Talking Scripture with Protestants


#1

This can be EXTREMELY difficult and often very frustrating. I have tried it in Bible studies and even on here. I have come to the belief that prayer is really the only answer. When a Catholic and Protestant sits down to talk about Scripture, both views will be completely different on certian issue. You may even get damned to Hell forever lol. I was amazed when I started to talk Scripture with others. Those talks can continue on until Christ returns.

As Catholics, we see a verse that describes Purgatory or confession to a priest as biblical and sound doctrine. The Protestant will look at the same verse, depending on what denomination, and tell you something completely different. If you do not believe me, try debating "faith alone" or "once saved always saved" doctrine with them.

So my advice is to give your view (which should be that of the Church), allow them to give their view and then simply pray for them. We share many beliefs with our Protestant brethen. Pray that God opens their hearts and minds to the fullness of his teachings. Pray that your heart may also be soften to allow you to better understand and grow in patience and compassion. Do not widen the divide even more than it already has become. Share the love of Christ with them and the teachings of the Church. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in them and with them.

Peace Be With You Always


#2

I find what's best, is if you disagree on a subject like purgatory, show them the church fathers who agree.

If along with the Catholic interpretation of a verse, and the ECFs, especially those from pre-Constantine era, then you can make a lot of headway.


#3

I have learned over the years to pick my battles. If it looks like it will be unfruitful then I avoid talking about it. Every once in a while I'll run onto someone who will bait me into a debate and I stand ready with facts and answers. But keep in mind that not everyone is at the same place in their journey. Some people are open and need a kind explanation and clarification. Some are only ready for some seeds to be planted in order to grow over time for others to water. Yet sometimes we are put into positions to just point blank correct some Bible thumper's misinformation about the Catholic faith so those who are present can at least hear both sides equally, which means no matter how frustrating it is we need to present ourselves as calm but strong.

The key is to never be too proud to not have all the answers because we don't want to give incorrect information when they already don't trust Catholicism. Winning a debate is far less important than winning their trust with you in a discussion and the information you offer. As Augusutine said, "Advance with me when you share my certainty. Seek with me when you have the same doubts. Accept my interpretation when it is you who is in error. And win me over to yours when it is I whom am wrong."


#4

[quote="katholikos12, post:2, topic:311829"]
I find what's best, is if you disagree on a subject like purgatory, show them the church fathers who agree.

If along with the Catholic interpretation of a verse, and the ECFs, especially those from pre-Constantine era, then you can make a lot of headway.

[/quote]

Where do you get your writings from the ECFs? I've been wanting to study them.


#5

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:4, topic:311829"]
Where do you get your writings from the ECFs? I've been wanting to study them.

[/quote]

Jimmy Akin's book ("The Fathers Know Best") is great:

shop.catholic.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=fathers+know+best&op.x=0&op.y=0

I also like the "Ancient Christian Writers" series. Amazon has them. Here's a link to one of the books in the series:

amazon.com/Epistles-Clement-Ignatius-Antioch-Christian/dp/080910038X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358548411&sr=1-1&keywords=ancient+christian+writers+series+complete


#6

[quote="katholikos12, post:2, topic:311829"]
I find what's best, is if you disagree on a subject like purgatory, show them the church fathers who agree.

[/quote]

some protestants dont care what the church fathers say if its not their tradition, i have tried that approach before. sometimes you are having a battle of wits with unarmed people...


#7

[quote="aidanbradypop, post:1, topic:311829"]
This can be EXTREMELY difficult and often very frustrating. I have tried it in Bible studies and even on here. I have come to the belief that prayer is really the only answer. When a Catholic and Protestant sits down to talk about Scripture, both views will be completely different on certian issue. You may even get damned to Hell forever lol. I was amazed when I started to talk Scripture with others. Those talks can continue on until Christ returns.

As Catholics, we see a verse that describes Purgatory or confession to a priest as biblical and sound doctrine. The Protestant will look at the same verse, depending on what denomination, and tell you something completely different. If you do not believe me, try debating "faith alone" or "once saved always saved" doctrine with them.

So my advice is to give your view (which should be that of the Church), allow them to give their view and then simply pray for them. We share many beliefs with our Protestant brethen. Pray that God opens their hearts and minds to the fullness of his teachings. Pray that your heart may also be soften to allow you to better understand and grow in patience and compassion. Do not widen the divide even more than it already has become. Share the love of Christ with them and the teachings of the Church. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in them and with them.

Peace Be With You Always

[/quote]

Amen -
It is a good saying that we cannot convert someone - only the Holy Spirit can do that. All we can do is "plant seeds".

Having watched a number of "The Journey Home" programs....I have found that the common thread in the conversions of people is the issue of authority. In the majority of cases the convert will say something to the effect that they could not reconcile Sola Scriptura with the many different beliefs one sees in the protestant world.

This led them to begin investigating history more.

For this reason I will try to plant this seed with people that I am discussing/debating with. After each person provides their side of the argument...the question is asked,
"Is the Holy Spirit the author of confusion?

Can the Holy Spirit tell you that the bread is symbolic and tell me that it is the real body?

What shall we do when honest and sincere Christians disagree?

What does Scripture say on the subject?

I then show them Mt 18:15-18 - pointing out that "sin" here can certainly apply to teaching a false doctrine. I show them the above passage "in action" in Acts 15 where the doctrinal conflict between the church in Jerusalem and Antioch was settled in council and that decision was effective throughout the universal Church.

I show them the many places where Jesus, Paul, and Peter call for unity.

They will often times try to say that church in Mt 18 means local community....So I ask them to prove that from Scripture...I point out that disagreements between local communities can be just as problematic as disagreements between individuals. Acts 15 is clearly an answer to this very issue.

Then - I point out that where the early Church resolved matters by council...in accordance with Scripture...when the Protestant reformers disagreed, they each went their separate ways...with no council to resolve the matters. Which is more biblical?

Of course they remain unconvinced....so ultimately I ask them to show me an equally compelling argument from Scripture for the "independent local community" and "invisible church" model favored by so many protestants.

I've yet to have one take me up on the challenge.

Naturally they don't go running immediately to RCIA, but I pray that I am able to plant that seed of a question. Why so many different doctrines all claiming to come from Scripture.

Peace
James


#8

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:3, topic:311829"]
I have learned over the years to pick my battles. If it looks like it will be unfruitful then I avoid talking about it.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#9

[quote="aidanbradypop, post:1, topic:311829"]

we see a verse that describes Purgatory or confession to a priest as biblical and sound doctrine.

Do not widen the divide even more than it already has become. Share the love of Christ with them and the teachings of the Church. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in them and with them.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

As a favor to a hopeful, would you remind me where in the Bible for the latter? Thanks.

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:3, topic:311829"]
I have learned over the years to pick my battles. If it looks like it will be unfruitful then I avoid talking about it. Yet sometimes we are put into positions to just point blank correct some Bible thumper's misinformation about the Catholic faith so those who are present can at least hear both sides equally, which means no matter how frustrating it is we need to present ourselves as calm but strong.

[/quote]

Bible thumpers?! :(

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:3, topic:311829"]
The key is to never be too proud to not have all the answers because we don't want to give incorrect information when they already don't trust Catholicism. Winning a debate is far less important than winning their trust with you in a discussion and the information you offer. As Augusutine said, "Advance with me when you share my certainty. Seek with me when you have the same doubts. Accept my interpretation when it is you who is in error. And win me over to yours when it is I whom am wrong."

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

[quote="dee_burk, post:6, topic:311829"]
some protestants dont care what the church fathers say if its not their tradition, i have tried that approach before. sometimes you are having a battle of wits with unarmed people...

[/quote]

:(

Oh My goodness!! I finally did the quotes right, yes?!!


#10

Can the Holy Spirit tell you that the bread is symbolic and tell me that it is the real body?

imho:

no, at that point we would likely just be arguing

if it came to the mass, even if I believed the bread was symbolic, the Holy Spirit would inform me not to participate in communion; to do so would be a sacrilege, an expression of willfulness and pride

this strikes an interesting cord, because for very many years i did not go to communion; i never quite understood why i was putting myself through the embarrassment of being the only person left on the bench until i affirmed that the Host was Christ's body and then found it natural to participate in communion


#11

[quote="Aloysium, post:10, topic:311829"]

if it came to the mass, even if I believed the bread was symbolic, the Holy Spirit would inform me not to participate in communion; to do so would be a sacrilege, an expression of willfulness and pride

[/quote]

Turn that around for me, if you would please. A Protestant who doesn't believe it to be symbolic and never has, partakes at the Anglican Church while still waiting for the RCIA deacon to return a call, several weeks later.... Sacrilege?


#12

[quote="aidanbradypop, post:1, topic:311829"]
This can be EXTREMELY difficult and often very frustrating. I have tried it in Bible studies and even on here. I have come to the belief that prayer is really the only answer. When a Catholic and Protestant sits down to talk about Scripture, both views will be completely different on certian issue. You may even get damned to Hell forever lol. I was amazed when I started to talk Scripture with others. Those talks can continue on until Christ returns.

As Catholics, we see a verse that describes Purgatory or confession to a priest as biblical and sound doctrine. The Protestant will look at the same verse, depending on what denomination, and tell you something completely different. If you do not believe me, try debating "faith alone" or "once saved always saved" doctrine with them.

So my advice is to give your view (which should be that of the Church), allow them to give their view and then simply pray for them. We share many beliefs with our Protestant brethen. Pray that God opens their hearts and minds to the fullness of his teachings. Pray that your heart may also be soften to allow you to better understand and grow in patience and compassion. Do not widen the divide even more than it already has become. Share the love of Christ with them and the teachings of the Church. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in them and with them.

Peace Be With You Always

[/quote]

I tend to pick my battles. For example, one evening a few months ago I was in a car listening to Evangelical radio, when the commentator asked where the Bible intended to make us miserable (referring to fasting), and a little later to the practice of celibacy. So I wrote to tell him those points. "When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast" (Matthew 9:15), or "“Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” (Matthew, 19:11-12)

I have to admit that I did also quote, "You err because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God." (Mark 12:24) It was simply too good to resist.


#13

These posts are great!! And they don't sound arrogant, or condescending, or anything. I'm surprised Protestants aren't flooding you all for advice.


#14

A very good read for anyone who has difficulty with the concept of Church authority is By What Authority?, written by Mark Shea. He began as a fervent evangelical, but began to wonder about many things that he was taught. This book chronicles his journey.


#15

[quote="JRKH, post:7, topic:311829"]
Having watched a number of "The Journey Home" programs....I have found that the common thread in the conversions of people is the issue of authority. In the majority of cases the convert will say something to the effect that they could not reconcile Sola Scriptura with the many different beliefs one sees in the protestant world. This led them to begin investigating history more.

Peace
James

[/quote]

Along this exact line of reasoning, a very good read for anyone who has difficulty with the concept of Church authority is By What Authority?, written by Mark Shea. He began as a fervent evangelical, but began to wonder about many things that he was taught. This book chronicles his journey.


#16

Why thank you…Perhaps someday more will…In the meantime - Glad you are here. :thumbsup:

Peace
James


#17

[quote="cheezey, post:9, topic:311829"]
:thumbsup:

As a favor to a hopeful, would you remind me where in the Bible for the latter? Thanks.

[/quote]

I assume you are asking for bible references to confession?

HERE you will find a number of them.

The most important one (for me) is this one.

"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:23)
In order for the apostles to exercise this gift of forgiving sins, the penitents must orally confess their sins to them...How are they to know if we do not go to them and confess?

Oh My goodness!! I finally did the quotes right, yes?!!

congratulations. :thumbsup: :D


#18

[quote="Aloysium, post:10, topic:311829"]
imho:

no, at that point we would likely just be arguing

[/quote]

Agreed. the question in my post was an example of the places where we people hold views that are supposedly spirit guided but are contradictory.

Pointing out such contradictions within protestantism (Lutherans believe in the RP...Evangelicals do not) one can then raise the question of authority and move into the biblical basis for the Catholic (and EO) structure that is largely missing in the protestant world.

Many times in having such a discussion I will invite the other person to leave the Catholic Church, it's structure and beliefs, out of the equation all together. Just look to the bible - which they claim as ultimate authority and tell me what sort of "proto-structure" they find there. By that I mean the beginnings of structure and intent. The Holy Spirit must have had a reason for including Mt 18:15-18 and Acts 15 and all those calls to unity...in the NT.

While I can't say I've "converted" anyone...I have had good luck in getting people to at least recognize that the Bible calls for greater physical and visible unity than they had previously seen or thought about.

if it came to the mass, even if I believed the bread was symbolic, the Holy Spirit would inform me not to participate in communion; to do so would be a sacrilege, an expression of willfulness and pride

this strikes an interesting cord, because for very many years i did not go to communion; i never quite understood why i was putting myself through the embarrassment of being the only person left on the bench until i affirmed that the Host was Christ's body and then found it natural to participate in communion

Interesting.

Peace
James


#19

[quote="cheezey, post:11, topic:311829"]
Turn that around for me, if you would please. A Protestant who doesn't believe it to be symbolic and never has, partakes at the Anglican Church while still waiting for the RCIA deacon to return a call, several weeks later.... Sacrilege?

[/quote]

I would suggest asking your pastor about this.

Peace
James


#20

It all depends on the denomination as well. I find it easier to talk with Lutherans, Orthodox and Episcopalians about Scripture. We agree on much of what Scripture says.

Baptist, Evangelical, Reformed, JW, LDS..etc present a more challenging conversation. Some damn me to hell within the first 5 minutes lol.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.