Are there any fundamental rules for doing apologetics?
A couple of more fundamentals about apologetics before we relocate into certain apologetics topics:.
# 1) Ingrain this into your being that the Bible is a Catholic book! It is the One, True, Holy Catholic Church that gave the bible to the world! Therefore there can be and there never will be anything … absolutely nothing … in the Bible that is contrary to anything in the Catholic Faith! Likewise, there is absolutely nothing in the Catholic Faith that opposes to anything in the Bible! Always remember that!
It is essential to bear in mind because a lot of times you will encounter people from other denominations – and ofter, many from within the Catholic Church – who mis-understand and therefore mis-represent passages from the Bible that “proves” the Catholic Church is wrong. Now think about this for a while and you will realize that ity make no sense. Why would the only Christian Church that can trace itself back to the One Church that Jesus established when He decreed – “So I say to you: you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church. And the gates of the underworld will never hold out against it.” Matther 16: 18 – why would this Church preserve the bible throughout the centuries, and give the bible to the world, if the same bible contradicted its teachings. That makes absolutely no sense!
Whenever somebody quotes you a Bible verse that “shows” the Catholic Church is wrong on any of its teachings, your response ought to be, “Amen, I believe what the Bible states! As a Catholic, I believe every thing the Bible says sibnce it is a Catholic book! However, I do not agree with your individual interpretation of that passage.” The reason you do not agree with their interpretation is because 100 % of the time they either:
a) take the verse complete out of context, or
b) the verse merely doesn’t state what they are trying to make it state.
# 2) And this flows right from # 1, the Catholic Church can be defended only from the Bible better than any other Christian faith tradition can be. There is in fact a great bit in the various Protestant faith customs that does indeed contradict the Bible. So, do not be afraid to engage non-Catholics in a discussion of the Bible.
# 3) If you are ever asked a question about your Catholic Faith that you could not answer, don’t fret; do not worry. There is an answer that maybe you do not know at the time – but there is an answer. You just need to go and find it. In such cases, let your response simply be, “I do not know, but I will find out and get back to you.” You then should go and get the correct answer and get back to them. In circumstances such as these where you are being questioned about the Catholic Faith, never try to guess an answer as this may make matters worse. It is always best to find out for sure, then get back to the person(s) witrh the correct answer.
As Catholics, we have to reclaim the Bible. It is our book. We should read it, pray it, discover it, and utilize it to bring our separated brothers and sisters back to the Church. If you keep these things in mind, you have started down the road to being a really efficient apologist for the Catholic Faith.