Jesus Did It!
By: Kasia Farrington Coe
As a new Christian, I wanted to go to a church, but the only church my mother would allow me to go to was a Catholic one. I met a Catholic girl at school named Caryn and became good friends with her. She invited me to her youth group. I was so excited that I would finally be able to meet other Christians my age. I was soon disappointed when I attended youth group. There were no Bible studies. No one ever talked about the Bible. There were only fun activities for us to do to keep us occupied.
One day I overheard a priest talk to us about the Bible for a change. He mentioned Noah's Ark. I was so eager to hear what he had to share. I was hugely disappointed when he laughed and told us that it wasn't a true story but was only some kind of allegory put in the Bible to teach us something. I thought about how I had heard some Creation Science teachings on the radio that validated that there was actually a real flood and an ark. Why didn't the priest know about this I wondered?
Another time I recall going to a youth group dance at a Catholic school which was chaperoned by this same priest. The children were all encouraged to bring their own records. I stood there stunned when the DJ played the song 'Hell's Bells' by AC/DC at the dance. As the song thundered loudly, the priest was carrying on a conversation with some parents as if nothing unusual was going on. I thought to myself, 'This can't be happening! Don't they hear the song that's playing? Why would they allow such a song at a church youth group dance?' This did not make sense to me. I saw that they did not take their faith seriously. I wondered if any of them had ever read their Bible, or if it even mattered to them.
But Caryn, unlike all of them, was a sweet, devoted loving person. One day she invited me to go to a teenage Catholic retreat with her. I found the Priest who ran the function to be very nice and genuine. He gathered all of us into a cozy dimly lit room where we sat on the floor with pillows. I had never met a Priest who dared to wear normal everyday clothing. He actually wore blue jeans and talked with us on a personal level about his own life. He shared with us what a struggle it was to give up the only woman he had ever loved in order to enter the ministry to become a Priest, because Priests must take a vow of celibacy and never marry. He was open about his struggles as well, one of which was smoking. He smoked right in front of us. I was very surprised at how much he was a normal person just like we were.
The Priest had us all write letters to God while we listened to soothing Christian music by Chuck Girard. We then exchanged letters and much to our surprise the priest had us read the letters aloud but being anonymous as to whose letter was whose. It was a very touching and tear jerking moment. We were then each invited to kneel at an altar two by two, one of us on each side of it holding hands. Then each set of us read a written prayer aloud one at a time surrendering our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. I felt love radiate in the room as we all were encouraged to give each other a hug afterwards. I finally felt that I had found some real Christians after all.
I was overjoyed to have gone on this trip and to have had this experience. I was determined to invite other people my age to go to the next retreat. I wanted to see other lives impacted. I wanted to see souls come to Christ. I wondered why other Priests were not like this man.
My bubble was soon burst when I found myself peer pressured to go into confession with a different Priest at this retreat. I had never done this before and wondered what in the world it was all about. Suddenly I was sitting in a chair in a small room across from a priest I had never seen before. I thought it was strange because it wasn't at all like you see it in the movies. There was no divider between us or anything. We were face to face. He said in a routine sounding voice, "What sins have you to confess?" Not even a 'Hello, how are ya?' Just a bored sounding statement. So I told him I didn't have any sins to confess.
He said, "Well, you must have sinned; everyone has sinned."
I said, "Yes, I have, but I already confessed my sins and the Lord already forgave me, so why would I have to confess my sins to you?" It was an honest question. I wasn't trying to be sarcastic or anything. He looked pretty dumbfounded so I told him, "The Bible says that there is only one Mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus." (See: 1 Timothy 2:5)
He got very upset and angry looking and told me, "You are one of those Fundamentalists aren't you?" At the time, I didn't know what a Fundamentalist was so I looked at him a little perplexed. So then he proceeded to open his Bible and say, "This Bible isn't entirely true. The account in Genesis isn't even true; Evolution is true." I was pretty surprised to hear that. This was the first time I ever heard that Catholics don't believe the whole Bible. Well, being a person who is concerned for souls, I tried to help him out by giving him the news about Creation Science. I told him there's a lot of Creation Scientists out there that have a lot of evidence that the Genesis account is entirely true and that Evolution is just a theory with a lot of holes in it which can be disproved.
That bit of news didn't make him happy at all. He got very visibly upset. He was actually turning red and sweating! I could see the vein in his neck pulsating. I must have hit a nerve without realizing it. He then flipped through the Bible really quickly saying, "This Bible can't be true; it was just written by men."
I said, "It was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit."
Then he slammed the Bible down on the table really hard and said, "This Bible cannot be true, because if it is, it means that God is not a loving God and that a lot of people are going to hell because then it would mean purgatory isn't true!"
I told him, "Purgatory doesn't save you. Jesus is what saves you."
Then he told me, "Get down on the floor right now and say three Hail Mary's!"
I did not know how to say a Hail Mary because I'd never been a practicing Catholic at all. So I told him, "The Bible says you aren't supposed to pray to Saints." (I was thinking along the lines of the deceased; we aren't supposed to pray to the dead).
Then he pointed and said, "See the door?" I acknowledged; then he said really loud and firm, "GET OUT"! So then I got out not only of that room but from that whole church system! I had a realization at that moment that these people do not even believe the Bible but instead believe some extra-Biblical doctrines that even the Bible warns against.
I had read in my Bible that we were not supposed to call any man Father (See: Matthew 23:9). That we were not supposed to make any graven images to pray to (See: Leviticus 26:1). That we are not supposed to pray to the dead (See: Deuteronomy 18:10-13). That there will be those who forbid marriage (priests cannot marry), and order you to abstain from meats ' Lent (See: 1 Timothy 4:3).
I began to do research about Roman Catholicism and my suspicions were confirmed. I read a very informative book written by Lorraine Boettner which explained when and how aberrant teachings were added to the church over time. I came to the conclusion that in the book of Revelation 18:4 where the Bible says, "Come out of her MY people" it is referring to those who are in religious systems that have accepted pagan traditions and follow them over the Word of God. Some of God's people must be in those institutions or else he would not have called them "my people." I took heed to that call.
What I read there in plain ink was so obvious. This was a false religious system although there are some good people within it. At first it seemed so hard to fathom that SO MANY PEOPLE could be wrong! But the Bible did say that "Broad is the way to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it." (See: Matthew 7:14) The Bible had stated it all so simply and obviously!
So that was it. I simply refused to go to another Catholic church ever again. I couldn't get my mother to agree to go anywhere else so I just prayed to God to make it possible that we go to a Bible believing church somewhere someday, and would He please make this possible.
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Staff Note: This is just one chapter of several chapters Kasia has written about her spiritual journey in Christ. There have been many mountains for her to conquer, and we encourage you to check out those other chapters by going to her wonderful website:
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