Apologetics for the Masses #478 - A Protestant Replies to My Blue Collar Apologetics Book (Part 2)

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A Protestant - Tom ExCatholic4Christ - is doing a 42-part response to my Blue Collar Apologetics Book, one part for each chapter of the book. This is my response to his "rebuttal" of Chapter 2.

General Comments

Hey folks,

Two things:

1) I'll be sending out a special edition of Apologetics for the Masses  this Sunday, May 19th, so please be on the lookout for that.  I hope you will appreciate the message in it and will want to participate in the activity it will be focusing on. 

2) The 2nd part of my article - Sola vs. Solo Scriptura - A Distinction Without a Difference - is out on my Patheos.com column and you would be doing me a huge favor by checking it out and commenting on it and/or leaving an emoji "response".  You can read the article and comment on it here:


(Note: To get to the "Comments" section, you have to scroll down below the article a decent ways, but it's there eventually.)


As noted in the last newsletter, there is a Protestant out there, his name is Tom, who has a website called: ExCatholic4Christ.wordpress.com.  He being an ex-Catholic, you can pretty much guess what to expect - knows everything there is to know about the Catholic Church; yet, somehow, keeps misrepresenting fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church.  And, of course, is virulently anti-Catholic. Tom ExCatholic4Christ, is on a mission to deliver Catholics from the darkness of Romanism and to keep others from ever "embracing Rome" in the first place. 

In that vein, he is doing a 42-part series on my book - A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism (Catholic Questions Protestants Can't Answer).  He is taking one chapter per week and giving a "rebuttal" of that chapter.  Well, that's what he calls it anyway.  Although, for something to actually be a rebuttal, I think it needs to maybe, just possibly, rebut the arguments that were actually made.  

So, I am going to spend a few weeks to rebut some of his "rebuttals" - at least on the first 3, maybe 4, chapters - and then maybe come back to him from time-to-time over the next several months and rebut another of his rebuttals here and there.  Today I'll be responding to his "rebuttal" of Chapter 2 of my book: Tom ExCatholic4Christ "Rebuttal" of Chapter 2 of "A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism"

By the way, below his rebuttals on his website, one is free to make comments.  I've tried to make several comments, and a few of you have told me you left comments as well, but, so far, not a single comment from a Catholic has shown up.  I wonder why that is?

As I did in the last newsletter, I'll 1st put his summation of my "argument" from the chapter in my book, and then respond to that, and then I'll give his "rebuttal," with my comments interspersed between his.  His comments will be in italics.


A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism #2: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Thanks for joining us today as we continue our Friday series examining Catholic apologist, John Martignoni’s book, “A Blue Collar Answer to Protestantism: Catholic Questions Protestants Can’t Answer” (2023).

Problems with Protestantism #2: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

This week, Martignoni continues his ““Problems with Protestantism” section with “problem” #2, What’s Love Got to Do With It? Many evangelicals (including pastors and para-church leaders) misguidedly believe the Roman Catholic church teaches the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, aka Sola gratia, Sola fide, Solus Christus, but in this chapter Martignoni angrily attacks Sola fide and defends Roman Catholicism’s doctrines of justification by works and salvation by merit.

Martignoni’s Argument

Martignoni writes, “The dogma of Sola Fide invites the question asked by Tina Turner: What’s love got to do with it? What role does love play in my salvation? Well, that’s a pretty easy question to answer. If we are saved by faith, and faith alone, then by definition, love has absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. I mean, c’mon, it’s right there in the name of the dogma – SOLA Fide – Faith ALONE. That’s a pretty easy thing to figure out.”

Martignoni advances the common Catholic accusation that evangelicals hold to “easy believism,” i.e., just ask Jesus to save you and you will be saved, without possessing any genuine love for God and fellow man. In contrast, Martignoni argues that Catholics manifest their love for God and fellow man by obeying the Ten Commandments and performing acts of charity in order to merit their salvation. Martignoni continues over the course of 4.5 pages, but the same argument is essentially repeated over and over. Martignoni presents a limited number of Bible verses as proof-texts for justification by works and salvation by merit, including:

Matthew 22:37-39 – And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

My Comments
This guy is awesome!  Once again, as he did with his "rebuttal" of Chapter 1, he completely misrepresents what I said in the chapter.  Oh, he quotes me in his first paragraph, but then, after that, nowhere did he present the actual arguments I made nor the questions I asked.  Instead, he spins my arguments against this false Protestant dogma into arguments for a skewed version of Catholic teaching on salvation.  He then smites down his skewed understanding of Catholic teaching without ever responding to my arguments against Sola Fide!  Another bait and switch. 

Also, he claims I said things that I did not say.  For example, nowhere in Chapter 2 did I "argue" anything about how "Catholics manifest their love for God and fellow man."  Nor did I say anything about "merit" in regard to one's salvation.  Nor did I "defend Roman Catholicism's" supposed doctrines of "justification by works" and "salvation by merit".  In fact, there is one, and only one, time in the chapter where I even mention the Catholic Church, and that was just to say, "The Catholic Church has always taught that love is necessary for salvation." 

He also said that I "angrily attack Sola Fide".  Well, I did attack Sola Fide...using the Bible, and the Bible alone.  If that's "angrily" attacking Sola Fide, then what is it called when Tom ExCatholic4Christ rips into Catholics on a personal level and into the Catholic Church and its teachings at a corporate level based not on Scripture, but on his own personal bias and animus against all things Catholic?  I mean, just read his "rebuttal" below.  Is he being "nice"?  Is he being "kind"?  Maybe "joyful"?  I don't think so! 

Neither did I present any "
proof-texts for justification by works and salvation by merit," as he claims.  I simply presented Bible verses that show, very clearly, that love for God and your fellow man are necessary components of one's salvation, at least, according to Jesus. Here's the thing, though: If by quoting Scripture passages like Matt 22:37-39 and John 14:15, not to mention Matt 25:35-46 and Gal 5:6, I am making arguments on behalf of Catholic teaching, as he claims, then what he is really saying is that Scripture is making arguments on behalf of Catholic teaching.  So his problem here, is not with Catholic teaching as much as it is with Scripture.

Finally, he doesn't realize it, but in his summary of "Martignoni's Argument", when he says, essentially, that Protestants believe you won't be saved "
without possessing any genuine love for God and fellow man," he is actually making the argument I make in Chapter 2 of my book!  With that one sentence, he is admitting that having "love for God and fellow man" is indeed a necessary condition for salvation.  Well, if love of God and neighbor is indeed necessary for salvation, then Tom ExCatholic4Christ agrees that Sola Fide - salvation by faith ALONE - cannot be true.  Love, according to Tom ExCatholic4Christ, has to be a part of the process of salvation.  (Apparently, he hasn't fully gotten rid of all of the Catholic baggage he carried for so many years.) I think there is just the slightest touch of irony that he is actually trying to give a rebuttal to something that, when it comes down to it, he agrees with.  And he has no clue...

Tom ExCatholic4Christ's Rebuttal

The religious natural man cannot comprehend salvation apart from works and merit. The Gospel of grace is derided as “easy believism” foolishness by religious unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 2:14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

My Comments
Notice, and this is common to so, so many Protestants - they make the assumption that since you disagree with their fallible interpretation of Scripture that means you, the Catholic, are a "natural person" and not a "spiritual person" like them.  By what authority does he claim that?  None.  In fact, he is violating the Scripture prohibition of judging another person - "Judge not lest ye be judged."  Whenever they use this verse from 1 Cor 2:14-15 on you, just send it right back at them and say, "I agree. That's why you can't properly understand what the Bible is saying."

However, salvation is entirely by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Ephesians 2:8-10 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Titus 3:5-7 – He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Good works validate our saving faith, they do not justify us.

My Comments
"However, salvation is entirely by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone."  And then he quotes a passage of Scripture that does not say what he just said.  He has to "add to" Scripture to come up with his fallible interpretation of this passage.  As Catholics, we agree 100% with what Eph 2:8-10 says.  The fact that he does not understand that, demonstrates his ignorance of Catholic teaching.  Usually, though, when Protestants throw this passage at you, they don't include verse 10, because it talks about...horror of horrors...doing works!  The question I always have for Protestants who go to this passage is this: "Well, if you don't do the works that God has prepared for you to do (verse 10), are you still saved?"  That throws them for a loop every time. 

When it comes to Titus 3:5-7, again, Catholics agree 100% with this passage.  What we don't agree with, again, is his fallible interpretation of this passage.  That's because he thinks this passage is about salvation by faith alone, when, actually, the passage is talking about Baptism - "the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."  Note that nowhere in this passage do the words "faith alone" appear.  He is adding to Scripture.

"Good works validate our saving faith, they do not justify us."  I would have to ask Tom ExCatholic4Christ exactly where the Bible says that, were he ever to respond to one of my comments that I have tried to post on his website...that he refuses to let go through.  Oh, wait, I know where it says that in the Bible...Rom 2:6-7, which says, "For He will render to every man by grace alone through his faith alone in Christ alone.  To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will tell them that their patience in well-doing has nothing to do with gaining eternal life, but simply validates their saving faith."  Yep, there it is!

Also, I forgot about Matt 25:46 which says, "And they [those who didn't feed, clothe, or visit Jesus in the least of His brethren] will go away into eternal punishment because they did not do these things which would have validated their saving faith, but the righteous [those who did feed, clothe, or visit Jesus in the least of His brethren] will go into eternal life because by doing all of these things they did indeed validate their saving faith.  Doing or not doing the works themselves, however, had no relation whatsoever to their eternal destination."  I don't know how I could have missed that verse.


Martignoni claims to love God and his fellow man and to manifest his love by obeying the Ten Commandments and performing acts of charity, but the unsaved religious like Martignoni are estranged from God.

Romans 10:3-4 – For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

My Comments
What's with the negative waves, Moriarity?!  Man, do these folks get ever so judgmental!  The man knows nothing about me, yet he's ever so free to judge me as being unsaved...aka, damned.  But, I have faith in God.  I have faith that Jesus died on the Cross for my sins.  I have faith that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  I believe that I am saved by God's grace.  So, am I not saved?  Well, if salvation by faith alone is indeed true, then, yes, I am indeed saved.  So, does he actually believe what he's preaching or not?


Martignoni and all Catholics are unsure if they will satisfactorily merit Heaven at the moment of death. They claim to “love” God, but they actually fear Him because the Catholic doctrine of merited salvation provides zero assurance. Catholics notoriously appeal to Mother Mary rather than to God the Father or God the Son because they have been taught she is much more sympathetic to their salvation-by-merit mountain climb in contrast to the alleged stern taskmasters, Father and Son.

No one can truly love God until they have been spiritually born-again by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

My Comments
So, if this isn't angrily attacking me, and all Catholics, at a very personal level, then exactly how would he describe what he's doing here?  But, of course, I'm the angry one.  He claims to know that I do not love God.  And, in fact, he claims to know that not a single Catholic anywhere loves God.  Did all you guys reading this know that you don't really love God?!  What a bunch of haters! 

You know, in order to know that, he must be claiming that he, Tom ExCatholic4Christ, is indeed God.  For the Word of God tells us that it is God, and God alone, who searches the minds and hearts of men (Rev 2:23).  So, for him to know that neither I, nor any Catholic, loves God, means that he has the power to search our minds and our hearts.  Wow, that's pretty cool!  God is reviewing my book in a 42-part series!  

Did you notice what he said, though?  We don't love God, we "fear" Him. And he's basically saying that is a very bad thing.  Yet, Scripture tells us that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, does it not?  Well, yes indeed...right there in Psalm 111:10.  He might also want to look at Prov 1:7, 9:10, and 15:33, as well as Isaiah 11:2 and 33:6.  This doesn't say a lot for his overall knowledge of the Bible. The Word of Tom appears to be at odds with the Word of God.

Furthermore, his apparent total ignorance of Catholic teaching on Mary and on salvation shine brightly here.  No Catholic ever appeals to "Mother Mary rather than to God the Father or God the Son."  The only way we can indeed appeal to Mary is through the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  It is because she is a member of the Body of Christ in Heaven that we are able to appeal to her and that she is able to hear us and respond by praying for us.  She does nothing by her own power and authority, but only by the power and authority of her Son.  And, we certainly do not appeal to Mother Mary because she is somehow "more sympathetic" to our "salvation-by-merit mountain climb."  What an absolutely assinine thing to say!  I think here he is revealing not just ignorance towards all things Catholic, but malice as well. 

But, he's a Christian!  Out there spreading false information about other people's beliefs due to, at best, deliberate ignorance, if not, at worst, outright lying about what the Church believes and teaches, in order to spread his false gospel of salvation by faith alone.  This is where salvation by faith alone comes in so handy for these folks - they have no fear of breaking that pesky little commandment about not bearing false witness, because, after all, it's not a salvation issue. 


Imagine a person being hopelessly trapped in a burning building. A fireman breaks through the deadly flames to rescue them, but they decline the assistance, maintaining their right and ability to save themselves. That’s Roman Catholicism.

I wish every Rome-friendly evangelical could read this chapter. Martignoni takes off the gloves and scoffs at the Gospel of grace and at the dumb Protestants (strongly implied) who hold to “easy believism.”

My Comments
What an unbelievably ridiculous analogy.  Here's a better one: Imagine a person who isn't trapped in a burning building.  Yes, the building is on fire, but they are standing right next to an exit door and could walk out at anytime to escape the fire.  But, they choose not to.  Not only that, when the firemen come in to get him and the other folks out of the building, he curses them and tries to prevent them from getting anyone out of the building.  That is Tom ExCatholic4Christ's version of Protestantism. 

But, at least, Tom ExCatholic4Christ and I do agree on something.  I, too, wish that "every Rome-friendly [and Rome un-friendly] evangelical could read this chapter."  Maybe it would cause some of them to actually stop and think.  Maybe a seed would be planted.  And, no, I do not scoff at the Gospel of grace, I scoff at his private, non-authoritative, fallible interpretation of the Gospel of grace.  Nor do I "strongly imply" that Protestants are "dumb".  Far from it.  What I do imply, and I think I flat out say elsewhere - either in this book or my first one - is that many Protestants never actually examine what it is they believe and why they believe it. They also never examine what the Catholic Church teaches and why. 

So, if Tom ExCatholic4Christ is feeling like I've strongly implied he is "dumb," maybe it's because there is something inside of him that is making him feel that way.  Maybe there is a voice inside of him saying to himself, "You know, when Jesus is asked directly, 'What must I do to have eternal life,' (Matt 19:16-17) He answers, 'If you would enter life, keep the Commandments.'  Isn't that pretty straightforward?  Isn't it kinda not-so-smart not to believe what Jesus says?" 

To sum up his "rebuttal" of Chapter 2, again, it was anything but an actual rebuttal.  Instead of responding to my arguments and my questions, he marches out his skewed versions of Catholic doctrines on salvation, and on Mary, and then proceeds to try and knock them down.  He never once responded to what Chapter 2 actually was all about. He never once presented arguments or evidence that showed I was wrong in anything that I asserted in that chapter.  He never once explained how love of God or love of neighbor had anything at all to do with one's salvation in a salvation by faith alone theology.  Again, by definition, the dogma of Sola Fide means that salvation is by faith alone, which means that love can have nothing at all to do with one's salvation.  Unless, the word "alone" doesn't actually mean "alone".  Because, if love does indeed have something to do with one's salvation, then we are not saved by faith alone.  We would be saved by faith AND love. 

The Word of Tom...or the Word of God.  Which do you want to believe?

Closing Comments

Don't forget to look for the "Special Edition" of Apologetics for the Masses in your inbox this Sunday, May 19th.  I hope all of you will want to take part...


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Apologetics for the Masses