Witnessing to Roman Catholics - Part 1

A Method of Presenting the Truth to Seeking Catholics

Presented by Richard Bennett, Former Dominican Missionary Priest of 21 Years


I.      Witnessing to Roman Catholics


A.  Pray!

1.   2 Corinthians 10:3-5b makes it clear that the battle for souls is a spiritual one! “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God...”

2.      “Every high thing” involves things that exalt themselves, which the working of Satan, and the work of human nature.

3.      Therefore, before any work can begin by the concerned Christian for souls, the “strong man” must be bound, and his arguments and “high things” must be defeated in the place of prayer! “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

4.   In other words, realizing that the battle is the Lords, start with prayer, continue in prayer, and finish in prayer, thanking God for what He promises that He will do!

B.  You Must Use the Sword of the Spirit!

1.      And take ... sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17). In confrontation, you must use the “sword of the Spirit” and not your own reasoning!

2.      Learn the Bible’s truths, letting the Lord train you for “battle”: “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.” (Psalm 144:1

3.   To find examples of Biblical warfare, note for example how Paul and Peter used the word:

a.   In the Bible, you will never find the evangelists begging the people to “make a decision for Christ.” It is the jailor who asks Paul and Silas “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” To which they replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30,31)

b.   In a similar way, Paul does not beg when talking to the Athenians, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30)


C.            Establish the Authority of the Scriptures on their Own!

1.      The foundation for anyone to know truth is the Bible only!

a.   Because of Canon 750, Roman Catholics will want to add tradition as co-equal with the Bible. When differences arise between the Bible and tradition, however, it is the teaching “magisterium” of the Roman Catholic Church that will decide what is really true.

b.   But the answer according to God is “sola sciptura” - not humanistic arguments, but rather the clear teachings of the Bible itself. The Lord does not need human reasoning to confirm His word as true or not.


2.      NEVER apologize for the Bible.

a.   The Bible did not come from man, but from God - Even though God used man, man did not “author” the Scriptures: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

b.   Only the Bible is flawless and infallible (without error): “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5,6)

c.   Only God’s word is absolutely true: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” (St. John 17:17). “...yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4)

d.   The Bible not only “was” perfect when God gave it, but has been preserved for all generations from error: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6,7). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)


3.      The trained Roman Catholic may quote 2 Thessalonians 2:15 which states, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

a.   The oral word of the apostles was the authority for New Testament doctrine before it was written down as Scripture: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

b.   To set up tradition (which would have meant some 150 volumes of written material) along with the Scriptures as the “one deposit of faith” contradicts reason! The Pharisees only made the word of God “of no effect” through the use of tradition (St. Mark 7:13).

c.   You must present that God supplied the final word in His written word, and that no tradition, or any other writing could be “added” to it: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev 22:18,19)


D.            Convince the Person of Sin

1.      Never be ashamed of the Gospel! “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16,17) It is a Christian’s greatest privilege to be used of God in presenting the glorious light of the Gospel in this dark world!

2.      Remember, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The soul-conscious believer is simply going to “deliver” God’s message to the sinner, and let the Holy Spirit bring conviction to their heart: “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8)

3.      The Holy Spirit cannot do the work of conviction without the word of God. God uses His own words to “cut” to the sinner’s heart! Peter stood on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, and simply preached the truth: that all those people had religion, but not salvation; and that the very One who came to save them, was crucified at their hands; and that Jesus now lives and reigns victorious as promised by God in spite of their religious works and deeds against God. It was at that point that the people responded “what shall we do?”

4.      The believer, (who is allowing the Holy Spirit to direct them) must present Scriptures that relate to the condition and concerns of each individual Roman Catholic. In other words, there is not one, all-encompassing set of Scriptures that a believer uses in every situation. Jesus never dealt with two people alike - He did however, always bring the light of the Scriptures to bear on each heart’s condition.

5.   All people are born “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Colossians 2:13 says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” And according to our Lord, the “dead” must first hear the voice of the Son of God, and this is only through the use of proclaiming the Scriptures: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (St. John 5:24,25) Our job is to be God’s “voice” as John the Baptist was.

E.            Direct the Person to Deal Directly With God, Right Then and There

1.      People are always looking for something to “do” to obtain eternal life: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (St. Matthew 19:16)

2.      But the “work” of the sinner can only be “faith alone” in Christ Jesus: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (St. John 6:28,29)

3.      Repentance is imperative. Believing on Christ, trusting on Him, or coming to Him has an essentially negative side that is often unmentioned in modern day witnessing. The negative side of faith is the need to repent. The Lord Jesus’ message is “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (St. Mark 1:15). This is the attitude of the sinner towards God - one of justifying God, instead of justifying self. Agreeing that God is right, and that the person is wrong!

a.   Jesus came to “call sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32)

b.   He insisted that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (St. Luke 13:3-5).

c.   He illustrated this truth at length in the parable of the prodigal son, who “came to himself,” repented of his own ways, got up and left the “far country” that he was in, and returned to his father, where he found forgiveness and acceptance (Luke 15:17-20).

d.   The word of God clearly commands that “repentance AND remission of sins should be preached his (Jesus’) name among all nations.” (Luke 24:47)

e.   Peter proclaims “Repent ye therefore AND be converted that your sins may be blotted out!” (Acts 3:19)

f.    Paul lived his entire Christian life “testifying to both Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21)

g.   Repentance is so essential to salvation, that if repentance is neglected, then a person is not saved. They must fear God, and repent (reject their current condition, no matter how good or bad they may be), BEFORE they can come to Christ and obtain the free gift of salvation.

Comment: We never want to make Catholics into “good” Catholics. To be saved, a person must renounce even their goodness in order to have Christ’s perfect righteousness transferred to their account!


4.      The sinner, concerned for their soul must then realise that Christ is waiting to save: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God... We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)  (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2).