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New believer finds BF&M online, affirms Baptist beliefs as his own

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A man who was raised as a Roman Catholic and then drifted into agnosticism accepted Jesus after searching the Bible and followed in believer’s baptism after reading the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message online at age 40.

In a letter to Ted Haws, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Lebanon, Ore., the man, whose name was withheld, recounted his journey that led to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The letter was then forwarded to Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, as a testimony to the effectiveness of the Baptist Faith and Message in leading new believers to a proper relationship with Jesus.

The man explained how he was raised in a Roman Catholic family near Boston, baptized as an infant and “virtually forced” into accepting confirmation at an early age. He attended Catholic school until age 17.

“In all that time I don’t remember a single instance of being told to read the Bible or hearing any of the nuns or priests quoting directly from it,” he wrote. “Everything was tied to the Catechism, the Sunday Missal, and several other books. I also remember being told to pray to many different saints for different purposes, and especially to the virgin Mary.”

He recounted how he was taught to memorize the different classes of sins and to determine whether they were mortal or venial in nature. He was taught that the pope was the highest authority on earth, that he literally talked directly to God, and that he had special powers to pardon sins.

After enduring financial and health difficulties with his wife, who nearly died twice, in July the man “suddenly had a great urge to read the Bible.”

“I had no idea where it came from or why after more than 40 years of knowing that the Bible existed, did I now need to read it,” he wrote. “The desire was insatiable. I have always been a somewhat impulsive person, but I’ve always steered clear of religion.”

He went on to explain how he bought a King James Version of the Bible and read it. Then, after some Internet research, he discovered other versions. He read the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible among others.

“Then I started researching the different denominations of Christian churches. By this time … I firmly believed that the Lord had called me,” he wrote. “He was knocking on my door and waiting to see if I’d answer. I knew I needed the support of a church in order to grow spiritually. In fact, the Bible told me so. However, I couldn’t decide which denomination was best.”

The man knew the Roman Catholic Church was not the answer, he said. “The more I read the Bible, the more I saw how far away from its teachings the Roman Catholic Church had strayed.”

He researched most Protestant denominations and found significant points of disagreement between what they believe and what he knew to be true in the Bible.

“Then I came upon the Baptist church,” he wrote. “As soon as I read the Baptist Faith and Message [specifically from the Southern Baptist Convention website], I knew in my heart that this was where Jesus wanted me to be! The feeling of rightness was as strong as the need I felt to read the Bible.”

The man then explained to the pastor that he felt a strong need to be baptized by immersion because he didn’t believe his infant baptism held any value in the eyes of God. “Baptism is only for believers,” he wrote. He testified that he had asked God’s forgiveness for his past sins and is actively repenting. He also accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. And he wrote that he believes the Bible is the sole authority for his faith and actions.

“Please forgive me if my questions or beliefs sound naïve to you,” he wrote to the pastor. “I was only born just over a month ago, so there is lots of growing to be done — hopefully for the rest of my life.”

The pastor confirmed that the man and his wife have sought baptism and church membership and have joined Sunday School and an “Experiencing God” class at the church.

“He and his wife are making a fresh commitment to Jesus Christ. Their home is going to be together in him now,” Haws said.

    About the Author

  • Erin Curry