Be Not Deceived

Greensboro, NC


In 1991 an amazing thing happened. I went from being an enemy of God (Col. 1:21) who was dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2: 1), to being made alive and called a son of God (I John 3:1). It was not easy for me to make such a decision. I was moved by the conviction and weight of my own sin and compelled by the undeniable truth of Scripture. I say it was not easy because to believe the gospel of the grace of God I had to deny twenty-five years of devotion and service to the Roman Catholic church.

I was born, raised, and educated in the Catholic faith. I was baptized and confirmed. I was an alter boy and acolyte. I was spiritual director of the youth group and youth representative to the parish council. I taught the equivalent of Sunday School and confirmation class as well. I had no desire to leave the Roman Church and I was convinced she was the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1991 a number of crisis events occurred in my life. My sister was in a horrible accident, my father had a heart attack, I nearly totaled my car, all this on top of the most devastating of all-my fiancee left me with no warning. In a fit of depression and thoughts of suicide I turned to the Church. I prayed for Mary to intervene, I lit candles, and I gave money to the church. I said a Novena, I went to confession, I sang songs of adoration to Mary and gazed upon the crucifix in prayer for hours. As a last resort I began to read the Bible. In short, I began to see the truth. I was struck with the reality of my spiritual death, the worthlessness of my good works, and my need of a Savior. In due course I was born again.

In 1996 another amazing thing is happening. Some evangelical leaders are telling me that I had no need of a conversion. They say, as a devout Roman Catholic in good standing, I was already part of the Body of Christ. Interestingly, as a Catholic I would never say I was eternally saved (cp I John 5:13). It was a sin to do so. But now these evangelical leaders are trying to convince me that I already had eternal life by the blood of Christ. Now if this was true, the men who shared the Gospel with me when I sought them out with my questions were sinning by drawing me away from the salvation doctrines of Rome!

This whole ecumenical movement baffles me. A young man who was trusting his good life, the prayers of the saints, the sacrifice of the mass, the prayers of Mary, the cleansing of Purgatory, the sacraments, and the church to get him to heaven is now labeled a "vociferous ex-Catholic" and a "bigot" by large Christian organizations, merely because he placed his trust solely in the once-for-all, finished work of Christ at Calvary and desires other Catholics to know this salvation as well. I can not explain this except to say that either these evangelical leaders are ignorant of Romanism, or they are tools of the Devil. I pray the former is true.

All the truth of the Gospel-new birth, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, sonship, liberty in Christ-is being compromised on the altar of ecumenism. We have decided that a church which has declared the one, true Gospel of grace to be accursed of God (Council of Trent Session VI: Canon XXIV is somehow united in the same Gospel. I praise God that there are Christians who still preach the only Gospel that can save. In the name of love and truth let us oppose any system that denies the faith "once for all delivered to the saints."

Let us never forget the suffering of those who were tortured and executed for simply preaching the same Gospel we preach today. A Gospel which Rome still calls "accursed," but a Gospel we know to be "the power of God unto salvation." (Rom. 1: 16)