We ought to obey God rather than men God’s grace in the life of a priest

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Nino Tirelli

Dear brothers, sisters, and friends; in gratitude and praise to the Triune God, and in the joy of our salvation freely granted through the Blood of the Lamb, I rejoice in this opportunity to present my testimony to you, as I remember His promise: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 10:32).

God’s Word declares, “…the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7). This of course refers to the priests “after the order of Aaron,” but at various times it has also been true of priests of the Roman Catholic Church when awesome grace truly sets men right with God. The Reformers, many of whom sealed their faith with their blood, were reclaimed in triumph by sovereign grace out of the Roman Catholic Church. Knowing this strengthened me against the doubts and fears that accompany our frail humanity. The Holy Spirit truly translates us from darkness to the kingdom of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the living God does this by the faith that is derived from the Holy Scriptures, and not from man-made traditions and reasoning.

In giving an account of my life, my intention is to present a perception of events without embellishment or exaggeration. I am merely going to tell the truth—as it was and is. In mentioning all those years that I spent in monastic seclusion, my sole purpose is to show you how the Lord brought me out of darkness into His light, and how He delivered me from the power of Satan, from death to life.

Here are a few dates: I was born in 1917 and entered the monastery in 1928. You will notice that I was just eleven years old. In those days, the Roman Catholic Church took boys, before puberty, to what was a secondary education in a monastic setting. I was ordained a priest in 1942, and by the grace of God; I was born again in 1959, after thirty-one years of spiritual bondage. No doubt, you have quite a few questions in mind, or perhaps just one: Why did I leave the priesthood and the Church of Rome? It was not for personal reasons or for motives pertaining to my own happiness, but because of the Word of God. Before answering, I need to tell you about the spiritual atmosphere that I lived in, and about monastic life.

How I Came to Enter the Monastery

In my boyhood, I wanted to be a physician, supposing that physicians knew all about illnesses and how to cure them, and could prevent people from dying. However, one day our country physician died; this amazed me to such an extent that I changed my mind. Being far from wealthy, but eager to get an education, from age eleven onwards I attended a Catholic boarding school run by Franciscan friars.

Please follow me now for a few minutes, as I tell you what it was like for us as young boys. Entering the boarding school for the first time, we rang a bell at the monastery door, and a bearded Capuchin friar ushered us in. Whatever we were carrying was stored in a numbered locker. The monastery door closed behind us, and from then on we were to consider we had no mind or wills of our own, all were subject to the authority of the Superior of the monastery.

Here, in the monastic boarding school, I received five years of secondary schooling while cut off from my family and the rest of the world. Most of the time, the air was thick with false piety, and what passed for the Gospel was a mere code of conduct. In this monastic boarding school, austere traditions were the only thing anyone knew about. Throughout the years I spent there, I found no peace. I was continually plagued with queries and doubts. If I ever shared these doubts with anybody, the only answer I obtained was, “It is of the devil.” So, I fell into the habit of keeping all my thoughts to myself.

Later on, I was transferred to the normal monastery to begin my novitiate. The novitiate is a time of preparation and testing for those who wish to become friars. We were then obliged to take the threefold vow of obedience, chastity, and poverty. This I did at the end of my first year. Franciscans have three knots in their rope girdles symbolizing this threefold vow.

As a seminarian, I already had to reckon with the fact I had no will of my own, even more so, now that I was a friar having taken the threefold vow. My name was changed to that of “Brother Matthias.” I wore a monastic habit, and I was tonsured. Even in winter, I walked barefooted in sandals. There was no comfort whatsoever in our rooms that were called cells. We used to rise at midnight and go down to church to sing the traditional prayers of the Church. Almost daily, I had to fast from food, wear a hair shirt, and flagellate, myself, supposedly to atone for my sins. There is not enough time to expand on these matters; suffice it to say, I had no inner peace from those sacrifices and mortifications. I fervently longed to be freed from this state of spiritual bondage.

After three years of philosophic studies, I was obliged to renew my vows, which then bound me for life to the monastery. I studied theology for four years and was ordained a priest on July 12, 1942. Those were fourteen long years of learning experiences and struggles, never to be forgotten. The rigid discipline and the isolation in a closed environment very soon turned me into a slave. I mechanically walked in the way that had been mapped out for me, no longer wondering whether it was the right path for me.

During my novitiate, I had begun to wonder whether the monastic life was really God’s will for me. At that time I thought, should I continue? Would it be good to drop everything and go home again? I let my superiors know about my inner struggles. They would reply, “Stay where the Lord has put you, all else is of the evil one.” Having been well schooled in obedience, I would always say, “Yes,” although in bitterness. I accepted my superiors’ counsel and plodded on. But God, who searches our hearts and sees the innermost parts within us, had already heard my cry and was already preparing my deliverance. “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1).

My Life as a Priest

To a certain extent, studying philosophy, and being transferred to another monastery in another city, helped to moderate my doubts. My problems, however, increased tenfold as I was to be ordained a priest. My superiors, who knew about my inner struggles, sent me to a highly secluded monastery to be indoctrinated—or brainwashed—as we say today. What with all the shame that I underwent, my utter isolation, my fear of finding myself in an even worse situation, like it or not, I allowed myself to be ordained a priest.

My ordination marked the beginning of a new phase in my life. Being a priest enabled me to establish contacts with all sorts of persons. After the death of my parents, and the end of the war, I became a teacher, one who heard confessions of sins, and a hospital chaplain in various locations. However, the peace of God still evaded me and my soul was still restless. After having been a Capuchin for twenty-one years, I joined the Minor Monastery of Franciscans order, whose rules are less strict than those of the Capuchins. I was transferred to the Franciscan monastic province of Rome itself. This seemed all new and wonderful at first. I thought I had found a haven of peace, but how wrong I was! All my doubts surfaced again, and I was continually misunderstood. After serving for five years as a teacher in a secondary school in Rome, I was sent into exile in the secluded monastery of “Sezze Romano” in the province of Latium. Strangely enough, in one way I lacked nothing, yet at the same time I lacked everything. Everything there ran like clockwork: our daily schedules, our programs, teaching students, Mass, and hearing confessions. Such was my run-of-the-mill existence in Latium.

Radio, television, and movies were of the greatest importance in our monastery, which was filled with the world and its lusts. Theoretically, I had renounced the world and its temptations, but now I felt myself gradually sinking into sin and on my way to hell. Elsewhere, outside the walls of the monastery, there were also diocesan priests, or what are called secular priests. These so-called “servants of God” were of questionable morals and lovers of money. They took money for so-called blessings both within and outside of the Church. Their flocks idolized these priests who paraded images and relics before them and raised Mary and the papacy to god-like status. These priests advocated indulgences and all sorts of false doctrines.

From Darkness to Light

In the isolation of the monastery, a sort of upheaval took place within my spirit. Seemingly, God was forcing me to examine my own life in the light of the Holy Scriptures, as the Lord Himself sought for believers when He prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). It became clear to me that so far, instead of actually studying God’s Word, I had merely dissected a few passages, which at first sight could be used to support Roman Catholic theology. I understood how limited and distorted my study of the Bible had been. I had only studied disconnected fragments. The light of God and the whole counsel of God were lacking, and I had a false concept of salvation. So far, pagan philosophy and sophistry had been foremost. We had twisted and hijacked the Word to make it fit the teachings of the Roman Church.

From Perdition to Salvation

In God’s Word it is written, “The Lord knoweth them that are his (2Timothy 2:19). Jesus has said, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts (Revelation 2:23).The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9).He knoweth them that trust in him (Nahum 1:7). The great day of revelation, when I received help and light from above, came to me quite unexpectedly. It was on an April morning in 1958. Owing to a slight hitch, I postponed Mass from 6:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m. I again went up to my cell and tried to find a musical program on the radio. In His love, the Lord God led me to Radio Monte-Carlo. I listened to a beautiful hymn and a powerful, Spirit-inspired message on the subject, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Hebrews 3:6, 7). At the end of the message came the announcement: “You have been listening to “Radio Risveglio.” The address of the ministry was then given.

I am unable to describe exactly what happened that morning, but I do know that from then onwards I sensed new life welling up within me. I wrote to “Radio Risveglio,” and they answered. Through our exchange of letters, I understood for the first time the message of salvation, which was completely new to me. To put it in a nutshell, I felt powerfully moved to serve God according to His Word in the Scriptures in sincerity and righteousness. Thoughts about my past now filled me with disgust. The staff of Radio Risveglio sent me a New Testament. This became my favorite book for daily reading and meditation. Shortly afterwards, I was able to have a personal contact with Radio Risveglio to share my problems and open my heart. In September that same year, the Lord intervened providentially, allowing me to obtain a passport, which was quite unusual for a friar. This passport enabled me to travel to Lugano where Radio Risveglio is based. In my monastic garb, I took part in their services. In this atmosphere of brotherly love, I realized that all my years of liturgical ceremonies, man-made traditions, and fine philosophical and theological arguments did not quench my spiritual thirst. Only the Word of God can meet our needs—provided it is believed and obeyed unreservedly—for God’s Word alone is the Truth.

Three days later, I returned to the monastery, but this time I had a Holy Bible with me. For a while, I led as it were a double life. On one hand, I had a meaningless, ritualistic, rut-like existence, conforming to the environment I still had to live in. On the other hand, I had a life of genuine communion with God, dedicated to studying and meditating on His Word. I kept comparing the Roman Catholic doctrines and practices with the written Word to find out whether or not I was in the truth.

Out of Bondage and into Freedom in Christ

Readers, do you suppose I should have continued to live in the darkness once I had seen the light? Should I have persevered in error although the truth was staring me in the face? Never! I do not think you would have advised me to stay where I was; you would have very likely extended your hand and helped me to leave this prison as quickly as possible. Would you not? Thus, I had to change course and turn towards Jesus Christ, so that He alone would be my Saviour, my Master, my Lord, and my All. This new direction had begun when I first listened to Radio Monte-Carlo. However, for all practical purposes, the distinctive new direction began on February 4, 1959 when, without the least regret, I left my monastic order and the Roman Catholic Church.

I spent the night, preceding my departure, writing my spiritual testimony, and declaring that I was leaving behind error and lies in order to embrace the truth of the Gospel. Then, as I left my cell in the morning, the enemy tried to hold me back by using all sorts of arguments. But an inner voice told me, “Be brave and act.” So, I celebrated my last Mass. I ate my last meal with the other monks, and after having slipped my written testimony into the superior’s mailbox, I took the train to Lugano, where I met up with the team from Radio Risveglio. Several months later, the Lord opened a door for me, in fact, within this very same organization. Thus, I was now able to proclaim salvation via the mass media, which I did up to my retirement and afterwards. Now, I invite you to look at several points of the teachings of the Church of Rome.

The Papacy

When I set out to examine the doctrines of the Church of Rome in the light of the Bible, I started at the top, i.e., the papacy, by reading the biographies of the popes in the Catholic Encyclopedia. While these biographies change some of the facts of history, I nevertheless learned that the existence of some popes is uncertain and that the chronological placement of others is unknown. This encyclopedia also describes the bloody combat others engaged in to attain the papal throne. Still others were condemned as heretics by their successors; several of them led a corrupt life. After reading all this, I asked myself the following question, “Could the papacy have been instituted by God?” Obviously, the response was “no.”

From an early age I was taught, and, sad to say, subsequently taught others, that the bishop of Rome is also the “pope.” In other words, the pope is Peter’s successor as the head of the Church, the representative of Christ on earth, that he is “infallible,” and that we owe obedience to him as we do to God. But do the Holy Scriptures confirm these teachings? Not at all! The Church of Rome claims to have an uninterrupted chain of Peter’s successors on the papal throne, but freely acknowledges the impossibility of proving that Peter ever set foot in Rome. There is not a single verse in Scripture that alludes to his going to Rome. The doctrine of “apostolic succession” received a fatal blow during the Western Schism (1378 – 1417) when for thirty-nine years there were two and even three popes at the same time, who were excommunicating each other. It was and remains unknown to this day who was the real pope. Where there are two or three popes, there is no longer one real pope. The pope calls himself the “Vicar of Jesus Christ.” But does his character resemble that of the Savior in any way? For those who did not recognize him as King of heaven, did Christ ever condemn anyone to prison or burning at the stake? What a difference between His thoughts and those of His so-called vicars!

And what about papal infallibility? Did the pope become infallible on July 18, 1870, the day he proclaimed this in Vatican Council I? In the light of history, and more importantly, of Holy Scripture, no one is infallible but God and His Word. Jesus prayed the Apostle Peter would remain faithful (Luke 22,31), but he never guaranteed Peter would be infallible. In His great high priestly prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ declared clearly the truth of God’s Word. He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). God’s written Word is infallible, but not the word of any man.

Baptism

Water baptism should testify to the faith and repentance of the person who has been converted to Christ. Indeed, Jesus said to his disciples, “And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:15, 16). Clearly, faith should precede baptism, as baptism has no value unless it is accompanied by faith. This is why Philip responded to the Ethiopian eunuch who asked to be baptized, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” (Acts 8:37 ). And then the Bible tells us: “They went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him (Acts 8:38). The book of Acts tells us that the inhabitants of Jerusalem, after having heard Peter’s first sermon, “…were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:37, 38 ). This passage clearly shows us that faith and repentance are necessary to obtain forgiveness of our sins. Now in the Church of Rome, and other churches as well, babies are baptized in spite of what the Bible teaches. A little baby is unaware and can neither believe nor repent. In addition, the Greek verb “baptizo” means, “immerse,” not “sprinkle.” Thus the only baptism, which can be called as such, is baptism by immersion (Matthew 3:16; John 3:23).

The Mass

According to the Roman Catholic Catechism, “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner…this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.’”

Let us take a closer look at this. First observation:  Jesus Christ, in offering Himself as a sacrifice to the Father for the redemption of the world, put an end to the sacrifices required by the law (Hebrews 10:1-18). Second observation:  Jesus Christ offered Himself once and for all [time] by one sacrifice, and He entered the Most Holy Place once and for all [time] by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). Third observation:  The sacrifices of the Old Covenant were usually characterized by the shedding of blood. The Bible says, “…without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22). Thus, how could it be that, in the Mass, Jesus would sacrifice Himself again [and again] for our purification, but without blood? Fourth observation:  We know and believe that our sins were atoned for at the Cross (Isaiah 53:3, 1Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 1:4, 1Peter 3:18 ). For this reason, we do not need additional sacrifices because “…where remission of these [sacrifices] is, there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:18). Furthermore, Rome teaches that as soon as the priest pronounces the sacramental words, “This is my body…. This is my blood,” a wondrous miracle takes place:  the altar becomes Calvary; the host becomes the physical body of Christ, and the wine becomes the actual blood of Christ, such that, in all reality, it has become the actual person, Jesus Christ. The priest who is officiating performs a sacrifice, and the faithful become his collaborators. We recall from a previous statement, that according to Scripture, Jesus offered Himself once for all: He put an end to blood sacrifices; He entered into the Most Holy Place with His own blood; and He is now seated at the right hand of God forever (Hebrews 10:12 ).

Now then, how can we reconcile the physical presence of Jesus in His body upon millions of altars, in the millions of hosts, which are consecrated daily throughout the world, with the fact that He is eternally at the right hand of God? How can all those “Jesuses” spring up like mushrooms at the command of a priest? Only once did the Word become flesh. The Church of Rome insists that, “Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ Himself…is present in a true, real and substantial manner: His body and His blood, with His soul and His divinity. Even in each part of each species, after it has been divided, Christ is present in whole.” Can we accept that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Almighty, could become a plaything in the hands of a priest? How preposterous!

Mary, the Idol

It is written in the Word of God: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5). We read that Hezekiah, the King of Judah, by doing that which was right in the eyes of God “removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it (2Kings 18:4). In other words, Hezekiah destroyed those things because the people, totally lacking discernment, were given over to idolatry. Apparently, these divine commandments from God’s Word are unknown in the Church of Rome. In fact, her temples and sanctuaries are overflowing with statues, paintings, and other religious images, as was the Pantheon of ancient pagan Rome. Furthermore, she worships the “saints” and especially Mary, “Queen of angels, prophets, apostles, heaven, earth, and sea…Mother of God, dispenser of all grace…” among other titles bestowed upon her. But shall we look at this in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which is the only rule of Christian conduct? Here are several truths: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1Timothy 2:5).Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus, referring to Himself, told us: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18 ). I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it (John 14:14 ). These words are so clear that we have no choice but to listen. 

Unfortunately, the Church of Rome has turned a deaf ear and directed her people along a different path, sending them away from the truth. Yes, Mary, for the Church of Rome, is most certainly an idol. They have made her into the Almighty, the Mistress of Heaven and Earth. According to the teaching of Rome, all grace is dispensed only by Mary’s hand, and all those who are saved owe their salvation to their “divine Mother.” Rome also teaches that Mary was conceived without sin, that she was born holy and immaculate, and that she ascended into heaven; that she is equal to Christ incarnate, and is in some regards superior to Him, being His mother. All these teachings are false and certainly blasphemous: they contradict the Word of God. Concerning the veneration of Mary, I have analyzed and examined the titles attributed to her, the high places and sanctuaries consecrated to her, the alleged apparitions, and the dogmas concerning her. I have found nothing but idolatry, legends, paganism and superstitions. What a contrast with the simplicity of the Gospel! And, what a twisting of the truth! The Holy Scriptures’ absolute silence concerning Mary’s supposed all-powerful, dominating role—both in heaven and on earth—is sufficient proof that only One should be worshiped; that there is only one Intercessor, that only One is the Savior, He whom God in His great love gave for our salvation: our Lord Jesus Christ.

Indulgences

Another teaching of the Church of Rome in opposition with the Holy Scriptures concerns the “indulgences,” that is to say, the total or partial remission of sins already forgiven. The Church of Rome claims to have received the power from Jesus Christ to dispense, as she sees fit, the overabundant atonement from Jesus, Mary, and the saints, which make up what she calls “the treasury of indulgences.” In 1552, the Council of Trent made this a point of their “doctrine of faith.” All who deny the existence of this authority within the Catholic Church, or who declare indulgences useless, are anathematized; in other words, cursed. The bone of contention is found in the fact that the Catholic Church accepts a temporal punishment (in purgatory) or an eternal punishment (in hell) after death, depending upon whether the sin is venial or mortal—but the Gospel makes no such distinction. The Catholic Church does indeed teach that the blood of Jesus washes away our sin and frees us from eternal punishment, but by virtue of the “power of the keys” granted to the Church, the Church has some say in the matter, and there is a temporal punishment to be satisfied by the believer, either on earth or in purgatory. By affirming this, the Church has placed herself above God. Scripture clearly tells us that, “…the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23). Thus there is no basis for distinguishing between “mortal sin” and “venial sin.” But Scripture does affirm that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). Furthermore, the Apostle Paul assures us that there is now “…no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1).

This does not mean that we will be spared the consequences of our sins in our life while here on earth. What then are we to make of indulgences? If the Church of Rome prides herself in possessing this power, whether over the living or the dead, why does she not use it to instantly free all the souls she sends to purgatory to work out their temporal punishment? The teaching of the Bible rules out the existence of a “treasury of indulgences” that the Church can dip into at her discretion. Christ alone is the sole propitiatory sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins (1John 2:2; 4:10). God alone has the power to forgive sins. Even the Pharisees recognized this in Jesus’ time; it is God who is offended when man sins, and only He as God can forgive sins. However, the Christian is exhorted to forgive when he has been wronged. Jesus taught us to pray, “…forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one who is indebted to us… (Luke 11:4). These two acts, God’s forgiving us, and the Christian forgiving others, are absolutely free; but through the use of indulgences the Church of Rome has transformed the remission of sins into a highly lucrative business we can only call simony.

The Catholic Church and the Bible

I could list more false doctrines of the Church of Rome, but I believe what I have explained so far is largely sufficient to demonstrate to any honest person, capable of objective evaluation, that the Catholic Church, although she considers herself the only true Church, has wandered terribly far away from the teachings of the Bible, that is, from the truth. According to the Church of Rome, the Bible remains a closed book. No one has the right to read any version other than one containing their official notes and bearing the bishop’s imprimatur. When boxed up within a monk’s cell, one spends a great deal of time reading and meditating on just about everything except the Word of God. Under these circumstances, the darkness thickens and obscures the spirits of those who should be enlightening the flock they have been entrusted to serve. We all know that Christ alone is the Light of the world and the Light of our consciences. If we do not allow Him to manifest His splendour through His Word, and His Word alone, we will remain in darkness.

Let us bless the Lord for the grace He bestowed on us in giving us His written Word, and for the free, direct, and unlimited access that we have to this source. Let us thank Him for guiding us by His divine Word, which is “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” As if the Gospel were not sufficient, the Church of Rome adds tradition along with its precepts and laws, and monastic orders along with their rules and vows. The monk is thus surrounded, or more precisely, bound by an endless number of duties, obligations, and restrictions. He is truly a slave headed toward spiritual death. It must be very difficult for those who have not lived in a monastery to realize exactly what I came through. Try to imagine how it would feel to be on death row and then to be suddenly set free instead of being executed. Indeed, after so many erroneous teachings, false interpretations, so much twisting of the Word of God, after all that we were forced to say and do (for we had to operate under duress), the day when the grace of God revealed the light and exposed the error was the day I came back to life!

The Church of Rome gives no assurance of salvation; she makes people live in doubt, in uncertainty, merely “hoping.” She teaches and affirms that the Word of God is insufficient; that it is necessary to add tradition and the pope’s teachings. Moreover, she insists that grace flows from Mary, and she makes so-called “saints” into mediators between God and us. In this system, anyone can earn their salvation by “good works,” mortifications, indulgences, et cetera. Anyone enlightened by the Bible is capable of verifying for himself the absurdity of this teaching, which inevitably leads to spiritual death and the rejection of the true sacrifice of Christ. Indeed, belonging to the Church of Rome actually amounts to dwelling in death—the death of salvation by grace, the death of the Word of God (deemed insufficient) and the death of the once and for all perfect sacrifice of Christ—since this sacrifice must be daily repeated in the Mass. It is even the death of our earthly life, for the more we do penance, the more we supposedly work our way up to heaven… What an aberration!

Beware of Deceptive Appearances

Nowadays, the Church of Rome displays an outward show of sincerity. She justifies her cruel acts of the past; although appearing Christian, she has not changed in the least. She continues to extol the worldly aspects of the papacy, and she retains those doctrines that originated in the darkest centuries of Christian history. This papacy is indeed the same as that one which dominated the world during the Reformation and which was denounced in the past by men of God willing to risk their lives. Papal Rome’s tactic is to take on any appearance that best serves her intentions, but this ever-changing chameleon has always kept its poisonous venom. Her doctrines bound me for thirty years. Without realizing it, I had been bound from infancy by these “doctrines of demons,” to borrow an expression used by the Apostle Paul. Papal Rome binds us, whereas Christ frees us. Papal Rome blinds us, whereas Christ enlightens us. Papal Rome cultivates doubt, whereas Christ gives us assurance. Papal Rome leads to perdition, whereas Christ leads us to eternal life.

I wish to point out that the most important part of my story is how I passed from death to life. One and only one road leads to Heaven: Jesus. Only one door opens into Heaven: Jesus. Only one key opens this door: the cross of Jesus. Only one Name has been given to men whereby they must be saved: Jesus. There is only one Mediator between God and men: Jesus. This is the only Gospel, the Gospel of grace—the real Gospel.

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Forty-seven years after my conversion, I still rejoice in the grace of God that saved me.

Postscript

In summing up this account, which is far too brief, I can assert with the Apostle Paul: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law or sin and death (Romans 8:1). Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever (Jude 25). The Apostle Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth: “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” (2Corinthians 5:14). His whole life is a marvellous example of the fervour and love, which led him to spread the good news of salvation. Well, this same love for Jesus is what leads me today to ask you a question:

Are you still groping about in the darkness of the Church of Rome? Do you have doubts about your salvation? Now is the time to face the facts and renounce false Catholic doctrine and to yield once and for all to Christ’s love, because only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Dear reader, you have read my testimony and followed the account of my spiritual struggles and my subsequent discovery of the truth. Maybe you are still in darkness; maybe you are still hesitating. I urge you to tear down this wall separating you from God and to choose Christ Who is—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Apart From Him, there is no salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name in heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The Lord says, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). How one is to come to God as a sinner is made abundantly clear in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The man who cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), went back to his house justified. For true assurance and peace with God, stand on the Lord’s promises, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

I urge you to repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today, and in return, you will find peace and the joy of belonging to Christ, and these will remain with you until He comes to take you to reign with Him forever (2Timothy 2:12).

Nino Tirelli

Although he is almost ninety years old, Nino is still active in his evangelical church. He is no longer an elder, but he is still in charge of his church’s newsletter. Some time after he began to work for Radio Risveglio, Nino married the secretary of the station, Alice. Nino and Alice have two children, a daughter who is married and living in the United States, and a son. Nino’s address is: Nino Tirelli, Perrière 22, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland