my brothers read the bible or are in a bible study within their parish. Never was I told by anyone to read the Bible growing up. When I told my mother I read the Bible she commented to me, “You can’t understand the bible, you need someone to interpret for you.” Oh how SAD!!!!!!
As a child growing up all the way to my adulthood I was told we could not understand the bible and all we needed to do was to go to Mass often, go toconfession often, take communion often, keep the Ten Commandments, pray the rosary often, go to adoration, practice the Beatitudes, keep the Golden Ruleand do the best you could for God. That was it. Thank God for sparing my life. If I would have died, I would have spent eternity in hell forever. Praise you God my Father and my Lord Jesus Christ for your love and mercy in sparing my life so that one day I could be truly saved.