Apologetics for the Masses #413: Seventh Day Adventists & Blue Collar Apologetics

Bible Christian Society


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Seventh Day Adventists and Blue Collar Apologetics

General Comments

Hey folks,

A couple of things:

1) My wife occasionally works as an in-home caretaker.  Right now she is caring for a woman who recently had a liver transplant and who is having a very rough go of it.  So, if you would, please keep this woman in your prayers that the transplant will fully take and for her healing.  And for Janel (my wife), for strength and stamina as she cares for this woman.  Thanks!

2) Now that the covid situation seems to be easing a bit, parishes are starting to once again invite folks in to speak. So, if anyone is looking for a speaker, for their parish or conference, please keep me in mind.

3) And, a little announcement here: EWTN has agreed to publish a 2nd book by yours truly.  It's sort of a 2-for-1 type deal.  Tentative title is: Problems With Protestantism & Questions Protestants Can't Answer.  Please keep the writing/publishing process for this book in your prayers. 


     This week's newsletter is centered on a conversation I had with a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) - Hugh Hancock - on my Facebook page: John Martignoni and the Bible Christian Society.  I've never really had a conversation with an SDA before, which is why I've never featured that particular denomination in this newsletter.  Anyway, it proved to be a bit educational for me, and gives me an opportunity to show Blue Collar Apologetics in action once again. 

     The dialogue starts off with a post from Mr. Hancock to start up a new thread, to which I replied, and then a short exchange between another Catholic - Todd C. - and Mr. Hancock, which I then used as the basis for my conversation with Hugh.  So, here's the conversation between Hugh Hancock, SDA, and me, with my comments added in here and there. 

     I hope you enjoy...


Hugh Hancock (post on John Martignoni and the Bible Christian Society FB page)

     I read this from the Catholic Church one time, but cannot find the quote. I do believe it's in their church "beliefs," however. The Catholic Church is the mother of all churches, as we've been led to believe. Nonetheless, the Catholic Church said that there are only two world religions in the world: (1) the Catholic Church and everyone under her (including Hindu, Buddhist, Protestants, etc.), and (2) the Seventh-day Adventists. Thoughts?

John S. Martignoni
     Actually, I doubt that you read that in an actual Catholic source. The Catholic Church does not believe it is the "mother of all churches". The Catholic Church believes it is the one and only church...period. And that part about the Catholic Church saying that there are "only two world religions" and that the Hindu, Buddhist, and Protestant religions are "under her" and that the only other religion is the Seventh-Day Adventist, is completely offbase. I know of no authentic Catholic source that would say anything even close to that.

My Comments
     I seriously doubt that what he posted was in any kind of publication - Catholic or otherwise.  I think he was just making something up to "stir the pot," as it were, and he gets called on it by Todd C. below.

Todd C.
     This Hugh guy is a pot stirrer. He's just trying to get everyone riled up. Just ignore him and he'll go away.

Hugh Hancock
     Not true.

Todd C.
     Hugh Hancock so you won't go away if we ignore you?

Hugh Hancock
     Why would you ignore someone who could show you the truth?

Todd C.
     I knew what you meant, it was just a play on words. So you come here looking to teach and save us dumb misguided damned Catholics?

Hugh Hancock
     Not dumb. Misguided, thoughFind the number of times in the Bible when truth was presented and the people scoffed. We can start with the ark containing only 8 human souls on board.

John S. Martignoni
     In what way are Catholics "misguided"? Please be concise and precise.

My Comments
     Todd is obviously familiar with Hugh and Hugh’s modus operandi, and essentially is calling him out here.  Not an unwarranted thing to do, especially if you have seen the person doing the same thing before.  
     I like the fact that Hugh mentions “the truth”.  We should all be looking for truth and should be open to the truth, wherever it might lead.  However, Hugh will demonstrate he is not necessarily open to the truth.  And I say that not because he doesn’t just up and convert to Catholicism, but because, as you will see, he is not even open to a discussion as to how one determines what is or is not truth.  
     And, I also like the fact that Todd mentions “us dumb, misguided, and damned Catholics”.  I usually let someone such as Hugh know that I know what their general attitude towards Catholics is, but that I’m not bothered by it at all.  So, I'll make light of it rather than be offended by it, and will continue the conversation to see if some seeds can be planted. 
     Finally, as you can see, that last comment from Hugh gave me my opening to jump into the fray.  Notice that I focus on him calling Catholics “misguided” and completely ignore what he says about “the number of times in the Bible when truth was presented and the people scoffed.”  Why did I ignore that?  Because that sentence, and the following sentence about “the ark containing only 8 human souls on board,” will get you nowhere in this conversation.  Hugh has in mind to make some comparison between those in the Bible who scoff at God's truth, and Catholics who scoff at SDA "truth".  Not gonna let him go there.  That is nothing but a mud pit to get you bogged down.
     One of the biggest mistakes I see in conversations between Catholics and non-Catholics is that the Catholics oftentimes feel as if they have to reply to every single point made by the non-Catholic.  By doing so, you give the other person absolute control of the conversation.  Folks, you are not obligated to respond to every point presented or every argument made, especially when they lead you away from where you want to go.  Focus on the main point or points of the conversation and steer it in the direction you want it to go - which should be towards the question of authority.

Hugh Hancock
     The state of the dead, natural immortality of the soul, the Sabbath.

John S. Martignoni
     Excellent. Let's take those one at a time. But, first, please tell me - is the Bible your sole authority on these matters...yes or no?

Hugh Hancock

John S. Martignoni
     Very good. Now, please tell me how exactly Catholics are misguided on the "state of the dead"?

My Comments
     Starting down the path towards the question of authority: Who has the right to authentically interpret the Scriptures - every person who can read, or the Church founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.  And, what authority does any given individual’s private, fallible interpretation of Scripture have vis-a-vis my private, fallible interpretation of Scripture, much less my interpretation that is supported by the teaching of the Church?
     Also, notice that I am taking my time in developing the conversation.  One question at a time.  There is no need to rush things and try to make all of your points at once.  That's another mistake I see Catholics make - they will barrage the non-Catholic with 5 or 6 or more questions or arguments all at once.  Doing that will get you far off into the weeds and will cause the conversation to get needlessly complicated and it will become very drawn out and tiresome.  One, or maybe two, questions at a time is what I generally recommend. 

     What I did next was to see if I could get him to clarify exactly what he meant regarding Catholics being "misguided" on the "state of the dead".  I know he believes in "soul sleep," but I want him to tell me exactly what that means.  I've never heard from an SDA what that means and so I don't want to assume anything.  Plus, I want him to talk about his beliefs as much as possible, because the more he talks, the more he is going to contradict himself, and Scripture. 

Hugh Hancock
     The dead are asleep, awaiting resurrection.

John S. Martignoni
     Source? As in: book, chapter, verse?

Hugh Hancock
     All throughout the Bible: Eccles. 9:5; 1 Cor 15:50+; John 11 (the chapter); John 5:28-29. Plus:

Eccles 3:18-20 - They die alike, have the same breath, go to one place."

Eccles 9:5-6,10 - The dead know not anything.  No love, etc.

Job 14:10-15 - Dead do not awaken till coming of Jesus.

Job 17:13 - They wait in the grave.

Job 3:17-19 - Even the wicked are at rest.

Job 14:21 - The dead know nothing of loved ones.

Psalm 6:5 - They do not remember God.

Psalm 115:17 - They do not praise the Lord.

Psalm 146:3-4 - Return to dust; no breath; no thoughts

Col 3:4 - Christ is our life.

1 John 5:11-12 - Our eternal life is in the Son.

1 Thess 4:16-17 [the dead in Christ will rise first]

John S. Martignoni
     Okay, well, as a Catholic, I believe every single one of these verses. In fact, as a Catholic, I believe every single verse of the Bible. But, to your particular point, the Catholic Church teaches that "the dead are asleep, awaiting resurrection".

     And please correct me if I am wrong, but is it your contention that not just the body is dead - "asleep" - but the soul is dead - "asleep" - as well? And, if I'm understanding your interpretation of 1 Cor 15:50+, is it your contention that the soul is "perishable" just as the body is? In other words, the soul never separates from the body?

My Comments
     First, simply affirming that, as a Catholic, I believe in every single verse of the Bible.  Second, showing him that he obviously isn't as familiar with Catholic teaching as he thinks he is, because we do indeed believe the dead are asleep and awaiting resurrection.  Now, we obviously have a different understanding of the word "asleep," than he does, but that is indeed what we believe.  For Catholics, the word "asleep" is, in this context, the same as the word "dead".  Scripture itself makes that connection.  I was trying to set it up so that I would have the opportunity to discuss the scriptural definition of the word "asleep".  Which is why I asked that last question about the soul separating from the body. 

     Again, I want to make sure I don't misunderstand what he believes, and that I don't misunderstand how he is interpreting any given passage of Scripture.  If you look at 1 Cor 15:50-55, it is talking about the perishable vs. the imperishable.  So, by citing that passage for "soul sleep," he seemed, to me, to be implying that the soul was perishable just like the body.

     Also, if you go through those verses he cites, you will see that to get to a "soul sleep" interpretation of those verses, you have to take them all of context.  For example, he cites Job 14:21 - "His [a dead man's] sons come to honor and he does not know it; they are brought low, and he perceives it not." - as a passage that shows, "The dead know nothing of their loved ones," which means the dead are soul sleeping.  But, if you read the very next verse, it says, "He feels only the pain of his own body and he mourns only for himself."  Well, how can he [a dead man] feel pain and mourn...if his soul is asleep?  Not to mention that in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, not only did the Rich Man (who was dead) know what was going on with his loved ones on earth, but so did Father Abraham (who also was dead)!  Soul sleep?  I don't think so.

Hugh Hancock
     God breathed in man and he became a living soul. Satan’s first lie in Eden was "Ye shall not die," i.e., but live on forever, either in heaven or hell. He contradicts the Bible: "The soul that sins [continues to sin] shall die" [the second death, from which there is no resurrection]. I'm not adding to verses here, but simply elaborating based on what scripture teaches us about death...and eternal death. Anyway, check out those verses. All in all, the Bible teaches that the dead sleep.

John S. Martignoni
     Okay, first thing: You said that Satan's first lie was "You shall not die." But then you did something very interesting, you used "i.e.," which means, "in other words". So, you quoted the Scripture accurately, but then you gave me your interpretation - your "other words" - of what that Scripture means - "i.e., but live on forever, either in heaven or hell." Can we agree that you interpreted that verse? Yes or no?

     And, can we further agree that while I am bound by God's Word, I am not bound by Hugh Hancock's words? I.e., your interpretation of that verse is not infallible? Yes or no?

     Secondly, this discussion is not going to work so well if you don't answer the questions I actually ask. I'm trying to understand exactly what it is you believe and why you believe it. So, please, in plain language, answer these two questions:

1) Is it your contention that not just the body is dead - "asleep" - but the soul is dead - "asleep" - as well? Yes or no?

2) Do you interpret 1 Cor 15:50 to mean that the soul is "perishable" just as the body is? In other words, the soul never separates from the body? Yes or no?

My Comments
     Two points here: 1) He very plainly, through the use of "i.e.," shows that he is indeed "adding to" what the Bible says.  He can call it "elaborating" or anything else he wants to call it, but that is simply a ruse to try and disguise the fact that he is adding to Scripture.  He is using his words, not God's words.  He is wanting me to accept the Word of Hugh, instead of the Word of God; or, at the very least, he wants me to accept the Word of Hugh in addition to the Word of God.  Which shows, as I always say, Protestants do not go by the Bible alone, rather, they go by their fallible interpretation of the Bible alone.  Make sure you understand the difference and that you point out the difference...often.

     2) I'm not going to let him give me some vague, indirect answer to my questions.  I ask direct questions, I expect direct answers.  Especially since I give direct answers.  So, I call him on the fact that he didn't really answer what I asked, and I repeat what I asked and I request a very simple yes or no answer.  He can elaborate all he wants afterwards, but first give me a yes or no answer.

Hugh Hancock
     When I "added" to Satan's first lie statement, it is because I have researched further scripture, but I can't list every scripture in this specific instance.  Next, when we "interpret" we are actually allowing the Bible to interpret itself. So, when we read in the Bible that hell is temporary (the wicked are punished and then destroyed, as the Bible teaches) and find the word "forever," we have to look to the weight of evidence...99% of the Bible says the wicked will perish, and 1% suggests they'll suffer "forever." So, we look at the weight of evidence and we look at what "forever" means, i.e., "I'll be your friend forever"...until I die or you die, right?
     Finally, when a person dies, the body stays and the soul or spirit goes to God. Are the souls conscious? No. Why? The Bible teaches it. The Greek misinformed idea of the immortal soul has truly confused many. Spiritualism is big on what? The dead are alive, ghosts, etc. We are told NOT to consult mediums.
     Finally, God will "destroy both body and soul in hell." God wants to rid the universe of the sin problem, i.e., sin and those who cling to sin. God DOESN'T plan to quarantine the wicked. It goes against Bible teaching and it's not in God's nature. It's also silly...an eternity of roasting for 80 years of unbelief???

John S. Martignoni
     Okay, so you admit that you interpreted Scripture and that you "added" to Scripture. Thank you. Now, the other part of that question is: Am I bound by Hugh Hancock's added words in the same manner I am bound by God's Word? In other words, are you infallible in your interpretations of Scripture...yes or no? It's a simple question, Hugh, please answer it.
     Now, based on the rest of what you said, the answer to my two other questions are that when the body dies, the soul becomes "unconscious," and, the soul does indeed separate from the body. Progress.
     Given all of that, I have a couple of questions for you:
1) If the soul is unconscious when one dies, how is it that Saul consulted with Samuel after Samuel died if Samuel's soul was unconscious (1 Sam 28:3,8-18)? And how did Samuel know what was going to happen in the future if the soul has no knowledge after death?
2) In Rev 6:9-10, all the souls of the martyrs in Heaven cry out to the Lord and they also have knowledge of things that are transpiring on earth. How is that if they're all unconscious?

My Comments
     There was a lot in his response that I could have ripped into, such as: “When we ‘interpret’ we are actually allowing the Bible to interpret itself.”  So, when Hugh uses all these words to “interpret” the Bible, that are not found in the Bible, that is the same thing as the Bible interpreting itself?  Uh...yeah...sure it is.  How ridiculous a statement is that?!  But, I let that go...for now.  If need be, I could always come back to it.  I simply summarized all he said in that respect into the statement: You admit that you interpreted and added to Scripture.  

     I also ignored his 99% vs. 1% claim, which is completely bogus.  And, for which, no evidence was offered.  The Word of Hugh is true and cannot be questioned and has no need to be verified!  Thus says Hugh.
     Then, getting back to the authority issue, I simply asked him if I was bound by the Word of Hugh in the same way I am bound by the Word of God.  Fair question, since he seems to be saying that I am bound by Hugh’s word.
     The last thing I did, was start the assault on the Word of Hugh’s interpretation of the Bible by giving Scripture verses that directly contradict the SDA dogma of soul sleep.  I just gave two, but there are many more that can be used.  Not to mention showing how the Scripture verses he cited don’t really mean what he thinks they mean because he has taken them out of context (as mentioned above).
     How do you think he will respond?

Hugh Hancock
     1. Did Saul actually consult with Samuel? Therein lies the dilemma. If a person doesn't know his Bible, then he is easy prey to demonic, spiritual forces. What will Christians do when their relatives come back to tell them that, yes, indeed Jesus changed the Sabbath to Sunday and those going against Sunday are denying their Lord and Savior.
     2. Symbolism. Likened to Abel's blood crying from the ground.

John S. Martignoni
     Not an answer. The Bible says Saul consulted with Samuel. Are you saying the Word of God is wrong? Show me something where the Bible says, "Saul did not actually consult with Samuel." I guess, then, by your interpretation of Scripture, Jesus didn't actually talk with Moses and Elijah (Matt 17:3), did He? I mean, He couldn't have, because their souls were asleep, right?
     Regarding question #2, sorry, but Abel's blood crying out is indeed a metaphor, or symbolism, because blood, in the normal course of events, doesn't talk. However, souls do. So, sorry, the two are nothing alike. Besides, where does the Bible say it is symbolism? Aren't you, once again, interpreting what the Bible says? Who am I to believe, the Word of God, or the Word of Hugh?
     Answer the question: Are you infallible in your interpretations of the Bible...yes or no?!!!!  If you do not answer this question, then you will not be on this page much longer, as you will be violating the rules of the page. Rule #12 - Direct questions require direct answers. Plus, all the thousands of Catholics who are members here will see how a member of the 150-year old Seventh Day Adventist church of Ellen White is not very adept when it comes to a discussion of Scripture. Is that what you want your witness to be?

My Comments
     “Did Saul actually consult with Samuel?”  What?!  Really?!  So, I come back with the example of Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration.  Is Hugh going to say, “Did Jesus actually talk to Moses and Elijah?”  That’s all he can say if he’s going to be consistent in his arguments.  And what is this about the relatives of Christians coming back to tell them that Jesus changed the Sabbath?  What the heck is that about?  How does that answer any question or argument that I’ve put forth?  It doesn’t!  
     Hey, folks, don’t let the people you’re talking to evade, obfuscate, and avoid answering your questions like this guy is doing.  You will not get anything but frustrated if you allow that to happen.  Which is why I called him out and pointed out that the rules of the page (my FB page) call for direct answers to direct questions.  
     So, what do you think Hugh is going to do when he is directly confronted over his non-answers...his indirect answers...his obfuscations...his nonsensical responses to my questions and arguments?

Hugh Hancock
Good talk. Bye.

My Comments
     He runs away.  Hugh is a coward.  Todd C. nailed him right off the back.  He tries to stir things up, but then when confronted with logically and scripturally based questions that he has no logically or scripturally consistent answer for, what does he do?  He runs away.  Pathetic.  Absolutely pathetic.  He is unwilling, or, actually, unable, to engage in a straightforward, honest, and sincere conversation about the Bible and about Catholic vs. SDA beliefs.
     And that is why you repeat your questions and you don’t let folks drag you off this way or that with their misdirection and their meandering responses and ridiculous answers to your questions.  Because if you do, you are going to accomplish nothing except for the wasting of your time.  You need to find out early on in the conversation if the person you are engaging with is honest and sincere in wanting to dialogue, and whether or not they will actually listen to what you have to say and answer your questions and respond to your arguments in good faith.  Hugh, obviously, is not such a person.  Hugh is one of those people who wants to preach, but does not want to listen or learn.  Shake the dust, folks...shake the dust.

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week.  And, please, remember to pray for the woman my wife is currently caring for...and for her husband.  Thanks!


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Apologetics for the Masses