Why I Became an Evangelical Christian

Kurt Dahlin January 6, 2002 


I was born at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica and raised a Roman Catholic.  I was baptized as an infant at Saint Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California November 11, 1951. I attended Saint Mark’s Catholic grammar school in Venice, California. I received my first Holy Communion in the second grade and was confirmed by the bishop in the seventh grade. My confirmation name is Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. I was selected to be trained as an Altar Boy. We learned the Mass in Latin, and I still have the very prestigious award I earned in the eight grade as Altar Boy of the Year, 1965. I finished 12 years of Catholic education at Saint Monica High School.  The Nuns of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Brothers of Saint Patrick taught us. I was captain of the water polo team, All League CIF and a four-year member of the Lettermen’s Club. I only missed Mass once in my young life for which I was truly sorry. We used to take wonderful family vacations.  I worried about missing Mass on Sundays: a mortal sin (Killgallon 269). My devout Mother assured me that there was a 30-mile rule: If you were 30 miles from a Catholic Church while on a trip it was acceptable to miss Mass. I memorized the Stations of the Cross. I regularly prayed the Rosary.  I prayed to Saint Anthony when things were lost and Saint Jude when we ate fish.  I faithfully put J.M.J. at the top of every school assignment.  I regularly brought money to grammar school to help purchase pagan babies. As a family we participated in all the yearly Catholic rituals, events and holy days of obligation (Killgallon 268). I knew I could not get straight to heaven. Even the best Catholics must spend some time in Purgatory atoning for the temporal punishment of sin. So, I wisely used my time earning indulgences to reduce my stay in the flames of Purgatory.  I accumulated a number of plenary indulgences. Most notably was the papal indulgence I obtained from the bishop while at the Sierra Retreat House in Malibu, California. 

 

 

I was raised under the Magisterium of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). It was a mortal sin to eat meat on Fridays or to visit a Protestant Church. Only Catholics could be saved. The Eastern Orthodox, Protestants and Jews were apostates. I never ate meat on Fridays (Hill 284). Fish sticks and ketchup were the best. One Friday our Catholic swim team traveled to compete with another high school. We finished late so coach Apgar took us to McDonald’s to eat. Fortunately, McDonald’s had invented the fish burger. They weren’t bad. However, one team member, not as devoted as the rest, ordered a hamburger. We were shocked! A mortal sin perpetrated right before our eyes. We were sure lightning would strike him.

 

While I was in high school, the Catholic Church went through a significant change called Vatican II.

The Second Vatican Council, the 21st ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, was announced by Pope JOHN XXIII on Jan. 25, 1959.  On Oct. 11, 1962, after four years of preparation, the council formally opened.  Four sessions convened; the last three (1963‑65) were presided over by Pope PAUL VI, who succeeded John as pontiff in June 1963.  The council ended on Dec. 8, 1965 . . . The council produced 16 documents‑‑all of which had to be approved by the pope before they became official‑‑on such subjects as divine revelation, the sacred liturgy, the church in the modern world, the instruments of social communication, ecumenism, Eastern Catholic churches, renewal of religious life, the laity, the ministry and life of priests, missionary activity, Christian education, the relationship of the church to non‑Christian religions, and religious freedom  (Richard McBrien).

 

We were now allowed to eat meat on Fridays and the Mass was said for the first time in English instead of Latin. However, when I graduated from St. Monica’s in 1969 I was very dissatisfied with Catholicism. It seemed so lifeless and mythological.  I went to Humboldt State College in Arcata, California for two years. I became entangled in the values and pleasures of the hippie lifestyle. I rejected religion as the opiate of the masses. Disillusioned with the American dream I dropped out of school and traveled to the jungles of Costa Rica in December 1971. Eventually, I returned to the USA and traveled with the 1974 California State Champion outrigger team to race in Hawaii. After the Kona race I went to visit some friends on the Island of Kauai. Much to my dismay and disgust they had become born again Christians. I asked them, “How could Catholics convert to Jesus?”  They proceeded to explain their new personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Even though I had not been to Catholic Church or the sacraments in years I still considered myself a good Catholic. I was secure in my belief of Purgatory. I resented their preaching to me. However, their love and zeal for Jesus intrigued me. So, I went to the Kalaheo Church of God with my friends on Sunday, September 14, 1974. It was very different from Catholic Church. People spontaneously praised God. They had a variety of instruments and played joyous worship songs. Next, a regular looking man came on the stage and began to speak directly from the Bible. I thought now they have gone too far. Where are the Missals? In the middle of the sermon I experienced a profound spiritual calling. Somewhere deep inside me I wanted Jesus Christ. I encountered a huge struggle to reject Christ. Yet, because of my travels and personal awareness of my inner emptiness I resolved to follow Jesus with all my heart. Finally, the man asked if anyone wanted to receive Jesus Christ into their lives. I raised my hand and went forward for prayer. I encountered the risen Christ in an overwhelming sense of purity. My life has never been the same. Faith became real. Jesus Christ became more than a story book figure. I was overjoyed with rapture, peace and an inner desire for holiness. I was instantly and profoundly changed.  Jesus Christ is what I was searching for all my life.

 

WHY I REMAIN AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN

I met with the pastor to inquire about their doctrine. I had never been in a Protestant Church before and I didn’t know what they believed. I was relieved to discover that Protestants share the same heritage, creeds and biblical doctrines as I had been taught in Catholic school. The Reformers were Catholic priests. Evangelicals simply embrace a more direct form of Christianity. There was a time in the early days of the Christian movement when doctrine and practice were unencumbered with rituals, priests, popes and sacraments. One only needs to read the pages of the New Testament to witness a more spontaneous and informal expression of Christianity. Evangelicals and especially Charismatics attempt to recapture New Testament spirituality. Vatican II states that Catholics can learn more about the perfect realization of the mystery of Christ from non-Catholic Christians,

On the other hand, Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments for our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in his works and worthy of all praise.
 

Nor should we forget that anything wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can contribute to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian is never contrary to what genuinely belongs to the faith; indeed, it can always bring a more perfect realization of the very mystery of Christ and the Church (Flannery 458).


Originally, I was very upset with the Roman Catholic Church. Why didn’t they, in all the years they had me in school and church, introduce me to Jesus Christ?  It didn’t take long to realize that many of the practices and doctrines I learned growing up were not taught in scripture. For most Catholics the core issue is authority. The additional doctrines and practices were the product of tradition. Supposedly, The Roman Catholic Church possesses authority given to Peter, which is passed to his successors. Peter is the rock and recipient of the “keys” (Matthew 16). Jesus had appointed Peter as his representative or vicar on earth.  The gift of the keys established the supreme papacy through Peter, the bishop of Rome (Williams, This Rock 24). Evangelicals insist that the Bible is the supreme authority. However, the ultimate question is soteriological. In other words how is one saved? Does the Roman Catholic Church alone retain the inherent power of salvation? What does Peter say about the keys of salvation?

 

When I was growing up, Roman Catholicism was considered to be the only means of salvation (Morrow 415; Hardon 271). All Protestant denominations, The Eastern Orthodox, Jews and non-Christians were apostates, outside the saving grace of the true sacraments (Morrow 153). There was no salvation outside the one holy apostolic Roman Catholic Church. It was a mortal sin to attend non-Catholic religious services (Morrow 203). My Mom wouldn’t attend my wedding because it was officiated in an Evangelical Protestant church. We couldn’t be married in the Catholic Church because we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Most of our lifelong Catholic family friends didn’t come to the wedding either. Ten years after the close of Vatican II and prominent Catholics were still living under the authority, decrees and traditions of Trent. Even today many Catholics cavil about Protestantism as if some great gain is obtained by pointing out differences in denominational polity. However, Vatican II has changed the guidelines and scope of salvation. Incorporated for salvation under the category of separated brethren are the Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, and Jews (Flannery 463).


Protestants, the Eastern Orthodox, Jews and even non-Christian idol worshipers are now considered saved. It is no longer a mortal sin to be a Protestant or to attend Protestant services. Vatican II states concerning separated Christians,

However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Without doubt, the differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church‑-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church‑-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church (Flannery 455).


Vatican II continues,

The brethren divided from us also carry out many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. In ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or community, these liturgical actions most certainly can truly engender a life of grace, and, one must say, can aptly give access to the communion of salvation.

            It follows that the separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church (Flannery 456).


My wonderful Catholic Mother has always considered me a Protestant heretic in need of belonging to the Catholic Church. I said, “Mom, according to Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church now recognizes Evangelicals as Christian brothers. I do not need to belong to Rome in order to be saved. Besides, I prefer the Bible teaching and intimate worship of our Evangelical church services.” Father Michael Manning writes in Question and Answers for Today’s Catholic,

But if a person in his heart, does not see the Catholic Church as the true church, then he must follow his own conscience and worship God to the best of his ability. Under such a response to his conscience, he can attain salvation. That means a Protestant, a Jew, or a Muslim can attain salvation by loving God as best he or she can (226).

Roman Catholics are now being taught that, as a result of the papal Decree on Ecumenism, it is no longer a mortal sin to be separated from Rome anymore.  Father John Hardon, S.J., writes concerning Christians separated from Rome by the Reformation,

But they cannot now be charged with sin for being separated. They are, in fact, embraced by the Catholic Church as brethren and should be treated with respect and affection.

Such persons are Christians as long as they have been truly baptized and believe in Christ. They are consequently “established in a fellowship with the Catholic Church, even if the fellowship be incomplete” (242).


My wonderful Catholic Mother has always urged me to baptize my six children as infants. She often quoted John 3: 3-5 as evidence. My dear Catholic Mother-in-law believed my kids had little devil horns until baptized. The “horns” represented the indelible stain of original sin. The old Catholic tradition taught, “the only way in which an infant can receive the divine life is through Baptism. An infant who dies without Baptism, therefore, is unable to reach heaven” (Killgallon 169). I said, “Mom, according to Vatican II, baptism is no longer necessary for salvation. Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are saved without baptism. The stain of original sin no longer requires the cleansing waters of baptism.” The old Catholic tradition taught that not even unbaptized infants could go to heaven. Catholics created a special place for them called limbo, “The usual explanation of theologians is that such an infant goes to a place of natural happiness, called limbo” (Killgallon 169). Father Manning states the new tradition concerning limbo,

I think the concept of Limbo should not be taught in schools or told to parents who have lost a child before baptism. The notion comes from an incorrect understanding of original sin. The concept of limbo for babies who die without baptism is contrary to my belief in the Lord’s love for all children (Answers 121-122).

The “incorrect understanding of original sin” is the former doctrine held by the Roman Catholic Church since the time of Augustine. Father John O’Brien writes in The Faith of Millions,

Origen (185-255) declares infant Baptism an Apostolic institution, necessary to wash from their souls the stain of original sin. St. Cyprian and the Third Council of Carthage in 253 decreed that the Baptism of children need not be deferred until the eight day after birth, as some maintained, but might be administered as soon as possible. St. Augustine reports that this is but the echo of the teachings of the Apostles (155).

I guess the stain of original sin doesn’t affect Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or plain old pagans anymore. Now that Vatican II did away with the “incorrect understanding of original sin” baptism is no longer necessary and Catholics can also dispense with limbo. The new understanding of original sin overturns 1,500 years of Catholic history, Church Fathers, popes, bishops and Holy Spirit convened Church councils. Vatican II decreed significant changes for non-Christian religions,

Throughout history even to the present day, there is found among different peoples a certain awareness of a hidden power, which lies behind the course of nature and the events of human life. At times there is present even a recognition of a supreme being, or still more of a Father. This awareness and recognition results in a way of life that is imbued with a deep religious sense. The religions which are found in more advanced civilizations endeavor by way of well‑defined concepts and exact language to answer these questions. Thus, in Hinduism men explore the divine mystery and express it both in the limitless riches of myth and the accurately defined insights of philosophy. They seek release from the trials of the present life, by ascetical practices, profound meditation and recourse to God in confidence and love. Buddhism in its various forms testifies to the essential inadequacy of this changing world. It proposes a way of life by which men can, with confidence and trust, attain a state of perfect liberation and reach supreme illumination either through their own efforts or by the aid of divine help. So, too, other religions which are found throughout the world attempt in their own ways to calm the hearts of men by outlining a program of life covering doctrine, moral precepts and sacred rites.

The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. Yet she proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (In. 1:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor. 5:18‑19), men find the fulness of their religious life...The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. ...Over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims. The sacred Council now pleads with all to forget the past, and urges that a sin cere effort be made to achieve mutual understanding; for the benefit of all men, let them together preserve and pro­mote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values (Flannery 739-740).

Father Michael Manning is faithful to interpret the guidelines of Vatican II for a new generation of Catholics. In an article published in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Father Manning wrote,

One of the most devastating results of this God‑is‑on‑my‑side mentality is that as a Christian I can doubt the possibility of non-Christians' salvation.

     A glance at history can bring up frightening examples where some Catholics acted with violent cruelty in the belief that unless Jews and Moslems converted and became Christian they would go to hell. I abhor those pages in history and relegate them to misguided Catholics (Herald A9).

The misguided Catholics, Father Manning abhors, include Jesus, the apostles, popes, bishops and church councils.  Roman Catholicism has always considered non-Christians to be unsaved-- until Vatican II. Father Manning abhors his own Catholic history. Father continues,

 I am happy to say that the Catholic Church has officially come out with statements that the Spirit can be alive in people of other denominations. And regarding non‑Catholics, the church has said in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, that those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or his church but nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and moved by grace; try in their actions to do his will as they know it . . . achieve eternal salvation (Herald A9).

Notice that not only are other Christian denominations saved but also non-Christians. Father Manning correctly interprets the intent of Vatican II. Non-Christians do not need “the gospel of Christ or his church” to achieve eternal salvation. Non-Christians are saved by not knowing the gospel. The gospel of Christ, the church, the sacraments and baptism are no longer required for salvation according to the new rules of Vatican II. The rejection of papal supremacy no longer warrants the denial of saving grace. Father Manning continues,

This possibility of salvation for non‑Christians doesn't mean that I abandon missionary work.  Because I have been touched by the love of God in Jesus, I want to offer that love to those I care for.  But my efforts need to take a different tack than done in the past. My attitude should be one of deep respect.

     I recently heard a rabbi ask Christians not to try to convert them for the next 100 years. I think there's deep wisdom in that sentiment. Although it is hard for an excited Christian to stifle his enthusiasm for sharing Jesus, perhaps more efforts to appreciate where non‑Christians are coming from will give more honor to God and help us realize that we are all his sons and daughters (Herald A9).


“In the past” Jesus, Peter, Paul and all the apostles preached the gospel to the Jews. The Bible specifically states that the gospel is first for the Jew (Romans 1:16). The apostles gave their lives trying to convert non-Christians. Now, the new tradition teaches that Jews do not need the gospel. The “different tack than done in the past” means that the Catholic Church no longer preaches the gospel of salvation to anyone. Father Hardon, using Vatican II as a guide states, “Those who are not actually baptized may, nevertheless, be saved through the Church according to their faith in whatever historical revelation they come to know . . .”  (236). Under the new tradition, a person is saved without baptism according to whatever religion “they come to know.” Idol worshipers before Vatican II were not saved. Now they are. I wonder if the Decree on Ecumenism is retroactive? Anyone even remotely familiar with Roman Catholicism will soon realize that all previous traditions and doctrines concerning salvation, baptism, original sin, sacraments and papal supremacy have been summarily discarded.

A cursory reading of the Council of Trent, which guided the Catholic Church for 400 years, or any other council will suffice to shock the reader over the vast changes in Catholic dogma. I explained to my devout Catholic Mother that the key doctrine of Original Sin no longer precludes anyone from salvation. Vatican II has gone further than Martin Luther. Martin Luther believed that faith in Jesus Christ was sufficient to save. He was excommunicated from the church A.D. 1521. Now the new Catholic doctrines state that the gospel of Christ, baptism and the church are unnecessary for salvation. I asked my Mom, “Would the Council of Trent state that non-Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Buddhists are saved apart from the gospel of Christ, the church, the sacraments and baptism?”  Her reply was instantaneous, “Of course not.”

Even Martin Luther would not agree with the new Decree on Ecumenism established by Vatican II. The Decree contradicts everything I was taught about the One True Church growing up. Jesuit, John Hardon writes in The Catholic Catechism, “The ancient Fathers held the unanimous conviction that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church” (243).  Jesus Christ and the apostles held the unanimous conviction that salvation cannot be achieved outside the church (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  Saint Peter was one of the ancient Fathers who fearlessly preached the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike. The religious devotion of Cornelius was not enough to save him (Acts 10).  He and his family still needed the all sufficient gospel of Christ.  The Holy Fathers include, “The ancient Fathers of the church, early Orthodox Christian writers up to and including St. Gregory I (The Great) in the West and St. John Damascus in the East” (Abbott 116, note #20). Jesus, the apostles, the ancient Fathers, popes, councils and bishops are at variance with the new tradition on salvation. The new tradition is in fact not “Catholic.”  John Hardon correctly cites, “Since the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 defined that ‘The universal Church of the faithful is one, outside of which no one is saved,’ there have been two solemn definitions of the same doctrine, by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302 and at the Council of Florence in 1442" (235). However, Father Hardon rejects the clear reading of history in favor of Vatican II. Father Hardon dismisses the papal infallibility (231) of the Council of Trent “as a symbol of Catholic unwillingness to compromise” (235).  Father Hardon states that salvation is possible for non-Christian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism “because grace is not denied them” (238-239). The unanimous conviction (magisterium) of Jesus, the apostles, the ancient Fathers, church councils and a solemn papal Bull are summarily overridden.

The ever-changing chameleon of Roman Catholic tradition has Bible believing Christians confused. We need a never-changing authority higher than the subjective and arbitrary whims of fallible men. We must return to our first and finest vicar, the apostle Peter. I will be where Peter is. Peter is our authority. The New Testament is our highest Magisterium. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the sermon that birthed the Christian church. The people asked a most important question. Their question was not about infant baptism, Mary or the rosary. They wanted to know about salvation. Peter gave the keys to saving grace.

Acts 2:36‑41

36  "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

37  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

38  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off‑‑ for all whom the Lord our God will call."

40  With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (NIV).
Peter answered their question about salvation. The answer does not change. Peter could guarantee the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who would respond to the gospel message. Salvation was promised before sacraments, popes and the Roman Catholic Church existed. If Peter could guarantee salvation before the Roman Catholic Church was founded, then salvation does not depend on Roman Catholicism. If Roman Catholicism was not necessary for salvation then, it is not necessary now. Nothing more is needed and nothing less will save. All Catholics claim Peter as the head of their religion. Yet, Catholics no longer follow Peter. Peter believed that Jews and Gentiles needed to be converted in order to be saved. Peter died as a martyr, crucified upside down for the gospel. Peter declared that salvation was in Christ alone long before the church in Rome was birthed. Peter revealed the keys of salvation given to him by Jesus Christ,

Acts 4:8‑13

8          Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people!

9          If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,

10        then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

11        He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.'

12        Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

13        When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (NIV).

 

Father Manning states that non-Christians, and Jews do not need to repent and follow Jesus in order to be saved. Father Manning does not believe that the gospel should be preached to the Jews. They are already sons and daughters of God. Father Manning abhors those pages in history and those misguided Christians who believed that salvation was for the Jews (Herald A9). However, “those pages in history” include the Acts of the Apostles and those “misguided” Christians include Peter. In fact when the religious leaders tried to silence Peter from preaching the gospel he replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God” (Acts 4:19 NIV). They could not stifle his enthusiasm for sharing Jesus. Thank God! There are religious leaders today who are attempting to silence Peter again. Father Manning writes,

This possibility of salvation for non‑Christians doesn't mean that I abandon missionary work. ....  But my efforts need to take a different tack than done in the past.

I recently heard a rabbi ask Christians not to try to convert them for the next 100 years. I think there's deep wisdom in that sentiment. Although it is hard for an excited Christian to stifle his enthusiasm for sharing Jesus, perhaps more efforts to appreciate where non‑Christians are coming from will give more honor to God and help us realize that we are all his sons and daughters (Herald A9).

Vatican II does not represent Peter or Jesus. Why do Catholics claim Peter as their head and not follow Peter? Evangelicals love Peter. Peter is my pope. Peter is my vicar, my bishop, my authority. I belong to Peter’s Catholic Church. Ultimately, Peter obeyed Jesus Christ.

JESUS AND VATICAN II

·         Jesus: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV).

·         Father Manning: Do not preach the gospel to anyone. We are all sons and daughters of God.

·         Jesus: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NIV).

·         Father Manning: Only misguided Catholics believe that the unconverted are condemned.

·         Father Hardon: It is no longer necessary to believe in Christ or to be baptized in order to be saved.

·         Jesus: “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3 NIV).

·         Father Manning: It is no longer necessary to repent. “Regarding non‑Catholics, the church has said in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, that those who...do not know the gospel of Christ or his church but nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and moved by grace;...achieve  eternal salvation” (Herald A9).

·         Jesus: “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47 NIV).

·         Father Manning: Our missionary efforts will take a different tack than done in the past.   

 

The choice is clear. Any sensible person should choose Jesus over the new Catholic Vatican II traditions expressed by Father Manning. Since Jesus is the Son of God and founder of Christianity, it is evident that Father Manning contradicts Jesus. Those who contradicted Jesus during his lifetime and ministry were the unconverted Pharisees. Jesus said,
 
John 10:27‑28

27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

28  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (NIV)


John 8:42‑45

42  Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.
 
43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.
 
44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! (NIV)
 
Matt 23:13‑15

13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. (NIV) 
Salvation is in Christ not in a religious institution. Sincerity and mission do not equal true conversion. Jesus’ decree on ecumenism requires repentance and obedience to the word of God. No papal decree or church council can change the truth as revealed by Jesus Christ. It is not chauvinism, dangerous or a flaw in belief to believe Jesus. Peter believed Jesus. The apostles believed Jesus. All the rhetoric and erudition in the world cannot change the fact that the new Catholic tradition contradicts Jesus Christ, Peter and the apostles. Jesus called the unconverted, children of the devil and sons of hell. Father Manning abhors these pages in history relegating them to misguided Catholics. Why doesn’t the Roman Catholic Church agree with Jesus? Why doesn’t the Roman Catholic Church agree with Peter? It is time to return to Peter. I will be where Peter really is. There is no higher authority than Peter, the Rock and the apostolic magisterium of the New Testament. As much as I appreciate my Catholic education and the positive contributions that Roman Catholicism has made to Western civilization--ultimately, I’ll stick with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  There is no higher authority than Jesus Christ.

 
SUMMARY

According to the new Catholic tradition, no one needs to be Roman Catholic any more in order to be saved. The new Vatican II tradition states that the Protestant churches have sufficient liturgies that contain and convey saving grace and the riches of Christ. As an Evangelical Christian, I am considered a saved Christian brother officially baptized. The new Vatican II tradition does not believe that the gospel as preached by Peter is necessary for salvation.

·         Baptism is no longer necessary for salvation.

·         Original sin no longer requires baptism for cleansing or salvation.

·         Roman Catholic sacraments are no longer necessary for salvation.

·         Protestant works are virtuous.

·         Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Protestants and Eastern Christians are saved.


HOW TO ASK CHRIST INTO YOUR LIFE

1.                  Admit that God has not been first in your life.

2.                  Admit that you are a sinner.

3.                  Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross and rose again from the dead as the complete payment for sin.

4.                  Receive God’s free offer of  grace for the forgiveness of sins.

5.                  Invite Jesus Christ to come and rule in your life.

6.                  Find a good church that honors and serves Christ.

 

You can take these steps toward Jesus Christ by making a sincere prayer of commitment to God:

Father God, I admit that I do not have a personal relationship with you. I realize I need you in my life. I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you would forgive all my sins. I will turn from my own way and follow your truth from now on. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I believe that his death and resurrection are sufficient to pay the full price for my sin. I ask that I may receive your free gift of power to make me a child of God. I invite you through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit, to rule in my heart forever. Please send the Holy Spirit to come into my life. Thank you for saving me. Amen.

Peter says in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Peter says in Acts 2:21, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Peter says in Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Peter says in Acts 10:43-44, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

THE NEXT STEPS: Seek the righteousness of God.

1.      Pray every day about everything.

I John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

2.      Be devoted to studying the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

 

3.      Find a good Christian church that teaches the truth about Jesus. Find Christian friends and serve Jesus with them.

Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

4.      Tell everyone about your new life in Christ.

Matthew 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”

 

5.      Love everyone, forgive everyone, and only do good.

Luke 6:27-28 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
WORKS CITED

Abbott, Walter M., ed. The Documents of Vatican II.  Herder and Herder Association Press, 1966.

Flannery, Austin P., ed. Documents of Vatican II. Vol I. Grand Rapids, MI:
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984.

Hardon, John A., S.J. The Catholic Catechism.* Garden City, NY: Doubleday &  Company, Inc., 1975.

Hill, John and Theodore Stone. A Modern Catechism.* ACTA foundation, 1964.

Killgallon, James and Gerard Weber. Life in Christ: Instructions in the Catholic Faith.*    

Chicago, IL: Foundation for Adult Catechetical Teaching Aids, 1958.

Manning, Michael, S.V.D. Questions and Answers for Today’s Catholic. Nashville, TN:Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990.

Manning, Michael, S.V.D. “Chauvinistic Christians Are Guilty of Dangerous Flaws in                  

Their Belief,” Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Saturday, March 19, 1988 A9.

McBrien, Richard P. “Vatican Council, Second,” The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.
 
Morrow, Louis Laravoire. My Catholic Faith. Kenosha, WN: My Mission House, 1960.

O’Brien, John. The Faith of Millions: The Credentials of the Catholic Religion.*                             Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. 1974.

*Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur declare that a book is free from doctrinal or moral error from a Roman Catholic point of view.