Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #119

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Hey folks, I’ll be in Albuquerque next weekend speaking at the diocesan evangelization conference. I think my talk is around 2:00 PM on Saturday, the 20th. If you’re in that area, would love to have you come by and say, “Hello.”

For all you coffee drinkers out there – please try out Mystic Monk Coffee (www.mysticmonkcoffee.com). These monks have been very supportive of Catholic radio around the country – giving away literally thousands of dollars of gift coupons for their coffee to radio stations who then use them as part of their fundraising drives.

I’m not a coffee drinker, so I cannot tell you firsthand if their coffee is good or not, but I have heard from others that it is excellent. So, give them a try for your next order of coffee.


This week, and probably for the next few newsletters, I’m going to be taking a break from the book I’m writing, and get back to some back and forth with a non-Catholic or two. The particular one I’m dealing with this week is Mike Patrick.

Mike has taken it upon himself to expose me for the “fraud” that I am by putting up a website called, “MartignoniRevealed.com”. I tell ya what, I guess you know you’ve “arrived” when someone devotes a whole website to you – even if he is casting me in a less than flattering way. I need to write home and let mom know that her boy has hit the big time!

So, I will be responding to things that Mike has on his website and that he has put in some emails to me, but I invite you to take a look at his website and see if you can spot the myriad of problems with his logic, his interpretations of Scripture, his view of Church teaching, and his lack of understanding in regard to the arguments I use to defend Church teaching.

Also, feel free to contact him and ask him to please put my website address on his website. After all, you would think that he would want to make it easy for folks to find my website so that they could see for themselves how “unscriptural” I am. I’ve already asked him to do so, but so far to no avail.

Below is an email exchange I am currently engaged in with him. The first is his email to me and then my response. I’ll simply print these as background and without comment. In his 2nd email, I’ll start adding some of my comments betwixt and between his.


From Mike Patrick:
I was like you. Hearing Catholics such as yourself grind some personal axe against Protestants drove me to respond, just as your past experience with your local radio station did to you, as you got angry at those you felt were "attacking" your faith.

Then I realized something – You’re interested in "faith in faith" theology; that is – a love for faith more than anything else. Jesus didn’t call us to follow His Church, but to follow Him. Modern day Catholicism is basically spiritually bankrupt. It’s religious, but not spiritual. I think this is what has happend to you. It appears you’re driven by a love for the Catholic Church itself with all of it’s trappings and ceremony, nothing more. You’re interested in recruitment, and retention. You want to "win" the Catholic vs. Protestant war. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see this.

I’ll tell you what – if you can respond with the correct answer to this one simple question, I’ll consider you credible. Right now, I don’t believe you’re sincere with your apologetic ministry, and posting a site in rebuttal would be a waste of time. I think you’re more concerned with pushing and promoting the Catholic faith, than you are in giving your listeners a true, Christian, apologetic. You see yourself as a crusader for the Catholics. I think the Bible is the last thing on your mind with regard to your ministry – so, if you can answer this one simple question, then you’ll have shown yourself as a person that merits your platform, and I’ll consider it worth my time to help you see the truth. If you can’t, or if you refuse, I’ll have my answer, and I’ll see that I was right.

The question is this: Why did Jesus come?

There – one simple question, that should be easy for a seasoned Catholic apologist. You should be able to fire off a response no problem. But if you can’t answer this one simple and perhaps the most important question you or anyone else can ask before they profess to be a teacher or "apologist" as you do, you should recondiser your ministry, or at the very least, rename it to something like "The Catholic Promo Society." One thing though; answer the question yourself. Don’t go to your priest, or email Marcus Grodi. It’s doubtful he’d be able to answer it correctly anyway.

Good luck – and may God show you the way.

In His grip,



 John Martignoni

Dear Mike,

Sorry for the delay in answering this email, it got "lost" in my inbox amongst the thousands of emails I get in each month.  

I love the way you assume things that you have no way of knowing.  First of all, I was never "angry" at those who were attacking my faith.  I simply believed it to be a matter of justice and fairness that they allow someone to have equal time to answer the spurious charges that were being made against Catholicism.  Maybe you’re an angry person, but I am not.  Wanting justice and being angry are not the same thing.

Next, I find your assertion that, "Jesus didn’t call us to follow His Church, but to follow Him," quite an incredible assertion.  What is Jesus’ Church, according to the Word of God?  Is it not the Body of Christ?  And in the Acts of the Apostles, does not Jesus very clearly identify Himself with the Church when it says that Saul persecuted the Church and later Jesus says to Saul, "Why do you persecute Me?"  In other words, you are in essence saying that Jesus did not call us to follow His Body, but to follow Him.  Is the Church the Body of Christ or not?  Why would Jesus found a Church if He did not mean for us to follow it?  With all due respect, but your reasoning leaves a lot to be desired.

"Faith in faith theology?"  What are you talking about?  Do you not have faith that faith will save you?  If so, then is that not "faith in faith theology"?  I am interested in truth.  No more…no less.  

Have you not read Scripture which says, "Judge not lest ye be judged."  Yet, you are judging me as being spiritually bankrupt.  And, you do this, without ever having met me.  I find that fascinating.  Has God somehow appointed you to be my judge?

Regarding whether or not you consider me "credible," is not something that I lose sleep over, as you obviously lose sleep over what I do.  I am indeed interested in "pushing" the Catholic Faith because it is the truth.  Nothing you have said is an argument against that truth, it is merely a personal attack on me.  

However, I will answer your one question, because I hope that by my answering your question, you will have the integrity to answer one question that I will pose to you.  

Your question: "Why did Jesus come?"  

My answer: To bear witness to the truth (John 18:37).

Did I pass?

Now, my question to you:

If you have faith, but do not have love, can your faith alone save you?  Yes, or no?

Actually, I have a second question: Are you seeking God in your life?

In Christ,

John Martignoni

P.S.  Thanks for getting that website back up…I’m excited about it.  Although, it would be helpful if you would put my website address on your site.  I’m hoping the folks who find your site will be able to easily get to mine.  After all, you don’t have anything to fear from them finding my site, do you?

Mike Patrick

Hi John – nice to hear from you.

I don’t think I’m assuming anything, since you’re quite clear on your assertions. What I’m going to say may seem harsh – don’t take it that way. I’ve never met you, but I like you, and I consider you a person after God’s heart – just a little lost.

Your presentations seem angry, especially your early ones, where you seem to hold a special, almost militant place in your heart for Protestants. I believe I heard you state that this had been brought to your attention, and you may be working on it, but it’s useful to point out that you seem to harbor that sentiment in your heart. I agree wanting justice is acceptable, which is why I’ve started my site.

My Comments:
He’s speaking here of either the 2nd or 3rd talk I ever gave – either the Sola Scriptura or the Sola Fide talk – where I mention that someone (a Catholic, not a Protestant) said something to me about the "tone" of the talk I had given the previous week.  They thought the tone may have been "harsh" for Protestant ears, and so I mention in my talk that I would not use the same "tone" were I talking to a group of predominantly Protestants.  It is quite natural to be more "fired up" when talking to your own team than when talking to the other team.  And this tone that I used was not a tone of anger or any such thing, but was simply a tone of being fired up and excited about my Catholic Faith – as most people, even Protestants, take it when they listen to my talks.  If it sounds "angry" to someone, well, not much I can do about that, people will hear what they want to hear.  I find, though, that people who find anger in anything I say are generally engaged in what the psychiatric profession calls transference – they are actually transferring their own anger onto me.  
Notice, though, that he says, "What I’m going to say may seem harsh."  Well, by his own words then, that must mean he’s angry, right?  I mean, he is essentially saying the same thing I said in my talk.  He realizes the possibility of someone seeing his words as being harsh.  When I say it, it makes me an "angry" person.  Of course, when he says it, I’m sure it simply means he is a kind, loving, sensitive and reasonable person.   I point all of this out, to show you that the double standards – in logic, in scriptural interpretation, and so on – many people use when it comes to a discussion about the Catholic Faith, can be applied to you personally as well.  But, remember, simply look at it as an opportunity.  Don’t get "angry" like I do.  
Lastly, notice that he mentions that I harbor that sentiment, anger, in my heart.  Yet, he will say below that he is not judging me.  He even mentions that "judging" someone is referring to judging their "heart condition" – which is exactly what he did – yet he maintains he is not judging me.   This guy is going to be good, folks.
Mike Patrick
As for following the Church, my assertion is that we are called to follow Jesus, and be members of the body, not to develop our faith on, and in the Church alone. Jesus’ Church is the body of Christ – I agree – but then the question becomes where is that Church, and who does it consist of? I believe Jesus was clear that His Church is comprised not of ritual and dogma, but of believers that have based their lives on God’s word. This is shown by Paul when he commends the Bereans for testing what they heard against the Scriptures. He didn’t bring the Body of Christ into it.  If a member of the body chases after traditions (the Bereans did not), or rituals (the Bereans did not), or theology developed over the ages (the Bereans did not), that person has lost his way. So – the question then becomes, are Catholics following the right church? That’s another article all together, but I think it’s safe to say that anyone who centers their life around a church without testing it against Scripture is committing the same error the Pharisees did, since it’s not the church that should define a person, but a personal relationship with Christ. I know Catholics that have been harmed by the Catholic Church – sexually abused, and their spirits broken by authoritative members of the Catholic "body." Are those people supposed to keep following a Church that Christ said could be identified by its "fruits?" No, those people need to develop a relationship with Christ – and then become part of His body. Relationship first, church body second. Catholics get it backwards.

My Comments:

He’s starting to dig himself a very deep hole here with his understanding, or lack thereof, of the Church.  I won’t comment on it here because it will be covered more in depth in the next newsletter, but see if you can spot where he has a problem.
Mike Patrick (where he quotes me I put a "JM quote" before the quote)
JM Quote: "Faith in faith theology?"  What are you talking about?  Do you not have faith that faith will save you?  If so, then is that not "faith in faith theology"?  I am interested in truth.  No more…no less. 

No – I don’t have faith in faith. What’s that? Faith in faith will not save you – Christ will. Hindu’s have faith in their faith. Buddhists have faith in their faith. Even Satan has faith in something. Faith in the Catholic faith is  misplaced, because it mistakenly believes that faith in the Catholic faith and all of its parts is what counts, when really it’s faith in Christ that counts. I can have faith in Christ and what He did for me without the Catholic Church, but as a Catholic, you can’t. It’s essentially bondage because you’re tied to the Church, not Christ. We are the "Bride" of Christ, and a Bride follows her husband, not herself.

My Comments:
Notice that he first used the phrase, "faith in faith theology," in his email above and I simply repeated it.  Yet, when I repeat his phrase he says, "What’s that?"  I thought I had bad short term memory loss.  And, again, I’ll get more into his view of the Church in the next newsletter.
Mike Patrick
JM Quote: "Have you not read Scripture which says, "Judge not lest ye be judged."  Yet, you are judging me as being spiritually bankrupt.  And, you do this, without ever having met me.  I find that fascinating.  Has God somehow appointed you to be my judge?"

No – you’re mistaken. I’m not judging you, nor your salvation, nor your heart condition – which is what the Bible is speaking of with regard to "judging." In fact, on my site I state in one of my articles that I believe you’re sincere, and that you believe you’re doing the right thing. I’m not judging you, but merely discerning that you’re sincerely wrong – you do the same with me. We’re called by Scripture to "discern."  What’s more, I never once claim you’re "spiritually bankrupt." Where did you get this? Be careful here. I also point out on my website that one of your apologetic techniques is to use a "red herring" approach with those who disagree with you. Here you do it again. By setting up a dishonest distraction, you’re hoping to disarm and lead the conversation elsewhere. It won’t work with me – I’m a Christian apologist. I can recognize the ploy – and I suspect you use it because you need to.

My Comments:

So, again, by his own definition of judging someone – passing judgment on their "heart condition" – he judged me when he said that I "harbor" anger in my heart.  Yet he denies judging me.  Also, he denies saying I’m "spiritually bankrupt."  Let’s go back to his first email above for this quote: "Catholicism is basically spiritually bankrupt. It’s religious, but not spiritual. I think this is what has happend to you."  He says Catholicism is spiritually bankrupt, and he defines spiritual bankruptcy as being "religious, but not spiritual," and then he says that is what has happened to me.  In other words, he said I was spiritually bankrupt, and yet he denies saying I’m spiritually bankrupt.  Do you see how easy it is, if you just keep track of what the other guy has said, to catch them in an inconsistency?  And we haven’t even gotten to doctrinal issues yet. 

Mike Patrick
JM Quote: "Regarding whether or not you consider me "credible," is not something that I lose sleep over, as you obviously lose sleep over what I do.  I am interested in "pushing" the Catholic Faith because it is the truth.  Nothing you have said is an argument against that truth, it is merely a personal attack on me."

Not true – I loose no sleep. I’m simply called to defend the Christian faith. It’s a privilege, and nothing to loose sleep over. Are you personally attacking Protestants when you present your position? Are you attacking Mizzi when you disagree with him? Are you attacking Christians when you make fun of them for focusing on the Bible alone, or when you state that their beliefs are wrong? Of course not! You are commendably presenting your case as you believe it to be. Likewise, I have what I believe is a calling to show that you, while being sincere in your beliefs, are sincerely wrong. No offense, just my position.

JM Quote: "Your question: ‘Why did Jesus come?’  My answer: To bear witness to the truth. Did I pass?"

You did indeed pass. I wonder if you had to look it up, but I’ll assume you didn’t. I heard one of your presentations where you claimed Jesus came to build His Church – it makes me wonder why you didn’t mention that He came to bear witness to the truth. Only you know in your heart if you looked it up or not, and that will tell you how close you are to Christ. If you did look it up, consider how you’re being fed (or not being fed) spiritually in the Catholic Church. By the way – God put it on my heart to ask you that very specific question. I’m sure there was a reason.

My Comments

I cannot begin to tell you what a relief it was that I passed his test!  Please don’t anyone tell him that I use that verse (John 18:37) at the beginning of my "One Church" talk, which he obviously has not listened to.  I want him to think that I had to look it up.  Notice very carefully that his reason for asking me that question is that "God put it on my heart to ask you that very specific question."  Really?  How does he know that it was God, and not his own ego, or possibly even the malevolent one?  And what proof can he give me that it was God’s doing?  None.  He is going to turn out to be another one in a long line of folks who claim not to be infallible, but who, when responding to what I have to say, act as if they are indeed infallible.

Mike Patrick

JM Quote: "Now, my question to you: If you have faith, but do not have love, can your faith alone save you?  Yes, or no?"

I assume you’re making a reference to the "Faith alone" doctrine of Sola Fide.  I’ll answer your question this way:

You destroy the Catholic Church with your implication. There is much more to the Catholic Church than faith and love combined that is required post initial justification to maintain a Catholic’s salvation. There are many legalistic requirements that are involved – just as there were with the Pharisees. The reality is that many people come to Christ BEFORE they have a love for their fellow person. It is AFTER Justification and saving by Christ that most people develop a Christ like love for one another through the Holy Spirit. Christians are commanded to love one another and others, but you can’t be a Christian without first coming to Christ and being saved. See your dilemma? Now, if a person becomes a true Christian, and they then love, their faith is authentic. A Christian that claims to have faith, but not love, does not have an authentic relationship with Christ because they don’t bear fruit, and in that case, their faith cannot save them. As a Catholic, you are not even required to love for your salvation, because you receive, through the sacraments, your saving grace. It’s all about you, not me, or anyone else. You get the sacraments, you’re good to go. Christianity, on the other hand, is all about self-sacrifice – not gain.

My Comments

Again, I’m going to leave off commenting on this until a future newsletter.  But, be thinking about how you would respond to what he says here.  Think particularly about how he has contradicted himself within the above paragraph regarding faith and love in relation to his explanation of salvation.  Also, what all is he saying about Catholic teaching that is not true?

Mike Patrick

JM Quote: "Actually, I have a second question: Are you seeking God in your life?"

Always – are you, or are you really seeking the Catholic Church? Is it giving you Christ? Are you in the Catholic Church, or are you in Christ? Is there a difference? You owe it to yourself to find out – and I’m willing to help you along the way.

Keep checking out my site – there’s more to come. Also – I’m praying for you, and that you come to Christ soon.

PS – I’m assuming I can post this conversation on my site. If you don’t feel that’s appropriate, let me know. I’ll wait for a period of time to hear from you. If I don’t, I’ll assume it’s OK.

In His grip,


My Comments

I’ll bet I know what a lot of you were thinking when you read his question about the Catholic Church: "Is it giving you Christ?"  Now, if he had told me that God put it on his heart to ask me that "specific question," I probably would have believed that it was indeed God that did that.  This poor soul doesn’t realize that the answer to that question is, "Yes!  A million times, yes!"  Please keep him in your prayers.  More of my exchange with him in the next newsletter (in two weeks).

In Conclusion

I hope all of you have a great weekend!

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Apologetics for the Masses