Author Stacy Padula’s Journey to Evangelical Christianity

Posted: March 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was raised in the Catholic Church. I’m from New England, should that be a surprise? When I say, “raised” I mean I was there three or four times a week! My mother ran the Jr. High and Sr. High Youth Groups, taught CCD, and for fun cleaned the church. I sang in the choir, ran the children’s table at the church bizarre, and participated in all the youth events. Needless to say, we were highly active in our church – we wanted as much of God as we could get. We were hungry for Him.

When I was seven, my mother began reading the Bible. Apart from the Catechism, she began studying God’s Holy Word. She bought me a children’s Bible and a few Christian books about Jesus. Quickly my mother realized that she was forgiven of all her sins – past present and future – because Jesus died for her on the Cross. Her salvation had nothing to do with her good works or the Catholic sacraments she had partaken in. She was saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death and resurrection.

Even after learning that part of the Catechism did not line up with the Bible, my mother felt like God had her planted in the Catholic Church for a reason. She believed He was using her there for His purpose. We continued to worship in the Catholic Church, as Born-Again Christians, until I was 21 years old. We read the Bible and kept prayer journals. We walked with God as best we knew how.

God promises if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. He promises that if we seek Him with our whole heart we will find Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6. The Lord directed us to remain in the Catholic Church for a season, and then He directed us to leave – in His timing.

We ventured to a church that taught directly from the Bible. It was there I rededicated my life to the Lord – after having been a bit of a prodigal. I fell in love with Jesus all over again, realizing that apart from Him I was empty and broken. I needed to repent and turn away from the life I had been living – a life seeking only pleasure and the things I wanted. From that moment on I wanted to live for God; I wanted to utilize the talents He had given me for His glory; I wanted to be a faithful servant; I wanted to follow His lead. The thought of sinning, after knowing my sins had nailed Jesus to the Cross and knowing He bore my punishment willingly out of His love for me, broke my heart. The idea of hurting God hurt me. It was the start of a new season of my life – abandoning myself to Him, circumspectly studying His word, applying it to my life, and learning to abide in Him.

The Lord began working in my heart – changing my desires, likes, and dislikes. It was amazing to experience. It truly brought 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Philippians 1:6 to reality. The fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness – began being produced in my life. The joy of the Lord was becoming my strength. His peace that surpasses all understanding began guarding my heart – knowing it even when my step-dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I was introduced to the world of Christian fellowship, group prayer, and contemporary Christian music. I was surrounded with kids my age that loved the Lord! They weren’t out getting drunk on Saturday nights; they were at a Bible study growing closer to the Lord. To my great surprise, I found the Bible study to be more fun than the Boston bar scene. After the study, hanging out with the kids was a refreshing blast. I was reunited with¬†innocent fun. There is something uniquely satisfying about sitting in a group of young adults, on a Saturday night, who are worshipping the Lord. I knew I was on the road of sanctification. God was working in my heart. He was changing me – Miss Party Socialite a.k.a. Van Wildette – into a woman after His own heart.

Five years have passed since my transition into the world of evangelical Christianity. As I mentioned previously, my mother and I had been hungry for God. We had spent days each week inside the Catholic Church yearning for more of Him there. Now I have a growing hunger for Him inside of me, but also a contentment and satisfaction in Him that I never knew when I was practicing the Catholic religion. Now I know the Holy Spirit is alive inside of me, filling me up and teaching me the way to go. I have God’s word written on my heart, to use as a sword to fight off the devil’s attacks.

Although the Catholic religion taught me things about God and ways to sacredly interact with Him, it did not help me get to know my Savior personally. It certainly did not teach me to go boldly to the throne of grace with my requests! I felt like I had to have a priest mediate between God and me. If I had not read the Bible cover to cover, I would have missed so many wonderful truths about the Lord that the Catholic Church does not teach. Below I have compiled a collection of scriptures from the Holy Bible that contradict what I was taught by the Catholic Church. It only makes sense that I have had a deeper experience with God in the evangelical Christian community, as “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrew 4:12

How we know believers are clothed in Christ’s Righteousness

(Why We Can Face God Immediately After Death)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,¬†so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.“‚Ä®2 Corinthians 5:21

Galatians 3:26-28

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and¬†righteousness and sanctification,¬†and redemption.”‚Ä®1 Corinthians 1:30

“May be found in Him,¬†not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which isthrough faith¬†in Christ, the¬†righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”‚Ä®Philippians 3:9

“Even so¬†Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.”‚Ä®Galatians 3:6-7

Romans 8:1-4

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;¬†for there is no distinction.”‚Ä®Romans 3:22

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.¬†This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”‚Ä®Romans 3:24-26

2 Corinthians 5:19
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,¬†that we would be holy and blameless before Him,¬†In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”‚Ä®Ephesians 1:5

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and¬†transferred us to the kindgdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.“‚Ä®Colossians 1:14

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and¬†to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”‚Ä®Jude 1:24-25

Scriptures contradictory to the belief in purgatory

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who¬†hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me¬†has everlasting life, and¬†shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

2 Corinthians 5:8(New King James Version)

8We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

“For I will be merciful to their iniquities and¬†I will remember their sins no more.”‚Ä®Hebrews 8:12

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and¬†I will not remember your sins.”‚Ä®Isaiah 43:25

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and¬†their sin I will remember no more.’“‚Ä®Jeremiah 31:34

Luke 16:19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[d] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22¬†So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.¬†The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26¬†And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’¬†27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'”

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation

Matthew 27:41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders,[a] said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel,[b] let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.[c] 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” ‚Ä®44¬†Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. Luke 23:39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[a] save Yourself and us.” ‚Ä®40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[b] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” ‚Ä®43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him[a] because He first loved us.

“But God will redeem my soul from the grave;¬†He will surely take me to himself.”‚Ä®Psalm 49:15

“I am confident of this very thing, that¬†He¬†who began a good work in you¬†will perfect it¬†until the day of Christ Jesus.”‚Ä®Philippians 1:6

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.Romans 8:29-30

“God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged;¬†he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”‚Ä®John 3:17

How we are saved by grace not by our deeds or works

Ephesians 2:8-10 (New King James Version)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

“If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and¬†the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from¬†all sin.”‚Ä®1 John 1:7

“If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet¬†the spirit is alive because of righteousness.“‚Ä®Romans 8:10

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;¬†and He Himself is the¬†propitiation¬†for our sins;¬†and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”‚Ä®1 John 2:1-2

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him,¬†having forgiven us¬†all¬†our transgressions.“‚Ä®Colossians 2:13

The Apostles baptized people only after they believed in Christ

Acts 2:41 (New King James Version)

41 Then those who gladly[a] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 8:12 (New King James Version)

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Acts 8:13 (New King James Version)

13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

Acts 10:

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.

Then Peter answered,¬†47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”¬†48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Acts 2:38 (New King James Version)

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 18:8 (New King James Version)

8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Why Study the Word

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Mark 7:13‚Ä®making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down.And many such things you do.”

Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Acts 17:11
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Matthew 4:4‚Ä®But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

1 Thessalonians 2:13
[ Their Conversion ] For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

1 Timothy 4:5
for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

1 Peter 1:23
having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

1 John 2:5
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Why I don’t see the point of praying to saints or Mary

1 Timothy 2:5 (New King James Version)

5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Matthew 12:46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother¬†and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50¬†For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.

Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus taking the

punishment we deserve upon Himself

Isaiah 53:3-12

3He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9And they made His grave with the wickedРBut with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. 
*Bible quotes taken from the NKJV and the NASV

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