Need help explaining and defending the Catholic faith to a non-denominational Christian please!

Hello everyone, I have a good friend who identifies himself as a non-denominational Christian. That is, he does not believe in any formal or organized “religion” but believes that all of our answers as Christians are found in the Bible alone and revealed to us through God’s grace.

There have been multiple points of disagreement between us in our theology discussions and I could use some help in responding to his viewpoints as a Catholic. Some of his beliefs seem so bizarre (coming from someone who identifies as Christian) that I dumbfounded.

I will just list some of the general areas of disagreement below:

[LIST]
*]He believes that Jesus embodied God’s spirit but was human and not actually God.

*]He admits the Bible “strongly implies” that sex before marriage is wrong but only formally states that sex with someone other than your spouse AFTER marriage is a sin.

*]He does not believe homosexuality is a sin because Jesus says we should love and accept everyone- that if Jesus were alive today he would tell us we should love and accept them as homosexuals.

*]He does not believe that contraception or abortion are sinful.

*]Some of his “problems” with Catholicism surround our “preoccupation with things” (the flashy statues and fancy cathedrals, etc, since everything is made by and belongs to God anyway so why would we try to impress him with these material things?), the emphasis on “men” when men/humans know so little and only Jesus can forgive us, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, why we “sacrifice Jesus” every week (it seems cruel and morbid)…etc

*]He questions whether or not hell exists because he claims that God has saved and loved us all no matter what so when we die we will all go to Him.

*]He believes our bodies simply contain our souls, that our bodies will not be resurrected one day with God because they aren’t who we are and we don’t need them- we will all just be spirits with God.

*]He believes prayer should just be personal and based upon your own relationship with God since even the Lord’s prayer in the Bible was just an “example” of how to pray but not how we SHOULD pray necessarily.
[/LIST]

I know that’s a lot of ground to cover but any suggestions or even articles/other resources would be very appreciated. I am pretty new as a Christian/Catholic (I went through RCIA and got confirmed May 2015) so I still have TONS to learn but I would really like to discuss these things with my friend, I just need a little help on how to approach the subject matter and have references to the evidence behind what we as Catholics believe and teach.

Thank you all in advance!!!

:popcorn:

It’s far too much to deal with in one thread. Pick one item for discussion per thread, I suggest.

You should start with the first issue, because your friend is NOT a Christian. All Christians believe in the Trinity. Your friend does not believe in the Trinity, hence is not a Christian.

So I would start with the Trinity.

If Jesus helps me, I should be able to answer all of these. Let’s see:

  1. Jesus is God
    John 1:1
    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    John 1:14
    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    (The Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.)

  2. Fornication being a grave sin.
    1 Corinthians 6:9
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God

  3. See the answer to 2

  4. Murdering babies is a sin. Murder is a sin. Thou shalt not murder.

  5. I will just answer the point about the Holy Eucharist:
    The sacrifice of Christ is made present in the Holy Eucharist at the Mass. (the priesthood of Christ is made present by His priests on Earth)
    1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood."187 In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."188

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.189 

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm

  1. There are many passages about Hell and our Lord Jesus Christ often spoke of Hell.
    Here is 1, Matthew 5:30
    "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30"If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
    Matthew 13
    The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

  1. Resurrection of the body is in more than on passage but here is one
    Romans 8:23
    23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

  2. Where in Scripture does it indicate that we should not pray the Our Father? I only see the passage that tells us to pray it. He directly taught us this prayer.

You should remind him that God gave the Bible to the Catholic Church in the first place.

If you need more help, feel free to message me! I love you. You are doing something that God will reward you for. Even if you don’t succeed, He rewards not for results but for the patience and suffering endured for His sake (He told St. Faustina that)! So be encouraged. God loves you.

Good luck with that. These types are typically anti-intellectual, not very well versed in theology and almost never talk about one topic long enough to make any headway.

If he believes that, then he isn’t actually a Christian at all.

St. Paul specifically states fornication is a sin.

Forget it, you are arguing to a wall.

That’s special

For a bible believing Christian is isn’t very Christian and clearly doesn’t open his bible much.

Yes and forum rules dictate separate threads for each topic. So I suggest you make a separate thread for each of these, or the ones you cannot respond to.

But before you invest too much time, start with ONE and see how long he lasts with one specific train of thought. My guess: 5 minutes or less. Really. I no longer try with these sorts, and your friend more than any is his own Pope with his own truly bizarre interpretations of the bible (or, ignoring large parts of the bible randomly).

Then pin him down and see if he’ll study just ONE thing with you in depth.

he does not believe in any formal or organized “religion” but believes that all of our answers as Christians are found in the Bible alone

Do you see the obvious contradictions there? He says that he believes in the Bible but yet he does not believe what the Bible teaches.

:coffeeread: I read in the news today that 1ke lost his patience with a heretic again. He is being charged with bulldozing a non-denominational building. We should allocate some ecumenical funds to his bail money. (I’m just kidding.)

He is NOT a non-denominational Christian.

He is NOT a Christian.

He does NOT believe in the bible.

I’ve never even heard of anyone like this before.

He sounds like an atheist that likes to read the bible.

Also, I don’t think he’s serious about learning christianity and I don’t know that I’d spend too much time on this.

Never used this emoticon before, but here goes:

:popcorn::

Sorry 'bout that.

Fran

I answered a couple above…in bold.

I’ve encountered these sort of “non-denominational Christians” before (although their beliefs always vary) and they are, frankly, impossible to deal with.

Many of the reasons have been set forth above. Often their beliefs are merely anti-catholic as opposed to truly “Christian.” It’s true that they have short attention spans: you answer 1 question, they fire another at you, usually from a set of facts that are wrong, and that you then want to explain…

…which I think is the totally wrong way to handle these folks, because they always want to debate on their terms. But they usually fall flat when you ask the questions, like, say,

–there are 32,000 sects of Protestantism, all of which claim to know the truth. Why is your sect right and all the others, and the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, wrong?

–can this friend’s pastor compete theologically with, say, thomas aquinas; Albertus Magnus; or other catholic thinkers who wrote hundreds of volumes of theology that have withstood hundreds of years of scrutiny? Have pastor x read aquinas in full; critique it; and then let’s have a conversation.

–if the bible is so great…where did it come from? From the Catholic Church, of course.

These sort of questions are never adequately answered, because there aren’t adequate answers.

My $0.02.

It is not simple to “demonstrate” by reference to anything your friend will consider compelling that contraception is sinful. The story of Onan can be referenced, but this will lead to a dispute over exactly what was the sin for which God punished Onan:

*Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also.” [Genesis 38:1-10]*Some will say that Onan was being punished for refusing to father a child, rather than for his means to achieve that result. However, opposing that view are two things:

  1. The Bible reads “what he DID” was wicked…, which suggest the act was the problem, not just the intention of avoiding fathering a child (easily achieved by avoiding the lady’s bed);
  2. The punishment in the old law for refusing to father a child in this situation was specified as public humiliation. God took far sterner action…

Undoubtedly your friend does believe that infanticide is sinful. Perhaps before you contemplate your assessment of your friend’s position, you need to enquire at what point the killing of the unborn would be sinful (in his opinion). I’m sure he agrees there could be no difference - in God’s eyes - between killing the child just after cutting the umbilical cord, or killing the child just prior, or even just before the commencement of labour. Could your friend expose his thinking in some detail for your further consideration? At what point (in your friend’s opinion) does this killing become offensive to human life, and to God?

I guess I have a couple of questions for your friend:

  • Jesus taught love of everyone, including sinners. Did he say at the same time that sinners were, in fact, not sinners, because they are to be loved and accepted? [That seems to be your friend’s reasoning.]

  • Did Jesus love the prostitute “as a prostitute”, or did he love her but instruct her to sin no more? And was not his statement to those who would ‘stone’ her to dissuade them from stoning her, rather than to announce that she was no sinner?

Very good. Here’s another question:

If everything goes, why did Jesus have to die?
There would have been no need if all sin is okay.

I just don’t talk to these people anymore. It’s useless and they’re not sincere.

Fran

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