How would you answer this girl? (ex-Catholic, now Anabaptist)


#1

I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh and I started an apologetics group on a college networking website called Facebook. I received this message from a girl:

“I am a ‘questioning Christian’ so to speak…have been raised in the Catholic church but really did not understand the symbolism nor understood the legalism of everything while growing up. Recently I began attending an Anabaptist church and have found myself growing in faith, awe, and appreciation of the cross for the past 2 years. I’m just wondering if you really believe it is necessary to be Catholic in order to be saved, or whether simply being a Christian by following Christs teachings, sharing our sins to each other and asking Him for forgiveness, is enough? I know the internet can be tricky, so just to let you know I am not trying to get angry or fight with you, because I am not angry at all. I am simply asking for your opinion in order for me to understand the different demoninations better. May God bless you!"

How would you respond to her? I will post my response next.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b49/JSmitty2005/Catholic/heartthumb.gif


#2

Okay, here is how I responded to her. Let me know if I said anything not in line with the teachings of the Church. I sent it to a priest and he approved it, but I’m just wondering what you guys think. Would you have added anything? Thanks for your help! Here it is:

“I would first like to thank the person who asked the question for asking it don’t know how much you know about Catholicism, so I’ll try to start with the basics. I will also try to use Sacred Scripture as much as I can in my explanation since you already acknowledge that it is authoritative. My answer to your question is yes, I really do believe it is necessary to be Catholic in order to be saved. And I also believe that you can be saved by simply following Christ’s teachings. I believe these statements simultaneously because they are one and the same! Let me explain. We all know that salvation only comes through Christ. “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4:12). However, Jesus Christ explicitly established a church. It is quite obvious in Matthew 16:18-19. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This short statement is full of importance. Here Christ establishes his infallible church on Peter (which means “rock”), promises that the church will never be overcome by evil, and designates Peter as the authoritative leader of his church. Now, something that you may not know is that it was right there that Christ instituted the papacy. Peter was the first pope! Anyways, I won’t get into the pope anymore for now. Another passage from Sacred Scripture that stresses the church’s importance is Matthew 18:15-17. “If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” Here Christ shows how the church is the final authority, not the Bible. Some translations of this passage even end as, “If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a heathen.” Christ commands his followers to submit to the church’s authority and if they don’t, they should be considered outcasts. This passage also illustrates how the church is a visible institution and not an invisible community of “true believers” known only to God. If the church were invisible, then how could you “tell the church”? Furthermore, 1 Timothy 3:15 refers to the church as the “pillar and foundation of truth.” The Bible is quite clear when it comes to the importance of the church. Although Christ chose Peter as the leader of his church, he actually built his church on all of the apostles. In Ephesians 2:19-20, it says that the church, also know as the household of God, was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” That is why the Catholic Church calls itself “apostolic.” Every bishop in the Catholic Church is the successor of one of the apostles and therefore has the same authority that the apostles had. One difference between Catholics and Protestants is that Protestants often assume that when Jesus says something in the Bible that it applies to all believers. Catholics, on the other hand, are careful to differentiate when he is speaking to all believers from when he is speaking specifically to the apostles. One such example is in Luke 10:16 when he addresses the seventy-two, who are considered apostles (although not part of “the twelve”) because they were “sent.” It states, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” From this we can conclude that whoever rejects the apostles (the church) rejects Christ and since salvation is only possible through Christ then they can’t be saved. It is necessary to accept his church which is the Catholic Church (this can be seen by studying the early church in the writings of the Fathers) in order to achieve eternal salvation. Now is where the gray area comes in, because not everyone is aware of the fact that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. In fact, not everyone has even heard about Christ and the ones who have but have rejected him may have done so because of an arrogant missionary or some other reason known only to God that is not really their fault." I need to post the rest of my response in another message because it’s too long. :thumbsup:


#3

Here is the rest of my reply to her:

“Because of the reasons I stated above, the church has always held the dogma “Extra Ecclesium Nulla Salus.” This means “No Salvation Outside the Church.” Some indifferentists have tried to twist this doctrine to mean “No Salvation Without the Church,” but this is wrong. Also some schismatic traditionalists have tried to say that all non-Catholics will be damned, but this is also wrong. The Second Vatican Council document entitled Lumen Gentium states, “Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.” The key word there is “knowing.” Here is a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#847-848): “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. ‘Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.’” The Catechism cites Hebrews 11:6 and 1 Corinthians 9:16 as support for this stance. Now, these are indeed the exceptions for those who are not Catholic. Great care must be taken not to misrepresent the Church’s teaching because, as Charles Osgood once said, “There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule.” This does not mean that Catholics should not evangelize because they assume that everyone falls into that exception (as many Catholics believe); it is only stating that the Church isn’t going to claim to know who is damned since that is only known to God who is all-merciful. Wow! That’s a very long answer to an apparently simple question. We must be careful not to oversimplify Christianity, as some have, because it could result in the loss of essential truths. I hope that I have covered all my bases and thoroughly & satisfactorily answered your question. In closing, if Christ established a church, wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? If you would like more resources I suggest that you check out:
catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0405frs.asp
catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0403sbs.asp
catholic.com/thisrock/2002/0207fea3.asp
catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9111chap.asp
The comment was also made that you didn’t understand the “symbolism” or “legalism.” By “symbolism,” I assume that you mean during Mass. If this is the case, I suggest that you read a book by Dr. Scott Hahn titled The Lamb’s Supper. By “legalism,” I assume that you are referring to the Church’s rejection of the Protestant notion that we are saved by faith alone or sola fide. If this is the case, I can address this another time. Thanks for your interest in the Church. Sincerely, Jon.”


#4

[quote=JSmitty2005]How would you respond to her?
[/quote]

Your response was good, but it was long. It may have overwhelmed her (it kinda overwhelmed me).

I prefer to draw people in a little at a time. In this case, I would find some doctrine that she believes is necessary for salvation. She is “Annabaptist,” but there’s really no such thing - there are at least six principal Anabaptist theological systems which differ widely, so you don’t really know *what *she believes. She could be Swiss Bretheren or Menonite or Hoffmanite, for that matter (heck, she could be Quaker, really - those folks are Anabaptist in origin and theology).

But she seems to have given you at least an outline of her understanding of the economy of salvation, but I don’t think it’s enough to go on yet. The idea is to get her to say, “I believe this particular thing is necessary for salvation.” It **must **be one of those doctrines that sets her belief system apart from other protestant faiths (so the Lordship of Jesus doesn’t cut the mustard). For example, she says, “following Christ’s teachings.” Does she mean that works play a part in our salvation? If so, that’s your vector.

Let’s suppose that she (rightly) understands that our works play a part in our salvation. Then you point out that that doctrine is not taught by (say) Lutherans. Not only is this doctrine not taught - it is specifically and emphatically rejected. So then ask her if it matters if someone is a Lutheran, because Lutherans reject her “necessary” doctrine with their teaching of Sola Fide. Then ask her if it’s possible for a Lutheran to be saved even though they reject her particular doctrine.

No matter what she answers (whether it’s yes, no, or maybe), you can lead her to a proper understanding of the Church, and why it’s beneficial to have the fullness of Truth.

The idea is to engage her in dialoge, and gradually bring her to a more complete understanding.

At least that is how I would do it.


#5

Common among “all” Anabaptists would probably be the three 'n’s. Non-conformity, Non-swearing (of oaths), and Nonresistance. They pretty much all believe in “believer’s baptism” rather than infant baptism. Anabaptist means re-baptizer, because they were baptizing as adults people who had been baptized as infants.


#6

If I may clarify one thing, the Non-resistance part. It should be Non-violence. We are free to resist but not in ways that use violence. If someone is committing an injustice it is my job to bring justice without the use of violence. My minor from a Mennonite Brethren University was actually in conflict resolution and in no way does the Mennonite Brethren church condone idly standing by as evil is done.


#7

hi, just share my ideas, I’m just simple catholic.

If a person accepts Christ as his Lord and Savior, he must accept him as a whole : THE WHOLE CHRIST not only PART OF HIM.

JESUS IS THE HEAD AND The CHURCH is his BODY. We have to accept the WNOLE HIM, or else our assumption that we recieve Christ and follow his teachings is in vain or absurd.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#8

JSmitty,

I thought your response was brilliant! I would like to print it out and give it to a co-worker who is Presbyterian, but whose wife left the Catholic Church and joined his church - (probably because she divorced and remarried outside the church without obtaining an annulment and then had problems receiving the Sacraments. But that’s just my theory). I’ve sent her a few tapes to try to convince her to come back to Holy Mother Church and to do all she could to obtain an annulment. I’ve sent her tapes on Scott Hahn’s Conversion Story, the conversion story of Tim Staples, and a tape titled “The Truth About Mary”. I also sent with the tapes a nice letter explaining why I was sending this stuff to her in the first place. A lot of it having to do with what you mention in your response. Well, I never received an indication what she thought, not from her or her husband, my co-worker. Since then, he has completely ignored the issue since given him those things to bring to her. I even wonder if he gave them to her or if he ditched them. I asked him yesterday if he did (in fact) give them to her and he said he did - but he was very concerned at the time when I gave him all that stuff in an envelope. He said to me "but she belongs to my church now! Are you trying to get her back to your church? I just smiled and prayed. He is a Deacon in his church by the way - so it’s important to him I guess that his wife also believes in what he believes in.

Anyway, I would like your permission to print out your response. I’d like to keep up on her and send her a copy of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in trying to bring ex-Catholics back to the one true church of Christ! I think also I’d like a copy for myself - just to have those scripture verses at my fingertips.

God Bless and hope you hear back from this girl. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she finally “get’s it”! Which is the problem with so many cradle Catholics who grew up in the faith. They just never “got it”!


#9

Could one claim to be a physicist who believes Newtonian laws but not Einstein’s laws?

Of course there is much that is true and useful and good in the Newtonian system, but Einstein’s system is the true system, and it offers a superior explanation of the nature of the physical world.

Can one be a Newtonian and still be a physicist? No, not really. Real physicists will respect your understanding, and your skill on a limited range of applications, but they will have to exclude you from the profession because a more perfect grasp is in our possession.


#10

[quote=CindyGia]Anyway, I would like your permission to print out your response. I’d like to keep up on her and send her a copy of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in trying to bring ex-Catholics back to the one true church of Christ! I think also I’d like a copy for myself - just to have those scripture verses at my fingertips.
[/quote]

You’re absolutely welcome to use my response. If you want to give me credit, my name is Jonathan C. Smith, but you don’t *have * to. You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with evangelization. Since Vatican II, too many people are so super-sensitive to ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ that they feel as though evangelization is offensive and that conversion is unneccessary which has led to indifference. But of course that is all wrong and hopefully Pope Benedict will do a better job of making that clear than some of the past popes since V2. Naturally you will be met with resistance from them, but maybe you planted a seed in their soul. It might take a while to sprout, but you probably got them thinking. May I suggest Steve Ray’s conversion story? Listening to his tape helped me to revert. It puts the Bible in its proper perspective within the Church, and because Scripture is their only authority, that is exactly what you have to address. Good luck & God bless! :thumbsup:


#11

Thanks JSmitty!

By the way, which website can I order the tape you mentioned? Would it be on the Catholicity website? I haven’t looked just yet.

I’d actually like to order more than 10 if the price is right! I always hand them out. My goal in the very near future is to order at least 100 of these conversion story tapes and bring them to my “ex” Protestant Alliance Church and leave them on everyone’s windshield. :wink: (hee-hee…) Right after becoming Catholic, I wrote the pastor of that church a 10-page letter explaining why I left (that church) and converted to the one true Church of God. I explained many things to him regarding Catholics and (what he believed to be) “worshipping” Mary and praying to statues and the saints, which he said was idolatry and paganism. He really blasphemied
the Catholic Church as often as possible, and when I converted - I wanted to at least “try” to set the record straight regarding his wayward deceiving beliefs. Believe it or not, after I left that lengthy letter and three conversion story tapes and “The Truth About Mary,” he called my parish priest and tried to get me in trouble. I actually did get in trouble, only in that I left him a ten page letter and never asked spiritual advice before I took such measures. The day I was confronted by Father was really quite comical but scary for me. After confession, Father said to me, “oh, Cindy, by the way, WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU SEND A LETTER TO YOUR EX-MINISTER?!” And being blown away by this question (because I never would have thought this pastor would call my church) I said,… “Father, this guy hated the Blessed Mother and would curse the Church at every chance, and I just wanted to tell him he’s got it all wrong!” And Father said to me… “But did you have to send him A TEN PAGE LETTER!!!” So this pastor really “spilt the beans” on me to Father trying to do damage in some way. Father J didn’t give me the full details but he was really upset with me. Anyway, at the time of my conversion, being totally new to the Church, I was really ON FIRE! What is that called - convert fever?? I wanted everyone to know I was “called home” to the True Church and I wanted them all to be called home too! I will always hope that God calls us ALL home to the Holy, Roman Catholic Church! That is why I don’t think I’ll ever tire of getting the Word of this one Holy Catholic Church out there - even if it gets me in a little trouble. But it’s worth it!

I’m even thinking of going door-to-door one day - just like those Mormons do! Of course, with someone else.

Thanks again and God Bless!
Cindy


#12

[quote=CindyGia]Thanks JSmitty!

By the way, which website can I order the tape you mentioned? Would it be on the Catholicity website? I haven’t looked just yet.

[/quote]

The tape by Steve Ray is entitled “Conversion Testimony” and it was put out by St. Joseph Communications, Inc. I would also suggest the Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth pamphlets that Catholic Answers puts out as well as one called “Scripture Alone?” published by TAN books. Lastly, the companion to the Steve Ray tape would be Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by Henry G. Graham (I think Catholic Answers publishes this too). Other good sources would be John Henry Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine as well as One Lord, One Faith by Vernon Johnson. I never read those last two, but I have been suggested to and have only heard good things about them. Good luck!

Steve Ray’s CD: saintjoe.com/p/prod_desc.pl?id=406
Pillar Pamphlet: catholic.com/library/Pillar.asp
**Scripture Alone?: ** tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/523
Where we Got the Bible: shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-CB027.html?L+scstore+wwzt8181ffb88cb8+1159983826
Development of Doctrine: amazon.com/gp/product/026800921X/002-3766577-8940006?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance
One Lord, One Faith: amazon.com/gp/product/0722073658/002-3766577-8940006?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance (it looks like this one is out of print :frowning: but the other ones should be sufficient)

PS - Scripture Alone? is available online although it’s not as nice as having the pamphlet, here is the link to that: geocities.com/militantis/solascriptura.html

PSS - Where we got the Bible is also online but it’s also nicer to have the book: geocities.com/militantis/biblecontents.html

I hope all this helps!


#13

Pt 1,

Gods peace be with you theophilus (friend of God) Jonathan C. Smith,

Your initials, J.S., have also been the initials of great men before you. Men like Joseph Smyth who founded the Baptist heresy (sect/cult) in c.1609 and Joseph Smith who founded the Mormon heresy (sect/cult) in c.1830!:bigyikes: OK, all kidding aside though;) , your response was a work of art. It was fit to hang in the Le Louvre in Paris, even the Vatican.

One poster did have a good point though if that nearly “lost” almost ANA-Baptist former Catholic writes back to you. Try to give her some short, succinct information in ‘bite size’ chunks that won’t overwhelm her or frighten her away with information overload.

As a Catholic who is knowledgeable about my Faith, I know what you are talking about and can relate to it. However, when we talk to the ignorant about their Faith, Catholics like this girl and ALL those other former Catholics, we must give them truth like a physician gives medicine, in small doses. She has been influenced by lies mixed with truths in her ANA-Baptist cult. Satan tries to mislead people by mixing truth with lies. If she takes your response to her “RE”-baptizer friends, they will tear it apart and confuse her in their rhetoric and propaganda even more. They will deceive her by just concentrating on parts of it and ignoring the rest.

I would suggest in your next discussion with her these points. Try to keep them separate if she will keep talking to you - open minded to the truth you might say. If she closes her mind to the seeking of Christ’s truth, well, the dark side of the force may have won her over to the dark side.


#14

Pt 2,

Explain these points:

  1. Where does King James get the authority to write a Bible? Can Joseph Stalin (also J.S.:wink: ) force a communist Bible on his country? Could Hitler? Would she accept them too? Why not then?

  2. King James was bisexual and commanded the Bible be wrote to his whim and dictates, does she know what they were and what personal/political reasons the King ordered his Bible written and to word it the way he wanted it was?

  3. Does she know the original RE-Baptizers hated the KJV and refused to use it! They used the Geneva Bible of 1560 till forced by the royalty to use the KJV. (English publishers simply obeyed the King and stopped printing Geneva Bibles and printed KJV’s. When the Geneva’s were gone Protestants using English Bibles had to use the KJV or accept the Catholic English version - OUCH!)

  4. Where does Jesus command us to: Read the Bible, memorize the Bible, use the Bible or even write a Bible? Jesus never used a Bible! He gave us Tradition, His verbal Gospel and the Church as you so clearly pointed out.

  5. Which version of the KJV does her cult claim to be right now?

  6. If the KJV is so great, why are verses like St. Mt verse 6:13 “…For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever…” still in it since it is CATHOLIC doxology and NOT in the original manuscripts! (By the why, the ORIGINAL AKJV used the title of Saints and included all the Books of Scripture, why did Protestant publishers after the 1850’s stop using them and modify Scripture?)

  7. Is Baptism a Sacrament or only symbolic? St. John 3:3-7 “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…”. Baptism is clearly a Sacrament and commanded by Jesus as part of our salvation! How can you re-baptize what God has already Baptized and given the Holy Spirit to. Where does Scripture say to RE-Baptize? Can you really RE-Baptize anyone? NO, you can’t! Is Jesus just ‘symbolic’ too?

  8. Talk about how the words “Faith” and “believe” mean ongoing obedience. This disproves Faith alone and OSAS.

  9. Discuss how we are instructed to be LOYAL to the Church and how her cult is disloyal and thus in defiance of Gods word!

  10. Discuss Faith, Hope and Love (charity in the KJV). Why is Hope even a gift if Faith alone saves and we have assurance of salvation?:whacky:

  11. Ask her where in the Bible Jesus states that our worship service must be a grand stage show? Wonderful entertainment? Where we must have wonderful “singsperations” every 5th Sunday in the park? Explain what the mass really is and why we are “reverent” in our memorial.

  12. Now for the painful part. Explain to her how we have some bad Catholic priests and ignorant Catholics abound. We are ALL human and not all priests are as great as JPII. Good Protestant ministers follow the money to larger churches and get bigger congregations. Catholic priests are assigned and evenly distributed. Where does the Bible state we must have Bible study? Where does it say we have to have a Bible to get to heaven? So many Catholics are poorly Catechized and she appears to be one of them. It is an unfortunate problem in our Church that we do not offer better ongoing adult education, but then, where did Jesus tell we had to. The Bible tells us to endure in Faith, to do everything with Love, and this will give us HOPE for salvation.

So much more to add but this is a start. You will do fine if you can just keep her talking with you. Children must crawl before they can walk so go in easy to understand conversations with her. Start simple and then add complexity. Expand topics as needed.

You appear to know your Faith, I can tell that gives you endurance in Hope, so speak to her with the Love we are told to.

JMJ

PS, get her into this forum too.


#15

[quote=JSmitty2005]The tape by Steve Ray is entitled “Conversion Testimony” and it was put out by St. Joseph Communications, Inc. I would also suggest the Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth pamphlets that Catholic Answers puts out as well as one called “Scripture Alone?” published by TAN books. Lastly, the companion to the Steve Ray tape would be Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by Henry G. Graham (I think Catholic Answers publishes this too). Other good sources would be John Henry Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine as well as One Lord, One Faith by Vernon Johnson. I never read those last two, but I have been suggested to and have only heard good things about them. Good luck!

Steve Ray’s CD: saintjoe.com/p/prod_desc.pl?id=406
Pillar Pamphlet: catholic.com/library/Pillar.asp
**Scripture Alone?: ** tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/523
Where we Got the Bible: shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-CB027.html?L+scstore+wwzt8181ffb88cb8+1159983826
Development of Doctrine: amazon.com/gp/product/026800921X/002-3766577-8940006?v=glance&n=283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance
One Lord, One Faith: amazon.com/gp/product/0722073658/002-3766577-8940006?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance (it looks like this one is out of print :frowning: but the other ones should be sufficient)

PS - Scripture Alone? is available online although it’s not as nice as having the pamphlet, here is the link to that: geocities.com/militantis/solascriptura.html

PSS - Where we got the Bible is also online but it’s also nicer to have the book: geocities.com/militantis/biblecontents.html

I hope all this helps!
[/quote]

Hi JSmitty!

Cool Beans! Thanks for the links! I’ll check them all out!
Yes, I forgot about “Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth!” I definitely need to get hold of a “many” copies of that little excellent pamphlet!

Thanks again and God Bless!

Cindy


#16

[size=5]UPDATE: I just saw the girl at Mass yesterday! :dancing: Maybe I actually planted a seed. I guess the Holy Spirit has been working on her for the past several months. I did notice that she did not receive the Eucharist though. Please add her to your prayers. :gopray: :gopray2: :slight_smile: [/size]

PS - CindyGia, have you had any luck with your co-worker?


#17

I would tell her to keep growing in the Lord, study scripture and study the history of the church, read the church fathers. Then, link her to a good article on “no salvation outside the church”.


#18

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