Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #26

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Well, it seems you guys, through your emails, have gotten to Dr. Mizzi and caused him to have a change of heart in regard to corresponding with me, as we’ll see below.

And just think, it was only a hundred or so of you that caused this turnabout. I hope everyone reading this will start to understand the power that you have when you unite your actions to those of others. Imagine if all 3600+ of you had written to Dr. Mizzi…he probably would have reconsidered his position several days earlier than he did. I hope to eventually correspond with a number of folks who are running anti-Catholic websites, in the hope of getting them to at least accurately represent the beliefs of Catholics, even if they wish to disagree with them. As I always say, “You have every right to disagree with what I believe and to take me to task for believing it, but disagree with what I really believe, and not some half-truth, misrepresentation, or outright lie.”

And, if you’re up to it, I believe emails from you guys can play a significant role in causing a change in people’s views and attitudes toward Catholics and the Catholic Faith. Look what just a hundred or so folks did! Now, obviously, Dr. Mizzi hasn’t changed his mind, but we now have the opportunity to put the Catholic view of the Catholic Faith on his website…for at least a month! We have the opportunity to plant the seeds of truth with folks who may have never heard the Catholic version of the Catholic Faith. That didn’t happen because of me…I got myself banned in just two emails. It happened because of you. Please keep that in mind as we go forward.


In this newsletter, I’m just going to share with all of you Dr. Mizzi’s debate proposal and a short answer to it. Also, I wanted to let you know that you can see his response to my last newsletter on his website (http://www.justforcatholics.org/martignoni.htm) – see the “Addendum.” Even though he has changed his mind and is now willing to correspond with me, there are some parts of this addendum that I am going to respond to, but I will do so at a future date. One of my part-time jobs is as the Finance Director for a local crisis pregnancy center, and we just had a two-night fundraiser which caused me to be up late the last two nights…counting donations and pledges and such…and I am just flat out tired. So I hope you don’t mind this being a newsletter that is scarce on meat.

One thing, though, I wonder what Dr. Mizzi would say if I refused to respond to him and blocked his email address, and said the reason I was doing so was because his position was so weak it wasn’t worth my time…I wonder if he would accept that and respect it as a worthy reason? I dare say he wouldn’t. He might say something like, “How dare John do that…after all, he’s the one who started all of this!” He might even call me a coward, or a hypocrite or some such thing.

Well, I hope he sees that, actually, he was the one who started all of this…with the materials and claims that he has on his website. And, if I were to refuse his challenge here, it would be akin to what he does whenever he refuses to discuss the materials on his website with those who challenge him on its veracity – and there have been several of you who have emailed to tell me that he blocked your email addresses in the past as well. Just as I have an obligation to accept his challenge, he has an obligation to accept their challenges.

That’s one reason why I don’t care what his terms and conditions say (see his Addendum), even if I thought they applied to what I was doing – which I don’t. What if I posted something on my website saying Dr. Mizzi is an adulterer and an alcoholic and worships Satan. Then I posted terms and conditions that said I find debate on these issues useless and if anyone disagrees with me I will simply block your email address. Would that be fair? I think not.



Over a hundred of your readers wrote to me following your newsletters (issues 24 and 25), many of them asked me to debate you on the issues you raised. As you know, I had stopped doing debates, but I was persuaded to change my mind. However, what I do not want is an open-ended or unstructured debate.

May I suggest that we discuss the following two propositions (taken from your initial letter to me):

(1) From your website: ‘So then, what is required for a person to be justified at the end, that is, to be accounted to have fully satisfied divine law, and therefore to merit eternal life? Trent answers: THEIR GOOD WORKS! Their good works fully satisfy the divine law. Their works merit eternal life.’ Again, you mis-characterize Catholic teaching. Our good works, in and of themselves, do not ‘fully satisfy the divine law.’ Our works, in and of themselves, do not ‘merit eternal life.’ Both characterizations of Catholic teaching are false.

(2) Is whether or not we have faith, God’s sole criteria for judging us worthy of salvation?

I feel that these two propositions are a fair sample of your original list of allegations/questions. By limiting the number, we can discuss them in some detail. I propose the following title, format and conditions. Of course, I’m open to consider any modifications you may want to suggest.


DEBATE: Faith and Works in Justification

John Martignoni v Joe Mizzi


John’s Bio (max 50 words) and website address
Joe’s Bio (max 50 words) and website address

Round One
John proves allegation (1)
Joe answers question (2)

Round Two
John’s rebuttal
Joe’s rebuttal

Round Three
John’s conclusion
Joe’s conclusion


1. a maximum of 600 words for each person for each round.

2. the entire debate will be published on John’s and Joe’s website, including the title and a link on the homepage of each website (for at least 1 month after the debate is finished).

3. one week interval between each round (John’s and Joe’s contributions are posted simultaneously; let’s say on Saturday, until the entire debate is published).

If you agree, we can start from next week. A copy of this letter is being sent to your readers who were kind enough to write to me.


Joe Mizzi

Just for Catholics


I accept Dr. Mizzi’s challenge with some minor modifications. We can’t start next week, as I will be traveling, so I will propose the week after, and I cannot guarantee an exact adherence to the timings of the postings. Postings to my website are done by someone other than me…who does not work for me…so I cannot guarantee someone’s else’s work. Hopefully, we can work it out so that we can meet the conditions as posted, but, again, I cannot guarantee an exact adherence regarding the timing of the initial postings.

In Conclusion

By the way, some folks might say that telling people you won’t debate in one place on your website and then telling them that you will debate in another place on your website would, by the standard of some, fall under the definition of a contradiction – well, of course, that would only be if you don’t take the context into account.

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Apologetics for the Masses