Apologetics for the Masses, #392 - The Doctrinal Dance (cont'd)

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An email exchange with a Protestant who does everything possible to avoid answering my questions.


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General Comments

Hey folks,

     Below is the information on how to participate - in person or online - in my Bible study on 1st and 2nd Peter that continues this Monday night (March 1).  From the feedback I received, it seems to have gone well.  It is not necessary to have seen the first session in order to fully benefit from this 2nd session.  But, if you want to watch the 1st session, you can do so on Facebook by going to the Bible Christian Society page (https://www.facebook.com/BibleChristianSociety) - I start talking at the 12:55 mark - or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYy-DkDcmMU)) - I start talking at the 30:45 mark.

     What: Combination Bible/Catechism study, with a healthy dose of apologetics thrown in, on 1st and 2nd Peter.  We'll be talking Bible, Catechism, redemption, salvation, Christian prayer, Christian living, grace, faith, the Mass, Sola Fide, Once Saved Always Saved, love, Purgatory, time, the Sacraments, sin, the Pope, and much more!  All of that from just those two short books of the Bible. You'll see how the Catechism is inextricably linked to the Bible, how the Old Testament is linked to the New Testament, how the Bible is linked to the Magisterium, and how you can use both Bible and Catechism to deepen your faith and to learn how to share your faith with others. 

     When: Mondays - March 1, 8, 15, and 22 - from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM.  We'll be covering 1st Peter.  Then we'll take two weeks off and start back with 2nd Peter after Easter.  Exact dates to be determined.

     Where: St. Theresa's in Leeds, in the Parish Hall.  (See below for how to participate online.)

     Online:  YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/CrimsonCatholic

                    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BibleChristianSociety

                    Zoom:   https://quorumvc.zoom.us/j/2053971000?pwd=TnVVSnRDMGdOR3F1WkIwQjBmb1hhZz09



     In this newsletter I continue my dialogue (such as it is) with Dancer - an anti-Catholic Protestant - who, so far, will not engage in an actual dialogue...you know, that's one of those things where you say something and the other person responds to what you actually say and answers the questions you ask and then you respond to what they say and answer their questions and it goes back and forth like that...a dialogue.  This guy is your typical anti-Catholic who wants to preach to the poor, biblically ignorant, unsaved Catholic, and does not want to hear anything about how the Catholic faith is all in and through the Bible (he already knows that it's not) nor does he want to learn about what the Catholic faith actually teaches (he's an expert on what it teaches so no need to learn anything about it from a Catholic). 

     I'm calling him "Dancer" because he is doing the doctrinal dance.  Bringing up multiple doctrines right out of the chute, and then when I reply in even the simplest of ways and with the simplest of questions about a particular doctrine, instead of directly responding to my arguments and my questions, he generally ignores what I say and replies by bringing up even more doctrines.  As doctrinal dancing goes, this guy is Fred Astaire.  

     In the 1st part of this exchange - https://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/529-apologetics-for-the-masses-391-the-doctrinal-dance-a-perfect-example - I gave you his first 8 emails - which were sent in shotgun succession - along with my responses to those emails and comments on them.  I also gave you a couple of his 2nd round replies to my responses to his first two emails of the eight.  This week I'm going to focus on his responses to one particular reply that I gave.  He responded to all of the emails I sent, but I am not particularly interested in those responses, even though I gave him short replies to some, but not all, of them. 

     I am going to focus on just this one email thread because it demonstrates what I always tell people to do in situations like this - narrow the focus of the conversation.  Stay with the questions you've asked until they are answered.  I'll give his original email, my reply, and then his responses (he had a few) to that one reply of mine, with my 2nd round of replies, and comments. 



1) Dancer

     You just said [in the program he was watching] if it’s not found in the Bible then you don’t have to believe it?? Then please tell me where in the Bible does it say that anyone other than JESUS was sinless? Where does it say mary was sinless making herself EQUAL WITH GOD??  It doesn’t but you choose to believe the ccc. The ccc actually about 80% which contradicts the Bible you choose to believe. Saying Mary is coredeemer and comediator that is NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE. Again teaching the insufficiency of JESUS FINISHED WORK AT THE CROSS!!!!  As for as today’s program. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Which totally destroys your thinking where man is always looking to take some credit for the things we do , in this case taking credit for his own salvation?

     “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

     “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5


1) My Response

Dear "Dancer",

I don't think you're listening very closely to what I say in these programs.

1) Never have I said, "If it's not found in the Bible then you don't have to believe it."  What I said was something along the lines of, "The dogma of Sola Scriptura - going by the Bible alone - teaches that if it's not found in the Bible then you don't have to believe it."  So, that would apply to believers in the non-scriptural dogma of Sola Scriptura.  Catholics do not believe in Sola Scriptura because, among other reasons, it is not in the Bible.

2) How does Mary being sinless make her "EQUAL WITH GOD"?  Adam and Eve were sinless before the Fall, did that make them "EQUAL WITH GOD"?  Yes or no?

3) As for Ephesians 2:8-10, here is my most recent newsletter that I sent out on that very topic.  I would love for you to read it and tell me where I get my arguments wrong:


As a Catholic, I agree 100% with the fact that were are saved by God's grace, through faith, and not by works.  100%!  But, if God has prepared certain works for each of us beforehand, that we SHOULD walk in them, as it says in Ephesians 2:10, are we still saved if we don't do those works?  Yes or no?

Answer the questions in #2 and #3, directly, and using Scripture, and then we can talk more.

In Christ,

John Martignoni



See Newsletter #391: https://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/529-apologetics-for-the-masses-391-the-doctrinal-dance-a-perfect-example


(Note: A, B, C, D, and E below are separate emails of his all sent in response to "My Reply" #1 above.  I answered each separately.)


2. A) Dancer

A true born again Christian will do good works but no amount of works can save a man.  We BELIEVE IN THE FINISHED WORK OF JESUS CHRIST AT THE CROSS. WE BELIEVE IN THE CROSS   So much of what Catholicism teaches is the INSUFFICIENCY OF THE CROSS


2. A) My Reply

Catholicism never teaches the "insufficiency of the Cross."  That is a lie and I don't think true followers of Christ lie about what other people believe, do they?  You have not answered the questions I asked here, so I will ask them again:

1) How does Mary being sinless make her "EQUAL WITH GOD"?  Adam and Eve were sinless before the Fall, did that make them "EQUAL WITH GOD"...yes or no?

2) If God has prepared certain works for each of us beforehand, that we SHOULD walk in them, as it says in Ephesians 2:10, are we still saved if we don't do those works? Yes or no?


2. A) Comments

     He is making a broad sweeping statement - "So much of what Catholicism teaches is the INSUFFICIENCY OF THE CROSS" - that is completely unsubstantiated and without any supporting evidence or citations from Church teaching or any such thing, so I respond by essentially saying, "No we don't." 

     If you try to quote the Bible and the Catechism and this or that papal encyclical about the Crucifixion and how Christ's death is interwoven into pretty much all Catholic teaching dealing with salvation, to someone like this, they are simply going to ignore it and you will have wasted your time and energy and your level of frustration will probably increase.  If they don't give you something specific to respond to, then either ignore it or dismiss it with a wave of the hand, which is what I did.  And, I decided to throw in an indirect comment about the integrity of anyone who would make such a false claim.  Would real Christians go around misrepresenting and/or lying about the beliefs of others? 

     That is what he IS doing.  What isn't he doing?  He isn't answering my questions.  So, what did I do?  I repeated the questions.  Do not let them get away with not answering your questions.  Keep repeating them until they get answered or until you decide they never will be answered.  I generally recommend three attempts and, if still no answers, "Say goodnight, Gracie."  (Although, I will let you know here, that he did, eventually, make a stab at answering my questions.  I'll discuss that in my next newsletter.) 


2. B) Dancer

Boy man like getting credit


2. B) My Reply

     I have no idea what you are saying.  If you wish to have a fruitful conversation, then maybe re-read your messages before you send them.


2. B) Comments

     No comment necessary.


2. C) Dancer

     The Bible CLEARLY says only and only Jesus was without sin.  Mary coredeemer comediatrix??? Queen of heaven , mother of the church , treasurer of heaven.  Again teaching the INSUFFICIENCY OF the CROSS  , It’s demonic teaching. Just like forbidding ppl to marry and abstain from certain foods.  Read 1timothy 4:1-4

     “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by DEMONS Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:1-4


2. C) My Reply

     I have read 1 Timothy 4:1-4 and agree 100% with it.  It seems to me he is most likely talking about Protestants who broke from the Church founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit back in the Protestant Deformation of the 1500's, don't you think?


2. C) Comments

     Pick and choose what you respond to.  You do not have to respond to every single point the other person makes, especially in situations like this where they're throwing out all sorts of garbage at you all at once.  Ordinarily I would have not responded at all to this email.  The only reason I responded to the quote from 1 Timothy 4 was it gave me an opportunity to say something that might get under his skin a little bit.  And, lest ye say, "John, you shouldn't do things like that" - yes, I should.  I am doing this to deliberately try and provoke him.  I've gone the nice route, the respectful route, the meek and mild route.  And what did I get in return?  Crap. 

     I want an honest answer from this person, not just a regurgitation of all the poison they've ingested from the various anti-Catholic sources they read and listen to.  Attempting to get under their skin is a deliberate tactic I use occasionally - especially with anti-Catholics like this one - to see if I can't break through to something honest and get them to respond with their own thoughts and their own words. 


2. D) Dancer



2. D) My Reply

Where does the Bible say "Mary was not sinless"?  You go by the Bible alone, right...so show me where the Bible says that.


2. D) Comments

     A lot of your questions to the Protestants you talk to/email with should begin with, "Where does the Bible say...?"  That's because most of what they say to you is not what the Bible says, it is their own private, fallible interpretation of the Bible.  So, you ask, "Where does the Bible say..." and you make sure to put what they said in quotes.  Where does the Bible say, "Mary was not sinless?"  Or, you can often ask, "Where does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say...?"  For example: Where does the Catechism say, "The Cross of Jesus was insufficient?"  Make them give you specific books, chapters, and verses and/or specific paragraphs of the Catechism that say what they are saying it says. 


2. E) Dancer

Of course faith without works is dead.  Absolutely but no amount of works can save us. But a true born again Christian will do good works


2. E) My Reply

Where in the Bible does it say, "A true born again Christian will do good works?"  Have you not read Romans 11:17-22 and John 15:1-6?  Are the branches not true Christians?  How could they be branches if they weren't?  Yet, it is possible for true Christians to be cut off from the tree or from the vine, which is Christ, if they do not produce good fruit.

The one time Jesus is asked, "What must I do to have eternal life?"  Did He say, "Do? You don't have to do anything.  Just believe in Me and you will have eternal life."  Did He say that? No?  What did He say, Dancer?  Did He give an answer that falls into the faith category or the works category?  Think, Bryan...think!  Lay aside your hate and pray that God will open your eyes to the truth.


2. E) Comments

     Again, ask, "Where does the Bible say?"  I could have left it at just that, but I decided to throw in a couple of examples where the Bible talks about "true born again Christians" not doing good works and what happens when they don't.  And, for good measure, I added a question about the one instance in Scripture where Jesus is directly asked about what one must do to be saved, and how Jesus gave an answer that is completely opposite of the answer Dancer would give. 


Strategy Summary

     1) Pick and choose what you want to respond to.  You don't have to respond to everything.  The more things you respond to the slower and more tedious will be the conversation and the less progress you will make in the conversation.  It's very difficult to progress in a conversation, when the boundaries of the conversation keep expanding.  The conversation ends up moving sideways instead of moving forward.  You don't want that.  Narrow the focus of the conversation.

     2) Pretty much every response you make should have a question, or questions, in it.  By asking questions you are taking control of the conversation...you are moving it in the direction you want it to go.  You answer a question, you ask a question...or two...or three.  Make the other person defend their faith as much or more as they are trying to make you defend yours (Being offensive - awfensive - without being offensive - uh-fensive.)

     3) If your questions are not answered - directly and succintly - keep asking them.  Don't let them simply respond to a question with a Scripture verse.  You agree with the Scripture verse (or verses) they are throwing at you, but those verses, by themselves, I guarantee do not answer your question and they especially do not answer your question when interpreted as the Protestant interprets them.  Make them answer in their own words.  The reason they are throwing Scripture verses at you is because they cannot answer you in their own words.

     4) Do not waste your time giving long and detailed responses to their arguments or answers to their questions until such time as you have determined that they are actually: a) willing to hear what you have to say, and b) willing to dialogue in good faith; i.e., willing to respond directly to your arguments and questions.

Closing Comments

As I said above, next week you will see his attempts at actually trying to answer some of the questions I have asked him.  This happened as a result of my really pushing hard on him. 

Hope to see you at the Bible study on Monday night!


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Apologetics for the Masses