How do you respond to this comment?

Hi everyone,

I’ve run into this situation many times so I’m sure many of you have too and I’m just not sure if I handle it the best way all the time.

What do you say if you are talking to an acquaintance (perhaps a co-worker, perhaps in a group or just one-on-one etc.) and the topic turns to religion and the person says something to the effect of *’ what really matters is our relationship with Jesus and our acceptance of his salvation. After that, it really doesn’t matter what church you go to."

*I’m familiar with why this falls short of Catholic teachng, and could discuss various points, **but I’m getting at the ‘social’ aspect of this. ** How do you respond to this comment if you are with someone you don’t know really well, or you’re in a group of people, or even with friend, and you don’t want to agree, but then again it’s probably not the time to respond in such a way that a debate will likely begin? Is there a graceful way to respond?

What I would do is smile brightly and say, “Actually, I’ve come to this exciting conviction from God about his Truth. God is Truth and for one to not want or seek a church that teaches the full Truth, then your settling for less than what God is and what God offers us.”

Then I would also check out in the Bible the verses that talk about gaurding against false teaching, I don’t know them off the top of my head. But you can read them, memorize them if need be, but just cite the verse number (nicely of course) and use it as an example that the Bible teaches us that church teachings are important (that is if they continue to press the uselessness of Church). Of course if this conversation goes on, you can ask “What is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth?” “The Divine Word of God tells us it is the Church. [be sure to know the verse] I do appreciate where you are coming from, but I can’t place your opinion over the Bible”

You don’t need to hit them with all of this at once, it truly depends on how the conversation goes. My feeling is that after the first comment you make they will change the subject and then later during the day or week make little comments that might catch you off gaurd, but you’ll be prepared with the other explanations. :slight_smile:

Bless you for trying :slight_smile:

Hi

for myself, having gotten to the point that religion comes up, I would feel comforatable in making a statement like:

Well, I guess for me, having a relationship with Christ and accepting His Salvation meant following His teaching. Picking up the Cross and following Him, like He said. After really looking and a LOT of prayer, because believe me - I certainly didn’t WANT to - following Him meant going to the Catholic Church, His Church - like it says in the Bible.

After that - I would leave the questions come, or not - be prepared to back everything up with scripture, and follow the Spirit always - even with saying what I just wrote. That makes it plain where you stand, and gives them something to think about - or question you on, because a statement like that (From someone) is almost always a beg for someone to lead and/or teach them.

Peace

John

You may start by saying you agree with the statement, what really matters is our relationship with Jesus, but that also means in that statement to do what he says. Then go into he said in Mathew 16, 18, upon this rock I will build my church. Then say I think he started a church, well which church was it. Then go from there. There’s only one that goes all the way back to that time. There’s only one that we trusted to give us our bible. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will lead into all truth. With all different teachings in all the churches how is he leading us into all truth unless he’s guiding just one to that absolute fullness of truth.

I’ve heard some people here in Ireland that wriggle out of disputes simply by saying, " Oh ! well, each to their own"

That’s the easy way out, if you want to stand up for your faith, then sadly like Jesus you’ll lose a few friends. :bible1:

Just thought of someting else. If all that matters is a relationship with Jesus and that’s it. How come the bible is so long? Why isn’t it just one sentence saying all that matters is a relationship with Jesus. Also Jesus went around speaking and talking about a lot of things. Can you imagine this dialoge. "Jesus: All you need is a relation with me…Crouds reply: That’s great but tell us more…Jesus’ reply: No that’s about it, thank you…then he goes to the next town and does the same thing.

Options:

#1. Say nothing.
While it would be sinful to agree to a false statement like that it is not to just say nothing at all. This may very well be the prudent thing to do. Especially if the person just wants an arguement or if you don’t think they would be receptive to actual truthful answers and you may drive a wedge between yourself and the other that would prevent further dialogue. I usually figure that a relationship must come first before most people really listen to what you have to say.

#2. Say something brief but cut the converstation short.
This method could be used if your silence is likely to imply agreement. Again tact and prudence should be your watch words and charity your motivation. You have to balance the risk of arguement verses the odds of a charatable and fruitful arguement. Anyway with this method I suggest politely saying “I’d disagree with that but this may not be a prudent time to have a long discussion on religion… maby some time over coffee”. Here you have made clear your disagreement and have even set up a nice potential opportunity for opening the discussion back up later in a nice charitable environment where you can be prepaired in both heart and mind for the pending discussion.

#3. Discuss/Argue
If you feel that you are ready to share your faith with charity and you feel that it may make some valuable impact on the other then go ahead and share your faith. Just make sure to try hard not to set up any barriers to future discussion and not to burn any bridges of relationship.

Hi Elzee,

You did not mention whether or not the person who makes the remark is a Catholic or noncatholic. For noncatholics, the statement may be true, since the scope of their theology is narrow and that is commonly their learned perception.

How do you respond to this comment if you are with someone you don’t know really well, or you’re in a group of people, or even with friend, and you don’t want to agree, but then again it’s probably not the time to respond in such a way that a debate will likely begin?

If you are in a group or with those whom you don’t know well, it is probably not good timing, as you already understood. The entire group could turn on you and egg on one’s face is not desirable. You need to know your facts extremely well beforehand in order to carry on a good discussion.

It sounds as though the person’s mind is already made up, or it would have been expressed in a different manner, with more leverage towards those of other faiths. *After that, it really doesn’t matter what church you go to!] *I heard Father Dubay speak on TV the other night, and he had a wonderful summary of John Henry Cardinal Newmann’s writings. Speaking about the brilliancy of his mind, Father quoted him as teaching:

It is not by argument that one is converted, for their decision is most usually born of their own preference and sympathies.

This was for me a very timely and beautiful answer to prayer as to whether or not to continue my own debate with those whose mind is already made up. Many years ago, prior to beginning a catechetical ministry to children, we learned in a workshop that very little learning occurs until the “seeker” feels a gap between where one is spiritually and where one seeks to know truth. At that point, it is readily and easily digested and accepted.

The presenter helped us to see that our job is to plant seeds, but leave the growth to the Holy Spirit. Very few of our words will take root. We had a test to see how many of about 25-30 items mentioned by the presenter could be recalled five minutes later. It was demoralizing to see how memory is so inept to instant recall. If we named ten, we did well.

How refreshing it was to remember all of my earlier training when Father spoke the other day, for a full half hour. Yet this one statement of his is all I am able to repeat. :stuck_out_tongue:

And how true it is that unless someone is specifically “seeking,” and God puts them in our path for us to enlighten them, we can become a sounding board that renders another person even more obstinant through argument.

If the person you are with is one-on-one and is Catholic, you can mention that their conscience has been formed with incorrect learning, and that they may want to discuss it with the priest. Should they press you for more, not as if to argue, but to learn — you may find that open door for the Lord to prompt you and speak.

With every good blessing as you witness for Christ,
Carole

I would probably find a way to point out the “personal relationship” the first christians and martyrs had with Jesus, and how I look to them for inspiration.

Whenever I’m in doubt I steer people towards the Fathers and early martyrs.

If you are prepared to discuss this matter, begin by asking, “Why do you believe this?”

Then prepare to respond to each point that is presented.

[quote=Elzee]Hi everyone,

I’ve run into this situation many times so I’m sure many of you have too and I’m just not sure if I handle it the best way all the time.

What do you say if you are talking to an acquaintance (perhaps a co-worker, perhaps in a group or just one-on-one etc.) and the topic turns to religion and the person says something to the effect of *’ what really matters is our relationship with Jesus and our acceptance of his salvation. After that, it really doesn’t matter what church you go to."

*I’m familiar with why this falls short of Catholic teachng, and could discuss various points, **but I’m getting at the ‘social’ aspect of this. ** How do you respond to this comment if you are with someone you don’t know really well, or you’re in a group of people, or even with friend, and you don’t want to agree, but then again it’s probably not the time to respond in such a way that a debate will likely begin? Is there a graceful way to respond?
[/quote]

Have them read the following Scriptures.

(Mark 9:38 – 40) “John said to Him, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him’. But Jesus said, ‘you must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is

(John 14:26)
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.”

(Matthew 7:21) “It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the kingdom of Heaven but the person who does the will of My Father in Heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?’ Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!”

you could always ask them why it would even matter that you go to church at all…or if it matters what the church you go to teaches. Do they really think all chuches teach the same thing or do they just think it doesnt matter what they teach, whether it be true or false, it just wouldnt matter!

you could also ask them why would Jesus bother to found a Church in the first place if it was not essential. or ask them why the Bible says the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. again…would they say that all churches are equally pillars and foundations of truth even when the contradict one another.

you could ask him why he goes to his particular church and then ask him if those reasons are important or not!

I’ve responded with something like, “Y’know, I used to think that was all that matters, but the more I have got into the Word of God and the things that the early Christians wrote about their faith, guys like Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch, I find that I have to go deeper and that my faith requires of me an ever deepening commitment to follow Christ and be like Him to the very best of my ability as God gives me grace.” I usually offer Matthew 25:31-46 as a passage that got my attention.

The fact is that that remark is a common opening that n-Cs will routinely use to open up a chance to “witness” to you. My philosphy is that if you open the door, I’m gonna walk right in and share my faith with you. Most often I have to the show them how there is a big gap between the teachings of the New Testament church, which I often have to remind them includes the ECF, who gave their lives for the faith, (Polycarp was burned alive & Ignatius was thrown to wild animals.) and what a great many people today have been taught to believe is New Testament Christianity. I’m not out to get them to convert on the spot and pray the Rosary with me, but to get them thinking and maybe seeking the truth and getting the facts so they can decide for themselves. If they express an interest, I often refer them to the great FREE Catholic courses from The Catholic Home Study Service and suggest “We Believe…” as a good start. They can google it very easily.
Pax vobiscum,

I never attack or act defensively. I have found the it opens for me an opportunity to teach. So, I just use the Socratic method on them by asking pointed questions dealing with their surity. So, my first question as a response would be, “Are you sure about that?” If they say no then you go in the direction of asking questions the sheepherd toward certitude of salvation placed upon unsure principles. If they say yes then you ask them how they came to this conclusion and you work on it from there. Usually it takes two forms - emotional assent to ones belief and bash indignation. Both objections are easy to respond to in their own course.

[quote=Elzee]What do you say if you are talking to an acquaintance (perhaps a co-worker, perhaps in a group or just one-on-one etc.) and the topic turns to religion and the person says something to the effect of *’ what really matters is our relationship with Jesus and our acceptance of his salvation. After that, it really doesn’t matter what church you go to." *
[/quote]

One-on-one conversations are handled differently than group discussions.

Generally, I use group conversations as learning tools for me. I try to observe and listen more than anything else. It is a window to their personal beliefs and convictions which is not something people discuss very often, so I’m mindful not to cut the discussion off short by my stating the obvious. If the majority of people in the group are Methodist, my stating Catholic teaching will only get them to clam up until I excuse myself. It’s better for me to listen to their conversation in order to learn more about Methodist thinking.

Later, should the opportunity arise to have a one-on-one discussion, then I can approach the person to ask a question about something stated in the group setting. By seeking clarification from them, I open the window for me to share our position, noting why I have difficulty understanding their position given my background.

From there, it’s a matter of apologetics…I need to have my scripture references ready to go (and that’s what usually holds me back, but I’m working on that) :wink:

Given your example, my one-on-one question would be:

I understand what you mean by “*what really matters is our relationship with Jesus and our acceptance of his salvation” *because it **is **critical for each of us. What I don’t understand is how one can be so intimately involved with Jesus and yet reject the very Church He established. If it doesn’t matter what church one attends, why did he start one up Himself?

This would be to get them to acknowledge Jesus did establish His Church. From what I’m reading from protestant conversion stories, that particular point is accepted by all Christians. Jesus did establish a church through Peter…but somewhere down the line the Catholic Church strayed away from Jesus’ church…yada, yada :stuck_out_tongue: I would try not to allow the person to discuss the splits now, but get them to concede ONE church was established by Jesus Himself and that is clearly in scripture. If they won’t take the bate, chances are work situations will cut our conversation off anyway and I’d rely on the Spirit to take it from there.

But if I could get them to concede that point, I’d submit my observation that **since **Jesus established **A **church to protect and share His truth with all people, then it **does **matter which church a person attends. The question for each Christian then becomes, which church in existence today is the church from scripture which Jesus created?

[quote=Lorarose]Whenever I’m in doubt I steer people towards the Fathers and early martyrs.
[/quote]

Do the Christian denominations acknowledge the existence of Early Church Fathers?

I mean, they’re historically real. They historically had a lot to do with preserving Christ’s teachings so that even the Christian denomination followers have access to the Truth. But I get the impression most members of any congregation wouldn’t have a clue about these people. The pastors know about them, and their significance, but do they speak about them to the congregation?

Stephen Ray said the history he grew up with was shortly after the last Apostle died the Catholic church derailed herself from the track Jesus laid, and the Church was forced underground until, praise be to God, Luther sprung forth to set the train aright. :whacky: So, I wonder now what average church goers are taught about the history of the Christian faith. It seems to me, a **huge **chunk of history is left out because if they included it questions would arise which would weaken their own assertion that ‘their’ church is ‘the’ church.

This can be very difficult to deal with.
I have a very dear lady-friend who is an ex-Catholic
(cradle Catholic) and now a member of Calvary Chapel.
She gets upset if I say that it matters what church you go to, and she even told me to drop the subject once. I leave it up to Christ, He has to be the one to convict her heart, I can’t do that.
Love,
Jaypeeto3

I generally just say “I disagree”, that leaves them the option of discussing it or dropping it. My response also depends on whether or not they state it as fact or just their opinion.

I mean, they’re historically real. They historically had a lot to do with preserving Christ’s teachings so that even the Christian denomination followers have access to the Truth. But I get the impression most members of any congregation wouldn’t have a clue about these people. The pastors know about them, and their significance, but do they speak about them to the congregation?

I agree they don’t have a clue about these people…which is exactly why I bring them up!
This might get their attention…bring up something they realize they haven’t learned about yet.
Hopefully, if a seed of curiosity is planted, they might go home and start reading about the early christians themselves.

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