The Bible: Powerful in Evangelism
Question: I have been witnessing to Catholics for a few months now. I have diligently studied Scripture compared with Catholic teaching. I believe that the Bible is the final and absolute authority. However Catholics won't accept it because they don't believe in Sola Scriptura. Can you help?
Answer: The Bible is our final, inerrant and absolute rule of faith. For us, the Bible is the last word, the highest authority, the word of the Sovereign King. Roman Catholics do not accept sola Scriptura; rather they choose to submit without reservation to the teaching authority of their church leaders, the Magisterium. For them, "The Church teaches" carries more weight than "It is written!"
In your communication with Catholics, keep in mind that:
1. Sola Scriptura is one important doctrine that you should be prepared to discuss.
I have discussed this subject in the Q&A section under the heading THE BIBLE. Also, may I suggest an excellent book: SOLA SCRIPTURA, The Protestant Position on the Bible, published by Soli Deo Gloria Publications.
2. More importantly, Sola Scriptura is your fundamental presupposition in all matters of faith and practice, including evangelism.
While Catholics have different presuppositions, you believe with all your heart that the Bible is the very Word of the living God. Its message led you to Christ through whom you received mercy and life. The same message is now your only message of hope to a lost world.
God's Word is powerful. Use is without apology! The Jews appealed to the teaching of the elders; Jesus appealed to the teaching of the Bible. "But the Jews did not believe in sola Scriptura!" No they didn't, yet the reality that God's Word is powerful remains unaltered. Proclaim the Gospel with conviction and expose and correct the false doctrines of Catholicism using the Bible alone as the ultimate standard, just as Jesus did with the Jews in His day.
Imagine you're a soldier armed with a powerful rifle and engaged in mortal battle. Suddenly you come face to face with your enemy. But your opponent does not believe that your rifle is loaded. Would you get involved in an argument to convince him that he is wrong? Or would you just pull the trigger and let your rifle do all the convincing required?!
So do the same with the Bible "for the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). Only do not consider Catholics as enemies, but as friends, even as your mother, father, brother or sister, for whom you earnestly desire freedom from the slavery of sin. The message of the Scripture - applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit - can penetrate the very depths of their soul, bringing conviction, life and light.
Finally, may I remind you that this is a spiritual battle? Clever arguments and a multitude of quotations would not even begin to scratch the fortress of sinful resistance enslaving the human heart. Only God the Holy Spirit can open their eyes to see the truth revealed in His Holy Word, as He did to us. Therefore pray that God may be merciful and grant them wisdom to know Him in truth.
© Dr Joseph Mizzi