Why Should We Evangelize Our Protestant Friends?

A Closer Look at ‘A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism: Catholic Questions Protestants Can’t Answer’

John Martignoni with the cover of his book, ‘A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism’
John Martignoni with the cover of his book, ‘A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism’ (photo: EWTN Publishing)

It’s not unusual for me to be asked, by Catholics, “Why do you spend so much time trying to evangelize Protestants?” I have been told, a number of times, that since Protestants already believe in Jesus, the Trinity, the Resurrection, and so on, I shouldn’t waste my time evangelizing them. It seems my time would be better spent trying to evangelize non-Christians — Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists and the like. You know, those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ.

Well, there are a few reasons why I focus so much time and effort on evangelizing Protestants. The first is purely practical. All of my talks and all of my writings arise out of my actual dialogues with folks. And, other than Catholics, 99% of the people I deal with daily are Protestants. I do occasionally cross paths with atheists, and I have given talks and written articles that have grown out of those encounters, but, for the most part, Protestants are the ones I run across and dialogue with. That is why I spend so much time evangelizing Protestants.

A second reason is because of a prayer someone once prayed. Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that we, his followers, would be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:20-23). My question to you is: Are Catholics and Protestants one as Jesus and the Father are one? For example, do the Father and the Son disagree on doctrine or dogma? Any doctrine or dogma? Does the Father believe infants should be baptized but the Son says they shouldn’t be? Does the Father believe the Eucharist is symbolic but the Son believes in his Real Presence in the Eucharist? Does the Father believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture but the Son believes in a post-Tribulation rapture? Do Father and Son disagree on any single article of the Christian Faith? Of Christian morality? Of Christian practice?

No, they don’t. Yet Catholics and Protestants have multiple disagreements in all of those areas. Shoot, the Protestants have multiple disagreements in all of those areas just among themselves. This is why we, as Christians, cannot speak with one voice to the world around us. We cannot show the world that we are one and thus have the world come to believe that Jesus was sent by the Father (John 17:23). This is one of the big reasons the world ... our culture ... our society ... is literally going to Hell all around us, because of division within Christianity.

And did not Jesus say that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25)? The Christian “house” is certainly divided against itself, and Christians are paying for it as the world grows ever stronger in the face of a Christian witness that is growing ever weaker, ineffective and sterile. We need to be one, as the Father and the Son are one. That is why I spend so much time evangelizing Protestants. Finally, I wish to give a reason that goes from the macro level of Protestantism as a whole, to the micro level of the individual Protestant.

When I am asked why I spend so much time evangelizing Protestants, I generally respond by asking a few questions of my own. First, I will ask my Catholic questioner: “Did Jesus start a Church?” All of the responses I have received have been, “Yes, Jesus started a Church.” Then I ask, “Is the Catholic Church the Church Jesus started?” Every single time, again, from Catholics, the answer is, “Yes.” To which I reply, “Well, do you not think Jesus wants Baptists and Evangelicals and Lutherans and non-denominationalists and all Protestants to join us in his Church?”

Before they even have the time to answer, I take it one step further by asking: “Do you believe the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ?” So far, the answer has been, “Yes,” 100% of the time. Which causes me to ask: “Don’t you think Jesus wants Baptists and Evangelicals and Lutherans and non-denominationalists and all Protestants to be in his Church so as to receive him in the Eucharist?” And that is why I spend so much time evangelizing Protestants. Because I believe God wants everyone to be Catholic so that they can receive him in the Eucharist and so that they can receive all the graces that he has to offer them through the Catholic Church.

For anyone who believes we Catholics shouldn’t bother evangelizing Protestants, think about your Protestant spouse, family members, friends, and so on, and ask yourself this question: “Which of these people I supposedly love or are friends with, do I believe Jesus doesn’t want in his Church receiving him in the Eucharist — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity?

And, if the answer to that question is as obvious to you as it is to me, then you will understand why I spend so much time evangelizing Protestants. I want them to share what I, by the grace of God, receive in and through the Catholic Church.

Which is why my newest book, A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism (Catholic Questions Protestants Can’t Answer), was written. To share what I have and to, hopefully, contribute to the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper for all Christians to be one.

The subtitle for the first half of the book is Problems with Protestantism. It looks at the problems and issues within Protestant theology from a macro point of view — it looks at the forest instead of the trees. It focuses on how Protestant theology simply does not make overall sense — logical sense, common sense or scriptural sense. The chapters are meant to provoke not anger, but thought and reflection. For example, the very first chapter title is Decapitating Jesus. It speaks to the tendency among many Protestants to separate the Church — the body of Christ — from Jesus, who is the head of the body.

The second half of the book is subtitled Questions Protestants Can’t Answer. I put in 30 questions that Protestants can’t answer without either contradicting Scripture or contradicting their own theology. For example, Question 29: “Do I have to love God in order to be saved?” If I’m a Sola Fide — salvation by faith alone — believing Protestant, then my theology demands that I answer, “No, you don’t have to love God in order to be saved,” because the definition of the Sola Fide dogma is that faith alone saves me — love has nothing at all to do with my salvation.

So, if I answer “Yes,” one has to love God to be saved, then I have contradicted my theology. But, if I answer “No,” one doesn’t have to love God to be saved, in keeping with my theology, then I have contradicted a whole lot of the New Testament (Galatians 5:6 as just one example). I mean, how ridiculous is it to think that, as an adult, you don’t have to love God — or your neighbor for that matter — in order to be saved?

All thirty of the Questions Protestants Can’t Answer run along those same lines of logic, common sense and scriptural consistency. This book is written for the average Catholic in the pew. It’s not only easy to read and understand (by the way, the average chapter is only a few pages long), but it’s easy to repeat what you learn when talking to others.

Or what I have recommended to a number of folks, is just share the book with your Protestant family members and friends — particularly those who have questioned and challenged you in the past about your Catholic beliefs. Just offer them the book and say something along the lines of the following: “Hey, would you do me a favor? I read this book and it has many questions that it claims Protestants can’t answer and, to tell you the truth, it made a good bit of sense to me. But I would really like your opinion as to what you think about what this guy is saying here.” And then just hand them the book.

In the end, though, my hope is that this little book of mine will help you to better understand Catholic teaching as well as better understand the underlying common sense and logic issues with Protestant teaching and be better equipped to respond when challenged and questioned about your faith. And not just respond with answers to the other guy’s questions, but with questions about the teachings of their faith that will, hopefully, make them stop and think about what they believe and why they believe it — and maybe plant a seed of truth with them in the process. Which is a good thing.