I will be debating religion with my girlfriends pastor. Any advice


#1

Soon i will be engaging in religious debates with my girlfriends pastor and i am looking for advice. He is a evangelical lutheran pastor. We are doing this so she would see a Catholic Priest with me and talk about converting. So i am just looking for advice on what to talk about with the pastor.


#2

This might seem a bit ridiculous, but you might want to print out every Catholic Answers article and every page of Scripture Catholic and keep them with you for reference. I’m serious. When people are debating against Catholicism, they’ll pull out the weirdest criticisms out of the blue.


#3

I have a few great websites already. Also my girlfriend wants me to talk with her pastor through email then later person to person.


#4

Have you met with this pastor before? Does he know you as “the guy who is stealing the soul” of your girlfriend by converting to Catholicism? Is there any existing tension between you and him yet?

If there is no conflict yet, then I would not go looking for one. At the same time, your differences in belief will come up; however, it is how they come up that matters.

Personally, I start inter-faith dialogues by mentioning the **similarities ** between the different sects of Christianity.

If the other party wants to discredit any statements of unity that you have said, then he is the one who is starting the conflict. Any reply that you have to his objections are seen as a clarification of your belief, with the hope that both parties can agree on the subject.

For example:

Instead of saying:

“Catholics have believed for two thousand years that we are justified by the cooperation with God’s grace that is seen the acts of charity willed by the person, and any other theology is completely false!”

Try saying:

“Both Lutherans and Catholics, pastor, believe that Christ is the one mediator between man and God; the one true Way to salvation. Christ was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification. There are many things in common between our faiths…”

If he disagrees, and says that Lutherans and Catholics have too many differences, then just ask him what those differences are.

In this example, if he says that Lutherans hold the belief that men are saved by the imputation of Christ’s sacrifice on us (that is, only the works of Jesus bring man towards salvation, and no work of man can save himself), then ask him where he got this idea from, and show him the Catholic answer to justification, and the history behind the teaching.

(for more on the Catholic answer of justification, see the Catechism # 1993. You could also mention the Joint Declaration by Catholics and Lutherans in 1998. I wrote a paper on the Joint Declaration if you wanted to see it.)

By following this method, the other party is always the one who opens up the division, and you are always the one clearing the air and finding common ground. Granted, some blatant differences (idk how liberal this pastor is) will have to be corrected, but I stress not looking for divisions.

If he asks about your gf’s possible conversion to the Catholic Church, then tell him that if God decides to lead her to Catholicism, then you support her (or something idk…)

Remember, we desire to be ONE CHURCH, not a quarreling many.

Hope that helps,

Murph


#5

Ask if he will send you an email with the itenerary of his choosing so that you can prepare.

Be polite, do not be rude or triumphal. If you don’t know an answer say “I will have to research that, let me write that down.” Don’t BS - that will only get you in trouble.

Thank him for his time when you arrive. Thank him again when you leave. Keep it cool.

Polite. Polite. Polite. Are the three rules to follow.

If he engages you in an email debate, by all means send me a private message and I will be happy to assist you.


#6

You are way over your head. Listen and learn.


#7

This is absolutely not necessary. Get THIS- study well, and you should be all set.

And remember - if he comes up with something outrageous, tell HIM to prove it. Don’t expect that you are the one who has to prove everything. If he is making a claim, ask him for his sources. Also ask him what authority he has to interpret the Bible.

You are never in over your head if you learn the Faith you love. You do not have to answer every single thing at that very moment. Tell him you will write it down and get back to him. Don’t ever think for a second that you don’t have the Truth to back you up - even if you don’t know it at that second.

Also - STAY ON TOPIC!!! If he wants to machine gun you down with a thousand questions then tell him you are not interested in the discussion. Pick ONE topic and discuss that. Then when it has been exhausted, move on to something else. Do not let him get you flustered by machine gun tactics which are typical among Protestants who don’t know the Truth and try to side track you from it.

~Liza


#8

Just be respectful. If your girlfriend decides to convert it should be because it’s what she believes, knows and has faith in. Not because you made more points.


#9

I kindly refer you to forum rule #7. Thank you.


#10

Sounds like an OK plan, as far as it goes. However, since I would assume her pastor is trained, you will be at somewhat of a disadvantage. Learn all you can about your faith and remember that you may be illuminating him as well. He very likely does not have a thorough understanding of Catholicism, and he has probably only spoken with disaffected drop-outs from our faith. First and foremost, explain your love of Christ. Explain that Jesus is the center of your life. Tell him that you are crazy about Christ. Show him the joy there is in the One True Faith. Inform him that each priest can trace his ordination back to one of the twelve Apostles. Explain to him that it remains the universal church, and that, if he were Catholic, he could attend mass in any nation in the world and know exactly where he was in the mass. Stress Christ, because many other Christians doubt that we are even His followers. You, young man, can set him straight. You may plant a seed of faith which leads him, later in life, into the Catholic Church. Sounds crazy! That is the nature of God’s grace.

Christ’s peace be with you.

But, first and foremost


#11

I have a few great websites already. Also my girlfriend wants me to talk with her pastor through email then later person to person.

I offer any assistance that you want. Here is my website litteralchristianlibrary.wetpaint.com/ feel free to contact me through my email from home and work that is provided on my site under “Contact Me.” Don’t take the debate lightly with a Lutheran minister, they are very well educated, I know because I know one.


#12

I just had to post this question on my blog:

blog.ancient-future.net/2008/02/meeting-with-girlfriends-pastor.html

We have some Lutheran readers - including a pastor. The blog is decidedly orthodox Catholic, but we enjoy some respectful banter in the comboxes with them…


#13

These are all very great ideas and i thank all of you so much. You can bet i will be polite and i will thank him for his time. I also might add that i am not going in this alone. My uncle a Catholic Priest said he would love to help me. Also i come from a family of 13 kids. I have 142 first cousins and most if not all are fire and brimstone die hard practising Catholics. I wouldn’t say I am in over my head I would say I am just having a little fun. Also at the same time showing my girlfriend that this truly is the right religion. Thank you everyone and God Bless!!


#14

You know the more I think about this one the more I would suspect the ELCA pastor is doing this as a favor for his parishoner, your GF…

By and large, the ELCA folks I have met don’t generally seem all that interested in “converting Catholics” and the ones I have known would more likely be inclined to invite you to join the congregation so he could keep his own congregant… I have known a few pastor’s children who married up to an RC and entered the Catholic Church pretty much with their father’s blessing on the grounds they saw it as not being a bad thing - perhaps just “needlessly stricter” in their eyes but “fine if you don’t mind adding some rules”…

I wouldn’t go in with “apologetics guns blazing.” Be prepared to answer his question, but you don’t intend to convert and unless you have a magnificent oratorial styling, chances are this meeting won’t have him ready to “hear the case for Rome”…


#15

Listen, listen, listen, then digest what is said. Pick your topics beforehand, such as what is considered infallible by the Catholic Church and listen to what her pastor says. I, for one, still don’t understand the split between Roman Catholicism and Luther, but that is something for me to study. Maybe you would want to read up on that and inform me? I am sooooooo lazy. But, above all keep in mind the dogmas (infallible rules) of the Catholic Faith. That is what is necssary for one to believe in the Roman Catholic Church. Not easy. Oh and not secondly pray, pray, pray.


#16

Listen, listen, listen, then digest what is said. Pick your topics beforehand, such as what is considered infallible by the Catholic Church and listen to what her pastor says. I, for one, still don’t understand the split between Roman Catholicism and Luther, but that is something for me to study. Maybe you would want to read up on that and inform me? I am sooooooo lazy. But, above all keep in mind the dogmas (infallible rules) of the Catholic Faith. That is what is necssary for one to believe in the Roman Catholic Church. Not easy. Oh and not secondly pray, pray, pray.


#17

This is a silly idea. Truth is not determined by who wins a debate. Winning debates is a skill which has little to do with truth. If you are coming here for help, you are not ready to debate anyone. Period.

So what happens if you lose? What are the chances of her converting then, or are you going to convert? If you win, what value is her conversion? To the winner go the spoils?

If she converts, it should be because she sees the truth in your life.

Bad idea.


#18

Well, here I am again. I wasn’t going to say anything. The choice is yours, but if your girlfriend is challenging you on your beliefs now, she will challenge you from now on. If you were to get married, unless she changes her attitude, you will have one argument after another until you give in. That’s just the way relationships sometimes work. Keep the Faith.:slight_smile:


#19

I gotta agree with elt on this.

What is the purpose of debating this Pastor? To see who’s “right”? Whoever “wins”, their denomination “gets the girl”?

Is she going to decide which way to go based on who “wins”?

IMHO, this is a very bad idea, unless you’re going in just wanting to learn the Lutheran side of things. This is a debate that’s been going on for hundreds of years, and no slight intended, but you’re not going to “win” by reading a few articles or taking in a handful of apologetic material. I doubt very much that even a trained Catholic apologist or theologian is going to “win” such a debate.

Much better, methinks, to take your GF to RCIA, let her listen and learn and decide for herself. One 'debate" isn’t going to make a difference, and if she’s going to decide which denomination is right for her based on such a one-time debate…methinks it’s a debate you’re going to lose.


#20

Best advice yet. It’s not your GFs pastor you need to convince, but your GF.
The pastor makes his living convincing others of his denomination’s truth. You don’t.

I don’t see it going anywhere.
I can see your own faith being shaken perhaps by protestant arguments you never heard before.

Get to know your faith well.

With your GF, read Catholicism and Protestantism by Karl Keating, Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid, and the Surprised By Truth books (I,II,III) of testimonies of Catholic converts from many protestant denominations, edited by Patrick Madrid.

Go to the Catholic Answers Home page, and study Apologetics, Anti Catholic apologetics, refute chick tracks, etc. Lots of good stuff there.


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