Can you help me with a witty thoughtful response. I have a wonderful sister in law who truly loves Jesus. She loves the Lord with all her heart and is extremely sincere. However, She is an evangelical fundamentalist Christian. When we get together at my mother-in-laws, she always seems to have some new gimmicky evangelizing tool to share the “plan of salvation”. Wether it is the wordless book. This cube thing that she takes apart to explain the plan of salvation. Lately it was this fake million dollar bill thing. see livingwaters.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=298
She has a ton of these things and seems to always be showing off her latest one. Anyway, although I know the quickie “plan of salvation” is incomplete, not the whole gospel, and is lacking and not biblical. It also has no mention of counting the cost to be a Christian, baptism, remaining in the faith etc. I usually just say that’s cool or nice. However I don’t think my response is really appropriate. I want to know if there is a thoughtful way of saying something to the affect that I don’t agree with those gimmicky things and the so called "plan of salvation/ just say the sinners prayer " form of evangelizing. I just haven’t thought of anything thoughtful, or
thought provoking or witty. It is beginning to bug me however that she brings up some new gimmicky gadget for the plan at salvation at every family gathering. We thought it was funny that she even brought a Christian version of UNO to play at the last family gathering. Note the majority of the family is Evangelical Christian and I am a new convert to Catholicism. Hubby and the rest of the family are in RCIA and Children’s RCIA. I do get the impression that she is not only trying to show what a “good” Christian she is but also subtly doing things for our specific so called benefit because I get the impression that she believes our Christianity is questionable and i hate to say it is really annoying me lately. Sincerely Deana
Here’s a Protestants advice,
Don’t say that’s nice and don’t attack her gimmicks. but get in a discussion about Salvation. This is probably what she wants to do anyhow, to know where you stand.
The Gimmicks are not meant to present the whole gospel, they are meant to get conversations going. And those who are saved are meant to get in with a congregation and Sunday School so they can learn all that God expects.Don’t look for the whole of scripture to be included on what is meant to be a icebreaker.
Million dollar bill
This tract basically says, everyone is a sinner and should repent. You could have a good conversation with her about the need for repentance throughout life.
It’s Wordless! therefore it can’t all by itself present any false doctrines. Personally I think Catholics should make their own Wordless Book. Look at the topics the colors represent and tell her what Catholics believe with it. She might be impressed enough to look more closely at Catholicism
I never saw the cube, but you get the idea, this woman loves games and gadgets and for them all to tie in with her faith is really fun for her. Keep it fun, and use what she loves to tell her what you believe.
Well, you can always write up your own Catholic tract like I did. My Catholic Tract, or…you can simply go to Catholic Tracts and get the great ones that Grotto Press publishes, then every time she hits you with one, you can reciprocate.
You make a good point and yes I think some of these are simply ice breakers and that I could expand the conversation with thoughtful comments and my views on things. However some seem very manipulative designed to conjole a certain response. Especially the ones that start with the trick question of How do you get to heaven? And none of the choices they give you to choose from are really correct or complete. I think those are slick marketing gimmicks designed to catch and confuse the unsuspecting. And that gets on my nerves. I don’t like that type of Evangelizing. Also I think many use these gimmicks to feel good about themselves and so they can say to other Christians I went out and shared my gimmick and got so many commitments for Christ. See what a good Christian I am. This makes them feel good- but I find many do this in place of doing any real charitable works of God, ie: helping the poor and needy. The greatest witnesses for me were the Christians I saw giving of themselves in the community the wonderful love and compassion they showed others. The ones that were salt and light. Those are the people I am attracted to and want to get to know what makes them tick. I believe that is the way to evangelize. Not pass out tracks and pat myself on the back for the wonderful job I did. I don’t believe people are truly converted that way. Although you could argue you are planting a seed. I don’'t know, I’d rather be out in the community helping and caring and evangelize that way. I definitely defend the faith when it comes up or someone asks my position on some issue. If some one wants to know why I am a Christian and/or specifically a Catholic Christian I will give them my testimony but I don’t force it on anybody. I do get annoyed when I am accosted like at the fair or on the street by someone trying to evangelize me with a track or gimmick. Most people I know automatically feel put on the spot and get defensive. (And I hate to say it as a Catholic you don’t want to tell them that your Catholic knowing that will open a huge can of worms since alot of groups that use these evangelizing methods tend to be anti-Catholic.) I know some of the apologists guys on this board would love these kinds of encounters because they really know how to turn it around and share their Catholic perspective of the Christian faith. Something I would eventually like to be able to do with more confidence. Anyway I have rambled way to much. It is a rainy day here. The kids are home for presidents day and I am hooked on the computer.
I like Syele’s advice too. Go in through the open door, and maybe start looking at the Bible together. Talk about the meaning of the Sermon on the mount, or something that focuses on Christian Living. Catholics and Evangelicals have such divergent ideas about salvation that I think it is best to be well versed to go there. You could help yourself get ready for that by looking at the material here in the library on “SAVED”.
Most of all, though I would recommend pray, Since you are getting annoyed, pray every day, and offer Mass. this type of intercession will help you to have a loving heart, and to meet her where she is.
I really liked your Catholic Tract. I also like the Piller and Foundation of Truth Tract her on CA. They express what I think and believe for the most part. However, I don’t think handing my sil a tract back would be that subtle though lol. But it is something to think about. I guess my problem is with the whole tract and gimmick way of evangelizing wether initiated from any group.
God made people all Unique. That means we all respond to different things. Some people do respond well to tracts or they wouldn’t be popular. Some people wouldn’t talk about religion at all if it weren’t for gimmicks.
Personally I never use tracts. that is because I feel clumsy with them, I don’t like to have to carry something with me all the time, and I’d rather say things in my own words. People come to me and ask me questions without my approaching with tracts anyhow and I’m always happy to answer. coming here gives me practice answering so I feel comfortable even if people ask me out of the blue. Some people do charity and tracts, some people have other methods of doing things. IF we were all the same, Earth would be pretty boring.
Remember too, it’s possible to misuse any method, not just tracts and gimmicks. Even helping the poor can be done to say “Look how nice I am, I help people and you don’t!” no matter the method, it should be used with Love and not for self recognition. Glory should all go to God.
It can be pretty impersonal, and will never substitute for the personal investment that we really should make in the life of a person with whom we share our faith. After all, one of the most effective witnesses is how we live, and they get nothing but info from a tract.
CA also has another really good down to earth tract called God’s Love for You.
Perhaps she is searching herself.
I wouldn’t be overly pushy, but I would dovetail her latest into solid Catholic teaching.