RWCoyer asked a question about Evangelizing an Evangelical Family on our old discussion forum and received some insightful answers from the Coming Home Network community. We’ve curated the topic for you here. Feel free to continue discussion in the Disqus comment box below.
Hi, I’m a former Protestant joining the Church this Easter Vigil (thanks be to God!). One area where I’m still struggling is evangelizing my Protestant family. Of course, there is nothing I desire more for them than that they come into the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church. However, I also believe that, based on what they believe to be the truth of the gospel (that their belief in and personal relationship with Christ is sufficient for salvation), they are saved. I am afraid of rocking their boats and leading them to question their salvation without confidence that it will lead them to the Catholic Church.
I’d love to know how others handled this!
David W. Emery
Hi Rebecca, I remember when you joined us last year. Good to hear that your road so far has been smooth.
Americans are very individualistic. When it comes to God, religion and salvation, they are usually unreachable. They have their niche, they have their trajectory all laid out, and that settles it. Only if something unsettling comes along to make what they have untenable, or at least uncomfortable, are they going to start looking in another direction.
What seems to work best in this situation is for the Catholic convert simply to live his religion as best he can, growing spiritually year by year and presenting a loving face toward all, even toward those most removed from the Catholic stance. After a while, people will begin to notice that you have something that they don’t have: deep love of neighbor, deep joy in serving God by serving your neighbor, and a hope for the fullness of life that transcends all of our earthly life’s ups and downs. They know you are a Catholic convert, and they will begin to think, “I’m not doing too well right now. Life is getting me down. If this Catholicism thing works for her, maybe it will work for me.” That is your opening. If you keep it low key, not pushy or insistent, you can invite that person to experience your joy for himself.
Thank you David!
David’s answer is so good. Nothing I can add but this: I remind myself that, not that long ago, I was exactly like my friends and relatives in my views on Catholicism. The Holy Spirit led me to the faith. The same Holy Spirit will lead them, in time.