Former altar boy stresses personal relationship with God

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There are approximately 2.6 billion professing Christians in the world, a larger slice of the

Mike Shreve served for several years as an altar boy (second from left)

global-population-pie that any other religion. Of all the varieties of the Christian faith, Catholicism is the largest, with about 1.3 billion adherents (16.5% of the world population). Christian speaker, author, and podcaster, Dr. Mike Shreve, has a real passion to share the fullness of the Gospel with them—and for a simple reason.

“I was born into a Catholic family,” he explains, “sprinkled in baptism as an infant, attended parochial school, served as an altar boy, and participated in the Sacraments (Communion, Confession, and Confirmation). Years later, I was on my way to the monastery, intending to become a monk, when a close encounter with death caused me to reevaluate my plans and my entire belief system.”

Shreve acknowledges that during grade school years, the nuns who taught him and the priests he served under were very genuine in their faith. “They loved God and sincerely devoted their lives to serving others,” Shreve recalls. “They taught me foundational truths that were vitally important, like Jesus’ virgin birth, His sinless life, His death on the cross for the sins of humanity, His resurrection, and His ascension into heaven.”

Partaking of “First Communion” (third from the left)

However, during that phase of his life, he admits, “I was never ‘born again.’ I never experienced that transformational encounter with the Lord the Bible calls ‘regeneration.’ Sadly, I was never even told about it, even though Jesus taught this spiritual rebirth is necessary for a person to enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-7, Titus 3:5)

Because Shreve had “religion” (a historical view of the biblical story), but not “relationship” (a personal connection with the Father), inevitably, he wandered away from the faith, walking down two, spiritually dark paths on a seven-year-long detour.

The first was playing in a rock band, a venture that led to an increasingly damaging lifestyle. The second was a desperate attempt to find answers—pursuing ultimate reality through yoga and meditation. Unfortunately, that was not progress. It was a different kind of trap—a web of spiritual deception—spun by various teachers of far eastern religions and new age spirituality. Thankfully, through a miraculous series of events, God intervened, and Jesus came into his life. That encounter with the love of God changed everything dramatically, in one day’s time. (To read the detailed story about this pivotal part of Shreve’s spiritual journey, go to his comparative religion website, www.thetruelight.net, and download the free mini-book titled The Highest Adventure: Encountering God—available in twelve languages.)

A Debtor to Every Catholic

At this present juncture of Shreve’s life, over five decades later, God has gripped his heart with a sense of heavy indebtedness. Paul claimed he was a “debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise” (Romans 1:14). So, he purposefully and passionately pursued both kinds of people with the Gospel.

For a similar reason, Shreve asserts, “I am a debtor, also—to every Catholic. They sowed into my life when I was younger. Now, it’s my turn to share with them biblical truths that can transform their lives supernaturally, like being born again and being baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

There are many other encouraging and exciting biblical concepts Shreve loves to emphasize in his communications to Catholics, such as the foundational biblical doctrines that: (1) all believers are saints, (2) all believers are priests, and (3) the true church is not an organization, but an organism—a living body of believers worldwide who are bound together, not by denominational affiliation, but by a common experience of heart—spiritual rebirth.

“These revolutionary concepts streamed to me out of the pages of the Bible once I experienced true salvation. Just like Moses struck the rock and a fountain of water gushed out, I prayed to the Lord, the ‘Rock of Ages,’ that He would guide me into all truth, and a river of revelation poured into my heart concerning so many Catholic concepts I had previously embraced. A whole new understanding came to me about confession, absolution, penance, the demand for priestly celibacy, praying to the saints, devotion to Mary, Purgatory, indulgences, transubstantiation and much more. I knew I had to put these God-given insights into a book, to offer these living waters to fellow pilgrims of all denominations on this journey from earth to heaven.

So, that’s how Shreve’s new 352-page book, The Beliefs of the Catholic Church, became a

Mike Shreve today

reality. The subtitle clarifies the content: 25 Questions Comparing Doctrines, Practices, and Traditions to Scripture. It’s all about finding what’s true by honoring the Word of God more than established traditions and long held beliefs.

“My wife, Elizabeth built a beautiful website for this outreach, and we gave it a name that clearly reveals our motivation—www.toCatholicswithlove.org. It’s not for the sake of criticizing people of my former faith or indulging in ‘confrontational apologetics’; it’s about ‘speaking the truth in love’—just like Paul urged us to do in Ephesians 4:15. There are millions of Catholics in the world who truly believe in Jesus and love God deeply. They just need a proper understanding of certain vital, biblical concepts. When that happens, the wonderful promise Jesus gave will come to pass—’You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:32).

 

Mike Shreve is a frequent guest on TV, radio, and podcast interview programs. He has written 17 books, three of which have been #1 bestsellers. He has traveled evangelistically since 1971, sharing the fullness of the Gospel in 14 nations. Mike and his wife, Elizabeth, are the founders of Deeper Revelation Books publishing company, The Identity Project, The True Light Project, and The Catholic Project. www.shreveministries.org