(Continued from The Manila E-quipper part 1 - Testimony of Anthony Pezzota, a former Catholic priest...
-But what kind of sinner you might ask?
-Well to be perfectly honest, I never smoked, or broke my vows of celibacy throughout all the years I was active in the priesthood. I left no bad record behind me, but was rather proud of my achievements as a religious priest.
-In fact, my sin was my pride. It was a pride which would not let Christ come into my life because of what my bishop and superior might think or say.
-I kept asking , "If you accept Christ alone as your Savior , what will your superiors say? What will your colleagues think, or your students? They esteem you; how can you betray them?"
-I lacked the courage to be honest with these people; the esteem of men meant more to me than love for the Truth.
-But then, as I was praying, my eyes fell upon the text in John's Gospel which reads: "Even then, many Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. They loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God (John 12:42,43 Good News Bible).
-Those last words penetrated my heart like a sharp, two-edged sword, but they also filled me with strength and courage. I was set free!
-That night I slept without the pain and agonizing indecision of those terrible weeks.
-The following morning as I awoke, the picture of that kindly Baptist pastor came to my mind. I dressed hastily and drove to his church where we talked together for some time.
-He gave me some tracts and pamphlets which I gladly accepted. Then turning rather quickly as we were parting I asked: "In case I leave my church, may I come to stay with you? Will you accept me?" He smiled saying, "We have a room here and the believers will take care of you."
-It took me 6 days of prayer and more reading before making my decision. On February 26th I accepted Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. I invited Him to take over the direction of my life as I was leaving everything behind me: my car, my library, all my possessions.
-I wrote my letter of resignation to the superior and went to live with my new found spiritual friends in Santa Cruz.
-On March 3rd at 11:00am I publicly confessed my evangelical faith and was baptized in the Santa Cruz River, which flows behind the church.
-From the day I accepted Christ to this very moment, I haven't had one single second of remorse, nostalgia or homesickness fo rmy previous life. I was literally filled with joy and knew freedom from doubt beyond all description.
-I remember one priest who visited me a few days later asked: "Tony, how did you dare in just five days to make such a decision? You have left the Catholic Church - twenty centuries of culture, popes, saints, all that you have learned and loved for so very long!"
-I gave him the answer which came from my heart: "I don't think I really left anything, rather I found everything when I found Christ."
In his book Tony then provides "what the Bible teaches about salvation - how a person receives forgiveness of sins, is put right with God, and is given eternal life (aka: The Teaching of God's Word Concerning Salvation).
In the next chapter and second part of this, he reiterates some more personal testimony and interaction with other Catholics, but then provides and compares the teachings of the Roman Catholic church on salvation. We'll get to that another day as I think it is important to pray with clear knowledge from someone who lived it as a devoted Catholic who was transformed by the truth of God's Word and knows it well. It will cause us to prevail in prayer for them.
Thanks for praying!
Pray for us and our eventual return to Manila in this way...
that I would be able to arrange Common Church Issues Workshops. The first of these will most likely be at our beloved Emmanuel Baptist Church in Taytay, Manila. Then we intend to branch out to other settings among church leadership teams in Manila, Baguio, Baras and Bicol.
I learned this approach in training from my good friends and mentors at FBC Training Center. It is my hope to impact and influence local churches to become more biblical and prepared in their approach to solving common church issues
Follow this link to our website to understand and pray with knowledge for this important workshop ministry as it pertains to helping establish churches in the Philippines http://www.equipmanila.com/common-church-issues-workshop.html
Will you join our team as a financial partner?