Need Advice from Converts to Catholicism


#1

God bless you all! I am a strong Catholic and want to share my faith with many protestant friends. They are awesome Christians and love the Lord but they don’t have the fullness of truth. I know my faith and I have experience in evangelization but could use some tips on breaking the ice or getting them to be open to this treasure of Faith Christ has given all of humanity. Living in the bible belt, we have our fair share of incorrect stereotypes, out and out bad liturgy, and open hostility towards Mother Church.

How can I start talking to them about the faith and how it is the one True Church?

I guess I don’t want to burn any bridges or turn anyone off to the Faith.

Praise God, He is good! Thanks for all you help!


#2

Try starting out by asking them what they know about the faith. Most of what Protestants think are doctrines of the Catholic Faith aren’t even close to what the Church really teaches. Maybe you can try and correct some of the things they have been taught.

You might also consider just telling them your story. Talk to them about what first attracted you to the Church, what doctrines you yourself might have struggled with, and why you ultimately felt you had to become Catholic.

Be patient with them. And if you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t know. But, be sure to tell them you’ll find out the answer and then make sure you do. Be humble and willing to listen to their point of view. They’re not going to immediately come back at you with, “Oh, you’re right. The Catholic Church is the true Church and I want to join up!”

As a former Protestant, who’s family is still all Protestant, I do have some experience with this situation. I know you’ll do great, though.

God bless you in your efforts.
Scout :tiphat:


#3

Read some books by Scott Hahn. He still “speaks” Protestant, but explains Catholic views.

It is so important in word choices with Protestants.

For example: Never just jump in in talking about your devotion to Mary without first laying groundwork. Protestants have “daily devotionals”. This is prayer to God alone. Until you compare and talk about being devoted to your wife, you should not talk about your devotion to Mary. It will be misunderstood and heard as worship.

Don’t say pray to the Saints. It is easier to just avoid long explanations by always using the word choice, “I asked St. … to pray for me, would you pray for me also?” If they question it, then get into the explanation, but this way they can’t just smile nod and go tell their pastor he was right, they do pray to false gods.

Gotta go.


#4

Don’t let them ask you one question at a time. They tend to ask parts of a whole question with yes or no answers so that they can trip you up in what you say. If they start doing that, ask them to present their entire question so you can give them an entire answer.


#5

Turned from Orthodox to GrekoCatholic Church of previous ancestors. So am converted.

Have meet many Americans here who desire “share the faith” - Mormonists, Adventists of the Shabat, Evangelical Baptists, even Roman Catholics. I think here such people have only effect with lonely ones who want to do like in America. More influence is from friends. Friendship I believe should be first. Friendship with love so should pray for each other. Then can “share the faith” and result will be as profound as your faith and and as helpful as your friendship and prayer.


#6

Don’t let them pick and choose Bible verses because anyone can win their own argument doing that (if that weren’t true there wouldn’t be any Jehovahs Witnesses). Make them read the whole verse IN CONTEXT. Sometimes this means even going back to the Old Testament to get the proper context. Give them a history lesson in the Church Father’s writings and it’ll eventually put the whole picture together for them.

I must warn you, one that I hear a lot is that we are forbidden to call anyone but God Father (hence the Church is automatically wrong for calling our Priests “father”). I can’t remember which verse that is in exactly, but it’s quoted out of context.


#7

I am a convert to Catholicism who found my own way to the Church (of course God is the one who led me on the path to the Church). My first visit to a Catholic Church was for a college class project (I had to write a report on a faith other than my own). I was most impressed with the fact that people were actually kneeling in prayer before mass and not just checking each other out before the service. Next I was impressed that people seemed to be accepted no matter how they were dressed. For example, I saw a man in a work uniform and I had never seen anything like that in a Protestant church. Of course, it seems that in the last ten years, the manner of dress at mass has become more scandalous so that is not what I am referring to. Also, I was impressed that people of all ethnic groups were welcome. So my suggestion would be to casually mention to Protestant friends how nice it is to pray before mass and how nice it is that the Church is accepting of people if they have to come to mass in work clothing.

I also try to subtly approach Catholic themes, like mentioning how much I enjoy the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. You can explain what happens during these services to your Protestant friends. I remember years ago talking to a co-worker about Holy Week services. The co-worker was about to enter a Protestant seminary. He listened with genuine interest and I felt like he learned something about the Catholic Church that day. He seemed impressed at how much the Holy Week services meant to me. I hope that it changed his opinion of Catholics for the better.

I always start small by discussing something that makes sense to Protestants. Especially something about Christ. It shows them we are Christians too and that we are not the enemy as many of them have been led to believe.

A simple intellectual argument (at least the way I see the Church) is this: If you could choose a priceless antique or a beautiful reproduction of the same piece, which would you choose? Obviously the more valuable antique! The Catholic Church is the priceless, original antique. It existed from the time of Christ onward. Why would we want something created by man in later centuries?

Anyhow, good luck in sharing your faith in the bible belt. :wave:


#8

Your whole approach of “you don’t have the fullness of faith and so I need to convert you” is wrong. That’s the attitude that kept me, a Protestant, out of the Catholic Church for years and years. It’s the idea that you can convert people’s hearts, not God…I was always repulsed by the idea that I might be someone’s spiritual “conquest,” and kept my long Catholic formation a secret not from my Protestant friends and family, but from Catholics for this precise reason!

I don’t want to jump all over you, and I sure admire your zeal. But you will touch people’s hearts by example–by your humility, patience, love…all the fruits of the Spirit speak for themselves. Ask yourself how well you are serving your Protestant brothers and sisters. Do those around you see that you have more than correct Catholic theology? That you truly love them, go the second mile for them, laugh, cry and share with them? (On a side note: do you know your Bible half as well as they?) If you have a living faith that radiates out, people will be drawn to ask you about it, and investigate things for themselves.

Remember that it is Christ who draws men to Him; prayerfully, we can offer ourselves as instruments in God’s work, but that’s a very different attitude than “Hey, I’m here to bring you to the Truth.”

My very best wishes to you.


#9

Your whole approach of “you don’t have the fullness of faith and so I need to convert you” is off-base. That’s the attitude that kept me, a Protestant, out of the Catholic Church for years and years. It’s the idea that you can convert people’s hearts, not God…I was always repulsed by the idea that I might be someone’s spiritual “conquest,” and kept my long Catholic formation a secret not from my Protestant friends and family, but from Catholics for this precise reason!

I don’t want to jump all over you, and I sure admire your zeal. But you will touch people’s hearts by example–by your humility, patience, love…all the fruits of the Spirit speak for themselves. Ask yourself how well you are serving your Protestant brothers and sisters. Do those around you see that you have more than correct Catholic theology? That you truly love them, go the second mile for them, laugh, cry and share with them? (On a side note: do you know your Bible half as well as they?) If you have a living faith that radiates out, people will be drawn to ask you about it, and investigate things for themselves.

Remember that it is Christ who draws men to Him; prayerfully, we can offer ourselves as instruments in God’s work, but that’s a very different attitude than “Hey, I’m here to bring you to the Truth.”

My very best wishes to you.


#10

As a convert one thing that inspired my interest in the Catholic church was the way Catholics lived their faith. When there is some kind of disaster you could always count on Catholic Charities to be right in the thick of things. Locally many of the soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and support for unmarried pregnant women were Catholic. Of course there is always Mother Teresa! You can’t help but be inspired by her work.

In contrast the prominent Protestants were not LIVING their faith, they were speaking it. But you don’t see them working with the poor as a calling, at least not in the same numbers.

The Catholic consistency in teachings about life was also an inspiration. I never could get my arms wrapped around a faith that loudly proclaimed there should be no death penalty but didn’t want to trample on “a woman’s right” to abortion. HUH?

So I am not sure persuading people by engaging in debate or even dialogue is as effective as living your Catholic faith and when someone approaches you or asks to be open about why you are a Catholic, THEN you pull out your best apologetics. One thing I found is that I knew many Catholics over the years and to a one, none every spoke of their faith or asked me if I wanted to learn more or to attend a mass. Ya’ll are hiding your light under a bushel I tell ya!

Lisa N


#11

I think one way to break the ice is to have them ask you questions by piquing their curiosity. That way they don’t feel like you are bashing them over the head if their the ones that start the conversations.

I suggest carrying always near you the Bible and any kind of Catholic literature (pamphlet, booklet, magazine, Magnificat, book, Holy Card)

Wear Catholic T-shirts. Probably the best wouldn’t be the in-your-face ones but other ones that say things like Perpetual Adoration or Santo Subito.

When there is any conversations about Christ don’t be afraid to jump in and just talk about your relationship with Him. You don’t have to be forceful in the Catholic doctrine part, but just the way you feel. Let them see that you aren’t shy about Christ.

The topics that you want to initiate are the ones where Christ touches your day. Your morning prayers, praying while you drive, how that day’s Scripture has touched you.

Also you can quote Catholic authors, Saints, Religious, that talk about Christ. Like “We are an Easter people and Halleluhia is our Song.” JPII, slide those quotes into conversations that they pertain to and share how you are inspired by them. When they ask ‘Who said that?’ then you can respond.


#12

Ditto on what MParedon said. Make them come to you. I think if I had been approached by Catholic friends in a manner of “this is what you need to believe, and this is why,” I would have gotten very defensive.

I’ll tell you what was crucial to my decision to come to the Church. I went on a trip with the campus pro-life group, which is predominately Catholic; there were no attempts to proselytize me, but the air was so thick with Catholicism, there were plenty of questions for me to ask. I got into a good dialogue, and even if I wasn’t convinced of anything that weekend, it piqued my interest so much that I started investigating on my own (which is how I ended up on CA).

Once again, like MParedon said, use loaded words. Refer to the Eucharist, to Saints, the Holy Father, Mary, etc. Use the terms so casually that it will irritate your Protestant friends into demanding to know what you mean. :slight_smile:

God bless.

-Joel


#13

[quote=MParedon]I think one way to break the ice is to have them ask you questions by piquing their curiosity. That way they don’t feel like you are bashing them over the head if their the ones that start the conversations.

I suggest carrying always near you the Bible and any kind of Catholic literature (pamphlet, booklet, magazine, Magnificat, book, Holy Card)

Wear Catholic T-shirts. Probably the best wouldn’t be the in-your-face ones but other ones that say things like Perpetual Adoration or Santo Subito.

.
[/quote]

I think those are really good ideas. It’s not like you can tell a Catholic by the way they walk or talk! Along with a Catholic oriented shirt, you might consider something that is prolife. This is an area where many Protestants are finding their own beliefs conflict with their denomination’s stated beliefs on the subject of prolife issues. The proabort position (plus pro homosexual) does push many Protestants away from their denominations.

Lisa N


#14

I think that for a Protestant, or anyone, to see a Catholic who loves God and lives their Catholic faith, would have a profound effect. If someone knows you’re Catholic, pretty soon they will ask you a question or say something about the Catholic faith and you will be able to explain it to them. If they are a devout evangelical Protestant, for example, chances are they’ll try to show you how Catholicism is not Biblical, and that gives you an opportunity to show that it is indeed the only religion on earth that is 100% compatible with the Bible’s teachings! If they say, “Even though I don’t agree with the Catholic Church, I can see that you know Jesus as your personal savior, and that’s all that matters”, you can start with, "Knowing Jesus is important, but I think Jesus built one single church to guide us and wants us all to be a part of it . . . "


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