Saved By Grace: A Priest's Testimony
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- Format: Folded Tract
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- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: KJV
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I was born into Roman Catholicism. My people are sincere, morally good Roman Catholics, and have been for hundreds of years. They are sincere, but sincerely wrong with regards to their eternal salvation. I began my study for the Roman Catholic priesthood immediately after the eighth grade, spending the first eight years, high-school and college in the minor seminary. The four years of theology after college were spent in the major seminary. I was indoctrinated fully into the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest and sang my first mass in my home state of Ohio in the year of 1937 surrounded by all the pomp and ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church. After ordination I attended a teachers’ college and taught school as a priest-professor for a number of years. I spent most of my time, however, as a parish priest.
Another sinner saved by grace. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I quit the Roman Catholic priesthood a number of years ago. At that time I did not possess the wonderful joy and security of salvation. I left because the doubts, which had been accumulating for many years, by far outweighed the validity of its claims. It was not until 1953 that the full realization of the new birth came to me and I accepted by faith the salvation so freely offered by God through His Son Jesus Christ. The beautiful simplicity of Christ’s words to Nicodemus has meaning for me today. The clear statement of our Lord in John 3:3 “... verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” has brought about a new life within me. Personal salvation is such a glorious gift, (Ephesians 2:8), that I never cease to daily thank our heavenly Father for it. It is by the grace of God that I now have the means to be in Christ.
After I left the Roman Catholic Church and began an earnest study of the Bible, the book of Hebrews (especially chapter 2, verse 3) bothered me. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” A person can become so absorbed in the many apparent niceties of Roman Catholicism that he or she finds it difficult to loosen himself from it and becomes lost in his own confusion. Anyone, however, may be delivered from the bondage of such a system of cleverly assembled philosophy and theology by looking in faith to our loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Regardless of man-made traditions and teachings, God’s Word tells us in I John 5:11-13 that faith in only Jesus Christ will give us eternal salvation. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” This life in the Son is of no purpose until the new birth as recorded in John chapter 3 has taken place.
After I left the priesthood, and before I was saved, I began a review of my Roman Catholic theology. The more it was studied and scrutinized, the more it became apparent that it did not agree with the Bible. A comparison was made between the teachings of my theology books and God’s text book, the Bible. Such a critical comparison had never been undertaken in the seminary. The Roman Catholic Church interprets the Bible whenever a disagreement is apparent. It became a matter of choice between God’s Word or the additions to it—the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The choice could only be God’s Word rather than the word of man. Only after about two years of study in the Scriptures, especially the New Testament, did it become obvious to me that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, when they distinguish it as such, apart from the Bible, were foreign and often contrary to it. I compared the Roman Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible (King James Version), with my theology books and found that both Bibles disagreed with these teachings. I found that the Roman Catholic doctrines of the sacraments, the mass, confession to a priest, purgatory, indulgences, worship to Mary and the veneration of the saints and intercession to them, the rosary, medals, relics and so on are all unscriptural. I found that tradition is a very poor source of truth. Since it is man-made, it must depend upon the limitations of the human mind, and as a consequence, it is fallible. The Bible says in Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” The Roman Catholic Church, in pious platitudes, claims to recognize the Bible as God’s Word, but in reality follows the traditions of men.
Since I have confessed my sins to Him and in faith believed on Jesus Christ as my Savior, He now has taken over in my life. My only desire is to be used by Him to His honor and glory. He has given me happiness, a Christian wife (Dorothea Hulpke), a former missionary nurse to the Belgian Congo. Our burden is for the unsaved. We are especially interested in giving the salvation message to Roman Catholic people.
Since my salvation I have attended the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. The Lord has used me to teach in Christian schools. He has afforded me the opportunity of attending and graduating from a Protestant seminary with a bachelor degree in divinity.
It is our prayer that we ever be mindful of the unsaved. Roman Catholics especially are so steeped in a system which has an outward form of godliness but has no power for eternal salvation. It is our constant prayer that we may be a witness to them. I do rejoice with Paul, as he wrote to the Romans, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We rejoice also with him as he testified in Romans 5:2, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
—Harry G. Groning, B.D.