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Letters to a Roman Catholic : Part 4 - Clement of Rome
Mr. Ernest Martinez wrote to Mr. Al Martinez showing him an excerpt from Clement of Rome and asked him what he thought about it. Mr. John Martignoni responded on his behalf. Below is the discussion.

Clement of Rome - Mr. Ernest Martinez


I was reading Clement of Rome and came upon this:

Chapter XXXII.

Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, “Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

What do you think, Ernest

Clement of Rome - Mr. John Martignoni

This is Catholic teaching par excellence! The fact that you apparently do not understand that this in no way contradicts current Catholic teaching further makes my point that neither you, nor Eddie Walker, really have a clue as to what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. I am, however, glad that you think you "discovered" something that would cause problems for us current-day Catholics, because the actual result is to educate you in the Catholic Faith. I hope you kept reading the next few chapters about the role of works, as well? Again we have NO problem with anything St. Clement of Rome...the 3rd Pope after Peter...had to say here. By the way, don't you think it's surprising that Clement, the Bishop of Rome, would be writing a letter to the Corinthians in which he exercises authority over them (chapters 58 and 59 of that same letter)? And this while the Apostle John was still alive? That doesn't square with your beliefs about the authority of the Bishop of Rome does it?

God bless!

John Martignoni

Clement of Rome: Response - Mr. Ernest Martinez


Where did you get all that from the statement "I was reading Clement of Rome and came upon this:" Obviously you do not "understand" what people write. Furthermore, show me, please, where any of my writing shows I don't have a "clue" what the Roman Catholic Church "believes and teaches." It is not as the teaching of the RCC are some secret book you need a decoder from Sears to read the words. I read the whole letter John. It is only you and my dad who "discovered" the Church Father's writings? By the way, where did you get the idea that I "discovered" something that would cause problems from the e-mail that I wrote? John, I don't think you listen to what people say, and you have corrupted people like my dad. You rail and accuse people of things they didn't do or say just to look pius and lofty, but you are just a man John. Clement was the successor of Paul. Or the Pastor that Paul establised in Rome. Anyway, John, you obviously believe what you believe, and that is fine, but actually, if you are going to accuse me of something, you should find out what I really believe before you try to talk about it. You have no idea what I believe or what Protestants really believe do you? Based on what you have written here and elsewhere it is obvious you have no idea what I or any Protestant believes. I suggest you do some research and when you have, then we can talk.

Grace and peace,


Clement of Rome: Response - Mr. John Martignoni

My, my, Ernest...I'm a bit surprised by the anger in your email. I must have touched a nerve, eh? Please, Ernest...are you saying that you weren't trying to push a salvation by faith alone interpretation on what Clement of Rome was saying? Are you saying you weren't trying to bait your dad and trap him in some way or another? And I'll bet you have a wonderful house with a beautiful pool in Galveston that you'd like to sell me, too? By the way, I notice you didn't include him on this email, when you've included him on all the fact, you had to go in and purposely cut his email out of the list...why is that, Ernest? Afraid your dad might see through your rather thin protestation?

I guess you were sending that passage to your dad to in essence say to him: "Dad, here's a passage from Clement's Letter to the Corinthians, it is helping me to better understand Catholic teaching on salvation...I'm glad I found it. What do you think of that?" Was that your real intent, Ernest?

Well, if that was your intent, then I sincerely and humbly apologize. But, somehow, I have a hard time believing that you were just innocently looking for comment from your dad on that particular passage from Clement's letter. No ulterior motive whatsoever, eh?

Regarding you not having a clue as to Catholic teaching, you have already stated that we worship Mary, so you have already proven that you have no clue as to Church teaching in that regard. Furthermore, I will ask you to honestly answer this one question: Do you believe the Catholic Church teaches that our works save us? Yes or no. If you answer, "Yes," then I stand by my statement that you don't have a clue what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. You're not open to hearing what I have to hearing what my Church actually have made up your mind beforehand, and come Hell or high water, that's what you're going to believe.

You are correct that you do not need a "decoder" to "read the words" of Catholic teaching, but that is exactly the problem, all you are doing is reading the words. But, you're reading the words with your preconceived biases and bigotry as your foundation. You don't care to understand what we believe as we believe it, you simply read the words, inject your own meanings, and then you tell us what we "really" believe. When, in fact, you need to jettison your Protestant biases and bigotry to "really" understand Catholic teaching. You have to approach Catholic teaching as a Catholic does, not as you do now - with your Protestant lenses. Eddie Walker keeps preaching to me about approaching the Bible without preconceived notions, yet when it comes to Catholic teaching, the same does not hold true for you guys (it doesn't actually hold true in terms of your approach to the Bible, either, but that's another argument).

Your father believed what he believes long before he ever heard my name, but if I have given him greater understanding of what he believes, and greater courage to defend it, then I thank God, His Eternal Son, and His Holy Spirit for allowing me to do so! I just pray that He will one day take the blinders from your eyes, to allow you to see how proud and arrogant you have become, and that He will humble you before Himself, before it is too late.

You say that Clement was "the successor of Paul," Where does the Bible tell us that, Ernest? Did Paul found the Church in Rome? Where in the Bible does it tell us that Paul was the "Pastor" of the Church in Rome? I find it fascinating how you make up things that the Bible doesn't tell us. And, I find it incredibly fascinating that you describe Clement as Paul's successor. You rail against Catholics when it comes to the topic of Apostolic succession...when we say that the Apostles appointed successors...saying there was no such thing, yet here in this email you admit to that very thing. You simply cannot keep your story straight, can you?

You stated that I "accuse" people of "things they didn't do or say." Can you give me one example? What did I accuse you of in my last email that is incorrect? For what purpose did you send that email about that particular passage from Clement's letter to the Corinthians? Please, clear it up for me if I've gotten it wrong. Here is your opportunity. Plus, your own wife accused me of certain things, yet when I asked her for one specific instance, she declined to answer me.

I find it fascinating how easily the folks on this list who have sent me emails - three of you so far - how easily you claim that I am not guided by the Holy Spirit. And, upon what do you base your claims? On this one fact and this one fact alone - that I disagree with your fallible, man-made, personal interpretations of the Bible. I disagree with you, therefore, I am obviously not led by the Spirit. How arrogant you are. I also find it interesting, though not surprising, that Amber and Frances have no qualms about writing me and attacking me and accusing me of certain things, but when I respond by asking them to specifically identify where I have been guilty of what they accuse me of, what happens? No answer.

And, when I write them back and ask them simple questions about the Bible, and ask them to give a defense for what they believe, as 1 Peter 3:15 requires us to do of anyone who calls us to account...what happens? No response. Is that a modus operandi that we can see the Holy Spirit in...accuse and attack, yet don't respond when asked for specifics or when asked to justfiy your beliefs?

Frances and Amber, with all due respect, but you have behaved less than honorably and, in fact, rather cowardly towards me. I see nothing in your treatment of me that would recommend to me that you are guided by the Holy Spirit.

Regarding having no ideas about what Protestants believe, how can I, when each Protestant faith tradition, and in very many cases, each individual Protestant, believes something different than the others - yet, they all claim to be going by the same Bible, and all claim to be led by the same Holy Spirit. What I find troubling is that you apparently don't see that as troubling.

Each of the thousands of Protestant faith traditions having a different doctrinal mix in their beliefs. Yet, each claiming to go by the Bible alone, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Please tell me, Ernest, if all these people go by the Bible alone - as you claim to do; and they all are led by the same Holy Spirit that you claim to be led by; then how is it that they believe different things than what you believe? I would be really fascinated with how you answer that question. Will you claim that they must not be led by the Holy Spirit if they bellieve differently from you? Or, will you possibly admit that maybe you aren't always led by the Holy Spirit and could be coming up with an erroneous interpretation of Scripture every so often? What's the answer to this riddle?

I will close, by asking anyone on this list to answer these very simple questions:

1) Is a body, without a spirit, not a body? Or is it a dead body in which there is no life? Just so, is faith without works, not really faith? Or is it a dead faith in which there is no life? (James 2:26).

2) If you have faith, but have not works, can your faith save you? Yes or no?

3) If a man, through patience in well-doing, strives for glory and honor and immortality, will God give him eternal life according to his works? Yes or no?

4) If salvation is the greatest thing we can achieve, and it is only faith alone by which we can achieve it, then why does Scripture say love is greater than faith, when love apparently has nothing to do with our salvation (at least, according to the "faith alone" viewpoint of salvation)?

In Christ,

John Martignoni

Clement of Rome: Response - Mr. Ernest Martinez

My, my, John... Are you never surprised by your own e-mails and how you accuse us of viewing Roman Catholicism through Protestant lenses, do you view Protestantism through Roman Catholic lenses? (And by the way, I never intended to exclude my dad, I hadn't realized that I did that, but I made sure he is on this one.) I sent him that portion of Clement the same way he sends me Roman Catholic documents. Of course I sent it to him to show how Clement wrote of salvation. I believe in salvation by grace through faith, exactly as the Bible teaches it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8 - 9; NAB)

There were many who suffered loss during hurricane Ike, some who were families of US Army soldiers, so I don't think that was an appropriate comment.

I sent it exactly to show what Clement thought about salvation, that is no surprise. But I didn't discover it, it has been and continues to be the teaching of Christians throughout time, salvation by the grace of God. Clement was one of many Christian leaders who taught what the Bible actually teaches.

I send him whatever may allow him to see past the rituals and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and come to real the "holy catholic(universal) church" of Jesus Christ. I never said you worshiped Mary, show me where I said that and I will apologize. What I said is that what you do can look like worship to unbelievers. I know that the Roman Catholic Church's official doctrine is that you "venerate" or "honor" Mary. But according to the Ten Commandments we are not to bow before images of things on earth or in heaven.

You said:

"Furthermore, I will ask you to honestly answer this one question: Do you believe the Catholic Church teaches that our works save us? Yes or no."

To answer your question, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that works do not save you. I never said that the RCC taught that. But to further clarify, the RCC does teach that you can lose your salvation, as do some Protestant denominations. I do not agree with them or the RCC. Since the Council of Trent it was taught by the RCC that you do not gain salvation (justified) by works. That is Cannon I, Sixth Session, Decree on Justification. However, with many of the other Cannons, I do not agree. If you read carefully you will see that almost no evidence is sited from the Scriptures.

Is it really "bias" or "bigotry" to disagree with RCC teaching? Are you not biased and bigoted towards my understanding of the Scriptures? Yes or no? Where does it say that Clement was the successor of Paul? Nowhere. Which proves my point that it doesn't say who Peter was succeeded by in the Bible either. In fact it doesn't even say he was in Rome. In fact historically it is debatable whether or not he even went to Rome. But you know that, so it is the RCC's word against historical fact. I believe in Apostolic succession. The Apostles appointed elders in every city and whoever took over for them would be their successor. But the Bible is clear, even in Revelation that there are only 12 apostles in heaven.

As far as being proud and arrogant, well, I boast in Jesus Christ, in His power and authority, if it comes across as arrogance, well, for that I am sorry. As the Bible says:

Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches; But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, Knows that I, the LORD, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; For with such am I pleased, says the LORD. (Jer. 9:22 - 23; NAB)

When I say you accuse, I meant that you accuse me of believing things about that RCC that are not true, I think I have cleared that up. I don't have to make things up, there is enough that the RCC teaches that we can discuss. That is all I have been telling you and my dad. I understand what the RCC teaches, I just disagree with it. And furthermore, I try to show where the problems are in that "official" teaching, just as you try to show me where my beliefs contradict themselves.

In my experience there are Roman Catholics who diverge and disagree with each other and official teaching of the RCC. Birth control is one, and there are many more. It is true many Protestants disagree with each other, and some actually deny the truth of the Bible. But this disagreement is not about individuals but the official teaching of the RCC. There is far more agreement in Protestant circles on the essentials of faith than there is the RCC community.

Anyway, your e-mail contains a lot of information and questions that I am going to have to address later tonight or tomorrow. My wife needs me to go to Walmart, so I will continue with this later. I still haven't gotten to your other e-mail messages, and it looks like I am going to be writing a lot.

Grace and peace,


Posted on Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:54 am by accesservant

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