Best questions to ask Protestants

I find myself drawing ever closer to the Catholic Church. I fully intend to go to Mass tomorrow (although I won’t be receiving Communion yet). But I haven’t quite got up the courage to go to Confession yet.

On Monday, I am going to meet with my pastor to discuss the Catholic faith. I lent him a copy of Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic by David Currie. I told him about the many different Protestant denominations and how they all teach different things, and he responded that there are Catholics who also believe different things. I told him that they’re supposed to believe the same things and said that poor catechesis might be the reason why.

What are the best “stumper questions” you can think of to ask Protestants? I know about “Show me where the Bible teaches that the Bible alone is the supreme infallible authority” but what other questions do you think are good to ask Protestants to make them reconsider Protestantism and think about Catholicism?

Congrats on your seemingly impending return to the faith.

Another good question to ask is, who wrote the Gospel of Mark? And how do you know? Since there’s nothing in that gospel saying , “I, Mark” we are all trusting in a authority outside the bible to tell us that Mark authored this gospel

He may start talking about the Holy Spirit. And John 10 that he hears God’s voice, etc. But thats when you get him to see the human process involved. And what Church those particular humans belonged to.

Another good question…say the statement" I never said you stole money". Then ask the protestant if he understands that statement. When he says yes, say are you sure about that?

That one statement can mean…

I never said you stole money. I didnt say it, but everybody else did.

I never SAID you stole money. I thought it, but i never said it.

I never said YOU stole money. I said your wife took it but i didnt say you.

I never said you STOLE money. I thought you burned it or threw it in the trash, but i never said you stole it.

I never said you stole MONEY. I said you stole my car keys and many other things, but not money.

That one six word sentence can have all these different meanings. So how much more confusing can it be to properly interpret a book that was written thousands of years ago, in a different culture with idioms and words that change in meaning.

Obviously the point is to demonstrate that Sola Scriotura is a assumption. And its really not rationally coherent. This is really at the heart of the difference between the two sides.

Well - been there recently myself! Don’t expect a fruitful meeting with a protestant pastor all of a sudden.

We always have to live in reality. There are liberal Catholics and clergy, that don’t well represent the Church - weeds among the wheat. You need to measure things against Actual Church teaching, not what someone thinks it is. So when he says not all Catholics believe the same thing - he is right - so don’t fight that one. The difference is we have a lighthouse that calls all ships to the same harbor, protestants - you camp on whatever island you want to.

Favorite resource - the Journey Home - Ten Verses I Never Saw,*, worth multiple watches. I still watch it.

Realize others won’t see these verses right away, be patient - well studied pastors like Marcus Grodi didn’t see them right away. Be patient, and study so you can give good answers, and then be patient and let the seeds grow. Did I say be patient??? And if you don’t know the answer right away, just say so, and go find it - be patient with yourself too!

One of the things that started me on the Journey is looking at Protestantism, and seeing it couldn’t be right. If things started like Protestantism at 100 AD, I don’t know that we’d have a Bible, and there may be a million denominations. Could that have fought off heresy over the years and kept true doctrine?

Don’t look to a protestant pastor for encouragement or approval on your journey. Being Catholic does not flow well with American culture today - it’s not all about you, and what makes you happy, and what you think - it is the Narrow Gate - and that’s good with me!*

Depends on which Protestants. Saying “Once Saved, Always saved is unbiblical” to a Lutheran probably isn’t going to have the same effect as on a Southern Baptist.

maybe I misunderstood, but I thought Michael said he was drawing closer to the Catholic church, not returning to the faith.
I know some people want to attend Mass to see what it is like and try to get a feel of what it is like. he did mention confession and communion, but not RCIA. he didn’t mention he had been baptized Catholic or raised Catholic. maybe Michael can clarify for us because I thought he was just beginning the journey.

Congrats on your decision. Like other posters on this thread, I am wondering whether or not you went to RCIA yet. Mass and confession may be somewhat confusing without the proper context. Even then, supplemental information may be necessary for additional clarity.

I have found that most Protestants are not willing to accept the evidence for Catholicism, or the evidence that disputes Protestantism, unless they find it for themselves and have a disposition to accept it.

However, some seem to convert after a seed is planted. Additionally, converts make some of the best Catholic apologists.

Markie referenced The Journey Home program which is full of insight from converts who performed honest research. Some of my favorite episodes are as follows:

Dr David Anders found his way through his seminary/PhD studies of the history of Christianity and historical understanding of scripture:

Dr. Wesley Vincent found his way through observations of evolution in evangelical churches, discovery of scripture verses he never paid attention to, and history:

Marcus Grodi discusses the church fathers he never saw:

Paul Thigpen discusses Luther using Luther’s own words:

Here are a few of the biggies that pushed me over:

Why is your take on Christianity any more authoritative than the thousands of other Protestant denominations that claim your same basis for existence?

If it’s that your interpretation of scripture is better, how do you know so?

If Christ said the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against the Church, why would reformation/restoration be necessary?

In the classic Lutheran view that the church didn’t fail, we just needed to “remove some barnacles from the boat”, who determined what was “barnacle” and what was “boat”?

Why was Luther so zealous to remove Hebrews, James, Jude, Revelation and Esther from the primary canon? What even gave him the authority to try? Why did he successfully remove the deuterocanon that was present in scripture for the previous 1000 years?

There are others :slight_smile:

Good luck. Stick with it. :thumbsup:

A) Did your pastor not know that different Protestant denominations hold different beliefs? :confused:

B) Why do you want to ask stumper questions of your pastor? I don’t see the point in asking stumper questions, unless you’re trying to proselytize yourself by winning an argument with him.

C) Unless you’ve already been through the process of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, you can’t just walk into a Confessional and start talking.

If the Bible as we know it wasn’t compiled until AD 393-97; who or what was the rule of faith between the death of the last apostle (c. AD 100) and the compilation of the Bible? After all, the Bible didn’t just appear out of thin air the day after Pentecost, did it?

Who had the authority to determine what was included in the Bible, and what was not?

How do we determine who has the authority to interpret Scripture? Everyone can’t be right.

Those are my best ones.

In my opinion I would be less concerned with asking him stumper questions, than being fully prepared to answer what he considers to be stumper questions for you about the Catholic Faith. Things like…

The sinlessness of Mary
Mary the Mother of God
Faith alone
Bible alone
The nature of Christ’s sacrifice (atonement)
Confession to a priest

Many people disagree with the Catholic faith simply because they don’t understand it. Explaining the faith usually goes a lot further than attacking someone else’s faith.

It may be more fruitful if you instead focus on the love of Christ, and use this meeting to build mutual respect and understanding, and make sure he understands the extent of your continued appreciation for his work serving as an elder for God’s people. you will want to explain the process that lead up to this decision if you have not already. if your journey was one dominated by theological study, then by all means, engage with him in some of those issues that were particularly important for you. but i would not go looking for some “stumper question” that had nothing to do with your personal experience of coming to the Church. not unless your relationship with him is such that you already know that bringing up those sorts of challenges will result in a positive outcome rather than a negative. we dont always respond positively to the truth, you know. this time may be better utilized to strengthen your bond of friendship and display a firm commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Mission of His Kingdom. I think, for most Protestants, seeing those things lived our in the life of a Catholic is a much stronger testimony than any theological argument could be. my advice would be to stick to relating your personal experiences, opening up being a little vulnerable and show some trust in him hear about the doubts you had, and may even still have, concerning certain things. i think if you approached him more like this, one human being to another, not with the air of having found greater knowledge, but with the intention to make sure he knows that you appreciate him, wish to stay in touch and be of help if ever needed, and that you’ll be remembering him in your prayers. this is just stuff i am throwing out there off the top of my head. most of it is interpersonal stuff that i do not yet practice consistently, but have seen the positive effects that come when they are. and i write them to myself as well as to you.

hope your meeting goes well and you leave there with a closer friendship than you had previously!


hey after reading that post i realized it was not what i wanted it to be and i went back editing it. but the process took longer than 20 minutes and now it wont let me edit the post. so here i am posting the edited post. please disregard the original one. ha ha

"It may be more fruitful to use this meeting as an opportunity to build up your mutual respect for and understanding of one another, rather than try to convince him that the Church really is the Church.

I think you will want to explain to him the process that you went through leading up to this decision, if you have not already done so.

If your journey was one primarily of theological study, then by all means, engage with him in those issues that were important for you.

but i would not go looking for some “stumper question” to challenge him with, that had nothing to do with your personal experience of coming to the Church. ]

this meeting may potentially be better utilized for other purposes…

  1. to strengthen your bond of friendship and your love for one another.
  2. to let him know that you appreciate him and his ministry and that your decision to become Catholic in no way diminishes or repudiates the way that you value his work.
  3. and to display a firm commitment to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in whatever way you can

The first two purposes are easy to understand. Number three, though, I want to elaborate on. you expressed the desire to present the Pastor with evidence of the Catholic Church. It seems to me that the greatest evidence you could present him would be the evidence that a person can live the born-again, personal relationship with Jesus Christ in a way that Protestants can recognize as such,

As you know, most Protestants are cautious about affirming the salvation of Catholics. They admit that there are at least a few hidden believers somewhere in our ranks, living the faith despite being Catholics and not because of it, and I do not think any Catholic theological argument will be taken seriously until they can say that they have seen it produce serious fruit in Catholic lives.

So my advice, based on extremely limited practical knowledge about these things, would be to avoid getting into debate and instead of trying to convince him just simple relate him your experience of becoming convinced. Who knows, maybe he is going through some similar experiences himself and he just didn’t know what how to describe them. God gives us experiences and makes it possible for us to use them for other people’s benefit.

Your testimony may be a light the Pastor did not know he needed. As long as you tell your story for the sake of friendship and with the intent of growing closer to the Pastor and helping him understand your decision better, there will be very little if anything at all that he can object to or argue with. Your experience is your experience. He cant argue with it. So instead of looking for some irrelevant gotcha question to stump the guy, just love him. That is the way that souls are won.


I agree with the poster who said that “stumper questions” are a bad idea. By all means be prepared to respond if he tries some of the standard lines. So if he says that you should follow God’s Word and not human tradition, by all means point out that it’s not clear from Scripture itself that God’s Word is found only in Scripture. (Also point out that Catholics are allowed to believe that all divine revelation is in Scripture, rightly interpreted by the Church in light of Tradition.)

Your goal shouldn’t be to make him become Catholic but to witness to the truth you have discovered and the difference it has made in your life.


Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely use some of the suggestions.

To clarify: I am baptized in the Catholic Church (I converted), so RCIA isn’t necessary. I didn’t even go through RCIA when I converted but a shorter period of instruction with a priest. So I am a baptized Catholic. I’m not sure, however, if Confession alone will suffice, seeing as how I made a profession of faith in my Reformed church, so a profession of the Creed of St Pius V may be necessary.

This afternoon I spoke with a friend who is studying to become a pastor in my denomination. We discussed many things about the Catholic Church, and he said that he would find it easier to be an atheist than a Catholic because of all the things that the Catholic Church teaches. He was adamant that he did not want to surrender his ability to interpret the Scriptures. I did bring up the problems with sola scriptura, and he said that he believed that the Church recognized the canon of Scripture, rather than determined the canon with any authority. Any help with this one?

Thanks again for all your help.

. . . . he said that he would find it easier to be an atheist than a Catholic because of all the things that the Catholic Church teaches. He was adamant that he did not want to surrender his ability to interpret the Scriptures.

Catholics have a lot of freedom to interpret Scripture.

But there are constraints as to how we may or may not interpret Scripture too.

Here are a few things I have pointed out on a prior post.

You would expect constraints with truth being protected from doctrinal falsehood. The Council of Trent back in the 1500s AD put this teaching in the following manner . . .

COUNCIL OF TRENT Session IV “Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, it decrees that no one, relying on his own skill, shall, – in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, – wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume** to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary** to that sense which holy Mother Church – to whom it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures – hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. . . .

– Council of Trent, Session IV, April 8 1546 (From page 11 Tan Edition Dogmatic Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent). Bold and ul mine

The laity do in fact have some authority and DUTY to spread God’s teachings when used in this proper context.

CCC 900a Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. . . .

More details on this can found here:

I hope this helps.

God bless.


That’s a fundamentalist/ultraconservative position, not a typically Protestant one these days (it was much more common in the past, and Catholics held at least as negative a view of Protestants).

I would suggest the OP find some of the material that Don Ruggero has been posting on how the Catholic Church now views dialog with Protestants, and go from there, based on solid Catholic teaching on ecumenical relations. I would second (or third, but that sounds silly) that “stumper” questions are a bad idea and overly confrontational, especially in the context. You might search out commonalities and build a relationship more than seeking out confrontation.

“What do you like best about Jesus?”

Thanks for all the help.

The discussion went okay I suppose, the two of us going back and forth on different issues. I brought up the topic of the canon of Scripture and whether Mark wrote Mark, but we didn’t make any ground there. He asked me what I would rely on when I stood before God and I said believing in Jesus Christ and the Church he set up. I explained to him that in order to be saved in Catholicism, you must die in a state of grace.

I don’t know if we’re going to have any more discussions about the Catholic faith. Probably when I do decide to leave the elders of the church will want to have a talk with me about the Catholic faith.

Honestly didn’t expect you to make any real progress. Not with a pastor anyway.

Takes years to make progress, often times.

Planting seeds and then later they come to fruition.

But I’m sure it’s important to you that he and the elders at least views the Catholic Church as a valid Christian faith. That’s a reasonable goal and you can do that by charitably answering the objections…

I can see he is taking the trust in Jesus only approach. This is a opportunity to show him that Jesus can not be DECAPITATED. He is the head of the Church and you cant separate him from his Church ACTS 9:4.

Best wishes going forward.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit