Evangelism/Reaching Catholics

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Evangelism by Ellen G. White
Reaching Catholics

Guarding Our Approaches—We should not, upon entering a place, build up unnecessary barriers (p.574) between us and other denominations, especially the Catholics, so that they shall think we are their avowed enemies. We should not create a prejudice in their minds unnecessarily, by making a raid upon them.... From that which God has shown me, a great number will be saved from among the Catholics.—Manuscript 14, 1887.

A Cautious Work—Be cautious in your labors, brethren, not to assail the prejudices of the people too strongly. There should be no going out of the way to attack other denominations; for it only creates a combative spirit and closes ears and hearts to the entrance of the truth. We have our work to do, which is not to tear down but to build up. We are to repair the breach that has been made in the law of God. It is the nobler work to build up, to present the truth in its force and power and let it cut its way through prejudice and reveal error in contrast with truth.

There is danger that our ministers will say too much against the Catholics and provoke against themselves the strongest prejudices of that church. There are many souls in the Roman Catholic faith who are looking with interest to this people; but the power of the priest over his charges is great, and if he can prejudice the people by his stay-away arguments, so that when the truth is uttered against the fallen churches they may not hear it, he will surely do it. But as laborers together with God, we are provided with spiritual weapons, mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy.—Letter 39, 1887.

Avoid Unkind Thrusts—Let not those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm, and that will hedge up the way and hinder us from doing the work that we should do in order to reach all classes, the Catholics included. (p.575) It is our work to speak the truth in love, and not to mix in with the truth the unsanctified elements of the natural heart, and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies. All sharp thrusts will come back upon us in double measure when the power is in the hands of those who can exercise it for our injury. Over and over the message has been given to me that we are not to say one word, not to publish one sentence, especially by way of personalities, unless positively essential in vindicating the truth, that will stir up our enemies against us, and arouse their passions to a white heat....

It is true that we are commanded to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. This message must be given, but while it must be given, we should be careful not to thrust and crowd and condemn those who have not the light that we have. We should not go out of our way to make hard thrusts at the Catholics. Among the Catholics there are many who are most conscientious Christians, and who walk in all the light that shines upon them, and God will work in their behalf. Those who have had great privileges and opportunities, and who have failed to improve their physical, mental, and moral powers, but who have lived to please themselves, and have refused to bear their responsibility, are in greater danger and in greater condemnation before God than those who are in error upon doctrinal points, yet who seek to live to do good to others. Do not censure others; do not condemn them.—Testimonies For The Church 9:241-244 (1909).

Shutting the Door in Their Faces—Preach the truth, but restrain the words which show a harsh spirit; for such words cannot help or enlighten (p.576) anyone. The Echo is a paper that should be circulated largely. Do not do anything that would hinder its sale. There is no reason why it should not be as a light shining in a dark place. But for Christ’s sake heed the admonitions which have been given in regard to making scathing remarks about the Catholics. Many Catholics read the Echo, and among the number there are honest souls who will accept the truth. But there is such a thing as shutting the door in their faces as they are about to enter. Put more cheering testimonies of thanksgiving into the Echo. Do not hedge up its way, and prevent it from going to all parts of the world by making it a medium for hard expressions. Satan rejoices when one word of bitterness is found on its pages.—Counsels to Editors, p. 45. (1896).

Expose Fallacy by Presenting Truth—Decided proclamations are to be made. But in regard to this line of work, I am instructed to say to our people: Be guarded. In bearing the message, make no personal thrusts at other churches, not even the Roman Catholic Church. Angels of God see in the different denominations many who can be reached only by the greatest caution. Therefore let us be careful of our words. Let not our ministers follow their own impulses in denouncing and exposing the “mysteries of iniquity.” Upon these themes silence is eloquence. Many are deceived. Speak the truth in tones and words of love. Let Christ Jesus be exalted. Keep to the affirmative of truth. Never leave the straight path God has marked out, for the purpose of giving someone a thrust. That thrust may do much harm and no good. It may quench conviction in many minds. Let the Word of God, which is the truth, tell the story of the inconsistency of those in error. People cannot be expected to see at once the advantage (p.577) of the truth over the error they have cherished. The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present the evidences of truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error. Dispel the cloud of darkness resting on minds by reflecting the bright light of the Sun of Righteousness.—Manuscript 6, 1902.

We May Have Less to Say—There is need of a much closer study of the Word of God; especially should Daniel and the Revelation have attention as never before in the history of our work. We may have less to say in some lines, in regard to the Roman power and the Papacy, but we should call attention to what the prophets and apostles have written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has so shaped matters, both in the giving of the prophecy, and in the events portrayed, as to teach that the human agent is to be kept out of sight, hid in Christ, and the Lord God of heaven and His law are to be exalted.—Counsels to Editors, pp. 45, 46. (1896).

Pictured Truth Appeals to Catholics—Elder S is arousing a good interest by his meetings. People of all classes come out to hear, and to see the life-size images that he has of the beasts of Revelation. A great many Catholics come to hear him. Much of his preaching is in the words of the Bible. He uses as few of his own words as possible. So if his hearers war against what he says, they war against the Word of God.—Letter 352, 1906.

None need to feel that the Catholics are beyond their reach.—Manuscript 14, 1887.