Understanding and Relating to Catholics

How can evangelicals embody and communicate the good news of Jesus among Catholic friends? The following text of Scripture, in my humble opinion, should be at the forefront of our reflection: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14, emphasis added). With a balance that can only be described as perfect, our Lord Jesus Christ embodied the virtues of grace and truth in full measure. In every conversation our Lord responded with the utmost charity and discernment, refusing to allow a humanly engineered wedge to separate these virtues. As men and women whose identities are founded in Jesus Christ, we now pursue this same balance as a central part of our calling.

Grace and truth should mark the manner of our communication. How can we preach the message of grace in a graceless voice? Not only does such communication ring hollow, it becomes, according to the Apostle, like “a noisy gong and clanging symbol”—dissonant, distracting, and irritating. Therefore, our approach to witness should reflect the sacrificial love of the gospel itself.

And we communicate truth because of grace. There is a surpassing beauty and worth of grace. It’s like walking from a dark cave into the bright sunshine of day. The contrast makes your eyes blink with amazement. So it is in one’s conversion. After coming to Christ, you continue blinking, awestruck that we who were formerly lost are now light in the Lord. As years advance, our spiritual eyes begin to acclimate, but not fully. The same wonder of grace that we ourselves have received now motivates us to tell others.

In the following talk, which I recently delivered at the Orchard Church in Barrington, IL, I share my story of coming to Christ and since then how I have navigated the complexities of gospel witness among Catholic friends and loved ones. The last portion of the presentation offers suggestions for addressing challenges and opportunities associated with such a ministry.


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