A Baptist friend and the Church

I have a very good friend who is a Southern Baptist - though he tells me this is more of a “cultural than spiritual” designation. He married a Catholic, and attends mass with her.

He and I have shared our faith over the years, and I have nudged him toward Catholicism, and though he attends mass with his wife he says conversion is not an option (though I think this is rooted in old unconscious Southern prejudices and what his family might think of him).

His eldest daughter is about to enter Catechism and he is concerned that her Southern Baptist dad may be on the outs (it has never been a question how the kids would be raised).

I think there are two issues. One is what he presents - how to not feel on the outs with his daughter. The second is that I think his journey may be leading to the Church, but he is resisting given how he was raised to view Catholicism.

He wants to talk with me about these issues as a friend he can talk honestly with man to man about spiritual matters. Clearly he knows my strong Catholic faith, but he "trusts me to be impartial."
What advice should I give him? What advice would you give me? Is there any book I can buy for him that may help?

I have a similar situation with my sister-in-law’s husband. He is marginally Presbyterian, although, if he ever attends a church, it is a Catholic Mass. I am Godfather for both of his sons.

I would love to see him recieved in to the Catholic Church and have told him as much. His oldest son will recieve first Eucharist, along with my youngest son, this coming spring.

All we can do is be faithful witnesses to Christ and His Church. If he asks you about specific teachings, give him the best, most honest answer you can. Only the Holy Spirit will be able to overcome his predjudices, but he may do so through you. Then again, he may do it through someone else (perhaps your friend’s wife or their children).

Oh yeah, and pray as well, especially to St. Monica.

Pax et bonem.

While I was raised with a lot of strong Catholic influences I was raised Southern Baptist none-the-less. Yes, I’d say it IS a cultural thing. Even though I am 1/4 Sicilian, I have an English last name and look as far from Sicilian as you can. Although I love my Sicilian roots, I’ve always identified as a Southern WASP. I still find myself looking at other folks in mass thinking “He’s Italian. She’s Mexican” etc…Same when I read mass intentions or other parish news. It’s just an unconscious thing. Culture is a hard thing to get passed sometimes. But I might add, if you’re convinced thoroughly of the rightness of Catholic truth, it’s easy to subjugate cultural prejudices. This fellow has been attending mass at a Catholic Church. Give him straightforward answers to his questions and you might have a good chance. I’d recommend *Catholicism for Dummies *and The US Catholic Catechism for Adults. They are both thorough and orthodox yet are not overly complex. The Compendium of the Catholic Catechism is another great book but sometimes I find it too weighed down by the language of Benedict and Cardinal Schonborn. They are so brilliant they can make even the easy sound complex!:smiley:

warn your friend not to have anything to do with the rosary, or to start praying the rosary with his family. he does that and it’s over, he will be in RCIA faster than you can say “born again.”

I would recommend the book By What Authority by Mark Shea

Also, check out the website staycatholic.com

As someone who was raised to be Southern Baptist I would tell him to get out as fast as he can. I’m not overly fond of Catholicism but if his family is Catholic and his Baptist-ness is more cultural than spiritual I don’t see why he’s still Baptist…

Rob, there is one very good book I would recommend, Four Witnesses, by Ron Bennett, himself a So. Baptist. Bennett began a search for the early church and wanted to worship in the way the earliest Christians did. He studied the Early Church Fathers, (ECFs), especially Ignatius, St. Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, and Iraeneus of Lyons. He found what he was looking for, the true Church of Jesus Christ, and was welcomed into our Church not long after doing his study. It is not too heavy, but is filled with the history of the Church, by some of the earliest eyewitnesses, which most of our cousins at the So. Baptist churches have not studied. You can probably get it at a good price at www.half.com.

Let him know it is a history of the early Church written by a So. Baptist, (all true).


For books, I would suggest Surprised By Truth. It is an excellent book on how people from different relgious backgrounds found their way to the Church.

Also another book by Patrick Madrid

Does The Bible Really Say That? Discovering Catholic Teaching in Scripture

I have found it to be short and sweet and to the point. In addition, at the end of each short chapter is a listing of more verses to read as well as CCC paragraphs to read.

I read through this book, but just started studying it. It’s good.

I’ve heard very good things about the book Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism written by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. From the Amazon description:

The well-known and very popular Catholic couple, Scott and Kimberly Hahn, have been constantly travelling and speaking all over North America for the last few years about their conversion to the Catholic Church. Now these two outstanding Catholic apologists tell in their own words about the incredible spiritual journey that led them to embrace Catholicism. Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister, the top student in his seminary class, a brilliant Scripture scholar, and militantly anti-Catholic … until he reluctantly began to discover that his “enemy” had all the right answers. Kimberly, also a top-notch theology student in the seminary, is the daughter of a well-known Protestant minister, and went through a tremendous “dark night of the soul” after Scott converted to Catholicism.

Their conversion story and love for the Church has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of lukewarm Catholics and brought them back into an active participation in the Church. They have also influenced countless conversions to Catholicism among their friends and others who have heard their powerful testimony.

Thanks to all. This is very helpful. I spoke with the friend, and will be sharing some of this in our subsequent conversations.

Funny think is, a second Southern Baptist friend of mine just came to me about the same issues, so this is going to be very helpful.

Thanks to all!

The Hahn book is very good overall, but the Hahn’s weren’t baptist before their conversion.

Stephen Ray has a moving and powerful testimonial DVD available. He was evangelical/Baptist who never even had Catholicism as a teeny blip on his radar when he was searching for Truth.

His book is available as well. It was started as a letter to his father explaining his conversion to Catholicism and ended up being a book about his journey.

Both the video and the book are well done. You can visit his website to learn more.

<<The second is that I think his journey may be leading to the Church, but he is resisting given how he was raised to view Catholicism.>>

As Rhett Butler said, “Far be it from me to question the teachings of childhood.”

You might want to invite your friend to attend RCIA classes in order to understand the faith better, even if he is not willing to commit to becoming a Catholic. Most RCIA programs would accomodate your friends, even if he is just “kicking the tires.” He will be better informed about the faith and be able to answer his children’s questions about the faith. And, who knows, he might find that he’s more ready than he thinks!

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