There are one billion Roman Catholics in the world today, including 21 percent in the United States population. Very few have heard and believed the Gospel. The mission field of Roman Catholics is white for harvest but the workers are few, mainly because many evangelists believe Catholics are Christian. The great majority of Catholics adhere to a Gospel of works which nullifies God's saving grace (Romans 11:6).
Witnessing to Roman Catholics involves a threefold strategy. They must be persuaded to: 1) trust God and His Word over the priest and the Catholic Church; 2) repent from trusting good works for their salvation, and; 3) believe the Gospel, that Jesus Christ did what no one and nothing else could do - save sinners from eternal condemnation.
Perseverance and patience are needed to untangle Roman Catholics from the dogmatic jungle in which they are held captive (Col. 2:8). Only when the Holy Spirit lifts the veil from the heart of one who had turned to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16) can he see both truth and deception. But when his eyes remain blinded by the prince of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), he can see only deception, but believe it to be truth. Following are ten helpful guidelines for sharing the Gospel with Roman Catholics.
Establish agreement on what is truth (John 14:6; 17:17; Col. 1:5).
Show that the scriptures are sufficient for understanding how to be saved (2 Tim. 3:15).
Agree to put tradition in its proper position of authority (Mark 7:7-8, 13).
Discuss the total depravity of man and his desperate need of a Savior.
Agree on what the Gospel is and its power (Romans 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:1-10).
Discuss the consequences of someone teaching a different gospel or refusing to believe the true Gospel (Gal. 1:6- 9; 2 Cor. 4:3).
Show that no man or pope is infallible. Peter (who Catholics appointed as their first pope) admitted he was wrong and submitted, not to another man, but to the truth of the Gospel (Gal. 2:11-14).
Explain the need to repent from trusting in things that cannot save them such as the sacraments, the sacrifice of the mass, purgatory, indulgences, other mediators, and infant baptism. These nullify the power of the Gospel and oppose the finished work of Christ. Anyone believing in a different gospel believes in vain. A false gospel produces only false hope (1 Cor. 15:2).
Stay focused on the Gospel. Try not to go off on tangents unrelated to salvation.
Provide literature, tracts or key Scriptures with a commitment to pray and meet again.
Remember a repentant sinner must understand and believe the Gospel to be saved. The only way to heaven is through Christ, and the only way to come to Christ is God's way - with empty hands of faith.