Tuesday, February 19, 2013

chapter 6 bible bob

Enrique became angry toward the Catholic Church when he understood that the Bible taught salvation was totally unmerited; that it was given through Jesus Christ as a free gift to be received by those who believed.

He mockingly said to the priests, "Now I know why you don't want Catholics reading the Bible. If they do, they'll find out they don't need you anymore.”

Enrique had read I Tim 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” He understood its implications. “People get saved by coming directly to Jesus Christ. They don’t need any other mediator because Jesus is the only mediator,” he told the priest in his classroom. “People don’t need the Church to bring them to God. “If people started reading their Bibles, you wouldn’t be able to get their money from them!"

This was when Enrique was in ninth grade. It was also Enrique's last year in Jesuit school.

As he lost respect for the priests’ theology, he also lost respect for their authority. His behavior deteriorated. He was called into the principal’s office repeatedly. Despite his family’s connections, his parents were told Enrique would not be permitted to continue in Catholic school.

Though he did not understand it at the time, the Jesuits had taught him that he was responsible to figure out for himself what was real and what was false. Part of the Jesuit mission is to teach people to use their reasoning. As an example, a priest asked the students in Enrique’s class if it was right to smoke a cigarette while praying? The kids were aghast. “No!” they exclaimed. The priest continued: “So what if someone is smoking out on the beach and he sees a beautiful sunset. And that person prays, ‘Dear God, thank you for such a beautiful sunset.' Is it okay that he prays while he is smoking?"

Enrique did not understand at that time that though his mind was filled with the truth of the gospel, his heart had not yet been converted to the person of the Lord Jesus. His love for sin only increased as he had lost his fear of a coming judgment.

Yet his new understanding of a ‘works free’ salvation had become part of his psyche. Because he felt so unlike any of his friends, his emotions were dark. Anyone critical of anything in others would fill him with sadness. Life around him seemed to have so many problems. He looked for anything to drown out his feelings and his fears.

He went to a Christian youth outreach called The Ranch. There they had many activities. They sang and talked about the Bible. But Enrique couldn’t make a connection with the kids. They were too different from him.

At age 17, against his earlier principles, he began using marijuana with his friends. He had never so enjoyed himself, or had such a wonderful escape from his troubled feelings.

When Enrique started community college he decided to buckle down. Without any help from a girlfriend, he did well. He chose his course of studies and he stayed focused. But Enrique knew where to find a good time, and gradually his motivation diminished and his good grades declined.

While in school, he found a job as an installer/repairman for Southern Bell. He dreamed of becoming a millionaire. His happiness consisted of doing whatever was out there to have fun. He gambled, fished, caroused and he liked women. All those things needed money.

His foreman at Southern Bell was a man everyone called BB. His name was Bob Beers, but his employees understood BB to stand for Bible Bob. The other men warned Enrique about him. But one day BB got Enrique by himself and began to witness to him.

“I know Jesus died for my sins,” Enrique told him. “I’m a Christian.”

“You!?” said BB. “You’re a Christian?” He could hardly contain his astonishment.

Enrique had hair past his shoulders. He dressed good. He swore even better. “I am,” said Enrique. “I know Jesus died for all my sins.”

“If you’re a Christian,” asked BB, “then why don’t you act like a Christian?”

“What are you talking about?” asked Enrique.

“If you’re a Christian, why do you hang around with the crowd you do? Why do you talk the way you talk? Why do you go with the boys to the bars after work?”

Enrique was confused. Bob Beers quoted I Peter 1:16 and Ephesians 2:10. “Be holy for I am holy.” “We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works." 

He asked Enrique, “Don’t you know that Jesus did not die for our sins so we could just keep on sinning?”

Enrique listened. It seemed to make sense what Bob was saying. He thought he understood. So he said to himself, “Okay, I’m a Christian, and if Christians don’t smoke, I need to quit smoking. If Christians don’t cuss, I need to quit cussing.”

He cut his hair. He stopped smoking marijuana and he stopped drinking. He ended his promiscuousness.

He did not yet understand that Christians behave like Christians because they are Christians.

But Enrique listened to everything Bob told him. He got baptized. He read his Bible. He went to Bob’s church. His church was different! The building was a simple structure. No one there had any special titles. He heard their expressions of prayer and listened to their teaching and observed their breaking of bread. There wasn’t even someone presiding as the person in charge. He saw a difference in the roles between men and women, and he observed there was not a chafing between the genders there. It was just a small gathering of plain people who believed that Christ was in their midst. Enrique was deeply moved. “Surely God Himself is among these people,” he thought.*

He became a regular part of this fellowship. He liked these people. Bob opened his home to Enrique. There he enjoyed many meals and many good conversations. He became good friends with Bob's four sons.
A fellow worker in BB‘s crew at Southern Bell, Bob Bowers, also befriended Enrique. He and Enrique spent much time together, and they often talked over the Scriptures.

But sometimes Enrique wondered if maybe these people were not just a little too simple. He respected them. He believed they had the truth. And they were perfectly happy with their singing, their prayers, and their beliefs. But still he wondered. “There has to be something more,” he thought to himself. He missed his old circle of friends.

During this time, he met a beautiful young girl. She came from a good home. She had good morals (very different to him from the other women he had once found so attractive.) Even better, she was willing to come with him to this church fellowship. “Maybe,” he thought. “Maybe this girl is this missing part. Maybe she is what I’ve needed.”

*1Corinthians 14: 24-25

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