Need some help educating a friend

I have a good friend of mine in the ICC (International Church of Christ) who is starting to realize the fallacies and contradictions they preach. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to educate her a little bit on the Catholic Church and perhaps win her over. However, when I started to discuss religion and church with her I came upon a little bit of a hurdle that I need help getting over. Here’s what she’s said to me so far:

  1. There is no single correct interpretation of the Bible. You must follow your faith and let the Holy Spirit guide you to the correct meaning. (I kept pointing out the irrational thinking to this… but she wouldn’t budge and kept repeating the same thing)
  2. No church preaches the proper interpretation of the Bible
  3. The church is only there to keep your faith strong, but not to instruct you on the actual meaning of the Bible or to help guide you to salvation. So, in essence, you listen to the preacher and decide on your own whether you agree with it. If you agree with it you keep it… and if not… you pretty much ignore it.
  4. She has a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Church (typical misconceptions such as “praying” to Saints, confession, papal authority, etc.).

I can provide scriptural evidence to show how the above beliefs are false. And I have no problem defending the logic of Catholic beliefs. However, whenever I bring up information contrary to what she believes (or has been taught) she gets very angry. How should I approach this situation. I don’t want to be so pushy that I push her away from the Church. On the flipside, I don’t want to just abandon her as I do really care for her.

Any suggestions would be very helpful.

Keep the Faith

It sounds to me that she is very much bound to the literal-only level of intimacy with the Bible.

There are deeper levels… I don’t know if these are the exact right labels, but they are metaphorical, allegorical, and unitive.

The last one I got right, and that is “unitive.” She has some pretty strong points about the Bible, and even though the RCC reserves the authority to interpret the Bible, the “real action” is not at the surface level.

The real action of the Bible is how it transforms us, not how much we can learn. In the early days the apostles evangelized people in a matter of hours and days; clearly not enough to study the equivalent of the Bible-in-the-making.

There are in fact many ways that the Bible strikes individual hearts at the deeper level, and this is well known to any practitioner of the mystical practice of Lectio Divina, which allows various personal ideas about readings to become attached to us through prayer.

The BIble is holographic in my opinion; any particular truth is likely to “strike” different people different ways, and always in the way they need to hear it at the time. That is the power of the Holy Spirit IMO. People who get hung up on the specific literal meaning of passages are missing out on the greater levels of intimacy.

To me this is an obvious “sore-thumb” issue as I read the book. Much arguing about what it says on the surface, and no clue whatsoever how our hearts are to respond to them. If a person stays at that level, then even if they had one “perfect” translation (which I consider impossible because of cultural differences to get not only the right words, but the right “flavor” at any given passage) they would not experience the “conforming” of our minds and hearts to the Word. For this person, it’s all intellectual and emotional, but the word has no depth. It’s like the seed that was planted in rocks.


Tell her this, in reference to 2 Peter 1:20-21

Verse 20 is offering a particular teaching: no prophecy of Scripture can be interpreted privately. Verse 21 explains why: there is only one truth, and all the men who spoke the prophecies were doing so to convey this one truth. Take the statement: “I never said I like cheese.” This is my statement, and I have made it to convey on truth. That truth is that I did not at any time make the statement that I like cheese. This statement must be interpreted this way or it does not convey the truth that I wished it to.

Private interpretation would result in various interpretations. Some may take it to mean that I said I liked something else, just not cheese (I never said I like cheese.) Some may take it to mean that I didn’t say that I don’t like cheese, but someone else did (I never said I like cheese). Some may think I mean that I never said I myself like cheese, but I said someone else does (I never said I like cheese). However, these are all wrong. They are not the idea that I was conveying.

This is why there is no private interpretation: the only idea that a prophecy of Scripture conveys is what God intended it to. Private interpretation will result in many different interpretations, only one of which (if even one) is correct. The Protestant conention is that the Holy Spirit guides the interpretation to that which is correct. This idea fails upon examination. We know that there are thousands of Protestant denominations.

However, let’s not even pay attention to this and take only two: The Lutheran church and the Methodist church. Each church has millions of members. Of those millions, hundreds of thousands are very devoted believers who pray intensely to the Holy Spirit and try to yield themselves to Christ 24/7, and who study the Scriptures and .

However, let’s not pay any attention to this and take only two. We know there is at least one person in each denomination, right? These two persons clearly have come, through all of this prayer, devotion, and study, to two different interpretations. That is all we need to disprove the Protestant idea. God is not the author of chaos. The Holy Spirit cannot guide two truly open people to two different ideas. And there are thousands more denominations then we have even considered!

So there are two possibilities. Either the Protestant idea is wrong, or there is only one person in the entire world that is truly seeking God.

Karl Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism

Anything by Scott Hahn, but Reasons to be Catholic is a good choice, as is The Lamb’s Supper if she is very interested in the book of Revelation.

The first book will show her the differences between the RCC and the Fundamentalist movment and where they are both coming from. I found it very informative to answer those hard questions non-Catholics tend to ask.

Thank you everyone who responded. I really appreciate your help. :slight_smile:

Keep the Faith

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