Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #64

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I was crazy busy with all the travel last week and wound up being in the office for only a few hours – not enough time to get this newsletter out. And, I’ll be leaving again tomorrow to speak at a women’s conference in Cincinnati. I believe it is being held at St. Gertrude’s. If you’re in the area, call St. Gertrude’s for more information.


In the last issue, I gave you an email that Russell D., a Catholic radio listener, had sent to Doug S. at one of the Catholic radio stations, and I asked you to think about how you would respond to that email. I received a number of emails from folks with their responses, which I cannot respond to individually, but about which I will say were, for the most part, spot on.

Many of you recognized the fact that Russell might need to go back to college and maybe spend some extra time in the Freshman English class. As my grandma always said, “Punctuation reveals the mind.” Russell’s run on sentences reveal a run on mind. He’s not very clear in his thinking, thus making it a bit difficult to respond to his arguments on a one-to-one basis. But, most of you zeroed in on the fact that you need to reduce the number of arguments and you need to make the main argument one about authority. Good job, folks! (By the way, my grandma didn’t really always say that thing about punctuation and the mind – it just makes it sound more like settled wisdom to have those words coming from grandma.)

Anyway, below is his email followed by my response to his email. I do not claim that my response is the absolute best response one could make, but I think it is an example of how you could respond to any email that has a number of arguments in it which go in all different directions…even if the writer of the email is more coherent than the example we have here. So, this is not so much an example of a response to someone who isn’t making much sense, as it is an example of a response to someone who comes at you from a number of different directions all at the same time.

I will reproduce Russel’s email below and then follow it with my response and the thinking (strategies) behind my response.


From: Russell D.

To: Doug S.

Subject: Re: [Fwd: spiritual warfare, 2006-09-16]

Dear Doug:

Sorry for the VERY late reply, almost a year later, and thank you for it, but as to not knowing what Catholics believe, having God’s Word that the Vatican has replaced with its own teaching like the Pharaisees did and for which Jesus condemned them, by the grace of God, I know far more about the
TRUTH, that is Jesus, than Vaticanism and its adherants (since Rome is now officially secular one can no longer call it Romanism), also having John Paul II’s official Catechism and various other websites intelligently exposing the various errors of Vaticanism comparable and successor to the similarly erroneous Pharaisees and their sacerdotal system of Jesus’s day that the apostles abolished in the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
understanding what Jesus meant in John 19:30 when He said “It is finished!”
meaning, as Hebrews makes clear the total fulfillment and termination of the Old Covenant in Himself upon the tree, as the butterfly terminates the caterpillar, one of the earliest Christian symbols of the resurrection, including the Ten Commandments that no longer apply to the Christian as far too lacking compared to the infinitely higher standard demanded by the abiding resurrected Christ (e.g. Matthew 5, especially 21-44 and His
replacing the Old Covenant with His own:

1. enlarging/replacing commandment 6 (don’t murder) with love, 5:21-26,

2. enlarging/replacing no committing adultery with no looking/thinking about
it, 5:27-30,

3. enlarging/replacing unlimited divorce with its qualified abolition, 5:31-32,

4. enlarging/replacing permitting oaths with their abolition, 5:33-37,

5. enlarging/replacing revenge with grace, 5:38-42 and

6. enlarging/replacing love of neighbor to love of enemy, 5:43-44).

Since Jesus wrote the Decalog and gave them to Moses as preIncarnate Christ, He has every right to rewrite them according to His perfect understanding of man’s further development in obeying Him more fully than previously. Those who still would hearken to the Ten Commandments are like the Judaizers Paul constantly fought who rejected His Lord Jesus and whom he finally
anathemized in order to protect his converts from the Pharaisees’ evil ungodly religious sacerdotal system exalting man above God via cleverly disguised salvation by works, like the Reformers anathemized various doctrines of Rome to protect their converts to Christ from a similar evil
ungodly religious sacerdotal system exalting man above God via cleverly
disguised salvation by works.

As antidotes to this poison I recommend you visit www.aomin.org and www.monergism.com and especially www.desiringGod.org to see the true Christian faith presented versus Vaticanism’s illiterate sacerdotal system
that depends on ignorance to sustain it, sadly including even the ignorance of its clergy, as the above websites prove.

You prayed God would bless my journey to “Truth,” but His Word in John, both
8:32 and 14:6, says that that is Jesus Himself versus an abstraction of modern philosophy, and the book of Hebrews further rejects the toleration of any other mediator than Christ, like Mary or the saints who, knowing both Hebrews and its divine author would condemn Vaticanism for the corrupt antiChrist system, even though there are many godly Catholics justified by
faith alone as God and His Word require, though in their ignorance they fail to understand, like Sam Brownback, that in the eyes of Vaticanism, bound by Trent, they are
anathema. Everyone who asks a saint for help has turned his back on Jesus and turned his back on and violated Hebrews, the very Word of God they claim to worship. 1 Timothy 2:5 “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” and Hebrews, chapters 8, 9 & 12.

That anyone would turn to a mere saint for help, according to popular error and Vatican false teaching, instead of Jesus, as God commands in the Scriptures above, even if the saints could hear and act (which Abraham declares by the chasm fixed in Luke16 they cannot (meaning Catholics use Church teaching to reject God’s Word and Abraham’s, making them no children
of Abraham, like it was with the Pharisees). One can only wonder how satan
has led the Vatican astray with his various Marian apparitions the gullible who reject Christ accept without discernment: 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light . 15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he shall instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

God bless you and may He move you to a blessed journey to Jesus Who is The Way, The Truth and The Life.

Russ D.


Dear Russell,

Doug S. forwarded your email to me and asked me to respond. Forgive the delay in replying, but I’ve been doing a lot of traveling in the last several weeks and that always gets me behind.

Anyway, back to your email. You’ll have to forgive me, but I’m from Alabama and we’re not all that smart, so I had a bit of a time trying to follow what you were saying. So, what I would like to do, if you don’t mind, is just simplify the discussion a bit, assuming you’re open to discussing these matters.

Strategy/Comments: In other words, I’m going to “shift the paradigm,” so to speak. Instead of spending hours responding point-by-point to his rambling email, I’m going to basically ignore what he said and start off the argument where I choose to start it from. You can do this with pretty much anyone. You set the tone and let them follow.

If you are open to a discussion about Christ and truth and so forth, then I would like to start off by simply asking if you are infallible in what you teach? In other words, are you 100% certain that your interpretations of Scripture – from which you have derived everything you wrote below – are 100% accurate? Again, are you infallible in what you teach? Is it impossible for you to make an error in what you teach?

Strategy/Comments: I have never met a non-Catholic Christian who believes in the Catholic doctrine of infallibility. In other words, no man – the Pope or anyone else – is infallible in their view. If they believed the Pope was infallible, then the logical thing for them to do, would be to become Catholic. So, I think we can assume most, if not all, non-Catholic Christians do not believe in the doctrine of infallibility. Which means, when you ask someone if they are infallible, then you should get “No,” as an answer. Which means, that it is possible that they can make an error when it comes to matters of faith and morals. So, if there is the possibility that they can err in these areas, then it is possible that anything and everything they have said to you is in error. Make sure to point that out to them and do your best to get them to at least acknowledge the reasonability of that premise. Oh, one other thing – if you use a comment like, “If you’re really serious about finding truth,” or “If you’re really open to a discussion about Christ,” or something along those lines, then those who are serious about it, will more than likely respond. Those who aren’t, probably won’t.

I start there because you are asking us to believe what you have taught below. And, in what you have taught below in your email, there are a lot of words and thoughts that do not appear in Scripture. Which means you are interpreting Scripture, and asking us to believe in your interpretation for our salvation. I believe every single verse of Scripture that you quoted; however, I do not necessarily believe in your interpretation of those Scripture verses. So, it is very important to me to know if you are capable of making an error when interpreting Scripture or not.

Strategy/Comments: If you read Russel’s email, you will notice that the majority of it is composed of his words, not Scripture’s words. Which means that most of his email is either his interpretation of Scripture or his commentary on Scripture or on the Catholic Faith, but not Scripture itself. So, it is very important to let the other guy know that you agree 100% with every passage of Scripture that he quotes, but that you do not necessarily agree with his fallible, man-made, non-authoritative interpretation of Scripture…after all, he’s not infallible. He’s trying to set the rules for the discussion – what he claims is true and by golly you have to just accept it as being true – but you will have none of that.

And, if you are not capable of making an error when you interpret Scripture, if you are indeed infallible in your interpretation of Scripture, then please give me some evidence that I may believe such is the case. If, however, you are capable of making an error when interpreting Scripture, then please give me a reason why I should believe your intepretation of Scripture vs. my interpretation of Scripture? In other words, why should I believe what you say if you could indeed be wrong?

Strategy/Comments: In other words, show me where your name is in the Bible that I may believe that you are indeed infallible in your teaching. This paragraph contains one of the 4 main apologetics strategies that I teach: “But That’s My Interpretation!” Under Protestant theology, every person has not only the right, but the duty, to pick up the Bible and read it for themselves to decide what is true and what is false. What is true doctrine and what is false doctrine. So, under their theology, you have the right to read the Bible and decide for yourself what it means. When someone tells you that you, as a Catholic, are wrong in your interpretation of the Bible, all you have to do is point out that their theology gives you the right to interpret the Bible for yourself; therefore, they cannot tell you that you are wrong. They can, at best, tell you that they disagree with your interpretation. But, they have to admit, since they are not infallible, that your interpretation could possibly be right, and that their interpretation could possibly be wrong. Which, if they think about it, will hopefully plant some seeds in their minds about the need for an infallible authority.

Basically, I’m asking if you believe your interpretation of Scripture to be more valid than my interpretation of Scripture, and, if so, why? By what authority do you teach?

Strategy/Comments: A good question to always ask someone is: Are you an authoritative interpreter of the Scriptures? If yes, how so? Who gave you such authority? If no, then why should I believe your interpretation?

If you could answer those few simple questions, I think we might be able to have a very good discussion here.

Strategy/Comments: I have not heard back from Russell, and I probably never will. Or, if I do hear back from him, I can almost guarantee that he will not respond to my questions and will simply give me another rambling email full of sentence run ons. In which case I can simply respond, “Russell, I asked you a simple question: Are you infallible or not. If you cannot answer that simple question, there’s no reason to continue this discussion.” But, for those who are a bit more rational than Russell appears to be, a response like the one I gave to Russell could lead to some very interesting dialogue – dialogue in which you are setting the pace and in which you are asking a lot of questions. At the very least, it will keep you from wasting your time with those who simply want to talk at you, rather than those who want to talk with you.

God bless!

John Martignoni


Bible Christian Society

In Conclusion

As always, your comments are welcomed. I guarantee that I will read them all, even though I will not be able to respond to all.

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Apologetics for the Masses