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A Conversation : Seventh Response - Mr. Walker - Part One
In this portion Mr. Walker responds to Mr. Martignoni's previous e-mail (Sixth Response) on September 13, 2008. Again, Mr. Walker injects his comments into Mr. Martignoni's e-mail.

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, “For this people’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.” 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 ask me to trust in and believe in your contradictions. Now, you will undoubtedly say, “No, Mr. Martignoni, I’m not asking you to believe and trust in what I say, I’m asking you to believe and trust in what the Word of God says.” But, as a matter of fact, Pastor, you are indeed asking me to trust and believe in you, not in God nor in God’s Word.

I don’t ask you to trust me, Mr. Martignoni. If you ask my opinion on a passage, I will tell you. I never said you had to get the same understanding. What I have said is that Roman Catholic Teaching is not found in scripture. And that if we start with scripture, apart from any predetermined doctrine, we will not see many things that the Roman Catholic Church teaches.

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!

Can you? There are volumes written about those who have had their eyes opened and been saved out of the Roman Catholic church. But what does that matter? I am sure there are former Evangelicals and Catholics who call themselves Buddhists, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, or Mormon now.

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 can’t seek God) and He has lived up to His Word by providing all the things that are necessary for my family and me.

Have I ever questioned that you have read scripture? I assumed you had, otherwise what would there be to discuss? If you hold to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, I would only question how honestly you examined these passages, but not if you had or not. I mean did you search it to prove or disprove a theology, or did you set aside what you think it says and let it speak?

All this I, and many others in the Catholic Church, have done - we’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 I’m REALLY believing and trusting in Scripture. Only when I accept your interpretation of Scripture will you agree that I’ve gotten it right. I can’t be trusting in Scripture now you say, because I don’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.

Once again, I don’t in anyway want you to trust me or become of a disciple of me. I can be and am wrong on many parts of the Bible. I continue to search for where these are and to correct them. What I don’t understand on your part Mr. Martignoni, is why you will not simply go through the scripture with me and show me how these Catholic doctrines are formed. And if the Bible is the inerrant word of God and you have found all their teachings in scripture, than why won’t you share this with me? And if you can search scripture and find all these teachings, than why would you have any problem with someone only using the Bible to understand God and how to worship him?

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.

Is this what you hear? I have never said these things, nor have I implied them. In fact you are the one who continues to bring this up, saying that I think you are stupid, dumb, unstudied, or inferior. I am not sure if you are doing this because you feel this way about yourself or because you think it may curry you favor, by painting me as some one who thinks very highly of himself. Before we even began conversing I told Mr. Martinez, that I thought you knew a lot of the Bible and you have done well in debating the other people I have read you talk to. However you do seem to approach everything like some type of argument, trying to trap someone in a corner, setting up something you can destroy and then proclaim everything they have said as invalid. You do not approach it a fashion that offers the same type of considerations that you seem to demand for yourself.

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 God’s Word for my salvation, but that’s not good enough for you. I have to trust in your understanding of God’s Word in order to be saved.

Mr. Martignoni, you can believe anything you want. Nor do I have the ability to condemn you to hell, if I think you are headed there. So what does it matter what I say? I have repeatedly asked you to study the scriptures with me to see what God says. I have not said that you have to accept my understanding. I only seek to show you what scripture says, if you read it and still wish to follow the Roman Catholic Church, what can I do about it? Nothing! I would not consider you a brother I Christ, because if you practice some of the things taught by the Roman Catholic Church, than you can’t please him.

1 Corinthians 10:21-22: You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

I have said that I believe many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church to be the doctrine of demons as it contradicts scripture.

1 Timothy 3:1-4: The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such 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.

But I don’t tell you or anyone these things to force them to believe what I say, but to challenge them to make sure they know what God says. I personally believe there are many people caught in the lies of the Roman Catholic Church, who really want to please God and are doing a great many things in this pursuit. They are very zealous for God, and I feel sorry for them when they meet Him face to face and he will say depart from me I never knew you.

Matthew 7:23: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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!'

We have to do what he has asked to please him, all the zeal and works done outside of what he requires will be rejected. The ONLY way we can KNOW what he wants is from reading his word.

Now, let me respond directly to some of what you have said:

“Mr. 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: You’re not calling into question what the Catholic Church teaches, but you’re just letting us know that if we believe what the Catholic Church teaches, we’re going to Hell, right? Well, I’m certainly glad you’re not calling into question what the Church teaches.

What I mean, Mr. Martignoni, is that you are completely free to practice any religion or belief you want to. I do not think that you and I worship the same God. I will share the truth with a Muslim as well. But if they want to believe the Koran and follow Muhammad, they can do as they want. I will have only shown them that there is a diffence between the God they worship and the God of the Bible. I have no need to force you to believe anything I am saying. Just as in your soccer analogy, you are free to play any game you want. I only want to show you that it is not the game that the Master is looking for. Remember, I did not contact you and attack your beliefs or your religion. You approached me and I said I would be glad to talk to you about these matters and answer your questions. I teach what the Bible says, if you care what the Bible says, than you will judge your own beliefs and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Scripture says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged.” 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 Scripture’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.

First of all I have judged you, I don’t even have the power to. But I have only asked you to follow the same standard as myself. Again not that you have to believe as I, but that you need to compare what the Roman Catholic Church teaches against God’s word. They are at odds with each other. You say they aren’t but are unwilling to show me where these doctrines are taught in scripture. I have never claimed infallibility, no human is infallible. Nor do I understand all scripture, but we will both be held to its standard.

You further stated: “The 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 “the Bible doesn’t say we can’t do this or that we shouldn’t do that” 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 don’t go by your own rules.

Now, this would be a good discussion, why don’t we go there. Let’s search the Bible and see if it teaches Catholic doctrine and if Catholic teaching is supported or contradicted. If the Bible teaches them, then we would both be satisfied. You said that reading the Bible made you affirm the Roman Catholic Church, well show me. Why are you so resistant to study the Bible and show that the Roman Catholic Church is in fact true and that the teachings they hold are sound and the same gospel that the Apostles taught? Come on lets study it, already! I have answered your questions and shown you in scripture where my opinion comes from. I have never demanded you accept it and just because you don’t accept it doesn’t mean that I did not answer you.

Again, your words: “My 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.”

So, your assumption is that neither I, nor Mr. Martinez, nor any faithful Catholic for that matter, knows God. What you’re really saying here is that until such time as we accept your fallible and limited understanding of Scripture, then we can’t know God. Again, what arrogance!

No, my assumption is that we are all human and fallible and the only way we can truly know God is from his word. Even if an angel comes to us and reveals to us many things we, still must test that spirit against what God’s word says. Any messenger from God will have the same message and will not contradict what we have already believed in scripture. The one thing that we can KNOW to be true is the Bible, not that other things are not true or cannot be true, but that I can’t KNOW that they are truth without the word of God. Really, what is more arrogant to say that we need to continually go back to the very word of God, or to say that any person could be infallible and could teach things contrary to the word of God?

Then, you go on to say that we “do not need to read the scripture the same way I do,” yet you just finished claiming above that we are bound for Hell because we don’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 I’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 don’t act like you believe you are.

I am fallible, I never said that I wasn’t. Again that is your church’s department not mine. However that does not mean that I can not judge based upon the criteria given in the word as to whether you follow the same God described in its pages. Simply put the Roman Catholic Church does not follow the God who describes himself in the Bible, they follow a God that the papacy describes. You and anyone else is completely free to choose which one to follow. It’s your choice. If the Bible is the word of God, then let it speak to you, and see what He has to say about himself. Then let’s see what salvation is, lets see who is holy, lets see who we should worship and adore, who we should pray to.

You do not have to listen to me or God’s word, but why is it wrong for me to point out that what scripture says and what the Catholic church teaches do not agree. It isn’t matter of judgment just facts. If you disagree with me, show me. Show me where the teachings that I think are wrong are found in scripture. I have stated I don’t believe everything that the Roman Catholic church teaches is wrong, in fact there are some areas I think they are more scriptural than some Christian churches I have been to. However there are some major issues in Roman Catholic teaching, that in my opinion make it another gospel entirely. These issues are not debatable matters and they are in direct opposition to each other so it isn’t a matter of finding the truth in heaven. I have said I feel these issues to be doctrines taught by demons. Let’s assume for a minute that I am right, should I not say anything to you? If I look into your church and see people unknowingly following demons and I know that they will be rejected by God, it would be terrible if I said nothing. I understand you don’t agree with me, but you are unwilling to search it out with me. I am willing.

Your words: “I 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.”

With all due respect, Pastor Walker, but this is a lie. Now, I don’t think you’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?

You continue to tell me what I do or do not do, that is really interesting. Anyway, that is exactly how I teach. If someone gets something else from a passage, and from study I believe it to be wrong I would only enter in to further discussion and study with them. If it was a debatable matter, I can accept that we are both fallible humans and we will get the answers when we are with God. However there are fundamentals of scripture that must be understood, otherwise it is not the same gospel. If someone, like yourself, reads the Bible and believes in another gospel than what was taught throughout scripture, I will be patient and go with them through scripture to show that this is the same message taught from Genesis to Revelation and that belief that contradicts this thought is contrary to the whole of scripture.

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.

I reject the results, because they are wrong. However I don’t doubt that you have read or studied or are an intelligent person. I only wish to seek it out with you or anyone willing to see what God has to say. Will you do this? I will study with you, and you can show me where Catholic doctrine is taught, I will listen. Again if the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are taught in scripture, than I would hold to them. I do not part ways with Catholic teaching is all areas, only in those contrary to scripture. If by your study, you can show me how these teachings are taught in scripture, than I would listen.

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.

I don’t know what else to say to your point here. Never have I said or acted in a way that reflected one who thought he was infallible. However the word of God is truth, if and when I find beliefs of my own that are not from scripture, I do work to conform to scripture. So again, lets study it together, perhaps you can show me my error.

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, isn’t it? But that’s taking the easy way out. Simply dismiss what I say because I’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 weren’t Catholic to begin with, but became Catholic through their reading of the Bible?

Mr. Martignoni, again you keep saying this, but I assure I do not think you are dumb. Nor do I think Catholics are dumb simply because they are Catholics. I do believe that you are deceived as they are, but the deception comes from someone who is the father of lies. He is very good, and can deceive in ways that are so convincing that even the elect of God might believe. This is why when I discuss this with you, I do not seek to defeat you in some test of knowledge or debate skills, but only to help you and others to see the deception that has been foisted upon you.

As to your points:

1) This, of course, intrigues me, but am willing to study it out with you. Let’s read the Bible and see together what it teaches. I do not suppose you haven’t read it, but would enjoy the opportunity to go through it with you, and then we could see together what is Biblical doctrine and what isn’t.

2) What do I do with them? The same as I would do with you or Mr. Martinez, the same as Paul did to the church at Galatia . To take them back to the word and show them what it says.

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 haven’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.

I am not calling anyone a liar (even though we all are), or saying all Catholics are doomed to hell and all Evangelicals are saved. The test comes from scripture. I have no power to condemn or judge anyone to hell. I can only show people that they are not following what scripture says. If you follow what the Roman Catholic Church teaches than you are in fact trusting in another gospel and not following the God of the Bible. I do not expect you to believe me just because I am saying this, but am willing to work it out with you. It is not a matter of interpretation, let’s study it together. Why are you so hesitant to do this?

Now, I asked you if you were seeking God. You stated, “I am not.” That’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: “I knew you may have difficulty understanding this, so I will try to explain to you.” 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.

It is not a backpedal. And I knew you would not understand what I meant, which is evident in where you took it. Anyway I have clarified it already and don’t feel the need to continue to discuss it, when it really is a side topic to what we were discussing, which was if Mary was born without sin or lived a sinless life.

You said: “First 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 God’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 “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.” 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 “there is none that does good” 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 “fool” who says in his heart: “There is no God.”

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 “evildoers,” but then we also have God’s “people.” 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.

I would be happy to study these with you, however I won’t do it here for the reason I stated above. Let’s discuss the original topic first. Than we can address this. Can you show me where we can see that Mary was born without sin or lived a sinless life?

Plus, let’s look at Isaiah 64:6. Is Isaiah saying that “our best works are like filthy rags?” 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? “Thou meetest him that joyfully works righteousness.” 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, “The 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.” (By the way, I hope you don’t believe in once saved, always saved, because if you do, you’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: “This 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 “good”, 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 Paul’s words in Ephesians, that I have received salvation 100% by God’s grace, and not even a fraction of a percent on my ability to “seek” God. It is not that I don’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 God’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 “ALL” 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 it’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 God’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: “No one seeks for God.” It does not say, “No one seeks for God with ALL their heart.” You’re starting to backtrack on your earlier statements here. Scripture says, “No one seeks God.” “No one does good.” “There is no fear of God.” It doesn’t say, “No one seeks God all the time.” “No one does good all the time.” “No one fears God all the time.” 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, “No one understands.” 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.

Again I have explained what I mean by these things, if you want to study Romans 3 and its meaning, which it seems you do that is great! I would love to do so. However lets do so separately from what we have been talking about. I don’t want to head down a rabbit trail, that doe not address the problem at hand.

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 don’t agree with your understanding of God’s Word, then they’re headed for Hell...well, with all due respect, but that’s not the most convincing argument I’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 you’re having to do all sorts of verbal engineering and twisting of Scripture in order to justify your positions.

Your words: “It 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 Christ’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 “understanding” that you cannot save 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: “As 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.”

Again, you add to Scripture. It says no one fears the Lord. It does not say, “No one fears the Lord all the time.” And, where does the Bible say, “To fear God, means that you would have to be without sin?” 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 man’s word to God’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 aren’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 that’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? “Oh, well, they’re not seeking God ALL the time. They’re not seeking God with ALL their heart.” Yet, nowhere do I see such words in the Bible. You’ve tried to backtrack on your words by adding to Scripture.

Really you don’t seem to understand, you continue to make it seem like I am saying that you don’t read or pray or that I don’t.

Let’s look more closely at a couple of these verses: Deut 4:28-29, “And there [scattered among the nations] you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of men’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.”

Your interpretation of Rom 3:11 would lead to an interpretation of this verse that would have God telling the Israelites that they’ll find Him if they search for Him with ALL their heart and soul, but, according to you, it’s impossible for them to search for Him with all of their heart and soul...which means they won’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 don’t believe anyone seeks Him, so you must believe God has forsaken everyone.

Heb 11:6 – “For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Please explain this one to me in light of the fact that no one seeks Him. If no one seeks God, then He isn’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: “Half of them aren’t even saying that anyone seeks God, but what God would promise to those who would seek him.” 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 aren’t “even saying that anyone seeks God,” which must mean that half of them do indeed say that.

Again if you want to study this understanding, I will go into it with you. However as I have pointed out it isn’t even the point we were discussing. It seems like you are only harping on this as you think you have found a weakness in my beliefs and seek to exploit it so you can dismiss everything I say. Even if I was wrong on this, how would it change the fact that scripture does not say or even imply that Mary was without sin?

And I know you will probably say that I refuse to address these issues with you, but I am telling you right now I am willing if you are, just say tell me and my next email will address each and everyone. I am not going to do it now as it isn’t as relevant to the original question.

You close this particular argument by saying this: “Well, 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. Let’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.."

You’ve answered me? How? Where? You went off on some tangent that I’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 “answer” to my claims consisted of you basically saying all those Scripture passages I quoted don’t really mean what they say, and that no matter how many passages of Scripture I quote, I’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 won’t, will you?
I have answered your question on what I meant. This whole topic of whether or not we seek God was a tangent you started to say that we should not read Romans 3 literally. Which was only mentioned to show that scripture teaches that all have sinned and that no one is good. I will study this out with you and honestly listen to you, but I don’t want to lose focus on the original pint here. We can go through each scripture, reading them in context and see if scripture does teach that people can truly seek God and truly fear him, but what does that have to do with the original point? It still would not show that Mary was sinless. At best you could say it was possible to be sinless, to truly seek God, to truly fear him, and to please God with your works. I am not conceding this to you, but only pointing out that they are two different issues and even if yo are correct and I were wrong it would not mean that you are right on the original point. It would take away one of my evidences for her being a sinner, but not all.

In my last email to you, I stated the following: “But, in reality you don’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.”

You replied with this: “My statement was to tell you that I was not regurgitating someone else’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.”

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?

They aren’t contradictory. Does the Holy Spirit guide us into truth? Are men fallible? The Holy Spirit can guide me through my fallible interpretations. Meaning when I was fist saved and read the Bible, I understood only smaller amounts as He has guided me I have come to understand knew things and to continually separate the teachings of men from the word of God. It is a process that He will lead me through.

“If the Holy Spirit is guiding you, how is it you ever sin? “ I am not really sure what it is you are asking here. I am a sinner as all men. If I were to say I did not sin, then I would be lying. Are you saying that if I claim to have the Holy Spirit, than I would not sin? Humans can not escape the sinful nature of our bodies. Romans 7 describes this battle and 1 John explains it as well.

You continued with the following: “In a way, I don’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 there’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 Polycarp’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 can’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 is a very dangerous thing you have done by assuming such authority for yourself.

I said I know that their writing is not inspired. Do you believe that they were inspired? I didn’t say their thoughts were inferior to mine, just inferior to scripture. I think their writings are important as they show us what these individual men thought and believed, but I do not recognize them as God’s word or as truth. They certainly can be true and certainly can be a lot more right than me. Could they be wrong? Could they have some of the bad doctrine that Paul had to correct very early on in the church? Simply put they was false teaching in the church even before the New Testament was written, in fact much of it was written to quell the bad teaching and to set the canon (standard) by which all teaching should be measured against.

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 rely solely on you. You are your own authority in all matters of doctrine.

The church has all the authority given to it by God in the Bible. I have to submit to the church in some areas, especially in the areas of discipline as you speak. God outlined several processes in scripture on how we should handle disputes. I have to submit to authority, because God has placed that authority above me. However that does not mean that we submit to the point that we deny God. You make several accusations here that are unfounded and simply not true. My question for you though, is even if you feel you have to submit to everything the church teaches, how do you know it is the Roman Catholic Church that you must submit to?

This next thing you said was absolutely incredible: “I do find it interesting to read what other Christians have found in their study of God’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.”

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 you’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 don’t hunt.

Scripture is always the standard. So for example if by my study up to this point I have formed certain conclusions and then as I continue to study I find those same conclusions to be in error, I will toss them and start over. Again I don’t think that I have all the answers or that I understand everything. But I will continue to seek the truth. I do not place my own interpretations at a level that they can’t be questioned even from myself. I would be intellectually irresponsible to myself if once I reached a conclusion on something that I placed it on par or above the very scripture that I was seeking.

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 God’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 I’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 “sort of rogue man wandering in the wilderness seeking truth.” 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 anyone’s interpretations of Scripture that do not coincide with yours, do you not?

I think I addressed this above. I do not think that God has revealed all truths to me, but that He is actively guiding me towards all truth. I have formed my own conclusions on scripture, but that does not mean that I have not sought advice, read other opinions, or even engaged in discussions with those of opposing viewpoints. Again my point was only to let you know that I was simply following some sort of evangelical or fundamentalist line. As I have stated there are certainly some areas where the Roman Catholic Church is holding to scripture better than many churches I would consider Christian. My point was to only say that I don’t simply follow some denomination or organization. If you can show me in scripture where the doctrines that I have specific issues with are taught in scripture, I would not continue to say anything against the Roman Catholic Church and I would call you a brother. Even more so I would reexamine my own beliefs and see if I shouldn’t be doing those things. However you have not done this and seem unwilling to.

Finally, you say that you know that you are wrong on some things. I’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 don’t know what they are? Then how do you know you’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 people’s souls. How irresponsible is that!!!

I know that I am wrong on some things, because I am a human. And have not yet entered into God’s presence. Even Paul said:

1 Corinthians 13:12: Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Mr. Martignoni, you shouldn’t fear the pastor who openly admits he is a sinner, that he only knows and understands in part, is open to rebuke, and willing to rethink his doctrine if it conflicts with scripture. You should fear the one who won’t.

I’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 “some things.” 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?

Nothing I say or write is infallible truth. Where have I erred? I don’t know. But I am willing to admit that I could be wrong and willing to listen to your points on the places you think I am wrong. I am serious that I would study Romans 3 and Psalms 14, 53 with you. I want to honestly look at scripture. What good would I do myself if I only held to one view point, if another could easily be just as right or even prove my original thought wrong?

I am stopping here until I get direct answers. You see, if you say, “Yes,” 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, “Yes,” 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 you’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.

I am not trying to get you to believe what I say, but to look at scripture independent of preformed doctrine. I will do the same. And to the best of our abilities we can read the Bible and see what it says. I have not approached my beliefs with the idea of proving the Roman Catholic Church right or wrong. I have not read the scripture to prove me or my church right or wrong. If it is the inerrant word of God we should do everything we can to strip away any man made doctrines and listen to what God says, especially if it contradicts what we have held to. There are views that I have had to change, when I realize that they are not taught in scripture. This is an honest approach to seeking truth. I am not seeking to be proven true.

But, if you say, “No,” 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 won’t answer it.

I only have a problem if I think I am infallible and above rebuke. If I think that my words or belief are on par or higher than the inspired word of God. But again I have never claimed this. That is the Pope’s job, right?

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 God’s Word. You correctly say that the body without the spirit is useless. The body, without the spirit, is dead. There is no physical life.

But, nowhere does God’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 don’t have a spirit, aren’t they? I assume you will say, “Yes,” 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 isn’t really faith. That would mean that body without the spirit really isn’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 isn’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?

I have answered you time and time again; I understand that you think it says one thing. And somehow you think James, Romans, and the whole of scripture support this. I don’t see how. I have explained what I feel the passage to mean. I do agree and have said that I think the passage to mean that faith lived out in works is required. But I am willing to listen to you and to study it with you. I obviously don’t think your view is supported even in the same chapter of James let alone the rest of the book and I think you will have some serious problems in Romans and Galatians. But I am willing to follow your logic and let you show me how scripture supports your interpretation over mine, because again I am not interested in proving myself right or making you a disciple of mine. I only want the truth, it is the only thing that matters.

So, that’s it for now. Until I can get some direct answers to these questions, I don't really see any point in going on.

Posted on Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:33 am by accesservant

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