Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on December 2, 2016 and has been revised.
The American Catholic church put very little effort into proselytizing until recent years. The thinking was that new members were constantly being added to the church anyway as infants were born into Catholic families, but with the number of practicing Catholics declining in the U.S., mainly because of the indifference of its own membership, the church is beginning to make proselytizing a priority.
One church-sponsored proselytization organization is St. Paul Street Evangelization (SPSE) which started in Portland, Oregon and now has over 200 teams worldwide. Members gather in public places and hand out pamphlets, rosaries, and religious medals bearing the image of “the blessed virgin, Mary.” The SPSE team here in Rochester N.Y. regularly meets at the downtown Public Market on Saturdays (see photo above).
Members of SPSE say they’re giving out the Good News!, but let’s examine just how “good” the SPSE’s news is with this hypothetical street exchange below between an SPSE member and a skeptic:
SPSE Member: Good morning, sir! Could I give you a free pamphlet with information about God’s Good News?
Skeptic: What’s the Good News?
SPSE Member: God loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins so that you can possibly go to Heaven.
Skeptic: So what do I have to do?
SPSE Member: You will have to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes for about a year to learn all the details of the Catholic religion before you can be baptized. After you’re baptized you must attend obligatory mass every Sunday to receive the eucharist and obtain graces so you can avoid committing mortal sin.
Skeptic: What if I mess up and sin anyway?
SPSE Member: You’ll have to confess every mortal sin to a priest. If you neglect to go to confession, that’s another mortal sin. If you die with even one unconfessed mortal sin on your soul you will go to hell.
Skeptic: So what you’re telling me is, I can go to mass every single day and live like a hermit monk for thirty years, but if I stay up late one night and watch porn on my computer just as a meteor crashes through the roof and kills me, then I’m going to go to hell?
SPSE Member: That’s right.
Skeptic: So when are you going to start telling me about the Good News???
While the above hypothetical exchange accurately represents Catholic doctrine, there’s no doubt that the actual language used by SPSE workers would be much more circumspect.
Catholics may talk about “grace” and “faith” and the “Good News,” but what they offer is VERY BAD news. The bottom line for Catholics is they must attempt to obey the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly right up until their final breath in order to hopefully, not assuredly, merit Heaven. That’s not Good News, that’s absolutely impossible! I can’t even go a single day without breaking God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission.
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatian 2:16
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21
Catholic friend, say a prayer to the Lord. Repent of your rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.
Postscript: Catholics who participate in SPSE have to ask themselves why they bother trying to attract anyone to their religion because their church officially teaches all non-Catholic religionists and even atheists may also possibly merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they are given” and are “good.”