Dealing With an Anti-Catholic - Part I

Bible Christian Society


Dealing With an Anti-Catholic



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General Comments

Hey folks,

2 things:

1) I'm back!  Sorry for the long time between newsletters - the last one was December 23rd - but between the holidays and then some vacation and then being sick for two weeks with a bad cold that turned into a nasty sinus infection, and throw in a good bit of traveling during January and February, I simply haven't had the time to actually sit down and write during the last two months.  So, it's good to be back, and thank you to all those who wrote with your concerns - it's nice to be missed!  I hope to make up for the gap by getting a newsletter out each week for the next several weeks.

2) I have a request to make.  I am going to be applying for some grants here in the very near future (this coming week) so that I can keep my part-time assistant, and hopefully invest in some video and audio equipment, as well as make some upgrades to the website.  I would like to include in those grant requests some stories of folks who have benefitted from the materials they have received from the Bible Christian Society - either audio or written.  I think if the people who award these grants could read about the impact of the materials we produce on the faith of those we come in contact with, it would help convince them to send part of their resources our way.  So, if you have benefitted in some way from this newsletter, or from our audio materials, or anything else from us - either in regard to your personal faith journey or by helping you to explain and defend the faith to others, and maybe bring them closer to or even into the Church - could you take a moment and send me a little note, maybe just a sentence or two or three, to tell about that?  And, if you don't mind including where you are from - I would like the grant makers to see the national, and even international, reach of the BCS - that would be greatly appreciated!  And please say a prayer, or two, that these grant requests will be well received...



       Okay, here's the background story for this week's newsletter - and the newsletters for the next few weeks as well.  As many of you know, I have a Facebook page - John Martignoni and the Bible Christian Society (if you haven't joined, please do so - lots of good discussions on there).  Well, this guy, Tony Thorne, from somewhere in Maine, who has a degree in biblical studies of some sort from Evangel University (Assemblies of God denomination), apparently joined the FB group thinking, "Cool, a society of Bible Christians."  Well, he eventually realized that the Bible Christian Society is basically a Catholic group, so he posted - his one and only post up to that time - with something along the lines of: "I am so sorry I joined this group of people who are in a satanic cult that hates the Word of God and worships Mary before Jesus."  I don't have his actual words because he eventually deleted his post (as I'll explain in a minute). 

       Anyway, a number of folks engaged with him over his not-so-nice remarks about Catholics and the Catholic Church.  I joined in by telling him that if he truly cared about representing Christ to a bunch of lost souls - you know, us Catholics - that he was going about it all wrong.  I then challenged him that if he was truly a disciple of Christ, and was truly interested in witnessing about Christ to others, that I had 3 simple questions that I would like to ask him to help me discern as to whether or not he was truly a disciple of Christ.  After all, the Bible tells us to "test the spirits."  So I tested him.  Those questions were:

       1) For a Christian, what is the pillar and ground of it the Bible?

       2) Is the Gospel of Mark inspired by God and, if so, by what authority do you claim it to be it the Bible?

       3) Are you infallible in your interpretation of the Bible?

       These apparently piqued his interest and he began to engage with me by giving answers to the questions.  At first, he didn't answer #1.  But, I pushed him on it and eventually he did answer.  And he got it wrong.  He said that, "Yes," the Bible is the pillar and ground of the truth for the Christian.  When I pointed out to him that the Bible says the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, he didn't much like it and talked all around it - he had this big explanation about what the Greek word "ecclesia" means and that you need a degree in biblical studies to understand such things and so on. 

       He answered the 2nd question by saying that, "Yes," the Gospel of Mark is inspired Scripture, but he never could tell me how he knows that, other than to say that it's in the Bible, so it is inspired.  He was either unable, or unwilling, to comprehend my questions as to how he knows it's inspired.  I asked him flat out, "Since the Bible doesn't specifically state that the Gospel of Mark is inspired, and you go by the Bible alone for all that pertains to Christianity, then how do you know Mark is inspired Scripture?  Who told you?"  The whole time he kept answering as if he thought I was making the argument that Mark wasn't inspired.  In other words, he never got the point of the question. 

       The third question he answered correctly - "No," he is not infallible in his interpretation of the Bible.  When I then pointed out to him that that meant he could be misunderstanding and misinterpreting any or all passages of the Bible, since he relied on his own private interpretations for his doctrinal beliefs - he again either could not, or would not, understand what it was I was saying.  No, he wasn't wrong in his interpretations as he knew the Greek words behind the English and he had a degree in biblical studies. And, besides, the Holy Spirit helps Christians interpret the Bible.  Not realizing at all the problems inherent in the belief that the infallible Holy Spirit guides him in his fallible interpretations of the Bible.

       So, we went a few rounds, and each time he responded he called me more names and his tone just got meaner and nastier.  Finally, he deleted his original post and with it went all of the comments - which is why I don't have his actual words for all of that. It never occurred to me that he would come back and delete everything, so I didn't copy any of it.  He did message me, though, and said that this was the first time he had ever debated someone and that he felt as if he had done a poor job of it - both in tone and in substance.  An apology of sorts. 

       His "apology" encouraged me, so I set out to see if I could get him to re-engage.  That is where this newsletter starts.  Having learned my lesson about how if the original post is deleted all subsequent posts are deleted, I copied all of the dialogue from there on.  I will be going through that dialogue in the coming weeks.  In his original answers to my 3 questions above, he had gone through a litany of things that the Catholic Church was wrong about - one of them being the sinlessness of Mary, about which he made a big deal.  So, in an effort to re-engage him, I started there, with the intent to come back to authority and the original three questions.  This newsletter picks up the dialogue there:



Tony Thorne

You will be accountable for your false teaching John.

John Martignoni

     And you will be accountable for yours, Tony. So, are you open to an honest and forthright discussion about Catholicism, your faith, and the Bible? You will be putting material out there for several thousand Catholics to see and your posts will not be edited. 

     What if I told you that I would offer you arguments, using the Bible, that Mary was without sin? If you are up to it, here is the first argument that I offer that Mary was sinless:

1) Nowhere does the Bible say that Mary committed a sin.

     What is your response to that?

     In Christ,




     First and foremost, I never let anyone remind me about my being held accountable for my "false teachings," without reminding them that they will be held accountable for theirs.  The thing is, though, that my teachings are not my own, they are the Church's - the Church founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.  Tony's teachings, however, are indeed his own.  And remember, he has admitted that he is not infallible, which essentially means that he more than likely is putting at least some false teachings out there.  I also am not infallible, which is why I do not rely on my own teachings, but on the teachings of the infallible Church founded by Jesus Christ. 

     I use this first "scriptural" argument to state that the Bible nowhere says, "Mary sinned."  Nowhere.  So, if you want to use the Bible to say that Mary did indeed sin, it would be, at best, an indirect argument from Scripture. 

Tony Thorne

Yes, it does. Romans 3:23

John Martignoni  

     Excellent! That is exactly what I knew you would say. So then, it is your contention that when the Bible says, "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom 3:23), that means absolutely every person who has ever lived, no exception, has sinned. Which means Mary had to have sinned, correct?



     Romans 3:23 is, without exception, the very first verse, and usuallly the only verse, that folks point to when they attempt to scripturally "prove" that Mary was not immaculately conceived and that she did indeed commit sin during her life.  That is why I made that first argument about Mary's sinlessness so general, because I knew he would respond by going straight to Rom 3:23.  If you can overcome the argument from Rom 3:23, you have put a big chink in the anti-sinless argument.  The first step in making my argument is to make sure that I get him on record as saying that his interpretation of Rom 3:23 means that "absolutely every person who has ever lived, no exception, has sinned."  You'll see why this is important as we go through this.


Tony Thorne

Yes sir, Jesus is the only exception.


John Martignoni

     Excellent reply! So, the word "all" means every person who has ever lived, no exception - except for Jesus. Now, in an earlier post [one of the posts that was deleted], I asked you if you were "seeking God." You said you were. Well, that is contrary to the Bible, at least, according to your interpretation of the Bible, because in Romans 3:11, it states the following: "No one seeks for God." If "all have sinned" means that everyone, without human exception, has sinned, then "No one seeks for God," means that no one, without human exception, seeks for God. Yet, you say that you do seek for God. Which means one of the following must be true: 1) You were wrong and you do not seek for God in your life; or 2) You think the Bible is wrong when it says "No one seeks for God." Which is it? Are you not seeking for God in your life, or do you believe the Bible is wrong when it says "No one" seeks for God?



     First of all, please note that while Tony made an exception in regard to Rom 3:23 not referring to Jesus, nowhere does the text of Rom 3:23 actually make that exception.  And, again, nowhere does Rom 3:23 specifically mention Mary as having sinned.  Tony added that to the Bible.  Other than that one exception for Jesus, though, he agrees that Rom 3:23 means "absolutely" every person who has ever lived has sinned.  Well, if "all" is taken as an absolute, then when the Bible says "no one" a few verses earlier, that must also be taken as an absolute in order to be consistent in our interpretation.  In an earlier post I had asked Tony if he was "seeking God."  How do you think every Christian on Earth is going to answer?  "Yes, of course I'm seeking God."  So, I filed that answer away in anticipation of this particular argument taking place. 

     So, my next step here was to point out to him that the Bible says "no one" is seeking for God, but that he said he was indeed seeking for God.  So, by his methodology of interpretation, either the Bible is wrong or he is wrong.  It has to be one or the other. 


Tony Thorne

     I believe what that verse means in context as Paul was exerting in v10 that none are righteous, none understand. When you look up the greek word for seek, ( zetéo) you will find in its semantic range, the meaning, get to the bottom of. "But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit." For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets.(1 cor 2:10) then stretching across scripture (that never contradicts as we contexualize) we come to Jerimiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart". Then contextual staying with the theme of the Bible, we come to Mathew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. So, it seems my interpretation is in line at this point. In theology, we call it topicalizing when you exhort scripture noncontextually to prove a point, as you have attempted to do in your previous post? Back to 3:11 In context, this verse implies that man is unable to comprehend the truth of God or grasp his standard of rightuessness. sadly his spiritual ignorance does not result from a lack of opertunity, but is an expression of his depravity and rebellion.

     As you have been shown, the Bible does tell us to seek God. Its very important to keep things in context John. Could you please now answer the question as to what makes you think mary never sinned? Please, direct answer would be valued.


John Martignoni

I am going to let you guys chew on his response for a week.  Your homework is to think about how you would respond to what he said.  No need to send your thoughts to me, just think about it and maybe write down a few points you would make, and when I publish my response next week, you can compare and contrast it with your response.   If you're like me, though, when you first read his response, your first thought was, "Huh?" 


Closing Comments

     It's good to be back in the saddle, so to speak.  I hope all of you have a great week and please, don't forget, if you have a little testimonial you can give as to how the Bible Christian Society has helped you your faith journey and/or in witnessing about the Church to others, please do send it along.  Thanks!

     And please use the social media links at the top and bottom of this newsletter to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.  Many Thanks!



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Apologetics for the Masses