I am wondering if I might get some help with an issue. I have a very dear friend who is a confirmed Catholic but married a Baptist 25 years ago and has stopped practicing our common faith. She considers herself a Baptist. She is not anti-Catholic. We are just beginning to prepare for a theological discussion. One of the reasons she provided for making the switch was: “The central focus of the Baptist Church is salvation through faith in God alone, whereas the Catholics believe in the same plus the belief in the Holy sacraments as the way to salvation.” I am looking for help on my response.
It seems to me that part of having faith is trusting the resources God gave us to grow in our relationship with Him, stay on the right path and receive His graces. The sacraments and the Church are among those resources. If Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” and I have faith in Jesus, wouldn’t I do as he said? If he told his apostles, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,” shouldn’t I have faith that I can receive God’s forgiveness through them? If he told Simon, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” shouldn’t my faith in Jesus mean having faith that the Church will guide me in my journey to him?
Yes, our faith is in God, but that means doing what God said to do.
Excellent stuff. I used to have a little document that showed all the references to each of the Sacraments in Scripture. I should go look for that again…unless someone has a link?
First off, since she married a Baptist, her decision to become a Baptist probably has a lot to do with that. And since she was a Catholic who dated and married a Baptist in the first place, she probably loves Jesus but doesn’t know a great deal about the Catholic faith, (but since she was brought up Catholic, she may think she does, and she may know more about it than a lot Catholics she knows.)
The Sacraments are one source of Jesus’ grace that He gave us. (There are other sources of God’s grace. He’s not limited by the Sacraments but He does work through them.) We have faith in Jesus, and we believe He instituted the Sacraments as a way to “tap into” His grace. One might even say that our faith in Jesus is what gives us faith the Sacraments He gave us. It might help if you’re familiar with the Bible verses to cite for the various sacraments when talking with a Baptist, but don’t overload her with Bible quotes. Just be familiar with the Bible as many Baptists know the Bible well. It might also help if you could share a personal story about how you’ve experience God’s love and grace through the Sacraments.
I’m sure there’s lots you could say, but I suggest you start by listening. Just as you listened when she shared what she thought Catholic believed about the Sacraments, listen to her faith journey. Then share your faith journey. And you might want to begin and end your discussion with her by praying together and pray in preparation for your meeting.
Have a nice time with your friend!
Gardenswithkids, I think that you are spot on with your advice. I will certainly keep your words in mind. I also agree that a bunch of references may not be very convincing, but I wanted to have them on hand nonetheless.
Thank you so much!
PM Church Militant. He has a TON of info you can use.
Get a copy of *[The Catholic Answer Bible./I]
When it comes to evangelization, Cursillo stresses the soft approach. This will be especially helpful when dealing with an individual who may be hostile to the Catholic Church for any number of reasons. Some Baptist congregations spend much time studying and refuting Catholic teaching. I have met Baptists who know more about Catholic history than many Catholics. They can tell you about every Council, from Jerusalem to Vatican II.
They will dispute the need for Baptism although it is clearly written that a man must be born again “through water and the Spirit.” It is not simply enough to profess belief in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Even the demons know that Jesus is Lord, which is why they fled him. See the story of the demonic, and the swine who ran off the cliff.
What Cursillo recommends is make a friend, which you already have, be a friend, and the last step is to bring that friend to Christ. Answer her questions about the Catholic Faith as truthfully as you can. Let her bring up the subject instead of being the initiator.
You don’t know what she has been hearing from her husband over the past year, or what difficulties she may had had with her Catholic Faith even before then.
When the time is right, invite her to Mass, including her husband in the invitation. One former Baptist discovered by attending Mass what he had learned concerning the Catholic Church to be false. Never before had he heard the Word proclaimed. Sermons had always been about the Bible and its importance. He discovered the Tradition that made the Bible possible. From there he began to question what he had been taught regarding the Catholic Church, and why the Baptist church spent so much time talking about it.
All of this will take time. Continue your own personal formation, so you are ready as your friend begins to seek answers.*
She needs to reconsider immediately, for the sake of her soul,
When Jesus asked one of His admirers, “why do you call me good”? Mark 10:18
Was Jesus denying He is good?
Was He denying He is God?
Jesus wants His follower, to tell Him why he’s saying this to Jesus. Does that follower know his own criteria for what he said? If he doesn’t know Jesus, how can he say Jesus is good? Jesus is testing him.
Same with people who are presumed to “love Jesus”. Jesus qualified love for Him. It’s NOT a “said love” but a love that is obedient to Our Lord’s commands. John 14:15
Re: loving Jesus His way
Is the following a suggestion or a command? #25
it’s a command
If they “knew” the bible, written to, by, for, the Catholic Church, they’d be Catholic
Ask her, when a sentence in the bible, starts out with “unless”, how important is that?
It’s so important it’s a command #25
Know your Bible. A fundamentalist Baptist will only consider evidence from Scripture.
Patrick Madrid recommends the RSV translation when discussing scripture passages with non-Catholics.
In my earlier post, I mentioned the Catholic Answers Bible. It contains the typical questions with many non-Catholics confront Catholics, along with the scriptural passages that uphold Catholic teaching. It is an NAB translation, the standard for the Catholic liturgy in the United States.
The reason that Patrick Madrid recommends the RSV is because it is the translation most commonly used by various denominations.
start with one sacrament at a time. Baptism is usually a good one to have a first conversation about. find the scripture verses where Jesus mentions baptism eing necessary for salvation. there are also verses that compare baptism to circumcision in the OT, which is indicative of a covenantal relationship between God and his people.
it’s also going to depend a great deal on whether she is genuinely interested in having a mature conversation or is just looking for an argument. Many times I have had people try to talk abut faith and just simply tell me I’m wrong without even wanting to hear what I have to say. it’s about as productive as talking to a wall.
I wish you all the best with your discussion. May the Holy Spirit help to guide your words
Start with James for works and faith.
OSAS does not take free will into consideration. It just doesn’t. God shows us the way of salvation. He gives us graces to that end. We don’t have to accept it.
You can slop on all kinds of extra stuff after that, but it really is that simple, and our Lord liked to keep things simple so everyone could understand it and not just theologians.
I have some blog articles that may help you out some. Feel free to print out and use or whatever.
That is entirely why I want this to go well. That is the point. You are so correct.
Yes, very good advice, thanks!
Thank you so much. This will not be possible without the Holy Spirit!