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BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS BY MARY WALSH Southern Publishing Association , Nashville, Tennessee 1967 BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS PREFACE These lessons are designed as a guide to be followed in studying the Bible with members of the Catholic faith. Introductory information for use by the person giving the studies precedes most of the lessons. This information provides a background for understanding certain Catholic beliefs in order to present Scriptural truths succes
BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS BY MARY WALSH Southern Publishing Association , Nashville, Tennessee 1967BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS 2 PREFACE These lessons are designed as a guide to be followed in studying the Bible with members of the Catholic faith. Introductory information for use by the person giving the studies precedes most of the lessons. This information provides a background for understanding certain Catholic beliefs in order to present Scriptural truths successfully. Before studies are given, the instructor should carefully study the introductory material, plus other sources, to be conversant with points to be made. But under no circumstances should the introductory information for the instructor be shown to the person to whom studies are to be given. Used wisely and prayerfully, BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS Will be a means of enlightening hearts and minds, of giving men and women a clearer view of what the Scriptures teach about the plan of salvation and the character of God. CONTENTS 1 Our Blessed Lord and the Holy Scriptures 2 The Apostles, the Early Church, and the Holy Scriptures 3 The Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament and Their Fulfillment 4 The Origin of Sin and Its Remedy 5 Nebuchadnezzar\u2019s Dream-Daniel 2 6 The Second Commandment 7 St. Peter and the Rock 8 Peter and the Keys 9 The First Church Council 10 The Auricular Confession 11 The Sacrifice of the Mass 12 The Virgin MaryBIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS 3 Understanding the Catholic Mind Wherever we live, we are surrounded by Catholic neighbors. What is being done to enlighten them in reference to our message? The answer invariably is, \u201cI am afraid to talk to them about religion.\u201d And thus the Catholic is passed by. This neglect is largely due to a complex that most Protestants have when it comes to dealing with the doctrines of Catholicism. A change of mental attitude toward the Roman Catholic and his doctrine will bring about a revision of this condition. A new attitude will bring about an adjustment and inner organization which will obviously result in a new relationship with the Roman Catholic. The mental processes are conviction, interest, knowledge, approach, and a desire for action. \u201cAs we think, so do we act.\u201d Conviction: We should be convinced in our minds that we are the custodians of the last message of the truth that is to decide the destiny of every soul, and that every Roman Catholic is a prospective candidate for the kingdom of heaven. Conviction that all heaven is at our command and reception must grip our hearts as we put forth effort for these people who may not have the spiritual advantage we have, but who have a devotion to God and a profound regard for Jesus Christ. Our Lord\u2019s heart of love yearns for their salvation as well as ours. Interest: In order to reach a human heart with the Adventist message we must have genuine interest in people. We will find distinct and varied types of individuals who are characteristically different, and it will take a noble spirit to be \u201call things to all men.\u201d Of Christ it is said, \u201cHe passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the healing remedy to every soul. He sought to inspire with hope the roughest and most unpromising.\u201d - Gospel Workers, pp. 46, 47. Knowledge: There is power, confidence, and assurance that comes through knowledge that one does not have in its absence. The lack of confidence in the ability to deal with Catholic doctrines has kept many a lay member from approaching his Catholic neighbor on the question of religion. So, with all thy getting, get knowledge, knowing that \u201ca man of knowledge increases strength.\u201d (Proverbs 24:5.) We should study available material which deals with the various dogmas of the Roman Church. At least have an intelligent knowledge of what the Church teaches on Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints, St. Peter, purgatory, etc. Remember that only in the Word of God are found the fundamental principles which are capable of working a lasting transformation of the mind of the average Catholic. Approach: It is essential that the heavenly plant of love be interwoven in our manner of approach. We may possess every other qualification-knowledge, eloquence, zeal, and poise---but without the love of Christ in the heart our efforts will be a failure. Our approach either repels or draws souls to the message. Remember that \u201ca word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.\u201d (Proverbs 25:1l.) \u201cIn the work of soul-winning, great tact and wisdom are needed. The Savior never suppressed the truth, but He uttered it always in love. In His-intercourse with others, He exercised the greatest tact, and He was always kind and thoughtful. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. . . . He saw in all, souls whom it was His mission to save.\u201d-Ibid., p. 117. We must seek a common ground on which to introduce the subject of religion. Events which tie in with prophecies of the last days as recorded in Matthew 24 are good subjects to use to awaken an interest in the Holy Scriptures. There are many avenues of approach to honest hearts. Be a Good Listener: Be interested in what others relate regarding their experience and what their church teaches. Never act shocked over the most flagrant and preposterous assertions. Remember the Catholic was taught from infancy the tenets of his church, and they are woven into his very being. Be Patient: The Catholic\u2019s profound ignorance of the Holy Scriptures and his inability to grasp at first the principles of truth will need patience on our part. Never Argue: The longer we hold out on a controversial question, the more stubborn his heart will become. Never say, \u201cI am going to prove that you are wrong.\u201d Change the subject for one that is less polemical. The \u201cmilk of the word\u201d should be given before administering the \u201cstrong meat\u201d Desire for Action: The Lord will help a man who acts or puts forth an effort, but God cannot do anything for the man who refuses to act. Men who have accomplished the most good were men of action. They made mistakes because they were imperfect men. Churchill once said, \u201cSuccess is the result of making mistakes.\u201d The Spirit of Prophecy states, \u201cGain an experience by working for others. You may make mistakes; but this is not more than the most intelligent, and those in positions of trust, have done again and again. You will not always meet with success; but you can never know the result of humble,BIBLE LESSONS FOR CATHOLICS 4 disinterested effort to help those who are in darkness.” - Review and Herald, January 12, 1897. There is no great achievement without action. A baby would never learn to walk if he were to wait until his limbs would carry him without faltering. The babe wills to walk, and he attempts the impossible. Does he fall? Of course he does; but this does not deter him. He arises and again sets out, and he keeps up this process until perfection is reached. This is how we, through the power of God, become proficient in the work of soul saving. There is a tendency for us to become discouraged and give up all attempts for fear of making mistakes and of failing in our first overtures to secure the attention of our Catholic neighbor, friend, or relative. Perseverance, coupled with strong faith in God, is a wonderful virtue. The enemy of souls will put a thousand reasons in our minds why we should not approach that next-door neighbor on points of our doctrine. Arise to action, and the God of the Reformers will be with us and will cover up the mistakes and blunders that poor mortals are prone to make. His special blessing accompanies the labor of men of action; men who will not be swerved from the straight line of duty.... For love of Him, they count not their lives dear unto themselves. Their work is to catch the light from the Word, and let it shine forth to the world in clear, steady rays. Fidelity to God is their motto.” - Prophets and Kings, p. 148. (Italics supplied.) Protestantism’s resting on her oars and allowing the Catholic to go his way has led the Roman Church to a sense of carnal security and has emboldened her until we can see today her ascendancy to that lofty place which the prophets have foretold. But, thank God, amid all this superior power and influence, a voice is heard, “Come out of her, my people.” During the days of the Reformation, little would have been accomplished if the leaders had been intimidated by the fear of offending the ruling and inexorable Church of Rome. The Reformers believed in their heaven-sent message, and while they had very meager facilities with which to accomplish their task, they nevertheless went forth conquering and to conquer through faith in the divine Word of God. Luther’s reliance was not in himself, but in the Lord. His prayer was, “O almighty and everlasting God.... if it is only in the strength of this world that I must put my trust, all is over.... This is not my work, but Thine. . . . The cause is Thine, . . . and it is a righteous and eternal cause. O Lord, help me!” -The Great Controversy, pp. 156, 157. The God of Luther, who chose him for his work, has chosen us and will stand by our side as we go forth to work for the souls of Catholics. May that same undaunted, intrepid spirit that possessed Luther when he was threatened with being burned, reverberate in our souls as we go forth to meet the same enemy of all truth. Luther said, when he was told that he would be burned and his body reduced to ashes, “Though they should kindle a fire all the way from Worms to Wittenberg, the flames of which reached to heaven, I would walk through it in the name of the Lord.” - Ibid., p. 153. Every evangelist, pastor, Bible instructor, physician, colporteur, and layman should carry on his heart the unfinished task of reaching the Roman Catholic with this message. Prayerful consideration should be given to ways and means by which the work can be accomplished with the greatest skill. “The spirit of love, meekness, and forbearance pervading our life will have power to soften and subdue hard hearts and win to Christ bitter opponents of the faith.” - Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 174. Every devout Catholic is taught from the catechism that doctrines and dogmas advocated by the Church are divine, and, therefore, irrevocable. To doubt their truth would mean heresy, and heresy is defined thus: “Heresy, deciding for oneself what one shall believe and practice.” And again: “A heretic is condemned by the very fact of his choosing for himself.” The Roman Catholic will shy away from any teaching that would lead him to doubt or question any of the doctrinal points of his church. The Catholic Dictionary has the following to say about heresy: “Formal heresy is a grievous sin, for it involves rebellion against God, who requires us to submit our understandings to the doctrines of his church.” We may ask how these souls can be reached by the Adventist message. Is there anything too hard for God? It is the presentation of the living Word of the infallible God that alone can break the fetters of man-made creeds and allow the oppressed to go free. The first and most important step in instructing the Catholic is to direct his mind to the Book of God as the only rule of faith. Once he is convinced that the Holy Scriptures are inspired by the Lord, there will not be much difficulty in convincing him of the various points of our faith. The subject that has been used to good advantage, which breaks down prejudice and opens the way for future study of the Word, is the prophecies relating to Christ’s first advent. There is a fourfold purpose in presenting this particular theme. First: It establishes the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, which is most essential. Emphasis
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