Our Church how to explain our faith to a protestant


I encounter a evangelical Pastor this morning. He asked me what religion I was, I don’t know why, but I answered Christian Catholic. He said Catholics are not Christians, I told him how Christ founded our church with St. Peter, he went on to dispute St. Peter was not Catholic and I asked me what Catholic meant, I answered Universal and he disputed it by claiming it meant “lukewarm”. I will see him next week and I want to present this brother our truth. I printed a list of all the Popes beginning with St. Peter up to Francis. Could you help me, you know how much they quote the Bible.
may God bless you


So, here’s the thing: he comes from a fairly different perspective than Catholics do. So, an explanation of what we believe will be difficult, since he’s going to view it through his lens, not a Catholic lens. He’s going to see things from the perspective that says “everything that you say has to be explicitly written in the Bible.” (For example, your list of popes isn’t gonna get you very far. He’ll look at it and say, “where are ‘popes’ in the Bible?”)

Moreover, he probably knows the Bible a whole lot better than you do. So, he’ll probably quote a bunch of Scripture to you – in little bits and pieces – and attempt to use those out-of-context proof-texts to explain away what Catholics believe. (I mean, he doesn’t even believe we’re Christian, for crying out loud!)

So, wish him well, tell him you’re praying for him, and leave it at that. (And, in the meantime, pray that the Holy Spirit enlightens him and leads him to the Church!)


I’d probably explain to him how the Church didn’t come from the bible as the Church was centuries old before we could generally agree what the bible was.

So Christ didn’t give us scriptures. He gave us apostles who appointed successors. This made apostolic succession the source of the continuing Church rather than scripture since it, and not the bible, dates back to Christ.

You believe that the Catholic Church is that very same ancient Church established by Jesus himself, guaranteed to never fail or require “restoration”.


Sounds like he is well grounded in some misinformation about the Catholic Church. Speaking with him is going to be like trying to cut through iron with a butter knife. Personally, I would probably approach him by asking him questions instead of going in on the defensive. If you go on the defensive it will just turn into a scripture verse shooting match which, unless you have memorized many passage and verses of scripture, you will most likely lose. I am 99% sure that he will not accept anything that does not come directly from the Bible and will not accept your interpretation of the Bible. Therefore, I would ask…

I would probably ask him how does he define who is and isn’t a Christian?

I would ask him where he found his definition of the word Catholic?

Basically, I would probably let him talk his head off, then when he is finished I would try to calmly say…

I read the Bible everyday and I am not coming up with the same interpretations that you are. Could you please show my why I should accept your interpretation of the Bible, as being the one true authoritative interpretation from Christ, and not my own?

Unless he is willing to respectfully sit down with you on a weekly basis you are wasting your time here. He won’t believe a word you have to say unless it comes from the Bible and even when it does he will say you are wrong. That’s why I believe it is best for you to ask him why you should believe his personal interpretation holds any more authority than yours.

God Bless


This. You have to maintain the initiative.

If you concede the initiative to him and you’re just responding, then he gets to set the framing, tone, direction… everything. If he even remotely knows what he’s doing, you’ve likely already lost.

This isn’t true in just theological debate, but the exchange of any set of ideas.

As such, don’t finish with an answer. After you answer, finish with a counter-question. Put him on his heels too.


I wouldn’t have much further dialogue with him. Clearly, he doesn’t even know the meaning of the terms which he is mis-defining. He isn’t interested in hearing what you have to say, and standing on a list of Popes would not be a convincing argument. It certainly would not be to me.

If you want to be persuasive, then I would present a systematic explanation of who God is, the fall of man in original sin, the impacts of sin, who Christ is, and what justification is, using scripture to defend your beliefs.


Start with what Catholics and evangelicals agree on: We believe in One God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus is Lord and be in our lives (exact methodology differs). We Believe Jesus died and in his resurrection.
Then ask what his definition of Christian is. I would guess he would say something like ‘let Jesus enter into your life’. Catholics do that- It’s called mass. Also emphasise the prayer and the Bible readings at mass and personal prayer time.


Tell him “God Bless, have a nice day” and then stop talking to him. He will not be happy until others are believing exactly like him. He likes to hear himself talk and he is convinced he knows everything.

They believe in the abridged Bible, since they chucked out a number of books they didn’t like. And after centuries of catholic clergy writing out the scriptures by hand and keeping a portion of the population literate for centuries in a world that didn’t have the printing press. They don’t care about the uninterupted chain of Popes. They will just argue they are in error or even through in a few twists like Pope Joan.

Must you see this person again?


Thank you, Great answer.

God bless you


Thank you, I might run into him, he works in a place I visit twice a week. I will follow your advice.

God bless you.


You will probably not change his mind no matter what you say. He is a pastor and his livelihood depends on his beliefs aside from any deep religious convictions. The best you may be able to do (which is good in itself) is to plant a seed.

I had a discussion with 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses sometime back. When we were done after a couple hours, all I had convinced them of was that I was strong in my faith and that there was at least one Catholic who was familiar with the Bible.

Whatever you say, say it with love, do not let him get your goat, and leave him something to think about. Like Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the only source of revelation? Also, in the Gospel of John, there are several references to the Beloved Disciple, who is that? (John) Where is that in the Bible? (nowhere).

If you have regular discussions with him, try and agree on what the next one will be about. Then you can look up scriptural references beforehand. This could be God using you to bring home one of his wayward sheep.

Good luck and God bless,



Thank you for you advice. We in our Catholic church teach Jesus love, they in turn teach hate towards our church. God bless you


Very true!

Of course, I’d ask him where the word “Trinity” or “Rapture” is in the Bible. But he’ll just give you some hogwash and turn it back on his “hatred” of Catholics. (Oh, and don’t buy the “I love Catholics line” , that’s a load of you know what)

The other posters have given you good ideas, and from your responses, it sounds like you want to confront this, whatever. Good luck. But just realize this character makes his living spouting his ideas and shaking people down for their 10% “love offering” Guys like this are not interested in the truth, they simply have their own agenda. Personally I would treat this guy like I would a rattlesnake. Walk away and leave him alone. He “hates” you with a smile.



I agree, a list of Pope’s will not have much effect. But If he was ask you where are they in the Bible, you could as him where his name is in the Bible.

I had a similar take with a Baptist pastor a few years ago. He was preaching on Romans:
m 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

The preacher skipped over verse 10:15. After the sermon I ask him why is skipped that verse, and who sent him.
His only answer could be that God sent him, he could not find his name in the Bible either.

That was the end of our conversation. The Bible is not the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


Go before the Blessed Sacrament and offer your prayers, your frustrations, your pains and sufferings for his willingness to entertain the truth. It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts of truth as He does of sin.

These are always difficult situations, as you are trying to counter ignorance, malice, bigotry - or all three.

As well, you can argue with intellect, but you cannot argue with ego.

Implore the Holy Spirit to give you the words to speak to him. Drop a few facts and let it go. Consider the parable of the sower. You are sowing seeds.

But first, prayer.


Yeah, but we’re not making claims for him being a successor of Peter, and having the power to “bind and loose”. :wink:


Did he at least ask you if you died today, do you know if your going to heaven? This is typical question they ask.


For space considerations, here’s 2 links showing A condensed history of the 1st 4 centuries of the Catholic Church going back to Jesus and the apostles, all properly referenced.

Be sure to open all internal links

Link 1

Link 2

I hope this helps.

BTW, a phrase used by a Protestant while still a Protestant and doing his research, on what he believes, before becoming Catholic himself

"to be deep in history is to cease being a Protestant"

Quote from John Henry Newman


I don’t want to sound discouraging, but unless you will spend a lot of time with the man, there is little you can do beyond making sure that your set a wonderful Christian example and perhaps give him a spark or two to peak his curiosity.

I once had a co-worker who was a fervent evangelical and somewhat fundamentalist protestant. We became pretty good friends and for a couple of years found ourselves travelling together on business trips quite a bit. I cannot tell you how many evenings the two of us stayed up in a British pub, me drinking my bitters and him having coke all night, talking religion. Very enjoyable conversations. The best I accomplished after many hours of talking to him was that he came to completely acknowledge that Catholics were indeed Christians. Before we started, he probably would have answered “I don’t know” but would have definitely leaned towards “no”. He knew the bible very well, and not just able to spout verses. But he was more than willing to go investigate various things in Church history and the Church fathers when I brought them up.

But I remember one thing he said to me once, he did not think it was possible to have such lengthy discussions on theology from such different viewpoints in such a friendly manner.

Want to know what I learned? I came to a better understanding of the idea of invincible ignorance as taught by the Church and how it pertains to this day and age. We used to think it was just someone who had no knowledge of the Catholic Church. I believe that it also applies to those whose background has so ingrained their beliefs into their minds that overcoming it on their own, regardless of who tries, or what materials they read, is impossible. It can only be overcome by the Holy Spirit.


Check Father Mike’s youtube.

He has a bunch … 185 !! … of excellent Youtubes on Catholicism.


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