Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #18

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Oh my goodness, did Todd ever get some of you folks going last week! Several of you wrote to ask me why I’m wasting my time with him.

First of all, I may indeed be wasting my time with Todd, in regards to any kind of change of attitude on his part…but then only God knows for sure if any seeds have been planted or not.

Secondly, from my point of view, for purposes of this newsletter, I don’t think it’s a waste of time at all. Todd’s answers, or lack thereof, are instructional for everyone reading this newsletter (at least, I hope they are). You get to see that a lay Catholic, with little to no training in theology (my only Theology course was more like an anti-Theology course), can argue the Bible with a nationally-known Protestant minister.

Again, I hope his responses, and mine to him, are instructional, but I hope they are encouraging as well. I hope these newsletters show you that you guys can do this kind of stuff, too.

Look at my newsletters. No deep theology. No deep philosophy. Just a few basics from the Bible with a little logic and a dose of common sense, and, of course, a firm stand on Catholic teaching. I want people to see that a Protestant minister, with probably years of seminary Bible training and Bible study and this degree and that degree, one who is known around the country, cannot stand up to a Catholic, any Catholic, who stands firmly on Church teaching and who keeps his wits about him and who asks a few simple questions from the Bible.

Furthermore, I think this exchange with Todd is instructional in the fact that whether you’re dealing with a Protestant minister, or just the average Protestant in the pew, the response is going to most likely be the same. They either will not, or cannot, answer your questions. And, they try to switch the subject or just launch attacks or just stop replying to you. I have asked these same questions, that I’ve asked of Todd, to dozens, if not hundreds of people by now – I have never, ever received a direct answer. I received one response to the last newsletter from a subscriber who said that she agrees 100% with Todd…so I asked her if she would be so kind as to respond to the questions that Todd refuses to respond to…and I listed 5 of them for her. Haven’t yet heard back from her.

So, in one sense I may be wasting my time with Todd, but in another sense I’m definitely not wasting my time with Todd. Plus, I want people to see that these guys come on strong when they are dealing with poorly-catechized Catholics who are ill-equipped to defend their Faith, but when they come across Catholics who talk back, well, then…it’s a different story.

(NOTE: As always, if there are extraneous characters in your newsletter, or the margins are out of whack, you should be able to get a clean copy from the archives on the website. Just go to the “Newsletter” page at www.biblechristiansociety.com.)


This newsletter has my responses to the last two emails Todd sent me, which were at the end of last week’s issue and which I have also reproduced here.

I will start with one of Todd’s emails, then my answer, with strategy; and then Todd’s second email and my response and strategy.

I sent my responses a few days ago and have not heard anything back from Todd. I doubt I will. As you can see from his next to last email, it looked like he was going to stop responding altogether, but then he sent his last email – but I think it was just pretty much as an afterthought. So, again, I doubt he will respond to either of my last two emails…but, we can hope.

(As always, your comments and feedback are welcomed, and all will be read.)


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,


Dear Todd,

I find it very interesting that you think I am the one who is attempting at “any cost” to “fit” the Bible to what I believe, when you are the one who either will not, or cannot, answer my questions that I have posed to you about your faith and the Bible.

You said that if I am not going to “hearken to the crystal clear words of Scripture,” then there is nothing more you can do to help me. Well, I’ve been trying to get you to speak to me of the “crystal clear words of Scripture,” but, again, you either refuse to or simply cannot answer my questions.

Strategy: Just letting him know that I’m not backing off, and that I think little of his rhetoric. And also just stating the obvious…he has not answered a single one of my questions, all of which have to do with the Bible (and most of which only require simple yes-no answers). One other thing, I like to quote the other guy as often as possible, and to use his words to make my point.

Let me repeat my questions one more time, and, since you will not answer, I will answer for you – please let me know if you take exception to how I have answered for you:

Strategy: I’m hoping to prompt a response by answering the questions for him…most people can’t stand it when you answer a question for them. So, below I just repeat the five main questions I’ve asked him, and give the answers that, according to his theology, he would have to give. And then I use his own words (“the crystal clear words of Scripture”) against him.

1) Can you give me one verse of Scripture that states we are justified (or saved) by “faith alone”?

No. You cannot. You are attempting to make the Bible say we are justified by faith “alone,” when the Bible nowhere says such a thing. However, the crystal clear words of Scripture do say that “a man is justified by works and NOT BY FAITH ALONE.” Who is it that is trying to fit the Bible to his beliefs, versus just going by the crystal clear words of Scripture?

2) If a man does not care for his family, does that affect his salvation? (Yes or no?)

Your answer is “No.” Yet, the crystal clear words of Scripture say this: “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Don’t unbelievers go to Hell? So, if he is worse than an unbeliever, it probably means he is in a very low pit of Hell, doesn’t it? The crystal clear words of Scripture say that a man’s salvation is affected by his works…or lack thereof in this case. Yet, you don’t believe that. Again, who is it that is trying to fit the Bible to his beliefs, versus just going by the crystal clear words of Scripture?

3) 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? (Yes or no?)

Your answer is “Yes.” Yet the crystal clear words of Scripture say this: “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father Who is in Heaven.” So, if the Father has prepared works for us beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10), yet we refuse to walk in them, we’re not really doing His will, are we? And, if we don’t do His will, do we still get to go to Heaven? You say, yes, but the crystal clear words of Scripture say no. Again, who is it that is trying to fit the Bible to his beliefs, versus just going by the crystal clear words of Scripture?

4) If you have faith, but have not works, can your faith save you? (Yes or no?)

Your answer is, “Yes.” But, the crystal clear words of Scripture say this: “So faith, by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” So, first thing to notice is that it is possible for faith to be by itself. It is possible to have faith without works; but, faith without works is dead. In other words, it cannot save you. Listen again to the crystal clear words of Scripture: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.” Do you catch the analogy? For physical life, we must have body and spirit. For spiritual life, we must have faith and works. Faith is compared to the body, and works are compared to the spirit. Can you live if you do not have a spirit? No! So, as body and soul are both necessary for physical life, then faith and works are both necessary for spiritual life – just as Catholics believe. Again, who is it that is trying to fit the Bible to his beliefs, versus just going by the crystal clear words of Scripture?

5) Do you believe that God will give or deny eternal life to every man according to his works. (Yes or no?)

Your answer is, “No.” Yet the crystal clear words of Scripture say this: “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.” I believe that…all Catholics believe these crystal clear words of Scripture. But you don’t. Again, who is it that is trying to fit the Bible to his beliefs, versus just going by the crystal clear words of Scripture?

Strategy: Just asking very basic questions, the answers to which bring to light how his theology stacks up to what the Bible actually says. Notice I don’t give him any of the Bible verses, because I’m not sure he is aware of some of these verses. And, if he’s not, I want to put him in the position of either having to ask me for the reference, or to go look them up for himself. Either of which will hopefully cause a light to go off in his head. In question #2, I quote 1 Tim 5:8…one of my very favorite passages to bring to the attention of a faith aloner. In #3 I quote Mt 7:21; #4, James 2:17 and 2:26. James 2:26 is a passage that most folks overlook, but I believe it to be one of the strongest passages out there in support of Catholic teaching on this particular issue. And, in question #5, I quote Romans 2:6-7, which is about as straightforward in contradicting the faith alone crowd as you can get.

A few more quick questions:

1) Do we need to eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood in order to have eternal life? (Yes or no?)

2) Do we need to labor for the food which endures to eternal life? (Yes or no?)

3) Do we need to keep the commandments in order to have eternal life? (Yes or no?)

Strategy: Just asking a few more questions, all of which reinforce the idea that his theology doesn’t quite stack up to the “crystal clear words of Scripture.” The answer to all of these questions is, yes: #1, John 6:51-54; #2, John 6:27; #3, Matt 19:17. But, according to his theology (salvation by faith alone), the answer should be, no, because all of these things are works.

And, one last question: Does love have anything to do with our salvation? In other words, if we are saved by faith “alone,” then are you saying that love has no role in our salvation? So, as long as we have faith, we don’t need to have love, right? We can hate our neighbor…we can even hate God…but as long as we have faith, we’re in, right?

Strategy: This is the kicker. According to salvation by faith alone, love has nothing to do with one’s salvation. So, you don’t have to love God or your neighbor (in other words you can completely ignore the two Great Commnadments), and still be saved. Yet, 1 Cor 13:13 tells us that love is greater than faith. How can that be if it is faith alone that saves us? A question I’ll ask Todd in a future email, if he responds to these.

I look forward to your response.

John Martignoni

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

WHAT SAITH ROME? http://www.cuttingedge.org/articles/rome.html

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.


Dear Todd,

Romans 3:28 states the following “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.” I believe that 100%! Any Catholic who is practicing the teachings of their Church believes that 100%. However, we don’t believe your fallible interpretation of this verse. In the first place, I kind of think that you don’t really know what the phrase “works of the law” means. Again, you believe it simply means all good works. I showed you in a previous email, that that isn’t the case. That is a definition that you, by your own authority, have added to Scripture.

Strategy: Letting him know, again, that as Catholics we believe in every single word of Scripture, but Scripture doesn’t say what he is trying to make it say…faith “alone.” He’s adding to the words of Scripture. His fallible interpretation of Scripture just ain’t good enough. And, restating what I said in a previous email, that he seems to be ignorant of what the phrase “works of law” means. Keep repeating yourself as often as you have to.

Secondly, could you please point out to me where that word “alone” is in this verse? My Bible doesn’t have it. Does yours? Well, I suppose if you have the German translation of the Bible done by Martin Luther, then your Bible would have the word “alone” in this verse. As I’m sure you know, Martin Luther actually added the word “alone” to his German translation, to get the Bible to say what he wanted it to say. That’s the same thing you’re trying to do here.

Strategy: Just getting in a little historical fact about the spiritual father of all Protestantism.

You asked what can my “personal good works do that is great[er] than the sacrifice of the very Son of God.” Nothing. I never claimed such a ridiculous thing. Again, as in a previous email, I have to fault you for apparently having little to no actual knowledge of the Catholic Faith. As a man of God, is it not your responsibility to accurately convey the beliefs of others, even if you disagree with them?

Strategy: Another example of a misstatement of fact regarding Catholic belief and practice. Call folks on it whenever and wherever you see it. Why does my believing what the Bible very plainly states mean that I believe my good works are greater than Christ’s sacrifice? He’s made quite a leap here.

You also stated in a previous email that Jesus has put a “requirement” on us in order for us to receive justification. So, we are really not arguing about whether or not He placed requirements on us, we’re just arguing about which requirements. Would you say that, in order to follow Jesus, we have a requirement of having to pick up our cross daily? And, if that is a requirement for following Jesus, would you say that picking up our cross daily would be an act of faith, or is that a daily work?

Strategy: Using his words to counter his arguments. He says Jesus put a requirement on us for salvation…that’s pretty much all we say. So, we are not arguing about whether or not there’s a requirement, but rather what that requirement is. Also, asking him another Bible-based question. The Bible tells us that in order to follow Jesus, we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). Sounds like a daily work to me. Ask questions and keep asking questions.

Now, regarding the Pope and all the other stuff you mention below. I would be happy to address those issues, once we get the questions I’ve been asking you in the last few emails out of the way.

God bless!

Strategy: Not gonna go there until such time as he answers my questions. Clear up the unfinished old business first, before going on to any new business.

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

“Could you be wrong on your interpretation of this passage,” said Alice to the Mad Hatter. “Of course I could be wrong on my interpretation…,” “Because you’re not infallible,” interjected Alice, “…because I’m not infallible, you know,” continued the Mad Hatter. “Then,” said Alice, “you would agree that the Cheshire Cat’s interpretation of this verse could possibly be right?” “Absolutely, not,” said the Mad Hatter. “I can say with absolute certainty that the Cheshire Cat’s interpretation of this passage is wrong!” “But,” interjected Alice, “you could be wrong on that, couldn’t you?” “Of course, I could be wrong on that…,” said the Mad Hatter. “Because you’re not infallible,” interjected Alice again. “…because I’m not infallible, you know,” finished the Mad Hatter. “Then,” said Alice, a bit puzzled, “if you’re not infallible, couldn’t the Cheshire Cat be right?” “Absolutely not,” said the Mad Hatter, “the Cheshire Cat can never be right when he disagrees with me.”

(If this has confused you, just substitute “Catholic” for “Cheshire Cat.”)

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Apologetics for the Masses