Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #11

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday, and that it’s not too hot wherever you are.

I’ve been doing a good bit of traveling, and had to spend a whole lot of time in June on IRS filings for non-profits, which has resulted in no newsletters in the last several weeks, for which I apologize.

My goal has been to try and average 2 newsletters per month, but I have been consistently below average. So, instead of two per month, I’m going to set my goal on once a week. Not the normal way of thinking, I know, but then, I’ve never been accused of being “normal” in anything.

My reasoning is that I am going to try and force myself to put this newsletter, which goes out to over 3000 folks now, ahead of the dozens upon dozens of individual emails I answer. I’d like to be able to answer all the emails that come in, but it has proven to be absolutely impossible…there just isn’t enough time in the day. So, given the choice of reaching 3000+ people through this newsletter vs. reaching a much smaller number of people via individual emails, I need to focus on the newsletter first and then do what I can with the individual emails.

You might be thinking, “That’s a no-brainer, John,” but if you could read some of these emails – it just tears your heart out to hear what folks are going through because of a failure of catechesis in the last 40+ years – you would want to help every single one of them if you could. But, I’ve realized that I can’t. So, first the newsletter, then the individual emails.

I’m going to focus on making Apologetics for the Masses more consistent and thereby easier to keep up with from issue-to-issue. And I think the best way to do that is to have weekly issues. And, hopefully, it will become a more valuable tool for you, which might lead to it getting forwarded to more friends, family members, co-workers, etc. more often.

Anyway, that’s the rationale. So, please keep all of that in your prayers.


In Issue #9, I responded to an email that had come to me through EWTN from a young lady who was not Catholic, but was worried about the souls of her Catholic sister and brother-in-law. In my answer, I asked her to give me a verse showing where the Bible teaches that we are “born again” by confessing Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Several of you wrote to me to say, “John, Protestants will counter with Romans 10:8-10 to say that you must confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord.” Well, you guys were right. I received an email from a Protestant who did just that.

His email is below (in italics), followed by my response and strategies. Instead of breaking up his relatively short email, I just put the strategies after each of my paragraphs. The strategies will be underlined.

As always, I welcome any and all feedback, even if I am unable to respond to all of it.


Romans 10 vs. 8-10

Dear Sirs,

I just read one of your newsletters about salvation, and you said that it doesn’t say in the Bible that public confession has to be made to be saved. That we are saved by baptism. That is not the truth. It is belief in Christ, and confessing him before others that we are saved by. The Holy Spirit will only come to those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Romans 10 vs. 8-10

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Jon

Dear Jon,

In response to your email, I didn’t quite say what you say I said. You stated, “…you said that it doesn’t say in the Bible that public confession has to be made to be saved.” Actually, what I did was ask the young lady (Karen) I was writing to the following question, “Where does it say that someone must make a declaration in which they ‘accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior’ in order to be Born Again?” And then I stated that the Bible nowhere says such a thing. Big difference between that and saying that one doesn’t need to publicly confess Jesus.

Strategy: Make sure they don’t distort what you are saying. Quite often Catholics get “told” what they believe and what they “mean” when they say something, by folks who don’t understand Catholic theology or terminology. For example, I don’t know how many times I’ve been told I worship Mary. When I respond that I don’t, I have only once had someone say, “Oh, I was misinformed.” Every other time the response is, “Yes you do.” So, make it very clear what you are saying and what you are not saying, to try and avoid confusion. [Back to response.]

As a Catholic, I believe we must make a public confession of Christ. After all, Jesus said that whoever acknowledges Him, will, in turn, be acknowledged by Him before the Father. In fact, as Catholics, we make a public confession of Christ every Sunday during our worship service…the Mass. One cannot deny Christ and still be saved.

Strategy: Simply making sure he understands that Catholics do indeed believe in publicly confessing Christ. [Back to response.]

However, my point to Karen was that the Bible nowhere states that one is “born again” by accepting Jesus Christ into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior. Nowhere does the Bible say that. If you know of such a passage, please let me know about it. You quote Romans 10:8-10, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you wll be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.”

Amen! As a Catholic, I believe that 100%. As a Catholic, I believe every passage of the Bible 100%. The problem for you, though, is it doesn’t say anything about being born again by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior. Again, I’m not saying one doesn’t need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I’m just saying that’s not what the Bible says makes you “born again.”

Strategy: Any time anyone puts a Bible verse in front of you, respond with, “Amen! I believe that 100%!” But, you don’t necessarily agree with their fallible interpretation of that verse. Also, clarifying and repeating the question. Keep repeating your questions until you get answers to them. And don’t accept any verse that doesn’t clearly and expressly say what they are saying. [Back to response.]

The Bible states, very clearly and unequivocally, that one must be born of “water and the Spirit” in order to be “born again” (John 3:3-8). Furthermore, the fact that Jesus is talking about baptism in this verse is shown by the fact that in all 4 Gospel accounts of Jesus’ baptism, we see what? Water and the Spirit. And, in John 3, right after His discussion with Nicodemus, what does the Bible say Jesus did? He and His disciples went into the land and…baptized. So, it is through Baptism that one is born again, not by accepting Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, at least, according to the Bible.

Furthermore, you state that it is “not the truth” that we are saved by baptism. May I direct your attention to 1 Peter 3:20-21, “…who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, NOW SAVES YOU.” Baptism “now saves you” according to the Bible. The words are very clear and very unambiguous.

Strategy: Showing that the Bible is indeed the Catholic’s best friend when talking to non-Catholic Christians. Engage folks by asking questions, even if you then provide the answers…keep asking questions. [Back to response.]

However, since as Catholics we know that you cannot simply take a verse out here and there and make it trump the rest of the Bible, we realize that Baptism is not the be all and end all in regards to salvation, but rather it is the beginning of salvation. One must be baptized in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it says in John 3, but one must have faith (Rom 3:28), and one must do the will of the Father (Matt 7:21), and one must forgive others in order to be forgiven (Matt 6:14-15), and one must keep the Commandments (Matt 19:16-17), and one must labor for the food which endures to eternal life (John 6:27), and one must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man (John 6:51-58), and one must seek for glory and for honor and for immortality (Rom 2:6-8), and do good works (James 2:14-26 and Matt 25:31-46), and so on. In other words, salvation is a process that begins with Baptism.

Strategy: Showing again that the Bible supports the Catholic position on salvation…as it does on every other aspect of Catholic teaching…and hopefully getting Jon to go and read these verses and maybe really pay attention to what they say…giving him some food for thought and maybe planting some seeds [Back to response.]

Again, though, if you know of a verse that says a person is “born again” by accepting Jesus Christ into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior, I’m open to hearing about it. Also, if you can find a verse that states we are “not saved” by Baptism, I would be very interested in that one as well.

God bless!

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

Didn’t try to do too much here. Don’t think you have to get into every single area of Catholic theology in one email. Just responded to his email and asked a question or two and used a few scripture verses to hopefully provoke a response.

Just keep asking those questions until you get a response. And make sure the person you are talking to does not define what you as a Catholic believe, you do that for yourself. If they don’t accept it, well, that’s their problem, not yours.

One last thing, please remember to let folks know about us and about our free tapes and CDs at www.biblechristiansociety.com. By the way, we have 3 new talks at the website: 1) Which Came First, the Church or the Bible? 2) Debate: Sola Fide (Are we saved by Faith Alone? 3) Two-Minute Apologetics. Check them out if you haven’t already!

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Apologetics for the Masses