I was saved in 1983, mostly as a result from reading a Catholic “Bible”. A friend at work, Allen Kaufman (who happened to be a converted Jew), was witnessing to me. I got “religious” like so many people do. I had dabbled in drugs, drank moderately, had long hair, and listened to heavy rock. I knew these were not pleasing to God, and began giving up my vices due to the conviction Al’s witness put me under. This began even before I got saved. Then, I began reading another friend, Mike’s, Catholic Bible. I could speed-read and read it through in eight days. I noticed a few things that didn’t seem to line up with what I had been taught in Catechism and as an altar-boy. I was still wrestling with having to belong to the “right church”. I asked Mike why things in the Bible were different than the Church taught (he was a Commentator at Church). He told me that the Bible was difficult to understand and I’d get more out of his “Lectionary”. It divided the scripture readings to daily portions designed to be read over three years.
Meanwhile, Al continued to be a persistent witness, but never became a “pest”. He answered my questions plainly and scripturally and gave me pertinent gospel tracts. I began to notice a difference in that he answered clearly, and the Catholics didn’t. He showed me how I was a sinner (I was aware of that) and that our sin earned us an eternity in hell (the lake of fire to be precise). He showed me how Jesus died on the cross to take the wages owed me for my sin, and how He rose from the dead. As a Catholic, I knew those things. I even believed those things – but I never made a personal application and trusted them for my salvation.
I began reading Mike’s “Lectionary” and noticed that all the “controversial” passages were missing! They were in the Catholic “Bible”, which nobody ever read. The Lectionary was read in Church. But because the passages were divided, you wouldn’t notice what was missing unless you knew to look for it. You might read part of 1 Tim 3 in March, and not read from 1 Tim until August. Then it would pick up in the middle of Chapter 4, omitting the first three anti-Catholic verses. Nobody would notice with several months in between. Because of Al’s witness, I looked for them, and they stood out like red flags and red lights with sirens! That really made me begin to doubt the Catholic Church.
I finally visited Al’s church, Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in Detroit, Michigan. The Pastor, Dr. Mitchel Bean Sr. taught more Bible in one sermon than I had learned my entire life as a Catholic (and I had been through about eight years of Catechism and was an altar boy for two or three years). I was impressed enough to want to come again. I went to the Catholic Church on Sunday morning with my sister, and went to Metro on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.
But the wall of belonging to the “true church” continued to remain a confusing hindrance. That Catholic teaching was deeply ingrained. I made several “professions of faith”. It wasn’t really until the day I got baptized that I came to grips with salvation being in Christ and not a church. Nor was salvation in the baptism, but God used that event to make me get serious about the matter. It’s so simple, but Catholics are so blinded to it. I was not consciously “rejecting” Christ, I wanted to do right, but the wall between Church and Christ was nearly impregnable.
I had already begun repenting of my sin, not to get saved, but out of knowledge that the Lord would be pleased if I lived right. I continued to clean up my life after getting assurance of my salvation in Christ.
Praise God for a man who was not willing to give up as long as I was receptive. Had Al quit witnessing I may well still be hell-bound. I’m grateful that there was enough truth in the Catholic Bible to reach my heart, but enough error to alert me to the contradictions within the Church’s teachings. Of course, as a KJB believer I am well aware of the flaws in the Catholic “Bible”. I recognized (through the witness of the Holy Spirit) right away that the King James Bible was THE Book. Even when I would refer to “easier” versions in my ignorance, I KNEW that the King James Authorized Bible was GOD’S BIBLE.