The chasm widens but seldom bridges


#1

I have found that Protestants agree with the Catholic position when it agrees with their personal theological position (based on their personal knowledge of Scripture) and rarely ever give into an authority other than their own.

Recently, I got into discussion with another Protestant that essentially said she was more convinced her position was correct after discussing an issue with her than before and that I probably felt the same way.

She was right in the sense that I am convinced that Catholicism is correct moreso than before I began the conversation with her.

Does anyone else encounter this chasm that seems to be widening as the result of Apologetic discussions instead of bridging that gap?

I don’t want to contribute to the chasm. I want to unite Christians not convince them that Catholicism is wrong. I’m charitable when I write (for a sampling, please view my posts) so it’s not like I turn people off by any rude demeanor.

I refer specifically to Catholic teaching and also reference apologetic sites materials (such as this site). I think to myself that perhaps I shouldn’t comment to what the apogetics materials say or to what the Catechism says, but in all honesty, they read it and say they still disagree.

Is there any hope of serious dialogue?

I was hoping some people out there can share some stories of people that you know on-line that actually are seriously considering the Catholic Church after your on-line conversations.

The closest I ever came was a Calvinist Christian who has at least admitted the real presense and has converted to Lutheranism (I admit I wasn’t a big factor in this move, if I was a factor at all, just admitting at least some move towards conversion).


#2

I don’t think there are alot of conversions that takes place as a result of appologetic discussion.

Seems to me very few people in these discusion are actually trying to engage in a dialogue to discover the truth.

Usually it’s all about making your point, telling the other guy he / she is wrong, claiming victory and then its on to the next subject.

Usually the folks you see trying to discover the truth have already come 90% of the way via some other mechanism and are looking here to help iron out the fine points.

Chuck


#3

Perhaps not online, but I just found out that an ex girlfriend of mine had proceeded to convert to Catholicism despite the fact that we broke up… you can take that as you will, maybe it was good apologetics on my part, or maybe she’s just thanking God i’m out of there!

At any rate, of course it’s hard to have meaningful dialogue. The last thing Satan wants is for anyone to listen with an open heart and mind to the Catholic church. This whole personally imbued with the Holy Spirit idea is just a non-sense concept to puff up the pride and reduce someone’s willingness to hear truth.


#4

I have found great success in bridging the gap with my wife who is a Protestant. The first thing to do is to agree on a definition or to work to properly define terms. I found while discussing OSAS with my wife that she felt Catholics believed that you could “accidentally” lose your salvation. This realization didn’t come about until we were digging into the CCC and I had to keep emphasizing the meaning and requirements for a sin to be mortal. Once she realized that one cannot “accidentally” lose their salvation, that it required a choice to turn away from God, then she realized that she didn’t really believe in OSAS.


#5

Hi,

Sad to say that since Ive been on these forums and have learned alot about the CC–I find we are much further apart then I thought in our theology. It almost makes me wish I never came here.:frowning:

Ignorance was truly bliss–now I am saddened by what I have learned and how far apart we are.:frowning:


#6

Many people hate the truth. They’d rather choose to believe whatever they want rather than humbly accept what God has revealed. This is why Jesus told the Apostles to dust off their sandals and move on if people didn’t want to hear them, and thereby hear Him. All you can do is pray that they soften their hearts and respond to the grace Our Lord is using to draw them to Catholic unity.

As St. Isidore of Seville said,

“Heresy is from the Greek word meaning ‘choice’. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema.”


#7

[quote=DallasCatholic]I have found great success in bridging the gap with my wife who is a Protestant.
[/quote]

My wife was Protestant, although a non-practicing one, when we got married. She has completely converted to the Catholic faith. There is much to be said about interpersonal relationships as it pertains to apologetics.

When you’re on-line, it is more difficult to make that personal connection.

[quote=ALLFORHIM]It almost makes me wish I never came here.:frowning:
[/quote]

Don’t throw in the towel! I’ll tell you, that it is awfully tempting particularly the nature of my initial post. It does get frustrating at times. For me, I don’t want my apologetics discussions to push them away instead of drawing them nearer. I’m comforted by the fact that the Holy Spirit will guide me and them if they are open to it.

What I am discerning for myself right now is whether God wants me to continue active on-line apolgetics discussions or if they should be reserved for personal contact since (at least for me personally) they have been more effective.

[quote=Genesis 315]Many people hate the truth. This is why Jesus told the Apostles to dust off their sandals and move on if people didn’t want to hear them, and thereby hear Him. All you can do is pray that they soften their hearts and respond to the grace Our Lord is using to draw them to Catholic unity.
[/quote]

I think I may dust off my sandals from these on-line conversations for a bit (the site I have been having them). God may call me back when another set of on-line folk come to the area.


#8

Right there with ya. I have to abaondon the forums periodically to avoid getting depressed about the whole thing.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying to take a different apporach.

There may be 5, 10 or even 20 things that you and I vehemently disagree with.

But I’m willing to bet there are 100 or more that we can agree with. And I’m also willing to bet that these are the more important of the bunch!

Now if you can just just get your head right on those last few things and come over to the fullness of truth we can all just get along.

Hehe…:wink:

Chuck


#9

You know, maybe the Lord wants this forum for us Catholics as it often sends us searching for official teachings of the Church and studying them. Sort of like a classroom to equip us for in-person relationships where our witness could be needed. :slight_smile:

If I were a Protestant I would appreciate having a site where I could go and ask about what Catholicism teaches. I wish there were Protestant sites that were comparable. Does anyone know of one? Where they welcome Catholics with questions about what they (Protestants) believe?

Nita


#10

I like crosswalks.com The people there seem friendly.


#11

Thanks Chuck. I know alot if not all on this forum who know me want desperately for me to become catholic. I will never say never because you never know. Was that a tongue twister:whacky:

Anyway, at this moment in time I cannot reconcile much of our differences. I do like meeting and conversing with people here.

I actually met a woman here and we have been conversing for almost a year now. We are going to meet this summer. This is not a love thing because we are both females.:wink: Since I am the old lady I have been discipling her. Anyway her husband is coming and Im bringing my children and we are both excited to meet each other. God brought us together on these forums and it is neat we will get to meet on earth before we get to heaven.

So see the forums are good for something. :thumbsup: :smiley:


#12

Hey, that’s wonderful:extrahappy: I hope you have a most wonderful time:D

These forums have been a godsend for me, although I can feel my temper flare up at times when I come here when reading some of the posts. I can honestly say it does not get boring around here.

Although I’m more of a lurker than a poster (I don’t feel quite confident to put on my apologetics hat on yet:tiphat: ) I’ve learned a lot of what to do and what not to do when it comes to defending the faith & learning about the Catholic faith.

I haven’t converted yet (mostly family issues) although I believe 100% what the Church teaches. Sadly, my family doesn’t agree which, of course, is for another thread.

Maybe there hasn’t been any mass conversions from online apologetics but I can bet there have been many seeds planted.:getholy:


#13

[quote=ALLFORHIM]I know alot if not all on this forum who know me want desperately for me to become catholic.
[/quote]

Oops. When I responded to you I thought I was responding to a fellow Catholic.

Nonetheless, I still don’t want you to throw in the towel. :slight_smile:

[quote=Cardinalsong]Although I’m more of a lurker than a poster (I don’t feel quite confident to put on my apologetics hat on yet:tiphat: ) I’ve learned a lot of what to do and what not to do when it comes to defending the faith & learning about the Catholic faith.
[/quote]

Apologetics-wise, I am more of a lurker here than a poster. When I do post here, it’s generally to get some answers to some of my personal questions about the faith. Occationally, I’ll look for help regarding a Catholic position on something regarding an apologetics discussion I am having on a different forum.


#14

I helped persuade a Baptist that baptism was in some sense salvific, though he still rejected infant baptism.

Edwin


#15

I came here because I dont like Jack Chick (followed a link) and decided to hang out.

I thought there was more similarities than differences too. I think if someone sat down and wrote them out I bet its true.

What to do I dont know, but Im sure Gods gots plans. Maybe talk helps.

One thing I cannot understand is Catholics seem to want Protestants to join the church.

And Protestants seem to want people who dont believe in Jesus or God, to come to believe.

Perhaps this focus is why the two dont always get on. The goal doesnt seem the same.


#16

Also Apologetics here is defending the Catholic church.

in a Protestant forum it would be defending God and if He exists, and if Jesus was actually here, was He really the Son of God. defending Faith.

One more difference that probably widens that chasm.


#17

I think we need to remember it takes time for a person to sort through all the “apologetics” and arguments and debates and testimonies and Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit is at work in everyone who comes to this Forum, Catholic and non-Catholic. There are many more fun computer sites to visit (e.g., my favorite actor’s sites!), but we all keep coming back here. I don’t think that’s an accident.

When I first starting looking into Catholicism, I didn’t have any blatent prejudices against the Church. I believed they were Christians, just “different.”

I was totally convinced that Protestantism was correct.

It took me getting kicked out of my evangelical Protestant church to get to a point where I was willing to accept that Protestantism is NOT correct. That event forced me to look at the beliefs that I had always held as “correct.” I came to see that a lot of what I believed was not “Scriptural” at all, but merely the practice of men. Because I trusted these men over the years, I believed what they said. But when they proved themselves untrustworthy, I stopped believing what they said and started thinking for myself.

It was extremely hard to give up something that I had held onto all my life. It was essentially leaving life as I had always known it.

It took a LONG time to read through the Catholic Bible and study the Catechism to make sure I wasn’t getting caught up in a “cult.” (I didn’t even start reading the Bible for a year after getting kicked out of the Protestant church.)

Hopefully many of the Protestants on this Board will not have to get kicked out of their church! That’s doing it the tough way, believe me. But on the other hand, it made it easier to walk away from the Protestant church. It would have been horrible, heart-breaking, if I had become convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church, and been forced to leave people that I loved. I didn’t especially love the ones who treated me cruelly, so it was easy to “shake the dust off my shoes.”

I think a lot of Protestants can accept intellectually the apolgetics in favor of Catholicism, but they can’t get past the personal implications. It feels “funny” to genuflect, to cross yourself, to bless yourself with Holy Water, to kneel in church–yes, to kneel before the Lord! (Most Protestant churches don’t have kneelers in the pews). It feels strange to say “Hail Mary” or to pick up a Rosary or to watch an infant baptism.

Even if you know it’s all true in your mind, it still feels strange for a long time. My older daughter asked me to pray with her yesterday, and it felt strange to say “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (She’s converting to Catholicism.)

And then, of course, are all the personal logistics. Many Protestants are heavily involved in ministries in their churches. How will they walk away from these ministries? Who will lead the Children’s Choir? Who will replace me as Sunday School Superintendent? Who will take charge of the missionary convention?

You feel like a traitor.

And then there are the family difficulties, which are often the hardest of all. Our younger daughter and her fiance are going through this right now. They both know in their heads that they should become Catholic, but they are afraid that it will literally kill his devout Baptist grandmother. I can only pray that Blessed Virgin will plead with her Son to have mercy on them, as they are acting according to the dictates of their conscience, out of kindness and compassion to the grandmother, not out of stubborn waywardness.

So I think we all need to keep in mind that most people will take their time about spiritual things. I think we all need to keep talking and sharing the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to do the harvesting.


#18

[quote=Kitty Chan]One thing I cannot understand is Catholics seem to want Protestants to join the church.

And Protestants seem to want people who dont believe in Jesus or God, to come to believe.

Perhaps this focus is why the two dont always get on. The goal doesnt seem the same.
[/quote]

My perspective has been that it is a more effective way to convert non-Christians if we are united in our cause to do so. It does appear that many Protestants are unwilling to “re-fight” the Reformation again and therefore can not see how the divisions amongst Christians as a hindrence to conversion. Another perspective I have is that faulty theology from Protestants either stops possible candidates from entering Christian faith or makes it easier for them to fall away once they are received into Christian faith.

[quote=Cat]It took me getting kicked out of my evangelical Protestant church to get to a point where I was willing to accept that Protestantism is NOT correct.
[/quote]

My wife is an adult convert to Catholicism. She too was kicked out of her Protestant denomination. It led to her eventual conversion. Thank you so much for sharing your story. :slight_smile:

[quote=Cat]I think we all need to keep talking and sharing the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to do the harvesting.
[/quote]

I agree with you. What I am discerning is what the most effective way for me to share that faith with others on-line.


#19

[quote=Cat]And then, of course, are all the personal logistics. Many Protestants are heavily involved in ministries in their churches. How will they walk away from these ministries? Who will lead the Children’s Choir? Who will replace me as Sunday School Superintendent? Who will take charge of the missionary convention?
[/quote]

And joining the Catholic Church means being a little person. That’s hard to take for folks who are used to wielding a lot of influence.

[quote=Cat]And then there are the family difficulties, which are often the hardest of all.
[/quote]

In part of my family, folks are deeply involved in being self-important and in using their faith to justify activity which is morally questionable.

A certain amount of shaking of the dust has been necessary just simply to have time to live, go to work, do the groceries, take care of the kids, read books, and have some peace and quiet.

[quote=Cat]I think we all need to keep talking and sharing the faith and allow the Holy Spirit to do the harvesting.
[/quote]

Catholics do not generally witness by their words. They witness by their lives. St Francis of Assisi said to preach the Gospel as often as we can and only if necessary to use words.


#20

I agree it would be better if we were united, Ive argued many a atheist and when I get on “winning” ground they toss out "Well why dont all the churches agree, hmmm HA see they dont so god 1- doesnt exist 2-overblown superstition.

thats why I said the 2 perspectives seem to differ on focus, Catholics = join the church Protestants = believe in God.

And a atheist isnt going to join a church if they dont believe in God. And they wont believe in God because we dont agree simple as that. Mind you theyd probably move the goal post and come up with something else, but it would be harder.

And with all due respect language like "faulty theology from Protestants " doesnt help the atheists reading here. It only confirms that we are all whacked. :slight_smile:

If we are all honest there are some who have been hurt by protestant churches (like Cat and myself as well) and those hurt by catholic churches. Finger pointing doesnt help and it widens that chasm.

What has to happen for us to quit looking at the chasm and decide to focus on the bridge??

For conversation (please forget if one believes it or not) think about standing in line and being asked to deny Christ and live or stand in the short line and have your head lopped off.

Or standing in a arena and praying before the lion comes. I bet there would be a lot less chasm talk and a ton of bridge building.

Those 2 perspectives on the non believer (join church or know God) would be a great place to start. Both mean the same but do not come across that way.


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