I wonder if any Catholics here have had any significant interactions with evangelical christians?
If so, what do they think of us? It seems in recent years, that many do in fact consider us “christians” and are willing to overlook our differences. Many believe we are saved… as if they knew…:rolleyes:
I could be wrong, but the whole notion of Catholics as “Idol worshipin’, pagan idolaters” seems to be one from the past ( albeit still exiting among groups such as Westboro baptist Church"
I live in Minnesota. The only biggest faith group here are the Lutherans, a pretty tame and tolerant bunch, despite their doctrinal errors:)
Normally they are ignorant of Catholicism and do see them as People who worship Mary. The statues and the veneration confuse them.
Often they think Catholics aren’t Christian by name. For example they’ll say “the Catholics do this but Christians do that” which is a pet peeve of mine.
I’m an ardent defender of Catholicism at my Church, I’m sure many here would be proud. Most people (like 95 percent) don’t think about it though. Evangelicals are often happy to just love Christ and treat everyone of every Faith to act as Christ would command us.
There aren’t “groups such as Westboro.” Westboro is unique, and tiny, and some people claim that its leader isn’t even sincere. There are, however, still a good many fundamentalists and other conservative Protestants who think Catholics by definition aren’t Christians (i.e., that Catholic doctrine, if held in full, prevents a person from having saving faith, in the same way that other serious heresies would do–these guys are not generally inclusivists and tend not to make the Catholic distinction between formal and material heresy). Their numbers, as you suspect, have declined severely in recent years, but they’re still out there. They certainly do not represent the majority among evangelicals today.
The most common view among evangelicals is that “Catholics can be Christians”–that is, Catholics believe in the essentials of the faith and thus some of them have real, saving faith. Evangelicals remain suspicious of the ability of Catholics to evangelize their own–i.e., they suspect that many Catholics don’t have saving faith, and that this has something to do with both doctrinal and practical flaws in the Catholic Church.
Catholics, of course, would agree that many Catholics aren’t in a state of grace (i.e., don’t have faith that works through love, saving faith), and many Catholics would agree that Catholics often drop the ball in terms of evangelization. The obvious differences would be:
Catholics don’t define a state of grace in terms of a conversion experience and certainly don’t believe in eternal security, which many though by no means all evangelicals do; and
Obviously, Catholics don’t think that the formal teaching of the Church is the problem, but rather the failure to proclaim that teaching effectively.
It should be borne in mind that evangelicals define a “Christian” as someone in a state of grace–someone who would be saved if they died at this moment. So by their definition, no organized church is made up of 100% Christians. But they tend to think that evangelical churches, both for doctrinal and practical reasons, have a higher proportion of real Christians. And frankly they are probably right on the practical level–i.e,. most evangelical congregations probably have a higher percentage of people who are genuinely committed to Jesus than most Catholic parishes or mainline Protestant congregations. But this comes with high costs, both in terms of a shallower spirituality and in terms of schism and self-righteousness. And as evangelicals become more moderate, they are probably losing their “edge” in this regard.
As a matter of fact, I have a “work friend” who is Evangelical and we get along perfectly well. We work closely together, discuss our families, current events, and are supportive of one another. Once in a while a matter of religion comes up in conversation. We don’t delve into it too deeply, but there’s never been any friction over it.
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if Evangelicalism is a Protestant denomination or a description of some Protestants.
I received ZERO flack from my evangelical friends for becoming Catholic. My parents had questions but know I am pursuing Christ and are ok with it.
To emphasize Edwin’s point,
My dad asked me when I converted, if I had ever prayed the sinners prayer before, wanting to make sure I had “been saved”.
I smiled and nodded and while cringing inside.
My dad doesn’t when pressed believe in eternal security, but practically and culturally he does. I think most evangelicals think “mortal sin” that can jeopardize salvation is breaking the civil laws type of stuff.
So as I grew up I was taught to Evangelize Catholics similarly to the reasons my Dad asked me that question. We believed some Catholics were Christian but it was sort of despite the Catholic teachings that we frankly knew nothing about.
I honestly have a lot if hope for Catholic Evangelical relations. They love Christ, generally are morally conservative, and frankly we have much in common.
There is a document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”. It is a great foundation for the bridge between the two.
Further countless evangelicals convert to Catholicism and Orthodoxy because they are taught to seek the one TRUTH of God delivered to the Saints. Serious inquirers find themselves on the road to the Apostolic Churches.
The latter. There are a number of denominations that can be characterized as evangelical; there are many independent ('non-denominational") congregations, pretty much all of which are evangelical (non-evangelical Protestants almost never form independent congregations, though there are exceptions); and there are many evangelicals within “mainline” denominations.
Basically an evangelical is a Protestant who
Holds to the basic doctrines of Christianity as found in the Apostle’s Creed; and
Has a piety that focuses on the study of Scripture and a personal devotion to Jesus.
That’s more or less the definition used by Christianity Today, a magazine that is perhaps the closest thing to a “magisterium” evangelicals have (which admittedly isn’t very close–CT is more intellectual and more moderate than many rank-and-file evangelicals are entirely comfortable with).
Some evangelicals would define the term more closely, adding things like sola fide, Biblical inerrancy, a “definite” personal conversion experience, and penal substitution. Others, including myself, would argue that by CT’s own definition the requirement of being “Protestant” seems superfluous. In other words, if you don’t insist on sola fide and sola scriptura as defining evangelicalism, then surely one can be both Catholic and evangelical? There are many Catholics who would define themselves that way, in fact.
Over thirty years ago I began attending various Evangelical churches and was subject to hearing much criticism and bigotry against Catholics, prompting me to return to Catholicism. (Not that I wasn’t hearing the same thing towards Evangelicals from the Catholics, but to a much lesser degree.) I avoided any fellowship whatsoever with them for 30 years, until my neighbor, a Catholic, invited me to a weekly Bible Study which she claimed did not allow such bigotry to be shown.
I hesitantly agreed and was much surprised and relieved to find a pleasant group of mostly women, many evangelical, some not, who were not interested in converting me, didn’t even want to know what church anyone attended, and were only interested in studying God’s Word without doctrinal disputes and whose stated purpose was Christian unity with respect for each individual’s beliefs.
I am amazed, this is such a far cry from what I experienced 30 years ago, and this Bible study has been a blessing in my life. I think we ought not to paint a broad picture of Evangelical Christians as being anti-Catholic, as I think the picture has changed dramatically from 30 years ago.
My feeling is that as Christians we had better find some common ground and learn how to interact respectfully with each other, as we are fighting a common enemy, and he is powerful and knows full well that a house divided against itself cannot stand. We need to stand together against this enemy if we are to make any progress, and it can be done despite our doctrinal differences, if we remember the basic rule of love.
Agreed. Things have even changed in the past 10-15 years. The current generation of young evangelicals is, for the most part, strongly opposed to anything that looks like bigotry or exclusion. Indeed, many of them are drifting away from the “evangelical” label or reject it outright. Evangelicalism as a broad category is in flux-as it has always been, but perhaps more so than at any time in the past 50-60 years.
I stopped being a practicing catholic when I was 18
Then I married an evangelical
I started reading the bible to see what she was interested and attending bible studies with her.
A main reason I couldn’t stay and had to return to the Catholic Church was that
Sola Fieda (james 2:24) and sola scriptoria (1 tim 3:15) are not biblical
My wife was told by her friends and pastor to leave and find a new husband when I returned to the Catholic Church
I sat for 2 years not receiving the Eucharist at mass until she started going once and a while.
The first time she went she cried how biblical Mass is.
She suggested we have our marriage recognized by the church
She isn’t catholic but is very supportive of the church now
Some Lutherans view Evangelicals [aside from resentment over the use of the word ] as the next group to sincerely reach out to as we have with the Reformed. It is a mission of information and example. Since we all receive Christ as sacrament or by ordinance, there is much to rejoice over.
There are still pockets of ‘believers’ around. I have recently concluded a couple of months long discussion/debate with a work colleague…it all began when I found a Chick Tract on my desk at work ‘The Death Cookie’, then another turned up a couple of days later ‘The Last Rites’…a colleague came forward and confirmed he’d put them there, this colleague is an Associate Minister with a local ‘non-denominational’ church. I gave them back to him the next day, with answers to the points raised and that began a dialogue with him questioning pretty much every Catholic Dogma/doctrine. During our dialogue he told me that he has friends who have been ‘seeded’ into two Catholic Churches in our area, to ‘bring the true Gospel’ to the congregation.:eek:
Question: in the USA in most places this would be considered religious harassment, and most places of employment have policies against this and some of the discipline can be quite severe. In my former place of employment, it could be grounds for dismissal. (I am speaking of the placement of tracts). Do similar conditions exist in England?
Also, since church property is private property, those who have been seeded could, if necessary, be charged with trespassing if they were found out and were harassing parishoners. We had a problem with this when members of a certain church had been placing Jack Chick tracts under the windshield wipers on cars in our church parking lot.
When Jack Chick tracts were found at the hospital where I worked, a Catholic hospital, outside the ER and other places, a call was made to the church involved and the pastor was warned that legal action would be taken if it happened again, as again, this was private property, and that was considered trespassing.
What amazed me was that in all cases, the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the offending churches were printed on the tracts.
My sister married a “Liberty Baptist” last year. When she started dating him, she started attending their services and quickly became a Baptist and was re-baptized (as the pastor did not recognize Catholic Baptisms.)
My sister and her husband tried to “evangelize” my entire family and bring us to the their Baptist Church. They successfully recruited my father and he was re-baptized too.
My sister started telling me how Catholics worship Mary and pray to idols. My father accused me of not being Christian. I was actually a “fallen away Catholic,” because of being educated by some atheist professors and succumbing to secularism. I even married a Jew. However, I never renounced my “Catholic allegiance.” Needless to say, these attacks from my sister and father made me study my faith more and learn the whys behind Catholic teachings. Today, I’m a devout Catholic. My wife is still Jewish, but I pray that my children will be Catholic and if it’s God’s will, my wife will one day too.
I even pray that my sister and father will one day return to the Catholic Church with my wife’s husband. So far, my prayers have started to slowly come true, as they have all left the “Liberty Baptist” Church they were attending.
So I have to thank “Evangelicals Protestants” (esp. the anti-Catholic ones) for rejuvenating my faith. The more I learn about my faith, the more I see it as the Truth.
Honestly, I think it depends on the group of evangelicals since there are so dang many. Of course there are many who feel Catholics are brothers and sisters, while on the other end they see them as “not Christian” (I even had a girl in a history class who tried to convert me by saying that when we talked about the Catholic church in class, it wasn’t a Christian church and that true Christians didn’t exist after a certain period which she never clarified. I always wanted to know what happened between then and the reformation to christians:D). In all honesty, most simply don’t know or care much about them other than whats been told to them (good or bad).
I honestly don’t know if it could be considered religious harassment…I took it as a chance to apply 1 Peter 3:15. My colleague is certainly much more informed about Catholicism than he was to begin with.
I found the best way to approach it was when he brought up a topic, asking him to put in his words what he believed the Church teaches, and provide the resources he used to form that opinion. I then addressed each point he brought up…he certainly didn’t agree most of the time, but as an apologist I heard said “If you are going to disagree with what I believe, do me a service and disagree with what I believe” he had so many half-truths and misconceptions it was startling.
Most of his arguments came from the usual Dave Hunt/Ralph Woodrow/Loraine Boettner sensationalist fold.
He ended our religion dialogue when I started asking him questions about his church’s beliefs, the areas they disagree with other non-Catholic churches about and how he approaches non-Catholic Christians he disagrees with (in short he doesn’t).
Most of my interactions with Evangelicals have been pretty good, in fact, I pray with them on every other Friday, however, I’ve had instances were I’ve been looked down upon for being a (cradle) Catholic , and, in fact, was asked to be re-baptized.