Happiness, Devotion, Sincerity Do Not Necessarily Prove People Right In Religion
Passage taken from Dr. John R. Rice's excellent book, "The Charismatic Movement" ; Chapter 12, pg. 134-136
A Christian Science woman told me what great peace of heart she had had, how her troubled mind had settled down, when she learned through Christian Science that there is no such thing as sin, that is only an error of mortal mind, etc. She insisted that she had the peace she had long sought.
A Catholic woman wrote me the other day of what great joy and peace she had in the Catholic faith, how precious Mary was to her, and how she enjoyed praying to Mary! And what a great comfort the priest had been when he came to their home in a time of sickness. And how sad she felt that I did not have the joy and privilege of being in the Roman Church. She was sincere. But the simple truth is that praying to Mary, confessing to a priest, having masses said for people's souls, etc., are not scriptural nor right. And she did not know the joy of salvation by personal faith in Christ.
How arrogant and sure of themselves are Jehovah's Witnesses missionaries! Some of them spend years in house-to-house visitation trying to propagate the Jehovah's Witness doctrines. Yet most of them do not know that they if they are saved or have not the assurance of salvation. Again and again when I pressed the matter, "Ye must be born again,' Jehovah's Witnesses at my door had no idea what it meant. Satisfaction with their religion does not prove that they are right. I remember the astonishment and conviction of such a man at Hastings, Minnesota. He then came to trust Christ and be saved.
In Rome, which I visited about about fourteen times, I always go when I can to the Church of the Holy Stairs. There we see people climbing those twenty-eight steps on their knees, steps that tradition says Queen Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, brought from Jerusalem from Pilate's Judgment Hall. Always those stairs have been crowded. Often people are weeping as they climb the stairs and stop to kiss each step. My heart bleeds when I see them. I have no doubt of their sincerity, their deep seeking after God, their constant faith that they will gain credit in Heaven. Oh, but there is an easier surer way to peace with God! These people are sincere, though they are wrong.
Among many good Christian people, strange doctrines are held sincerely. My father was sprinkled as a baby by his Methodist parents. And until he was about thirty-five years old, a wild, rough, drinking lost man, his only hope of Heaven was that he had been sprinkled and surely his father and mother knew what they were doing. Any confidence he had in that religion was false confidence. Then he got saved.
Can honest people, even scholarly, devoted ministers of the Gospel, hold to sprinkling for baptism and sprinkling babies instead of converts? Oh, yes, many of them do! They didn't get that from the Bible, but they inherited the doctrine and now try to find proof texts to satisfy their hearts. To convince one against his will, leaves him of the same opinion still.
Good people can be misled on doctrine. Because four thousand people at Catholic Notre Dame University talked in tongues is no sign that speaking in tongues is from God. Because people enjoy it and think it brings great blessing does not mean it is scriptural. We still need to check carefully the Scriptures.