Decatur, GA. Here’s a recent report from the David, leader of the Atlanta SPSE team:
Another rainy night in Georgia gave way to a bright, sunny day. The front that moved through however, left us with a cool morning with a brisk swift wind.
Usually, our team can expect to see several of the many friends we have made evangelizing on this corner and catch up on where we left off with earlier discussions, but the wind blew new challenges our way.
An older lady was standing at the table before we were even set up completely, and Paul M. and Ray P. were already answering her questions. Although I missed her initial statements it seemed that she had been raised Catholic and at some point in her life had stopped practicing, and was justifying her leaving the faith behind by giving voice to common protestant objections to our faith: idolatry of Mary, the rosary as babbling, etc… I was busy attempting to get the table set up, but quickly urged her to consider that our Lord’s instructions were that we not “babble AS THE PAGANS DO,” and then let Paul and Ray continue to counsel her. She took several tracts: Mary, Praying to the Saints, and Common Objections. Ray and Paul prayed with her that these things be made clear to her. She is housed at the local women’s home so hopefully we will see her again soon.
No sooner had she left, than Habbukuk walked up, staring at our sidewalk sign and questioning whether there was “truth” in being Catholic. He questioned anyone or anything that claimed authority outside of scripture itself; and most importantly, to him, scripture must be interpreted literally, word for word. He questioned and disparaged the Church’s teachings developed from councils and rejected the Magisterium. Paul M. spent well over an hour with Habbukuk, trying to impress upon him that the Catholic Church not only believes in the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, properly understood, but is the authority that canonized it. Habbukuk left us courteously but refused our offer of prayer with him.
Last but certainly not the least of challenges was Chris and his girlfriend. I was immediately engaged with Chris and he said up front that Jesus did not die for ALL humanity, but rather only for the select that were fortunate to receive that grace.
Now I’m thinking; “I’m starting to see a trend here Lord, please help me.”
I told Chris up front and quite clearly that on that belief, we definitely differ, that the Catholic Church teaches that Christ died “once and for ALL” and that the gap between us is worth discussing. To be honest I felt these challenges mounding up a bit, but as God would have it, He sent Alex B. to help me.
This was the first time Alex has evangelized on the street and he met us there after initial contact with me about his interest in SPSE, after he heard Steve Dawson on the radio talking about it; so I invited him out. Anyway, Chris is very well versed on the bible – he is of a Presbyterian strain, but not exclusively. Definitely a Calvinist I would say. The two major points of discussion was his disagreement with the teaching of purgatory and the need of baptism for salvation. Alex did a great job of being fully attentive and asking questions about what Chris was trying to say before interjecting. When Alex did interject it was to point to Catholic teaching and where there was agreement with Chris. Before the conversation was over Alex had given Chris his contact info for further discussion.
Praised be Jesus Christ! Thank you, team Atlanta, for being out there!