|Here is Mr. Martignoni's response to Mr. Walker's previous comments. At this point in the conversation Mr. Martignoni directly responded to Mr. Walker rather that use the comment/strategies method used before. In order to keep the context you may have to go back to the previous conversation.
August 8, 2008
Dear Pastor Walker,
I appreciate your concern for the salvation of my soul...in that you show the love of Christ. And may I say that the reason I do what I do, and the reason I respond to folks such as yourself, is because I, too, have a concern for your soul. I believe that you, by rejecting the truths of Christ that are taught by His Church - and which are supported by Scripture - while at the same time believing in the teachings of men that are contrary to the Word of God and to the teachings of the Body of Christ, are on a path to perdition. So, I hope you will take no offense from anything I say about your beliefs, because I say it out of concern for the salvation of your soul.
Now, having said that, I would like to respond to your remarks - in general at first, then more specifically. Once again, your comments are filled with logical inconsistencies and factual errors. While I do indeed appreciate your concern for my soul, and for the souls of all of us Catholics, what I find troubling is your apparent lack of concern for truly understanding what it is I and my fellow Catholics believe and why. You say we worship idols, demons, and ancestors. Why do you say these things, I wonder? Do you, a non-Catholic, know something about my Faith that I am unaware of? Do you say these things because you have done a thorough study of our teachings - perhaps by reading the Catechism, or conciliar documents, and/or papal encyclicals - and found that, sure enough, right there on page 192 of the Catechism Catholics are instructed to worship statues of golden calfs; or, in the Vatican II documents you found the place on page 332 where it talks of how we are to worship Moloch and other demons; or perhaps you have read the papal encyclical that stresses the importance of worshipping Mary and the other saints?
No. You say what you do about Catholics not because you have learned, from Catholic sources, about Catholic teaching, belief, and practice; but rather because you have learned from non-Catholic sources who have told you what it is we Catholics believe and teach and practice. I ask you, as a Christian, is that fair? If you want to learn about the Jews, would you ask the Palestinians? Or would you ask the Jews? Again, I challenge you: Find anything from our Catechism, from our conciliar documents, from our papal encyclicals that teaches what you say we teach and believe in regards to worshipping any one or any thing other than God, and I will renounce my Catholic Faith tomorrow and I will publish said renunciation in this newsletter for all to read. If you cannot find any such teaching amongst official Catholic sources, then I challenge you to be a man of honor and apologize for your false accusations.
In your responses below, you state that if a man is having sexual relations with a woman other than his wife, he is committing adultery - even if he protests that he is not committing adultery. I agree. However, isn't also possible that a man could be true and faithful to his wife and be falsely accused of committing adultery? And, wouldn't then the false accuser be guilty of a serious sin before man and before God?
I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that no statue or any created object is a god. I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that neither Satan, nor any of his demons, are gods. In fact, when we profess our baptismal vows every so often at Mass, we specifically renounce Satan and his minions. I will state right now, on behalf of all Catholics, that neither Mary nor any of the Saints are gods. If I actually do worship idols, demons, and ancestors as you claim I do, then I have just committed blasphemy. So, either I have just denied my "gods," or I have stated the truth that Catholics do not worship idols, demons, and ancestors (by which I assume you mean the saints in Heaven). Which do you believe I have done?
You might reply, "But you bow and kneel before statues!" So what?! Does everyone who bows to the Queen of England necessarily worship her then? If you bow to your partner at a formal dance, does that mean you worship them? If you kneel by your bed to say your prayers, does that mean you worship your bed? If you keep pictures of your wife and kids on your desk at work, and occasionally even kiss these pictures, does that mean you worship them? What absurdities! Will you condemn me for the shallowness of your thought?
You might say, "But you talk to the dead, and that is forbidden by Scripture!" We do not talk to the dead, we talk to the living. Have you not heard that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? He is the God of the living! Plus, when we talk to the saints in Heaven, we are merely imitating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, when He talked to Moses and Elijah. Are you saying He was wrong to have done that? Did He give us a bad example by doing so? Should I go by what you teach or should I follow the example of my Lord?
"But," you may protest, "you pray to Mary and the saints and that is something reserved for God alone!" If I ask you to pray for me, does that mean I am worshipping you in a way reserved for God alone? Of course not! Yet, when we ask Mary and the saints to pray for us, all of a sudden we're "worshipping" them. Are you unable, or is it that you are unwilling, to understand that Catholics view "praying" to the saints in Heaven as basically the same thing as asking someone here on Earth to pray for them? The only difference being that the prayers of the members of the Body of Christ in Heaven are much more effective than the prayers of the members of the Body of Christ here on Earth - seeing as how the folks in Heaven have been made perfect.
This goes back to what I said initially. It seems you prefer to condemn us, rather than take the time to understand us. Our language is different than your language. Do you take the time to understand our language? No. Instead, you condemn us because we speak a different language. With all due respect, that is not showing Catholics the love of Christ. Plus, to tell me you know better than I what it is I actually believe, is the height of arrogance. Again, my prayer is that you are more concerned with truth, than you are with proving the Catholic Church wrong.
Now, to answer some of the specific comments you made below. I will focus mainly on one or two main points, and maybe make some comments on a few others, without fully developing those arguments until a later point in time.
The main point I want to make flows from two of your comments below: "Lets not start with a predetermined doctrine and seek to prove our points from the Bible, but instead wipe clean our doctrinal slate and start to build it back up from scripture alone. The difference is that we let scripture speak for itself, without letting our preferences get in the way." And, "Again what I advocate is getting rid of teachings that have human origins, regardless what name is attached to them and returning to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible."
There is a logical inconsistency here. You say that we are not to start with a "predetermined doctrine," yet you start with a predetermined doctrine - the doctrine of sola scriptura - the doctrine that states the sole rule of faith for the Christian is the Bible. What you're actually saying is that we should start with your predetermined doctrines, but not mine. Unfortunately, as I said in my last communication to you, these inconsistencies in your arguments, and in your logic, stem from a lack of a thorough and rigorous analysis of your own position. I hope you are open to what such an analysis will lead to?!
You also state that we should return "to what we KNOW to be true, the Bible." Again, this is a predetermined doctrine that you are starting with. How do you "KNOW" the Bible is true? Who told you that? Is that not a predetermined doctrine? This is actually the place we need to start. I believe the Bible is indeed the inspired, inerrant, Word of God - just the same as you do. But, I have a logically, historically, and scripturally consistent reason for my belief - I don't think you do.
I'll demonstrate why I say that. Your position is that a Christian must develop his or her theology and doctrine from scripture, and scripture alone. Which, as I've noted, is a predetermined doctrine, and it is also a doctrine nowhere mentioned in the Bible. So, it is your theology and doctrine that the Gospel of Mark is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. It is also your theology and doctrine that the writer of Mark was inspired of the Holy Spirit when he wrote the gospel that bears his name. Since you believe one must build his theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then please tell me where in the Bible does it say the Gospel of Mark is the inspired and inerrant Word of God? And please tell me where in the Bible it states that someone named Mark wrote an inspired and inerrant gospel?
Basically, what I'm asking, Pastor Walker, is this: Who wrote the Gospel of Mark, and how do you know? And, if someone named Mark did in fact write the Gospel of Mark, which Mark was it? How do you know he was inspired by the Holy Spirit? Who told you these things? Your only answer, based upon your predetermined doctrine of sola scriptura - the Bible alone - is to say that the Bible told you these things. Yet nowhere, as far as I know, does the Bible give us any information about the writer of Mark and whether or not he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Now, I know I'm a Catholic and therefore I am not as knowledgeable as you about the scriptures, so I am open to having you prove me wrong as to what I just asserted. Can you?
And, I could ask the same question about other books of the Bible as well. In fact, the biggest logical inconsistency your predetermined doctrine of sola scriptura has to overcome is this: Where in the Bible is the verse or verses that tells us which books should be in the Bible? The Bible did not just fall down from Heaven as a complete book. If we are to build our theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then we ought to decide which books should or should not be in the Bible...which books are or are not the inspired work of the Holy Spirit...by consulting the Bible, right? But, we can't consult the Bible to find out which books should be in the Bible because we don't have a Bible until we've decided which books are in it. That thar, Pastor Walker, is a bit of a problem for your predetermined doctrine.
So, I will drive home my point by asking you to answer the following questions for me: 1) Who wrote Mark? 2) Was the writer of Mark inspired by the Holy Spirit? 3) Where, in the Bible, does it give us the list of which books should be in the Bible? Now, since you have stated very clearly and very plainly that we are to build our theology and doctrine from the Bible alone, then your answers need to be in the form of book, chapter, and verse only. If you cannot answer these questions with just a book, chapter, and verse from the Bible, then I have proven that you do not rely upon the Bible alone for your theology and doctrine, which would be a very serious blow to your predetermined position.
Now, the other main point I wish to make is this: You have freely admitted that you are not infallible in your interpretations of the Bible. So, will you then also freely admit that your interpretation of certain Scripture passages could be wrong and that mine could be right? For example, James, chapter 2. How do you respond to this question: If a man says he has faith, but has not works, can his faith alone save him? Is your answer, yes or no? The Bible says, "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." So, I believe that a man is not justified by faith alone and that works have a role to play in one's justification - exactly as the Bible teaches. And, I believe my understanding of that verse fits perfectly with the context of the entire second chapter of James, the entire Book of James, the entire New Testament, and, in fact, all of scripture - Old and New Testament. By what authority do you say that I am wrong? On whose authority do you claim to be an arbiter of right and wrong interpretations of the Bible? Whose authority!?
You said in your response to me that you answered my question about the interpretation of James 2:26, yet you did no such thing. James 2:26, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead." The Holy Spirit is making an analogy here. He is saying that faith is like the body and that works are like the spirit. And He says that both body and spirit are necessary for life. So, for the analogy to hold, are not both faith and works necessary for life? Yet, you say, "No, faith alone is necessary for life." So, please explain this analogy in James 2:26 for me. Please give me the correct interpretation of this verse.
I will sum up this point by highlighting these questions: 1) Since you are not infallible, could your interpretations of the meaning of certain Scriptures be wrong? 2) By what authority do you hold your interpretations of certain Scripture verses, for example James 2:24 and 2:26 to be right and mine to be wrong? 3) If a man says he has faith, and has not works, can his faith alone save him? Yes or no? 4) Please give me the meaning of the analogy drawn by the Holy Spirit in James 2:26. Are both faith and works necessary for life, just as both the body and the spirit are necessary for life? Yes or no.
Now, a few other points I wanted to mention. You stated the following: "Lets see what the church looks like when built from the ground up from scriptures." Again, this is a predetermined doctrine you are bringing to the table. Does the Bible say we should build the church from the ground up using Scripture? If so, where? I have a simple question for you: What is the pillar and ground of the truth for a Christian...is it the Bible?
This statement of yours shows the inherent falseness of your theology. I would again ask a simple question: Which came first, the Church or the Bible? If you answer that question honestly, and you really think about it without any predetermined doctrinal influences and prejudices, you will see that your statement just quoted makes no sense whatsoever. Was the early Church built from the ground up using the Scriptures?
In regards to Mary, you quote Paragraph 966 of the Catechism and then state the following: "We see here that it is taught that Mary is born without sin and remained without sin. This is in direct conflict with scripture that teaches that all have sinned, that no one seeks God, (Romans 3) and the fact that Mary herself said she needed a savior ( Luke 1:47). Next we see that that she is assumed into heaven (not-biblical, but created to make the sinless nature fit), And then we see that she is exalted as Queen!!! Over ALL things no less!!! This is a clear example of putting a created being in the place where only God deserves to be. Not only is this not found anywhere in scripture it is a direct affront to the whole of scripture. In fact search the scriptures for the term â€śQueen of Heavenâ€ť, you will find it in Jeremiah."
You quote from Romans 3 the verse which states that all have sinned and you take that as an absolute in regard to every person who has ever been born. But, is that really what it means? After all, it also states in that same chapter, as you point out, that "no one seeks God." Yet, I am seeking God...how do you explain that? Are you not seeking God? How has anyone been saved if absolutely no one is seeking God?
Furthermore, have babies and small children sinned? Well, they must have if "all have sinned," right? Did John the Baptist ever commit a sin? If so, please tell me where the Scripture says that? What about John's parents, did they ever commit a sin? If so, please tell me where the Bible records it? Also, are you not aware that Paul is quoting from the Old Testament here? You may want to go back and get the context from the Old Testament so that you have the proper context for your interpretation of the New Testament usage.
Mary did indeed need a savior. Is it not possible to save someone from something before it actually happens, though? For example, have you ever been a drug addict? If not, then I can rightly say God saved you from being a drug addict, even though you were never a drug addict, right? Just so, Mary can be saved from sin even though she never sinned. This, again, is merely showing your ignorance of Catholic teaching. You condemn the form of what we believe without understanding the substance behind it. You give your meanings and your interpretations to our words, without caring one whit about our meanings and interpretations, and then you condemn us for saying something that we are not actually saying.
Also, does the Bible say Mary was not assumed into Heaven? No, it doesn't. Does the Bible say we are to use contraception? No, it doesn't, yet I'll bet you believe contraception is perfectly acceptable, don't you? You will say, "Nowhere does the Bible condemn contraception," (which is actually not true, but I assume that would be your reasoning for accepting contraception). So, the Bible doesn't mention contraception, which makes contraception okay; yet when the Bible doesn't mention the Assumption of Mary, that makes it not okay. Methinks you have a double standard. One set of rules for you, and a completely different set of rules for Catholics.
Regarding Mary as Queen of Heaven, I see you refused to answer my question about that. I am well aware of the Queen of Heaven mentioned in Jeremiah. Again, though, your logic fails you. The Israelites were worshipping a false god or goddess they called the Queen of Heaven. Just as they sometimes worshipped a false god that they called, "God." So, if they call their false gods, God, then using your logic in regards to the Queen of Heaven, we should not call our true God, God, because we're doing the same thing the Israelites did when they worshipped their false god. Not good reasoning on your part. Doesn't it make sense, that if there is a false Queen of Heaven, then that points to the fact that there is actually a true Queen of Heaven. Just as the fact that if there is a false god, points to the fact that there is a true God.
Again, Scripture very clearly states that there is woman, in Heaven, with a crown on her head. What is this woman if not a queen? In response to my earlier asking of this question you stated, in regards to Revelation 12:1, the following: "A great and wondrous sign appeared in heavenâ€ť this is a sign, a symobolic message."
Tell me, please, is that not a predetermined belief on your part? You believe a "sign" to be the same thing as a "symbolic message," why? Then, you must believe, to be consistent, that when Scripture refers to Jesus as a "sign," it meant that He wasn't real...that He was merely a "symbolic message"! Where do you get the authority to state categorically that this woman in Revelation 12:1 is a "symbolic message?" How many symbolic messages bring forth the child that is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron? How many symbolic messages are chased by Satan (but never caught - sinless?!) and how many symbolic messages have Satan make war on their offspring? With all due respect, Pastor Walker, but isn't your contention that this woman in Rev 12:1 is a "symbolic message," actually the necessary result of your predetermined beliefs about Mary that you brought to your reading of Scripture?"
Finally, since you mention it a few times, I wish to talk about Apostolic Succession. In Isaiah 22, verses 20 and following, it talks about how one prime minister of the Kingdom of David is going to be removed in favor of another prime minister in the Kingdom of David . The succession is denoted by the passing on of the key of the house of David - which is the symbol of the authority of the house of David. In Matthew 16:17-19, Peter is given the keys of Kingdom of Heaven . Keys again denote authority, but the existence of the keys denote succession - there must always be a keyholder. In Acts 1, we see that Judas held an "office" in the ministry of Christ. And Scripture even states, "His office let another take." If there is an office, there must be an officeholder. Nowhere does Scripture say the office no longer exists. In 2 Tim 2:2 we see four generations of apostolic succession - from Paul, to Timothy, to faithful men, to others. In the letters to Timothy and Titus we see those ordained by Paul, going out and ordaining others - apostolic succession.
You say that you are a pastor...how so? Did someone ordain you? By what authority? Who ordained that person? And who ordained that person? How far back can you trace your line of ordination? As a pastor, from whence comes your authority? Do you have any authority? Did you start your own church, or were you hired by an existing church? If you were hired by an existing church, please tell me where in Scripture it tells us of one pastor being hired by the congregation to succeed another pastor? If you started your own church, by whose authority did you do so? And, if you leave that church, how will they replace you? By hiring another pastor? Again, where is the hiring of pastors mentioned in the Bible? There is much more biblical, and historical, evidence for the means of succession of leadership that is practiced in the Catholic Church, then there is for whatever means of succession of leadership practiced in your church.
Now, there are a number of points that you made that I am not going to touch on here, as I've already gone on long enough, but I do wish to touch on one final point. When I challenged you to give me one example of where the Catholic Church has ever changed its doctrines, you stated the following: "How about the Roman Catholic churchâ€™s opinion of people who reject their teaching. Once labeled a heretic and killed, now called separated brothers and a desire that they return to the 'faith'."
That's the best you could come up with?! First of all, that is not a doctrinal matter. The Church has never taught, as a matter of doctrine, that all heretics should be killed. Second, you seem to have a very flawed sense of history. The Church has always sought to bring heretics back into the true faith. Third, there is historical context to the situations where some heretics were put to death that you seem to be ignorant of. I will not argue the rightness or wrongness of such deaths here, but I will repeat that this is not a matter of doctrine. If wrongs were committed, it was a matter of personal sin, not doctrine. Finally, the fact that the Church refers to fellow Christians as "separated brethren" is a matter of semantics. It is not a matter of doctrine. Anyone who believes in a heresy, is, by definition, a heretic. However, the Church chooses to use different language when speaking of such folks and clearly states her reasoning as to why this is so in the Catechism. It is not a doctrinal matter. I am free to refer to you as either a heretic or a separated brethren, or both.
Again, I challenge you to find one matter of doctrine that the Church has changed in its 2000 year history. If you cannot do so, then, as a Christian, and particularly as a pastor, I adjure you to withdraw your false claims.