Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 26th, 2015 and has been revised.
On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics
Edited by Richard Bennett and Glenn Diehl
Solid Ground Christian Books, 2015, 301 pp.
In “On the Wings of Grace Alone,” ex-priest, Richard Bennett (bereanbeacon.org), presents another collection of testimonies from ex-Catholics who left their works-righteousness religion and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. In two previous books, Bennett culled together the testimonies of ex-priests (“Far From Rome, Near to God: Testimonies of Fifty Converted Catholic Priests”) and ex-nuns (“The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories”), but in “On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics” he presents the stories of ex-Catholic laypersons.
Each contributor speaks of being born into a Catholic family and being indoctrinated into the Catholic religion of sacramental grace and merit. Catholicism is a religious treadmill of constantly striving to live in a “state of grace” by participating in the sacraments and adhering to church rules. In Catholicism, tradition is given much greater emphasis over God’s Word. Few Catholics read the Bible. When they finally did examine the Bible, the contributors were surprised to find that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They all repented of their sin and accepted Christ as their Savior by faith alone and left their works-righteousness religion.
This is a valuable collection that will bless Catholics who are searching for Christ, ex-Catholic Christians who have already come out of Rome, and Christians who are interested in the irreconcilable differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. The theology doesn’t get too deep, but the contrast between Catholicism’s salvation system of sacraments and merit and Biblical salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is the overriding message.
A couple of the contributors were familiar to me. The late Jim Tetlow wrote a couple of books on Romanism (“Messages from Heaven” and “Queen Rome, Queen of Islam, Queen of All”). Joe Mizzi’s website (justforcatholics.org) is devoted to reaching Catholics with the Gospel. A few of the testimonies get a bit tangled up in the weeds and could have used some more stringent editing. One person goes into detail arguing for the doctrine of predestination while a couple of others promote the “KJV 1611-only” viewpoint. This is the wrong book for delving into arguments on tertiary beliefs. Those few criticisms aside, this is an excellent collection that will bless the reader.
These days, many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders are jostling in line to embrace the pope and works-righteousness Catholics as fellow Christians so it’s a blessing to see that there are still faithful witnesses, like Richard Bennett,* who distinguish between the Gospel of grace and Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. As the accommodation of error within evangelicalism continues, with pastors praising the pope and Catholic theologians from their pulpits, those who take a stand against Rome will be increasingly marginalized. In addition to the three books mentioned, Bennett also wrote “Catholicism: East of Eden, Insights into Catholicism for the 21st Century.”
I was able to purchase a copy of “On the Wings of Grace Alone” directly from the publisher, Solid Ground Christian Books, at a very favorable, new-book discount. See here.
*Addendum: After fighting the good fight of faith for so many years, Richard Bennett went home to the Lord on September 23, 2019.