Friendship evanglism


#1

I was visiting with my neighbor yesterday. She and her family are new Christians and attend an Independent Baptist Church. When I arrived, she was talking with a woman from her church. They were discussing this woman’s husband’s problems with the type of witnessing that her church promotes.

Apparently, they are taught to go through the trouble of befriending people. Once they win the person’s trust, then they start inviting them to church. From there they witness to them. They termed this friendship evangilism or friendship witnessing? (Can’t remember which)

Is it my imagination or does this seem underhanded? I would much rather someone openly approach me with their goals. That way, I can tell them to shut up if they offend me. It is much harder to be rude to a friend.

My friend has also expressed with me her concern that some in her church are anti Catholic. She has asked me to attend a homeschooling meeting that is conducted through her church, but the idea that I might be someone’s project puts me off.


#2

Gosh, do you get the feeling that you would be dropped like a hot rock if you were not a good pupil to their evangelization? I don’t call that being a friend. It sounds more like a sneaky version of door to door “thumping”.

Aren’t you in RCIA? If I am thinking of someone else, sorry. Being attacked by seasoned anti-catholics could confuse you in your faith journey right now. Be careful and keep a good spiritual advisor around would be my advice. I see no reason why we can’t have friends of other faiths. It’s fine to share our faith with each other, but having an agenda does sound underhanded to me.

I get this all the time in my neck of the woods. I hate to sound cynical, but it never ceases to stun me when someone I thought was just friendly was waiting for the time to throw in very hurtful barbs about the Church. It does make me mindful as to what the evangelicals see as my witness to Christ. I try not to scandalize but remain true to myself. Does that make sense?

I have made some true friends and we have learned from each other. Knowing how to answer some of their misconceptions helps.


#3

Yes, I am in RCIA. I attended an Independent Baptist Church, myself for three years, so I think that I have heard most of their arguements.:slight_smile:

I don’t think that my friend, personally is trying to convert me. But I am afraid that over time, she might feel pressured to do so. She has already expressed guilt that she is not involved in as many of her church’s ministries as they want her to be in. At the present time she is very open to the Catholic church and is disappointed that members of her church occasionally seem antiCatholic.

I do worry that her friends will begin to see me as a pet project. Not something that I want to happen. The thought of going to a homeshool meeting and having several ladies trying to convert me makes me extremely uncomfortable.


#4

Deb1,

If the possibility of being a project makes you uncomfortable, by all means don’t go. Perhaps this might be a way to let them know that this method of evangelizing is not without problems. If you or your friend are able to, it would be very worthwhile to let them know that you’re not coming precisely because their friendship, given their evangelization directive, cannot be trusted as genuine. Perhaps some of them have never considered the implications of that style of evangelizing, and your letting them know might open their eyes and even lead to change.

God bless.


#5

[quote=deb1]I was visiting with my neighbor yesterday. She and her family are new Christians and attend an Independent Baptist Church. When I arrived, she was talking with a woman from her church. They were discussing this woman’s husband’s problems with the type of witnessing that her church promotes.

Apparently, they are taught to go through the trouble of befriending people. Once they win the person’s trust, then they start inviting them to church. From there they witness to them. They termed this friendship evangilism or friendship witnessing? (Can’t remember which)

Is it my imagination or does this seem underhanded? I would much rather someone openly approach me with their goals. That way, I can tell them to shut up if they offend me. It is much harder to be rude to a friend.

My friend has also expressed with me her concern that some in her church are anti Catholic. She has asked me to attend a homeschooling meeting that is conducted through her church, but the idea that I might be someone’s project puts me off.
[/quote]

A lot of people use the term “friendship evangelism.” I agree that it is very off-putting and under-handed when done in the way that you describe. Of course, so is walking up to a stranger, handing them a Chick tract, and asking, "Do you know where you’re going when you die?"
I prefer to actually make friends with people, out of caring for them. Of course, I’m going to witness to my friends! But, if they don’t agree with me, it’s not the end of the friendship. A lot of people trained in the wrong kind of “friendship evangelism” become very disillusioned when their “friends” don’t become Christians. They either learn the lesson that you should be friends for the right reasons, or they turn on their “project.”


#6

This forum seems to me to often see a protestant as an enemy because they might want to “save” you. One must realize from their point of view they are trying to do good for you. Many of them are quite saddened by the assumption that Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. cannot be saved. On the other hand all are not concerned for your personal salvation, but really have a hatred for the spawn of Satin who are leading people away from true faith. For them one can only pray for they are deaf to our words of Truth.


#7

[quote=rwoehmke]This forum seems to me to often see a protestant as an enemy because they might want to “save” you. One must realize from their point of view they are trying to do good for you. Many of them are quite saddened by the assumption that Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. cannot be saved. On the other hand all are not concerned for your personal salvation, but really have a hatred for the spawn of Satin who are leading people away from true faith. For them one can only pray for they are deaf to our words of Truth.
[/quote]

Thanks for reminding us of this fact. I certainly don’t see sincere, concerned protestants as enemies because they desire me to go back to protestantism. But, I will resent the actions of someone who pretends to befriend me, then drops that friendship when I remain Catholic. I would expect resentment if I pretended to befriend a Hindu or a Muslim or a Scientologist, not out of love or genuineness, but out of a desire to gain a notch on my belt. There is a fine line between desiring someone’s conversion and desiring the puffing-up of one’s own spiritual pride.


#8

[quote=rwoehmke]This forum seems to me to often see a protestant as an enemy because they might want to “save” you. One must realize from their point of view they are trying to do good for you. Many of them are quite saddened by the assumption that Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. cannot be saved. On the other hand all are not concerned for your personal salvation, but really have a hatred for the spawn of Satin who are leading people away from true faith. For them one can only pray for they are deaf to our words of Truth.
[/quote]

I do **not **see my friend or other protestants as the “enemy.” I am a convert myself and have a high view of most protestants. I do understand the mindset. That doesn’t make it less uncomfortable to realize that eventually my friend might come to the point where-because we are becoming close-she believes that she needs to convert me.:frowning:

I was confused by your spawn of Satan remark.(Hey, I am easily confused:whacky: )


#9

[quote=deb1]I was visiting with my neighbor yesterday. She and her family are new Christians and attend an Independent Baptist Church. When I arrived, she was talking with a woman from her church. They were discussing this woman’s husband’s problems with the type of witnessing that her church promotes.

Apparently, they are taught to go through the trouble of befriending people. Once they win the person’s trust, then they start inviting them to church. From there they witness to them. They termed this friendship evangilism or friendship witnessing? (Can’t remember which)

Is it my imagination or does this seem underhanded? I would much rather someone openly approach me with their goals. That way, I can tell them to shut up if they offend me. It is much harder to be rude to a friend.

My friend has also expressed with me her concern that some in her church are anti Catholic. She has asked me to attend a homeschooling meeting that is conducted through her church, but the idea that I might be someone’s project puts me off.
[/quote]

I can understand your feeelings Deb1, but also remember that the apostles did the same thing. Andrew went and found Simon… Any way, I agree that it makes one wonder, and the fact that a lot of n-Cs are pretty “slick” about it is disconcerting.

I figure it this way, God brings real friends into our lives and we share what we love with them… that includes our faith.

I had a buddy who was a Wiccan and we talked a lot about stuff and just became friends, a lot of the n-Cs shunned him (and me because of him) and even when they talked to him it was like a high pressure debate/sales pitch and they put him down a lot.

Somehow we got on the subject of all this and he laughed when I told him I really didn’t much care what they thought since I was sure that God knows what I believe and I do too.

As we talked he opened up & I discovered something that apparently no one else knew…

“Smiley” (my friend’s nickname) started off as an atheist…later decided that he wasn’t so sure and so became an agnostic and now was an Wiccan because it seemed to him that there might be a God or gods but he wasn’t sure yet.

See a pattern? I did and I prayed that God would help me be the kind of friend to him that would allow me to share the faith with him, It worked, and he began to read everything I could offer him on being Catholic (while flat refusing anything form the n-Cs) until finally one day he simply said…“y’know, if I ever do become a Christian, it’ll be a Catholic, because what you guys say just makes the best sense.” (If ya think I didn’t praise God for that…ya don’t know me very well…)

Smiley and I lost touch when he moved away, but I remember the guy in my prayers because I know that God knows where he is and is still drawing him to Himself.

I guess the point is that I find it hard to adequately share my faith with someone that I can’t be friends with. I can talk and share with most anyone, (I don’t really meet many strangers) but a friend you can really share what makes life work with. How can one really share our most holy faith with someone else if we aren’t willing to befriend them and disciple them. (Think: sponsor in RCIA)

Fr. John McCloskey has a couple of good articles Here and Here that may also help a little,

As for n-Cs befriending me for evangelism…I reserve the right to respond in kind. :thumbsup:
Pax tecum,


#10

[quote=deb1]I do **not **see my friend or other protestants as the “enemy.” I am a convert myself and have a high view of most protestants. I do understand the mindset. That doesn’t make it less uncomfortable to realize that eventually my friend might come to the point where-because we are becoming close-she believes that she needs to convert me.:frowning:

I was confused by your spawn of Satan remark.(Hey, I am easily confused:whacky: )
[/quote]

Well they are the enemy, if they are trying to turn you from your Faith. Have you made it clear that you are committed to Catholicism and not open to their teachings? Are there other social situations besides Church related functions? Perhaps it might be best to make Religion an off-limits subject, especially if it is evangelization on their part. If they wish to limit the terms of their friendship to converting you, you are better off without them.

A Priest in a friend’s Parish is a convert, and he has warned his parishioners many times of situations such as these.

Perhaps you could remind your friends that all protestant denominations broke away from the Catholic Church, which is the Church Christ founded.
How do they explain

Mt 16:18And I tell you that you are Peter,c] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadesd] will not overcome it.e] 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will bef] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beg] loosed in heaven."

?


#11

My friend has asked me many questions about the Catholic church. Thankfully, due mainly to you guys, I have been able to answer her questions. I enjoy comparing our faiths in a respectful manner. As far as evangilism, I leave that in God’s hands. If something that I said put a seed in her heart, then hooray. But I am not befriending her simply to evanglize her nor would I stop being her friend due to her church membership.

Its not her that I am worried about. She has confessed that some of her church’s members are antiCatholic-which confuses her. All the people that come to her house are from her church-except me. It is them that I worry about.

She has invited me to a homeschool support group given through her church. I am going to have to inform her that I can’t attend. I am just going to have to pray about this. Perhaps the best course might be to give her my reasons. I doubt that she has ever thought her church’s teaching through. SHe is a very new christian.


#12

It might be very helpful to tell your friend why you won’t join: perhaps that will make some of them stop and think about their method of evangelizing. Give them the benefit of the doubt (at least for now) that they honestly don’t know the negative side of what they’re doing, and have simply not thought it through. You might precipitate some soul-searching and some welcome changes.

God bless.


#13

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