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A Conversation : The Third Response - Mr. Walker - Part One
Here Mr. Walker responds to Mr. Martignoni's previous e-mail. Mr. Walker includes the entire e-mail message and responds to each section.

Mr. Walker sent this e-mail to Mr. Martignoni on September 13, 2008. Mr. Walker's comments were injected into Mr. Martignoni's e-mail.
Dear Pastor Walker,

I appreciate your concern for the salvation of my 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.

No, I take no offense, challenge my beliefs all you want, anything that is not from the Bible needs to be cleared away anyway. If my belief is scriptural, than it stands on its own, without me. Anyway, I do appreciate your concern for me. I consider it my job and duty, as all followers of Christ, to share his teachings with others. Therefore I enjoy discussing his word with you or anyone who is willing to seriously look at God’s word. However I need to point out from the start, that my beliefs are directly taken from scripture, from my own study and from the Holy Spirit. So when you say that I am following the teachings of men, it could only be me. So if I am wrong then I would love to know how I am wrong and I would want to get rid of any unscriptural beliefs and cling to God’s word. Isaiah 66:2b says that”…

"This is the one I esteem:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit,

and trembles at my word.”

So I seek to approach God’s word humbly, with a contrite spirit, and to tremble at what he says, transforming myself unto his likeness. I hope your approach is similar.

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?

I say that Roman Catholics worship idols, demons, and ancestors, because that is what most Catholics do. I know you don’t think you do and I know that the official teaching of the church does not say to worship Moloch. None the less that doesn’t mean that Roman Catholics are not in fact worshipping created things. Simply because the Catechism doesn’t spell it out in plain language, does not mean that by doing these things, that the worship and honor that is due God is not being given to others. Much like my analogy of a adulterer, there are many people who do not think that they are living in adulterous relationships. That does not mean that they are not living in them. And if the word of God says that their relationship is in fact adulterous, than I can state that they are living in adultery.

No, I don’t know more about your faith than you do, in fact I only know what you have told me or what I have read in previous newsletters. However, I can speak to official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the practices of Roman Catholics around the world.

Simply put Mr. Martignoni, it doesn’t matter what words are used to describe the “worship” that Roman Catholics give to Mary, dead Christians, etc. If by their actions, they do give to created beings, that which only belongs to God, than it is worship regardless of the word used or if the person thinks they are worshipping or not.

Titus 1:16

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

They are in fact worshipping in their action, whether they use the word or not. This reminds me of the Jehovah Witness’s when in their New World Translation of the Bible, they went through and used the word Obeisance instead of worship, whenever the Bible said that someone worshipped Jesus. Now they did this to avoid the obvious problem of the fact that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus clearly was worthy of and accepted worship, which would make him God. However it is obvious to anyone seriously looking at the text and even understanding the word obeisance, that by simply using another word it doesn’t change the fact that the people clearly were worshipping Christ in their actions. Even the word obeisance, is from the root to obey, again signifying pay homage to the one whom you obey. The same thing is true here. When the actions and the purposes of the veneration or devotion to created things gives glory and honor to anyone other than God it, IS worshipping. God is a jealous God and will not share his glory with others. He doesn’t even want us making an image of him to bow to. (Deut. 4)

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.

I am just curious how you know where I have studied about Catholicism. I was speaking plainly to you in my statements of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, and can explain why I make these statements, but I am aware the official stand points of the Roman Catholic church on these matters. I do agree with you, however, that the study of any subject from only one side is not complete and very likely to be skewed. My knowledge of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church do in fact include study of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic church and their followers from both sides.

As for showing you from the catechism, I have no problem with this. I thought, I already showed you one example. However this approach is flawed on its face, as it is working backwards. Essentially letting doctrine stand if isn’t directly refuted by scripture. Why would you do this? It has no foundation on truth what so ever. However once it is accepted can lead to all kinds of heretical teaching. When searching for the truth we can not begin with the premise and then seek evidence to support our truth claim. This is the same approach the evolutionist uses today, and then boastfully says all evidence supports his view. On the contrary we need to look at the evidence and let it tell us the story, free from a predetermined premise. It is when we do this that the creation of the world begins to echo the Bible and we see a creator, Romans 1:20, Psalms 19:1

A similar approach is needed here as well. That is why I proposed that we start from scratch, building the church from scripture. This way we would be assured to have a church founded upon truth and not on teachings of men. Since we supposedly share the same the same understanding, that the Bible is truth, than we build a doctrine from it, it should be true to both of us.

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?

Mr. Martignoni, I never said you called any of those things gods. I know the Roman Catholic church does not teach that. That would make this discussion too easy. J My point in the analogy is that the actions of the man speak louder than his words or his promise of faithfulness to his wife. So again, it doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t say that any statue or dead Christian is God. If they give the honor, praise, and glory to them, that belongs only to God than they are worshipping in their actions. Again when Jesus is quoting Isaiah to the Pharisees and saying what was prophesied was true about them in

Matthew 15:8-9 :

8" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.

He acknowledged that they did honor God with their lips, their mouths. By their words and the things they said, they honored him. But the contrast is that in their hearts they did not follow him. Their worship became worthless, their actions were without value and meritless because it was the teaching of men and not the teachings of God.

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?

My point about worship does not only involve bowing. However look at the second commandment, I have quoted it here from Exodus 20:4-5:

4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

So when you say “So what?!”, about bowing before a statue ( a graven image) I have to wonder why it doesn’t bother you, but is detestable to God, who is jealous for your love. His warning here is a serious one.

Anyway back to the main point. No, bowing in and of itself, does not denote worship. In your examples the person bowing is simply giving honor and praise that is due to the person. The Queen is the ruling authority over that person to which they rightfully should pay her honor and respect.

Romans 13:7 "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

Kneeling by one’s bedside to prop there self off the ground is nothing and I suspect you only say this as a joke, so I won’t respond. And kissing the picture of your family again does not denote worship in and of itself either. However, I will condemn you by your actions, if you do give to others, that which only belongs to God, or consult the dead on your behalf, or bow to a graven image.

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?

The Bible says do not consult the dead, but to instead ask of God. This is not the same thing as God the son, speaking to Moses and Elijah. They are alive in Christ, for sure and Jesus was transformed into his glory. Elijah of course never died. However Jesus is not contradicting Isaiah 8:19.

Isaiah 8:19

19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

God is telling us here that we are not to ask (pray) to spirits, powers, or dead people for our needs, but to instead ask (pray) to God. Did Jesus ask Moses or Elijah for their help? When asked how we should pray, he instructed us to ask God, didn’t he? By all means follow God’s word, not mine. But be careful not to be deceived by those who twist and distort scripture. The transfiguration of Christ has no mention, nor does the new Testament have any mention of Jesus or any Christian praying to dead believers.

"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.

I understand your point Mr. Martignoni, as I have stated I am familiar with Roman Catholic doctrine on these matters. Asking a dead person for help is expressly forbidden in scripture and conversely we are clearly instructed on how we should handle our requests:

Philippians 4:6

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

No, the only difference between asking a living saint to pray for you and asking a dead one to is that the latter is forbidden in scripture. I understand the great lengths that the Roman Catholic church goes to explain this, but at the end of the day, asking a dead person to help you is wrong. We should take all our concerns to God. If another living saint wishes to also present our concerns to the Lord, that is great.

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.

Again, I understand what you are saying, but I am trying to get you to understand that it does not matter what you call it, when by your actions you break God’s commands. Also when I condemn the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, it is not a condemnation of you. Jesus is the only way, he is the truth, and the life. I show all men the love of Christ by telling them of the truth. I do not know what you believe, I do however know what the Roman Catholic church teaches and how many Catholics practice it. Therefore, I am equipped to discuss these matters. However you claim to hold to the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, so you have tied yourself to them. I on the other hand have only bound my self to scripture, so to attack my beliefs you need to do so with scripture alone. I continue to build my doctrine from what scripture says, as should you. If we both study the Bible and build our doctrine from the ground up, free from predetermined notions, I believe we would see many things eye to eye. This is because the scripture is quite clear in many areas, and the areas that are not that clear we can find out in heaven, as they do not divide down fundamental concepts.

So I do not presume to know what you believe better than you do, I only know what the Catholic church teaches. But I can say that if you practice what they teach, you are following a doctrine of demons, another gospel, and your worship is in vain. I do not say this to put you down and I don’t write you or Mr. Martinez so that I can win a discussion. It is precisely the love of Christ that makes me want to show people like yourself that they are following teachings of men and not the teachings of God. What you do with the information is up to you.

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?!

Do you affirm that the Bible is the inerrant word of God? I understand you believe there are other sources of truth exist, such as apostolic traditions, the Apochrypha, the Papacy. I of course do not believe these to be sources of truth, but admit that they could contain some truth. However if we both accept the Bible as truth, than we have a common connection, a place we can start from. Notice I did not say that you had to begin with the Bible as the ONLY source. Therefore, I do not require that you begin this process from a Sola Scriptura view point. I mentioned to Mr. Martinez, I myself do not believe the Bible is the only source of truth. The Lord could speak to any one in a several different ways. However I do believe the Bible is truth, meaning that everything found it is true and therefore it can be used to judge all other things to which we are unsure of their origin. So the real question is how can we know the truth?

John 8:31

31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

What are Jesus’ teachings? The word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In other words, scripture is reliable and solid enough to correct all other teachings, and contains what we need to teach and to train those to be thoroughly equipped.

So if you do believe that all scripture is inspired, and can be used for these purposes than we can logically use it to judge any other teaching. The example I used for Mr. Martinez is this, scripture does not oppose that God could speak to a person or send an angel with a message to them. However how can you know it is really from God? We are told in 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 that there are false apostles, workers and even Satan himself who will masquerade as though they were from God. Satan even pretends to be an Angel of the Lord. No we know the test to see if a message is from God is that it is 100% true.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22

21 You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

And Paul warns in Galatians 1:8

Galatians 1:8

8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

So it is not that there could not be any additional word from God or prophetic message, but that the message must pass the test. Kind of like a system of checks to authenticate if a message is from God. This is the process the Bereans used when first hearing the Gospel Paul taught.

Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

I hope this clarifies what I am challenging you to do. And regardless of our beliefs on additional teachings, if we believe the Bible to be truth we can not go wrong by beginning with it and the testing all outside information. This is not demanding you begin on my terms, only that we begin on the lowest common denominator between us.

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.

As do I. However if we both already clearly affirm it as inspired and inerrant I don’t see why would need rebuild this case. We are in agreement. I think I know why you want to delve into this issue, but as I stated in the above section, I am not opposed to the idea that God has spoken in other ways, not recorded in the writings of the Bible that we have.

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?

You are mistaken here. This is not my position; my position is that it is the one thing that I can know to be truth, so if I build my doctrine on it, I know my doctrine is true. I am not saying that there is not any other truth in existence, just that I can not KNOW it to be true with out the word of God. I think I have already clarified this, if you are still uncertain of what I am saying than I can elaborate.

2 Timothy 3:16 certainly does say that we should use scripture to teach and train and that it will thoroughly equip us. It also tells us that all scripture is God-breathed. And 2 Peter 1:21 tells us:

21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

So if we do believe that the book of Mark is scripture and we believe that 2 Timothy and 2 Peter are also inerrant scripture, than we can surely use Mark to teach, correct, rebuke, and train. But I don’t think this is what you are trying to get at.

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?

Who wrote the book of Mark? The Holy Spirit. Because Peter said it in the previously mentioned scripture above (2Peter 1:21). Anyway I can still apply the same test to the book of Mark as I would to any work thought to be inspired. That is to apply it to what we already know to be truth. At the time of the writing of the New Testament, the Hebrew Old Testament was well established as to what books were considered scripture. The good news of the messiah and all the New Testament teaching had to be tested against the Old Testament before it could be accepted. Is the book of Mark in accord with the rest of scripture is the real question. I don’t think you are a fool, Mr. Martignoni. I have even complemented your knowledge of the scripture to Mr. Martinez, as you do know more than many Roman Catholics I know and more than many Christians I know. That doesn’t mean that you have not been deceived. Study the scriptures for yourself away from the predetermined thinking and see if they teach the same gospel that the Roman Catholic church teaches.

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 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.

Well again, I do not think the Bible alone is all truth. Jesus is truth. The Bible is all true however, as it is inspired by God. There is a difference. The Bible is a collection of books as you are well aware of, and we both know that there is no list of books that had to be included. However, the tests applied to writings to see if they were inspired, have lifted these books above the rest. Each one is truth and you don’t even need all of them to reach a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As is evidenced by the OT saints and the early church. Your circular argument falls apart when we realize that there is truth, and we can take it back to Genesis and build forward. For example, if we accept Genesis as scripture, than we can test and examine Exodus to see if it passes the test, and so on and so on. But I don’t think we are really arguing these points, as I suspect we both know and understand this. However if you are not sure that the books we have in the Bible are inspired by the Holy spirit, than indeed we can not see eye to eye. Than we need to have an entirely different conversation, and if you truly do not know that the books of the Bible that we have are inspired than, why do you even care what the Roman Catholic Church teaches or what some Pastor says about it? Because you would have no basis for truth and everything would be up for debate. In fact how could ever really know anything as truth, if you do not believe that the works we have in the Bible are truth?

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.

1) The Holy Spirit, through a man. 2 Peter 1:21

2) Yes, 2 Timothy 3:16

3) It doesn’t

If we build our doctrine from scripture alone, than we can be sure of a solid foundation. Because if we know it to be true than so are it’s teachings. Again I think your points here stem from the misconception that I believe the Bible to be the only source of truth. I do not. However, how can you know what truth is? In science you have to have a test subject and a control subject. The control has to be constant, something you know to be true. If we affirm that Genesis is truth and make it our control, than we test Exodus against it. If it passes than we can include it as scripture. And so on and so on. So I hope this helps you to understand that what I mean to build your theology on the Bible. If you know it to be true than, you can test everything else against it and anything built on it’s firm foundation will be truth.

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!?

Yes, I do admit that you can be right on some passages and me be wrong. I did not say that all Roman Catholic teaching is wrong. Nor do we need to see eye to eye on all things for us to be brothers in Christ. However there are certainly fundamental concepts and ideas that separate the true gospel from the false gospels. It is not simply a matter of taste. Now James 2:24, if read isolated from the rest of James and the Bible could easily be read as you say. However their becomes a problem as you read the entire book of James, as you read, Romans, in fact as the entire Bible speaks of salvation their would be some major problems. Now I know, you state that you find it to be in perfect step with all of scripture, and I won’t call it to question if you have honestly searched it out or not, but than you have to do a lot of work with passages in Romans regarding credited verses earned, with the concept of salvation by grace and not of works, God choosing us, not us choosing him. However I feel that an honest reading of James does in no way conflict with these passages because, it is clear to see that James is not talking about works to merit salvation, but faith that produces works. Any this is precisely the study that we should be doing to see what God’s word says. And I would love to go through James with you and read it and examine what he is saying. As for my authority to teach God’s word, that is every Christians authority. If my interpretation of scripture is wrong than I will change it and move on. I am not so arrogant as to think that the Lord will not continue to reveal his word to me. But neither can I accept teaching that contradicts the Bible and in fact creates a false gospel, that becomes no gospel at all.

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.

Faith and action certainly does go hand in hand. Just like out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. As does the overflow of the heart, the body acts. In other words you will live out what you truly believe in. If I say that I trust someone’s driving, but I refuse to ever get in the car with them for fear of my life. I do not have faith in their ability to drive, regardless of what I say. James explains this in chapter 2, when he says that He shows his faith by what he does. (v18). So in other words, you can see what James believes in, by how he lives his life. He illustrates this by reminding us of Abraham and how we can see his true faith, as he placed his life and the life of his beloved son firmly in God’s hand and trusted fully. SO James says that his faith and actions were in perfect step working together to complete his faith.

When someone says they have faith or they believe, do they really? Can we see it in the way they live their life? Do their actions complete this confession of faith?

Now we know in Romans 4 that Paul points out that Abraham was credited with righteousness before he was circumcised (Gen. 15:6) And Paul says:

1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."[a]

4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

So Paul is specifically showing that Abraham was not justified by works, because than he would have something to brag about.

Ephesian 2:8-9

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Paul describes that Abraham received this justification by faith, through God’s grace. If it were by works, it can not be called a gift, because it is a just wage that is deserved by the worker. But on the contrary, we know that it is a free gift Rev. 22:17. Romans 6:23.

Abraham was not given the gift of life because he was circumcised in the flesh, nor are we saved by water baptism. However in contrast Abraham was first circumcised in his heart, meaning that he was fully set apart for God. In the same way, when we die to our first “husband”, sin and the flesh ( Romans 7), and we are raised with Christ we are no longer bound to sin and death but risen with Christ to life. This is baptism of the spirit and fire.

James also tells us in 2:10 that whoever breaks one part of the law is guilty of all of it. And I have already shown that all have sinned and that if we say that we are without sin, than we are deceiving ourselves. SO this means that we are all condemned, we cannot merit salvation, as we cannot keep the law and have been born and conceived in the sin that brought death at Adam.

So what we can conclude here is that without God’s help, we are already judged and sentenced to death. However God choose to offer a righteousness that is attainable, and that is one by faith. Not just saying that you believe and then leaving and living differently ( James 1:22-25, John 13:17, Matt 7:24), but by believing and living what you are believe. The righteous will live by faith.

Romans 1:17

17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[c] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Paul was quoting Habakkuk 2:4)

SO when James speaks of actions completing faith, we see that it is real faith that is lived out and clearly evident in his actions. Therefore you can not say that you believe and you actions do not reflect it. Even the demons say they believe and they know there is one God, but they do not affirm him as their Lord and certainly do not live like it.

So what his analogy is showing is that true faith is not saying you believe, but true faith is living by faith. It is not works or rituals that merit us salvation. We cannot merit salvation, however we can trust in the name (shem) of the Lord and we will never be put to shame. When we truly trust in his word and his name, than we will live it out in our life. Following the things he told us to do such as communion and baptism.

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.

1) Of course

2) By the authority of the whole of James and scripture. You can not just twist and distort a few passages and teach another gospel. Again we have to read it in context and be honest as to what it is saying and then interpret it with other scripture.

3) Faith alone does not save, but Grace alone does. God has made his grace available through faith, but even that is from God. Faith is not saying that you believe, or even knowing that God exists, it is being FULLY persuaded that God’s word is truth and living it out.

4) I think you may be confused, because you speak as if you can have faith and not live it. You can have works, but not have faith though. Matthew 7:22-23

22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

But if you have faith you will live by it. The Righteous will live by faith

2 Cor. 5:7

We live by faith, not by sight.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any more questions on this passage.

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 it the Bible?

We do have pretty good instructions in Acts and the epistles as to how why we gather, how we should gather, who should lead and how, etc. If you and I lived on some deserted island and had never heard of Christianity. And we stumbled on a Bible that had been buried for many years. And if we set out to build a church as described in its pages, what would we get? This concept is not based upon a predetermined doctrine, but on the concept that if we hold to the truth of scripture than it is in fact useful for doing what I just described. I would think even you would be in agreement with this, as it would at least recreate a church very similar to the church circa 100 AD. Possibly primitive in your mind, as if would lack the teaching and clarification of the “apostolic succession” and the long standing traditions of the church since then. But a solid foundation, none the less. If you don’t agree please explain to me why you wouldn’t agree.

As for the passage of 1 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul has been instructing Timothy in many aspects of leading the body of Christ and preparing them to withstand the trials and troubles that were to come, both internal and external. Paul is not speaking of any building here, he is talking about the body of Christ, the church is the body of believers. (Eph.5 , Col. 1, 1 Cor. 12) Therefore the church is the pillar and foundation for the truth (Christ). The church is his body and here to represent him. But what does that mean? Does it mean that the church or it’s leaders is now Christ, his absence? No First we know that Jesus is with us forever, Matthew 28:19-20, Matthew 18:15-19 and we know that He has also sent the Holy spirit to guide us in all truth (John 16:13), but Paul continues in his letter to Timothy when he says:

1 Timothy 4

1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

And in

1: Timothy 4

13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

He instructs Timothy to watch his doctrine closely and to dedicate himself to public reading of scripture. To teaching and preaching from the scripture (1 Timothy 3:16) to make sure his doctrine was right. And he was to do this because there was going to be those who would come bringing lies, teaching the deception of demons and spirits, they will abandon the faith that Paul was teaching and they would put burdens on the people that were not from God.

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?

Well I hope I clarified this previously. But perhaps not. The New testament church came after the Bible, well most of it. The Old Testament scriptures were well known and read as inspired works. As for the writings of the New Testament, they were penned after the New Testament events happened and while the church was forming. They were written to instruct this process and to teach, correct, rebuke, and train the new believers. Both Jews who knew the Old Testament and the Gentile who did not. They were collected and bound to the Old Testament to form the Bible to stop the teachings of false gospels from seeping in to the church. SO the writings themselves certainly predate many churches and certainly the Roman Catholic church. And while it was not my point that the early church had the NT to read, they did have the Apostles who were witnesses to the events and were taught directly from Jesus.

My point was again, that if we know the Bible to be true, than we can not go wrong by following it. In contrast, we do not know that the teachings of any church, its creeds, doctrines, dogma are true. We have to take them and test them against the truth. Therefore if we begin with the truth, we can be confident that our foundation is solid.

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 “Queen of Heaven”, 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 do you explain that? Are you not seeking God? How has anyone been saved if absolutely no one is seeking God?

Paul states this several times in Romans. The Bible is quite clear that all men are born and conceived in sin, that we don’t seek God, that every thought of heart is on evil, etc, etc. What does this mean? It means that man is born in and steeped in sin from conception. That we stand condemned at Adam, and all those who can not call on the name of Jesus, will face eternal punishment. The good news of the gospel does not condemn, because we all stand condemned already ( John 3:17-18)

Are you truly seeking God? I am not. I would say this is impossible, while living in this body of sin. We are in a constant battle with the flesh, and our hearts are always set on evil. (Romans 7) I would not presume to say that I am living this out, nor can I accept that you are. Especially when scripture tells us that no one does. Let God be true, and every man be a liar.

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

So we can not say that we are really seeking God, especially when God say that no one does. God has however revealed the truth to me and has given me the faith to trust in him. Therefore I can not boast or be proud of my own desire for God, but only in that I know him.

Romans 12:3

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

So when you ask “How has anyone been saved if absolutely no one is seeking God?” We have to use sober judgment, and realize that we cannot even uphold the first commandment of God. The best we have to offer him are filthy rags in his eyes. We cannot save ourselves. He alone can save, and all those who trust in him.

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.

I am aware that Paul is quoting the Old Testament. What is your point? Do babies sin? Yes. Did John the Baptist sin? Yes. Did his parents? Yes. Since we were already talking about Romans 3:10 and 23, where we already see that all have sinned. And we know from Romans 5 that Adam’s one sin brought sin and death to all men because all sinned, even to those who did not break a command. I will answer your questions from the old testament alone.

Psalms 51:5

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Babies are conceived in sin and born sinful.

Isaiah 64:6 All 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.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

Psalms 14:1-3 also Psalms 53

1 The fool [a] says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

3 All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good,

Proverbs 20:9

9 Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"?

All have sinned and do not seek God, there is no one who meets his standard. So yes Mary, John the Baptist and his parents all sinned.

Isaiah 6:5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

I Kings 19:3-5

3 Elijah was afraid [a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah , he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."

Even prophets were sinful men, needing salvation.

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.

Mary was a sinner who needed a savior. She says it and the hole of scripture affirms that all have sinned. If you honestly refute, this than you have just established another gospel. Because apparently you can be saved apart from Jesus’ work and by your own holiness.

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.

The Bible not only does not say that Mary was assumed into heaven, it doesn’t even remotely hint at it. There is no reason to believe this at all. It doesn’t say that she didn’t have blue skin and webbed toes either, but what reason would there be to believe that she did? The Bible is clear that God opens and closes the womb. Therefore anyone claiming to be living by faith should not be using any form of contraception. Perhaps you can think of a better example of my double standard for this point.

However this does show the problem with starting with a premise and then trying to find proofs to strengthen it. An honest reading of scripture gives absolutely no reason to think that Mary was assumed into heaven. Then why begin with this premise and the say well, scripture doesn’t say it didn’t happen? This approach to truth fundamentally flawed.

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.

I apologize, if I did not answer your question. I may have missed it. I thought you asked me what would I call a woman in heaven with a crown on? I said, I would not call her the queen of heaven. My point here is that Mary, a God fearing woman, would not want to be receiving honor and praise only due to God. She would not want to be associated with something as detestable as a false god and idol. Your logic here doesn’t work here as it is not the name, that is the question but the position and “shem” ( the Hebrew word used for name, which denotes fame, glory, and reputatuion). Because two different languages pronounce the word or name of God differently does not change who they are speaking of when speaking of the “shem” of the Lord.

Because someone believes that there is a Queen of Heaven, that we know God scoffs at, does not mean that there must be a real queen of heaven. Why don’t we see God or Jeremiah, correcting them and telling them to make gifts for the image of the true “Queen of Heaven”? Why is there no reference in any of scripture to any true Queen of heaven? A sign of a woman with a crown does not mean that Mary is a Queen of Heaven in authority over all. Why doesn’t Jesus venerate her above everyone? While he honored her as his Earthly mother, but stated that anyone who followed the will of the Father was his Mother and brothers.

Matthew 12:

47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."[a]

48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers.

Jesus does not give her any higher position in the church than any other believer. He does follow the commands however and does show her honor as his Earthly mother in John 2 and in John 19.

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 heaven” 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?"

So my question was, if 1 crown signified that this woman was a queen over all things, than what would 7 crowns on the dragon mean.

The verse says there was a sign that appeared. So if this is not symbolic, than what is this sign that appeared and when did it happen? When did this woman get wings of an eagle? Did this happen at creation or at the fall? If this is Mary, than did she exist at the beginning, in order to give birth to Jesus who was at the beginning? Or did this happen at Jesus Earthly birth? SO Satan only fell and took a third of the angels at this point? Were her wings when she ascended? But then she flew to the desert, not to heaven.

Posted on Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:10 am by accesservant

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