Lutheran Friends

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We have friends, a couple, who are collage educated and very Lutheran (ELCA). They are very active in their church. His father was a pastor and both families are Lutheran through and through, though their familes don’t live in our state.

I’m a cradle Catholic without much early education. I am now, however, learning more and more apologetics to defend my faith. My husband quietly converted from Lutheran (WI synod) to Catholicism almost 2 years ago but is not well-versed in the Catholic faith to argue any point of faith. Besides, it’s not in his personality.

From time to time this couple brings up various subjects about the differences or tries to persuade us of the Lutheran arguments. I am acutally thankful because it is partly the reason I have looked into my faith more to learn the truth.

I do the best I can but it seems like they don’t accept any of the points I make. For example, they brought up Sola Fide and justification, and I suggested they read James 2:4 (I think) where it says Faith without works is dead. I received back a twisted argument that really didn’t make any sense to me but was so convoluted that I didn’t know where to answer.

Another example was that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. She brought out the King James version (explaining it’s the most read and respected bible) and showed the passage about Jesus’ brothers and sisters. I explained about kinsmen and the word cousin not being in the language or the theory about Joseph being widowed before as a possibility but that Mary was always a perpetual virgin (I since learned the full answer). She didn’t accept that explanation.

They are very intimidating. I bet they would be great to convert once they got their teeth on something they discovered for themselves. But they are also 10 years our senior and highly educated as I mentioned, who don’t seem to be swayed at all by anything I say. He is very good at talking circles and seems to believe what he is saying.

Any suggestions for talking with them? Should I bring it up next time? How? Should I wait until they come at us with another argument? Should I suggest or lend a book? What would sway Lutherans? Early Church fathers writings? I don’t fully understand their reasoning. (His latest argument is that he has come to believe that fornication is not a sin because it doesn’t actually mention it in the 10 commandments).

Recently, she showed me her little book of catechism from childhood and explained what she had to recite from memory. I noticed a chapter on the Office of the Keys. I wasn’t prepared for what it was (knew they didn’t see Peter as the holder of the keys) so I said nothing. I went home to look it up on the Internet and it appears that they believe that everyone has been given the keys and discounts the authority of the pope. When I read scripture their argument doesn’t hold water. However, for me to bring it up (I’m pretty comfortable in this area of apologetics) would probably be another argument lost.

Any suggestions for approaching them? I can learn the apologetics but how do I effectively make my points or do I just give them material to read on their own? I have left out copies of “This Rock” magazine and when they visit he has picked one up while we were getting drinks mixed. Another time, she noticed it on the table and the headline was “Can the bible be trusted?”. She commented on it and I should have asked her if she wanted to read it but I said something like “They always have rather provocative headlines” and let it drop. Should I lend them my magazines?

Thanks in advance.
Perhaps you could offer them a good book, like Karl’s “Catholicism and Fundamentalism.” Pray for them. Keep doing what you are doing. I would also point out that if we are all keepers of the keys, we all have divine authority. That’s not possible given the disunity of believers. God is Truth. Truth is not subjective. To say that we all have the keys is to say that Truth is subjective to what the individual feels to be the truth. If we all have the keys, there is no Truth; there is not a possibility of unity. Our Lord prayed that we might be one (John 17); and a house divided against itself cannot stand. Our house is built on a Rock; it will stand to the end of the ages.
Start with prayer and when you have exhausted that, pray some more then, finally, when you can’t pray anymore pray some more.

Some folks are so comfortable where they are they aren’t open to the movings of the Holy Spirit (I have found myself in that position too). I have VERY close family who are Lutherans and converts to Luthernism and I have struggled deeply for years to make any inroads. But I had early set backs because I spent too much time debating and focusing on differences. I’ll be honest, I haven’t made much progress, but at least we are starting to dialogue again. And I kinda sense when that dialogue is becoming confrontational and I back off. And I have to keep reminding myself that ultimately it isn’t anything I say or do that will bring them home to the Church (though I assure things I say and do can drive them away)- the Holy Spirit will move them to that point if they are open to Him. I just offer myself to God as an instrument and let Him work through me if that be His will.

There are folks well versed in sharing the faith- I’m weak at it. But one suggestion I have is to try to start finding common ground. Lutherans believe in many of the things found in the Creed (in fact they are known to recite it oven). The Trinity, baptism, the inerrancy of scripture these are all things we agree on. Finding common ground and focusing on that might be more beneficial. It sounds like there is a mutual effort by each of you to convert the other. You might be able to disarm them this way. You might be able to engage them more deeply once you both discover you are more alike than unalike.

God Bless
We, too, have protestant friends with whom we get into discussions about our faith. In the past, I would sometimes get angry at their comments, but now I really try to remember that I didn’t always understand the Church’s teachings, either, and I silently say a prayer before I speak that I can be teaching instead of just defending.

I find it often helps to put things into the first person. Say, for example, we re talking about Holy Communion. I would say something like “You know, there was a time when I wasn’t sure of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist. I thank God that I found great Catholic authors and teachers who could explain through both Sacred Scripture and tradtition that Jesus gave us this wonderful gift, and it has been around for 2000 years! If you’d like to borrow a tape or book, I’d be happy to lend one to you…”

I’ve also found that The Passion movie has prompted protestant friends to call their Catholic friends and ask about certain parts of the movie. One that comes to mind for me is the part where Mary begins wiping the blood of Jesus off the ground after His scourging. My friend didn’t understand that, and I said I wasn’t sure at first, but then I realized that this was Jesus’ Holy and Precious Blood and Mary didn’t want any of it to be trampled upon or desecrated. And that’s why we are so careful when we receive Holy Communion, that not a drop of His Precious Blood is spilled or any of His Body is desecrated. Her response was “Wow!”

Still working on that friend!! Keep up the good work! 👍
“I silently say a prayer before I speak that I can be teaching instead of just defending”

A comment by Didi made me think about what has been most effective for me in apologetics. I have been involved in apologetics for almost 20 years and I have found, since I have been doing more teaching lately (both to my kids and to adults) that it is more effective to teach in a friendly, eager, and loving manner, rather than in a defensive one. If you can explain something to someone in a sharing way rather than as a rapier thrust, it is much more disarming and people seem to receive it better.

The best way I’ve found to prepare to discuss a topic is to practice articulating it. Ideally, if you can practice explaining a subject to a friendly audience (Even if it’s just a friend or a spouse), it really helps when you have to do it under more hostile conditions. Practice at and get familiar with one topic that is likely to come up or that you can easily bring up. Have some good follow-up printed material ready and, after your discussion depending on how the conversation goes give it to them for further reflection.

Always keep in mind that conversions aren’t always going to happen, even with the best efforts. On the other hand, even if it isn’t apparent to you, the Holy Spirit may be working behind the scenes to eventually bring someone around. As Karl Keating has said, sometimes it is worth it if all you do is get somebody thinking favorably about Catholic teaching for the first time and as a result take at least one ant-Catholic out of the fray. Personally, I don’t know if I’ve ever converted anyone, but I do know I’ve reformed a few former ant-Catholics into reluctant apologists for the Catholic Faith.
Hi Denise,

I would highly recommend the book, There We Stood, Here We Stand: 11 Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots, edited by Timothy Drake. As I recall, some of the conversion stories were written by ELCA Lutherans who converted to Catholicism, in part, because of that denomination’s pro-abortion stance. I believe this book can be purchased through the Coming Home Network at

I would also recommend (for you) the Beginning Apologetics series by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham, which is available through Catholic Answers. They are very easy to read and extremely helpful. Topics include:

#1 How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith

#2 How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons

#2.5 Yes! You Should Believe in the Trinity: How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses

#3 How to Explain and Defend the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

#4 How to Answer Atheists and New Agers

#5 How to Answer Tough Moral Questions: Abortion, Contraception, Euthanasia, Test-Tube Babies, Cloning, & Sexual Ethics

#6 How to Explain and Defend Mary (Catholic Answers Special Edition)

#7 How to Read the Bible: A Catholic Introduction to Interpretign and Defending Sacred Scripture

God bless!

Part 1, sorry its long?

Gods peace be with you Theophilus,

You do have a steep hill to climb. I was attending a Lutheran Church just last year and loved it. If not for a Baptist preacher I would be a Lutheran today! They are good people and have ‘some’ truth that they use to cover the rest.

First, pray. Second, pray. Third, pray. NOBODY prays more than Catholics!:bowdown: We are not afraid to knell to God.

In between praying study history, the ‘great’ leaders of the protestant de-formormation, apologetics, the Catechism and the Bibles both protestant and Catholic! Not all Bibles are the same, learn the difference. Learn who wrote the Bible and when? Know your Faith! God established your Church the Catholic Church, His body in 33 A.D. Luther established a man made church that has led to over 33,000 plus contradicting theologies and churches today! I’ll choose the one God started in 33 A.D.

Books I recommend to start are:

“Catholicism and Fundamentalism”
“The Facts About Luther”

Both of these books will also give you leads to more books. These books may also be difficult to get them to read as they are very blunt but will do you a great deal of good for you and them too if they would read them.

Anytime they ask a question change it into a question for them. This is a debating trick forcing them to defend their theology and now your on the attack! Answer a question with a question. And never stop till they see the truth and become Catholic! You owe their soul that much.
Part 2,

Some questions to ask them:

When and why,
Did Lutherans stop praying to Blessed Mary? Luther prayed to her till the day he died!:bigyikes:

Did they invent ‘consubstantiation’? Why is it different the Transubstantiation? When is Jesus present in the “bread” and why do they just sweep the crumbs into the garbage vs the Catholic respect for crumbs? Read John 6 and 1 Corinthians 10 & 11, why would St. Peter write this in Corinthians if the Body was ‘symbolic?’:whistle:

Did they stop using Luther’s Bible? Add books to Luther’s Bible?

Did they know Luther plagiarized an existing Catholic German language Bible to write his so-called ‘first German language Bible’? He added words to the Bible like ‘alone’ in Romans?

When Lutherans stop supporting polygamy? Luther did?

How many of Luther’s prophecies came true? What are the criteria for a ‘TRUE’ prophet? Did Luther meet those criteria?

Did Hitler get his anti-Jewish hatred from Luther? What did Luther say about the Jews?

Did Luther support the Nobles or the peasants in the ‘peasants’ revolt? Did he switch sides to save his own bacon?:dancing:

Did he break the marriage covenant?

Did he break his own vows?

Did the Lutheran church split? Does God have 1 Word and 1 truth or an infinite Word and truth?

Did the Lutherans allow contraception and abortion?

Did Lutherans allow gays into the church and ministry?

What is their authority if they believe in self-interpretation? What did Luther himself say about it before he died?

Do their faith and morals change so often when Gods do not?
Did Luther delete over 11 books from his Bible? Why do they use some of them now?:confused:

If their religion is founded on Luhter(and not Christ) should not Luther be clean?:eek:

Here are some good apologetic web sites:


On the Bible:

On Luther:


Links to other sites:

On converts to the RCC:


*Jas 2:24-26 “24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. … For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.:clapping: *
Protestants hate James and his “book of straw” as Luther said! There are so many other verses that say ‘faith alone’ is wrong too! Learn them. Praise God, the truth is in Scripture if you can ‘see’ it and not just read it.
How about some Martin Luther quotes? You really do need to see what he said::bigyikes:

By the way, they are real quotes and are well documented. How could someone that evil do any good? St. Paul converted on a path and from that day on did good, not evil.:yup:

Pray for Luther, he needs it.:bowdown2:

*1 Tim 5:23 “23 Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”👋 *
Hi Denise,

I would highly recommend the book, There We Stood, Here We Stand: 11 Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots, edited by Timothy Drake. As I recall, some of the conversion stories were written by ELCA Lutherans who converted to Catholicism, in part, because of that denomination’s pro-abortion stance. I believe this book can be purchased through the Coming Home Network at
Thanks for the great suggestions. I did have that book and read it for myself. I can’t find it (moved twice in 2 years). The only problem is they are pro-abortion. 😦
But thanks again for all the suggestions.
Part 2,

Some questions to ask them:

When and why,
Did Lutherans stop praying to Blessed Mary? Luther prayed to her till the day he died!:bigyikes:
Wow! Great questions, Malachi4U!!! I was just about to ask for some specific questions after your first part, then came upon the second part. 👍

I’ll have to continue researching.
Thanks again,
This week on EWTN’s Journey Home program they had another Lutheran who reconciled himself with the RCC and became a priest. GREAT show! Listen to his story!

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