I’m currently on vacation and staying in Bolton, near Manchester with my great aunt and her family. She and her entire family are born-again Christians… and so is most of the Filipino community here in Bolton. Which is unfortunate, since I would always rely on Filipinos here in the UK if I want to find faithful Catholics.
She and her family have made claims - most of them out of the blue - about salvation and a person’s relationship with God. Her son, my uncle, said that “there is no salvation, it is only your relationship with God that matters”. She herself said when I rejected their invitation to attend a Bible study in their living room that “no religion can save you” after my aunts asked me whether I read the Bible or not.
Of course I know these claims have been used by born-again Christians so stubbornly sometimes I even wonder if they even know what they’re saying. They didn’t even explain why they believed in such a thing in the first place, and they all believe in sola scriptura - if it’s not in the Bible throw it out.
Of course I know they’re wrong. It seems to be a ploy to advertise and not to evangelize; just for the sake of gaining members. Obviously the Bible has verses which point to salvation. Even an ardent Evangelical Protestant can tell you that. However I didn’t have the courage to refute their arguments or give their reasons because most of the claims were on the spot and I didn’t have a good argument to dispute said claims.
How am I supposed to approach these claims properly, and why do you think they conjure up these contradictions? This is the first time I’ve encountered these kinds of dilemmas outside the web - in real life. I mean I have friends who are born-again Christians back in the Philippines but their beliefs about salvation are more in the line of mainline Christianity.
I encountered a Filipino family after Mass this Sunday who goes not only to the Catholic parish but also to the born-again Christian church my great aunt is part of. I asked why they join two churches. The mother of the family said that “so long as you believe in God and have a relationship with God, it doesn’t matter what religion you belong so long as you’re happy with it”. I know the argument is tired and worn-out, but I was really concerned about how they essentially live a double life attending two churches: one the True Church and the other a watered-down, sentimental and incomplete rip-off. It reminded me of the one time I was almost caught in the same trap when my best friend once invited me to become his “disciple”, but that’s for another story.