Top Ten Questions Catholics are Asked? Charlie A. Roy September 6th, 2006 Saint Mark - Wed Night Theology
Apologetics Ground Rules Always engage with a charitable heart. Attitudes and actions win more converts than clever arguments. Celebrate the similarities. Always focus on the positive. Be ready!
# 1 Are you saved? Understand the Catholic view of Salvation Saved from what? Saved by whom? Saved how? How is this saving act applied to us? How does the Catholic view of Salvation differ from that of our Protestant brothers and sisters?
a. Saved from what? All religions offer salvation from something. Buddhism – suffering Islam – Moral Ignorance Hinduism – escape from the cycle of Samsara Only Christianity offers the solution to the problem of sin. Sin is the origin of all problems. Sin effects not just others but also our relationship with God.
b. Who can Save? Who can bridge the infinite gap of sin? Only someone who is divine and human is capable of doing anything to mend the gap created by sin. Only Christ can accomplish our atonement or at-one-ment with God.
c. How does Christ save us? Why not clapping his hands or snapping his fingers? Covenants are a lifelong relationship. On the cross God offers himself in the person of his only begotten Son for our redemption. Only death can usher us out of an old covenant and into a new covenant. Crucifixion is the greatest moment of love the world has ever seen. Signs of our redemption. Vale of the temple torn in two. Josephus records the gate collapses. Darkness and an earthquake.
d. How is what Christ did through hisPassion and Resurrection applied to us? Christ’s death and resurrection allows sanctifying grace or our ability to share in the life of God. This grace is given to us through the Sacramental Economy. It is what enables us to be Holy. Example: ship on water. Pre-figured in Ezekiel 36 Called the “Sacramental Economy”
e. How does the Catholic view ofSalvation differ from the Protestant view? For Catholics salvation = sonship / daughtership. Through grace we actually become holy and worthy of being called children of God. 1st John 3:1 “See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, yet so we are.” 2nd Peter 1:4 "by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature."
Continued… Beginning with Luther the Protestant view focuses on Imputation as opposed to Impartation. Impartation = process where as Imputation = event, or a switching place. This small but significant difference leads to big differences over time when you look at the outcomes of Protestant Theology.
Outcomes…. Imputation leads to: No Sacraments: if salvation is an event no point to Sacraments. No Purgatory: doesn’t make any sense if we are momentarily saved. Once saved always saved theology. No assistance needed – no Saints no intercessory prayer needed.
#3 Why do Catholics worship wafers? We believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Biblical based… John 6:52-66 the Eucharistic Discourse that shocked his Jewish audience. Matthew 26:26-28 the Last Supper where Jesus says, “This is my body…this is my blood.” 1st Corinthians 11:23-27, “…whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup in an unworthy manner profanes the body and blood of the Lord.”
#4 Why do you worship Mary? We venerate Mary or honor her we do not worship her. Her position is summed up in the “Hail Mary” prayer. Ever Virgin: Greek word for brother and sister is “adelphois which can be translated cousin” Immaculate Conception Genesis 3:15 “enmity between the serpent and the women” enmity – no common ground. Luke 1:28 “full of grace” - no room for sin. Saved by being preserved from sin.
#5 Why do you confess your sins to apriest? Because that is what Christ asks us to do implicitly in the Gospels. John 20:23 On Easter Sunday “If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any they are retained.” Matthew 18:18 "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.“ The human element as well is therapeutic and comforting. Confession is often described as “whispering into the ears of Christ.”
# 6 Why do you pray to idols?A common misconception. Images to remind and inspire. Nativity Set example. God himself commands the making of images: 1) Exodus 25:18-19 "And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 2) 1 Kings 7:29 "and on the panels that were set in the frames were lions, oxen, and cherubim. Upon the frames, both above and below the lions and oxen, there were wreathes of beveled work."
#7 Why do you pray for the dead? Because of our belief in Purgatory. Purgatory is referred to in Scripture although not by name. 2nd Maccabees 12:46: the soldiers pray for the dead. 2nd Timothy 1:16-17 – in this passage St. Paul prays for the dead.--- Onesiphirus. Part of the Church - Glorious, Suffering, Militant. All connected through prayer.
# 8 Why do you call your priest father? Point of this is to claim that Catholics willingly violate Matthew 23:9 “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” Luke 2:48 – When Mary says, “Your father and I have been looking for you.” Jesus doesn’t correct her. 1 Corinthians 4:15 “I became your father in faith through the Gospel.” Jesus is using Hebraic Hyperbole to make a point. Hebraic Hyperbole: A strong point with strong language that is not intended to be literal. Other examples Matthew 5:36-38: “Simply let your yes be yes, and your no be no, anything else comes from the evil one.” Mark 9:47: “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out for it is better to enter heaven with one eye, than hell with two.”
# 9 Why do you obey the Pope? Understanding the origins of the papacy. Kings in the line of David had what is called an al-bayyit or someone who is “over the household” When Jesus speaks of giving the keys to Peter he is speaking of making him the al-bayyit. Jesus needs to establish and guarantee a way that his grace and teachings would be brought to all generations without being corrupted. This guarantee we call papal infallibility and began with Matthew 16 where Jesus after giving Peter the keys says, “the gates of hell will not prevail against you”.
Papal Infallibility What it is: Guarantees infallibility regarding faith and morals when the pope speaks: Intendingto be binding. From the chair of Peter – meaning as the pope. On an issue of faith and morals. What it is not: A license to do whatever whenever. Does not guarantee personal holiness or salvation of the pontiff.
Why Papal Infallibility Guarantees the transmission of truth from one generation uncorrupted to the next. Church must authentically preach the Gospel to all ages and all people. The Holy Spirit guarantees this through papal infallibility. Example the Telephone Game.
# 10 Are your beliefs found in the Bible? Yes and No. Most beliefs are referred to in the Bible at least in some way. Church believes the content of truth was handed down by both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The first Christians did not have a Bible only what had been taught to them and handed down. These two S.S. and S.T. form the Deposit of faith alluded to in: 2nd Thess 2:15, 2nd Thess 3:16.
Conclusion PracticeCharity. Show sincere concern. Admit when you don’t know the answer and ask to speak later. Study and learn so you are prepared when questions are asked.