Apologetics for the Masses #325 - The Sinlessness of Mary (cont'd)

Bible Christian Society


A Debate on The Sinlessness of Mary



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General Comments

I want to thank all the folks at St. Paul's parish in Athens, AL for their hospitality this past Wednesday night for my speaking engagement.  I really enjoyed being there!  If you're interested in bringing me to your parish to speak, just send me an email (john@biblechristiansociety.com) and we can discuss details.



      Okay, continuing the debate on "The Sinlessness of Mary" with anti-Catholic Steve Fitz.  Last week was my response to his first round of comments.  This week is his response to what I said. 

     Again, I'm going to give it to you as a homework assignment - how would you respond to what he says?  What would you say?  The first person to send in a response that has the same main point as my response, will get a free copy of all the DVD's we offer here at the Bible Christian Society - Blue Collar Apologetics, Season 1 and Season 2, and the 2 DVD's on the Genesis and Evolution conference I sponsored.  Don't send me a full response, just send me what argument/comment you would make the main thrust of your response.  If it's the same as my main argument, then the first person gets the DVD's. (One caveat - if you already know my response because you saw it on Facebook, you are not eligible to win the DVD's.  I'll trust you guys to be honest on that one!)

     So, I'll first post my response (the one that was in last week's newsletter) to his 1st round comments, and then I'll post Mr. Fitz's 2nd round comments after that. 



John Martignoni

     Point #1: General point: Steve Fitz - is it fair to say that everything you post here, outside of quoting Scripture, are the words of a fallible man who has no authority whatsoever outside of that which you have vested in yourself?  I ask that because you rest a crucial point of yours, not on the Word of God, but on your fallible, non-authoritative opinion - the word of Steve, as it were.  When you state: “If Mary was sinless...there would be...bible verses that teach that Mary was sinless,” will you agree that is nothing more than your fallible opinion?  And, would you further agree that when I disagree with your fallible opinion, as I do, that you have no authority, outside of your fallible opinion, to declare me wrong?  

     Point #2: To your question: “Why was Jesus uniquely qualified to die on the cross for sin?”  Your answer - because He was sinless - is right, but doesn’t go nearly deep enough.  I have basically no problem with your use of the passages from Exodus and Leviticus regarding the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb.  Yes, I agree.  Particularly with the example of the Passover lamb - a male lamb, unblemished, whose bones will not be broken, and whose blood will be spilled so that Israel may escape slavery.  (By the way, you may not be aware that the Israelites were ordered to eat the flesh of the lamb that was sacrificed.  Catholics do that!)

     Now, why did I say your point doesn’t go nearly deep enough?  Because you seem to not be aware that His sinlessness wasn’t the only reason He was qualified to die on the cross for sin.  The main reason was, and is, that He is God!  

     2 Cor 5:18-19, “All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself...that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself...”  

     When we finite human beings sin, we sin against an infinitely good God.  The demands of justice preclude that any finite being, even one who is sinless, could pay the price for the sins mankind has committed against infinite goodness.  God was in Christ!  That is why His sacrifice can redeem all of mankind.  Not simply because He was sinless.  

     The reason Christ was sinless is because He is God.  The reason Mary was sinless is because God saved her from sin.  Therefore, Mary, even though she was sinless, would not have been able to pay the price to cover the sins of mankind.  So, on this point, your argument is moot.  

     Point #3: Your comment regarding grace: “What does grace mean?  It means ‘unmerited favor’ not sinless.”  Really?!  You missed the point - and badly - of why Catholics believe Luke 1:28 points to Mary being sinless.  It isn’t because we think the word, “grace,” means “sinless.”  We know that grace doesn’t mean “sinless.”  You must not be doing a whole lot of research on Catholic belief to make that mistake.  I hope you will do better in the future.  It’s because Mary is said to be “full” of grace.  Filled with grace.  The cup is full of grace, so there is no room for sin.  That’s why we believe that verse is evidence of Mary’s sinlessness.  

     Point #4: Your biblical “evidence” that Mary was a sinner:

     A. Romans 3:23, “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  And, you stated, “The only exemption of one being sinless is God Himself.”  So, you believe the word “ALL” means absolutely every person with a human nature, except for Jesus.  What about babies?  Have they sinned?  What about the mentally handicapped?  Have they sinned?  What about Elizabeth and Zechariah?  In Luke 1:6, the Word of God states that Elizabeth and Zechariah were both “righteous” before God, “walking in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”  Do you contend that they, in fact, did not walk in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless?

     B. Question: Are you, Steve Fitz, seeking God in your life?  Yes or no?

     C. You point to Mark 10:18 to prove your point that if Mary was sinless she would be called “good,” because God alone is “good.”  Well, for your point to hold, that would mean that no one else in the New Testament should be called “good,” because that would mean they were indeed without sin.  Well, what about Matt 12:35 that mentions a “good” man bringing forth good things from the good treasure of his heart?  And the servants in Matt 22:10 who gathered both bad and “good” people for the wedding feast?  And the two servants who the Master calls “good” and faithful in Matthew 25?  What about Barnabbas who was described as a “good” man in Acts 11:24?  And there are many other examples I could point to.  Do you contend that all of those people are sinless because they are called “good”?  So, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Mary is not sinless because she isn’t referred to as being “good.”  Your example is without merit.  I think you haven’t done enough research...into Scripture this time.

     D. “Luke 1:47, Mary said "and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior". The definition of the word Savior in Christianity is God or Jesus Christ as the redeemer of sin and saver of souls...I’m not going to tell you John what you believe but I am going to tell you what the Catholic Church believes. They believe that although Mary was sinless, Jesus died for her. Which is not true and no need for Mary to have a Savior if she was sinless.”  

     I also believe that Jesus died for Mary.  And you contend that since Jesus is Mary’s Savior, that definitively means Mary sinned - “No need for Mary to have a Savior if she was sinless.”  Once again, I feel it my duty to point out that you are giving your fallible opinion here - the word of Steve as opposed to the Word of God.  Secondly, may I ask if it is possible to save someone from something before they succumb to it?  For example, are you an alcoholic?  If you answer, “No,” would you agree that Jesus saved you from alcoholism before you were ever an alcoholic?  Did you have need of Jesus to save you from alcoholism?  From drug addiction?  Even though, I assume, you were never an alcoholic or a drug addict?  

     If a person falls into a deep hole and gets hurt, and someone pulls them out - that person saved them, after the fact.  However, if that person is stopped from falling into the hole before they fall in, then the person that stopped them from falling...saved them, before the fact.  Just so Jesus saved Mary from sin, before the fact.

     E. I will gladly await your answers to these questions and arguments, as well as the third scriptural reason which you began to mention but did not finish.  


Steve Fitz Response:

     1) Would it also be fair to say that your words are the words of a fallible man? John I have a feeling you did not read my post very clearly. My post relied mainly on the word of God! I feel like you John, when you were writing your post, was looking in the mirror. Its your post that was based on opinion, assumptions, and made up stories. In fact your first post did not even quote the Bible even one time!! All this I will get back to later in this post!

     John why were the Bereans of more noble character then the Thessalonians according to ACTS 17:11? The verse states "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." They did not blinding accept something being taught to them, they examined the scriptures to see what Paul was teaching. Very different then Catholics who blindly believe whatever they are told by your church. Could it be that this is exactly what the Catholic Church wants from you? For you to be reliant on them to get the truth thus being dependant on "fallible men"?

     CCC 100 states "The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him." Tell me John, how many times have you tried to interpret the Bible knowing you had no authority to do so? In fact, I just had a conversation with a Catholic in your group who stated that the Catholic Church has interpreted very few passages from the Bible. Thats sad knowing that 2 Timothy 3:16 states " All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." John how are Catholics going to get training in righteousness when your church forbids them to interpret the Bible? "John can you give me the official list of Bible verses that have been interpreted by the magisterium and under what pope particular verses were interpreted?

     Although interpreting the Bible according to your church is up to the Magisterium, Catholics interpret it all the time. The problem is they take Bible verses out of context in order to justify the false doctrine of the Catholic church. There are two ways to interpret the bible. These two ways are exegesis and eisegesis.

     The word exegesis means to "To lead out of" In other words, the interpreter is lead to conclusions by the text itself. Eisegesis on the other hand means "to lead into". In other words, the interpreter of the Bible injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants. This is what you and other catholics do all the time. You go to the Bible to find verses that will uphold the doctrine of your church even though they were taken out of context. This way of study leads to false doctrine such has Purgatory which Catholics claim is taught in 1 Corinthians Chapter 3 and the conclusion that Mary was sinless. Which leads me back to the debate topic.

     2) Jesus was uniquely qualified to die on the cross because he was sinless!! It just so happens that only God is without sin!! Again, the animal sacrifices being without defect is a foreshadow of Christ's sacrifice.

     John you tried to use the example of Passover in which the Israelites eat the flesh of the lamb and tie it to Catholic communion. The verse that you and other Catholics sight in the New Testament is John 6:54. The verse states "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day." John, do you see what is missing from the passover feast? The blood of course!!! Were the Jews drinking blood along with eating the flesh of the Lamb John? Of course not, eating blood was forbidden by the law. Leviticus 17:10-12 states "I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.” John what saved the Jews from death the night of passover? It was the blood again!! It was not the flesh of the Lamb that spared them, it was was the blood around the door frames of their houses. So John, comparing your Catholic communion with the Passover is comparing apples to oranges

     John you stated "The reason Mary was sinless is because God saved her from sin". I asked you to give me verses that Mary was sinless. I gave you plenty of verses that stated Jesus was sinless. So in your next post, list those verses for me!!!! Or is this just your opinion coming from a fallible man???

     3)  John, You stated that Mary being "Full of grace" actually means that the cup is "filled with grace" and there is no room for sin. So using your fallible opinion, I want to compare it to the Catholic "Morning Consecration prayer to Mary" The prayer goes like this "My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you; and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me, guard me, as your property and possession. Amen." John in the same way the cup is full of grace and no room for sin, is it the same when a catholic, as the prayer says "I give myself entirely to you" no longer has room for Jesus because they have given themselves "entirely" to Mary?

     John while we are on the topic of Mary being "full of grace", can you explain why Catholic bibles such as the New American Bible (NAB) nor the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) do not use the term "full of grace" in
Luke 1:48. Only two people in the Bible are called "full of grace". Jesus in John 1:14 and Stephen i ACTS 6:8.

     Here are two Catholic sources that explain the term "full of grace" used in your church.

     1. But the term kecharitomene (full of grace) serves only as an illustration, not as a proof of the dogma. (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, under “Immaculate Conception”)

     2. The words of Gabriel, “Hail, full of grace” (Lk. 1.28), have also been appealed to as a revelation of the Immaculate Conception, on the grounds that to be truly full of grace, Mary must have had it always. This interpretation, [kecharitomen however, overlooks the fact that the Greek term ?e?a??t?µ??? e] is not nearly so explicit as the translation full of grace” might suggest. It implies only that God’s favor has been lavished on Mary, without defining the degree of grace. (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, Page 378)

     4)  John you asked me if babies or mentally disabled persons have sinned. Again, instead of you using your fallible emotions or opinion, Lets look at the Bible. Psalms 58:3 states "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the WOMB they are wayward speaking lies" John, we are more sinful then we can imagine. If you don't believe me, lets see what Paul again wrote on this matter. Romans 3:9-12 states "What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 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. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” John do you see that? It says "Not even one". If you still not convinced, Ecclesiastes 7:20 states "Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins." That verse makes it even clearer that only God is sinless and that is what Jesus said in Mark 10:18.

     John there are lots of people who were called "Good" in the Bible. John you mentioned Elizabeth and Zechariah in Luke 1:6. The verse states "Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly." Do you notice the phrase "In the sight of God"? That's how they were righteous intrinsically, they were righteous because kept Gods law blamelessly. Blameless is not the same as sinless. In fact, Paul calls himself blameless in Philippians 3:6 and the "worst of sinners" in 1 Timothy 1:15. In fact John do you know that the Bible says that the Christian is perfect? Hebrews 10:14 states "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." How long has the Christian been made perfect? FOREVER!!!!"

     John, you posted "If a person falls into a deep hole and gets hurt, and someone pulls them out...that person saved them - after the fact. However, if that person is stopped from before they actually fall in the hole, then the person that stopped them from falling in...also saved them - before the fact. Just so Jesus saved Mary from sin - before the fact, before she ever sinned." John can you prove this from the bible or is this your fallible opinion?

     Here is more specific evidence from the Bible that Mary was a sinner. What is it? Mary went to the Temple with two doves or two young pigeons according to Luke 2:21-24 and why she did so according to Leviticus 12. She did so in order to made atonement for her sin thru the Sin Offering and Burnt Offering. However, Roman Catholics continue to claim that Mary did so because it was part of Jewish culture and not because she sinned and keeping the Law was required by all Jews. John, did you ever think that maybe all the Jews did these offerings because all Jews were guilty of sin? Did that ever cross your mind?

     John did you ever read the book of Leviticus, specifically chapter 4 and 5 to see when the Sin offering was actually offered? Maybe if you did, you would learn something and not just continue to believe everything your church teaches you!!

     One you thing you will notice in Leviticus 4, the Sin offering was done when the person bringing it is "made ware of sin " This phrase may be different depending on what Bible translation you are using. I'm using the NIV translation. This phrase is in Leviticus 4;14, 23, and 28.
Leviticus 5:2-3 talks about being unclean. Now where in the Bible do I remember "being unclean" being discussed? I remember!! In Leviticus 12. According to Luke 2:21-24, Mary brought two doves or two young pigeons to the Temple and Leviticus 12 explains why. Mary was unclean after giving birth.

     Roman Catholics claim that being unclean is not sinful. Leviticus 5:2-3 states that being unclean is sinful. Leviticus 5:5-6 states "when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.

     Mary and Joseph were poor and could not afford a Lamb. Leviticus 5:7 states that if one could not afford a Lamb they could use "two doves or two young pigeons" instead. Wow!!! That's exactly what Mary and Joseph did. That why we read in Luke 2:21-24 that Mary brought two doves or two young pigeons. Also, Leviticus 12 states the same thing, if they could not afford a lamb they could use two doves or two young pigeons instead!!!

     John, you have to either be blind to believe that Mary was sinless, or have not read your Bible. In my next post, I will show from the Old and New Testament that being "unclean" was sinful and -Mary was indeed "unclean"


Closing Comments

Don't spend too much time on your homework.  I hope all of you have a great week...God bless!



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Apologetics for the Masses