Confronted by Baptist Friends

Hi all,

So a few weeks ago I told some friends of mine who are leaders in the Baptist church that I was thinking about becoming Catholic. They invited me over for dinner. Now remember, these are people that I highly respect. They went on about how there’s a difference between petra and petros in Matthew 16 and how Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, not a priest. They also said that Jesus is the high priest, not a priest in the church. They also said that the catholic church would kill people if they didn’t agree with their ways, like they would kill protestants in Europe in the 1500’s. This guy has his Doctorate in Divinity from a Baptist Seminary so I was outwitted. Anyways, I have been attending their church for the past week but I constantly feel something calling me back to the Catholic Faith. Maybe it is the holy spirit? I don’t know.

I feel so guilty. I told the deacon at a local Catholic church that I would attend RCIA soon but I never showed up. I feel like I was duped and brainwashed. Do you think the Holy Spirit calls some people to be Catholic? I mean everything I read here on Catholic answers makes sense to me…and it has always bothered me that protestants removed books from the bible. Anyways, just thought I could rant here and maybe get different opinions.

I love you all. Peace.

I was in your shoes once. What I can tell you, 15 years later, is that you can be friendly with some people and have mutual respect for one another after you “abandon” them and commit yourself, as least potentially, to Hell via the Catholic Church (as they will likely see it). Others will never understand or get past it. It will be uncomfortable and difficult on your friendships for a while, but those who truly care about you will ultimately respect your choices. You will find ways, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, to “agree to disagree”. The minister and elders of my former church and I are actually on quite friendly and neighborly terms after some pretty epic efforts on their part to “save” me from the evils of my conversion to Catholicism. Even some of them are starting to slowly change their attitudes toward more understanding and acceptance of our differences by a change in tone of their preaching and outreach. In other words, I think their anti-Catholicism is fading.

The key things: give it time and space - the awkwardness can pass; and maintain an attitude of respect for them with firm resolve to follow the Spirit’s lead. If you’re sincere with people, that goes a long, long way. If/when they question you, know where to turn for references and information to share, but don’t view it as an argument to be won.

Follow your journey with an open mind and heart. The challenges they present can be overcome.

Yeah. I know that way too. I mean I converted over 10 years ago. But back then there were a lot of people in my life who thought I’d lost my mind. A lot of offers to pray for me. A lot of weak handshakes when I came to visit. In the end it turned out to be the best thing possible. Because you can have your direct prayer with God all you want. You can have your nice singing and good music. But without confession a guy’s never sure he’s been heard. He’s never sure God’s really in the game like that. It’s such a powerful and freeing force. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Peace Alex. And I mean we love you too man. Take care of yourself. And go where you feel you’re being led on this.


Alex I strongly recommend you to enter the Catholic Church without fear because if those friends truly care for you they will accept you no matter what.

Their anti catholicism is mostly caused by lies made by Luther who wanted to justifly his break from Rome.

Our Lord will is for you to enter the Catholic Church and after you enter maybe your friends will become Catholic due to your example of Holiness by following Our Catholic Faith.

I will pray for you Alex and your friends to have courage to enter the Catholic Church and embrace the fullness of the Faith

I completely agree with that sentiment. I always felt better whenever a priest would absolve me of my sins. I know that praying to God for forgiveness is enough but something about hearing it from a man of God really restores my faith.

If you are wondering, I used to be Episcopalian and the priest would absolve us during the liturgy. Like I said, something about hearing it…made me feel closer to God.

I spoke to my dad about it…he is methodist but never really entered me into his faith. He isn’t super comfortable about being Catholic himself but has said that if I feel like God is drawing me somewhere, it is important I follow His lead.

Thank you so much. I will go to RCIA tomorrow.

I converted to Catholicism this past year. My employers are Baptist, and Mr. Boss told me flat out he didn’t believe Catholics are saved, and Mrs. Boss really treated me differently for a while. They still do, to a point, I guess. But in my opinion, I’ve only gained. I still have my personal relationship with the Lord. I also have my priest who I can go to for the sacrament of reconciliation, and know without a doubt I’ve been forgiven- something I could never have been sure of before, because the priest sits en persona Christi (in the person of Christ) and when he says I am absolved, I know that I am. I can now receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, something that was never available to me before, I have a relationship with our Lady and the Saints, and I have the Holy Souls in Purgatory to pray for now. I have more options for prayer than I ever dreamed of, and can perform a Holy Hour right in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I’ve also been truly embraced by the parish I’m in, and have been asked to be a sacristan to help out. I have made friends and mentors, and definitely feel happier in many respects than I did before my conversion.

Prior to becoming Catholic, I always felt God more when I was outside in the mountains then I ever did in Church. Then I became a Catholic, and God is in our Church because of the Real Presence. I can sit mere feet away from Him, and I can receive Him during Holy Communion. I think that’s as close as I can ever get in this life.

I still read Holy Scripture often, I try to read it every day, just as I did when I was a protestant. But I understand what I’m reading much more now- passages that seems to be metaphorical then I now know were meant to be taken literally. Jesus meant it when he said we had to be baptized. He meant it when he said we had to eat his body and drink his blood. He gave the keys of the Church to St. Peter, establishing the Rock on which He would build His Church, creating the position we now know as Pope. He gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins, creating the sacrament of reconciliation.

I know now that works matter. We are saved by Faith in Christ, but we demonstrate that faith by following His commandments and doing good works. Ultimately it was the numerous passages in the New Testament regarding works that made me realize the protestants were missing something important on that issue, and caused me to learn more about the Catholic faith.

I was a Christian before. I am a Completed Christian now. That’s not to say I am perfect- far from it. I confess every week because I’m not perfect. But all the tools are there for me now. So many things were missing before (including 7 books from the Bible) and now they aren’t missing any more.

To be clear, not everything is easier now. Catholicism demands more of me than being protestant did. As a protestant, I simply believed I was saved and that’s that. If I sinned, well, I would tell God I was sorry and move on and not worry about it. There was no worry about going to confession, or ensuring I made it to Mass every week, or myriad other things. There are things that are sins that I didn’t even know were sins when I was a protestant. I am much more aware, now, of sin and thus sometimes feel like I’m failing because now that I’m more aware or it, I also realize how often I am sinning. That can be tough. But I’d never go backwards, I’d never go back to being a protestant, because I know this is the Church founded by Jesus Christ. This is His Church, and this is where I am supposed to be, and no one said it would always be easy. Just worth it.

Listen to the Holy Spirit, and you will be led where you are meant to be.

And when it comes to naysayers- if you do become a Catholic, live as a Catholic should and show them that yes, you are a Christian, and show them the change that God is making in you. My boss, who told me at one point that Catholics aren’t saved, said that I am changing his mind on that issue.

God bless you.

Yes, they make it sound like Jesus and Peter were having a scholarly discussion about the shades of meaning of Greek nouns. “The masculine noun petros means one thing, you see,” Jesus explained, thoughtfully stroking his beard. Peter was listening attentively, puffing solemnly on his pipe. Then, raising his eyebrows meaningfully, Jesus went on: “But the feminine noun petra means something subtly different!”

Isn’t the argument against the petros and petras thing the fact that if they say that, that would mean Peter is a female, which obviously is not true?

It really does not matter how many years people spend in Protestant studies, you can knock down what they believe in with a few words out of the many you can use. So they followed what the Canon is, and the beliefs of the Catholic Church for, what, about 1,100 years, and then they decided to separate? You will find that in multiple instances their doctrine contradicts itself. Keep building up your knowledge, so that not only will you be prepared to defend the Faith, but also grow in it.

God bless your journey, and have no fear, because the Holy Spirit is with you! :slight_smile:

The Church killing people hmmm the Church wasn’t in America during the witch hunts.
But aren’t they (Baptists) priests? In reference to the priesthood of all believers, biblical reference not handy St.Paul wrote me think
There are no mortal high priests within the Catholic Church.
That is the feeling one gets when they realize the truth is nearby. If one is shown no respect then the respect the same gives means what ???

I wouldn’t be too hard on your friends. Most people of most religions would do the same.
If the situation was reversed, and you and your friends were Catholic and you told them you wanted to convert to being a Baptist, they’d sit you down and tell you why being a Baptist isn’t “the full truth” etc and try to convince you to stay Catholic.
As you know, each group thinks they are the correct one. And if they think a loved one is about to make a big mistake, they’d try to stop him/her from doing it.

Why has it bothered you so much that some Protestant bibles don’t have all the books as the Catholic bible?
(I think that some *do *include them, but they note that the books were considered non-canonical)

When a new branch of a religion evolves, it’s pretty natural to make amendments in that way. After all, there are many books of Christian scripture from the first 3-4 centuries that were not included when the canon was being put together…so even the Catholic bible did not include books that some christian groups considered holy scripture.

I trust you have read the reasons why some Protestant bibles don’t include the extra 7 books…and do not agree with those reasons?

These are the 7 Apocrypha books of Jewish writings, yes?
They are Jewish writings not accepted in the Jewish bible, right?

So…it might be more correct to say that the Catholic bible *added *these books…rather than saying the Protestants “removed” them?


The Peace of Christ be with you!

“Petra” is feminine. A man could not be called “Petra” so it is necessary to use “Petros” Also Jesus spoke Aramaic. He would have called him Cephas. And Peter IS called Cephas in The Bible. Galatians 2:11-16 Some protestant translations simply change it back to “Peter” but in the Original greek it says “Kephas” Not “Petros” This is a big flaw in the "Petros “Petra” argument with protestants. “Kephas” or “Cephas” means “Rock” that is what Christ called Peter. Not “little stone” “Rock” did not translate to well into greek is all the problem is. Peter is called “Kephas” by Paul. If Jesus called Peter “Little stone” Paul would have called Peter “Enva” which is Aramaic for "Little Rock. But in The Epistles Peter is Often called “Kephas” Which is Aramaic for “Rock”

I would ask these Baptist friends of your’s where does it say in The Catechism of The Catholic Church that The Catholic Church teaches that a man is The High Priest? We do not even consider The Pope a High priest. There is no “High Priest” in Catholicism other than Jesus. That is what it even says in The Catechism.

Christ is The Mediator between God and man. But he allows man to share in his glory and authority in certain ways. For example, check out John 20:21-23New International Version (NIV)

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

God is giving The Apostles the authority to forgive sins, through Him. This authority still exists in The Catholic Church through confession. Your Baptist friends know their interpretation of scripture well, but they do not adhere to how The Early Church interpreted scripture.

The Protestant reformers are not without blood on their hands. The German princes slaughtered many thousands of peasants in The peasant wars in Germany during the reformation. Martin Luther said the princes where justified in the Mass murder of these peasants. I am not sure if he later recanted but he did say that at one time. That is not the only offence either. The protestants are not without blood on their hands. As for The Catholic Church killing anyone who does not agree with them, I guess they have a right to their opinion. It is not true though. They will always believe The Church is evil. The same big bad Church that has the most charities and hospitals and schools in the world doing Gods work.

Friend, you have found The Truth. God led you to The Catholic Church for a good reason. I am a convert from protestantism myself. The Baptist religion started in the 1600’s. Imagine the arrogance to think that they know better than The Church that Christ started and is almost 2000 years old. It is like a smart alec teenager that thinks they know better than a wise grandfather. Think about it :slight_smile:

Every argument they have againt’s The Church is refutable. Where does their authority come from when their religion is only 400 years old? Which Church did God use to give us The Bible? Was it The Catholic Church or The Baptist Church? So who probably has the God given authority to interpret it correct? They never ask themselves these questions. Do not let them confuse you. Pity their inability to see their ignorance and be friendly and pray for them, but do not let their snares trap you. Baptist “pastors” have no more spiritual authority than the average lay-person. What makes their seminary authoritative to ordain pastors? Our Priests are ordained by Bishops who can trace themselves back to The Apostles and Christ himself. Remember that when they come at you with any claim of authority from their “seminary” God bless you. Love you too.


Ok. That was just what I needed. Thanks for that.

Hello Alex H

You mentioned:

. . . . They went on about how there’s a difference between petra and petros in Matthew 16 and how Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, not a priest. They also said that Jesus is the high priest, not a priest in the church. They also said that the catholic church would kill people if they didn’t agree with their ways, like they would kill protestants in Europe in the 1500’s. This guy has his Doctorate in Divinity from a Baptist Seminary so I was outwitted. Anyways, I have been attending their church for the past week but I constantly feel something calling me back to the Catholic Faith. Maybe it is the holy spirit? I don’t know. . . . .

Since you posted this on an apologetics forum, let’s break down the objections so we can look at them in an apologetics type of perspective.

*]There’s a difference between petra and petros in Matthew 16
*]Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, not a priest
*]They also said that Jesus is the high priest, not a priest in the church.
*]They also said that the catholic church would kill people if they didn’t agree with their ways, like they would kill protestants in Europe in the 1500’s.

There’s a difference between petra and petros in Matthew 16.

There is no difference except the gender so Jesus (actually not Jesus but the translator of Matthew’s Gospel to be more exact) would have HAD to use a gender-appropriate word for a NAME. Remember. “Rock” isn’t a mere “title” here. “Rock” is a “NAME” too.

The evidence suggests St. Matthew originally wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, not in Greek.

So the whole petros/petra objection is foundationally bogus. (I go into that in more detail here, here, here, here, and here if interested).

MATTHEW 16:13-20 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do men say that the Son of man is?
14 And they said, Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah,
and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 He said to them,
But who do you say that I am?
16 Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered him,
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you,
you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Let’s look at Matthew 16:18 with the “petros/petra” aspect transliterated.

MATTHEW 16:13-20 18 And I tell you,
you are Cephas, and on this Cephas I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.

Certainly Jesus is the “Rock” in an ultimate sense. Certainly Jesus is the “Rock” behind the “Rock”. Certainly this is “MY (Jesus’) Church”.

But St. Peter here is clearly being singled out to receive this title.

It sounds like you are definitely on the right track Alex H. Keep up the good work!

God bless.


(PS: I will try to get back here soon to address the other three objections above regarding Matthew 16 later)

I can imagine Simon reacting in horror: Boss! I am a macho fisherman. I’d be the laughing stock on the wharf if you called me that sissy name!

I think they renegotiated on a more apt name for Simon.

Well you certainly have been brow beaten by your friends with many pieces of paper qualifications. All those stuff they threw at you have been adequately answered on CAF. Fear not. But the most important thing is that when the Holy Spirit calls you, you must answer “Here I am”. No excuses.

Those removed books? Nah! Not their fault. The printers removed them to save a few bucks. But it is their fault for not asking the printers to put them back. And a bigger fault to deny them.

PART 1: Petros and Petra–Much Ado About Nothing

Opponents of the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 sometimes argue that in the Greek text the name of the apostle is Petros, while “rock” is rendered as petra. They claim that the former refers to a small stone, while the latter refers to a massive rock; so, if Peter was meant to be the massive rock, why isn’t his name Petra?

Note that Christ did not speak to the disciples in Greek. He spoke Aramaic, the common language of Palestine at that time. In that language the word for rock is kepha, which is what Jesus called him in everyday speech (note that in John 1:42 he was told, “You will be called Cephas”). What Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 was: “You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church.”

When Matthew’s Gospel was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek, there arose a problem which did not confront the evangelist when he first composed his account of Christ’s life. In Aramaic the word kepha has the same ending whether it refers to a rock or is used as a man’s name. In Greek, though, the word for rock, petra, is feminine in gender. The translator could use it for the second appearance of kepha in the sentence, but not for the first because it would be inappropriate to give a man a feminine name. So he put a masculine ending on it, and hence Peter became Petros.

Furthermore, the premise of the argument against Peter being the rock is simply false. In first century Greek the words petros and petra were synonyms. They had previously possessed the meanings of “small stone” and “large rock” in some early Greek poetry, but by the first century this distinction was gone, as Protestant Bible scholars admit (see D. A. Carson’s remarks on this passage in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Books]).

Some of the effect of Christ’s play on words was lost when his statement was translated from the Aramaic into Greek, but that was the best that could be done in Greek. In English, like Aramaic, there is no problem with endings; so an English rendition could read: “You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

Consider another point: If the rock really did refer to Christ (as some claim, based on 1 Cor. 10:4, “and the Rock was Christ” though the rock there was a literal, physical rock), why did Matthew leave the passage as it was? In the original Aramaic, and in the English which is a closer parallel to it than is the Greek, the passage is clear enough. Matthew must have realized that his readers would conclude the obvious from “Rock . . . rock.”

If he meant Christ to be understood as the rock, why didn’t he say so? Why did he take a chance and leave it up to Paul to write a clarifying text? This presumes, of course, that 1 Corinthians was written after Matthew’s Gospel; if it came first, it could not have been written to clarify it.

The reason, of course, is that Matthew knew full well that what the sentence seemed to say was just what it really was saying. It was Simon, weak as he was, who was chosen to become the rock and thus the first link in the chain of the papacy.

PART 2: Baptist Scholars on Peter the Rock

Here are three of the 25 Protestant scholars who admit that Peter is the rock:

John Broadus (Baptist)

“As Peter means rock, the natural interpretation is that ‘upon this rock’ means upon thee. . . . It is an even more far-fetched and harsh play upon words if we understand the rock to be Christ and a very feeble and almost unmeaning play upon words if the rock is Peter’s confession”

“Many insist on the distinction between the two Greek words, thou art Petros and on this petra, holding that if the rock had meant Peter, either petros or petra would have been used both times, and that petros signifies a separate stone or fragment broken off, while petra is the massive rock. But this distinction is almost entirely confined to poetry, the common prose word instead of petros being lithos; nor is the distinction uniformly observed.”

“But the main answer here is that our Lord undoubtedly spoke Aramaic, which has no known means of making such a distinction [between feminine petra and masculine petros in Greek]. The Peshitta (Western Aramaic) renders, “Thou are kipho, and on this kipho”. The Eastern Aramaic, spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, must necessarily have said in like manner, “Thou are kepha, and on this kepha”… Beza called attention to the fact that it is so likewise in French: “Thou art Pierre, and on this pierre”; and Nicholson suggests that we could say, “Thou art Piers (old English for Peter), and on this pier.” [Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1886), pages 355-356JPK page 20]

Craig L. Blomberg (Baptist)

“Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon’s nickname “Peter” (Petros = rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus’ declaration, “You are Peter”, parallels Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ”, as if to say, “Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.” The expression “this rock” almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following “the Christ” in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter’s name (Petros) and the word “rock” (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification.” (The New American Commentary: Matthew, vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), pages 251-252, JPK pages 31-32)

Donald A. Carson (Baptist)

“On the basis of the distinction between ‘petros’ . . . and ‘petra’ . . . , many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Peter is a mere ‘stone,’ it is alleged; but Jesus himself is the ‘rock’ . . . Others adopt some other distinction . . . Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, it is doubtful whether many would have taken ‘rock’ to be anything or anyone other than Peter . . . The Greek makes the distinction between ‘petros’ and ‘petra’ simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine ‘petra’ could not very well serve as a masculine name . . . Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been ‘lithos’ (‘stone’ of almost any size). Then there would have been no pun - and that is just the point! . . . In this passage Jesus is the builder of the church and it would be a strange mixture of metaphors that also sees him within the same clauses as its foundation . . .” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984], vol. 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Matthew: D.A. Carson), 368)

“The word Peter petros, meaning ‘rock,’ (Gk 4377) is masculine, and in Jesus’ follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken ‘rock’ to be anything or anyone other than Peter.” (Carson, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1994], volume 2, page 78, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 18)

In the OT, the structure of the priesthood looked like this:

  1. Aaron, high priest
  2. Levites, ministerial priests
  3. Israel, a nation of priests

We see a similar structure in the NT. Check out the passage on the Ministerial Priesthood below. Concerning Paul’s reference to the NT priesthood.

The New Testament Priesthood Proved from Scripture

Jesus, Our Eternal High Priest

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)

The Ministerial Priesthood

“But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:15-16)

The Universal Priesthood of All Believers

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Additionally, we find that the Apostle Paul himself forgave the sins of others acting in persona Christi or “in the person of Christ” – just as the Catholic Church teaches concerning the sacrament of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 2:10
10To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; (KJV)

And to whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned any thing, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ. (Douay Rheims)

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