I received this great question via email recently:
I have a friend from one of those non-denominational Bible churches that put on a combination Praise & Worship concert/Bible study service every Sunday (I don’t say that mockingly; that’s just the most concise picture I can paint of her faith background). I am a born and raised Roman Catholic. At some point during our conversation the topic of God and our respective faiths came up. To save time I won’t get into the finer details of the discussion, but needless to say her faith is in error on a great many matters. But I just can’t bring myself to be all that concerned.
I guess the big thing is that, if I had to take a guess, I would say the ultimate destination of her soul is heaven. Yeah, she believes some things that our Church says are erroneous, and yes, she thinks the Catholic Church is wrong, but she was raised in that environment. She is still a passionate Christian who loves God. And (correct me if I am wrong), we as Catholics don’t believe that unless you are a Catholic during this life you are condemned to hell. So what’s the point? If we all (can) end up in the same place, why should I bother to try and help others see the fullness of Truth?
Are there circles of heaven? Tiered plains for the different types of Christians? Is there more joy awaiting Catholics than non-Catholics? If so I could see some urgency in evangelizing non-Catholic Christians. But even if that was the case, it’s heaven: you’re not going to be aware of anything lacking; you won’t be jealous of those that have more joy than you.
I’m just finding it hard at this point to do anything other than shrug my shoulders and say, “Whatever; you do your thing and I’ll do mine.”
Great question! Here are the four reasons you should evangelize Protestant friends and family with the fullness of the truth:
I have a Protestant friend who had two children then got sterilized. He and I had lots of discussions about the Catholic Faith and Protestantism. I told him at one point contraception and sterilization were sinful. He got angry.
But he also began to desire having more children. He was something of a providentialist and said that “God will miraculously give us children if He wants to, in spite of the sterilization.” I told him to get it reversed.
A year or two later he decided to reverse the sterilization. A short while later they conceived again and had a son. Then conceived again and had a daughter. So they have two older children and two little children! Sharing the fullness of truth in the Catholic Faith resulted in two new souls being created by God, destined for eternity with Him. Almost all Protestants embrace contraception and sterilization, which is really sad and not what God wants.
Note that this friend is still Protestant. He didn’t become Catholic, at least not yet. I hope he does, but I am thrilled that they opened up their marriage to God blessing them with more children.
2. The Sacraments
Protestants have baptism and marriage but not any other sacraments. God instituted seven, including the Eucharist, so that we could receive Him body and blood, soul and divinity, as well as Confirmation to be strengthened fully in the Spirit, and Confession to reconcile us to Himself and His Church. They are missing out on these.
They also miss out on consecrated virginity for the sake of the Kingdom, which Jesus in Matthew 19 spoke of and Paul did in 1 Corinthians 7. God wants His children to consider all vocations, not just marriage.
Through the sacraments we receive God’s grace in abundance.
3. Bigger Cups!
It is true that everyone in Heaven will be filled to the brim with God’s love, but some people will have bigger cups than others. Here on earth we can, with the help of His grace, become holier and holier, more and more like Him, so that our cups are enlarged. In the Catholic Faith these opportunities abound; we have the fullness of the means of sanctification.
Protestants want to become just like Jesus. They want the biggest cup possible. But they are operating outside of the ordinary means of increasing their cup’s volume.
4. Danger of Hell
It is true that God is not bound by His sacraments and can save anyone He likes. It is also true that Protestants have valid baptisms (by and large) and so receive the Holy Spirit and are regenerated, being born again, from above, to newness of life. However, it is also true that they are relying on God to work in an extra-ordinary way. He set out the way He wanted us to assure our salvation by giving us His Church, with rightful leaders, sacraments, Tradition, and protection from error of her doctrines.
Protestants eschew all those things and so in a sense test God to save them in spite of it. He is so merciful that He can and no doubt will, but Protestants are following the Faith on their own terms, not the way that God planned it.
What happens when a Protestant, after being baptized, commits a mortal sin? Their soul is in peril, and they cannot avail themselves of Confession. They have to confess directly to God and hope that they have perfect contrition to be forgiven. They are essentially gambling with their souls, though most don’t know it (invincible ignorance).
For all these reasons you should help your friend consider the Catholic Faith!