Evangelizing Lukewarm Catholic & Lutheran

My brother-in-law is Catholic, but a little on the lukewarm side. He married a Lutheran girl, by a Lutheran minister. He believes the two faiths are “close enough”, and leaves it at that.

He’s a simple guy (not the intellectual or philosophical type…not that I’m much of that myself). They had a baby in March, and he’s considering not Baptizing him since he’s torn between his family (mostly Catholics) and his wife.

I searched catholic.com and found some info, but was hoping someone might know something close to a comprehensive one-stop-shop (online preferrably) like the CA tracts on jehova’s witnesses and mormons.

I probably won’t peak his interest if I try to discuss transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation. My thanks for any suggestions anyone might have.

God Bless,
Ben

Umm, waitaminute - since when do Lutherans not baptize infants?

I don’t know much about modern Lutheran practices, but I would expect them to conform to those teachings which Martin Luther himself especially promoted. And he strongly promoted infant Baptism, as espoused in this chapter (namely 13A) of his “Large Catechism

I am a huge fan of the Bible Christian society. www.biblechristiansociety.com

John Martignoni is a southern Catholic with a lot of common sense apologetics. His stuff is free down-loadable, audio MP3s. (But a donation is nice since he makes his living this way.)

He has a great sense of humor and sometimes he catches you off-guard. One of my favorites is when he starts reading Scripture and says, “Thou art Peter and on this Rock I will build my churches…Wait, what? Is that what it says?” Makes me laugh every time.

I highly, highly recommend him. :thumbsup: Prayers for your family. :crossrc:

Hi David,
Thanks sooo much for your reply. I’ve had no luck getting responses for this question yet. Anyhow…yes the Lutherans baptize, but he’s torn between which faith to baptize in, and perhaps he may be a little frustrated with the whole thing and may be thinking ‘the heck with it’ and not baptize at all:shrug:…not sure.

Thanks for replying to me LittleDeb. I appreciate it. Will check John’s site. Do you know if there’s any Lutheran stuff in particular?

To expand upon the point of David F:

Lutheran baptisms are considered valid by the Catholic church. Catholicism will accept someone baptized as a Lutheran as their own on the condition that they go to RCIA. Lutheran teachings are fairly similar to Catholicism. Lutherans are very closely associated with the Catholic church. Sure, they are protestant but they were led by a Roman Catholic priest down this road. Most Lutheran priests, at the time, we former Catholic Priests so the sacraments went with them.

The only aspect you would have to worry with is the child being taught Christianity through a Lutheran lens. Their ideas on scripture, I think, are a bit different from Catholicism’s.

Ask him how there can be two different versions of the Truth. The Lutheran Church has some teachings that are in direct conflict with Catholicism. How does he know which Church teaches the truth?

Well, there are not many areas where a Catholic may, in good conscience, compromise with a Lutheran, but this happens to be one of those few areas where it is possible.

The Catholic Church recognizes the validity of almost any Baptism, and this is certainly true of Lutheran Baptism. If he wishes to compromise with his wife and have the child baptized in the Lutheran church then I think this is reasonable. There is no impediment to the child being raised and Confirmed in the Catholic Church (following the usual CCD program, or RCIA if he puts it off until adulthood). I’m assuming that both the husband and wife agreed to raise their children Catholic, which is usually a precondition to a mixed marriage. Baptizing the Child (as an infant) in the Lutheran Church neither violates nor impedes this promise.

Given a choice between Lutheran Baptism and no Baptism, the choice is obvious. And, when a man is faced with the choice to make his wife happy, or his family, his first duty is to his wife.

Yes, I’m aware of the validity in their Baptisms. One issue is that he married her in a Lutheran community without a dispensation. As with so many folks these days (including me not so long ago), invoking “canon law” would probably draw no interest from him, perhaps a chuckle, but no interest. I’m not sure, but what may be going on here is that he may have an inkling to raise his son a Catholic, however the wife may be pressuring him to just ‘cave’ and raise the son Lutheran; this guy’s GREATLY disposed to say ‘the heck with it’, and avoid the hassle.

So the deal is, my wife (his sister) and I would like to Evangelize these guys, in total charity, patience and prudence of course. So that’s why I’m looking for something like the jehovas witness or mormon tracks on CAs, so that we can bone-up on evagelizing to a Lutheran. I’m not positive, but she may be the stronger-willed of the couple, with the husband in a more laxidaisical mode. However, I’m not sure if she’s all that well “catechised” in Lutheranism, and I’m pretty confident he’s very poorly cathechised in the Faith. I think there may be a great opportunity here (Lord willing). I’m a CAL junkie and all, but I hardly ever hear/read much on Lutherans, so I have no clue where to begin.

I’m with you on Lutheran Baptism being INFINITELY superior to no Baptism, but these guys are looking at this more like an optional check in the box, and not in a sacramental manner.

He doesn’t, apparently, since he’s opting to not baptise in either.

When one approaches the Catholic Church for baptism one must provide the priest with evidence one intends to raise the child in the Catholic faith. A non-practicing Catholic married outside the Church to a seemingly non-practicing Lutheran would likely run into trouble providing such evidence.

A priest in such a situation would counsel parents that the baptism will be delayed until there is such a time as the priest can in good conscience believe the child will be raised Catholic.

I don’t know what the Lutherans have as a requirement on the part of parents seeking baptism of their child. It likely depends on whether it’s ELCA or Wisconsin or Missouri Synod.

Is the wife actively wanting to baptize and raise the child Lutheran? Do they go to church at all? Has he completely stopped practicing his Catholic faith?

I’m not exactly sure on what you are wanting to evangelize them and what your goal is? The need for baptism or the Catholic Faith as a whole?

Then the question should be, “Are you serious about following Christ? If so, it’s important to know the Truth and follow it wholeheartedly.”

And if he ISN’T serious about following Christ, he has a lot more problems than merely deciding between Lutheranism and Catholicism.

As C.S. Lewis says in the preface to Mere Christianity:

I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions — as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else.

It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall, I have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into the room you will find that the long wait has done some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.

In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?”

a. apparently they go to the Lutheran community on at least some Sundays
b. I’m not sure if he’s completely stopped practicing; but I think maybe-yes
c. primary goal is to evangelize the Catholic Faith (to include baptism I suppose), take all of this to the Lord in prayer, and of course leave the how/when/if to Him

A little bump por favor:gopray:

It seems to me like you have little luck unless you know what doesn’t speak to him about Catholicism.

May I humbly, but very, very seriously suggest that, at this point in time, the most important thing is to get that little wean baptized? By somebody!!
Once we have gotten that far, *then *would be the time to start discussing the differences in theology, both major & minor.:twocents:

I’m with you on that sentiment, Zooey. It needs to be done with at least one (i believe)of the parents’ consent, but it surely needs to get done. Every time I get near the little guy, he gives me this look and makes this little noise like “help me get Baptized, Tio!”:o

You and he are on my permanent prayer list as of today.
You’re a good uncle, and God will surely bless you for your presence in this child’s life.

Thank you Zooey!

It’s too bad he cares more about what humans think than what Christ asked of us.
But regardless of which church the child is baptized in, it needs to be done. Both churches teaches that Baptism is the way to heaven. Both parents should be equally concerned with that. and it is their duty as parents to provide it.
And both churches honor (for lack of a better word) either baptism.
I am a convert and did not have to be re-baptized when I became a Catholic. There are only a very tiny handful of “Christian” baptisms that aren’t recognized by both or either the Catholic or Lutheran Churches.
I’d say this brother in law is far less than just lukewarm…he’s lost all around. Even a luke warm Lutheran should want this child baptized. That is fundamental to most Christian churches worldwide. Some wait till adulthood but many others do it for children. And those that wait don’t make you re-do one just because you had it as a child.
So, I think you should questions his Christianity, not his Catholicism. Maybe ask him what happened that he’s walking away from Christ…not the Church. I think he’s lost somewhere.
But remind him that this isn’t about what people think. This is about eternal salvation…something BOTH faiths teach!
Good luck…though this question is so old it may not matter anymore…either way my prayer for them tonight.

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