Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #120

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Please continue to keep Breigh Gallagher in your prayers, and her little sister, as well as all of the family. Breigh has had a number of tests done and they will be doing a bone marrow transplant, from her 7-yr. old sister, within about 10 days or so. I will send along more information from Breigh’s grandmother once I have it.


Okay, in the last newsletter, I gave you some history about some exchanges I have had with a guy named Mike Patrick who started a website called: MartignoniRevealed.com. In this newsletter, I was going to continue my response to his previous emails, but after reading his response to my last newsletter, which he published on his website, I decided to change course temporarily.

Ordinarily I might or might not respond to what he said – I catch so much garbage from people that it’s always a decision as to which piece of garbage to respond to and which to just let go – but I decided to respond to this particular one for three reasons:

1) I’m the one who let you guys know about his website and I know that I would soon be getting emails from some of you asking me: “Aren’t you going to respond to what he said?”

2) I think this can be used for what I call a “catechetical moment.” The way this guy not only gets it wrong about what I have said in the past, but also contradicts himself over and over and over again – sometimes in the same paragraph – is very instructive for what you will come across, sooner of later, when you go out there and start defending the Faith with folks. So, just expect it. Don’t let it discourage you or frustrate you or turn you into a “mad” and “angry” Catholic – which we all apparently are anyway. Just expect it, try maybe once or twice to deal with it, then move on.

3) Let you see a prime example of how, if you just pay attention to what the other guy is saying, you can spot contradiction after contradiction in their words – quite often within just a few sentences and sometimes even within the same sentence. It’s not always this easy, but it’s pretty close.

His full response is below, but broken up by my comments. If you wish to read it uninterrupted, it’s on the “Articles” page and is entitled, “Email Sniper.” Again, the website is: www.MartignoniRevealed.com.

Again, in the next newsletter, the plan is to go back and respond to the rest of the email that I posted in the last newsletter.


John Martignoni


I’ve just now checked out your "response," or rather, your lack thereof.  In all honesty, I’m trying to decide if you are being deliberately malicious, or just disingenuous, or willfully ignorant, or you simply do not have the capacity to follow an argument from one page to another and therefore continually misrepresent not only what I said, but what you yourself said as well.  You deny saying things that you really did say, and then you say I said things that I never came close to saying.  

I will prove this to you by commenting paragraph-by-paragraph on your "non-response" below and giving exact quotes from me and from you.  

But, before I get to that, I want to ask you two questions:  You denied, in a previous email, that you called me "spiritually bankrupt."  In my last newsletter, Issue #119, I quote your email where you do indeed call me spiritually bankrupt.  So, my question for you is: Do you still deny saying I am spiritually bankrupt?  Yes or no?  I hope that’s not too theologically complex of a question for you.  You also deny judging me, yet; did you or did you not say that I have anger in my heart?

Now, on to your "non-response."  I will put your words in italics.

Mike Patrick:

Email Sniper
Sometimes you think you’ve got the bases covered, and then someone throws you a curve you didn’t expect. John throws a great curve ball – or was it a screwball?

John Martignoni

Oh, please!!!  I published an email exchange between us, which you had already informed me you were going to publish on your website – which, by the way, is dedicated solely to trashing the Catholic Faith, in general, and me, in particular – and you have the audacity to feign offense?  

Mike Patrick

After my first email to John notifying him of my site, and asking him to visit sometime, he wrote back to me. He made some points, and he asked me to answer a few questions. Sometime later, I started to receive hundreds of angry emails from Catholics saying they were mad because they thought I was “attacking” John. I had to ask a student where he found my site. It was in BCS newsletter # 119, along with our email exchange! I found this strange, because I politely asked John if it would be alright if I posted our exchange on my site, but I never heard back from him. I felt asking was the Christian thing to do, and besides it’s always been kind of creepy to me when someone knows that they’re going to post your conversation publicly, but they don’t mention it to you. It’s kind of like recording a conversation on the phone without telling the other person, and then bringing it out later – it’s too Hollywood for me. I think phone recording is illegal in most states without notifying the other party – but maybe some people think that sort of thing is okay by email. I don’t.

John Martignoni

You leave out quite a few facts here, don’t you, Mike?  Let’s go back through the process step-by-step, shall we?

Fact #1 – You had sent me a number of emails, in regard to my newsletters, over a period of several months, beginning in 2007, to which I never responded, before you ever put up your website.  In those emails you tried to goad a public response from me.  

Fact #2 - It was well over a year ago that you sent me an email in which you first mentioned your site.

Fact #3 - When you first mentioned your site to me, I checked it out, and there was basically nothing substantial on it at that time.

Fact #4 – Just a few weeks later, though, your site was down.  I did not hear from you that it was down.  In fact, I did not hear from you for many months after that.

Fact #5 – You then sent an email towards the end of last year, in response to one of my newsletters, which I responded to on January 2, 2009.  In your email, you mentioned nothing at all about your site – which was still not up and running.

Fact #6 – In my January 2nd email to you, I bemoaned the fact that your website was not up because I had been looking forward to reading it.

Fact #7 – You responded by saying that you were not sure you were going to put it back up because you did not know if I was "credible" or not.  And you asked me a question, which you said, if I answered correctly, you would then "consider it worth your time to help me."  

Fact #8 –  I emailed an answer to you; and then, only after you had asked me your question and I had answered it, did I ask you some questions of my own.

Fact #9 -  You put the website back up, but you did not email me to let me know.  I found out about it because Google has a service that lets me know when my name is used on someone’s website, and it notified me that my name had appeared on your website, which you had apparently recently put back up.

Fact #10 - You emailed me a response on May 21, 2009, in which you gave answers to my questions.  In this email, you stated the following: "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."

Fact #11 - I posted our email conversation on my website only after you stated to me that you were going to post it on your website – a few weeks after, as a matter of fact – and after having received a number of emails from you over the previous 1-2 years in which you tried to get a public response from me.

Now, read back through what you wrote, and then read through the facts – and I have your emails to me, so please don’t try to deny this sequence of events – and see if that changes the perspective a bit.

And one other very big fact, in your last email to me, sent after I published our email exchange, you said the following about my posting that exchange: "Very flattering indeed!" and, even better: "Thanks again for bringing so much attention to my website. I’m sure it would have remained buried had it not been for the generous attention you gave it!"  

So, publicly on your website you say one thing – I threw you a "curveball," or a "screwball," and it’s "kind of creepy" and you likened it to illegal wiretapping, and you don’t think "that sort of thing" is okay.  But, privately, you tell me you are flattered by what I did, and that you appreciate all the attention I gave to your website and you recognize fully that it would have "remained buried" except for the "generous attention" I gave it.  You ought to run for office, son.

Seems to me, Michael, that you don’t hesitate to speak out of both sides of your mouth.  If you address nothing else in this email – please address this one paragraph. Again, I honestly don’t know if you are being deliberately malicious or if you’ve simply got a screw loose somewhere.  Did you think I wouldn’t see your public response and that somehow I would not notice that you characterized my actions one way publicly, and in a completely different way privately?  

So, just to summarize a few points about the "non-response" you posted on your website: You stated one thing publicly, quite another privately.  You did not mention that you had emailed me as far back as 2007 in response to my newsletters, trying to get me to make a public response to you.  Which means you also did not mention that you knew that I frequently post in my newsletters the emails I receive from people.  You also did not mention that you had indeed notified me of your website well over a year ago, but that there was pretty much nothing on it at the time and that you did not notify me when it was taken down after being up for only 2-3 weeks; and you neglected to mention that it was down for about a year and that you did not notify me when it had come back online.  You also failed to mention that you initiated the question and answer sequence, and that I asked you questions only after I had proven myself "worthy" of your help. You also neglected to mention that your request to me to post our conversation on your website was worded in such a way that my non-response would be taken by you as tacit approval. Which means that I gave you my approval to post our conversation by not responding.  

So, when I do exactly what you have been wanting me to do for two years – give you some public attention; and when I do exactly what you were going to do – post our conversation on your website; you try to act as if you’re somehow offended?  There’s a line from the French guy guarding the castle in Monty Python’s "Holy Grail" that strikes me as being wholly appropriate right now, but I don’t use that kind of language any more.  

The one big difference, Mike, between my website and yours, and really my website and just about any non-Catholic apologetics website that I’ve come across, is that I publish the full contents of what someone sends to me.  There are a number of people out there who snipe at my newsletters and at my talks, and in pretty much every case that I know of, they never – ever – give the full context and content of what I write or of what I say – you most definitely included.  I am more than fair and above board with folks like you, because I publish every single one of your words – because I have nothing to fear from you.  That’s why I can let, without hesitation, 21,000 + Catholics know all about your site.  My readers have nothing to fear from you.  Why, I probably increased traffic to your site by over a hundredfold.  

And, why is it that you characterize those who wrote you emails simply challenging you to post my website address as "angry" and "mad"?  You put up a website that indirectly attacks the Catholic Faith, and directly attacks me personally – and I assume you see that as being kind and gracious and charitable; yet when someone sends you an email, simply challenging you to do something which fairness demands you do anyway – that is being "angry" and "mad"?  Double standard, old boy.

Mike Patrick

Anyway, many of his students were angry that I didn’t have a link on my site to John’s site. That was correct – I didn’t. John had asked me to put a link on my site to his, but he never put one on his site to mine, so it just never happened. Traded links are often called “reciprocal,” because each site exchanges them in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” fashion. Maybe John figures he doesn’t need to reciprocate. 

John Martignoni

Uhmm…did you ever ask me to reciprocate?  Besides, I never asked for a link to my site, that is an outright lie.  I simply asked that you give out the site address so that everyone could easily find it.  But, even more importantly, my entire website is not devoted to personally attacking you and your faith.  If it was, then the first thing I would have done, to be fair – to be a Christian – would have been to post very clearly and very plainly, the address to your website.  I believe in letting people see for themselves.  You were not doing that until my "mad" and "angry" readers "chastised" you for your gross oversight.  Whenever I am discussing something about anyone else, and they have a website that I know of, I always, without exception, give out their website address – whether or not they "reciprocate." It is the only fair and Christian thing to do when talking about someone else – let the people hear or read for themselves what the other guy is saying instead of just relying on your opinion of what he is saying.  Where does Jesus say, "If someone takes your coat, do not give them your shirt until they reciprocate?"  

Furthermore, why did you finally put the link on your site?  Was it because I had already told 21,000+ people about yours…even though I had no promise of reciprocation from you?  Or, were you just afraid of a bunch of "angry" Catholics?  In other words, did I or did I not post your website address on my website – which is much more heavily trafficked than yours – without first obtaining a guarantee from you that you would reciprocate?  In other words, I did for you what you refused to do for me, correct?  Yet, I’m the bad guy in all this in your worldview, right?

Mike Patrick

The funny thing was that many of his students chastised me, called me a “coward” and beat me into the ground for not having a BCS link, but ignored John not linking to me. Even newsletter #119 didn’t link to my site, it just referenced it. Go figure. I have since posted a link to John’s site under “Who is the Bible Christian Society?” I want to be Christian, and fair about it. It doesn’t matter to me if he posts mine or not. I want people to see what John is doing.

John Martignoni

The fact of the matter is, dear Michael, that every single person who emailed you found out about your website because of me.  So I did do for you exactly what I had asked you to do for me.  How is it that that fact eludes you?  Again, I did not ask you to link to my site, I simply asked you to give out the address to it.  Here is the quote from my email to you: "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…After all, you don’t have anything to fear from them finding my site, do you?"  And, this is what I said to my readers in Issue #119: "Also, feel free to contact him and ask him to please put my website address on his website."  Never did I ask you to link to my site nor did I ask my readers to ask you that.  That is something of your own contrivance.

And, let’s look at what you say above – once again you contradict yourself within just 2-3 sentences: First you say that you didn’t put my website address up because I had not reciprocated; then you say that "It doesn’t matter to me if he posts mine or not."  But, it did matter to you, according to your own words, that’s why you didn’t post my website address.  You say that you "want people to see what John is doing."  Well, if that’s the case, why didn’t you post the website address to begin with?  I want people to see what I’m doing, too.  Once again, talking out of both sides of your mouth. 

Mike Patrick 

Since the email exchange from newsletter #119, I’ve challenged John to a more formal and structured debate with a “one subject at a time” format. I did this for a couple of reasons:

1: Loose email exchange debate is less efficient, and more prone to misunderstanding than formal debating is. Pick a topic, set the playing rules, and debate – don’t just argue.

John Martignoni

So, if we had been in a formal debate, you wouldn’t have misquoted me and you wouldn’t have misquoted yourself, and you wouldn’t have said one thing about me publicly, but quite another thing to me privately? 

Mike Patrick 

2: There’s less chance of anyone getting away with a “shot-gun” approach. In my article “The Apologetics of John Martignoni” I describe an email exchange John had with pastor Matt Johnson. In that exchange, I sensed that John knew he was losing the debate. Apparently I was correct. at one point, John bulldozed Johnson by insisting he answer 42 fairly complex theological questions. He insisted that Mr. Johnson answer “yes or no” to each question first, and provide scriptural references for the questions specific to the Bible. Any other questions were to be answered with simple “one” or “two” word answers should Mr. Johnson have chosen to expand his answers. The point is that Martignoni didn’t want Johnson to answer, so he setup impossible requirements and rules so that Johnson was shut-down. Since Martignoni owns the platform, he calls the shots, but it’s poor instruction for his students. You can find the newsletter debates with Matt Johnson at biblechristiansociety.com

John Martignoni

Once again, a gross distortion of the facts, and those who have been around for awhile reading my newsletter know it.  In the exchange with Matt Johnson, which you reference, where I gave him more "airtime" than I’ve ever given anyone else, he was the one who took the shotgun approach.  I merely followed his lead and did not try to narrow our conversations as I normally would.  One of the reasons was to show my readers what happens when you try to answer every single question someone asks you without narrowing down the topics.  The conversation gets pretty convoluted.

By the way, Mr. Johnson, in his last response to me stated: "Bravo. I am so glad you published the bulk of our exchange so far. Actually, I’m impressed. Good for you. So far I have been wrong about what you would publish…I also recognize that you are the one who has been gracious enough to make our exchange available to a greater audience than my own humble congregation. Thank you."  I didn’t just publish the "bulk" of the exchange, I published all of it.  And, once again, an example of my giving a non-Catholic much more exposure than you guys usually give to me.  

What you didn’t say in your public "non-response," Mike, is this: Those 42 questions had almost all been asked of Mr. Johnson in previous emails, published in previous newsletters, yet he had not answered a single one of them.  Not one.  I had answered pretty much every single question of his, and he had avoided almost every single question of mine.  So, I got tired of giving answers but not getting them and so I put all those questions in one email and basically said, "Until you answer these, we are not going any further."  

I did indeed ask him to answer with a "yes" or "no" or with a Bible verse.  But, first of all, they were not "fairly complex theological questions."  For example:

"Where in the Bible does it list the books which should be part of the Bible? Scripture verse?"  Theologically complex?

"Where in the Bible does it say that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle? Scripture verse?"  Theologically complex?

"Do you believe the writer of the Gospel of Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit? Yes or no?"  Theologically complex?

"Do you interpret the Bible? Yes or no?"  Theologically complex?

"Did the Apostles teach different doctrines to different people? Yes or no?"  Theologically complex?

And, second of all, your statement that, "Any other questions were to be answered with simple “one” or “two” word answers should Mr. Johnson have chosen to expand his answers," is, again, an outright lie.  Here is the exact quote from my newsletter: "Now, after you have answered all of the yes-no questions, with a yes or no answer; and after you have answered all of the Bible verse questions with a Bible verse answer, you may then expound on your answers if you wish to do so."  Is that demanding that if he expands on his answers it can only be with "‘one’ or ‘two’ word answers?" 

Furthermore, I went on to say this: "And, you may also provide a list of all the questions you have asked me that you feel I have not answered, and I will be happy to answer them in my very next communication."  In fact, Mr. Johnson then chose not to respond to my email even though he sent me an email saying he would indeed do so.  He didn’t complain about any theological complexity, in fact, he stated that he would send me his own set of "Yes-No" questions.  I told him to bring it on, that I couldn’t wait.  Never heard from him again, even though he guaranteed me that I would end the conversation long before he would.  

And this statement: "The point is that Martignoni didn’t want Johnson to answer, so he setup impossible requirements and rules so that Johnson was shut-down,"  is absolutely laughable.  Every one who reads my newsletters knows that I can’t wait for someone to answer my questions because that’s when the hammer comes down.  That’s when the logical and theological disarray of their beliefs are able to be exposed.  Why, if I didn’t want someone to answer my questions, would I keep asking them? 

Mike Patrick 

If John Martignoni is going to be honest with his students, he needs to be honest with himself first. He knows he did an end run around me with the sneaky emails, and he knew how his students would react. I’ve notified Martignoni that I won’t loosely debate by email anymore, and I’ve suggested to him that we conduct a debate with a structured format, and with ground rules. Maybe with questions asked by his students. We’ll see what he does. It’s possible he’ll be up for the challenge choosing to help his students learn, but if not, at least you’ll know he had the opportunity to get in on a fair and balanced debate, with no sneak attacks, and no “shotguns in the closet.”

John Martignoni

Uh, Mike, are those "sneaky emails" the ones that you were "flattered" that I published and that you thanked me for publishing, or are you referring to some other sneaky emails?  Mike, there will be no structured debate with you, as it would be nothing but an exercise in futility.  You have proven yourself to be incapable of even the simplest of tasks in a debate – going back and reading what you yourself have already written and what the other guy has already written so that you can: 1) Be  consistent in your answers; and 2) accurately represent what the other guy is saying.  

I will close by asking you, one more time, that if you do not respond to anything else, please respond to this paragraph:

"So, publicly on your website you say one thing – I threw you a "curveball," or a "screwball," and it’s "kind of creepy" and you likened it to illegal wiretapping, and you don’t think "that sort of thing" is okay.  But, privately, you tell me you are "flattered" by what I did, and that you appreciate all the attention I gave to your website and you recognize fully that it would have "remained buried" except for the "generous attention" I gave it.  You ought to run for office, son."

May God give you the grace to remove the scales from your eyes.

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

I hope all of you have (had) a happy 4th of July weekend!

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Apologetics for the Masses