Dealing With an Anti-Catholic - Part IV

Bible Christian Society


Dealing with an anti-Catholic (cont'd)



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General Comments

Hey folks,

The Genesis and Evolution Conference was a huge success.  Speakers gave talks on Young Earth, Old Earth, and Evolutionary Creationism - from the scientific perspective one night and from a theological perspective the next night.  All the feedback I received from attendees was exceedingly positive.  I hope to have DVD's and CD's available within a couple of weeks.  Currently working on adding a DVD page to the website through which we will offer several different DVD's.  I'll let you know once everything is up and running...



      Okay, continuing my dialogue with anti-Catholic Tony Thorne (see previous newsletters:  This week I will be answering the responses he made to the first 5 of the 10 points that I made in last week's newsletter regarding chapter 3 of Romans.  I'm going to post each of my initial points, then his response to those points, and then my reply to him.  Next week I will address his responses to my other 5 points, and then give a little summary of the conversation and the points I was trying to make with it.   



John Martignoni

Tony, oh how I disagree with thee, let me count the ways:

#1: You said in your response, “I believe what the verse [Romans 3:11] means in context...” Well, sorry, but I’m not interested in what you “believe” the verse means. Your “belief” could be wrong. What authority do you have to tell me what a passage of Scripture means that I should believe your interpretation? None. So, I believe your interpretation is wrong. We have already established that your interpretations of the Bible are not infallible, so will you admit that this interpretation of yours could be wrong? And, if it could be wrong, then why should I believe your interpretation vs. the very clear meaning of the passage as it is written?


Tony Thorne

     I'm sorry, I should have said I know what Romans 3:11 means, because the bible explains it clearly. Here, allow me to help you. Psalm 14:2–3, which pictures God searching in vain for even one heart that seeks Him: v.2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” This passage is quoted in Romans 3:10–12, which says, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.’”

     Even our best efforts fall far short of the righteousness required by God for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, .as stated in (Romans 3:23). That’s why Scripture says that no one seeks God! We seek fulfillment. We seek pleasure. We seek escape from pain. But the pure motivation of seeking after God for Himself is a gift from God. We are not saved because we had the wisdom and insight to exercise our own faith and trust God. No one wakes up one day and, on his own, decides to seek God. That would be a salvation by our own works, and Scripture is clear: we are saved only by the grace and mercy of God (Titus 3:5; he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

     Romans 11:6) says,. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. We are saved when God touches our hearts and prompts us to use the faith He gives to receive His gift of salvation. But, Even with the knowledge of God’s existence everywhere, people naturally choose to “suppress the truth by their wickedness” Contextually, I found Romans 1:18-20 quite relevant to a narcissistic believer (like you john) who ever thought he had earned his way. Romans 1:18-20 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. When we speak of the Word of God, it is different from any other writings, both past and present. Other writings, no matter how religious, truthful, or filled with inspiring anecdotes are only the product of man not God. I allude to (2Pe 1:20-21). 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


John Martignoni

       First of all, Tony, I notice that you did not answer my question: “What authority do you have to tell me what a passage of Scripture means that I should believe your interpretation?”  Since you didn’t answer, I will answer for you: NONE.  You have absolutely no authority to tell me, or anyone else for that matter, what this or any verse of Scripture means.  

       Secondly, I notice that you seemed to have changed your mind about being infallible when it comes to your interpretations of the Bible.  In an earlier response  you said that you are not infallible in your interpretation of Scripture; yet, here you pretty much state that you are infallible in your interpretation of Scripture - “I know what Romans 3:11 means.”  I call that being fallible in theory, but infallible in practice.  Do you wish to claim, Tony, that your interpretation of Romans 3:11 is indeed infallible?  

       Thirdly, you quote to me from Psalm 14, as if I had never heard of it, yet I have already quoted from it in an earlier response to you (see point #6 of my previous response).  What I find exceedingly interesting, though, Tony, is that you left out verse 1 of Psalm 14.  Why did you do that?  I’ll tell you why, because you are trying to prove that Romans 3:23 - which says that “all” have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - means absolutely all human beings.  So, you want Psalm 14, which is being quoted from in Romans 3, to reflect your absolutist interpretation.  You stated, “Psalm 14:2–3, which pictures God searching in vain for even one heart that seeks Him.”  If God is searching “in vain” for even “one heart” that seeks Him, Tony, then why does Psalm 14 go on to talk about “My people” and the “generation of the righteous,” if there are none that are righteous?  And are God’s people those who say there is not God?

       No, Tony, you left out verse 1 on purpose because it tells us that God is not, in fact, talking about absolutely all men here.  Verse 1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’  They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.”  The “none” here, Tony, is referring to the fools who say there is no God, and not to absolutely all men.  And, in verse 4, God refers to them as “evildoers” who are opposed to God’s people.  So, “all," in this context, is not an absolute in terms of all mankind, as it is referring to those who say there is no God.  By leaving out verse 1, you have badly, and apparently deliberately, misconstrued the entire context of the passage. 

       And if you have misinterpreted the Old Testament passage that is quoted in a New Testament passage, then more than likely you have misinterpreted the New Testament passage as well - as you have.  Again, the context of Romans 3 is the Jews vs. the Greeks, or the Gentiles.  Verse 9 even asks, “Are Jews any better off?”  Verses 19-21 go on to talk about the Old Testament law and the works of the law, which is the foundation upon which many of the observant Jews thought they were not sinners, but that the Greeks were.  That is why Paul is essentially saying, in verses 10-18 and 22-23, “Jews, as a group,  are no better off than the Gentiles, as a group.  Both are under the power of sin.”  The context is not an absolute in regard to every single human having committed a personal sin.  

       In Matthew 3, Tony, it says that “all” of Judea and “all” of the areas around the Jordan river came out to see John the Baptist  and that they were baptized by him.  Does “all” here mean every single person in Judea and the areas around the Jordan were baptized by John the Baptist?  Yes or no?

       Now, a few last points here.  Regarding all of the Scripture verses you quote, Titus 3:5-7 (which is referring to Baptism, by the way), Rom 11:6, Rom 11:18-20 (not Romans 1), and 2 Peter 1:20-21...I agree with all of those verses.  As a Catholic, I agree with every single verse of the Bible.  I don't, however, necessarily agree with your admittedly fallible, man-made, non-authoritative private interpretations of those verses.  By the way, I hope you don't believe in once saved always saved (eternal security), because Romans 11:17-22 absolutely destroys that false doctrine.  And, regarding your belief in salvation by faith alone, "Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"

       Finally, you stated, "We are saved when God touches our hearts and prompts us to use the faith He gives to receive His gift of salvation."  Could you give me the Bible passage you quoted from for that?  Or was that from you? 


John Martignoni

#2: So, according to Tony Thorne, the word “seek” doesn’t really mean “seek”? And, instead of saying, “no one understands, no one seeks for God,” the English translation of Romans 3:11 should have said, “Man is unable to comprehend the truth of God or grasp his standard of righteousness.” Which means that the translators of the King James Bible, the New International Bible, the Revised Standard Version Bible, the Geneva Bible, the American Standard Version Bible, the Darby Bible, the Wycliffe Bible, and pretty much every other major Protestant English translation of the Bible gave us a translation of God’s Word that we can’t trust? After all, they all missed the translation that Tony Thorne came up with.


Tony Thorne

I have answered question 2 and question 3 with my response to question 1.


John Martignoni, you didn't.  You stated that the phrase, "No one seeks for God," means that man cannot understand the truth of God.  Well, if that is the case, why didn't the English translation just say that?  You want to know why?  Because that is not what it means.  If it did mean that, then why bother reading the Bible?  I mean, if the Bible contains the truth of God, but we can't understand the truth of God, then why bother reading the Bible?  Your interpretation is a nonsensical one.


John Martignoni

#3: You stated, “When you look up the greek word for seek, ( zetéo) you will find in its semantic range, the meaning, get to the bottom of.” So, one possible meaning of the Greek word, “zeteo,” which is translated “seek” in Romans 3:11, is “get to the bottom of.” Well, that’s all nice and everything, but there is a problem. Where does the Bible ever translate the Greek word, “zeteo,” as “get to the bottom of”? It’s one thing for that to be a “possible” meaning of the word - in its “semantic range” - but it’s another thing for the translators of the Bible to actually use that particular meaning of the word in their translations. And, in this case, they don’t! In the King James Bible (which is Protestant), the Greek word “zeteo” is translated as “seek” exactly 100 times. I can find no translation of the word as “get to the bottom of.” So, even though the word can possibly, in some instances, be translated “get to the bottom of,” (according to you) it is never translated that way in the Bible. So your point is completely and totally irrelevant, unless you believe all the English translators of the Bible to be wrong.


Tony Thorne

wrong, as I have explained in my answer to your first question.


John Martignoni

Uhmmm...once, you didn't.  The phrase, "Get to the bottom of" (please note the quotation marks), nowhere appears in the Bible, at least, not that I can find.  Please give me the book, chapter, and verse where it is translated that way.  In other words, nowhere does the Bible translate the Greek word, "zeteo," as "get to the bottom of."  You state things that are flat out untrue, Tony. 


John Martignoni

#4: To use your logic, when you look up the Greek word for “all,” (pas), you will find in its semantic range the meaning, “all manner of.” Which means, Romans 3:23 does not really mean “all” as in every single person, it means “all manner of.” So, I could translate Romans 3:23, using your logic, as “For all manner have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In context, Paul is talking about Jew vs. Greek - “Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,” (Romans 3:9). When Paul uses the word “all” here, he is not talking about individuals, he is showing that Jews - as a group - are no better than the Greeks when it comes to sin. So it seems my interpretation is in line at this point. Which means, the word “all” does not necessarily refer to Mary as having sinned. And, the Bible actually translates the word “pas” in this manner - 11 times! Versus translating the word “zeteo” as “get to the bottom of,” 0 times!


Tony Thorne

Yes, it really means All! Nice try though. Sorry Mary.


John Martignoni

Well, that's a particularly brilliant come back, now isn't it?  I suppose the proper response should be, "No it doesn't!"  Here's the thing, Tony, you want to be able to take some obscure definition of a Greek word - a definition that is nowhere used in the Bible for that word - and apply it to your fallible interpretation so as to fit your pre-determined doctrines.  But, if I want to take a less obscure definition of a different Greek word - a definition which is actually used several places in the Bible - and apply it to my interpretation of the Bible, then you reject it.  Why?  Because it doesn't fit your fallible interpretation and your pre-determined doctrine.  You are very inconsistent, Tony.  So, again, I have to ask, what authority do you have to tell me I'm wrong and that you are right?  And, are you infallible in saying your interpretation is right and mine is wrong?


John Martignoni

#5: Yes, the Bible tells us to seek God. So what? I never said it didn’t. That is irrelevant to the point being made. The Bible says to seek God, but it also says no one is seeking God. The Bible tells us not to sin, yet it also says people sin. And, according to your interpretation of Romans 3:23, it tells us every single person who has ever lived (Jesus as the lone exception) has sinned. So your point here is, again, absolutely irrelevant.


Tony Thorne

funny I love how you try to shrug off your stupidity so casually by lying and dismissing the fact that I was right, Because I am right!!

publish that in your news letter!


John Martignoni

I am very happy to publish your remarks in my newsletter, Tony.  If you think I am somehow afraid to let people read what you have to say, nothing could be further from the truth.  Truth doesn't fear error, Tony...error fears truth.  Besides, I think everyone should be given the opportunity to show their true colors, as Cyndi Lauper would say...


Closing Comments

       I didn't put in any "Strategy" comments this week, as I will save those for my closing of this "dialogue" next week.  I seriously doubt Tony will have any reply to my comments, as he has sent me a message saying, "Good-bye."  That was, of course, after saying that I was a "narcistic [sic] puke" who needed to be taken out into an alley and taught some respect.  But, even if he were to respond, I won't be answering him.  This conversation has served its purpose and I need to move on to greener pastures, as it were.

       I hope all of you have a great week!



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Apologetics for the Masses