Catholic Faith Challenged? Knowing When To Engage vs. Walk Away

1 Peter 3:15 "but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;"

There are those who show respect and have a true desire to understand the Catholic position, there are those kind of in the middle, there are those who think Catholics are not Christians and need to be evangelized to and there are those like Baptist Pastor Steven Anderson who not only attack the Catholic faith by making outright fun of it but he also attacks Protestants as well.

Pastor Steven Anderson is so radical that I reached out to Tim Staples whom I've had back and forth with for about 9 months as of this article: The basis of my message to Tim was what to do with the really far out people like Pastor Steven Anderson.

Tim's reply is below:

"Over the years I have learned some very valuable lessons the hard way. First, there are only so many hours in the day that I can help people. And because of that fact, I have found it wise to only respond to folks that I have reason to believe may be open to receive the truth. Second, as much as I like to get into scraps with folks like this, I refrain because I have found these scraps to be a waste of time. Believe me, I have done it many times in the past. But when I engage folks who have real intellectual issues with the Church, but who present themselves respectfully, I have found much greater success. I have helped many of these into the Church over the years."

I think that's good advice to all of us when someone challenges our Catholic faith. That we "engage folks who have real intellectual issues with the Church, but who present themselves respectfully." If someone is calling the Catholic Church "The Whore of Babylon" - "The Catholic Church is a CULT" and not showing a certain level of respect in their tone, then we all need to be extremely careful about engaging these folks. There are times that I think it is appropriate to walk away but be respectful about it.

Whenever we do engage anyone about our Catholic faith, we need to do it with "gentleness and reverence" and trust me, it's far easier for me to get defensive and raise my voice at times than to keep calm. But I have been practicing this online via YouTube comments.

Here's some back and forth from me and someone that commented on a video of a homily from a Catholic Priest:

YOUTUBE COMMENTER:
Catholics worship Mary. That's a sin, they are a cult

......I get tired of stuff like the comment above, so I decided to comment back to this person:

MY COMMENT AS Catholic Transformation
1) I'm a Catholic. I don't WORSHIP Mary. I don't know ANY Catholics who WORSHIP Mary. The Catholic Church teaches the Veneration ( definition is to RESPECT ) of Mary. Do you have any veneration ( respect ) for anyone? Do you respect the mother of Jesus? 2) Yes, WORSHIP of anything or anyone other than God ( Car, Home, Job, Money, Movie Star, Sports Figure, etc. ) is a SIN. Any Catholic that goes against Catholic Church teaching and worships Mary is committing a SIN. However, veneration ( respect ) is not worship. 3) They "Catholic Church" ( I assume ) is a CULT. .... You must not know the common ground of Catholicism is CORE to Protestant beliefs ( Christ on the Cross, Son of God, Born of a Virgin, Shed his blood for the sins of the world, rose on the third day, ascended to heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father and there is no other name that saves us - that's the same for Catholics and Protestants ). Whether you are a Christian or not, Matthew 12:36 "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." - So you might want to be careful about what you say. - Peace Be With You - Yours in Christ

YOUTUBE COMMENTER:
@Catholic Transformation you pray to Mary, that is a form of worship. You are in a cult

MY COMMENT AS Catholic Transformation
"You pray to Mary, that is a form of worship. You are in a cult" ........ You must have barely read over what I wrote. If you want to engage me in some dialogue and make false accusations not backed up by any facts or additional details as I shared, then share your faith background, if any, since you don't seem to know much about Catholicism, so I can maybe better understand where your false basis is coming from. - Peace Be With You - Yours in Christ

YOUTUBE COMMENTER:
@Catholic Transformation no I'm not going to engage in any dialogue where you can defend idolatry. Your mass requires the bones of a saint, your Cultic beliefs closely resemble Dagon worship. Jesus is our mediator. NO ONE ELSE.

MY COMMENT AS Catholic Transformation
You are willing to make false personal belief comments ( except 1 Tim. 2:5 ) on a video that is from a Catholic Priest and refer to 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," which I 100% believe, but you are not willing to engage in dialogue on something that you started by being disrespectful and NON-Christ like nor are you willing to share your faith background to potentially find common ground. For example, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world, that salvation is through his name only ( Acts 4:12 ), that I am saved by God's grace and many more areas of common ground with many others of the Christian faith. If your position is that of disrespect and not being willing to defend your own comments with facts, you should not be commenting on Catholic videos. You started it. I didn't. It's just "Your Opinion" - "Your Disrespect" - "Your Lack of Understanding" - It's best if you do not continue to reply if you are not going to show a level of respect and be open to the truth vs. your personal opinion. If you even care at all about the true Catholic position, buy UNABRIDGED CHRISTIANITY published in 1999. -Peace Be With You - Yours in Christ
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Some of my words may seem disrespectful, but I'm practicing as I said  before posting the comments for you to read. I want this individual to know that I'm not going to take a beating and they he or she needs to back up what they are saying with what they perceive as facts. I'm trying to challenge them to get beyond just a short comment of "Catholics worship Mary. That's a sin, they are a cult." I would truly like to know their faith background because if he or she responded "I'm a member of Pastor Steven Anderson's church" that alone would tell me a lot. I'm not sure what the next comment if any will be after my latest one.

At some point, we all have to make a decision to stop the dialogue because like Tim said there are only so many hours in the day, we can only help but so many people and it can be a waste of time. I'm simply using some YouTube comments at the moment to practice being "gentle and reverent" and state my position which I hope is both very Catholic and very Biblical.

Early on when I first started engaging in conversation with my earthly father about Catholicism, I would "not" be able to stay low key. Later I began to just listen as he spoke and didn't really say much back just letting him get it all out so to speak. Overtime, he found that he couldn't rile me up any longer. He hasn't said much of anything about Catholicism in at least the last 3 months of the few times I've seen him or spoken with him by phone. However, I'm getting to the point that I think that I could say something back if the subject does come up along the line of "If you want to understand the Catholic position we can discuss it calmly and respectfully because I'm working on being better about that approach or I can get you a good book to read to at least gain a deeper understanding from the Catholic side. Otherwise, it's probably best if we don't have any conversation about it."

Catholics who are not strong in their faith and do not truly believe in all the teachings of the Church may get pulled away from Protestant beliefs especially when a Protestant gives his or her own interpretation of scripture. I don't see how any Catholic who 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt believes Christ established the Church and is present in the Eucharist could ever leave Catholicism even in a time of sex abuse scandal which although horrendous and needs to be dealt with is not a reason to leave the Church Christ founded and His real presence in the Eucharist.

My hope is that moving forward that I will always be "gentle and reverent" and know when to engage and when to walk away.