Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #16

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Some of you, after reading the last newsletter, wrote and asked about my take on a couple other moral issues: the death penalty – given that all life has value – and homosexuality. I will do something on both of those issues in the not-too-distant future, but for this week I wanted to move from natural apologetics back to Catholic apologetics.


I have started sending emails to a few folks who have “ministries” that openly attack the Catholic Faith. I simply send them an email asking a question or two, to try and get a dialogue going. I have been very disappointed by the responses I have and haven’t received. But, I haven’t been surprised by those responses, or lack thereof.

I keep thinking someone is going to come up with something new…that I’m not going to keep seeing the same old misrepresentations, half-truths, and lies about the Catholic Faith that we hear over and over again. That one of these folks is actually going to get it right in what they claim Catholics believe and teach. Alas, to no avail have I hoped.

The gentleman who I am corresponding with in the emails below is named Todd Tomasella. He came to my attention when I received one of my weekly emails from “Worldview Weekend” (a Protestant organization), and in it was an article from Todd about what a horrible person Mother Teresa was. Apparently, she was not a Christian. Rather, she was a heretic and a tool of the anti-Christ, according to Todd. So, after reading what he wrote, I thought I should send him an email. Below are a couple of rounds of back and forth with Todd. I start with my initial email and strategy, and then proceed down with his response and so on.


Dear Todd,

Please give me one verse from the scripture that states we are saved, or
justified, by “faith alone.” If you can do so, I will renounce my
Catholic Faith tomorrow.

God bless!

John Martignoni

Strategy: He believes Mother Teresa taught (and that the Catholic Church teaches) a doctrine of salvation by works. So, I have two goals here: 1) Show him that what he believes about salvation by faith alone is not biblical; and 2) Show him that what the Catholic Church teaches about faith and works is biblical. So, this is just a straightforward challenge to show me where, in the Bible, I can find a verse that teaches what he believes. And, to up the ante, I tell him that if he can show me where the Bible teaches what he believes, then I’ll leave the Church.


“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9


Dear Todd,

I asked you for one Bible verse that states we are saved, or justified, by “faith alone.” You were apparently unable to provide it. As a Catholic, I believe 100% in the passages of Scripture you have quoted; however, they don’t say what you are trying to make them say. I believe we are justified by faith, as it says in Romans 5:1-2. But, it doesn’t say we are justified by faith “alone.” That little word alone is missing from the passage, no matter how much you wish it were there.

Strategy: He didn’t answer my question! So, what do you do, do you just go ahead and respond to his verses and forget about your question? No way. You point out that he failed to answer your question and, as I do below, basically tell him that he doesn’t answer it because he can’t answer it. Plus, you make sure to let him know that you believe 100% in the verses he is trying to use to “prove” the Catholic Church wrong, but that they don’t actually say what he is trying to make them say. [Back to my response.]

Also, I believe we are saved by grace through faith. But, again, it doesn’t say faith “alone.” In fact, if you continue on with verse 10 in Ephesians 2, it says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” It seems that it is God’s will that we do these works He has prepared for us beforehand and which He says we should walk in. Don’t you think it’s important to do the works that God has willed us to do?

Strategy: Again, point out that the verse he references doesn’t say what he is trying to force it to say. Next, I take the passage he was trying to use against me (Eph 2:8-9), and turn it around on him by continuing with verse 10, and then I ask him another question based on verse 10…another question which he will probably never answer, because if he does, he will create quite a problem for himself, in terms of consistency of belief. [Back to my response.]

Also, I offered to renounce my Catholic Faith if you could show me one passage in all of Scripture that says we are saved, or justified, by “faith alone.” You didn’t do it because you can’t do it. There is no such passage in the Bible. However, if I were to show you a passage in the Bible that states very clearly that we are NOT saved or justified by “faith alone,” would you renounce your current belief in a “faith alone” theology?

Strategy: I’m basically just turning the challenge around on him. I offered to renounce my beliefs if he could show me just one passage in the Bible that teaches what he believes. He couldn’t do it. So now I turn it around on him and ask him if he’ll renounce his belief if I can show him one passage in the Bible that teaches what I believe. He won’t ever say yes, because he knows about James 2:24. [Back to my response.]

Lastly, if you have faith, and have not works, can your faith save you?

Strategy: Just asking him one more question about salvation by “faith alone”, and this is a question that comes straight from the Bible (James 2:14). The scriptural answer to that question is no. But, if he answers my question scripturally, then he is basically admitting that his belief is unscriptural. If he answers yes – if you have faith and have not works, you are still saved – then he has put himself on the opposite side of the Bible. Which is why he will probably not answer this question either.

God bless!

John Martignoni

John thank you for writing again.

Let me encourage you to read Romans ch.‘s 1-5 afresh. Look at 4:4-5 and 3:28 and every word in those 5 chapters. Nothing we can do can merit the slightest bit of God’s favor. Such a thought is at its root antichrist – which means in place of Christ. Paul told us that "if righteousness come by the works of the law (our own good works), then Christ came and died in vain (Gal. 2:21). Why did Jesus come to the earth if we could earn our own way or have anything to do with our own justification other than His requirement – faith. Faith is the work God honors (Jn. 6:29).



I’ll answer him in next week’s newsletter. In the meantime, see if you can pick out some problems with his response. Think about how you would respond.

In Conclusion

Remember, if you ask a question, and they don’t answer it, ask it again. If they had an answer for you, they would have given it, so make them come up with one…keep asking.

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Apologetics for the Masses