Skip to comments.Churches help Catholics learn Baptist doctrine
Posted on 08/23/2013 9:25:47 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
BEAUMONT, Texas As Hispanic populations across the United States, many of which are traditionally Catholic, continue to increase, so do opportunities for Southern Baptist churches to address the spiritual questions of current and former Catholics.
Hispanics made up 38.1 percent of the population of Texas in 2011, the U.S. Census reports. This reflects a nearly 10 percent increase since 2006, when Hispanics accounted for 35.7 percent of all Texans, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts office.
The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) has 193 cooperating churches listing Spanish as their primary or secondary language. Many of their members are former Catholics. Churches in southeast Texas such as Beaumonts Calvary Baptist also attract people from French Catholic traditions, much like their neighbors in Louisiana a few miles east.
How, then, can a Baptist church, with sensitivity and wisdom, integrate former Catholics who have converted to evangelical faith?
In Beaumont, Texas, Calvary Baptist Church offers a Catholic Connection class twice annually. About 200 people have taken the four-week class since it began five years ago.
We use the class to help people from a Catholic background understand the differences between the Catholic faith and the Protestant religion and our churchs beliefs, said Cliff Ozmun, Calvarys minister of education.
It is not a formal pathway for new members, Ozmun said, but almost every term we offer it, people do join the church and are baptized.
The Catholic Connection class is not intentionally promoted in the wider Beaumont area. It is aimed at the Calvary community, Ozmun emphasized. When enough from Calvary express interest, the class is offered.
The class is not an evangelism tool for us. It is comparative theology, said Ozmun, who noted that the last time the Catholic Connection class was offered, four individuals from a local group of Catholic apologists attended for the purpose of, in their words, providing the Catholic response.
By the fourth week, they commended us, Ozmun said. It was not because we aligned with Catholic doctrine but because we taught the contrast in such a respectful way. They felt we were accurately presenting Catholicism.
One person from the Catholic group even later approached Ozmun in a restaurant to say how much he had enjoyed the class.
Bill Morgan, Calvarys minister to median adults, wrote the Catholic Connection class curriculum. Jim Robichau, a lay leader and former Catholic, teaches the course.
We focus on a handful of things, said Ozmun, including the authority of the Bible, the completeness of the canon, concepts of baptism, the purpose of communion, the doctrines of heaven and hell and the nature and role of confession.
Since Catholics and Baptists differ at several key doctrinal points, Mike Gonzales, SBTC director of language ministries, recommends focusing on the nature of the salvation experience when discipling former Catholics.
A new believer who comes out of a Catholic background needs to understand that salvation is a spiritual experience and not the result of adherence to the sacraments, Gonzales said.
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is the only mediator to God, Gonzales added, citing 1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:6, John 10:9-10, Acts 4:12 and Hebrews 4:14-16.
Gonzales recommends discipling former Catholics with either Henry T. Blackabys Experiencing God or John MacArthurs Fundamentals of the Faith in addition to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 confessional statement which is heavily referenced with scripture. Still, he noted, discipling former Catholics is much like discipling any new believers, Gonzales said.
Discipling former Catholics is a process, not a program, said Bruno Molina, SBTC language evangelism associate. Molina, a former Catholic himself, helps lead Hillcrest en Español, a Spanish fellowship at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Cedar Hill, just south of Dallas.
Integrating those from a Catholic background into Baptist fellowships is not a matter of going through so many lessons or simply helping them find their spiritual gifts, Molina said. It must entail encouraging them to stay in the Word so they understand that everything flows from the Word, not just tradition (about the Word).
Potential pitfalls occur when the old faith traditions collide with the new. Tension can arise as those with a longtime Catholic identity relate to family members and friends.
Its important to encourage former Catholics not to exclude themselves from previous relationships, said Molina, who recalled his own experience with his traditionally Catholic family after he had trusted Christ as Savior.
When I came home from the Army and was going to explain the gospel to my dad, I was so excited. I didnt realize at the time that when I thought they heard that God loved them and had a plan for their salvation, what they really heard was that I was rejecting their culture and the way they had raised me, Molina explained.
Despite the tension, it is important for former Catholics to include Catholic family members in celebrations of faith, Molina said. For example, while asking Catholic family members to attend ones adult baptism may be awkward, it should be encouraged.
That is a great opportunity to testify and help the family understand and experience true Christian fellowship, Molina said.
....We focus on a handful of things, said Ozmun, including the authority of the Bible, the completeness of the canon, concepts of baptism, the purpose of communion, the doctrines of heaven and hell and the nature and role of confession. ince Catholics and Baptists differ at several key doctrinal points, Mike Gonzales, SBTC director of language ministries, recommends focusing on the nature of the salvation experience when discipling former Catholics. A new believer who comes out of a Catholic background needs to understand that salvation is a spiritual experience and not the result of adherence to the sacraments, Gonzales said. Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is the only mediator to God, Gonzales added, citing 1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:6, John 10:9-10, Acts 4:12 and Hebrews 4:14-16....
Further evidence that many weak Catholics really don’t know Catholicism.
Catholic Freeper response incoming in 5,4,3,2.....
No doubt. lol
Now let's suppose the sacraments *are* a spiritual experience. Then what?
In before the Catholic nay-sayers!
Wait.. that's considered blasphemy to Catholics?
1...here I am!
As I said, I'm not comparing the two. My point is that having a spiritual experience proves nothing.
Salvation has to be a deliberate decision to trust Jesus for salvation, and accept His gift. Nothing else. The rest will follow,
Why baptize them if they've already been batized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? Seems to me that is putting faith in a work or act of man and not in the act of God that has already taken place.
Sounds a lot like the Catholic response to once-save-always-saved ... it's not a one time event ... it's a lifelong journey ... a daily act of following Christ.
Wow, I rarely see that much condescension packed into one sentence.
My point is not about spiritualism. My point is that Mr. Gonzales sets up a false duality.
The knock is that Catholics think the sacraments are these physical means to gain salvation...like heaven is a gumball machine where you put in X number of quarters and you get a prize. Now *if* you think that’s what a sacrament is, then yeah, it does seem kinda silly to prefer mere actions over, say, a real spiritual relationship with Christ.
Of course, we don’t believe in the spiritual gumball machine. We believe that sacraments are visible signs of a spiritual reality...so when we receive Communion, we are literally receiving Christ. When we are baptized, we are literally cleansed of original sin. This all happens not in lieu of, but as part of, our deepening love and personal relationship with our Savior.
Not really fixed. For a lot of Hispanics, Catholic IS culture.
>>>Catholic Freeper response incoming in 5,4,3,2.....>>>
You called me? Here I am.
The Bible very clearly states that Jesus said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I have built my church.” Peter then preached for the first Christian faith which is called the Catholic church.
And why, when we are surrounded by Muslims, are you trying to destroy a Christian religion?
Believer’s Baptism. Infant baptism is regarded as lacking volition.
I doubt if we agree on what that statement meant.
Hey, you can't just go walking in here and start talking sense.
Well thought-out, simple arguments will get you nowhere buddy...
Let's not confuse politeness with agreement.
What do you think it means?
Thou art Peter (Petros - little stone), and upon this Rock (Christ is contrasting himself with Peter)(Christ was the Cornerstone)(Rock is referred to as the foundation and Jesus not Peter is the foundation of the Church) I have built my Church. Nobody uses a little stone/pebble for a foundation.
The beginning of one’s walk with Christ probably has a good deal of consolation, but God wants us to be mature Christians and so he would like to start withdrawing “experience”s. How sad that so many think something is wrong when God tries to move them past beginner feelings. How sad that so many don’t know that the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist can lead to great consolation, I know first-hand. I repent daily, but I don’t actually feel the burden off me until I sacramentally confess.
“I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready for it.”
-1 Cor 3:2
Huh. For the first 1,500 years of the Christian Church, Peter was never held as so inconsequential as a pebble. What changed?
Petros = little stone, masculine noun, name given to Peter
Petra = boulder/big rock, feminine noun
Due to the masculine and feminine nature of the nouns, Christ wouldn't have named Peter using the feminine version. I don't know Greek, but that is what I was told regarding those two nouns. If that is true, my statement that Christ wouldn't have named Peter 'petra' is admittedly still conjecture. In my mind that seems like a reasonable explanation, but there is not really a way I know of to prove or disprove that. As a result, it then comes down to a matter of your faith, what you choose to believe on that subject.
One other argument in favor of the Catholic understanding is that in my mind it is easier to see Jesus naming an apostle 'rock' and then stating 'upon this rock' because rock would act like a pronoun referring to the last defined 'rock' (Peter). The only way I could see Jesus naming Peter, and then using the word rock to describe Jesus would be if he pointed to Himself while speaking. But again, I can't prove that either way.
A lot changed. People used to know the word Peter comes from the Greek petros meaning literally small rock, ledge or pebble. Jesus is the Rock of Ages. Peter was the impulsive and arrogant one. He denied his Lord three times! He changed. He became obedient. Peter was not inconsequential but he is not The Rock upon which the Church is built.
One has to use context. In the OT Rock is referring to God (Deut 32:4, Ps 18:2, etc). In the NT look at Peters description 1Peter 2:4-8. Everything is context.
What is the Greek word used for Rock in the OT references to God? I don’t have a Greek bible. Or were those references written in Hebrew?
That would be a bad supposition...Your sacraments are completely physical...
Except that both terms are translations from the single Aramaic word ‘Kepha’. The use of ‘Petros’ was needed in the translation to the Greek because of the need of the masculine gender for a male name.
Baptism is not something that happens to you...It is something a person chooses to do...Water baptism is a confession...It is neither a work of man nor an act of God...
Petros is Greek. Jesus was speaking Aramaic and referred to Peter as Kephas, which means large rock.
Naw...There's no evidence that it was translated from Aramaic...Besides Peter later on even acknowledges himself as a stone while he acknowledges Jesus as THE Rock...YOu guys will say anything to make the bible wrong...
Well it's easy then...Just prove it for us...
Well, we can both agree it means rock. If you want to believe it means BIG rock and your CHURCH is founded upon this man, go ahead. My belief is that the Church is founded on Christ and His teachings from a comprehensive reading of the Bible.
I can only accept, and act, on the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives me in my own relationship with God.
That being said, I have lived in a heavily Catholic, 3rd world country, and I can guarantee you that, at the time that I was living there,the sacraments were sort of a magic formula to gain heaven to a lot of the parishioners.m I do not know what their priests taught them, of course, but we have the example of the liberation theologians to show us how priests may go astray.
Wrong again! Aramaic, not Greek, was the common language of the Jews. See John 1:42:
Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).Notice where it says that 'Cephas' is translated 'Peter'/'Petros'.
Even in his letters, which were written in Greek, Paul uses the Aramaic 'Kephas' as Peter's name:
I mean that each of you is saying, I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas, or I belong to Christ.
--1 Cor 1:12
Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future: all belong to you.
--1 Cor 3:22
Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
--1 Cor 9:5
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
--1 Cor 15:5 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.
and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all, If you, though a Jew, are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
“Baptism is not something that happens to you...It is something a person chooses to do...Water baptism is a confession...It is neither a work of man nor an act of God.......”
Amazing interpretation of baptism. God sends down his Holy Spirit upon the baptized person. Any sins upon the soul of that person are forgiven in that instance. Only God has this power. It is not - that we cause our sins to be forgiven, but grace from God alone.
"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you....It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail." (John 6)
The Lord's flesh is spirit and life. Not just flesh.
And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
Thanks, Claud. Time for some realism here. The gospel of John, Chapter 6 clearly states that after Jesus told his disciples the they must eat his flesh and drink his blood - or they would not have life within them, many left. But when Jesus, being sad, asked his apostles, “Will you also leave?”, the response was “Lord, to whom should we turn? You have the words of everlasting life.”
A very honest and humble answer...and I am in the same position. We pray for illumination from the Spirit, in the confidence that it will all become clearer on the other side of the veil.
That being said, I have lived in a heavily Catholic, 3rd world country, and I can guarantee you that, at the time that I was living there,the sacraments were sort of a magic formula to gain heaven to a lot of the parishioners.
I understand. If the sacraments are received with devotion then yes, they can bear us to heaven. If, though, people are receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin, if they are Confessing without true contrition, then they are in for a rude awakening. As Paul says in 1 Cor 11, eating and drinking unworthily brings judgment upon oneself.
As for "Petros" being used in the Koine Greek, the word "Petra" (big rock, boulder) wasn't suitable for a masculine name. As an analogy, if Jesus were to give you a name indicated that you belonged to Him, He might call you "Christian" but He wouldn't call you "Christine" --- He's trying to indicate your vocation, not give you a new gender identity.
It's not persuasive that Jesus would change Simon's name in order to say "Thou art Rock; but let's ignore that, because upon some other Rock I will build My Church."
There is every reason to think that the metaphor "Rock" includes Jesus Christ the Cornerstone, and Simon the Kephas, and the twelve apostles whom Christ designated as the foundation stones of His church (Revelation 21:14) and every one of us ("You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple" 1 Peter 2:5).
In other words, "rock" is used in different, but related senses to designate our different but related roles in the Church, this 'rock' for one role and that 'rock' for another.
Simon actually had his name changed, which is always a big deal in the Bible, since it indicates how God sees you. God addresses Abraham as the "Father of Nations"; He addresses Israel as the "God-wrestler"; he addresses Gideon as "Valiant Warrior" in order to reveal what He sees them to be. And what does He see that Simon Bar-Jonah will be?
"Thou art Kephas, and upon this rock I will build My Church."
Of course your church, as well as all the Christians churches I know of,was founded by Christ. That is not the question. In Scripture, Peter usually spoke and was spoken to first. There is little doubt that he, as well as John and James, were his most trusted disciples. I think Ocam’s Razor is best here: the simplest answer is probably correct, and the simplest answer is what Jesus actually said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church”. Maybe that is why there are so many images of Peter in the 2nd and 3rd Century Catacombs by some of the earliest Christians, who were closer to the source than we are.
If Peter was the first pope and the head of the Church why didn’t he take a position of authority over the other disciples? If the Lord had indeed presented the Apostle Peter as the (supposed) head of the remaining Apostles - and in their presence then what would have been the point of such a query-argument by the Disciples? And why didnt Christ respond to their query by stating that Peter was indeed their superior? Not only did the Lord not mention anything like Peters primacy, but He actually reassured them that during His Second Coming, all twelve of them would be seated on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mathew 19: 28, Luke 22: 30).
And the apostles already tried to pull that on Jesus..."Jesus, who is the greatest apostle"??? "Settle down boys, the greatest one will be the least"..."No pope for you guys"...
Jesus commissioned Paul to go to Rome, not Peter...And Paul never mentioned Peter...Paul never saw Peter...
And where's Peter's Church in the scriptures??? It ain't there...
“Now let’s suppose the sacraments *are* a spiritual experience. Then what?”
We point and laugh. How many Catholics baptized as infants were actually regenerated, and had any care or love for God later in life? My whole family was baptized Catholic, and I can’t think of any that aren’t whoremongers, drunks, drug addicts, or have some other problem, with no real love of God or care for God. My aunt was a devil, yet received the Eucharist every week and will die in good standing with your religion. She is a holy roller in your church, going above and beyond, yet she lies like she breathes despite all those sacramental experiences. How spiritual is the Roman Catholic Eucharist, really, when such devils do not die when they eat Christ or are quickened by the “spiritual” nature of your sacraments?
The simple truth is, that there is no spirituality implicit in any of these sacraments. The quickening of the soul must occur in the individual, and this only by the Holy Spirit, not effected through any so-called sacrament.
Sorry, but you aren’t reading John 6 right.
“They said therefore unto Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? For He had said to them, Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life. What shall we do? they ask; by observing what, shall we be able to fulfill this precept? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent. This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already.” (Augustine, Tractate 25)
If Christ was just telling us to eat the Eucharist, why would He respond to the Jews, who asked them how they might fulfill His words, that to believe on Him is the work that God requires? As Augustine observes, it is faith which Christ joins us to, not the carnal eating of flesh and blood.