Apologetics for the Masses #439 - A Facebook Conversation with a Protestant, Part 2

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A Fairly Typical (More or Less) Facebook Conversation with a Protestant, Part 3

General Comments

     Last call for those of you ladies who live in or around the Diocese of Birmingham (Alabama) to sign up for the annual Diocesan Women's Conference on Saturday, February 11th, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Hoover (suburb of Birmingham) from 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM. 

     Two absolutely fantastic speakers: Kitty Cleveland and Emily Wilson!  There is no cost to attend, but you must make a reservation.  To do so, simply send me an email with your name to: john@biblechristiansociety.com.  Space is limited, so register sooner rather than later.  It should be awesome!


   Last week I published the first part of a conversation - I hesitate to use the word "dialogue" - I had with Marie Taylor.  Again, Marie is a fairly fanatical anti-Catholic who I initially took up with on a subscriber's Facebook page.  This week I'll publish the next part of the conversation, with my comments betwixt and between.  I'll start off by repeating the last thing she said from the previous newsletter and then go from there with my response and comments: https://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/630-apologetics-for-the-masses-438-a-facebook-conversation-with-a-protestant-part-2

     Also, as I mentioned last week, Marie had challenged me to join a few of the anti-Catholic FB pages she haunts, and so I did.  Once I engaged on those pages, it took less than 24 hours to realize that my time could be better spent if I just sat around poking needles in my eyes.  But, I did get some material from those attempts at conversations that I will be publishing, not in the next newsletter, but the one after that.  I'm going to focus one more week on Marie after this one. 

     After I left those anti-Catholic pages, Marie and 2 or 3 of her anti-Catholic cohorts, all of whom consider themselves to be members of "The Elect," followed me to my FB apologetics page - John Martignoni and the Bible Christian Society (if you are not a member, please come join us).  I have certain rules on that page that are meant to foster actual dialogue.  Rules such as: 1) No claiming the Catholic Faith is not a Christian faith or that Catholics are not Christian; 2) If you're asked a direct question, you must give a direct answer; 3) If you make a claim - e.g., the Catholic Church worships Mary; or, Jesus taught Sola Scriptura, you must provide sources for your claim when asked; and so forth.  Marie and her fellows all gave their word that they would abide by those rules.  Guess what?  After violating those rules multiple times, they were all suspended for 28 days.  Don't know if they'll be back or not...we'll see.  But, those conversations are still up over there, so check them out if you would like.

     Anyway, here is more of Marie Taylor...


Marie Taylor
     1) what makes something true? According to your religion that would be something the apostles taught, right? There is no new revelation after the apostles, you know (CCC 76). Why would you not be willing to change your question to, "Can you show that the Apostles taught that all apostolic Christian beliefs are found directly in Scripture?" Then I would know exactly what you mean. Shouldn't be an issue given CCC 76.
     2) You didn't answer the question. If a teaching is unauthentic, it really isn't Christian, is it? Shouldn't you change this word to "apostolic"?
     3) And no, I'd like you to define what you THINK the doctrine of Sola Scriptura encompasses. And there is only one definition provided by the Reformers. They coined the word, so they get to define it. So, what is its meaning?
     4) No, I didn't want I Cor. 15:1-4. That isn't specific enough. Moreover, I'd like to know the message of salvation as taught by your religion. Do you not know how your religion defines this message? I noticed you didn't answer it.
     And then you just added questions to the list. Slow down, and let's clarify and answer what has been asked thus far.  Finally, are you up to the challenge of joining our group and starting your series? Are you afraid that your questions CAN, actually, be answered?


John S. Martignoni

     Yes, why don't you answer what has been asked thus far, eh?  So, I will, one more time, answer your questions with direct and succinct answers, even though you have not answered any of my questions thus far (another typical exchange with a Protestant):

     1) What makes something true? Gee, I don't know, Marie...uhmm...maybe the fact that it is true?! The fact that it conforms to reality?! The Apostles didn't teach e=mc^2, but that's true, isn't it?  But, I will play your little game of, "Gee, I don't know what the word 'authentic' means, even after you've defined it for me." So, fine, here's the question, phrased so a Protestant can understand: "Can you show that the Apostles taught that all truly Christian beliefs are found directly in Scripture?"

     2) And, yes, I did indeed respond to your word game about "unauthentic Christian beliefs" not really being Christian. Why don't you read what I've written?

     3) Oh, for the definition of Sola Scriptura, you go back all of 500 years to the Deformers, eh? Isn't that nice. Who gave them the authority to come up with this doctrine some 1500 years after Jesus? And, if it's truly an authentic Christian doctrine/dogma, then how come you can't give me a definition of it that is, oh, I don't know...maybe a thousand-years old? Or 1500-years old? Or, 2000-years old? And, tell me again, I must have missed it: Book, chapter, and verse where Jesus teaches Sola Scriptura?

     It is not up to me to define your dogmas for you. I have encountered variations of Sola Scriptura, depending on which Protestant I'm talking to. But, if you insist, I'll take a shot at it - Sola Scriptura: "All things necessary for man’s salvation, faith, and life, are either expressly set down in Scripture or may be deduced from Scripture. Scripture is the Supreme Judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits are to be examined."  Does that satisfy you? Would the Deformers approve of "my" definition?

     4) The message of salvation: "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." The message of salvation: "For God will render unto every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing [good works] seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life." The message of salvation: "Baptism, which corresponds to this [Noah and his family being saved through water], now saves you." The message of salvation: "For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

     The message of salvation: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life." The message of salvation: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments." The message of salvation: "Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." The message of salvation: "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." Do you want more? God became man to die on the Cross for our sins.

     Now, once again, and for the last time, here are my questions. Dare you to attempt to answer them, or do I add them to my list of "Questions Protestants Can't Answer"?

     1) Can you show that the Apostles taught that all truly Christian beliefs are found directly in Scripture?" If yes, please provide book, chapter, and verse.

     2) Do you believe that everything every Christian believes about the Christian faith is true? Yes or no? If not, then can it not be said that there are Christians teaching things as Christian doctrine that are not authentic (i.e., true) Christian doctrine. Yes or no?

     3) If two Protestants have different definitions as to what Sola Scriptura means, then by what authority do you decide who is right and who is wrong?

     4) Can you give me book, chapter, and verse where Jesus taught Sola Scriptura? If you can't, then I guess it is indeed a man-made tradition, isn't it?

     5) What must you do to have eternal life?

     6) Who gave the Deformers the authority to come up with this dogma of Sola Scriptura some 1500 years after Jesus?


My Comments

     So, what's going on here?  I answer her questions...no matter how ridiculous they are.  "What makes something true?"  Really?!  Can you not look in the dictionary to get a definition of truth?  Are you really going to align yourself with Pontius Pilate: "What is truth?"  I guess so.  In one of the discussions on my FB page, I stayed on her about truth.  She kept wanting to insist that the word, "authentic," is subjective.  That the phrase, "being so in fact," is subjective.  As she did in this conversation.  So, when she started in with, "What makes something true," I asked her:  You think the word "authentic" is subjective.  You think the phrase, "being so in fact," is subjective.  So, Marie, is "truth" also subjective.  She wouldn't answer, at first.  But, on my Facebook page - where I can delete non-responsive responses - I have a bit more control.  So, I started deleting her posts until she gave me some direct answers to direct questions.  She finally said, "Yes, truth is subjective."  Wow! 

     Once she did that, I made a post that quoted John 14:6, John 8:38, and John 18:37 - all are about truth.  If truth is subjective, then Jesus, Who says He is the truth, is subjective.  The truth that sets you free, is subjective.  The truth that Jesus came to bear witness to, is subjective.  And I asked her: Is Jesus subjective?  She never did respond before she was suspended.  The point is, take what they give you and turn it around on them.  Marie and her fellows think they are oh so clever in that they know the Bible so well that they are going to just eat those poor scripturally ignorant Catholics for lunch.  But, they don't know the Bible anywhere near as well as they think they do.  When a Protestant you are dialoguing with says something to you, don't just accept it at face value.  Dissect it.  Analyze it.  Put it in your pipe and smoke on it for a while.  Try to discern the ramifications...the implications...of everything they are saying.  Remember: logic, common sense, and the Bible are all on your side.  Oh, and one other thing, notice that any one answer I give to a particular question is almost always relatively short.  It is usually not necessary to give these big long answers to Protestant questions.  The longer your answer, the less likely they are to read it.  Or, if they do read it, the more ammunition you give them to go off in all sorts of different directions than where you want to go...which really bogs down a conversation.  And, the more you write, the more chances there are that you might say something that's not quite correct.  So, keep your answers and explanations as concise as possible.

     And remember how she asked me if I know what the "Message of Salvation" is?  I answered her with 1 Cor 15:1-4 which, essentially, is that Christ died for our sins.  I guarantee you she did not expect me to give her that answer. So, when I did, what did she do?  She lied.  She essentially said that it wasn't the right answer.  That's not what she was looking for, she said.  However, in a later conversation on my FB page, I kept pushing her on the issue.  I said she denied that 1 Cor 15:1-4 and all those other Scripture verses I gave the next time she asked were part of the "message of salvation".  Guess what?  She flat out denied saying what I just quoted from her above - that 1 Cor 15:1-4 wasn't what she was looking for.  She lied.  Oh, she tried to spin it by saying that, yes, that was the correct answer, but she knew I didn't really believe it was.  The woman is able to read my very mind and soul!  How do you argue with someone who would have fit in perfectly as an functionary for Big Brother in Orwell's book 1984

     Again, she denied ever saying that I didn't give her the right answer.  So, she asked me again.  In fact, throughout this conversation, she claims several times that I don't know what the "message of salvation" is.  So, what did I do?  Did I give her my intepretations of this or that Scripture passage?  No.  Did I quote the Catechism for her?  No.  I gave her several quotes on salvation directly from Scripture.  No interpreting.  So, if she was going to disagree with me, she would have to also disagree with the Word of God.  Then I basically summed up all of those Scripture quotes with: "God became man to die for our sins," which is the message of 1 Cor 15:1-4, and which is the overarching message behind everything the Church does to bring man to salvation.

     What she was trying to do, was trap me into saying something...I'm not really sure what...something that she could then jump on and go, "Aha!  See Catholics don't know what the message of salvation is!"  What she fails to understand, is that everything the Church does is focused on the message of salvation - Christ died on the Cross for our sins.  Has she ever seen a Crucifix?  Does she not know that the Sacrifice of the Mass - the central act of worship in the Church - is all about representing to the Father the fact that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins?  Furthermore, she limits the Word of God by making this or that verse trump all the other verses in the Book.  In this case, 1 Cor 15:1-4 is trump over every other passage on salvation.  No, the message of salvation is not to be found in John 6.  Nor in Romans 2.  Nor in Matthew 5.  Nope.  The message of salvation is in 1 Cor 15:1-4, and if you don't know that, then, by golly, you ain't one of "The Elect"!  But, doesn't the Book somewhere say, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God."  Marie and her folks say, "Nuh unh!" 

     One last thing on what she said here, and this is something you can use over and over and over again.  Notice what she said about the Deformers?  They are the ones who "coined" the term, Sola Scriptura.  They are the ones who "get to define" it.  But, wait, didn't she say earlier that Jesus taught Sola Scriptura?  Why isn't He the one who gets to define it?  He taught it but didn't define it?  If you ever get in a discussion with someone about Sola Scriptura, just ask them who it is that gets to define what Sola Scriptura means.  They will always point to the Deformers.  That's when you ask them something like this: "Oh, so 1500 years after Jesus is when Sola Scriptura was defined?  And it was defined by a man, or men?  Since the Church is 2000-yrs. old, doesn't that tell you something about the authenticity (although, don't use that word if you're talking to Marie) of your Sola Scriptura dogma?  By the way, where is that phrase - Sola Scriptura - in the Bible?"

     Oh, and she never did, in any of our conversations, tell me if the definition I gave her for Sola Scriptura was correct or not.  I am willing to bet she thinks it's wrong.  Yet, I copied that straight out of the Westminster Confession of Faith - which is a famous Reformed/Calvinist confession.  I so wanted her to tell me it was wrong.  But, that was one of the many questions that were left unanswered before I raptured her from my page. 

     And, remember, keep repeating your questions until they get answered.


Marie Taylor
     1) Once again you failed to include the word "apostolic". Why are you hesitant to use this word given that your religion teaches there is no new revelation after the apostles?  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that by "true" you mean "apostolic". So, "Can you show that the Apostles taught that all apostolic beliefs are found directly in Scripture?"  No, and the doctrine of Sola Scriptura doesn't say otherwise. As I stated earlier, we can accept any oral tradition that 1) can be demonstrated to originate with an apostle (which your religion does not have) and
2) does not contradict Scripture (which is where the errors of your religion surface). I'll stop there and let you respond before continuing. I hate long posts. Any issues with this answer?

     And, yes, I'm pretty sure you aren't confident enough [to join those anti-Catholic pages she invited me to join]. It is an objective observation given that you don't even know the message of salvation per your own religion. Kind of puts a kink in Rome's claim to being the "one true church". Those in the TRUE "one true church" know the message by which they were called (II Thess. 2:14). And we are willing to give you your own "airtime". Come on and defend your religion and your claim that we cannot answer your questions. In the meantime, I've provided my first answer to your questions. Any issues with my answer?


John Martignoni
     Why do I have to use the word "Apostolic"? Just to make you happy? Forget that! You wanted me to ask the question in just such a way so that you could use your already practiced pat answer. You are such an easy read.  Look, by "true" I mean "true". What is SO difficult about that? Something doesn't have to be "apostolic" to be true. Again, is e=mc^2 true? It's not apostolic, so, in your world it must not be true, eh?
So, I will ask one more time: "Can you show that the Apostles taught that all truly Christian beliefs are found directly in Scripture?" If yes, please provide book, chapter, and verse.


My Comments

     She re-phrased my question as she wanted me to ask it and then answered it.  That's not cricket.  But, at least she admitted that was the "first" answer she had given me.  After how many back and forth rounds?  Do you kinda see how she knows she's playing games?


Marie Taylor
     When it comes to "true Christian beliefs", your religion and I both define that to be "apostolic".  And my answer stands firm. Any objections to it?


John Martignoni
     When it comes to "true Christian beliefs," my religion does NOT necessarily define that to be "apostolic". Did the teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception originate with the Apostles? Did the teaching on Original Sin originate with the Apostles? Did the teaching of the Ten Commandments originate with the Apostles? Did the teaching on abortion originate with the Apostles? Did the teaching on Satan and Heaven and Hell originate with the Apostles? I could go on, but those examples suffice. In other words, I don't think you understand Catholic teaching as well as you think you do.

     So, I will ask again: "Can you show that the Apostles taught that all truly Christian beliefs are found directly in Scripture? If yes, please provide book, chapter, and verse."  And, in regards to your beliefs, if the teaching of Sola Scriptura originated with the Apostles, then how come it was the Deformers who, as you say, coined the term and defined it? If it wasn't defined for 1500 years after Jesus, how can it be an authentic Christian teaching?

     Finally, are you claiming that the Gospel of John, Romans, 1st Peter, Galatians, and the other Scripture verses cited are not part of the "message of salvation" according to the Catholic Church? Yes or no?


My Comments

     Taking her own words and using them against her.  Jesus taught Sola Scriptura, she said.  Where I asked?  No answer.  Now, she claims that all "true Christian beliefs" are apostolic in origin.  I agree with her in the sense that the Apostles' teaching on doctrine and morals is all "true Christian belief," and that all authority for deciding what is or is not "true Christian belief" is apostolic in origin - came from the Father, to the Son, and passed on from the Son to His Apostles.  All authority in the Church is apostolic authority.

     But, her claim doesn't actually work for her beliefs.  Earlier she said that the Deformers coined and defined the term Sola Scriptura.  But, it had to have been apostolic in origin for it to be true according to what she just said.  So, where did the Apostles teach Sola Scriptura?  And, if they taught it, why didn't they define it?  Why did we have to wait 1500 years for someone to come along and define it?  And to coin the phrase?

     That last question is where I started to push her in regard to the "message of salvation".  Don't let someone back you into a corner by them denying you know the "message of salvation" or "the gospel" or any such thing because you didn't answer their test question correctly - according to them.  First, you can respond, "Where does the Bible say I have to give you that particular answer to that particular question in order to be 'saved'?"

     Then you ask, "Doesn't Scripture say that man will LIVE by ALL the words that come from the mouth of God?  So my answer is that ALL the words of God are the message of salvation by which we shall live."

     Alright, that's enough for now.  I might continue with some more of the dialogue with Marie next week, or, more likely, I'll quote from it and talk more generally in regard to how to respond to certain things she, and others like her, say and questions you can ask that these folks simply will not go near answering.

Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week.  I keep all of you, and your families, in my prayers daily. Please keep us in yours!


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Apologetics for the Masses