Answer For BIL

Hi All,

I’ve been in an apologetics email discussion over the last six months with my BIL. This is part of his latest message to me. He’s an ex-Catholic turned Calvinist, Does anyone have any suggestions on how to respond?

“Let’s face it, yes there are 1 billion Catholics worldwide, but statistics show that only 25 to 30% of those even attend mass on a regular basis. There are so many differing views within the Catholic Church that I think it is Catholicism that has as many viewpoints as Protestants. It’s just that Protestants can be a little more defined along denominational lines.”

Thank you!

Catholics have the Catechism of the Catholic Church that shows all the doctrines and morals of the Church. That is what the Church teaches, through the God-given authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That has nothing to do with the fact that some Catholics choose to not abide by some of those doctrines and morals. The truth is defined, and the Church cannot err in that, because “the gates of hell will not prevail…”

However, when the Holy Spirit grants the wayward Catholics the grace to return to the Church and obey all the teachings, and they respond to this grace, then they are truly Catholic.

I thank God for his forgiveness.

“Viewpoints” don’t mean diddly. It’s teachings that matter. The Catholic Church has one set of teachings. One Catechism. One Magisterium.

How many sets of teachings can be found in the Protestant world? The phrase “grains of sand by the seashore” comes to mind…

These are great observations. I also remember hearing an argument along the lines that you need to judge an organization by its best members and not its worst… judge the Church by its saints and not its Cafateria Catholics. Do you think this is an effective argument?

[quote=ThePol] There are so many differing views within the Catholic Church that I think it is Catholicism that has as many viewpoints as Protestants.
[/quote]

:hypno:

[quote=ThePol]It’s just that Protestants can be a little more defined along denominational lines.
[/quote]

:confused:

My first observation is that this isn’t any kind of argument at all. Just a collection of dubious propositions. Get him to make an actual argument rather than hurling these tepid brickbats.

Scott

For my $.02, I would stick with what the others have said. As Scottgun said, it’s not really an argument, so I would stick with Vocimike and Dorothy’s replies, and leave it at that.

Yes it is a useful point to use, but only to a point. Also remind him that the Church is and has always been the authority on this earth, established by God Himself, to carry on the mission of Jesus to preach the Gospel till the end of time. Now are all of it’s “members” the best examples of saintly believers yet, of course not. Even though it is trite, remind him the Church is a hospital for sinners, not a resort for saints.

Your BIL is judging the Catholic Church, which is represented throughout most of the whole world, by the behavior of some of it’s “members” in the US and maybe even western Europe too, both of which areas are very secularized, and self-centered. And in those areas of the world, all faith traditions report similar statistics.

Finally remind him that our country has seen quite a few traitors, who have sold out our nation’s secrets many times for the almighty dollar. But we don’t see Americans leaving this country because of those traitors to it, and we shouldn’t see people walking away from the true Church Jesus established, because of sinful bahavior of some Catholics.

God Bless You and Your BIL

Originally Posted by ThePol
These are great observations. I also remember hearing an argument along the lines that you need to judge an organization by its best members and not its worst… judge the Church by its saints and not its Cafateria Catholics. Do you think this is an effective argument?

I would guess a method of approaching the subject is to say that it is good that he has faith and the faith he has is a gift from God and used for the developing relationship with Christ. I would also say that Calvinism and forms of it is good in the sense of it relating A gospel to people but it is not THE Gospel.

I could go on from here, but starting a discussion in this way is sure to spark a conversation in which you can show loving concern and intellectual truthfulness.

mdcpensive1

“Let’s face it, yes there are 1 billion Catholics worldwide, but statistics show that only 25 to 30% of those even attend mass on a regular basis. There are so many differing views within the Catholic Church that I think it is Catholicism that has as many viewpoints as Protestants. It’s just that Protestants can be a little more defined along denominational lines.”

People have billions of opinions but doctrines are what counts. In my younger days I also had “opinions” that were founded upon what I thought was rational. Many of my “opinions” have changed because I learned what the source of information and revelations were that caused the doctrines and beliefs to be written in the way that they were. The more I study my faith I learn that there were a lot of intelligent and learned men and women in the two thousand year history of salvation that actually understood more theology than I did.

Knowing the reasons for why something is believed and the sources of inspiration for the development of doctrine confirms me more and more in my faith. I guess I had to subject myself to the authority of the Church since I know it is always guided by the Spirit and I and others are not alway guided in the same way.

mdcpensive1

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