During my travels I encounter many people of the protesting denominations and always I am glad to do so.
Often I see in our protestant brothers and sisters a strong desire to love God and to help others. I see in them the desire to know and live to the word of God and their knowledge of Holy Scripture, as it is presented to them, is usually very good.
I see in our protestant friends a ground that has already been partially prepared for the fullness of truth and needs only to be sown with the complete truth of Our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ.
In the many discussions I have with them it becomes clear that the majority are good people who just have been confused a little and need the clarity of the full truth brought into their lives.
When I speak of the full truth I mean of course the truth of the Holy Word of God as found in the Holy Bible that has not been altered or adulterated by man to suit their own understanding or own agenda. We must remember that there are many changes made in the protestant bibles, I remember several years ago when a new edition became available it was stated that there were more than 20,000 changes within it! This all stems from back to the times of Luther and then Tyndale who produced the English Bible. So it is clear that even though many protestants can quote Holy Scripture the scripture they quote is often not exactly what was given to mankind. It seems also that many change the meaning of scripture to suit self. This is in line with the early protestant founders who declared that anyone can decide what scripture means. With this belief it is therefore easy to manipulate the Word of God to suit ones own desires. Of course it is not only protestants that do this, some Catholics do so also, the difference is that it is acceptable to do so within the protesting denominations.
With this manipulation of scripture many can so easily deny what The Lord actually said.
Here is an example of a conversation I recently had and is similar to those I often have with protestants:
Protestant: Why do you believe there is only one church given by Jesus. Surely there can be many and we are all equally valid?
Reply: Well The Lord said in Holy Scripture there is only one flock that He is shepherd of and St. Paul also said there should be no division that we all should be united as one in Christ.
Protestant: How do you know you are the right flock and we are not?
Reply: It is clear through Holy Scripture and through the history of Christianity that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the one Christ gave to man. He founded the Church on St. Peter the rock when He said, You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church. Note He said Church not churches.
Protestant: That was only for those times not now and it was only Peter He said it about and Peter is no longer is here.
Reply: When did The Lord say it was only for those times? Also Jesus said to St. Peter What you bind on Earth is bound in Heaven and what you loose on Earth is loosed in Heaven. When St. Peter passed his authority on to the next Pope that is bound in Heaven regardless of what people say. This is a Divine decree. So the next Pope and all who have followed him in the chair of Peter have had this authority passed on to them and also have the power to bind and loose on Earth and in Heaven and become the rock upon which the Church is built.
Protestant: It was only symbolic, it was not meant to be taken literally.
Reply: But you say you live to the Word of God and now you say His word is only symbolic. Why live to it then? Where did the Lord say it was symbolic? He was very clear about this statement even saying the gates of hell could not stand against the Church He founded with St. Peter as the rock it is built upon. He also in a parable in Matthew 7 spoke of building the house on a rock and how it did not collapse because it had been built solidly on the rock and stated, Anyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. Here The Lord is saying very clearly build your house, the church, on the rock which he has told us is St. Peter and not on the shifting sands of the opinions of people who decide they know best.
Protestant: No He did not mean that. He also said where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name He is with them. In our church we pray and He is with us and we prophesy, pray for deliverance in the name of Jesus. There are healings when our pastor prays for them. Jesus is with us. You are wrong.
Reply: Yes, He is with any who gather to pray in His name but that does not make those people part of His Church. If people pray to The Lord but refuse to live to the fullness of what He asks of us they by their choice place themselves outside of His Church. When you pray, yes He is there, but He is there trying to lead you to the fullness of truth and not leave you in a partial truth.
Protestant: Why then does He work miracles among us? Surely this shows we are right?
Reply: Of course He will work miracles. The Lord wants to help everyone in life and if miracles are needed for people He will provide them. However, this does not mean these signs validate your denomination. In Holy Scripture, again in Matthew 7 The Lord explained about the true disciple, Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Depart from Me, you evildoers. The will of the Father is that people follow all His Son Jesus asks of us and not what they decide is worth believing in or not.
Protestant: But you Catholics do not do the Fathers will that is why there was the reformation. It was through the reformation the true way was found.
Reply: Yes, there have been mistakes in the Catholic Church and there will be mistakes in the future I am sure. Those mistakes however were made by either sinful people or by confused people. This however does not change the fact there is one true church, the church built on the rock of St. Peter, the church full of sinners trying to live to Gods way.
Protestant: That is why the reformation was so important, it put the mistakes right. So it is only the reformed churches that are valid now.
Reply: How can that be when those who formed the protesting denominations were men and the One who founded the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was Christ Himself? Also the reformed denominations were founded by very confused men. Did you know that Luther stated it was alright to commit murder a 100 times a day or rape 100 times a day as long as you cling to Christ?
Protestant: That is not true.
Reply: Yes it is. It is in a letter written by Luther called, Let your sins be strong and yet Jesus told us not to sin so Luther goes against the Word of God.
Protestant: You are lying.
Reply: Look it up for yourself.
Protestant: You are a liar. I do not believe you.
Reply: Then look it up and see for yourself.
Protestant: No, I do not believe you.
Reply: How about Calvin who said that people are predestined to either go to Heaven or Hell. (The words of Calvin; Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He hath determined in Himself what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others.)
If that is the case why should anyone live to Jesus way if it is already decided where you are going. Also if it does not matter what you do in life you are already predestined, that means a person can commit as many sins as they like and it does not change where they are going. If there is predestination why was the sacrifice of the Lord needed for sinners? Why did the Lord call people to repent and not to sin again? Why did the Lord come to Earth? All this would not be necessary?
Protestant: You do not know what you are talking about.
Reply: Find out for yourself. Read about the lives of Luther and Calvin and Henry the Eighth and see how they lived and what they actually said. You might be surprised.
Protestant: No I do not believe you. You Catholics are all the same.
Reply: That is your choice but I suggest you actually learn about what you believe by researching the history of your faith.
I left the discussion shortly after this point but hoped and prayed this protestant woman would investigate what I had said trusting in God that He would lead her to His full truth and love.
I encourage all Catholics not to be afraid to engage protestants in discussions of faith, for even though many protestants can quote scripture verbatim, often their understanding and their quotes are built on sand. Catholics have the firm foundation of the rock of St. Peter and should stand unwavering on that rock.
Catholics should know their faith and be unafraid to share it.
Yes, it may be difficult at times but if a seed of truth can be planted then a great harvest may come from that. Even if you leave not certain you have achieved anything trust in God that the words you said in gentle love will bear fruit.
Be gentle in your way but firm in the truth. Be understanding in your words without ever denying the truth of Catholicism. Importantly, always ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and gifts you need to truly seed this fertile ground with the full truth of Gods love in His Son, Jesus, and in the one true Church He gave to mankind the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The book What is truth, is an ideal tool to use when evangelizing protestants because it has many of the historical statements by Luther and other founders of the reformation and clearly shows how their words at times opposed the statements of Christ Himself.
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