Friday, November 21, 2014

Speaking of grace with Baptists

I was asked recently to speak at a lunch in Hong Kong - a Baptist evangelical outreach to non Christians and those who need encouragement in their faith. 

As the time of my talk approached I felt a little nervous. Did they know I'm Catholic?  Would I be booed off the stage or would there be awkward questions as to whether I would renounce propery and accept salvation?

My fears were unfounded. I began by asking prayers of all present and I didn't hide the fact I'm Catholic - quoting heroes from Saint Jerome to others who in more recent years inspired me such as Fr Hilary Carter, an Assumptionist priest in the parish I grew up in and Fr Allen Morris who was my tutor in seminary at Allen Hall. 

It shouldn't amaze me but we asked the Holy Spirit to come and He did. I had baptists telling me that they had experienced and encountered grace in a powerful way and me, a Catholic, felt a little ashamed at by fears beforehand. 

False ecumenism is sometimes about ignoring truth but true unity has to be based on truth and witness combined with love. Every story I shared was summarised by biblical quotations to emphasise the points made. 

My main focus of my talk was to share what the bible teaches us about grace and then to invite people to allow their lives to be transformed by grace. As always when I'm asked to speak to a Christian group, the main person I'm speaking to is myself. 

1 comment: