A few words from a convert, (cue loud sighs)
When I was still protestant, I had a “coming to Christ” moment. A particular moment in time, when I realized God’s gift to me (Grace and offer of salvation) and chose to follow Him. Before this, I was just giving lip service to following Christ. About a year after this event, I felt led to investigate my beliefs. God led me to the Catholic Church.
When most protestants refer to a “relationship with Jesus” it means taking one’s faith seriously. Growing in faith or maturing in faith is what they recognize as a relationship/coming to Christ.
The problem with protestantism, as I experienced it, was we were believing someone else’s theology while rejecting the Church’s theology. We rejected 1500 years of history in favor of our own interpretation. As a protestant, I was happy to condemn empty lip service by others, because I had done the same at one point. Problem is, who knows another’s heart, who is qualified to judge another’s actions? Answer… Not me.:eek:
If you want to tackle the “I love Jesus, I don’t need a church” mentality you need to do two things. First, get together on terminology. If you can’t understand what each other means, there will never be constructive dialog. Second, they must admit that they are using someone’s theology, besides their own. Most interpretation is done by a pastor or known Bible scholar, why are they accepting somebody’s teaching? The heart of the issue is rejection of the Catholic Church, why do they reject it?
History is an unstudied area in most protestant circles, they don’t realize where the Bible came from and who the early Christians were. This will play a key role in helping them understand the need for the Church.
Hope this helps!