Apologetics...tiresome work

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DVIN_CKS

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I have recently found myself thrown into defending my Catholic faith with a friend who is a Fundamentalist (she was raised in a Catholic family and fell away from the church in her early teens). So, one would think that ‘bringing her back to the truth’ wouldn’t be so hard, right? WRONG! I’ve become a regular at CA and other wonderful apologetic websites and I must say, I’m learning so much more about my faith than I ever did growing up in catechism class.

I’m grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity to defend the Catholic faith. I think this was God’s way of waking me up from years of comfortable sleep in my faith. I just never knew how hard it would be!! All the defenses I read on topics such as infant baptism, sola scriptura, and salvation seem to be SO crystal clear and the Bible seems to mesh so beautifully with the Catholic teaching. I just can’t figure out why my friend - and so many other Protestant denominations - don’t see it (or won’t see it).

I know that answers don’t come easy for those who don’t want to see. I’m totally aware that only God changes hearts…I’m merely trying to plant seeds.

I guess my question is…does one ever reach a point when they throw their arms up and walk away from the fight? I’ve certainly thought of just doing that saying, “Fine…you believe your way, I’ll believe mine.” But something inside me doesn’t want to put these issues (differences) between us to rest. How does one know whether they are cut out for apologetic work or not? :confused:
 
I know exactly as you feel. I became intersted in my faith in semi-similar circumstances. I went to prot college and was required to take a theology class, the professor would throw stuff out there like, “Catholic’s teach that babies go directly to hell if they are not baptized” and the such. I had no way of replying to this because I really didn’t know. Ever since then I vowed that I would never be in a position to let a lie about the Church go without it being argued. There are times when I want to stop learning but all it takes is one anti-Catholic or uninformed comment and that fires me up.
 
How does one know if they are cut out for apologetics work? Simple, you do it just for the love of it. When you do what you love to do regardless of compensation, that is work that you are cut out to do. It doesn’t mean that it is a cake walk. Just because you are passionate about something, doesn’t mean it comes easy. Look at the Passion of Christ. It was what Jesus came for, but it was by no means easy. It was, however, worth it. Jesus never said picking up your cross and following Him would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it. CA is an excellent resource for beginning your apologetics journey, and I would recommend getting “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” and an excellent primer on the things your friend is being taught about our faith.

Pax Christi
 
I do have Karl Keating’s book and am finding it a very useful source in learning where my friend is coming from. I wish I could just hand it over to her and have her read it, but I think she would immediately throw it in the trash and not give it consideration. She would see that the author is a Catholic and jump immediately to the conclusion that it is full of lies. Perhaps as we journey along in our discussions, I may get to the point where I sense that she would be open to it…who knows?
 
DVIN CKS:
I do have Karl Keating’s book and am finding it a very useful source in learning where my friend is coming from. I wish I could just hand it over to her and have her read it, but I think she would immediately throw it in the trash and not give it consideration. She would see that the author is a Catholic and jump immediately to the conclusion that it is full of lies. Perhaps as we journey along in our discussions, I may get to the point where I sense that she would be open to it…who knows?
That is the tough thing about apologetics. No argument may ever work for two different people. That is why you have to know a lot of stuff so you can make an argument based on the person you are dealing with. Keep at it!
 
It happens…but also be aware that even with those cause you to throw your arms up may one day convert due in part to the work you began today…It may take another apologist answering his questions in a manner that he better understands, or at a time that he is ready to listen,but remember the seed was plantd by you…

Richard Lamb
 
I’m also in a very similar situation. I was brought up in a Catholic family, went to Church every Sunday, attended CCD, etc… But only recently I’ve been called to defend our Faith with a Fundamentalist co-worker and I’ve learned more in the past couple months then ever before. So just for that I am truely thankful to God.

In these discussions I find that he references only the parts of Scriptures that support his cause but he neglects the parts that disprove it. In our case the topic of choice typically is salvation and how faith and works plays a part in that. There’s no clearer proof that works plays a part in our salvation than in James 2:14-26… but for some reason the topic will quickly change to Sola Scriptura. I’m not sure if they do this intentionally or if they truely don’t know how to defend their faith against it.

Best of luck!!
Bill
 
Being new to this whole thing myself, I ordered some flashcards from the EWTN Religious Catalog called Friendly Defenders. They give you a typical question about the Catholic faith, an answer to the question and Scripture verses to back it up. I originally ordered them to help arm my children in this culture, but found that I am learning an awful lot myself!!
 
I personally think there should be apologetics classes at every Catholic Church. Not small groups. Laity teaching the in’s and outs of defending the faith on a regular basis to rooms full of people. There are mobs of Catholics out there who would love to be able to defend their faith if people were brave enough to clue them in on how to do it.

There was a priest from Lafayette Louisiana who told his parish about a defense of the faith class. He set up about 12 chairs, ordered a box or two of doughnuts and waited. TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE SHOWED UP. He wrote an apologetics book called “Unabridged Christianity” that is making the rounds in South Louisiana right now.

The fields are ripe for the picking in some places … I encourage each of you to set something like this up if there isn’t something like it already … you might be shocked at who wants to know.

It isn’t like Catholics do not see our share of critics. Every one of us knows someone who can attack our faith and do a bang up job if a Catholic happens to be ignorant of their faith.
 
We are all called to apologetic work simply by being Catholic.
The best way I have discovered is to be a happy faithful Catholic. Happiness is contagious.
Be prepared to answer questions. If you don’t know the answer, say so and go look it up.
Read everything you can get your hands on. Practice explaining things to yourself.

Since you are talking to a fundamentalist get a copy of Where is that in the bible? which is an easy reference.
To learn more about being an apologist read *Search and Rescue * by Patrick Madrid, or watch the series on EWTN

Here is an online reference: section:phorum.phatmass.com/index.php?showforum=21
 
I love apologetics, but it can get tiresome, especially answering the same questions over & over. One way to cut down on the work is to toss some of the questions right back at them. If someone says, “The Catholic Church teaches thus & so”, ask, “Where?”

Always ask where they got the info (it might have been something correct that was misunderstood) & ask them to expand on their reasons for believing that Catholic doctrine is other than what the Church teaches. This can lead one down some interesting conversational byways!

Most of all, keep your temper & sense of humor. If you find yourself angry at the person, instead of loving him, that’s when you call it quits.
 
DVIN CKS:
I do have Karl Keating’s book and am finding it a very useful source in learning where my friend is coming from. I wish I could just hand it over to her and have her read it, but I think she would immediately throw it in the trash and not give it consideration. She would see that the author is a Catholic and jump immediately to the conclusion that it is full of lies. Perhaps as we journey along in our discussions, I may get to the point where I sense that she would be open to it…who knows?
If she is willing to really put some thoughts into reading then I suggest “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine” by John Henry Newman.

He wrote it when he was still an Anglican.

PS
There’s plenty online version of the book. So you don’t have to buy it to read it. Here’s one of them
 
Once you get into Apologetics, the Spirit of God will “enkindle in your heart, the fire of His love”, to paraphrase.

My point is, there is no going back!

I recently joined a protestant bible study recommended by a protestant friend who kept inviting me to her church.

The intriguing thing is, studying the bible in-depth with this group made me realise how intensely biblical the Catholic church is!

Keep on keeping on!
 
Hey I know how you feel but I think that the main point for me with any fundamentalist is to take out the pillar on which they stand on namely sola scriptura. Usually that leads me to who has the authority to interpret the bible ie the individual or the Church. A great book that I think every one should read is The Faith of our Fathers published by Tan Books. But also remember it is not going to take one day to win them over. It might take years or even weeks, point is that we must never give up but should just realize when we get to the point where we throw our arms in the air is when we need to step away and talk about it another day. Also focus on one subject and do not let the discussion go from topic to topic. I know when I do this I get to frustrated. But if I keep the subject to one topic it goes well.hope this helps

👍 keep up the good work
 
Yes, it is tiresome work.

Remember, your job as an apologist is to plant seeds. You will NEVER convert anyone - that’s the job of the Holy Spirit.

What was that Bible verse? One sows, another reaps?

Let God do the reaping. You won’t be disappointed.
 
I am not Catholic yet, but am in the process. For many years I pushed the faith away because my husbands parents were always shoving it on me, and kind of putting other religions down. They would also make comments like the Catholic Faith is the one true faith and it just seemed to me that they thought they were better than others. When I finally sat down and talked to them and they stopped doing this I was more open to researching the Catholic faith. St. Francis said the best way to share you faith is to live it and then only to use words if necessary. I know one thing that I will be careful not to say or do is to make it like I am better than others because I am Catholic. I know how that can puch people away. I myself love apologetics, but I use them to only answer questions when they are asked of me. Otherwise I just show through my actions.

Shari

Oh yeah I second the motion that every parish should have an appologetics course, at least once a year. Kind of like a bible study, but with apologetics.
 
I have the same problem w/ some Fundamentalists on a Christian Families bb I frequent. Both are very anti-Catholic (and both have former Catholic husbands, so they think they know it all about the Church). If I present them w/ anything but Biblical evidence, they won’t take it (Sola Scriptura all the way, and they will not be swayed). If I present them w/ Biblical evidence, I’m told my interpretation is incorrect. They also claim that they don’t interpret the Bible, they just take it at face value (all except that part about being born again of water and the spirit, and of course, John Chapter 6). I just keep praying for them.

Ellen
 
Apologetics is tiresome work, but the retirement plan cannot be beat! 🙂 It is literally out of this world! 🙂
 
Ellen,
On another thread, I posted the name of a novel in which the hero is obliged to defend the Catholic faith to a group of Fundamentalists, using only Scripture, and he does it! The book is A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’s Court by Martin dePorres Kennedy. While it is a novel, Kennedy has really developed a defense based on Scripture because many who believe Sola Scriptura won’t accept anything else. I heartily recommend this book.

Peace,
Linda
 
What I have found out doing apologetics with fundamentalists or Protestants in general is listen very closly to what they say and when they say something that is contrary to reason or to the Church or to their belief…Stop them right there! Confront that remark immediately!. You’ll find that almost every sentence they say has some kind of flaw to it. The key is being sharp enough on your toes to catch it. If we can all learn this technique well, then weeks or months of debates on and off with fundamentalists can be shortened to a couple of meetings. And the Catholic truth can come shining through.

Thanks
 
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