Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #95

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

It seems my old pal Dr. Joe Mizzi is still sending a bunch of you his newsletter and that in his last issue he’s letting you know that he has “challenged” me to a debate on Sola Scriptura and that I haven’t yet replied to his challenge. Well, as I said in a previous newsletter, I am not going to respond to any of his “arguments,” such as they are, or to any of his “challenges,” until such time as he answers the last set of questions that I asked him.

It was just 12 very simple “yes or no” questions. Should take him less than 2 minutes to answer them. I will repeat those 12 questions at the bottom of this “General Comments” section. The reason I won’t respond to him until he answers these questions is because his standard modus operandi is to never respond directly to my questions or my arguments, but to simply repeat his mischaracterizations, half-truths, and outright lies about Catholic belief and practice. So, I am doing this to force him, if possible, to respond directly to my questions. If he refuses to answer my questions, then I refuse to talk to him…just that simple, and just that fair.

Therefore, my suggestion to anyone who receives Joe’s emails is to send him these 12 questions and let him know that I would be happy to debate him on Sola Scriptura – once he answers my previous questions. And then you should request that he no longer send you any future emails. He has given his word he would stop sending emails to anyone who asked him not to…see if he lives up to his word.

Here are the 12 yes-no questions:

Question #1: Joe, you have admitted that it is “possible” that the Holy Spirit could have enabled the successors of the Apostles to “faithfully and accurately pass along the traditions Paul taught by ‘word of mouth.’” You, however, do not believe this happened. Is it possible that you are wrong on this matter and that Catholics are right…yes or no?

Question #2: You do not believe in the passing on of Apostolic Tradition by “word of mouth” from one generation to the next. Is your belief based on your understanding and explanation of the Bible…yes or no? If, “yes,” please give me the specific verse or verses from the Bible that you draw your belief from.

Question #3: Do you believe that all of the Apostolic teachings that were initially taught by “word of mouth,” were eventually written down in the Scriptures…yes or no? If, “yes,” please give the specific verse or verses in the Bible that say such a thing. If “no,” then please give the specific verse or verses in the Bible that say none of these non-written Apostolic teachings were passed on to future generations “by word of mouth.”

Question #4: Does 2 Timothy 2:2 command the passing on of Apostolic teaching via oral transmission…yes or no?

Question #5: You have admitted that you “can” make mistakes in your “understanding and explanation of the Bible.” Have you, then, ever actually made a mistake in your understanding and explanation of the Bible…yes or no?

Question #6: Since you can make mistakes in your interpretation of the Bible, could you have a mistaken interpretation and understanding of certain Bible verses that is causing you to mistakenly deny the truths of one or more Catholic teachings…yes or no?

Question #7: Since you admit to “many false beliefs and mistakes,” could you be wrong in one or more of the areas where you disagree with Catholic doctrine…yes or no? In other words, could the Catholic Church actually be right on at least one, possibly more, of the doctrines you deny…yes or no?

Question #8: Are you guided by the Holy Spirit when you interpret Scripture…yes or no? If, “yes,” then how can you admit to errors in understanding and explanation of the Scriptures? If, “no,” then how can you be sure of any of your understandings and explanations of the Scriptures since it is based on your human reasoning and understanding?

Question #9: Were you unaware that there were several editions of the Bible available in German before Martin Luther was even born…yes or no? If your answer is, “yes,” will you now admit that you were wrong on that account?

Question #10: Does the Bible say that the Letter of James is “God-breathed”…Holy Spirit-inspired and inerrant…yes or no? If, “yes,” please give chapter and verse. If, “no,” then will you admit that your knowledge of the inspiration of James has its roots in oral tradition…yes or no?

Question #11: Is it possible that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead…yes or no?

Question #12: Does the Bible say, directly or indirectly, that we are to discern the spirit of truth from the spirit of error by individually picking up the Bible and reading it…yes or no? If, “yes,” please give chapter and verse.


Okay, this week I’m going to do something a little bit different. The last few newsletters have been an exchange between Pastor Eddie Walker and myself. Pastor Walker has not yet responded to my last email, although I have received an email from him saying that he will respond. I think it’s taking him a bit longer than usual because he’s trying to figure out how to extricate himself from the mess he’s gotten himself into by declaring that he is NOT seeking God. A supposedly Christian pastor declaring in a very clear and unambiguous manner that he is NOT SEEKING GOD! Well, I put it to him, from the Bible, on that particular issue, and I’m very anxious to see how he responds.

You know, Martin Luther had a famous analogy about how utterly corrupt man is, and how the saved man is still corrupt, but he is like a pile of dung that has been covered over by the pure white snow of Jesus’ saving grace. According to Luther, when God looks at a “saved” man, He doesn’t see the dung pile of man, He simply sees the covering layer of pure white snow that is Jesus Christ. Well, I think Pastor Walker thought he was stepping into pure white snow, and didn’t realize that there was a pile of Martin Luther underneath.

I predict to you that his next response is going to be filled with so many logical inconsistencies and outright nonsense, that you won’t know whether to laugh at how silly it is, or to cry at how sad it is.

So, since I’m still waiting to hear back from Pastor Walker, this week I’m going to talk about something else – contraception. Several weeks ago I attended the 32-year reunion of my high school class. (Our class enjoys getting together so much that we don’t wait for every 5 or 10 years, but try to meet at least every couple of years.) During that reunion I had an excellent conversation with the husband of one of my classmates. We talked about God, contraception, and cattle futures. It played to my late vocation of Catholic evangelist/apologist, but also to my earlier vocation in the world of corporate finance and investments. Conversations don’t get much better than that.

Anyway, Greg, who is not Catholic, disagreed with the Catholic teaching on contraception, but gave me the opportunity to convince him otherwise. I think I made some inroads with him, but then he asked about NFP and said that he viewed that as basically being the same thing as contraception. And, he didn’t really buy my response to his objection. In other words, while I think I made some headway on the issue of contraception, I didn’t make any on the issue of NFP. So, I thought I should put down on paper my arguments regarding contraception and NFP in order to expand on them in a way that I couldn’t in a 45-minute or so conversation. I hope this exercise proves useful to you should you ever come across folks who question you on these matters.


First, I will argue for why contraception is wrong; then I will argue for why NFP is not wrong. But, where to begin? Well, I always like to begin where one should always begin…“In the beginning…” The Book of Genesis. If you’re going to convince a non-Catholic Christian in regards to the evil of contraception, one of your main weapons is going to have to be the Bible.

So, does the Bible say anything at all that bears upon the issue of contraception? Indeed it does. Much, in fact. In Genesis 1, verse 26, it says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Notice the use of the words “Us” and “Our” here. Since the beginning of the Christian Church, Christian writers have seen the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in these words. So, God says, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” And then what does it say in the very next verse…verse 27? So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Male AND female. Now, each individual male and each individual female are made in the image of God in that they have intellect and will. But, there is a manner in which male AND female TOGETHER image God…image the Blessed Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…in a way that neither the male alone nor the female alone can, and that is in the combined ability to bring forth new life.

I made some inroads in my conversation with Greg regarding contraception when I asked him about God’s love. I asked: “What kind of love does God have – pro-creative love or anti-creative love?” I explained that God’s love always brings forth life. It is pro-creative, not anti-creative. God created us…why? Because He loved us. God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Who is eternally begotten, is begotten out of love. The love between Father and Son is so real, so complete, that it is actually a separate person within the Godhead – the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, because of the love of the Father and the Son. God’s love is a pro-creative love. It is a life-giving love. For God, love and life are inextricably linked. For God, to love is to bring forth life.

And then I followed up by asking Greg: “Are not we, as Christians, called to imitate Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Trinity?” To which he agreed. What follows from that then, is that if our love should imitate the love of Jesus Christ…the love of God…then it also should be a pro-creative love, rather than an anti-creative love. Our love should be life-giving and not life-hindering. Our love should be an unselfish love, just as God’s love is an unselfish love.

Bringing this all back to chapter 1 of Genesis, we come now to verse 28. “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it…’” God blessed them! How did He bless them? Well, He obviously blessed them with the ability to multiply, but His blessing goes beyond that. God blessed them…with marriage. He took what was one – Adam – that had been made into two – Adam and Eve – and made them one again. He blessed them by making them husband and wife. We see this in chapter 2, verse 24: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his WIFE, and they become one flesh.”

So God joins man and woman, Adam and Eve, together in marriage, and what then is the very first thing God says to this married couple? “Be fruitful and multiply.” Be fruitful! Multiply! God’s command to married couples is to be fruitful. To multiply! God is essentially saying, “You were made male and female so that your love could be like Our love. So that your love could be a pro-creative love…an unselfish love…a life-giving love. So that your love could bring forth life just as Our love brings forth life.”

The love of God is always and everywhere a love that brings forth life. Our love is supposed to mirror, best we can, the love of God. When a husband and wife love each other to the point that a life is brought forth, they are mirroring the action of God as closely as two people possibly can in this lifetime. They are cooperating with God in bringing forth a new life, a new soul! What an awesome thing!

As Scripture tells us in Genesis 1 that man was brought forth in the “likeness” of God, so it also tells us in Genesis 5 that man brings forth children in his own “likeness.” The exact same word that is used in describing God’s actions, is used in describing the actions of man in conjunction with God. When we love our husband or our wife, and that love brings forth a new creation, we are participating ever so intimately with God in the creation of a new human being! That should boggle the mind of anyone who takes the time to sit and ponder this miracle…this singular gift that has been given to husband and wife.

Now, where does that leave us in terms of the Bible and contraception? Well, the first two chapters of Genesis show us that we were created in the image and likeness of God. And, if we are created in the image of God, then we should love as God loves…with a life-giving love…a pro-creative love. Furthermore, these chapters have shown us that God Himself has linked bringing forth new life with marriage. In fact, it can be rightly said that Scripture here shows us that God has made bringing forth new life the primary purpose of marriage. God makes Adam and Eve husband and wife and the very first thing He does is to command the newlyweds to be fruitful and multiply.

Let’s look further into Genesis and see if there is anything else here that speaks against contraception. In Genesis 38 we have the story of Onan. Onan is one of the sons of Judah. Onan had an older brother named Er. Er married Tamar. Er died before he could bring forth any offspring with Tamar. So, the custom of the day was that if a married man died before bringing forth a male heir, then his brother should “lay down” with the man’s widow to hopefully bring forth a male heir. If a male heir was born, he would be raised as the deceased brother’s son, rather than the son of his biological father. This was called the Levirate duty of a brother – bringing forth offspring on behalf of his dead brother.

Well, since Onan’s brother Er had died without an heir, it was Onan’s duty to produce an heir for him, by having intercourse with Tamar. Onan did so, but did not want to have a child that would be considered Er’s son. So, at the moment of copulation, he withdrew from Tamar and spilled his seed on the ground. This is the only time that I can think of, in all of Scripture, that a contraceptive practice is mentioned. And, what happens to Onan as a result of engaging in this contraceptive practice? Scripture tells us that what Onan did was “displeasing” in the sight of the Lord, so God slew him.

Notice very carefully that Scripture records that it was what Onan “did” that cost him his life, not what he didn’t do. He did not fulfill the Levirate duty of a brother. He did commit a deliberate act of contraception. He was killed for spilling his seed, not because he didn’t fulfill his duty. We can be sure this is true because in Deut 25, we find the penalty, given by Scripture, for the punishment of someone who does not fulfill the Levirate duty. Is the punishment death? Far from it. It is public embarrassment and humiliation. In Deut 25:5-10, we see that the punishment consists of the widow of the first brother pulling a sandal off of the non-compliant brother and spitting in his face. Not exactly the death penalty. So, non-compliance with the Levirate duty was punished by being publicly embarrassed. Which means Onan was killed because he contracepted, not because he refused to fulfill his Levirate duty, as some have argued.

For further evidence from Scripture, I would go to Eph 5:31-32 – “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church.” What’s going on here? St. Paul is quoting from Genesis 2:24, the very passage I quoted above, regarding the marital relationship between Adam and Eve…between man and woman. But St. Paul takes it one step further and uses this verse to describe the relationship between Jesus and His bride…the Church. In other words, the relationship between husband and wife is analogous to the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Which means the relationship between husband and wife should mirror the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Scripture tells us this is indeed the case. “As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Eph 5:24-25)

So, the relationship between husband and wife should reflect…should be patterned after…the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the Church. Married couples should pattern their love on the love of the 3 persons of the Trinity for one another, and on the love of Jesus for His Church…His bride. Question: Does Jesus ever hold back anything of Himself from us? Does Jesus ever hold back the life-giving aspects of His love in His relationship with us? In other words, in His relationship with us, does Jesus ever contracept? (By the way, contraception simply means contra conception…against conception…against life, and in regards to God I am obviously speaking on the spiritual plane – about spiritual life – and not on the physical plane.) Does Jesus ever hold back His life from us? No!

Does God – Father, Son, or Holy Spirit – ever hold back any life-giving aspect of their love for each other…or for us? Does any person of the Trinity ever hold back the life-giving aspects of their love in their relationship with one another? In their relationship with us? In other words, does any member of the Trinity ever contracept? No!

Never does Jesus hold back the life-giving aspect of Who He is in His relationship with us. Never do the 3 persons of the Trinity hold back the life-giving aspect of Who they are in their relationship with one another. Never do the 3 persons of the Trinity hold back the life-giving aspect of Who they are in their relationship with us. God loves and so He gives life. We were created in His image and likeness, so our love should give life.

Why then, if we are to pattern our love for our spouse, our relationship with our spouse, after the relationship of the persons within the Trinity; after the relationship of Jesus Christ with His Church…why then is it ever suggested that contraception be allowed and be considered a good thing? If Jesus doesn’t ever hold back life from us…if the Trinity doesn’t ever hold back life from one another nor from us…then why should one spouse hold back the life-giving aspect of who they are from the other?

Yet, the vast majority of non-Catholic Christians believe that contraception is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. It continually amazes me, though, that some of those who rail against Catholic teachings by claiming that you can’t find the Pope in the Bible, that you can’t find the priesthood in the Bible, that you can’t find the Immaculate Conception in the Bible, that you can’t find the Assumption of Mary in the Bible, and so on…well, ask them where you can find contraception in the Bible and how do they reply? They say, “The Bible is silent on the issue so we are free to believe as we think best in this area.” Do you catch the double standard? They believe the Bible is silent on the Pope on the Immaculate Conception on the Assumption and so on; therefore Catholics are wrong to believe these things. But, the Bible is silent on contraception (according to them), so it’s okay to believe and practice it. Yikes!

My good buddy Dr. Joe Mizzi once sent me an article on contraception that is on his website. In it he argues that Scripture tells us that sex within marriage is not just for making babies, but for pleasure as well. He states that as if Catholics teach otherwise. (Again, his ignorance of Catholic teaching is on public display.) Anyway, he cites a few Scripture passages to prove his point that sex within the confines of marriage is for the purpose of pleasure as well as the purpose of bringing forth new life. After citing these passages he goes on to make the incredible leap from saying the purpose of sex within marriage is twofold, to giving the thumbs up to contraception. In other words, he thinks that since the purpose of the marital union is twofold, it’s okay to separate these purposes one from the other.

And, he actually says that he “thinks” there is a legitimate use of contraception. He thinks?! Not a single Bible passage does he cite to back up what he “thinks”! Not a single Bible verse that cites where the life-giving aspect of marital union should be separated from the love-giving aspect of marital union – as happens when one contracepts. For Dr. Mizzi, as is so often the case, he takes an either-or position; whereas, as Catholics, we take a both-and position. It is not either love or life, it is both love and life that God bound together in the marital embrace. And, as Scripture says, what God has joined, let no man rend asunder.

But, in truth, he isn’t thinking at all in this matter. If it’s okay to separate the marital union into its component parts – one aspect life-giving and the other love-giving, then you have just opened up a Pandora’s box. Which is exactly what happened when the Anglicans ruled back in 1930 that contraception was okay.

If it’s morally acceptable to separate the pleasurable nature of sex, from the life-giving nature of sex, then what happens? Well, the first thing that happens is that all of a sudden, sterile sex becomes morally acceptable. Which means, masturbation becomes morally acceptable. After all, it’s pleasurable, and since it doesn’t have to be life-giving, then it must be morally acceptable. And that leads to homosexual sex becoming morally acceptable. After all, the partners are “in love” and this sexual act between them is pleasurable and builds their “love” for one another, and since it doesn’t have to be life-giving, it must be morally acceptable.

Then you have pre-marital sex becoming morally acceptable, as long as you do contracept – as long as you are trying to avoid conveying life. Then prostitution becomes morally acceptable. Afterall, if it’s okay to separate life and love one from another within the sex act, then why isn’t it acceptable to separate life and love from the sex act altogether? I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that this separation of love from life in the marital embrace leads to all manner of perversions. It leads to divorce. It leads to pornography. It leads to abortion. It leads to pedophilia. It leads to bestiality. It leads to in vitro fertilization – separating love from life. It leads to test tube babies. It leads to cloning. On and on and on the list goes.

But, even if someone does not accept all of these latter arguments, it is nevertheless a fact that nowhere does contraception appear in a favorable light in the Bible, and it’s not because contraception was unknown – various contraceptive methods have been known to man for thousands of years. And nowhere can the argument be made that either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit ever hold back the life-giving aspect of their love. If they don’t, why is it okay for us to?

In Conclusion

I have a little bit more to say on this subject, not from the Bible, but from history, but if I don’t stop now, I won’t get a newsletter out this week. So, I’ll continue next week and then will also take up the issue of NFP.

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Apologetics for the Masses