|Mr. Martignoni responds to Mr. Walker's previous e-mail on September 5, 2008.
Dear Pastor Walker,
With all due respect, but as I read through your response I could not help but think of the Scripture that says, â€śFor this peopleâ€™s heart has grown dull and their ears are heavy of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn for me to heal them.â€ť It is with great sadness that I read such words as yours.
Our God is not a god of contradiction, yet you contradict yourself over and over again from one sentence to the next, and then you ask me to trust in and believe what you write...you ask me to trust in and believe in your contradictions. Now, you will undoubtedly say, â€śNo, Mr. Martignoni, Iâ€™m not asking you to believe and trust in what I say, Iâ€™m asking you to believe and trust in what the Word of God says.â€ť But, as a matter of fact, Pastor, you are indeed asking me to trust and believe in you, not in God nor in Godâ€™s Word.
I have told you that I have read Scripture. I have told you that it was my reading of Scripture that brought me to believe all that the Catholic Church teaches. I can point you to any number of converts to the Catholic Church - Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Baptists, Calvary Chapel, Church of Christ, Church of God, Methodists, Presbyterians, and on and on and on - who all say the same thing as I have said: It was their reading of the Bible that brought them to believe all that the Catholic Church teaches. Even though, quite often, they started off searching the Bible to prove the Catholic Church wrong!
I have read and studied Scripture for many hours, days, weeks, and years. I have read what scholars and theologians - Catholic and non-Catholic alike - have written on Scripture. I have prayed for understanding and wisdom. I have prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit. I have repented of my sins (a work, by the way). I have asked God for forgiveness. I have trusted my life to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe on Him and Him alone for my salvation. I have sought first the Kingdom of God (even though you believe I canâ€™t seek God) and He has lived up to His Word by providing all the things that are necessary for my family and me.
All this I, and many others in the Catholic Church, have done - weâ€™ve read and studied Scripture and prayed to God for understanding, wisdom, and guidance. In other words, Pastor, I, and many other Catholics, do believe and trust in Scripture. Yet, my belief and trust in Scripture is unacceptable to you. It will only be such time as I believe and trust in your interpretation of Scripture that you will agree that Iâ€™m REALLY believing and trusting in Scripture. Only when I accept your interpretation of Scripture will you agree that Iâ€™ve gotten it right. I canâ€™t be trusting in Scripture now you say, because I donâ€™t believe in your interpretation of Scripture! In other words, Pastor Walker, you equate your fallible, man-centered interpretation of Scripture, with the actual Word of God. And you believe that anyone who disagrees with you and your interpretations of the Bible is not believing in the Bible, and, in essence, is headed to Hell.
You say I am headed to Hell for trusting in my interpretation of Scripture; that I am headed to Hell for following the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit as I am led through prayer to do. But, if I (the poor, dumb, gullible, misguided Catholic that I am) would only listen to you...follow your direction and guidance...believe and trust in your interpretation of the Bible - forget what my reading of Scripture tells me...forget what my mind tells me...forget what my heart tells me...forget what I have discerned through fasting and prayer - if I would just believe in your fallible interpretations of the Bible, then I can be saved just like you. So, please, do not protest when I say you are asking me to trust in your fallible interpretation of the Bible, rather than in the Bible itself, because that is indeed exactly what you are telling me to do.
You are asking me to believe and trust in you and your interpretation of Scripture for my salvation. The arrogance of your position would be astounding, if it were not something that I have run into time after time after time. You, who have admittedly created your own theological system, without reference to anything or anyone other than your own personal, and admittedly fallible, understanding of the Bible, want me to trust my salvation to you, instead of to what I find in the Bible. I am already trusting Godâ€™s Word for my salvation, but thatâ€™s not good enough for you. I have to trust in your understanding of Godâ€™s Word in order to be saved.
Now, let me respond directly to some of what you have said:
â€śMr. Martignoni, I am not calling into question what you or the Roman Catholic Church teaches in their religion...I just want you, Mr. Martinez, and anyone else in the Roman Catholic Church to understand that when they meet the creator of the universe he is going to tell them that everything they did in his name was done in vain, because he did not know them. (Matthew 7:21-23 and 15:7-9)
So, let me get this straight: Youâ€™re not calling into question what the Catholic Church teaches, but youâ€™re just letting us know that if we believe what the Catholic Church teaches, weâ€™re going to Hell, right? Well, Iâ€™m certainly glad youâ€™re not calling into question what the Church teaches.
Scripture says, â€śJudge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged.â€ť Seems to me, Pastor Walker, that you just pronounced judgment upon every faithful Catholic in the world. Here you are, a fallible man, a self-proclaimed authority on Scripture and its meaning, pronouncing judgment on my soul in spite of Scriptureâ€™s clear warning not to do such a thing. You deem to know, with apparently infallible certainty, that everything I have done in His name has been done in vain. And yet, even though you are in violation of the Scriptures by doing this, you want me to believe that your understanding of the Bible is the one and only correct understanding that is necessary for salvation.
You further stated: â€śThe doctrines and teachings [of the Catholic Church] are not found in the scripture, and as you have shown several times rely on such arguments as â€śthe Bible doesnâ€™t say we canâ€™t do this or that we shouldnâ€™t do thatâ€ť or they are based on flawed logical progressions originated upon faulty foundations.
There is nothing in the Bible contrary to anything in the Catholic Faith, and there is nothing in the Catholic Faith contrary to anything in the Bible. My arguments do not show that Catholic doctrine and teaching are not found in Scripture, quite the contrary...they are showing that your doctrine and teaching is not found in Scripture. I am simply using your own theology (Bible alone) - simply playing by your rules - to show that you donâ€™t go by your own rules.
Again, your words: â€śMy challenge for you and Mr. Martinez is not start an argument with you, but simply to get to know the God, that by His Holy Spirit has written us and revealed his great mysteries. You do not need to read the scriptures the same way as I do, I never claimed to be infallible or to have all knowledge. However there are several problems with Roman Catholic teaching when you compare it to the Bible, not the least of which is that, when simply building your doctrine from scripture, you will not find most of them at all.â€ť
So, your assumption is that neither I, nor Mr. Martinez, nor any faithful Catholic for that matter, knows God. What youâ€™re really saying here is that until such time as we accept your fallible and limited understanding of Scripture, then we canâ€™t know God. Again, what arrogance!
Then, you go on to say that we â€śdo not need to read the scripture the same way I do,â€ť yet you just finished claiming above that we are bound for Hell because we donâ€™t read the Scriptures the same way as you do. You claim to be fallible in one breath, and in the next you infallibly proclaim the Catholic teaching to be wrong. Correct me if Iâ€™m wrong here, Pastor Walker, but the fact that you claim to be fallible and that you claim to not have all knowledge - does that not mean that you could be wrong when it comes to your understanding of the Bible at least some of the time? And, if you could be wrong in your understanding of the Bible, then does that not mean the Catholic Church could be right? It seems to me that you claim to be fallible, but definitely donâ€™t act like you believe you are.
Your words: â€śI have never said that I was infallible...I never said you had to understand the Bible as I do. When I teach the word, I teach so that others will search it out for themselves. I do them no service if I train them to follow me. Even if all my teachings were right on, I would have then trained up people to not think for themselves, but to follow a man. No, my challenge for us, Mr. Martignoni, is not to follow what I tell you scripture says, but to read scripture and see where it takes us.â€ť
With all due respect, Pastor Walker, but this is a lie. Now, I donâ€™t think youâ€™re lying to me as much as you are lying to yourself...deceiving yourself. What if you train and teach someone regarding Scripture, and they then come to an understanding of some passage that is contrary to yours? How do you know which of you is right and which of you is wrong?
I repeat: I have read Scripture. I have studied Scripture. I have searched it out for myself. I have thought for myself. I have done all that you say you teach people to do, and yet you reject the results. So, what you said above is not the truth. You do not want people to think for themselves, you do not want people to search out Scripture for themselves, you do not want me to go where Scripture has taken me. You want me to believe you. You want me to reject my search of Scripture in favor of your search of Scripture. You want me to reject my thinking in favor of your thinking. You want me to reject where Scripture has taken me in favor of where you believe it has taken you. With all due respect, Pastor Walker, you say one thing when you actually mean another.
Stop deceiving yourself, Pastor. You believe yourself to be an infallible interpreter of the Bible, and you also believe that anyone who deviates from your infallible interpretation of the Bible is putting their souls in jeopardy. You believe that you are guided by the Holy Spirit and that anyone who disagrees with you is not guided by the Holy Spirit. Why you cannot admit to these things is beyond me, as I can so easily read them in your words.
Now, you can claim that I (the poor, dumb, gullible, misguided Catholic that I am) have been sort of brainwashed by the Catholic Church - which I sense is what you actually believe, isnâ€™t it? But thatâ€™s taking the easy way out. Simply dismiss what I say because Iâ€™ve had a computer chip implanted in my brain at Baptism and Rome controls my every thought and action. Two problems, though: 1) I did not initially believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, but came to believe in all the Catholic Church teaches because I read and studied the Bible; and 2) What do you do with all those folks who werenâ€™t Catholic to begin with, but became Catholic through their reading of the Bible?
You can call me a liar, but that still leaves you with the problem of all those folks converting to the Catholic Church because of their reading, search, study, and understanding of the Bible. You would, and you do, judge them as headed for Hell not because they havenâ€™t read, searched, and studied the Bible for themselves - as Protestants, Evangelicals, Baptists, Calvary Chapel, etc. - but because they have done so and yet they disagree with your interpretations of the Bible. So, again, you believe your interpretations of the Bible to be right, and infallibly so, or you could not say the things that you say about Catholic teaching and practice.
Now, I asked you if you were seeking God. You stated, â€śI am not.â€ť Thatâ€™s a direct quote. When I then showed you that you were a bit out of step with Scripture on that, I knew you would backpedal on what you said. You said: â€śI knew you may have difficulty understanding this, so I will try to explain to you.â€ť Sorry, but I had no difficulty understanding what you were saying. I understood it perfectly. The problem is, what you were saying is not in accord with Scripture, and your attempt at an explanation below is not in accord with Scripture and is, in fact, based upon a faulty reading of Scripture, not to mention faulty logic.
You said: â€śFirst of all, lets look who Paul is quoting here and the purpose to which he is quoting. Paul is quoting David here...So When he quotes David, a man after Godâ€™s heart ( I Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22), he is showing the Jews that even someone that they esteemed so highly, understood that he could never claim to be good or to be seeking God. David understood what, Isaiah would describe as our best works being like filthy rags â€śAll of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.â€ť Isaiah 64:6
Indeed Paul is quoting David...from Psalm 14. But, and this is where your very fallible interpretation comes up a bit short, David is not talking about himself, as you seem to think, when he says that â€śthere is none that does goodâ€ť or that there is no one who is seeking God (verses 1-3). These things are being said about the persons described in the first part of verse 1. And, who is it that is mentioned in verse 1? Is it David himself, or the faithful people of Israel? No! It is the â€śfoolâ€ť who says in his heart: â€śThere is no God.â€ť
There is a clear line of demarcation being drawn here between those who reject God - those amongst whom there is none that do good, none that seek God - and those who believe in God. Notice in verse 4, we have the â€śevildoers,â€ť but then we also have Godâ€™s â€śpeople.â€ť And in verse 5 we see that there is the generation of the righteous. What is being said in verses 1-3 is being said about those who do not believe in God, it is not being said about David and the faithful people of God, the generation of the righteous. Your interpretation here is totally, completely, and 100% wrong!
I show time after time after time how poorly you interpret Scripture, yet you still cling to your interpretations because you have your preconceived notions about doctrine and you will twist Scripture any way necessary so as not to give up on these unholy doctrines.
Plus, letâ€™s look at Isaiah 64:6. Is Isaiah saying that â€śour best works are like filthy rags?â€ť No! He is saying that the best works of those who have turned away from God are like filthy rags. What does Isaiah say in verse 5? â€śThou meetest him that joyfully works righteousness.â€ť The works of those who are righteous are not like filthy rags, it is the works of those that have turned from God that are like filthy rags.
Ezek 33:12-13, â€śThe righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses...the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered.â€ť (By the way, I hope you donâ€™t believe in once saved, always saved, because if you do, youâ€™ll have to drop this passage from Ezekiel from your Bible - as well as many other passages.) The Bible tells us that good works, when done by the righteous, those who have not turned away from God, are not filthy rags.
Again, Pastor Walker, what you said about David above is simply, and unequivocally, wrong.
You further state the following: â€śThis is similar to someone thinking that they can follow the commandments or that they could ever truly love God with ALL their hearts. The reality of the situation is that we are divided in our very bodies and there is a sin nature that will continue to fight us, never allowing us to be â€śgoodâ€ť, the best we can do does not even come close to what God is looking for. So when I say I do not seek God, I understand my humble state. I understand Paulâ€™s words in Ephesians, that I have received salvation 100% by Godâ€™s grace, and not even a fraction of a percent on my ability to â€śseekâ€ť God. It is not that I donâ€™t want or try to seek him and do good, it is that I truly am incapable of truly seeking him or of doing good."
First of all, Pastor, as a Catholic, I believe my salvation is by Godâ€™s grace alone. I can do nothing in and of myself, to effect my salvation. If you are unaware of this, then you are truly ignorant of Catholic teaching. But, I also believe that with God, all things are possible. I believe that I can follow the commandments and that I can truly love God with â€śALLâ€ť my heart. I am not saying that I do, but I believe that I can. To believe otherwise is to deny the power of God...which is what you are doing.
You apparently do not believe all things are possible with God. Your belief results in a God Who commands His children to do that which He knows they cannot do. God commands us to love Him with all of our mind, our strength, and our heart. But you say that itâ€™s impossible to do so. Why then does God command such a thing? Yet I read Scripture and I see God commanding me to do so and I see where it says ALL things are possible with God, so I trust in God that it can be done and that I need to strive, with Godâ€™s grace, to do it. You, on the other hand, deny that it can be done and in so doing, you deny the power of God.
Furthermore, it is at this point of your explanation that you start re-writing the Scripture. Romans 3:11 says this: â€śNo one seeks for God.â€ť It does not say, â€śNo one seeks for God with ALL their heart.â€ť Youâ€™re starting to backtrack on your earlier statements here. Scripture says, â€śNo one seeks God.â€ť â€śNo one does good.â€ť â€śThere is no fear of God.â€ť It doesnâ€™t say, â€śNo one seeks God all the time.â€ť â€śNo one does good all the time.â€ť â€śNo one fears God all the time.â€ť You have added to Scripture in order to justify your interpretation that no one seeks God.
Your fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture causes you to misinterpret this verse as an absolute. Which causes you to misinterpret Psalm 14, as I have shown above. Which causes you to say that you, a Christian pastor, are not seeking God and that you do not fear God, and, I assume, that you do not understand - Romans 3:11, â€śNo one understands.â€ť You deny that these things are possible. Yet, Scripture mentions many, many examples of people seeking God. Plus, Scripture tells us that fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
So, you do not fear the Lord, which means you do not even have the beginning of knowledge, and you do not seek the Lord, and you do not have any understanding; yet you want me to reject my understanding of Scripture for yours! To tell someone that you do not seek God, that you do not fear God, and that you do not understand, and that you do not have even the beginning of understanding because you do not fear the Lord; but that if they donâ€™t agree with your understanding of Godâ€™s Word, then theyâ€™re headed for Hell...well, with all due respect, but thatâ€™s not the most convincing argument Iâ€™ve ever seen.
You say I am not seeking the Lord. Yet, I pray. Is that not seeking the Lord? I read and study Scripture. Is that not seeking the Lord? I gather with fellow Christians for worship. Is that not seeking the Lord. Pastor, with all due respect, but youâ€™re having to do all sorts of verbal engineering and twisting of Scripture in order to justify your positions.
Your words: â€śIt is only the understanding that I can not save myself, that I will never be able to please God by my works...So if anyone could in fact gain righteousness through their works, than Christâ€™s death was worthless and not necessary. Grace through faith, trusting in his name and not ours. This IS the Gospel of Jesus."
Again, a contradiction. Romans 3:11 says that no one understands, yet you say it is only the â€śunderstandingâ€ť that you cannot save yourself...how is it you understand, if no one understands? Also, the Catholic Church agrees that we are not justified through our works. That is the error of Pelagius that was condemned by the Church many centuries ago. Once again, your ignorance of Catholic teaching works against you.
Your words: â€śAs for Romans 3:18, no I do not truly fear the Lord, especially not all the time. Anyone who says otherwise is deceiving themselves. If anyone truly feared the Lord all the time...To fear God, means that you would have to be without sin. And the scripture is clear that nobody fits this.â€ť
Again, you add to Scripture. It says no one fears the Lord. It does not say, â€śNo one fears the Lord all the time.â€ť And, where does the Bible say, â€śTo fear God, means that you would have to be without sin?â€ť Once again, you have added to Scripture. Do you not see, do you not understand, how clever the adversary is to get you to very subtly add manâ€™s word to Godâ€™s Word to get you to believe what he wants you to believe?
Now, after showing you the passages from Deut 4:29, 1 Chron 16:10-11, 2 Chron 11:16, Ezra 8:22, Psalm 9:10, Prov 28:5, Amos 5:4, Zeph 2:3, Matt 6:33, and Matt 7:7-8 - all of which speak of God telling us to seek Him or that there are in fact those that do seek Him, you responded as follows:
"Those verses do not teach this. Half of them arenâ€™t even saying that anyone seeks God, but what God would promise to those who would seek him...Anyway I have tried to explain this to you earlier in this email. I understand it may be difficult for you, but the summation of the concept is that even the best I can do is nothing at all compared to what is required. I do not come close to meeting the perfect standard of God and no human born and conceived in sin can. This is why we need a savior. "
First of all, I thank you for being patient with me (the poor, dumb, gullible, misguided Catholic that I am). But, Pastor, I understand the concept. And I believe that nothing I do, in and of myself, can meet the requirements for salvation. I get it. I believe it. The Catholic Church teaches it. But thatâ€™s not the point here. The point is that your preconceived notions of doctrine, are leading you to badly...horribly even...misinterpret Scripture. You say that no one seeks God. The Bible says it, so you believe it. Yet, you do not even for a moment consider the fact that you could be misinterpreting this passage - yet you claim you are indeed fallible. So, when I show you that the Bible commands us to seek God, and that there are instances of people in the Bible seeking God, what do you say? â€śOh, well, theyâ€™re not seeking God ALL the time. Theyâ€™re not seeking God with ALL their heart.â€ť Yet, nowhere do I see such words in the Bible. Youâ€™ve tried to backtrack on your words by adding to Scripture.
Letâ€™s look more closely at a couple of these verses: Deut 4:28-29, â€śAnd there [scattered among the nations] you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of menâ€™s hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.â€ť
Your interpretation of Rom 3:11 would lead to an interpretation of this verse that would have God telling the Israelites that theyâ€™ll find Him if they search for Him with ALL their heart and soul, but, according to you, itâ€™s impossible for them to search for Him with all of their heart and soul...which means they wonâ€™t find God. Your interpretation of this verse has God telling the Israelites that they will find Him only if they do something that He knows they cannot do. What a cruel God you have!
2 Chron 11:16 says that the folks who had set their hearts to seek God came to Jerusalem. It states clearly, unequivocally, that there were people who were seeking God. The passage from Ezra divides the world into those that are seeking God and those that are not seeking God. Psalm 9:10 says that God has not forsaken those who seek Him. You donâ€™t believe anyone seeks Him, so you must believe God has forsaken everyone.
Heb 11:6 â€“ â€śFor whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.â€ť Please explain this one to me in light of the fact that no one seeks Him. If no one seeks God, then He isnâ€™t rewarding anyone. So, why do I have to believe He rewards those who seek Him, when it is impossible for anyone to seek Him? Your theology makes nonsense out of Scripture. But, of course, you want me to think for myself on this right? Sure you do!
With a simple wave of your hand you dismiss the very clear meaning of all of these Scripture verses in order to stick to your manmade tradition. And listen carefully to what you said: â€śHalf of them arenâ€™t even saying that anyone seeks God, but what God would promise to those who would seek him.â€ť How ridiculous is it for God to promise something to those who seek Him when He knows that no one can seek Him (again, according to you)?! What a ridiculous God your theology produces. I can almost hear the screams of these verses as you twist them this way and that. And, you say that half of those Scripture passages I cite arenâ€™t â€śeven saying that anyone seeks God,â€ť which must mean that half of them do indeed say that.
You close this particular argument by saying this: â€śWell, I think I have answered you here. And have shown that no one can claim to be good, to seek God, or to fear him. However if you would like to search it out with me, I would love to study this with you. Letâ€™s search scripture, reading all these passages in context and see what scriptures says regarding our ability to please God and see if it is possible to truly seek God and to be righteous.."
Youâ€™ve answered me? How? Where? You went off on some tangent that Iâ€™m not even arguing with you about. I agree that, without God, nothing we do can be pleasing to God. However, that's not the argument here. I claim to be seeking God. I claim to fear God. Your â€śanswerâ€ť to my claims consisted of you basically saying all those Scripture passages I quoted donâ€™t really mean what they say, and that no matter how many passages of Scripture I quote, Iâ€™ve obviously read them out of context if they say something that disagrees with your interpretation. Is it possible, just possible...that you are the one who is wrong here? Will you admit that I could be right? If you truly believe yourself to be a fallible person, who is relying upon his own fallible interpretation, you have to admit that you could be wrong. But you wonâ€™t, will you?
In my last email to you, I stated the following: â€śBut, in reality you donâ€™t give a hoot about what the early Christians said and what the mind of the Church was in the early centuries, or in any century, of Christianity, do you? You rely on your interpretation, and yours alone, to arrive at what you believe to be the truth.â€ť
You replied with this: â€śMy statement was to tell you that I was not regurgitating someone elseâ€™s teaching, but telling you what the Holy Spirit has shown me...I did not mean that I did not listen to or ever consult other men for their thoughts or inputs.â€ť
Another contradiction. Why do you ever bother to listen to or consult other men when it is the Holy Spirit Who is directly teaching you? How is it you claim to be fallible on the one hand, yet claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit on the other? One is completely incompatible with the other. Does the Holy Spirit guide you sometimes but not other times? If the Holy Spirit is guiding you, how is it you ever sin?
You continued with the following: â€śIn a way, I donâ€™t give a hoot as what early Christians wrote about. I know their writing is not inspired and that it is merely the thoughts of a sinful man. Their writings originate with them, scriptures originates from the Holy Spirit. If a man has a doctrine that contradicts scripture, it is wrong."
Aye, and thereâ€™s the rub. Who is it that judges whether or not a man has a doctrine that contradicts Scripture? You? You can read St. Polycarp, a disciple of John, who heard the Gospel preached from the mouth of the Apostle Himself, and if his interpretation of a particular passage of Scripture disagrees with yours, you can simply dismiss his interpretation in favor of yours? By what authority do you declare Polycarpâ€™s interpretations to be inferior to yours? By what authority do you declare my interpretations to be inferior to yours? The Holy Spirit? Well, then, you are infallible. But, you canâ€™t be, because you claimed not to be. Someone who is infallible, would be wrong if they claimed themselves to be fallible. You act as prosecution, judge, and jury when it comes to deciding correct and incorrect doctrine. Who gave you such authority?! Who made you the arbiter of disputes between Christians on matters of doctrine? On matters of scriptural interpretation? You have placed yourself in a very dangerous position. Whether because of pride, or arrogance, or ignorance...it is a very dangerous thing you have done by assuming such authority for yourself.
And where does the authority of the Church come into play in your system of theology? You answer to no Church. You answer to no man Yet the Scripture is replete with examples of God placing men over other men in matters of doctrine and theology. And the Scripture very clearly shows the Church as the place to take disputes between Christians to. Yet you do no such thing...you rely solely on you. You are your own authority in all matters of doctrine.
This next thing you said was absolutely incredible: â€śI do find it interesting to read what other Christians have found in their study of Godâ€™s word, but all things must be tested against the scripture. The same applies to anything I find, if it contradicts scripture, I must reject it as well.â€ť
So, you must reject any personal interpretation of Scripture that you come up with, that contradicts the personal interpretation of Scripture that you have come up with? Forgive me, but do you not recognize the absolute absurdity of that statement? If you come to a conclusion based on your personal interpretation of Scripture, then you will never reject it because it is based on your personal interpretation of Scripture. And for you, your personal interpretation of Scripture is Scripture. With all due respect, Pastor Walker, but that was not one of the most intelligent things youâ€™ve written in these exchanges. How can you ever decide that your personal interpretation of Scripture is wrong? What standard would you use to tell you that your personal interpretation of Scripture was ever wrong? Would the standard you used be your personal interpretation of Scripture? Sorry, Pastor, but that dog donâ€™t hunt.
A few more of your comments:
"I know that I am not infallible and that God will guide me into all truth. I am not saying that you should accept what I say or teach as truth, but to search it out for yourself. I was not telling you that I had all truth and understanding, but again just that I did not arrive at my conclusions because I followed some other man. It is good to seek the counsel of Godly men. I did not mean that I am some sort of rogue man wandering in the wilderness seeking truth.
Again I am not spending my evenings writing and responding to your emails to make you a disciple of mine. I do not want anyone following me...On the contrary I know that I am wrong on some things, I continue to search so I can find out where and fix it. And I train others to read the scriptures and search it out for themselves. Just as I have done with you and Mr. Martinez, was not to have you accept my thoughts, but to instead search Godâ€™s word and see what it says not what I say."
More of the same...contradictions and absurdities. You are not infallible, yet God is guiding you into all truth. How then, if you are being guided into all truth, are you not infallible? You are indeed saying to accept what you teach, despite your claims to the contrary. I have searched it out for myself, as have many others - converts to the Catholic Faith included - and you reject what I have searched out for myself. You tell me I should interpret the Bible for myself, and then when I do, you tell me that Iâ€™m wrong. With all due respect, but that is mighty hypocritical of you. You want me to reject my thoughts and to accept yours, and if you cannot see that, then you are truly a very blind man. And, you are indeed a â€śsort of rogue man wandering in the wilderness seeking truth.â€ť You stated that you have built your theology all on your own. That you have decided, all by yourself, without answering to any other authority, on what is true and what is not true...on what is scriptural and what is not scriptural. You reject anyoneâ€™s interpretations of Scripture that do not coincide with yours, do you not?
Finally, you say that you know that you are wrong on some things. Iâ€™m sorry, but I think you are simply blowing smoke here. I do not think you really believe you are wrong on some things. How is that possible if the Holy Spirit is guiding you into all truth? And you know you are wrong on some things, but you donâ€™t know what they are? Then how do you know youâ€™re wrong? And why would you take the chance of teaching people these errors that you admit to believing in, when they could possibly jeopardize their souls? I find this fascinating that you admit to being wrong on some things in regard to Scripture, yet here you are teaching people about Scripture. You are rolling the dice with peopleâ€™s souls. How irresponsible is that!!!
Iâ€™ve asked you this already, but I have yet to get a straight answer, so I will ask again: You admit to being fallible. You admit to being wrong on â€śsome things.â€ť Therefore my question is: Could you be wrong on one or more of your interpretations of Scripture that are at variance with Catholic interpretations? Yes or no? For example, could your interpretation of Romans 3:11 and Psalm 14:1-3 and the other verses I mentioned above...could they be wrong? Yes or no?
Also, is everything you have written to me in these emails the infallible truth? Yes or no? If yes, then, again, you see yourself as being infallible, even if you claim otherwise. If no, then where have you erred?
I am stopping here until I get direct answers. You see, if you say, â€śYes,â€ť you could be wrong in one or more areas of disagreement with the Catholic Church, then how dare you try to get me to believe what you are teaching, when you know it could be wrong. How dare you to be willing to gamble my soul on your interpretation of Scripture! If you say, â€śYes,â€ť you could be wrong, then all that you said about trying to get people to go by the Scriptures, and not by what you say, would be a load of garbage. Because, if you can be wrong in your interpretation of the Scriptures, yet youâ€™re trying to get someone to not believe their interpretation (which could be right) and to believe your interpretation (which could be wrong) - as you are doing with me - then you are in fact trying to get them to follow you, and not the Bible.
But, if you say, â€śNo,â€ť you are not wrong in a single interpretation where you are at variance with the Catholic interpretation of the same verse, then your claim that you are fallible would be a load of garbage. You would in fact be claiming infallibility in your interpretation of the Bible. No matter how you answer that question, you have a problem. So, my prediction is that you will not answer that question. You will talk all around it, but you wonâ€™t answer it.
Oh, one last Bible verse that I want to point out to you that you have not answered my questions about and which you continually misinterpret...James 2:26. You again assert, quite unbiblically, that faith without works is not faith. Nowhere does the Bible say such a thing and certainly not in James 2:26. Try to understand this, please...the body and the spirit are analogous to faith and works, according to this verse from Godâ€™s Word. You correctly say that the body without the spirit is useless. The body, without the spirit, is dead. There is no life...no physical life.
But, nowhere does Godâ€™s Word say the body without the spirit is not really a body, does it? Does it? Those things down at the morgue are still bodies, even though they donâ€™t have a spirit, arenâ€™t they? I assume you will say, â€śYes,â€ť they are still bodies. (If my assumption is incorrect, please let me know.) So, for the analogy to hold, to make any sense whatsoever, then faith (the body) without works (the spirit) is still faith, is it not? But it is dead faith. Useless faith. Nowhere does the Scripture imply, or even hint, that faith without works isnâ€™t really faith. That would mean that body without the spirit really isnâ€™t a body. Which is why Catholics believe, and which is why the Bible says (James 2:24), that we are NOT justified by faith ALONE! Just as you need both body and soul for physical life, so you need both faith and works for spiritual life.
You want me to do a Bible study with you, yet you cannot even read this simple analogy without adding words and meanings to it that are nowhere found in the verse?! Please tell me where, in the analogy in James 2:26, we find that faith without works really isnâ€™t faith? Is a body without a spirit not really a body? Yes or no? These are simple concepts, simple verses, yet you talk all around them in order to avoid the very clear and simple meaning. And you want me to do a Bible study with you? To what end? So you can convince me that your erroneous interpretations of Scripture are indeed true?
So, thatâ€™s it for now. Until I can get some direct answers to these questions, I don't really see any point in going on.