Arguing with Protestants is a waste of time


Arguing with Protestants that insist Catholics prove some part of the Faith with references to the Bible is a waste of time. The Faith isn’t dependent on Sacred Scripture; Sacred Scripture depends upon the Faith!

Trying to answer such questions as “where is Purgatory mentioned in the Bible?” is pointless - Purgatory comes to us from the same source as the Bible itself: the Traditions of the Church. If the Protestant asking such a question were honest with himself, he would realize that accepting the Bible as Sacred Scripture, but not Purgatory as Sacred Tradition is contradictory. The Church, source of both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, is either infallible, or it is not. If you throw out Sacred Tradition, you should be prepared to throw out Sacred Scripture (all of it, not just a few parts!)

So, as a note to any Protestant that may be reading this post: stop challenging the Catholic Faith by question extra-Biblical Tradition, and instead challenge yourself and your acceptance of parts of Sacred Tradition, which has brought to you Sacred Scripture, “the Bible”. Either you accept the infallibility of the Church, accept the Christian Faith, and become a Catholic (Universal) Christian, or you reject it outright and abandon your heresies and apostate yourself from the Faith entirely. Those are the only logical outcomes.


That’s not strictly true. Scripture is a PART of our Faith, not a derivative of our faith (the exact Canon is a derivative, but the specific content is not).

There is no more problem proving some Catholic doctrine by Scripture than proving it by reference to Trent. Scripture is PART of our Faith, thus it MUST be in complete harmony with every other part of our Faith.

When dealing with protestants, Scripture is often our only common ground. In this regard, it is often much easier to approach protestants (as compared to non-Christians), because they already accept one leg of our three-legged stool.

I (being myself a convert) have used Scriptural evidence to great effect. Of particular note is my own brother, Eric; you may be interested in his small personal website:


Well it depends who you are talking to if the topic by you and protestant is to win an arguement than yeah it will be a waste of time. But if its about a true dialogue of truth and honest excahnge of ideas it need not be a waste of time but your on to something that needs to be clarfied before we play the Bible tennis game. I’ll show you my bible verse and you show me your bible verse which can be frustrating and fruitless. The first discussion should not be be that but the very notion of the sacred deposit of faith given to us by the apostles, how did they deposit that faith and through what sources can we find that deposit today. Was it by by means of both oral and written tradition and was the church the vessel both were revealed to us. If these are true than how does that affect our understanding of sola scriptura and is that a Reformation innovation or something we can find in the early church? Unless there is a sincere dialouge about this than there is little point about going on to the bible tennis game which every denomination plays and contradicts each other with. Something I doubt the apostles would want us to play as they did not play that but appealed to authority of apostolic councils see Acts 15. No argueing over scripture rather thus saith Peter its the decree of the Church and it stands a rather interesting thing I would say that contradicts sola scriptura.


Ah, but the “specific content” IS a derivative of the Faith, for without the Faith, the meaning of that “specific content” is unknown, to be decided by individuals, “sola scriptura”. This, of course, is contrary to our Catholic Faith, that understands the Magisterium is the fountain from which the meaning of Sacred Scripture flows. Sure, the words were handed down to us from the authors, guided by the Holy Spirit in their writings, but the meanings of those words come to us from the Teaching Authority of the Church, part of Tradition.

My point is: Sacred Scripture can NEVER, alone, convert a pagan or heretic to the Faith - that is only accomplished by the person allowing himself to be guided to the Faith by the Holy Spirit. One can quote Sacred Scripture to a unbeliever until they are blue in the face, but that will never convert them to the Faith. Sacred Scripture alone MAY convert someone to one of the many heretical Protestant denominations, but never to the fullness of the Faith.


Purgatory is un-scriptural AFTER Martin Luther took out the 7 books of the original bible… So it truely is a scriptural doctrine(Macabees)… Martin Luther just omited it from the bible… he almost did with James too because it said “Faith without works is Dead”… but somehow later it got back in…So protestants would be calling “Faith with works” unscriptural too if Martin Luther succeded removing out James…

So you see that what is scriptural to protestants is based on Martin Luthers decisions on what HE thought was scriptural…

not a type of person you would be wanting to base all your theological basis and faith from… no one has the authority to just immediatly take 7 books out of the bible because it simply dosen’t “agree with them”… that is horribly irrational…


The Catechism teaches that the Catholic Church uses three “legs of a stool”–Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium. None of the three will contradict each other and all three will complement each other.

I agree that many Protestants will not accept any teaching other than from the Scripture. So to argue with them that Tradition must be considered along with Scripture will not work. They will not listen. So if you want to give witness of the Catholic Church, you have to start with Sacred Scripture. Let THAT convict them, then they will be more open to the possibility of the existence of Sacred Tradition.

But you have to start where they are. If you aren’t willing to do this, it’s like trying to talk to someone who doesn’t speak English by yelling at them in English. It won’t work. You have to have at least a few words of their language to give you a starting place.

I can “prove” purgatory from the New Testament and I’ve done it on these Boards. It’s not just a deuterocanonical doctrine. IMO, it’s one of the most “Protestant” things that Catholics believe. (I’m an ex-evangelical Protestant.)

I came to the Catholic Church through the Scriptures. The more I read of the Bible, the more I knew that the Protestant churches WEREN’T totally Biblical. But when I started attending the Catholic Church and studying the doctrines, I recognized that the Catholic Church is totally Biblical. The Bible in its entirety finally made sense.

I suggest reading several of the excellent books by ex-Protestants (e.g., Tim Stapleton) that use the BIble only to “prove” Catholicism. It is possible to talk to Protestants by using just “one leg of the stool.” Don’'t give up.


Instead of the title you’ve given your post and the resulting thread, may I suggest “Persuading Protestants Involves Too Much Work”?

If a Protestant interlocutor has been raised to believe that the bare text of the Bible is the only acceptable criterion of Christian truth, the Catholic apologist’s job might then be to discuss and demonstrate the Bible’s interdependences with Church doctrine and history. Then–and only then–should one move to step two.

I’ve known far too many Catholics and Protestants who, in their impatience, fail to explain the assumptions that undergird their religious worldviews to each other, believing them to be as universal as a fish does water. That’s a recipe for talking past each other, and perhaps that’s what you’re encountering here. So next time you’re defending Catholicism, try explaining why the Church plays such a large role in your understanding of the faith. Instead of an aggrieved demand that Protestants “stop challenging” Catholic doctrine, try to understand why the unaided, uninterpreted (by other parties) Bible is so essential to the understanding of some Protestant sects. The tenor of your post notwithstanding, I’m certain you’d rather light some candles than revel in the luxury of cursing what you take to be your brothers’ darkness.


Hi Kof,

You are right. Nobody ever won an argument.

The solution is not to argue. Most non-Catholics have lots of wrong ideas about the Church. Setting them right on these matters is non argumentative and goes a long way, because getting rid of one’s prejudices is the way to the truth.

Do not argue. State your beliefs and let them shine through your life. Being open, kind and receptive is how you can help God do the converting.



I don’t really see any major issues among Protestants and Catholics. Why can’t they both resolve the petty issues with reasonable and rational arguments with peaceful dialogue? A united Christendom would be better than a divided one on petty matters. In truth we Unite.
GodAllahYHWH is All-Knowing and All-Wise; one should invariably give Claim and Reason on all important issues from one’s Revealed Book; one shouldn’t try putting one’s own words into God’s mouth. Kindly let God speak for Claim and Reason and you would know the truth for sure.


What may seem like a waste of time is definately not. As a convert to the Catholic Church I praise God that I was drawn into the arguements for and against the Catholic Church and my 3-4 years over turning every stone was not in vain. Don’t give up on folks simply because they get under your skin and challenge your faith. Praise God that through it your are becoming a stronger Catholic even when you may feel upset ot angry, and praise God that Protestants who come here to challenge our faith and instruments in raising up and strengthening new Catholic apologists. There are also many opportunities to develope some new and lasting friendships with Protestant brothers and sisters:thumbsup:


The problem with Protestants is that when we DO prove some part of the Catholic Faith with references to Scripture, they do not accept it.

Purgatory is an example. There are many places in Scripture referencing support for Purgatory. But they do not acknowledge it.

Or, a common Protestant tactic/attitude. They will interpret the Catholic supporting verses differently, then claim that the Catholic view has no support whatsoever.


Purgatory can be a reality without the usual texts quoted for it supporting it. Maybe Protestants are on firm ground in rejecting the texts adduced in its support - if those texts do not say what some Catholics may think they do when they see Purgatory in them, then Protestants deserve praise for rejecting proofs that are no proofs: not blame

But they do not acknowledge it.

Or, a common Protestant tactic/attitude. They will interpret the Catholic supporting verses differently, then claim that the Catholic view has no support whatsoever.

IOW - they have their assumptions, their axioms, their POVs, their tradition (there is a thread on that), their understanding of what is or is not Christian, or compatible with it - just like…Catholics :slight_smile:

They say exactly the same about us. The psychology is identical - as are its fruits :frowning: Result - more of the same, bringing forth more of the same ad infinitum et in aeternum**.**

Maybe you’ve been unfortunate in the Protestants you’ve had contact with** :shrug:**


Yes, i agree that arguing with them is a waste of time. Reasoning with them using the Bible that they also take to be a source of truth about the faith is never a waste of time. Is it?But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15)


Exactly. To use an organisation’s internal documents to try to prove that it is illegitimate is an inherently flawed procedure.


Try to understand that for Protestants, as for anyone, it is very difficult to have everything you’ve ever believed to proven false.

Try to imagine a hanging. How would you feel when you feel that floor fall away underneath you and you go falling down to…?

That’s how Protestants feel when you knock out their faith. I’ve been there. It’s very, very frightening.

What I did to deal with it is quite unique. I write novels. I wrote Catholic characters into my novels, and in this way, I was able to “try out” being Catholic. It was good, and eventually, I went from being “Catholic by proxy” to “Catholic for real.”

But most Protestants can’t use my method (although perhaps reading my novels would give them a chance to “try out being Catholic!”). They have to find another way to deal with the terror, and one way is to continue to lash out like a cat that is cornered. They spit, they hiss, they bat, sometimes they lunge. They’re just scared. What do you do when a cat does this? You back away for a little while, but you don’t give up. You go back and try to “pet the cat” again.

The good news is, it’s not like a hanging, as many Protestants discover. It’s more like a jump out of an airplane, or a ski jump! Still scary, but exhiliarating.


I don’t know if it is helpful for Protestants to hear such but it may get them thinking about what they are following.This may be helpful for Catholics to use towards apologetics. Ask them do you know where your Bible originated from, how was it decided what is in your Bible (the books therein), whom decided which books belonged in your Bible, whom transcribed and diseminated them, whom massed printed them via the ‘printing press’. What Church gave authority to the Bishops and Councils that via the Holy Spirit and guided them to the original 73 books of the Bible, which stood intact for approx. 1000+ years before 7 books were thrown out in some Christian Churches. Further how old is your Protestant Church? What does Protestant in verbage of word represent and mean, and why???
If Sola Scriptura is the ‘way’, then anyones interpretation is as good as another, why doesn’t your Church have a Catechism or book that states what you exactly believe? Why does Christianity keep evolving into more sects, over 30000 types or denominations? Which Church did Jesus actually start and founded via Peter and all those early Church fathers and ecumenical councils? Those Bishops, priests and followers can be traced to one Church for 2000 years (basically). How old is your Protestant or other Church and what are your roots?

Additionally if you are a Christian in any form, your basic roots going way back are simply from Judaism and Catholicism (aka-The Way(book of Acts calls this ‘sect’), Katolikos(Universal Church in Greek-accepted everyone to enter), thus if you follow after Christ it is because your heritage is from those foundations, whether you like to hear it or not. These newer Christian Churches have morphed into ‘lesser’ doctrines and sacraments and some resemble the Church of Whats Happenin Now, that is the historical truth to consider. We don’t wish to seem arrogant and judgemental, and love our other neighbors, this Church believes it does have the fulness of the faith as set down unto Peter and succession. But if you are of differing religious following better that, than no following or aethistic views. Anything leading to his ways and teachings would be your blessing.


One of the common problems I have heard about is the so-called “resident alien” that resides in each one of us. We come to understand or interpret Scripture in light of our past experience. Since Catholic and non-Catholic experience of religion is so different we often do end up talking past one another. The same can happen for two Catholics and obviously two non-Catholics as is evidenced by the proliferation of churches. Catholics have a better chance of being “on the same page” because of our central authority, but we still have our divergent opinions in understanding what the central authority is saying. Rather than arguing I like to think of it as helping each other to see through the other’s"eyes" and sometimes it does change ones perspective and shifts that “resident alien.” Besides some of us enjoy arguing.


Nicely put Cat:thumbsup:


Cat, I agree, a very good response.

But I cannot help thinking, “So what?” There are many Protestants who make it their life’s mission to knock the faith out from under people (including Catholics, maybe especially Catholics), and some of them can be nasty and mean doing so. If one can dish it out, they should be able to take it.


If you truly feel this way, help them to understand Mary better.
Thank you in advance

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