Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #17

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I’ve noticed, based upon your feedback, that some of you prefer the back and forth between myself and non-Catholics; while others prefer things more along the lines of the “Was Hitler Right?” article, and still others like the Q&A formats. Hopefully, whatever your particular preference, all of you are getting something out of each of the different formats.

For those that are new to this newsletter, you can readily access past issues on the “Newsletter” page at our website: www.biblechristiansociety.com.


This is a continuation of my exchange with Todd Tomasella, who is a Protestant minister, that I started in the last issue. The email from Todd that I’m starting with below, is the same one I closed the last issue with. I thought I would repeat it here so that you could read what I was responding to without having to go back to the last issue.

Many of you emailed me with your suggestions regarding how you would have answered him, and you guys were right on the mark. Some folks just can’t seem to give a direct answer to a direct question, can they?

As always, the other guy’s email is in italics.


John thank you for writing again.

Let me encourage you to read Romans ch.‘s 1-5 afresh. Look at 4:4-5 and 3:28 and every word in those 5 chapters. Nothing we can do can merit the slightest bit of God’s favor. Such a thought is at its root antichrist – which means in place of Christ. Paul told us that "if righteousness come by the works of the law (our own good works), then Christ came and died in vain (Gal. 2:21). Why did Jesus come to the earth if we could earn our own way or have anything to do with our own justification other than His requirement – faith. Faith is the work God honors (Jn. 6:29).



Dear Todd,

My intent in this is to show you two things: 1) You have a serious misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches…that is very evident by your last email. I would assume that, as a man of God, you would feel the need to accurately represent the beliefs of others, even if you disagree with those beliefs. I am saying to you that you are misrepresenting what I, and millions of other Catholics believe, and what the Catholic Church teaches. You have a responsibility, before God and before man, to get it right. I always tell folks that if they want to disagree with what I believe – fine. But disagree with what I really believe, and not some distorted version of it.

Strategy: Letting him know that he’s got a few things not quite right, and making sure that he understands, as a “man of the cloth,” that he has a responsibility to get it right. Again, what I like to say to everyone: If you want to disagree with what I believe, fine…but disagree with what I really believe and not some misconception, half-truth, or outright lie about what I believe.

And, 2) The Bible backs up what Catholics believe much better than it does what you believe. As an example, you were unable to provide a single Bible verse that states we are justified by “faith alone,” – which is what you believe. In other words, the central tenet of your theological system is nowhere to be found in the Bible. I even offered to renounce my Catholic Faith if you could show me just one passage that actually says what you believe. You couldn’t do it. Furthermore, when I asked you if you would renounce your belief in salvation by faith alone, if I could show you a passage from Scripture that states what I believe…that we are NOT justified by faith “alone”…you chose not to respond. Why is that? Is it because you know that the Bible actually states that we are NOT justified by “faith alone”?

Strategy: Claim the Bible as ours, because it is. He cannot aswer my Bible-based questions, because what he believes isn’t in the Bible. So, keep asking the questions until he answers them. It’s amazing how many people cannot answer a simple yes-no question from the Bible.

Regarding point #1 above, Catholics do not believe we can “work” our way into Heaven. The Church teaches quite clearly that we are saved by grace alone. That it is a free gift of God, and not of our doing. I believe we have that belief in common. However, you believe the only necessary response on our part is a response of faith, while I believe that the necessary response to God’s free gift of grace is one of faith and works. Or, as the Bible says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith WORKING through love” (Gal 5:6). Faith and work. Faith working through love is of avail. That is a very good summary of the Catholic belief regarding salvation.

Strategy: I like to use Galatians 5:6 as often as possible to sum up Catholic belief regarding salvation. Also, I like to show folks that even if you believe in faith alone, you still believe that a response is necessary to God’s free gift. In other words, God’s grace saves us, but we have to respond to it. Faith aloners believe the only response necessary is one act of faith at one point in time, while Catholics believe that the only response necessary is a series of acts of faith and works over the course of our lifetimes – by which, with God’s grace, we are made holy. But, the point is, that we both agree that we are required to respond to God’s gift in order to be saved (once we’re past the age of reason), the difference is in the type of response we believe is required.

Ephesians 2:10 says that God has created us “in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” When I asked you in my last email if it was important to our salvation that we walk in these works that God has prepared for us – “that we should walk in them” – you avoided answering. So, I will ask the question again. Can we be saved if we go against God’s will and do not walk in the good works that God has prepared for us beforehand? And I will ask you again the biblical question I asked in my last email (which also went unanswered), if you have faith, but have not works, can your faith save you? Yes or no?

Strategy: When questions go unanswered, just keep asking them again. I love yes or no questions. They should be very easy to answer, but apparently they’re not, since you can very rarely get anyone to answer them.

Regarding the Book of Romans. I believe every single word of chapters 1-5 of Romans. Again, as a Catholic Christian, I believe every single word of the Bible, however, I may not agree with your fallible interpretation of any given passage. And, I definitely do not agree with your fallible interpretation that chapters 1-5 of the Book of Romans teach salvation by faith alone. It does teach salvation by faith. I agree with that. The Catholic Church teaches that. However, it does not teach salvation by faith “alone.”

Strategy: The strategy is, “But That’s My Interpretation.” Whenever anyone gives you a Bible verse that “proves” the Catholic Church wrong, just tell them that you agree with that Bible verse 100%, but that you don’t agree with their fallible interpretation of it. And then, if necessary, offer up your interpretation. Because, by their theology (the Bible alone and everyone has the right to interpret Scripture for themselves to decide doctrine), you have just as much right to interpret Scripture as they do, and your interpretation is just as valid as theirs. So, they can’t tell you you’re wrong, they can just tell you that they disagree with your interpretation.

Just one example to back up what I’m saying, is from Romans 2. I don’t understand how anyone can read Rom 2:6-10 and come away with the opinion that good works have nothing to do with salvation. “For He will render to every man according to his WORKS: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for every one who DOES good…” Faith isn’t even mentioned here. In fact, in every single passage of the New Testament that talks about judgment, that I can think of right off hand, a man is judged according to his works, his deeds, by what he has done or hasn’t done – faith isn’t mentioned. Yet, you believe the sole criterion for judgment is whether or not a man has faith. Tell me, who should I trust, you or the Word of God?

Strategy: Another very clear passage regarding God’s standard for judgment, from the Bible…which, again, I can almost guarantee he will ignore.

Regarding what Paul says about works of the law, are you not aware that he was there referring to circumcision and to the works required of the Jews under the Mosaic Law? He is not simply referring to good works in general, he is referring to something very specific when he says that. As he tells us in Gal 3:17, the law came into effect 430 years after Abraham. In other words, during the time of Moses. Were there no good works before Moses came along? In other words, “works of the law” does not necessarily equal “good works”, as you seem to believe. Even so, Catholics do not believe our good works save us. We do not believe our faith saves us. We believe Jesus’ death and resurrection saves us. But, again, we believe there is a necessary response on our part to that free gift that is available for all…a response of faith and works…as the Bible clearly teaches.

Strategy: Re-emphasizing Catholic teaching and the fact that he simply does not know what he is talking about in that regard, and showing him that his fallible interpretation of “works of the law = good works” is just that – his fallible interpretation. And, that his fallible interpretation doesn’t square very well with the Bible.

One quick example: if a man is a believer, but, he does not properly provide for his family, even though he has the capacity to do so…is he still saved? Does whether or not he provides for his family impact his salvation? Yes or no? Catholics believe he can lose his salvation if he does not properly provide for his family. What do you believe in that regard?

Strategy: Another question from Scripture (one of my favorite passages to use when discussing faith alone). The answer, as we see in 1 Tim 5:8, is clearly “Yes.” Whether or not a man provides for his family does impact his salvation. The Bible says that if any man does not provide for his family, he has “disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” If you disown the faith and if you are worse than an unbeliever, you are not saved. Salvation by faith alone? Not happenin’ here.

Finally, I will close by asking this question again: If I can show you a passage from the Bible that states very clearly that we are not justified by “faith alone,” will you renounce your belief in that unbiblical dogma?

Strategy: Keep asking the unanswered questions.

God bless!

John Martignoni

John, you seem to be worshiping your religion and at any cost attempting God’s Word, found in the Bible, to “fit” into it’s teachings. Is this idolatry? “Thou shalt have NO other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3-4

“For by GRACE (umerited favor) are ye saved through faith and that NOT of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, NOT OF WORK lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
If you are not going to hearken to the crystal clear words of Scripture, there is nothing more I can do to help you.

Ready or Not – Jesus is Coming,


Strategy: He sent me this email and I thought he had pretty much bailed out on me…which would not have surprised me. But, he redeemed himself the next day by following up with this next email below, before I had a chance to respond to the one above. I’ll respond to both of these in the next issue.

John, here’s a bit more. Also see Romans 3:28. What can your personal good works do that is great than the sacrifice of the very Son of God? Why did Jesus even come to earth if your own good works could gain God’s favor and grace? Galatians 2:21.

The Plain Truth about the Roman Catholic Church


Pope Proves Catholics Don’t Know Their Own Doctrines

Catholics just don’t know what their religion teaches. No doctrine has led to more criticism than exposing the Catholic teaching that outside the Catholic church, no one can be saved.

“We don’t believe that!” “How can you tell such a lie?” “How can you be so stupid?” are among the outcries I regularly hear. So am I wrong? Let’s look at the facts.

The official 1994 catechism claims that the Catholic church “is necessary for salvation.”

Then there’s the question and answer format of the older Baltimore Catechism (also official doctrine):

QUESTION: “Are all obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved?”

ANSWER: “All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.”

Many former popes have also preached this doctrine. But the current “infallible” pope helped prove my point. He reaffirmed Rome’s position on May 7, 2001, when he told 2,000 young people, “you cannot be a Christian if you reject the Church founded on Jesus Christ;”3 The “Church” he is referring to is not the Scriptural body of Christ, but the Roman Catholic church alone.4

Sadly, most Catholics are tragically deceived, but even worse, many Christians have fallen into the same deception. Catholic apologists preach unity between Catholic and non-Catholic Christians. But the pope says there is no such thing as a non-Catholic Christian.

We are not spiritual brothers and sisters. Not even close. How tragic that Christians have stopped witnessing to these lost religious people who are still counting on their good works to get them to heaven.

Understanding Roman Catholicism was written to Catholics, to show them how frequently their doctrines contradict the Bible. Thank God many are reading the book, getting saved and leaving the Catholic church.

But today, soul winners also need to know the doctrines exposed in this book. If you really love the lost and want to see them saved, you first need to know who the lost are. You need to look past the Vatican’s Public Relations lies and learn the truth. The second step to winning a Catholic to Christ is showing them why their religion is wrong. The first step is finding out yourself.


In Conclusion

Read over his last couple of responses and again think about what you would say and how you would say it. A lot of folks simply take what someone says to them and never run it through any kind of logical or even common sense analysis, much less a biblical analysis. You get challenged and you get back on your heels in defensive mode. Try to get used to critically analyzing whatever is put in front of you…whether in writing or verbally. If you do that, then you will begin recognizing the weak points of whatever arguments someone presents to you, because the weak points are generally the same, no matter the argument. They misrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches and/or they misrepresent what the Bible teaches, and they generally won’t answer your questions, once you realize that you need to start asking them.

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Apologetics for the Masses