Posted by: Yvonne | July 14, 2009

Former Roman Catholic Priest Explains Salvation

Richard Bennett, of the Berean Beacon, has written an excellent paper called ‘The Invincible Gospel and the Evangelical Lie’.  In this missive, Bennett shares a bit of his testimony, explains how his Roman Catholic understanding of the Gospel was wrong, then how, by God’s grace, he came to the Truth of God’s Word.  

After experiencing a life-threatening accident, Bennett questions his own salvation and determines to understand his own standing before a holy God.  He ‘boasted’ that he,

  was not conscious of any mortal sin in my life, yet, had I died on that eventful day, I did not have any assurance that I would have been with the Lord. While I had always been quite devout in all my religious exercises, I had no distinct peace with God.

 

Obviously disturbed by this lack of ‘peace with God’ he begins his research by

 searching the Scriptures to understand how man is made right with God. I compared Catholic teaching to the Scriptures and I listened to some famous Evangelists on both short-wave radio and medium wave radio stations. I sent to England and the United States for some of tracts by Evangelists.
 
 

 Bennett continues to explain what he discover.

   After an agonizing search of many years, I discovered that the first thing that must be understood biblically about the Gospel is that it is ” concerning Jesus Christ our Lord.1 While the Gospel is proclaimed to all, it is not about us or about anything that happens in us. It concerns what Jesus Christ did and His death and resurrection.   “who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy.5 I saw that unless one understands something of God’s holiness, there is no reason to desire the perfect righteousness of Christ in salva-tion. One verse in particular really challenged my heart to continue to seek, ” who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
 

 

 

 

 

I found out also that the Gospel is an historic fact. Biblical faith is not concerned with recommending techniques, whether mystical or ethical. Rather, the Bible proclaims the fact that God has, in concrete his-torical fact, saved all His people from destruction. The Gospel ” by which ye are saved2 is regarding the fin-ished and complete work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  

Also, Bennett recognized that sinners must first ask

 
  First, is the Gospel is something recently discovered, and second, why is it that modern Evangelicals present a Gospel message that is quite different?

 

 
 

 

 With the answer to the first question being,

 

 

 The Gospel message is not something new. It has been known in the New Testament for the last two thou-sand years. It was known to the early church and is found through all of Christian history. It was lost centu-ries ago in Catholic and the Orthodox churches, for the most part, with a few notable exceptions. The Gos-pel itself is presented and was known to the believers in the Old Testament. Many of the most beautiful ex-pressions of Christ’s righteousness resting on the believer are, in fact, from the Old Testament. ”  This is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord Our Righteousness.30

Most encouraging, however, is the fact that the Gospel predated even the existence of the world. The Gospel was an agreement from eternity between the Father and the Son.” Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,”31 is the way that the Lord Himself explained the accord in His prayer to the Father. The reference was to the Father’s choice of true believers before the creation of the world, “according as he hath chosen us
in him before the foundation of the world.32                
 
 The answer to the second question takes an interesting turn.  Bennett examines the common notion that one is saved by ‘accepting Jesus into your heart.’ 

 It is unscriptural to think that salvation begins by Christ first coming into the sinful heart of a man. The dead and ungodly person can be made acceptable to God only as he is ” in Christ“, as the New Testament makes so clear. According to the biblical concept, salvation is being made accepted in Christ. The whole theme of Ephesians chapters one and two is summarized by verse 6 of Chapter one, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Compared to this, the terminology “accept Jesus into your heart” is literally backward. It assumes that the human heart is a fitting place for Christ to dwell and it takes for granted that the human person initiates salvation. Often we will hear such as the following, “Accept Jesus into your heart, as He Himself asks you in His Word, ‘behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’”39 To misuse this text to imply that salvation does in fact begin in the human heart is a serious decep-tion. The invitation expressed in Revelation 3:20-21 comes after the Lord had given a list of disgusting and offensive sins committed in the church of Laodicea, and then warned them of His chastement and judgement. They were then commanded to repent, “I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”40 Fellow-ship with the Lord presupposes repentance and faith in the Lord. So to misuse the text by totally ignoring this vital groundwork of repentance and faith in the Lord, is soul damning.

 

OUCH! 

How many of us hear that every week from the pulpit and in youth groups?!

How about the idea of ‘giving your life to Jesus”?  Here’s what Bennett has to say about this one:

 This teaching is error for two reasons. First, man in his natural condition is ” dead in trespasses and sin“. Sin is what separates a man from God. Only God Himself can bestow forgiveness and eternal life. Eternal life is a gift.45

A person does not give anything for a gift. God gives this gift to a person when He places that person in Christ Jesus. With the gift of salvation also comes the gift of faith to believe that this is what God has done.46 Second, such phrases as “give your life to Jesus” wrongly presume that a person has some-thing worthy of God to give. Spiritually dead people cannot give anything that will save them from their sins. Because man is dead in sin, Christ Jesus gave His life for the sins of His people, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Fa-ther.47 There is no Bible verse that says or teaches that a lost, spiritually dead person gives anything, not even his life, in order to be saved.  

 When a lost person is taught to “give his life to Jesus” to be saved, he may think that he has to give his service, time, works, money, etc., to be saved. This may lead the lost person into a “works gospel”, which can never save. Being right with God is not some sort of a “trade-in” by which a person gives some-thing to Jesus to be saved. A person is saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and nothing else. Repentance is also a 

God-given change of mind that comes as a consequence of the work of the Holy Spirit and not a human “trade-in” item; “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.48

WHAM!

Bennett rightly concludes:

There is only One who can furnish right standing and peace with God. Repent of all else and rest on the faithfulness of Christ Jesus alone, ” forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.53   

Amen!

You can read the entire article here.   Richard Bennett’s website is:  The Berean Beacon  www.bereanbeacon.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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