Evangelical Missionaries in Catholic Countries


#1

I think that wide presence and apparent effectiveness of Evangelical missionaries in traditionally Catholic countries (especially in Central and South America) is a phenomenon about which Catholics in general should be concerned.

What are the fundamental issues at play in the phenomenon?

I think that one of them is the differing understanding between Catholics and Evangelicals about the meaning of baptism. Does baptism make one a Christian or not, despite the nature of the life of faith that is lived afterwards?

What can we, as Catholics, do to change this situation?

Enter into dialogue with Evangelicals so as to attempt to help them at least respect our beliefs (including those about baptism), if not necessarily agree with them?

Encourage a stronger ongoing catechesis in these countries so that when the faithful there meet Evangelical missionaries they will be well grounded in their faith and less likely to be persuaded by them?

I would be interested to read the answers to these questions and the comments of the readers on this important phenomenon in the life of the Church in the 21st century.


#2

SeanG, I think that the initial sucsess that is being found in these traditionally catholic countries is because those other Evangelical types of worship seem easier and they don’t require as much from the person. For instance the protestant view on saved by grace alone and not works, that takes out the need to confess you sins to a priest uncomfortable as that may be for many people. It takes out the shame factor and I think really weakens the resistance to sin. I think that we will see alot of these converts return to the faith when they realize that something is missing in this new stuff (the actual Body and Blood of Christ prehaps). Peace.


#3

Tyler,

I certainly what you propose is true. But I wonder if some of the folks who leave the Church for Evangelical congregations are doing so because they feel more welcomed there among a relatively small number of worshippers than in a rather large parish where it is easy to be anonymous.

I wonder if they leave because the folks in the Evangelical congregation made a deliberate choice to be and remain there while many in the Catholic parishes may be there simply because of cultural reasons rather than because of any conscious continuing conversion.

I’m not saying that these are good reasons to leave the Catholic Church. There are no good reasons to leave. But there are reasons and I think that it is good for us to discern them and act on them.


#4

For the most part, I don’t think people are leaving for evangelical churches because it is easier. I think it is largely due to the Catholic Church failing to adequately present Christ and the fullness of his teachings which we present. For the most part I would say the evangelical success is due to our lack of effort. When I was in Bolivia this summer I saw three separate evangelical missionary groups, I could tell by their t-shirts, picking up their luggage at the airport. If American evangelicals care that much to send that many people oversees we are seriously outgunned. Not enough Catholics, in the US, in Latin America, or anywhere know Jesus, know the teachings of the Church, and care enough to do anything about it. Until we get our act together we are going to continue to lose the numbers game.


Catholic Heretics and the Death Penalty
#5

Evangelical missionaries in Catholic countries are bigots. They think Catholics are not Christian.

Why they’re not evangelizing Muslims is not hard to understand - they’d get killed.

They should focus on Muslims, but noooooooooooo, they wanna fleece the sheepfold.


#6

I would agree that we are losing the numbers game until we get our act together but I think that we are all leaving something out. The Church is bigger than just us here on earth, not only do we have the Church Militant (on earth), we have the Church Suffering (in purgatory) and the Church triumphant (in heaven) so we have hidden power. Combine that with the new springtime that we have been seeing in the Church and I would bet that with in the next few years we will be back on top of those pesky numbers. :wink:


#7

I believe this to be a wake up call for te church leadership in catholic countries…they must do a better job cathechisisng their people…they ust to a better job here for that matter. I deal with hispanics on a daily basis and they tend to lack even the basics of our faith…


#8

Evangelical missionaries in Catholic countries are bigots. They think Catholics are not Christian.

I don’t think ‘bigot’ is the case at all. Evangelical people believe that their religion is valid and they want to share it.

Catholic missionaries do seek converts among Protestants and Evangelicals as well, this is something which goes both ways. If the evangelical missionaries were really bigots, they would avoid Catholic people as beyond the pale and unreachable and this isn’t the case.

Due to the high degree of change in Catholicism, the partial protestantization of the Catholic mass, I suspect that the Evangelicals have more of an opening for prostelyzation nowadays. But that goes both ways as well, and the two faiths get closer.


#9

[quote=Fullsizesedan]Due to the high degree of change in Catholicism, the partial protestantization of the Catholic mass, I suspect that the Evangelicals have more of an opening for prostelyzation nowadays. But that goes both ways as well, and the two faiths get closer.
[/quote]

What do you mean by that the partial protestantization of the mass? There has been no protestaniztion of the mass! And the high degree of change in Chatholicism? None of our doctrines have changed none of our views have changed. What are you talking about?


#10

[quote=Fullsizesedan]Catholic missionaries do seek converts among Protestants and Evangelicals as well, this is something which goes both ways.
[/quote]

Please provide an example of Catholic missionaries working among a Protestant (mainline) or Evangelical population group.

If there was such work it would not be evangelization in the most primary sense of that word, for evangelization fundamentally is the initial proclaiming of the Gospel to those who have never heard it.

Now Pope John Paul II has indeed also emphasized the ‘new evangelization’, which includes work to bring about a new conversion and return to the Gospel among those who were raised in the faith but have either fallen away or are simply not allowing their faith to shape their lives.

But in his call for the new evangelization I am certain that the Holy Father did not want us to do evangelization per se among Protestants. He has encouraged us to enter into authentic ecumenical dialogue. Now perhaps through this Protestants may come to recognize the truth that the Catholic Church proclaims. But this seems to me to be a far different task than evangelization.


#11

Hello Everyone
I realize i am speaking from a British standpoint but i think we get rather too wound up about how well other people do their evangelising.I can remember waiting in cinema queues in the 1960’s and getting these leaflets pushed at me,not"would you like one?"I can remember being in hospital and on Sunday evening we were TOLD to switch off the TV,
not invited to do so.A fellow patient suggested just turning the sound off and was told not to be ignorant.If i had heard that last remark about being ignorant,i would have done the same thing as he did and walked off.
I know the BBC in my part of the world has its message boards and,if only people would use these boards,we
could put our case.If there are enough catholics visiting these message boards at the same time,you don’t get howled down.
Message boards are the best thing to use.If you write to newspapers,you are depending on a fair editor to give you space.
With the help of websites like this and the availability of books and tapes,which were not available when i was a young man in
the 1960’s,we should be able to know our Faith better and go on
to these secular message boards with confidence.
I worked with a man who was forever quoting Scripture and it was only eventually i rumbled that he was not that well-versed.I started reading my own Bible and putting
questions to catholic priests.For a while,my own ignorance of the Catholic Faith prevented me seeing the other guy’s lack of knowledge.Have you not noticed the tactic of the Jehovah Witnesses?They bring children to your door.I am very reluctant
to shut the door in a two year old’s face.On the other hand,i would have done exactly that to one adult JW in particular,
because of the way she treated an 86 year old friend of mine.
My friend has both hearing and sight problems and,when she tried to put them off,it was,“just you listen to me for a minute”!!!


#12

[quote=Tyler Smedley]I would agree that we are losing the numbers game until we get our act together but I think that we are all leaving something out. The Church is bigger than just us here on earth, not only do we have the Church Militant (on earth), we have the Church Suffering (in purgatory) and the Church triumphant (in heaven) so we have hidden power. Combine that with the new springtime that we have been seeing in the Church and I would bet that with in the next few years we will be back on top of those pesky numbers. :wink:
[/quote]

Tyler,

I don’t mean to be argumentative, but what new springtime have you seen? I’ve missed it. Vocations are dropping likes rocks, sex scandals are on the rise (just to site an example, a priest here in Cincinnati, Fr. Larger, just returned to work at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, after propositioning an undercover male cop in a park last year). Priests experiment with the liturgy. Congregations have zillions of “lay distributers” (really supposed to be “extraordinary ministers”) all distributing communion in the hand by the way. Children in “Catholic” schools are learning about gay-rights and are taught that there is no Satan or Hell.

And I’ve touched on maybe a fraction of one percent of what’s wrong with the Church today. The Popes of old are turning in their graves over the joke our Church is becoming. What springtime are you talking about?! There are at best a few priests and Bishops that are lonely beacons of strength in a massive sea of decadence. I hope you’re right about this new springtime. But even if you are, God save us from the winter.


#13

Please provide an example of Catholic missionaries working among a Protestant (mainline) or Evangelical population group.

Historically, there were a lot of Catholic missionaries in the United States in the 19th and 20th century, and even today, the Catholic church does accept converts from protestantism , even those who don’t have Catholic spouses/children or other non-religious reasons for converting.

There has been some changes with the current pope and the vatican council, but it isn’t an absolute bar to interdenominational conversions. And even if it were, many of the evangelical churches involved in missionary work are not members of any oecumenical groups by ways that a quid pro quo of ‘hands off’ our people could be made. Unless there is an agreement, I don’t think that foul play can really be alleged.


#14

What do you mean by that the partial protestantization of the mass? There has been no protestaniztion of the mass! And the high degree of change in Chatholicism? None of our doctrines have changed none of our views have changed. What are you talking about?

There is a lot greater degree of openness and participation than there was in the past. The Catholic church brought in for example, the English language, relaxed rules on how priests and nuns ought to dress, relaxed rules on communion.

All of these things were pioneered by protestants.

Of course, the basic tenets of Catholicism such as the ten commandments didn’t change, but they are presented in a more open and oecumenical manner.


#15

Tyler: You said:
For instance the protestant view on saved by grace alone and not works, that takes out the need to confess you sins to a priest uncomfortable as that may be for many people.

Actually the Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by grace alone but not by faith alone. There is a very important distinction. To say that we are saved by grace plus works would be to say that Christ’s work on the cross is not sufficient, and that our works are necesary to help us earn salvation…which, of course, is not true. We are saved only because of Christ’s work on the cross…but for that free grace to be applied to us, we must freely accept it and co-operate with God throughout the process of salvation. God’s grace brings about true faith, and true faith brings about works…the three go hand-in-hand. Our works, by themselves, do nothing…they only play a role in the justification process because they flow from grace-given faith, and are part of our way to co-operate with God as he brings us to salvation.
It is more accurate to say that we are saved BY grace THROUGH faith and works.
But when you think about it, even in the Evangelical model, one must do something to be saved. It takes effort, an act of the will, to accept Christ and to repent of ones sins. To say that there is nothing human beings can do to be saved, would mean that all men are automatically saved. Evangelicals require, in a sense, a work to be saved…because they agree that one must repent and accept Christ, which is an effort, and thus a work. Really, once you can accept that humans must do something to receive God’s free gift, the principle is already there for the concept of works being essential to salvation…as long as they are made to realize that our works in and of themselves don’t save us, in the same way that faith in and of itself does not save us. We are not saved because of faith, nor works…only because of grace; faith and works are simply the means that we accept God’s grace, and freely co-operate with Him (though even our faith and works ultimately come from God…from His grace).


#16

[quote=SeanG]I think that wide presence and apparent effectiveness of Evangelical missionaries in traditionally Catholic countries (especially in Central and South America) is a phenomenon about which Catholics in general should be concerned.

What are the fundamental issues at play in the phenomenon?

I think that one of them is the differing understanding between Catholics and Evangelicals about the meaning of baptism. Does baptism make one a Christian or not, despite the nature of the life of faith that is lived afterwards?

What can we, as Catholics, do to change this situation?

Enter into dialogue with Evangelicals so as to attempt to help them at least respect our beliefs (including those about baptism), if not necessarily agree with them?

Encourage a stronger ongoing catechesis in these countries so that when the faithful there meet Evangelical missionaries they will be well grounded in their faith and less likely to be persuaded by them?

I would be interested to read the answers to these questions and the comments of the readers on this important phenomenon in the life of the Church in the 21st century.
[/quote]

My church has a strong outreach in Ireland, and our congregation strongly supports the outreach. We has started one church and helped an existing church grow. We have also rebuilt a church building that was bombed a few years back. Our missionaries in Ireland are very fruitful and if I were single I would go myself. Our missionaries have suffered attacks by knife and one has lived through a different bombing.

That all sounds quite harsh, but all of that has happened over a ten year period, and all has very peaceful for the past two to three years now. There is now a cooperation between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, and we all in our congregation hope it keeps on growing! We have seen a lot in the past few years and we will always be there no matter what, but most of all we have seen that this is all of God and not of man!

In God’s Grace,
Ric


#17

[quote=BobCatholic]Evangelical missionaries in Catholic countries are bigots. They think Catholics are not Christian.

Why they’re not evangelizing Muslims is not hard to understand - they’d get killed.

They should focus on Muslims, but noooooooooooo, they wanna fleece the sheepfold.
[/quote]

Our church also has missionaries in Mozambique and Angola, would you care to join us?

Mozambique has 50% indigenous beliefs, 30% Christian, and 20% Muslim.

Angola has 47% indigenous beliefs, 38% Roman Catholic, and 15% Protestant.

As you can see in both Countries Christianity is a minority faith and our missionaries lives are in jeopardy every day.


#18

[quote=Ric]Our church also has missionaries in Mozambique and Angola, would you care to join us?

Mozambique has 50% indigenous beliefs, 30% Christian, and 20% Muslim.

Angola has 47% indigenous beliefs, 38% Roman Catholic, and 15% Protestant.

As you can see in both Countries Christianity is a minority faith and our missionaries lives are in jeopardy every day.
[/quote]

But Ric, Christianity is not a minority in Ireland, a country to which your church also sends missionaries. In fact, it is arguably one of the most Christian countries on the planet. So why is it sending missionaries there?

You also noted that its congregations there “keeps on growing.” Whom is it reaching out to in its work of evangelization? Those who are already Christian?

If they are reaching out to those who are already Christian, then it would seem that you have a different understanding of evangelization, at least in its fundamental meaning, than the Catholic Church has.

If they are reaching out to those who are not Christian, then either you’re finding the few who have never been baptized in Ireland–which is fine–or you have a radically different understanding than the Catholic Church of the way in which one becomes a Christian.


#19

Hello everyone.

This is what Greece will be facing in August this year.
Operation Gideon

Their fact sheets on each of the islands state such things as

[quote=Lesvos]The main Saints that are worshipped on this island are; St. John, St. Panteleimon, St. Nikolas, Agia Triada, St. George and St. Demitrios.
[/quote]

The good side of this is that a lot of evangelicals are going to discover Orthodoxy :smiley:

John


#20

But SeanG, did I mention Ireland in that post?


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