I have a Protestant friend (he’s Assembly of God; I’m Catholic), and we usually have good discussions over lunch on Christianity. Mostly he and I agree (I.e. He agrees with the Catholic positions thus far). However, he made the comment today that he thinks that Christians, Catholics, whomever shouldn’t go for each other when there are millions of lost sheep that need to hear about the love of Christ. I suppose in an attempt to get me to stop giving a Catholic perspective on issues (not that I stopped - we soon brought up “church” and I countered with “pillar and foundation of truth.” Which, of course, he had never seen.).
How would you respond in this situation? To this question?
Keep in mind that our conversations are just that; these are not hostile or combative, but two friends talking.
I want to add that I could answer that what we believe does matter (Authority, thousands of denominations, etc) but want to unravel slowly so that I don’t come off as prosthetyzing.
Hey, if he means sheep stealing I suppose we can agree, but you can always point out that dialog is always the way to the fullness of truth and if we believe that Jesus is the truth then shouldn’t we always seek the fullness of Him?
I don’t really like the phrase “go for each other” in the sentence above. Your friend is correct that the Great Commission still matters. But it also doesn’t make sense to think the differences in the various Christian traditions don’t exist, don’t matter, or shouldn’t be talked about.
I look at it this way. We should speak the truth in love when opportunities arise with the people we encounter in our daily lives. No matter what the belief system of each person is. So when talking to non-Christians there might be a greater “distance”, so to speak, between the two belief systems and lots to talk about. If a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian talk, there is probably 95% or better points of agreement…but whether it is points of agreement or points of difference…there is still stuff to talk about.
One of my favorite people to talk to in my workplace believes that she was reincarnated. I am Catholic. We have great conversations, never hostile, and we agree on some stuff and disagree on a lot. Another friend of mine at work is Christian. When we talk we agree on a whole lot more, and disagree on less.
I would respond that you agree with your friend. “We shouldn’t go for each other”, in the sense that we shouldn’t talk down to someone like we are better than they are. Our goal shouldn’t be to get another notch on our Catholic belt. It should be to learn and understand our faith better.
We should always keep the dialogue open. I am in no way completely knowledgeable in my faith, there is always room for improvement and to learn more. In the end you both want the same thing to be deeper in the fullness of your faith.
I agree with you, definitely unravel slowly. Even though the authority argument makes perfect sense to us Catholics, I have found it rarely ever works on a non-Catholic and tends to push them away.
Don’t just preach, you need to listen carefully to what he has to say. Quite often I have found the biggest obstacles come from defining something differently. If you understand the point he is trying to make it better helps you respond in his language. If not you both end up speaking a different language with no headway.
Let him know that these continued dialogues are just as important for you. Let him know you are interested in what he believes, not just interested in going for each other. Learning his view points helps you better understand your differences and will help you to get your point across better in the future.
Just thinking out loud. If you use any of these ideas you’ll know best how to do it.
Jesus wants ZERO division in His Church that He builds on the apostles with Peter as leader of the Church. He wants PERFECT unity in what He established. [FONT="]John 17:20-23 [/FONT]There’s no exception there. NONE. All that division caused by Protestantism is a scandal. Besides making Jesus look like He doesn’t know what He’s doing, division is condemned in scripture.
This Greek word [FONT="]διχοστασίας , [/FONT] dichostasia = division / dissension / factions /sedition / sects, is used in the following 2 selections.
Romans 16:17-20 (links operational) [/FONT] Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who make dissensions διχοστασίας ] and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. [/FONT] For they that are such, serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent. [/FONT] For your obedience is published in every place. I rejoice therefore in you. But I would have you to be wise in good, and simple in evil. [/FONT] And the God of peace crush Satan under your feet speedily. The
Here’s the consequences if one dies in these sins
Galatians 5:19-21 [/FONT] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, [/FONT] Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, διχοστασίας ] sects, [/FONT] Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.
IOW they who divide from Our Lord’s Church and die in that sin go to hell. [FONT="]Not my words, but from Jesus[/FONT] .
Jesus even gave parables about building a house Luke 6:48 , His house is solid. Now look at Protestant Christianity. Invented in the 16th century, by men, NOT God, and they became divisions on steroids.
Jesus gave a parable about one who couldn’t finish what he started **Luke 14:28-30 Jesus won’t be mocked.
**If the time is right, and there is a way to show him the deadly consequences on one’s soul for those who have divided from Our Lord’s Church, then also show your friend, there is no expiration date to the consequence.
Evangelizing for us doesn’t have to be less direct than Paul for example
he thinks that Christians, Catholics, whomever shouldn’t go for each other when there are millions of lost sheep that need to hear about the love of Christ.
The key is that the “love of Christ” means getting to know what Christ means, and then assenting to and following His expressed Will.
First – “If you love Me, keep My Commandments.” There are the ten from the Old law, and then **Jesus institutes a whole new world of Love, and Faith and Hope, by forming His own Church!
****All four promises to Peter alone: **
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven." ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) [Later to the Twelve, also].
**Sole authority: **
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).
Then some of His warnings:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them” (Mt 7:15, 16).
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:19-20).
“Test everything: retain what is good.” (1Thess 5:21).
Disunity within the Church weakens its position in evangelization efforts to those outside it. It weakens the faith of many in it, too.
Jesus prayed that we may be one.
6 “I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; 8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; 10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.
20 “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.