Apologetics for the Masses #370 - Dialogue With A Protestant "Seeker"

Bible Christian Society

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Dialogue With A Protestant "Seeker"



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General Comments

Hey folks,

     I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy. Hopefully we have gotten past the worst of this Wuhan flu business and we can start getting back to a more normal existence, even if only one slow step at a time.  Oh, by the way, I had a couple of objections to my use of the phrase "Wuhan flu" in the last newsletter.  It seems I wasn't being "scientific" because I didn't call it by the name that the experts use: Covid-19, and it is not actually a flu.  What they were really saying is that I'm not being politically-correct.  No, it's a coronavirus not an influenza virus.  But, the problem is, "Wu" doesn't rhyme with "virus," but it does rhyme with "flu," and the symptoms have been described as being "flu-like".  And, it did originate in Wuhan.  And no one calls the Spanish flu the H1N1 influenza virus (it's scientific name).  So, I will continue to call it the Wuhan flu because I like the way the phrase sounds and if that's not politically-correct, or it's unscientific, or any such thing...well, such is life. 



     A couple of weeks ago, I was forwarded an email that had been received by the St. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) group - I'm on their Board of Advisors.  (If you haven't ever checked out their website, or haven't done so lately, please take a look at it.  Lots of good information there and you might want to contact them to bring them into your parish or to see if they have a team in your area that you could join: St. Paul Street Evangelization.) 

     The email was from a person who wanted to know more about the Catholic Faith and wanted to be "challenged," as they said, in what they believe.  So, the folks at SPSE sent it to me, as that's sort of the thing that I do.  I've decided to publish that conversation, with some extra comments from me on strategy, in this newsletter - actually, in the next 2 or 3 newsletters.  I hope you enjoy it.  I am not going to reveal any information about this person, because they wished to remain anonymous.  So, I will call him Martin.  I hope you enjoy... 




     I'm a Protestant Christian, but I enjoy hearing others out on their different beliefs. And I always want to be open to being wrong about My Beliefs. So even though i have my own specific Beliefs, I'm not here to simply tell you you're wrong and I'm right, I want to talk, and to hear others out.  So here I want to hear the Roman Catholic Position out and ponder it.  I hope to be taught a good few interesting things and to be lovingly challenged and called to a different position.


My Response

     I don't know if you have a specific "Roman Catholic position" you would like to hear about and ponder, so I will just start with this, which is what I call a basic summary of the Catholic belief on salvation:

     "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6)

     If you would like to start this conversation somewhere else, please feel free to do so.



     It's nice to have someone say that they would like to hear what you believe and why you believe it, as opposed to just telling you you're going to Hell for being Catholic and you worship Mary and you pray to statues and etc., etc. etc.  However, that could also be just them saying that in an attempt to draw you into a conversation and then proceed to bash your faith.  So, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but still proceed with caution.  I suggest a starting point - salvation - and give what I call the simple, scriptural, one verse version of Catholic teaching on salvation, but leave the door open for him to take the conversation wherever he wants to go...at least, initially.

     Also, I'm not trying to do too much.  Keeping it simple and direct and not trying to make my entire case right from the get go.  Don't say more than you have to, especially at the beginning of a conversation. 



     I'm not sure what you mean by "Faith Working through Love" though, can you expand on that please?


My Response

     Catholics do not believe that salvation is a one-time event that is accomplished by faith alone.  We believe that salvation is a process that begins with Baptism (John 3:3-6; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Titus 3:4-5) and continues until we have finished running the race (2 Tim 4:7).  We are saved by God's grace in Baptism and in order to keep from losing that salvation, our response to God's free gift of His grace must be one of faith and works (all by the grace of God), or, as the Word of God says, "faith working through love".



     So far so good.  An honest inquiry to my initial response and my response back where I include some Scripture verses (to show that we Catholics do indeed believe in the Bible).  Still keeping it relatively simple, though.  Not trying to overwhelm.  Sort of like in the early rounds of a boxing match where each fighter is kind of feeling out their opponent. 



     Okay, that makes sense.

     Now I don't think i was initially clear on this, so to be clear, I'm not here to challenge your beliefs head on, I'm here to challenge my beliefs. I'm not really here to tell you you're wrong and I'm right. What I want to do is firstly to learn and to Understand your position. So I'm gonna ask alot of questions like "Do you believe this?" And "So when you say you believe X, you're saying Y then?" Etc. They're not me trying to call you out on anything, or an interrogation session, they're me eagerly trying to learn.

     Anyways, to jump the discussion ahead a bit, I wanna see if I understand you correctly. I've heard alot of the Catholic position, but in bits and pieces over time. So now that I am able to check if I got it wrong, I wanna describe what I've gathered over the past 2 years of unintentional learning. If I'm wrong on a point, go right ahead and correct me. I just wanna make sure I understand you. :)

     So, basically, what happens is, God, in His Prevenient Grace, Draws an individual, calling Him/Her to Repentance and Faith, and if the person Responds, they get Baptised into the Church. In Baptism, God's Sanctifying Grace is Infused into the Person's Soul as the Holy Spirit Begins to Indwell the Person. At this point, having been Infused with Sanctifying Grace, based on this Grace, which Brings about Righteous Qualities into the Person, God Deems them Righteous, that is, they are Justified before God. And assuming they go to mass regularly being in Grace, when they Eat the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Jesus Christ, More Sanctifying Grace is Bestowed upon the Person, now having Jesus Christ in their body. And With Prayers and Alms in this state of Grace, God works through them, and continuing to grow Righteous Qualities into them.

     If this state is lost in Mortal Sin, Confession is needed, and at having Confessed the Sin to God Through the Priest, and being Given a Penance by God through the Priest, if they sincerely Confessed and Do the Penance given, they're restored to the state of Grace.

     So, to boil it down to literal key points, let me see if I got it:

1. God, In Prevenient Grace Draws all, This is never dependant on any Human Action. It's God's Initiative.

2. If responded to, at Baptism, All Sin are Washed away and As the Holy Spirit descends upon the Person, Righteous Qualities are Infused into the Person's Soul. And he is Deemed Just by God/ he is Justified.

3. If this State of Grace is kept, the Person will continually, through Mass, personal Prayers and Alms, be Growing in the Sanctifying Grace of God, becoming more and more Holy and Good.

4. If Mortal Sin Breaks this State, Confesssion is needed to be forgiven and Restored to this State and Road of Sanctifying Grace.

     I hope I got it right. I don't want to assume I know stuff without asking. Especially as the stuff I listed I gathered over time in bits and pieces. :)


My Response

     Okay, I'm going to leave things right there for this week.  As your homework, I'm going to give you some time to ponder how you would respond and, especially, what you think of his 4-part summary at the bottom of his response.  Next week I'll come back with my response and with more of the conversation. 


Closing Comments

     Again, I hope you and your loved ones are all doing well.  Please keep the Bible Christian Society in your prayers, as we've got a few projects in the works.  First, a major renovation of the website.  Second, I'm slowly getting the pieces together that I need to start doing a podcast - right now I'm trying to get all the equipment I need to get a studio set up.  I hope to make this something that will be as entertaining as it is informative - at least, that's the goal.  Third, we're about to start another major online evangelization campaign.  To reach hopefully a couple of million people.  Should start in middle to late June and run for about 3 months.  And, finally, we'll be running another TV commercial in the Birmingham market - maybe by the end of summer if all goes well.  So please keep all of these projects in your prayers.



     The Bible Christian Society is a non-profit organization that relies solely on your support to bring the truths of the Catholic Faith to tens of thousands of people throughout the U.S. and all around the world each year.  If you would like to help us do what we do, you can donate online at:


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Apologetics for the Masses