Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #93

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Well, I haven’t had any cokes or candy bars today – just an apple and orange juice as my snack. I’m trying to start eating healthier and to maybe also lose a pound or two (or three or four). So, if the newsletter doesn’t make any sense this week, blame it on the lack of caffeine.


This week’s issue is a follow-up to last week’s. Last week I responded to an email that had been written by one Eddie Walker to Mr. Martinez, who is one of the subscribers to this newsletter. Mr. Martinez had requested some help with a response and so I sent one to Mr. Walker who, it turns out, is a pastor. And, I’m not sure, but I believe he is a Calvary Chapel pastor.

Anyway, Pastor Walker responded to my email, so this issue is all about my reply back to him. Normally, I put the other’s guys comments first, but because of the format of his response to me – he interspersed his comments amongst mine – and the resulting length of it, I’m going to put my reply first, and then below that will be his remarks in their entirety.

In my remarks, I’ve tried to make it as clear as possible what it is he said that I’m responding to. That way, if you want, you can just read my response to him instead of reading the whole thing. However, if you wish to read his response in its entirety, I’ve included it so that you may do so. I never want it said that I didn’t print all of what the other guy had to say.

You know, I’m still waiting for that Protestant to come along with a contact list of several thousand of his fellow Protestants, and give me the kind of exposure to them, that I give to these guys with my newsletter subscribers. Think it will ever happen? Naw.

So, again, below are first my remarks, and then after that is essentially last week’s newsletter with Pastor Walker’s comments interspersed among mine. The latter part is kind of a tough read because you have Pastor Walker’s first set of comments, then my comments, then Pastor Walker’s 2nd set of comments. So, I’ll distinguish between his comments by using the designation Round 1 and Round 2. Sorry, but I don’t know any other way to do it and have it make any sense.


From John Martignoni:

Dear Pastor Walker,

I appreciate your concern for the salvation of my soul…in that you show the love of Christ. And may I say that the reason I do what I do, and the reason I respond to folks such as yourself, is because I, too, have a concern for your soul. I believe that you, by rejecting the truths of Christ that are taught by His Church – and which are supported by Scripture – while at the same time believing in the teachings of men that are contrary to the Word of God and to the teachings of the Body of Christ, are on a path to perdition. So, I hope you will take no offense from anything I say about your beliefs, because I say it out of concern for the salvation of your soul.

Now, having said that, I would like to respond to your remarks – in general at first, then more specifically. Once again, your comments are filled with logical inconsistencies and factual errors. While I do indeed appreciate your concern for my soul, and for the souls of all of us Catholics, what I find troubling is your apparent lack of concern for truly understanding what it is I and my fellow Catholics believe and why. You say we worship idols, demons, and ancestors. Why do you say these things, I wonder? Do you, a non-Catholic, know something about my Faith that I am unaware of? Do you say these things because you have done a thorough study of our teachings – perhaps by reading the Catechism, or conciliar documents, and/or papal encyclicals – and found that, sure enough, right there on page 192 of the Catechism Catholics are instructed to worship statues of golden calfs; or, in the Vatican II documents you found the place on page 332 where it talks of how we are to worship Moloch and other demons; or perhaps you have read the papal encyclical that stresses the importance of worshipping Mary and the other saints?

No. You say what you do about Catholics not because you have learned, from Catholic sources, about Catholic teaching, belief, and practice; but rather because you have learned from non-Catholic sources who have told you what it is we Catholics believe and teach and practice. I ask you, as a Christian, is that fair? If you want to learn about the Jews, would you ask the Palestinians? Or would you ask the Jews? Again, I challenge you: Find anything from our Catechism, from our conciliar documents, from our papal encyclicals that teaches what you say we teach and believe in regards to worshipping any one or any thing other than God, and I will renounce my Catholic Faith tomorrow and I will publish said renunciation in this newsletter for all to read. If you cannot find any such teaching amongst official Catholic sources, then I challenge you to be a man of honor and apologize for your false accusations.

In your responses below, you state that if a man is having sexual relations with a woman other than his wife, he is committing adultery – even if he protests that he is not committing adultery. I agree. However, isn’t also possible that a man could be true and faithful to his wife and be falsely accused of committing adultery? And, wouldn’t then the false accuser be guilty of a serious sin before man and before God?

I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that no statue or any created object is a god. I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that neither Satan, nor any of his demons, are gods. In fact, when we profess our baptismal vows every so often at Mass, we specifically renounce Satan and his minions. I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that neither Mary nor any of the Saints are gods. If I actually do worship idols, demons, and the ancestors as you claim I do, then I have just committed blasphemy. So, either I have just denied my “gods,” or I have stated the truth that Catholics do not worship idols, demons, and ancestors (by which I assume you mean the saints in Heaven). Which do you believe is the case?

You might reply, “But you bow and kneel before statues!” So what!? Does everyone who bows to the Queen of England necessarily worship her then? If you bow to your partner at a formal dance, does that mean you worship them? If you kneel by your bed to say your prayers, does that mean you worship your bed? If you keep pictures of your wife and kids on your desk at work, and occasionally even kiss these pictures, does that mean you worship them? What absurdities! Will you condemn me for the shallowness of your thought?

You might say, “But you talk to the dead, and that is forbidden by Scripture!” We do not talk to the dead, we talk to the living. Have you not heard that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? He is the God of the living! Plus, when we talk to the saints in Heaven, we are merely imitating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, when He talked to Moses and Elijah. Are you saying He was wrong to have done that? Did He give us a bad example by doing so? Should I go by what you teach or should I follow the example of my Lord?

“But,” you may protest, “you pray to Mary and the saints and that is something reserved for God alone!” If I ask you to pray for me, does that mean I am worshipping you in a way reserved for God alone? Of course not, yet, when we ask Mary and the saints to pray for us, all of a sudden we’re “worshipping” them. Are you unable, or is it that you are unwilling, to understand that Catholics view “praying” to the saints in Heaven as basically the same thing as asking someone here on Earth to pray for them? The only difference being that the prayers of the members of the Body of Christ in Heaven are much more effective than the prayers of the members of the Body of Christ here on Earth – seeing as how the folks in Heaven have been made perfect.

This goes back to what I said initially. It seems you prefer to condemn us, rather than take the time to understand us. Our language is different than your language. Do you take the time to understand our language? No. Instead, you condemn us because we speak a different language. With all due respect, that is not showing Catholics the love of Christ. Plus, to tell me you know better than I what it is I actually believe, is the height of arrogance. Again, my prayer is that you are more concerned with truth, than you are with proving the Catholic Church wrong.

Now, to answer some of the specific comments you made below. I will focus mainly on one or two main points, and maybe make some comments on a few others, without fully developing those arguments until a later point in time.

The main point I want to make flows from two of your comments below: “Lets not start with a predetermined doctrine and seek to prove our points from the Bible, but instead wipe clean our doctrinal slate and start to build it back up from scripture alone. The difference is that we let scripture speak for itself, without letting our preferences get in the way.” And, “Again what I advocate is getting rid of teachings that have human origins, regardless what name is attached to them and returning to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible.”

There is a logical inconsistency here. You say that we are not to start with a “predetermined doctrine,” yet you start with a predetermined doctrine – the doctrine of sola scriptura – the doctrine that states the sole rule of faith for the Christian is the Bible. What you’re actually saying is that we should start with your predetermined doctrines, but not mine. Unfortunately, as I said in my last communication to you, these inconsistencies in your arguments, and in your logic, stem from a lack of a thorough and rigorous analysis of your own position. I hope you are open to what such an analysis will lead to?!

You also state that we should return “to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible.” Again, this is a predetermined doctrine that you are starting with. How do you “KNOW” the Bible is true? Who told you that? Is that not a predetermined doctrine? This is actually the place we need to start. I believe the Bible is indeed the inspired, inerrant, Word of God – just the same as you do. But, I have a logically, historically, and scripturally consistent reason for my belief – I don’t think you do.

I’ll demonstrate why I say that. Your position is that a Christian must develop his or her theology and doctrine from scripture, and scripture alone. Which, as I’ve noted, is a predetermined doctrine, and it is also a doctrine nowhere mentioned in the Bible. So, it is your theology and doctrine that the Gospel of Mark is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. It is also your theology and doctrine that the writer of Mark was inspired of the Holy Spirit when he wrote the gospel that bears his name. Since you believe one must build his theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then please tell me where in the Bible does it say the Gospel of Mark is the inspired and inerrant Word of God? And please tell me where in the Bible it states that someone named Mark wrote an inspired and inerrant gospel?

Basically, what I’m asking, Pastor Walker, is this: Who wrote the Gospel of Mark, and how do you know? And, if someone named Mark did in fact write the Gospel of Mark, which Mark was it? How do you know he was inspired by the Holy Spirit? Who told you these things? Your only answer, based upon your predetermined doctrine of sola scriptura – the Bible alone – is to say that the Bible told you these things. Yet nowhere, as far as I know, does the Bible give us any information about the writer of Mark and whether or not he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Now, I know I’m a Catholic and therefore I am not as knowledgeable as you about the scriptures, so I am open to having you prove me wrong as to what I just asserted. Can you?

And, I could ask the same question about other books of the Bible as well. In fact, the biggest logical inconsistency your predetermined doctrine of sola scriptura has to overcome is this: Where in the Bible is the verse or verses that tells us which books should be in the Bible? The Bible did not just fall down from Heaven as a complete book. If we are to build our theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then we ought to decide which books should or should not be in the Bible…which books are or are not the inspired work of the Holy Spirit…by consulting the Bible, right? But, we can’t consult the Bible to find out which books should be in the Bible because we don’t have a Bible until we’ve decided which books are in it. That thar, Pastor Walker, is a bit of a problem for your predetermined doctrine.

So, I will drive home my point by asking you to answer the following questions for me: 1) Who wrote Mark? 2) Was the writer of Mark inspired by the Holy Spirit? 3) Where, in the Bible, does it give us the list of which books should be in the Bible? Now, since you have stated very clearly and very plainly that we are to build our theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then your answers need to be in the form of book, chapter, and verse only. If you cannot answer these questions with just a book, chapter, and verse from the Bible, then I have proven that you do not rely upon the Bible alone for your theology and doctrine, which would be a very serious blow to your predetermined position.

Now, the other main point I wish to make is this: You have freely admitted that you are not infallible in your interpretations of the Bible. So, will you then also freely admit that your interpretation of certain Scripture passages could be wrong and that mine could be right? For example, James, chapter 2. How do you respond to this question: If a man says he has faith, but has not works, can his faith alone save him? Is your answer, yes or no? The Bible says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” So, I believe that a man is not justified by faith alone and that works have a role to play in one’s justification – exactly as the Bible teaches. And, I believe my understanding of that verse fits perfectly with the context of the entire second chapter of James, the entire Book of James, the entire New Testament, and, in fact, all of scripture – Old and New Testament. By what authority do you say that I am wrong? On whose authority do you claim to be an arbiter of right and wrong interpretations of the Bible? Whose authority!?

You said in your response to me that you answered my question about the interpretation of James 2:26, yet you did no such thing. James 2:26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.” The Holy Spirit is making an analogy here. He is saying that faith is like the body and that works are like the spirit. And He says that both body and spirit are necessary for life. So, for the analogy to hold, are not both faith and works necessary for life? Yet, you say, “No, faith alone is necessary for life.” So, please explain this analogy in James 2:26 for me. Please give me the correct interpretation of this verse.

I will sum up this point by highlighting these questions: 1) Since you are not infallible, could your interpretations of the meaning of certain Scriptures be wrong? 2) By what authority do you hold your interpretations of certain Scripture verses, for example James 2:24 and 2:26 to be right and mine to be wrong? 3) If a man says he has faith, and has not works, can his faith alone save him? Yes or no? 4) Please give me the meaning of the analogy drawn by the Holy Spirit in James 2:26. Are both faith and works necessary for life, just as both the body and the spirit are necessary for life? Yes or no.

Now, a few other points I wanted to mention. You stated the following: “Lets see what the church looks like when built from the ground up from scriptures.” Again, this is a predetermined doctrine you are bringing to the table. Does the Bible say we should build the church from the ground up using Scripture? If so, where? I have a simple question for you: What is the pillar and ground of the truth for a Christian…is it the Bible?

This statement of yours shows the inherent falseness of your theology. I would again ask a simple question: Which came first, the Church or the Bible? If you answer that question honestly, and you really think about it without any predetermined doctrinal influences and prejudices, you will see that your statement just quoted makes no sense whatsoever. Was the early Church built from the ground up using the Scriptures?

In regards to Mary, you quote Paragraph 966 of the Catechism and then state the following: “We see here that it is taught that Mary is born without sin and remained without sin. This is in direct conflict with scripture that teaches that all have sinned, that no one seeks God, (Romans 3) and the fact that Mary herself said she needed a savior ( Luke 1:47). Next we see that that she is assumed into heaven (not-biblical, but created to make the sinless nature fit), And then we see that she is exalted as Queen!!! Over ALL things no less!!! This is a clear example of putting a created being in the place where only God deserves to be. Not only is this not found anywhere in scripture it is a direct affront to the whole of scripture. In fact search the scriptures for the term “Queen of Heaven”, you will find it in Jeremiah.”

You quote from Romans 3 the verse which states that all have sinned and you take that as an absolute in regard to every person who has ever been born. But, is that really what it means? After all, it also states in that same chapter, as you point out, that “no one seeks God.” Yet, I am seeking God…how do you explain that? Are you not seeking God? How has anyone been saved if absolutely no one is seeking God?

Furthermore, have babies and small children sinned? Well, they must have if “all have sinned,” right? Did John the Baptist ever commit a sin? If so, please tell me where the Scripture says that? What about John’s parents, did they ever commit a sin? If so, please tell me where the Bible records it? Also, are you not aware that Paul is quoting from the Old Testament here? You may want to go back and get the context from the Old Testament so that you have the proper context for your interpretation of the New Testament usage.

Mary did indeed need a savior. Is it not possible to save someone from something before it actually happens, though? For example, have you ever been a drug addict? If not, then I can rightly say God saved you from being a drug addict even though you were never a drug addict, right? Just so Mary can be saved from sin even though she never sinned. This, again, is merely showing your ignorance of Catholic teaching. You condemn the form of what we believe without understanding the substance behind it. You give your meanings and your interpretations to our words, without caring one whit about our meanings and interpretations, and then you condemn us for saying something that we are not actually saying.

Also, does the Bible say Mary was not assumed into Heaven? No, it doesn’t. Does the Bible say we are to use contraception? No, it doesn’t, yet I’ll bet you believe contraception is perfectly acceptable, don’t you? You will say, “Nowhere does the Bible condemn contraception,” (which is actually not true, but I assume that would be your reasoning for accepting contraception). So, the Bible doesn’t mention contraception, which makes contraception okay; yet when the Bible doesn’t mention the Assumption of Mary, that makes it not okay. Methinks you have a double standard. One set of rules for you, and a completely different set of rules for Catholics.

Regarding Mary as Queen of Heaven, I see you refused to answer my question about that. I am well aware of the Queen of Heaven mentioned in Jeremiah. Again, though, your logic fails you. The Israelites were worshipping a false god or goddess they called the Queen of Heaven. Just as they sometimes worshipped a false god that they called, “God.” So, if they call their false gods, God, then using your logic in regards to the Queen of Heaven, we should not call our true God, God, because we’re doing the same thing the Israelites did when they worshipped their false god. Not good reasoning on your part. Doesn’t it make sense, that if there is a false Queen of Heaven, then that points to the fact that there is actually a true Queen of Heaven. Just as the fact that if there is a false god, points to the fact that there is a true God.

Again, Scripture very clearly states that there is woman, in Heaven, with a crown on her head. What is this woman if not a queen? In response to my earlier asking of this question you stated, in regards to Revelation 12:1, the following: “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven” this is a sign, a symobolic message.”

Tell me, please, is that not a predetermined belief on your part? You believe a “sign” to be the same thing as a “symbolic message,” why? Then, you must believe, to be consistent, that when Scripture refers to Jesus as a “sign,” it meant that He wasn’t real…that He was merely a “symbolic message”! Where do you get the authority to state categorically that this woman in Revelation 12:1 is a “symbolic message?” How many symbolic messages bring forth the child that is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron? How many symbolic messages are chased by Satan (but never caught – sinless?!) and how many symbolic messages have Satan make war on their offspring? With all due respect, Pastor Walker, but isn’t your contention that this woman in Rev 12:1 is a “symbolic message,” actually the necessary result of your predetermined beliefs about Mary that you brought to your reading of Scripture?"

Finally, since you mention it a few times, I wish to talk about Apostolic Succession. In Isaiah 22, verses 20 and following, it talks about how one prime minister of the Kingdom of David is going to be removed in favor of another prime minister in the Kingdom of David. The succession is denoted by the passing on of the key of the house of David – which is the symbol of the authority of the house of David. In Matthew 16:17-19, Peter is given the keys of Kingdom of Heaven. Keys again denote authority, but the existence of the keys denote succession – there must always be a keyholder. In Acts 1, we see that Judas held an “office” in the ministry of Christ. And Scripture even states, “His office let another take.” If there is an office, there must be an officeholder. Nowhere does Scripture say the office no longer exists. In 2 Tim 2:2 we see four generations of apostolic succession – from Paul, to Timothy, to faithful men, to others. In the letters to Timothy and Titus we see those ordained by Paul, going out and ordaining others – apostolic succession.

You say that you are a pastor…how so? Did someone ordain you? By what authority? Who ordained that person? And who ordained that person? How far back can you trace your line of ordination? As a pastor, from whence comes your authority? Do you have any authority? Did you start your own church, or were you hired by an existing church? If you were hired by an existing church, please tell me where in Scripture it tells us of one pastor being hired by the congregation to succeed another pastor? If you started your own church, by whose authority did you do so? And, if you leave that church, how will they replace you? By hiring another pastor? Again, where is the hiring of pastors mentioned in the Bible? There is much more biblical, and historical, evidence for the means of succession of leadership that is practiced in the Catholic Church, then there is for whatever means of succession of leadership practiced in your church.

Now, there are a number of points that you made that I am not going to touch on here, as I’ve already gone on long enough, but I do wish to touch on one final point. When I challenged you to give me one example of where the Catholic Church has ever changed its doctrines, you stated the following: “How about the Roman Catholic church’s opinion of people who reject their teaching. Once labeled a heretic and killed, now called separated brothers and a desire that they return to the ‘faith’.”

That’s the best you could come up with?! First of all, that is not a doctrinal matter. The Church has never taught, as a matter of doctrine, that all heretics should be killed. Second, you seem to have a very flawed sense of history. The Church has always sought to bring heretics back into the true faith. Third, there is historical context to the situations where some heretics were put to death that you seem to be ignorant of. I will not argue the rightness or wrongness of such deaths here, but I will repeat that this is not a matter of doctrine. If wrongs were committed, it was a matter of personal sin, not doctrine. Finally, the fact that the Church refers to fellow Christians as “separated brethren” is a matter of semantics. It is not a matter of doctrine. Anyone who believes in a heresy, is, by definition, a heretic. However, the Church chooses to use different language when speaking of such folks and clearly states her reasoning as to why this is so in the Catechism. It is not a doctrinal matter. I am free to refer to you as either a heretic or a separated brethren, or both.

Again, I challenge you to find one matter of doctrine that the Church has changed in its 2000 year history. If you cannot do so, then, as a Christian, and particularly as a pastor, I adjure you to withdraw your false claims.

In Christ,

John Martignoni


From Pastor Walker:

Mr. Martignoni,

I don’t mind that you respond to my email, as I am truly concerned for all people and want them to know the one and only way to God, that is through his son Jesus Christ alone. However, my words were written for Mr. Martinez out of love for him, as I am a personal friend of many members of his family and owe a great deal to one of his sons, who has been an excellent brother in Christ to me. I only mention that so you can understand my tone and motivation for this discussion. I have not set out particularly to attack the Roman Catholic church, however I do hurt for those caught by the lies taught by the organization, that lead people who have a zeal to know God to do things that are detestable to him. I do believe many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church are in direct conflict with scripture and that anyone who follows them to be on the way to hell. That is not to say that many true believers do not get saved from within the Roman Catholic church, but I do find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit would allow someone who truly knows God to partake in the worship of idols, demons, or ancestors once they come to a saving knowledge of Him. Therefore I do not believe that most people who attend Roman Catholic churches and follow their practices, to truly know God. So this understanding does cause my heart to hurt for those who think they are pleasing God, but their worship is in vain. They follow the teachings of men and have forsaken God’s word. Now, I have read a few of your newsletters as forwarded to me by Mr. Martinez, so I know you will have your responses to these beliefs. And that is fine with me, but I think if we are truly seeking to know truth, we need to start with truth. Lets not start with a predetermined doctrine and seek to prove our points from the Bible, but instead wipe clean our the doctrinal slate and start to build it back up from scripture alone. The difference is that we let scripture speak for itself, without letting our preferences get in the way. My goal in responding to you is that I truly hope we can all learn to trust only in God and not mortal man (Psalm 146), and therefore present ourselves as holy and pleasing sacrifices to God.

So I have responded to your points below, I have put my comments in blue after each of your comments. Please let me know if you would like me to clarify any of my responses as it seems many of your points are based upon a misunderstanding of what Mr. Martinez and I have discussed previously.

Have good evening,

Eddie Walker


John Martignoni:


Dear Mr. Walker,

I hope you don’t mind if I respond to your email to Mr. Martinez. Mr. Martinez knows his faith, and is learning more all the time, but I don’t think he feels sufficiently knowledgeable to adequately respond to some of the points in your email, so he asked for my assistance.

First, I would like to say that in your email there are a number of logical inconsistencies, which I will point out below, and factual errors concerning the Catholic Faith that, while I am not surprised to find, I am, however, continually amazed that intelligent people such as yourself continue to make them. I hope and pray that you are someone who values truth and that you will be open to hearing the truth about the Catholic Faith. I often tell people that if you want to disagree with what I believe…fine. But, disagree with what I really believe and not with some misconception, half-truth, or outright lie that someone has taught you about what I believe.

I will respond to each of your paragraphs individually. If you are serious about evangelizing Catholics and saving our souls from eternal damnation, you now have your chance to reach some 9000 Catholics, as I will be happy to print your response, in its entirety, in my weekly newsletter. And, again, I hope and pray that you are more concerned about truth, than you are about proving the Catholic Church wrong.

Eddie Walker: Round 1

Mr. Martinez,

While the writings of early Christians are certainly important to help understand the thoughts of the early church, their interpretation of scripture is not necessarily more or less correct than others. We see even in Paul’s epistles that false teaching had already crept in. I simply urge you to build your theology and doctrine from the scripture, which you know to be true. The early Christian writings are not inspired and are the thoughts of men, therefore are not truth, even if they contain some truth.

John Martignoni:

Comments/Strategies: With all due respect, Mr. Walker, I don’t think you’ve really thought through your comments here. You state that the writings of the early Christians are “certainly important” to help understand the thoughts of the early church, and then you proceed (in the same sentence!) to dismiss their “interpretation of scripture” as being no more or less correct than any other person’s interpretations of Scripture.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

I believe you may have misunderstood me here. We can read the books of Christians to get additional thoughts and view points of scripture. The church was given so that we can encourage and build each other up in the faith. So by all means we can help each other grow in the faith through study and reading each others thoughts in books. However because a respected Christian brother writes a book, it is not scripture, nor should I give it any authority. I should however challenge it against scripture test it and see how it compares. I can learn from this brother, but at the end of the day He is only a man writing from his own understanding. It is man’s wisdom.

John Martignoni:

Plus, in an earlier email you sent to Mr. Martinez, you stated that you believe in the apostolic truths taught for the last “2008 years” by the “Universal Apostolic Church” that was founded by Jesus Christ. (By the way, “Catholic” means “Universal”…I’m sure you’re aware of that, aren’t you?)

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Yes, I am aware that the word catholic means universal. But I certainly do not believe that there is any apostolic succession founded by Jesus, nor that there is any additional teaching outside of the Bible that we can claim as God’s word or inerrant. I apologize if there was a misunderstanding, but that should be clear from the context of my emails. God’s word is truth and God has preserved it for us.

John Martignoni:

So, on the one hand, you say that the early Christian writings are “certainly important” because they help one to understand the “thoughts of the early church”…may I interpret that as the “beliefs” of the early church?…and, you also say that you believe the apostolic teachings that have been taught by the “Universal Apostolic Church” for the last 2008 years. Yet, on the other hand, you seem to be quite dismissive of the early Christians interpretations of scripture, saying they are no more or less correct than anyone else’s interpretation of scripture, and you state quite boldly that their writings are not the truth. In other words, you have left me thoroughly confused.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

This is addressed here in my previous comment. Christian writings outside of the scriptures are not authoritative, they do allow us to see what some one that scripture meant at the time, but when the message originates from men, it is flawed. No matter what man delivers it. This contrasts with inspired scripture, as the Bible says their message did not originate from them, but from God.

John Martignoni:

If you believe in the “apostolic teachings” that have been taught for the last 2008 years by the church; and the writings of the early Christians give us, as you yourself state, the thoughts or beliefs of the early church – in other words, they tell us what the apostolic teachings of the church were in the early centuries – how can you then turn around and say that the writings of the early Christians are not the truth and that Mr. Martinez would be better served by going to the Bible and coming up with his own interpretations of Scripture? Or, how can you say what you are really saying, which is Mr. Martinez would be better served not to trust in the scriptural interpretations of the early Christians whose writings give us the “thoughts of the early church,” but rather he should trust in your scriptural interpretations?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Again, this seems to come from a misunderstanding, there is no contradiction here as I hold only to the original teachings of the apostles as provided to us in God’s holy inspired word. The Bible does not establish any apostolic succession to continue to bring forth new revelation. In fact we have several warnings against anyone who would teach additional doctrines, beyond what the original Apostles taught. And we see early on that many had already come and brought wrong and deceptive teachings in to the church. Which lead Paul to scold the church in Galatia and warn them that if ANYONE even himself or the apostles or an angel from heaven was to come to you and bring another message than the one that they had first taught them, than that person should be condemned. So we can best know that we are following the original gospel as taught by the original apostles by sticking to their writings. Paul basically says this same thing in 2 Timothy as he urges Timothy to stay true to the doctrine that he was taught and to the holy scriptures and he explains that the Holy scriptures are what we should use to teach, train, correct, rebuke and that by this we will be prepared for everything.

John Martignoni:

You further contradict yourself by telling Mr. Martinez to build his “theology and doctrine from scripture,” yet, when Mr. Martinez reads James 2:24, which states that we are “justified by works and not by faith alone,” and Mr. Martinez builds his theology and doctrine on this passage and therefore does not believe in salvation by faith alone – because that dogma is in direct contradiction of Holy Scripture – you turn around and tell him his interpretation is wrong, don’t you?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Mr. Martignoni, while that one verse isolated away from the passage and from scripture certainly looks like that, when read in context it is easy to see what James means by this. Much in the same way there was a misunderstanding in what I said that led you to think I contradicted myself. The context of what James wrote brings us to Abraham and how Abraham’s faith was real. Anyone can say they have faith but what James says is :

James 2:18, But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Basically he is challenging those who with their mouths speak a faith in Christ, but in their actions show what their heart really trusts in. The only way Abraham is able to take Isaac up to the mountain and kill his son, that he was promised by God, is because he was FULLY persuaded that God would do exactly what he said he would do. (Romans 4:21) Those who have faith live by faith. This means it will be completely evident in their life who their faith is in. Is it God or man? This is the same faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego have, and it is the same faith that we are called to today. James is contrasting true faith, one that lives by faith, with faith of someone who just says “ I believe”. To this James say so what! The demons believe, and they even shudder in fear (something most people who claim him don’t do), but they do not live out their faith. If they did they would have not rebelled against him.

John Martignoni:

Or, when he reads John 6:51-58 which states several times that we must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man in order to have life within us, and he builds his theology and doctrine on this passage and therefore does not believe the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, is merely a symbol, but that it is indeed the real thing…you turn around and tell him his interpretation is wrong, don’t you?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Once again we need to understand what Jesus is saying here and how it compares with the rest of what he said and the whole of scripture. First of all, even if we did isolate this passage to build our doctrine from we would see that Jesus never established any succession of people who are capable of distributing Jesus’ flesh and blood for consumption. Meaning that if we take it outside of other scripture it would then mean that only those who were there to physically receive his body and blood could be saved, and the rest of us would be out of luck.

However, reading this in the context of where it is written and the many times that Jesus refers to himself being the bread of life, or living water, etc. We understand what Jesus is not talking about food as we know it. He is talking about “real” food. Man does not live by bread alone, but out of every word out of the mouth of God.

Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

Jesus also makes this distinction when talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus is the word, he sustains us and it is by him we live. Not bread, water, or wine. This is why he is telling us that he is “real” food. He illustrates this by saying that when we eat “fake” food we are hungry again and thirsty again. But when you get “real” food, that is the word of God, Jesus, you will never hunger or thirst again. Therefore bread and wine are really only temporary and inadequate pictures of the real and permanent food that is Jesus our Lord, creator, and sustainer.

John Martignoni:

Again, you really don’t want him to trust his interpretation of scripture, just as you don’t want him to trust the early Christians’ interpretations of scripture, do you? You really want him to trust your interpretations of Scripture, right? Well, my question to you is: Why? Why should Mr. Martinez, or anyone else for that matter, believe your interpretation of the Bible over their own interpretation of the Bible, or over the early Christians’ interpretations of the Bible ? Are you an authentic interpreter of Scripture? Is your interpretation of Scripture infallible? Yes or no?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Don’t believe me, just read it for yourself. Don’t read it from the viewpoint of any religion though or from any predetermined point of view. Just read it in context. Many false religions claim to follow the word of God and say they esteem God’s word, but then proceed to tell people that they cannot understand it with out the help of their organization. The last thing I want Mr. Martinez or anyone to do is to believe it because I said it. I am not starting a religion. I don’t even hold to any denomination or seek to promote one over the other. Again what I advocate is getting rid of teachings that have human origins, regardless what name is attached to them and returning to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible.

Eddie Walker: Round 1

As for changed doctrine, you are right there are certainly no lack of those willing to twist and distort the word for their own purposes. But clearly you do not mean to suggest that the teachings of the Roman Catholic church have not changed throughout history, that is to easy to prove. My point was not that the Roman Catholics are the only ones to deviate from the scripture, but that they are more likely to all sound the same as the get their doctrine from one organization. Similarly Jehovah’s Witnesses sound the same as they follow the teachings of the watchtower organization.

John Martignoni:

Comments/Strategies: I believe Mr. Martinez did indeed mean to suggest that the doctrinal teachings of the Roman Catholic Church have not changed throughout history. You say it is easy to prove otherwise. I challenge you to do so.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

This statement of mine was in response to Mr. Martinez saying that only “protestants” change the doctrine or teachings over time, and while there is no doubt that many people have changed their teaching over time, the Roman Catholic church is included in this as well. I don’t shrink from your challenge here, but honestly don’t know where to begin. How about the Roman Catholic church’s opinion of people who reject their teaching. Once labeled a heretic and killed, now called separated brothers and a desire that they return to the “faith”. My point to Mr. Martinez here was not to the degree to which the Roman Catholic church has changed their teachings, but to illustrate that they in fact have changed what they have taught though out time. It was in response to his statement that all “protestants” sound the same, that I said it would seem like all Roman Catholics would be more likely to sound the same because they would follow the teachings of the church.

John Martignoni

Also, in the above paragraph, you continue to make statements that make me think you have not done a thorough and rigorous analysis of your own position. You are clearly implying that for all the members of an organization to speak with one voice in regards to doctrine is a negative thing. With all due respect, but I would really like to hear your reasoning behind that position. You seem to be suggesting that it’s a positive thing to disagree on doctrine? Again, you have stated in a previous email to Mr. Martinez that you believe in a set body of apostolic teaching that has been consistent for 2008 years. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the Catholic Church is the 2008-yr. old “Universal Apostolic Church” of which you spoke in your previous email to Mr. Martinez, then wouldn’t it be a good thing that Catholics “all sound the same” since they are getting their doctrine from one organization – the organization foun ded by Jesus Christ?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Again this was in direct response to Mr. Martinez’s accusation of all “protestant” speakers who seem to sound the same. I, like you thought that was a strange statement from a Catholic, as I usually hear this from Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses as a primary reason why I should believe their organization.

And again there is no Biblical succession of men set up to change or add to the Bible. We have it all, he has preserved it for us and it is waiting for us to read and discover who he is, who we are, and want he desires from us.

It would be a good thing if we all sounded the same as we got our doctrine from God and not man. Jesus Christ did not establish any succession of men to lead us to God. He did show us the way and gave us his unchanging word. And He did establish a church to help us grow in understanding and to be able to better survive in this world until he comes or takes us home. Jesus never established a Papacy nor did he ever establish an order of people that should be followed as a Pope or Vicar of Christ, or whatever you like to call it. Jesus is the head of the church and as we follow his words we are in his church. When we follow man’s words, our worship is in vain. Matthew (15:9)

John Martignoni

Wouldn’t doctrinal differences be a sign that someone was not following the 2008-yr. old “apostolic teachings” of the church founded by Jesus Christ?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

In my opinion (just my thoughts), I believe most doctrinal differences stem from our inability or reluctance to set aside our own thoughts, beliefs, and desires and to trust fully in the word of God. I believe the closer we come to trusting in the words of the creator of Heaven and Earth, the more we will see that our doctrinal differences clear up.

Eddie Walker: Round 1

You are also right that there are many false teachers, but how can we know who the false ones are? Should we judge them by their message or by their title and the organization? If the traditions and doctrines of the Roman Catholic church did not contradict the Bible I would have no problem with them. However they have forsaken God’s word and decided to follow the traditions of men instead. And these traditions cause many well meaning people to try to worship God in ways that he finds detestable.

John Martignoni

Comments/Strategies: With all due respect, but are you not declaring the traditions and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church at odds with the Bible based on your own personal interpretations of the Bible? Indeed you are. What if you are a false teacher and your false teachings are based on your personal, fallible interpretations of the Bible? Does that thought not horrify you? You could, unintentionally, be leading people astray by your teachings. What assurance do I, or Mr. Martinez, or anyone else have that your interpretations of the Bible are accurate? Why do you believe your interpretations more reliable than mine? More reliable than Mr. Martinez’s? More reliable than the early Christians’? Again, I ask, are you infallible in your interpretations of the Bible?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

My faith is only in what God says, because I know that his words are real and are what will last forever. Everything else will perish. Many teachings of the Roman Catholic church are gravely against the Bible and are in fact another gospel entirely, that is no gospel at all. Before I decided to become a Pastor, I carefully looked at James’ words in chapter 3 verse1. And in fact I was reluctant to become a Pastor, because of this enormous responsibility. However the best way to make sure I don’t stray from the truth is to teach the truth. Not traditions, godless myths, geneologies, etc.

I have declared many of the teachings to be in violation of scripture in many areas. Not a single passage or verse taken out of context and distorted. I unlike other men, do not believe myself to be infallible or any man to be such. I don’t want anybody to follow my teachings, I only want to point them to God’s and let them stand or fall on them.

Are we not called to test all spirits? Didn’t the Bereans search the scriptures to see if Paul’s message was from God? To say that it is wrong to test or judge doctrines based upon scripture, because we are just men, would be to completely throw out all sound doctrine and allow for any interpretation regardless of how far from scripture it strays. No instead we must be on our guard against false teachers creeping in, and the best way to do that is tostick to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible.

This is precisely the reason I challenged Mr. Martinez and now you, to start with the Bible and build your doctrine from there. Don’t start with doctrine and find proof texts to support your doctrine. Lets see what the church looks like when built from the ground up from scriptures. I think there would be a great many changes, to a great many churches if they actually did this. And this is in fact how they should approach their doctrine. When we build it from the ground up we can know that we have a firm foundation from which to move forward.

Eddie Walker: Round 1

Mr. Martinez, it is most certainly not in the Bible, that Jesus ever created the office or position of Pope. Even if Peter was given the position, no apostolic succession was setup or process given. In context the passage in which you refer does not even establish Peter as a Pope or Vicar of Christ, or whatever you want to call it. In fact Jesus calls him Satan in verse 23.

John Martignoni

Comments/Strategies: You seem to be suggesting, Mr. Walker, that Jesus left His church on earth with no visible leader. Jesus’ last words to His disciples in Matthew 28 must have been: “Hey guys, everybody just do your own thing. Remember, I’m not leaving anyone in charge down here. Just tell everybody to get their own Bible, read it, and decide for themselves what is and is not correct doctrine. Of course, I’m talking about once the New Testament gets written. Until then, though, just do the best you can. Ciao!”

Eddie Walker: Round 2

No, that is not what I am suggesting. Jesus’ actual words were that he would be with us until the end of the age. Again He is the head of the church. As for human leadership that is addressed as well

John Martignoni

Or, that if Jesus did leave Peter as the head of the church He established, that once Peter was dead, then there was not to be another leader of this church founded by Jesus Christ. Let me ask you a question, Mr. Walker: Is there any mention in your scripture about your church – the one you attend on Sunday – having a visible head, a pastor? And, furthermore, does the Bible say anything about your what your church should do if your pastor dies? I don’t think it does, does it?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Paul gives clear instructions on how we should choose elders and overseers for the church. These instructions can be found in 1 Timothy and Titus. Similar qualifications are found else where as well. And while these men are chosen because of their character and doctrine, never are they given a license to change the gospel to add or subtract from the message. In fact they are instructed to stick to what has been written, to hold fast to what they have already learn, to watch our doctrine carefully, and to be devoted to the public reading of scripture. These were to be chosen because in their lives they had shown the ability to follow the word and could therefore teach it to others, not because of any succession.

John Martignoni

Yet, you have a visible head of your church, and, if that visible head of your church were to die, you would replace him, wouldn’t you? Furthermore, I’ll bet the process of hiring a new pastor that is in effect at your church is nowhere mentioned in the Bible, is it? (Does the Bible ever mention anything about pastors being hired? But I bet your church hires its pastors, doesn’t it?). You seem to be very quick to pronounce the Catholic Church as carrying on extra-biblical traditions, and condemning her for such, yet you do not apply the standards you use in regards to Catholic belief and practice, to your own belief and practice. There is a word for that, and it starts with an “h.”

Eddie Walker: Round 2

The head of the church is Jesus, the Pastor/overseer/bishop is not the head of a true Christian church. He is only a man chosen because he has shown in his life to follow the word of God and is able to teach others to do the same. We should be training all men to be able to fulfill this role.

How do you know how my church operates? I realize that you are assuming this because a great many churches may do that, but you do not know how my church operates. As I have stated the Bible is very clear on how we should choose elders, overseers, and deacons. My church would look to the body of believers and seek a man that would meet these requirements and ordain them to the ministry. This is directly from scripture.

I don’t really have problems with extra-biblical traditions, as I have mentioned to Mr. Martinez, as long as they do not conflict with scripture or cause the practice of things that would conflict. Tradition is not bad in and of itself, just like Jesus’ example in Matthew 15:3, the problem comes when by your tradition you break the word of God. As I have stated before, I would not have a problem with the Roman Catholic church or any church’s traditions if they do not contradict God’s word or cause people to when they follow them.

John Martignoni

One last thing, you would do well to read Matthew 16:16-18 in light of Isaiah 22, verses 20 and following.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Ok, I have read them both again,what is your point. Feel free to elaborate.

Eddie Walker: Round 1

Mr. Martinez , I implore you to please search the scriptures and see if it even fits into scripture, that God would allow any man to receive his honor and praise. Search and see if God would ever allow someone to be called the “queen of Heaven” or allow us to pray to anyone other than God. Daniel faced Lions instead of praying to a man, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, faced fire instead of bowing to a statue. These Godly men would rather face incredibly painful deaths than to do what millions of Roman Catholics wrongly do daily in the name of God. And while they may have zeal for the Lord, their zeal lacks knowledge and therefore will not be acceptable to God.

I will continue to pray for you Mr. Martinez.

Eddie Walker

John Martignoni

Comments/Strategies: Mr. Walker, I will assume, out of Christian charity, that your statements here are based on simple ignorance, and not on malice. And I don’t say that in a disrespectful manner, but merely to be factual. No Catholic, at least, no properly catechized Catholic, gives to any man the “honor and praise” that is due to God alone. The Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever, taught that we should honor and praise any man with the honor and praise that is due only to God. If you can find such a teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official teaching of the Catholic Church, then I will renounce my Catholic Faith tomorrow.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Yet by their actions, they way in which they live their faith, they do it daily. As James explains just saying you have faith is not the same as living it out. Saying that you are not worshipping Mary or dead men and women, does not mean anything, when your actions actually have you giving to them what rightly belongs to God. We are not to consult the dead on the behalf of the living. We are not make any graven images and worship or bow to them.

As for an example from the Catechism, how about this:

#966: “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”

We see here that it is taught that Mary is born without sin and remained without sin. This is in direct conflict with scripture that teaches that all have sinned, that no one seeks God, (Romans 3) and the fact that Mary herself said she needed a savior ( Luke 1:47). Next we see that that she is assumed into heaven (not-biblical, but created to make the sinless nature fit), And then we see that she is exalted as Queen!!! Over ALL things no less!!! This is a clear example of putting a created being in the place where only God deserves to be. Not only is this not found anywhere in scripture it is a direct affront to the whole of scripture. In fact search the scriptures for the term “Queen of Heaven”, you will find it in Jeremiah. See what God thinks about that and what he thought of anyone who followed this “queen”. God alone is God, no created being of any magnitude is worthy of our worship or praise or has any place alongside Jesus, the Father, and Holy Spirit. We certainly never even see a holy angel ascend to this place, let alone a sinful person. Mother of God?!!! She conceived the living God?!!! This is not biblical and when followed to conclusion clearly places Mary above Jesus as she “conceived” him and is in some way superior to Him as His mother. Yet we know this is not the case. While she was used to bring forth Jesus’ human body, she is only a woman, a created being that was likely quite young. But Jesus says: “Before Abraham was born, I am” John 8:58 We know Jesus created ALL things, Colossians 1:16, John 1:3. And Jesus does not esteem her any higher than any other believer when he says” Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50 So scripture tells us that Jesus conceived Mary, and that she was a sinner like everyone else and anyone who follows what God says is his mother, brother, and sister. And finally look at the last line, by your (Mary’s) prayers, will deliver our souls from death. Mary has the power to pray our souls out of death?!!! Where is this in scripture? There is only 1 way to God, one mediator, one name under heaven which men can be saved. That is Jesus Christ, not Mary! Romans 5:19 says “19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” It is only through Jesus’ work on the cross, his obedience to the Father, that we are delivered from the death that came at Adam. Not Mary’s obedience to God’s plan. If she was obedient, Jesus would have found another who was. But no one else was capable of doing what he did for us.

John Martignoni

The source of your confusion may be the Catholic usage of the phrase “pray to.” In this instance, we use the word “pray” in the same manner as the English of old would use it…as a request. I pray thee, sir, do not spread false information about my faith. When we “pray to” the angels and the saints, we do not believe that they are somehow divine…in some way God…and that we can go to them to have our prayers answered instead of going to Jesus. You would be well-served to get a Catechism of the Catholic Church and study our teachings on the Communion of Saints, because your lack of understanding in this area is causing you to falsely accuse Catholics or something that we do not do.

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Mr. Martignoni, I am well aware of the meaning of the English word “pray”, so I do not confuse it. Do you or do you not ask the dead for assistance in your life? It says in Isaiah that we are not to consult the dead on the behalf of the living, and that we should ask God. (Isaiah 8:19) I don’t care if you say that you do not think these dead people are gods or not, you are still giving the honor, respect, and admiration to them that is only due to God. That is like me having an adulterous relationship with a woman, and giving to her everything I promised to my wife, but because I do not call this woman my wife it doesn’t count. But the reality is I am giving her everything my wife deserves, I dishonor my wife, and by my actions venerate the adulteress. This is exactly the way God feels about it and the reason his anger burned against the Israelites who praised him with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him.

John Martignoni

We are simply asking the saints and angels to pray for whatever intentions we bring to them. Do not the scriptures somewhere say, “The prayer of a righteous man availeth much?” Who is more righteous than the angels and saints in Heaven, who are united to Christ in a manner far beyond what we have attained here on Earth?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Once again do not consult the dead. Talking to dead people and spirits is expressly forbidden. Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Having other living people pray for you is indeed a good thing, but consulting the dead on behalf of the living is wrong.

John Martignoni

Also, if you are saying that God does not allow us to give any honor and praise to men, then I would have to take issue with that. We do honor and praise the saints in Heaven, as well as ordinary men and women here on Earth, but not in the same way we honor and praise God. God Himself tells us to honor our father and our mother, does He not? God honored Mary by allowing her to bear His Son. And He said to her, “Blessed are you among women!” What an incredible honor! God honors Mary, are you saying we are not to do likewise?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Agreed, a different type of honor. We are even called to pay honor and respect to the authorities above us.

John Martignoni

And, all I have to say in regards to your mention of the “Queen of Heaven,” is this: If the Bible mentioned a woman, and it said she was in Heaven, and it further said that she had a crown on her head, what would you call her?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Not the Queen of Heaven and so dishonor God and that woman. What would you call a dragon in heaven with 7 crowns? This passage does not speak of Mary or her authority over all things, to say so is dishonest at best. And if her crown signified her authority over all things, why would Satan have 7 crowns? No, this passage begins with the words:” A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven” this is a sign, a symobolic message. It by no means speaks of Mary being the queen of heaven. Which would be a disgrace to her, please see Jeremiah 7:18. God said the people were provoking him to anger by making and giving gifts to the Queen of heaven. Mary would not want to be like this “Queen of Heaven” she like the angels and all true followers of God would say get up! Don’t bow to me, I am a fellow worker. worship God only!

John Martignoni

Finally, I would ask of you two questions, one of which has already been asked. I pray thee answer them:

1) Are you infallible in your interpretations of the Bible? Yes or no?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

Of course not, no one is. But we know the Bible is true and we have to stick as close to it as we can to make sure we are not led astray.

John Martignoni

2) If you believe in salvation by faith alone, then can you please explain to me how James 2:26 supports that belief?

Eddie Walker: Round 2

I think I fully covered James 2:26. I believe in salvation by grace alone. We receive this through real faith. Not lip service. If you seek further clarification please let me know.

In Conclusion

If you choose to read the full responses from Pastor Walker, you will note that there were a number of points that I let slide this time. That was because I wanted to start narrowing the focus of the arguments to just a few main points. So, let’s just say that I haven’t responded to all of his points, for now.

I hope all of you have a great week!

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Apologetics for the Masses