Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #74

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Please pray for my wife’s brother, Bobby. He is 43 and suffered a stroke last week that put him in the hospital for several days. He’s home now, but still is having some difficulties. Please pray for physical healing, but also pray that God will use this stroke to get Bobby’s attention and get him to reject the sinful life he is living and to come back to the Church.

Also, please pray for Tom and Gail Buckley. Some of you may know Gail because of her work as the head of the Catholic Scripture Study program. Tom has had an infection that has resulted in part of his arm being amputated. He’s been in the hospital for about a month, and the doctors are still fighting the infection and other problems that have developed as a result of all the surgeries he’s had and all the stress put on his body. Please pray for healing for Tom and for strength for Gail as she provides love and care for him through all of this.


This newsletter is a follow-up to last week’s (Issue #73). This is a reply to an email I received from Rich. His response to the last issue was, unfortunately, pretty predictable. He cannot seem to bring himself to address most of what I actually say. Now, that’s not because of any spectacular logic or thinking or theology on my part, but because the teachings of the Church are so lucid, so logical, and so scriptural, that it is pretty much impossible to mount a coherent and consistent defense against them, as Rich proves.

(You might want to do a quick read of Issue #73 to refresh your memory before diving into this issue.)



I have read some of your e-mails to Michael Bell. I sent you some an answers to some of the questions you had asked. I hope you received them. You did not explain 1 TIM 4:1-4. Your explanation is ridiculous. Please show me and all your readers where the Pope allows all priests to get married and it is not a sin to eat meat on certain days through the year. The word of God says that ANYONE that teaches that is teaching doctrines of demons. And you know your church teaches that.

John Martignoni

Rich, let’s go over again what the Bible actually says: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretension of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer,” (1 Tim 4:1-4).

Let’s examine this very carefully. And, let’s focus on the marriage aspect of this passage. (If you want me to focus on the abstinence from foods part in a later email, I’ll be happy to.) The Bible says that there will be people who “forbid” marriage. I pointed out to you that the Catholic Church does not “forbid” marriage. I, in fact, and many others that I know, were indeed married in the Catholic Church. In response, you change the meaning of the word “forbid.” You say that since the Catholic Church ordains mostly single men as priests, in the Latin Rite of the Church, that is the same as forbidding marriage. That is your fallible, man-made, non-authoritative interpretation of that passage. But, it’s an interpretation that makes no sense.

I am going to ask you a question, Rich, that I guarantee you will be unable to answer in a consistent manner with what you have previously stated. Here it is: If the Catholic Church allowed everyone in the Church to commit adultery except for those who become priests, would you tell people that the Church forbids adultery? Yes or no?

Think about it very carefully, Rich: If the Catholic Church allowed everyone who was Catholic to commit adultery, except for its priests, what would you be doing? You would be out there saying the Catholic Church allows adultery, wouldn’t you? Don’t lie, now! And, if I were to protest and say, “No, we actually forbid adultery because we don’t allow our priests to commit adultery,” how would you respond? You would say, “That’s an absolutely ridiculous argument!” Wouldn’t you? And, you know what, I would actually agree with you on that…it would be a ridiculous argument to make. An argument that is as ridiculous as the argument you are making about the Catholic Church forbidding marriage.

Let me re-cap this to make sure you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. The Bible says there will be those who “forbid” marriage. If the Catholic Church allowed its members, except for most priests in the Latin Rite, to commit adultery, you would say that the Church does NOT forbid adultery, wouldn’t you? Yet, if the Catholic Church allows its members, except for most priests in the Latin rite, to be married, you say the Church does forbid marriage. That’s a little bit of an inconsistency. So, again, the question is this: Would you say that the Catholic Church “forbids” adultery if it allowed its members, except for most Latin Rite priests, to commit adultery? Yes or no?

Comments/Strategies Folks, this is where the use of logic and good ol’ common sense – and a dictionary – totally obliterates the arguments of those who falsely accuse the Catholic Church. I can guarantee you that Rich will not respond to this question. He can’t, at least, he can’t without contradicting himself. He will either ignore the question altogether or simply repeat what he’s already said or he will possibly call me some names. Why is that? Because he cannot argue with the simple logic. Every one of you knows darn well that if we allowed adultery, or fornication, or stealing, or lying, or anything else of the sort for the members of the Church, with the exception of Latin Rite priests, Rich would be out there screaming loud and long that the Catholic Church does NOT “forbid” all of these things. Yet, slip the word “marriage” into the exact same equation, and all of a sudden the Catholic Church does “forbid” marriage.

A few more problems with your argument, Rich. The Catholic Church does indeed have married priests in most, if not all, of its rites, including the Latin Rite. You didn’t know that did you? No, because, with all due respect, you are fairly ignorant of actual Church teaching and practice. Oh, you know a lot about the Catholic Church you mistakenly think exists, but you know little about the one that actually exists. There are married priests, who have the full support of the Church, serving in most, if not all, of the various rites within the Church – including the Latin Rite of the Church. I spoke at a parish that has a married pastor just a couple of months ago, in fact.

Plus, Rich, you didn’t even touch the Scripture passages I mentioned from 1 Cor 7 and Matt 19 where Paul says that it is better not to be married when serving the Lord, because someone who isn’t married can serve the Lord with their undivided attention. We have people like that in our church Rich…do you? Of course not. And, in Matt 19, Jesus says that there are those who will make themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven. Who is He talking about Rich? Is he talking about married men here? No! He’s talking about those who take vows of celibacy in order to serve the Kingdom of Heaven. Do you have anyone like that in your church, Rich? Of course you don’t. You don’t think Jesus is saying that there are men who will actually castrate themselves for the Kingdom of Heaven do you?

Given all of these facts, your fallible interpretation of 1 Tim 4:1-4, instead of reading as “who forbid marriage,” actually reads as follows: “…who require those ordained as priests, in one particular part of their church, to take a vow of celibacy in order to heed the wisdom of Paul and fulfill the words of Jesus…”. That has to be your interpretation, Rich, because that is exactly what the Catholic Church does. But, that’s not what the passage says, is it?! No, it says “forbid” marriage. The Church heeds Paul’s wisdom and it fulfils the words of Christ in respect to the vow of celibacy it asks of its priests. Your interpretation completely ignores the facts and completely distorts what the Bible actually says. The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, forbidden marriage.

However, I did give you historical examples of heretical sects, from the 2nd century on, that did actually forbid marriage. You had never heard of any of these folks, had you, Rich? No, of course not. You’ve been blinded by your hatred of the Catholic Church, Rich, and it keeps you from searching for truth. Satan is telling you that you, Rich, have all the truth you need and you have no need of looking at anything else or critically examining anything else – “Why bother,” he whispers in your ear, “you are being guided by the Holy Spirit and you can’t make a mistake in these matters. You don’t need some ‘church,’ or anyone else for that matter, to tell you what you need to know. Once you have the Bible, you have no need of any church.” Examine that very carefully, Rich. That is exactly what you say below, Rich, that I don’t need the church. Yet, Scripture tells us that the church is the Body of Christ. So, when you tell me that I don’t need the church, you are telling me that I don’t need the Body of Christ. That, Rich, is a lie. And, we all know who the father of lies is, don’t we?


I can see that our differences are as far apart as east from west. We believe that we are saved and once for all sealed for eternity, by the Holy Spirit, when we believed in the Gospel. ( Eph.1:13-14 ) ( 1 Cor. 15:1-4 ) We cannot lose or give away our salvation. Nothing can separate us from Christ. ( Rom. 8:38-39 ) We have eternal life. ( John 3:16 ) This was condemned by the Counsel of Trent Ch. XII as, Rash presumption of predestination." For except by special revelation, it cannot be known whom God has chosen to Himself.— ( 1 John 5:11-13 ) These things I have written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, in order that you may know you have eternal life. Does Trent cross out the Word of God John?

John Martignoni

You’re upset that the Council of Trent agrees with the Word of God? We cannot lose our salvation? Answer my question about the Prodigal Son, Rich! How is it that the Prodigal Son is said to be alive “again”? That means he would have to be alive, then dead, then alive a second time. In terms of salvation, that would be saved (alive), unsaved (dead), saved again (alive again). But, your false doctrine of eternal security doesn’t accept that, does it? So, please, Rich, give us your infallible interpretation of what it means when the Holy Spirit refers to the Prodigal Son as being alive “again”? I notice you keep avoiding this verse.

And, please give us your infallible interpretation of John 15:1-6. Is someone who is a branch of the vine…united to Jesus Christ…saved or not? And, if they are saved, how then can they be cut off, wither, die, and be thrown into the fire to be burned? Or, if you say that someone can be a branch of the vine, yet not be saved, how is that possible? Some branches of the vine are saved and some branches of the vine are NOT saved?! That’s a pretty inconsistent position to take, isn’t it, Rich?! How can a branch of the vine, which is Jesus Christ, not be saved? Please explain that to us. Again, I notice how you avoid this verse, no matter how many times I mention it.


You believe that Christ started a process call progressive sanctification. That you enter your Church through baptism. That you are working with God through the power of your church and its sacraments. And you must stay in your church or you cannot be saved. ( Vatican Council II, Chapter I, Sec 14 ) That is why you cling to your church as a child clings to a security blanket. And as the blanket is a false security to the baby, so your church is a false security to you. By the way, this section also says that the Church is the one Mediator and unique Way of salvation. The Word of God says Jesus is the way and the only mediator to the Father. ( John 14:6- 1 Tim. 2:5 ) You think that Faith in Jesus and your good works, will help determined where you will spend eternity. It won’t. ( For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works which no one should boast.) ( Eph 2:8-9 ) The word it in verse 8 refers to faith. Faith is a gift. Not a reward or something you obtain through works or sacraments. And so the faith you need to understand what I and everyone else have been saying to you, must be sent to you by the Word of God. ( Romans 10:17 )

John Martignoni

Let me ask you this, Rich: Do you think Catholics believe the following statements:

1) “…the meritorious cause [of man’s justification] is His most beloved only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who…merited justification for us by His most holy passion on the wood of the Cross, and made satisfaction for us to God the Father…”

2) “…no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated…”

3) “…we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because ‘faith is the beginning of human salvation,’ the foundation and root of all justification, ‘without which it is impossible to please God’ [Heb 11:6] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and are, therefore, said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace itself of justification; for, ‘if it is a grace, it is not now by reason of works…’”

You don’t think Catholics believe any of those statements, do you, Rich?! Yet, those statements are from the Council of Trent. In what you said above, you recognize that Catholics believe what the Council of Trent taught. Yet, you don’t think we believe this part of the Council of Trent, do you? Again, hypocrisy rears its ugly head. You throw one part of the Council of Trent at us as “proof” that we Catholics have false beliefs (in other words, that our beliefs differ from your beliefs – which, of course, are infallible); yet, when I show you another part of the Council of Trent that proves what you believe about the Catholic Church to be wrong, you simply dismiss it and say that we don’t really believe what this part of the Council of Trent teaches, don’t you?

In other words, your goal is not to accurately represent Catholic teaching and then argue against that teaching, your goal is to only accept your narrow, bigoted, hypocritical, and spurious definitions of Catholic teaching and then trumpet these false teachings as what the Catholic Church truly believes. You do that out of pride, Rich, and I hope and pray that one day you will recognize that. That one day you will recognize how unfair and unjust you are being to Catholics by spreading lies about us and what we believe. And that one day you will recognize how much damage you are doing to the Body of Christ with your misrepresentations, half-truths, and outright lies.

By the way, I had a hard time tracking down your reference to Vatican Council II, Chapter 1, section 14. You obviously have not actually read the documents of Vatican II, have you? Because if you had, you would have not gotten your citation wrong. First of all, there are numerous documents from Vatican II, many of which have a number of chapters and a number of paragraphs within each chapter. The citation you made, where you claim Vatican II to say that the “Church is the one Mediator,” does not exist. In the document entitled, “The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church,” Chapter 2 (not chapter 1), paragraph 14, states the following: “…the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is neccesary for salvation: the one CHRIST [emphasis mine] is mediator and the way of salvation…”

In other words, you erroneously stated what Vatican II actually says. Was that the result of misplaced trust – in other words, you believed someone who led you astray about what it said because you never actually read it yourself; or was that a deliberate lie – in other words, you read it for yourself, but you chose to misrepresent what it actually said? Which was it, Rich? And, with all due respect, how is it possible that you got that wrong if you are being led by the Holy Spirit? Does the Holy Spirit lead people into ignorance or into deliberate lies?

Regarding works, you’ve obviously never read Romans 2:6-7, “For He will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience and well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life.” I didn’t say that, Rich, Paul did. Works seem to play a role in our salvation, don’t you think? I could mention a few hundred more verses that relate the same message about works, but I’ll just pick out one: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life…” (John 6:54). Now, whether you take that verse literally or metaphorically, it says that there is something we DO in order to have eternal life.


It hurts me deeply that you cannot understand what I am saying, but Jesus encountered the same things with the Pharisees. ( Mark 4:12, 8:11-21, John 10:26, Luke 8:10 ) But a natural man ( unsaved man ) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God , for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised. ( 1 Cor. 2:14 ) And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of God. ( 2 Cor.4:3-4 )

John Martignoni

You are indeed blinded, Rich…I will pray for the scales to fall from your eyes and I will ask the thousands of folks reading this to do the same.


Now you have said that you are saved. Please define that word, saved. And if you are saved you don?t need the church anymore. You can walk away and not look back. You would be able to tell the Pope to throw all your good works and sacraments in the garbage. You don?t need them anymore. Can you renounce your church and trust in Christ alone John?

John Martignoni

Rich, I say as Paul says, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes…” I do not judge myself as you judge yourself, Rich. Judgment is the prerogative of the Lord, as the Bible clearly tells us when it says, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

What you are saying here, Rich, is nothing but the words of Satan. Don’t listen to the Church. Don’t listen to the successor of Peter. Don’t listen to Christ Himself. No, Rich, I cannot renounce my church and trust in Christ alone. To renounce my Church is to renounce the Body of Christ. You separate Christ from His bride, the Church, yet Scripture tells us that Jesus and the Church are one. You seek to rend asunder what God has joined together. I will say to you what Jesus said to Peter, “Away from me, Satan!”


Just to set the record straight. You keep saying that I am infallible. I never claimed that. So stop lying! I said with regards to the verse we were discussing and its interpretation, I am infallible. The Holy Spirit seals every believer at the instant of their salvation. ( Eph.1 :13-14 ) We are not sinless from that point on or perfect. But we are still forgiven for eternity. You asked Mike Bell, How do you know that the Bible is the Word of God. I answered in my letter to you, through the Holy Spirit and Jesus references to the Scriptures. The New Testament was added to the Old Testament by the Christian church, not the Roman Catholic Church. Do you want to take credit for assembling the Old Testament too, John? That is why you asked the question. What you are implying is that we would not even know the Bible is the Word of God without the Catholic Church telling us. How were the Old Testament books preserved? There was no Roman Catholic Church. Just sinners who believed.

John Martignoni

Again, with all due respect, but did you bother to actually read what I wrote in my last email on this subject? I don’t think you did. And, again, your ignorance of Catholic teaching is blatantly evident on this subject. As I said last time, “infallibility” has nothing to do with being sinless. The word for that is “impeccability.” Catholics do not believe this Pope, or any Pope, was ever sinless. I defy you to find such a teaching. Infallibility simply means that the Pope is prevented by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, when he teaches on a matter of faith and morals to the entire Church. You actually believe yourself to be more infallible than what we believe the Pope to be. Rich, would you please read what I write and respond accordingly? Do you think Paul ignored the questions and responses he got from folks he debated with? Did Jesus ignore His disciples when they asked Him questions? Your approach in all of this, ignore what John says and don’t respond to most of his questions, is not an example that I find in Scripture.

You know the Bible is the Word of God because of the Holy Spirit and because of the references Jesus makes to Scripture? Where does Jesus make these references to Scripture? In Scripture, right? Circular reasoning again, Rich. And how else do you know the Bible is the Word of God? Because of the Holy Spirit. How do you know the Holy Spirit is God? Because of the Bible. Again, circular reasoning. I ask one more time, Rich, does the Holy Spirit use circular reasoning? Does He guide men into circular reasoning?

Now, however, you add that the New Testament was added to the Bible by the “Christian church.” How do you know? Who were the people who actually added the books of the New Testament? Were they guided by the Holy Spirit? If so, how do you know? Give me the testimony, Rick, that I may believe you. Why didn’t the Christian church you speak of add the Letter of Barnabas, who was Paul’s companion and who was an “apostle” according to Acts 14:14, to the New Testament? Can you tell me that? Why is the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament? How did the Christian church you speak of know that the Letter to the Hebrews was inspired Scripture? You can’t answer any of these questions, Rich, because you are accepting the witness of men, sinful men, for what you believe and why you believe it. I am accepting the witness of the Bride of Christ, the Church of Christ, the pillar and foundation of the truth, for what I believe and why I believe it. That is why my beliefs are more sure and more true than anything you believe by your own witness or the witness of other fallible men.


Because He lives


John Martignoni

Because He was sacrificed once for all and continually lives to re-present that one sacrifice to the Father in Heaven for all of our sakes – a perfect offering in all the nations from the rising of the sun even to its setting (Malachi 1:11)


P.S. You didn’t mention a word about my offer to you to have our next conversation recorded – which you have been saying you want to do – at your church in front of your congregation…why is that?

In Conclusion

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Apologetics for the Masses