Typical Exchange Between An Anti-Catholic And A Catholic Apologist

Just like the first of these kinds of web pages I put up, this is another exchange between me and a gentleman who ostensibly wanted to learn about the Catholic Church. The first exchange I had was between someone who had no interest in facts, was thoroughly convinced of his personal interpretation of the Bible, and resorted to sophomoric attacks on my person and the Church when confronted with the Truth. Well, this exchange turned out only slightly differently. Click here to read the first exchange.

As in the previous exchange, this page contains most of the dialogue. I may have cut out a sentence or two, but I only edited this exchange to eliminate repetitious postings. I have removed his last name and e-mail address from this exchange. If you would like his name and address, let me know and I will send your address and request to him.

This exchange started when John sent me feedback from my feedback page. His feedback will be the first item in this listing. From there, I simply responded to him by breaking down his feedback (and I did this with all subsequent emails), then replying immediately following each sentence. I have not edited his writing in any way. If you notice that there is a total absense of any responses on his part to any of my many questions, citations, quotations, web links, or challenges, it's because he provided none. So much for Christian integrity and honesty.

Name Submitted: john
E-mail: *******@YAHOO.COM
Topic: General Apologetics

Question or Comment: Hi, i grew up Southern Baptist, went catholic when i married and am now going to a non-denominational church. ive read over your website and need to let you know that i have recently studied catholic doctrine in defense of the catholic church. however, what i found was disturbing. Mary ruling over part of heaven: The catholic churches doctrine that states that if anyone disagrees with the catholic teaching of mary being co-redemptrix that their faith is shipwreck and salvation lost.
these cannot be ignored.
i do know many catholics that are saved and love the lord because they would never teach or do the things that i have read from the catholic church.
There are of course other issues, if you would like a direct ref. to these and other issues, please feel free to write me. But it will be part of my missions work in the future to tell people the truth, and not to color things and try to show them under a diffrent light.
God Bless,
John ****

A little differently than the previous exchange I had with Gary, in this page, I'm going to add a few thoughts in between the items. As I said, the previous item was the first thing I received from John. As you see in his message, it looks like he has no questions for me, nor is he interested in learning what the Church truly teaches. When I saw his confusion on the Marian issues, I thought I would help him find some sources to read about it from a Catholic perspective.

Notice, too, that he states at the end that he will provide "direct" references. Yet, no matter how many times I asked him, he ignored every request.

Below is my response to him.

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2002 9:41 AM
To: *******@YAHOO.COM
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John,

Thanks so much for visiting my web site. I'm glad that you had the opportunity to look it over.

I'm not sure I understand your reasons for being "disturbed" by Catholic doctrine. I can very easily understand if you are disturbed by a misconception of Catholic teaching - most people who hate the Church do so by hating something that they mistakenly believe is the Church, or Church teaching.

You said that you had problems with the following:
"Mary ruling over part of heaven: The catholic churches doctrine that states that if anyone disagrees with the catholic teaching of Mary being co-redemptrix that their faith is shipwreck and salvation lost."

I would very much appreciate it if you could provide me with links or citations from Church documents that teach these things. It would help me in my research to answer your concerns. I don't want a link or citation to someone who "claims" to speak for or speaks in defense of the Catholic Church, since they are not the Magisterium.

Here are some links you might want to look over in the mean time.
Mary as co-redemptrix:
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ19.HTM
http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/marian/5thdogma/co-redemptrix1.htm

Mary as Queen of Heaven:
http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Faith/00MarApr/Mariology.html

Also, see the following in the Catechism. Please notice that it doesn't say anything about being "shipwrecked", nor about losing salvation:

"Paragraph 966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
"In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. "

You can go here: http://www.kofc.org/faith/catechism/catechism.cfm to do searches through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That will be one of your best sources for what the Church teaches.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

God bless,
Don

Did you see in the previous message where I asked for specific sources for his information? I made it very clear that I would like to see them, don't you think? Notice later in all his emails that he totally ignores these requests. I'll tell you why - he has none. These statements came from his pastor, or he read them in a pamphlet.

See in his response below his avoidance of my questions. He tells me again that there are problems with Catholic teaching, but never once gives a credible reference or source for me to research. This isn't a form of Christianity that he practices, it's a kind of cult.

In his response, he had all the previous messages intact, but put no comments in them, so I left them out of this message. You can read it all above.

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 5:06 PM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

Hi don, as a former catholic i dont want you to think that im am attacking it. I know many catholics that love the lord. Forgive me but im at work and will get back to you in a couple of days. I work for a hospital now but aspire to be a missionary with my wife and children. I will get back to you by thursday afternoon.

Please do not take this as an attack, but more look at it as an attempt to show if there are questionable things in catholic doctrine. The "assumption" is another subject i will give refrence to.

thank you for being so promt:

yours truly,
John ****

My brief message back to him is below. I didn't see a need to comment on anything at length, since he said in his message that he would be getting back to me. But, see in the message below that I ask AGAIN for citations and references.


From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2002 9:29 AM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John,

Thanks so much for getting back to me. Please remember to use citations and references to actual Church documents when referring to teachings of the Church. But I would also like to know the sources you came across that gave you so much problem.

About the Assumption. I'll admit that I'm no theologian and my answers to any issues you have will probably be ones that I've researched. There are two reasons I believe in the Assumption: 1) The Church teaches it as an infallible doctrine; 2) There is nothing about the Assumption as it is taught by the Church that is contrary to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

I look forward to hearing from you.

God bless,
Don

In the message below, John mentions that he looked at the KOC site. It's the one I pointed him to in one of my first emails that had a searchable Catechism of the Catholic Church. See how he says that he read it, and saw that "Mediatrix" was listed. In my interpretation of John's writings, I would say that he had no interest in searching the Catechism for what the Church teaches. He went there to find a catch-phrase that his pastor told him to lookj for, and then build up a straw man around that phrase. John demonstrates over and over again that he has no clue what the Church teaches about Mary or any other issue. In my book, this is willful ignorance.

ALso, later on in this message, he repeats that he will give me references for his information. He never did.

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 8:19 PM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

Hi Don, sorry, slipped my mind to bring in my research material to work today so that i could send you some information. However, i did visit the KOC website you gave me and was able to scan it for just a moment when i noticed that Mary is listed as "Mediatrix"(969) Christ tells us to pray in his name to the father, isnt he the one mediator between man and God.
Also in the New Testement there are times that people have fallen to their knees in front of angles and were quickly told not to do it, only to God.
When a woman said to Christ "blessed is the fruit of your mothers womb." did not Christ himself correct her by saying "Blessed in the word of God." Mary herself called Christ, her son, as her savior. Does this not tell us that Mary was in need of redemtion?
The fallibility of Catholic Doctrine has to be called into question.
1st Timothy states clear that we should no listen to Doctrine that is not sound, those that force people to not eat certain foods or forbid people to marry. Pauls letter to Timothy is describing a False Doctrine. The pope's throughout the years have unfortunatly have shown to be fallible (I will describe later when i have my research material specific instances) I do not have the catholic church, but the more that i research the more i find questionable doctine and when asked why it dosent coinside with the bible am told"Catholic doctrine is equal to the doctrine in the bible."
just something for you to chew on until i can get back to you

Below is the first time in this exchange that I took his email and broke it down with my repsonses.

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 9:57 PM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John,

You certainly have a lot of questions! :) I will try my best to respond to them, and give you links to visit, as well. Your questions will be set off by "[John]", and mine will start with "[Don]"

[John] However, i did visit the KOC website you gave me and was able to scan it for just a moment when i noticed that Mary is listed as "Mediatrix"(969) Christ tells us to pray in his name to the father, isnt he the one mediator between man and God.

[Don] Yes, He is the only mediator in relation to our salvation. No one else could secure for us heaven. But there are many forms of mediatorship. (http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/praying.htm) As noted in this link, St. Paul asks for prayers on his behalf from the Christians (Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:18-20). That is a form of mediation. He is asking them to pray for him. Therefore, there are differing forms of mediators. Mary is a special form of that. There was no one else who was the Mother of God. It was by her free will and consent that she took upon herself this. She mediated on our behalf to bring the savior into the world. I strongly recommend you read this link: http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ270.HTM, it's a much better and more detailed explanation.

[John] Also in the New Testement there are times that people have fallen to their knees in front of angles and were quickly told not to do it, only to God.

[Don] That's very true. In those instances, they were being worshipped as divine creatures. This is not what occurs in prayers to Saints. We are merely asking for their prayers to join with ours to get to God. In the same way that I may ask you to pray for me and my family. That was not what was happening in the instances where people fell prostrate before the angels. Here are some links about prayers to Saints:
http://www.catholic.com/library/praying_to_the_saints.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/intercession_of_the_saints.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Saint_Worship.asp

[John] When a woman said to Christ "blessed is the fruit of your mothers womb." did not Christ himself correct her by saying "Blessed in the word of God."

[Don] The verse you mean is Luke 11:27-28. Here is a good explanation: http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ326.HTM. There's also a response in the middle of this page: http://www.lumenverum.com/apologetics/mother.htm.

[John] Mary herself called Christ, her son, as her savior. Does this not tell us that Mary was in need of redemtion?

[Don] Of course she was, but by a special grace, she was spared the stain of original sin at the moment of her conception (hence, the Immaculate Conception). Adam and Eve were born without it, so there is at least a precedent indicating that it's not beyond God to do this. Here are some links to look over:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ153.HTM

[John] The fallibility of Catholic Doctrine has to be called into question.

[Don] I don't think it does.

[John] 1st Timothy states clear that we should no listen to Doctrine that is not sound,

[Don] I certainly agree with that. Perhaps you should begin with some unbiblical teaching of Protestantism like "Sola Scriptura" and "Sola Fide".

[John] those that force people to not eat certain foods

[Don] The Catholic Church doesn't do this.

[John] or forbid people to marry.

[Don] The Catholic Church doesn't do this, either. I'm not sure I know what you mean by these statements.

[John] Pauls letter to Timothy is describing a False Doctrine.

[Don] And it is what? I think you lost me here.

[John] The pope's throughout the years have unfortunatly have shown to be fallible (I will describe later when i have my research material specific instances)

[Don] I look forward to it. But, before you send me the information, be pretty sure that what you're trying to prove is demonstrated by your facts. There is a huge difference between how a Pope lives, who he is and when he teaches "ex cathedra". Before you send me the information, please look at these links:
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ259.HTM
http://catholicoutlook.com/objpope.html
http://www.catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

[John] I do not have the catholic church, but the more that i research the more i find questionable doctine and when asked why it dosent coinside with the bible am told"Catholic doctrine is equal to the doctrine in the bible."

[Don] There is nothing taught in Sacred Tradition, nor taught infallibly by the Church as Doctrine that is in contradiction to Scripture. The Lord promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church into all truth. This implies that the "truth" would not all come at once. It implies that the Holy Spirit would be there to guide and help us along as we learned the Truth of Scripture and Tradition. In that respect, Church Doctrine is more of an extension and development of the truth of Scripture than "equal". But, if you found a Church document that said this, I'd love to know what it is so I could read it. But, if you just heard it from someone, or read it online, you may not be getting what the Church actually teaches.

[John] just something for you to chew on until i can get back to you

[Don] Quite tasty! I look forward to hearing back from you after you've had some time to read over the links. I apologize for the large number of links, but you must understand that the Catholic Church is more akin to the Mustard tree and not the seed. If you want bumper sticker theology, go to another church that offers good feelings and nothing more. God bless, Don

So, now you can see how much time is put into answering simple statements, yet he goes on to bring up the same issues that are clearly refuted in the links I provided him. See fo yourself, read on...

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 03, 2002 4:15 AM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

Hi again Don,
im busy at work but just wanted to throw a couple of things at you. Please dont think i wont get back to you. i promise you i will.
1. is it not treating Mary as a devine creature to pray to her, say she had no sin(which scipture tells us in not true of anyone except christ), to believe that she went body and spirit into heaven. to bow before statues of her.(I have seen this myself)
2. speaking of statues. Does it not break the 2nd commandment to make "ANY images of things in heaven or below on earth or under the seas. or to bow before them."
3. Jesus said I am the way, truth and the life, No one comes to the father but through me.
where in scripture is it that we should pray to dead saints or Mary(who is the mother of Jesus in the flesh, not the mother of God)
4.Sola Scriptua, meaning that we should depend completely on the teaching in the bible. I Know the bible is very clear who to worship. Does is bother you that if mary is so asteemed by the catholic church that no where in Revelations is she mentioned at the end of time. Could it be that she is simply just like the rest of us. Im not saying she wasnt special, clearly she was but a line has been crossed with many catholics, doctrine or not.Everything we need to know is in the bible, and not so long ago, catholics themselves were not allowed to read it.
5. infallibility..........inquisition. We are human and we are fallible. God is not.

Please just answer these questions for me:
1. Do i need to pray to mary for salvation?
2. Do i need the Catholic church to save me?
3. Do i need anything or do i need to do anything to attain salvation, other that Jesus Christ?

Scripture teaches that the only thing that can save you,
Is Grace...
Christ on the Cross dying for my sins,
not praying to mary, or saints
not how good i am
not good works
nothing.
To turn your heart to God, let him know you know what he has done for you, acknoledge you are a sinner, repent and accept Jesus.
Anything else is not of God I will get the other info to you soon.'
take care

OK, so that's what he had to ask me. As you can see, he hadn't read any of the links. If he had, he would have seen that some of the items listed were clearly explained.

And in case you thought that maybe he hadn't read the last message I sent, in the email, my previous email is contained within it. This is not unusual for this kind of Protestant. As I said earlier, I deal with this all the time. They are shockingly similar in their tactics - much closer to the way a Jehovah's Witness works than they realize.

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Saturday, August 03, 2002 1:49 PM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John,

So good to hear from you so soon. I'm glad. As always, I will reply as best I can, and will pass you on to people much better able to handle some questions. I will also begin your comments with [John] and mine with [Don].

[John] is it not treating Mary as a devine creature to pray to her

[Don] Certainly it ascribes NO divinity to her. Prayer is merely the way to communicate with those in heaven. God gives her the ability to hear our prayers. She can do none of that on her own. The Church has never taught that Mary shares any of the divinity of God.

[John], say she had no sin

[Don] She had no sin. :)

[John] (which scipture tells us in not true of anyone except christ),

[Don] Wait a second. It's these kinds of parenthetical statements are unfair and unnecessary. If you want to discuss a topic as large as this, then ask a question or state your comment. Your parenthetical statement is not accurate and needs to be addressed.

As I said earlier, Adam and Eve were born without sin. There are two right there. Babies, before the age of reason who die, die without committing actual sin. I think I sent this link to you already, but in here, you'll find an explanation of why your interpretation of Romans 3:23 may be in error: http://www.catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp

Here is a link from my friend Dave Armstrong about the Scripture verse you may be thinking about (Rom. 3:23) http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ135.HTM.
Another link about worshiping Mary: http://www.catholic-convert.com/Page_Viewer.asp?inc=writings/mary.html

[John] to believe that she went body and spirit into heaven.

[Don] Why is this so hard to believe? There are examples of others in the Bible doing the same thing. Why not Mary?

Here is an excerpt from one of the links above:
"The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: "[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called "paradise," where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven."

Here, too, is a citation taken from a web page that I'll provide later:
"Hebrews 11:5 "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." {Cf. Gen 5:24}

2 Kings 2:1,11 ". . . the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind . . . And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, {there appeared} a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

Enoch and Elijah, according to Protestant commentaries, were taken bodily to heaven, exactly what the doctrine of the Assumption maintains with regard to Mary. " http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ153.HTM

[John] to bow before statues of her.(I have seen this myself)

[Don] I have done this myself. So? People bow to each other all the time. Do actors worship the audience when they bow following their performance? No. It's a sign of respect, not an assignment of divinity. Besides, they (and I) don't bow to the plaster or wood that the statue is made from, I'm bowing before the person that statue represents. When someone loses a loved one and they kiss a picture of that person, is it the photographic paper and chemicals that they are kissing, or is it the person who the image represents?

I think that there are many issues here that you have concerns with. Rather than me trying to guess what they are (I probably could and surprise you with it!), but I'll let you just tell me and I'll try my best to respond. In the mean time, here's a link: http://www.catholic.com/library/Do_Catholics_Worship_Statues.asp

[John] 2. speaking of statues. Does it not break the 2nd commandment to make "ANY images of things in heaven or below on earth or under the seas. or to bow before them."

[Don] Oops, I guess I should have read the entire email first! You can find an answer at the previous link. Part of the article in that link will explain this better, but my synopsis is thus: The verse you're referring to is Ex. 20:4–5, yet just 5 chapters later, God is commanding the Jews to make images of creatures in heaven, Ex. 25:18–20. So, what could God have meant in Chapter 20? You'll have to read the link to find out. :)

[John] 3. Jesus said I am the way, truth and the life, No one comes to the father but through me. where in scripture is it that we should pray to dead saints or Mary(who is the mother of Jesus in the flesh, not the mother of God)

[Don] What you say about Jesus is true and the Catholic Church has taught that for over 2000 years. But your conclusion is wrong. You go from the truth of Jesus to a bizarre belief that didn't even exist before Luther (1500's), and then an even heretical belief about Jesus that was condemned in the first few centuries of Christendom (Nestorians in the 5th century).

I have already given you an explanation and links about prayers to Saints. Please read them. The articles will go a long way in helping you understand why Catholic follow the WHOLE Gospel and not a simplified or bastardized Gospel that picks and chooses what it likes.

We are called to pray for each other. When we die, if we die in the state of grace, we will eventually be in heaven. In heaven, we will be "alive" in Christ. In heaven, we will know what's going on down here. In heaven, we will offer the prayers of the saints on earth to the altar of God (read Revelations). The only way that we can do that in heaven is by knowing what those prayers are.

Mary is the mother of Jesus, right? Jesus was both God and man, right? There is no separating a part of him from another, right? If you claim that she was only the mother of his "human" flesh, then He wasn't truly Jesus until some time that you decide that the divinity of the second person gets fused to his flesh. You see, what you're doing is taking a prejudiced view of the Catholic teaching and trying to force the Scripture and reality to fit your view. You are not reading the Scripture and trying to know the truth.

Please take the time to read this: http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ153.HTM

[John] 4.Sola Scriptua, meaning that we should depend completely on the teaching in the bible. I Know the bible is very clear who to worship.

[Don] Sure it is. We worship God.

[John] Does is bother you that if mary is so asteemed by the catholic church that no where in Revelations is she mentioned at the end of time.

[Don] I don't know what you mean here. If you are somehow reaching into something that Tim LaHaye wrote, you've lost me, since I didn't and won't read that junk. Please explain what you mean and I'll try to respond.

[John] Could it be that she is simply just like the rest of us. Im not saying she wasnt special, clearly she was but a line has been crossed with many catholics, doctrine or not.

[Don] What line, which Catholics, and what Church teaching are you talking about?

She truly is not like us. How many of us carried God in our wombs for nine months? How many of us were picked from all eternity to do such a thing? How many of us were the Ark of the New Covenant? How many of us were the Mother of God. By your reasoning, you could say that Jesus was just another dude.

[John] Everything we need to know is in the bible, and not so long ago, catholics themselves were not allowed to read it.

[Don] Everything? That's a stretch, and it's unbiblical. (http://ic.net/~erasmus/ERASMUS2.HTM also http://catholicoutlook.com/sola1.html) Before you quote the book, you need to do some research on the origins of the Bible. Who wrote it, when and to whom were they writing it? When was it compiled into the collection you have? How do you know that the people who wrote it were the people who you've been told wrote it? Once you answer these and many other questions about the veracity of the Bible and it's collection of books, then you can start quoting it as an infallible source. But keep in mind that you are not infallible and you have not been given the commission by Christ to interpret it.
http://www.catholic.com/library/What_Your_Authority.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Old_Testament_Canon.asp
http://www.catholic.com/library/Scripture_and_Tradition.asp

(http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ508.HTM) Not too long ago, not many people could read. And not too long ago, people knew their own limitations in interpretation and theology. The Bible is not so clear on many important points (http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ46.HTM). It does take some knowledge to understand and interpret it. Not too long ago, it cost thousands of dollars and months of (monks') time to make a copy of the Bible. There were no Gideon Bibles around in 12th century.

Please read:
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ145.HTM
http://www.ewtn.com/library/scriptur/BIBLE.TXT

[John] 5. infallibility..........inquisition. We are human and we are fallible. God is not.

[Don] Sure we are, in our natural functioning. But, when we do things of a spiritual nature, we can be raised above our natural humanity. And not many people are given that gift. But the Church is, since it does not rely on humans. It is Christ's and He promised to protect it and preserve it until He came again. He also promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church into all Truth.

If you have an issue or a question about infallibility and how it relates to the inquisition (and please specify which one you mean - you knew there were many Inquisitions, didn't you?), please ask. But to make this cryptic assault is below you, I think.

[John] Please just answer these questions for me:

[Don] I would love to. Would you do me the Christian courtesy of reading the links I have provided for you?

[John] 1. Do i need to pray to mary for salvation?

[Don] Nope.

[John] 2. Do i need the Catholic church to save me?

[Don] Yep.

[John] 3. Do i need anything or do i need to do anything to attain salvation, other that Jesus Christ?

[Don] That depends on what you mean by "other than Jesus Christ". If you mean just knowing about Him, then yes, you would need to be baptized, repent and follow His teachings. Please clarify what you mean and I'll try to answer better.

[John] Scripture teaches that the only thing that can save you, Is Grace...
Christ on the Cross dying for my sins, not praying to mary, or saints not how good i am not good works nothing.

[Don] Well, there is some truth to what you say. It is true that it was only through Jesus Christ that we can gain eternal rest with God in heaven. And it is true that it is only through the free gift from God of grace that can move you to repent and to follow Jesus. But, about being good and doing good, I think you're coming from a misguided understanding of what the Catholic teaching is on sin and merit.

You truly must continue to live your life, working out your salvation, and staying out of mortal sin. This is all Scriptural. If you truly want to know what the Catholic Church teaches about salvation, please let me know and I'll provide the links and explanations.

I can assure you, though, that the Protestant notion of "Once Saved, Always Saved" and Sola Fide, are new inventions of the 16th century that were never even conceived of for 1500 years of Christianity, and they are very dangerous for your soul. They have no honest Biblical defense. You can take a verse here and there and rip it out of context to suit that simplified, and heretical teaching, but you will be risking your eternal salvation.

[John] To turn your heart to God, let him know you know what he has done for you, acknoledge you are a sinner, repent and accept Jesus.

[Don] You forgot the Baptism part.

[John] Anything else is not of God

[Don] I can find many articles for you about this topic of salvation, if you'd like. Just say the word and I'll get them for you. I will also ask my kids to pray for you and your family.

[John] I will get the other info to you soon.'

[Don] And also, please read the articles and explanations I've offered.

God bless you and your family!
Don

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 03, 2002 5:36 PM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

Don, obviously there is an agenda here.
scripture tells us "everyone falls short of the glory
of God, no on is without sin, NO NOT ONE." which of
course would include mary.
actors bowing at an audience/people bowing to mary
, you cant tell the diffrence.
I find it incredible that you have such an extreme
dislike for Tim lahaye, who ive never brought up to
you. To attack him and call it filth.
you should spend more time reading scripture
and less time reading catholic doctine which has'
been infected for centuries. Luther started the
reformation for a reason. Things were wrong with the
church and needed to be reformed, changed.
Christ is the way to God, not the catholic church,
which and im sorry to tell you this...is preaching
blasphemy and idolitry.
they have doctrine that takes worship away from God
and gives it to others. I will not bother writing you
again but will urge you to look into scripture, and
ask God for wisdom. And although your family praying
for me is great, please only pray to christ.
He is the only one to pary to as scripture clearly
states. I will be praying for you as will my wife and
family.
goodbye

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 03, 2002 7:51 PM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: I forgot to send this to you....

My sources are from the Bible and the "Catechism of
the Catholic Church". For simplicity I will say
"catec"plus the number of the paragraph.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION--Mary was preserved from all
stain of original sin from the first instant of her
conception.(catec-490-492)

In Luke 1:46-47, Mary siad: "My soul doth magnify the
Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior."
Mary is acknowledging that she infact needed a savior.

Mary lived a perfect sinless life. (catec 411,493)

Romans 3:23 says"For all have sinned and come short of
the glory of God".Revelation 15:4 says, "who shall not
fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?For thou only
art holy". Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no,
not one".

In costrast, Mary said that God is her savior. If so
then Mary was not sinless. Sinless people do not need
a savior.

(i will not go into perpetual virginity because
honelstly, it doesnt matter.)

MOTHER OF GOD--Because she is the mother of Jesus, and
Jesus is God, therefore she is the mother of
God.(catec 963,971,2677)

The incarnation means that Jesus was both fully God
and fully man. mary was the mother of Jesus the man
but not of Jesus as God. According to the bible, the
world was created through Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2says,
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake
in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in
these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he
hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he
made the worlds."

Colossians 1:16-17
"For by him(Jesus) were all things created, that are
in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or
principalities, or powers; all things were created by
him and for him: He is before all things and by him
all things consist.

ASSUMPTION-- at the end of her life, mary was taken up
body and sould into heaven. (catec 966,974)

There are NO biblical referemces to the assumtion of
Mary. If mary had been supernaturally assumed to
Heaven, would John whom she lived with have metioned
it in his Gospel. When Enoch and Elijah(who you ref.
too) were taken up to heaven, the Bible recorded it.
With Elijah it was recorded in some detail.

The assumption of mary was officially declared to be a
dogma of the catholic faith in 1950. However the
teaching of the assumption originated with heretical
writings wich were officially condemed by the early
church.

In 495AD, Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected
this teaching as heresy and its proponents as
heretics.
In the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas also condemed as
heretics those authors who taught the doctrine of the
assumption of mary. The early church clearly
considered the doctrine of the assumption of mary to
be a heresy worthy of condemnation. Here we have
"infallible" popes declaring something to be a heresy.
Then in 1950, Pope Pius XII, anothe infallible pope,
declared it ot be offical catholic doctrine.

I send this to you because i know how hard it is to
accept this, because i was once catholic. I had
defended the catholic faith for years but these cannot
be explained away, cannot be ignored. We are told in
more than one context was is right and wrong.

You or anyone else only need Christ.
not the catholic church.
not the act of baptism, but let me explain. The
physical act of baptism does not save.
The criminal on the cross next to christ trusted
christ so much that he was told "today, you shall be
in paradise with me." and guess what,
he wasnt baptised.We are baptised byt the spirit and
the physical act we do but physically it doesnt have
to be done for salvation.

good luck and God Bless,

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 12:21 AM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John, I'm truly sorry that you think that because I won't buy into the traditions of men invented by the Protestant revolutionaries, that I am the one who has the agenda. In reality, I wasn't the one who began this by attacking your belief system. You started it by sending me an email attacking mine. If there is an agenda here, it is yours.

I can tell by this email that you haven't taken the time, nor given me the Christian courtesy of reading the links I've sent you that clarify the misunderstandings you have of the Church. Once you do, and you offer your opposition to what the articles state, then we can have a meaningful and fruitful dialogue. Please let me know when you have finished reading them. I only provided them because I thought you were honestly interested in knowing what the Catholic Church teaches. I'm afraid that you aren't. But, since I'm not one to let anyone go away without trying to help them understand the actual teachings of the Church, as opposed to what the current, popular Protestant ministers want people to think, I'll respond to your concerns...

[John] scripture tells us "everyone falls short of the glory of God, no on is without sin, NO NOT ONE." which of course would include mary.

[Don] Did you read anything I wrote. If this were a totally inclusive statement, then how do you account for the exceptions I noted? Just because you repeat your charges against the Church's teaching doesn't make your charges true.

[John] actors bowing at an audience/people bowing to mary , you cant tell the diffrence.

[Don] It's not me who has the problem with it. You were the one who stated that just because someone bows, it must mean that the person bowing thinks that the person or image they're bowing to is God. You implied that, not me. If you don't understand my simile, then ask for clarification, you don't need to be nasty.

[John] I find it incredible that you have such an extreme dislike for Tim lahaye, who ive never brought up to you. To attack him and call it filth.

[Don] I have no feelings either way about Mr. LaHaye. I never once said I disliked him. And, if I remember correctly, I didn't call his work filth, I called it junk, as well it is from a theological perspective. Your shocking response to my comments is interesting.

[John] you should spend more time reading scripture and less time reading catholic doctine which has'been infected for centuries.

[Don] I agree that I should spend more time reading Scripture. I don't know what you mean by "infected". Do you have anything to show me that proves your assertion? Are you in any kind of position to defend yourself? My guess is that you don't. I have tried to answer your questions and concerns, and you have repaid my time with insults. You insult my Faith and you insult me by not reading and responding to the articles that I took the time to find and send you. Why is that?

[John] Luther started the reformation for a reason. Things were wrong with the church and needed to be reformed, changed.

[Don] I don't disagree that there were prelates in the Church who were doing things that they shouldn't have been doing. Just as Jesus said, there would be tares and wheat in the Kingdom. He said that there would be goats and lambs. Heck, one twelfth of the men Jesus chose turned against Him. And all but on of the remaining 11 ran from Him the day He was crucified. You don't really know what happened with Luther, do you? You really have no clue what his theses were, do you? Have you ever read them? Have you ever read what Luther really thought about the Church and do you know what he thought about Mary, the Eucharist and all the things you think are so contrary to Scripture? I think you would be highly enlightened to read up on that part of your history.

[John] Christ is the way to God, not the catholic church, which and im sorry to tell you this...is preaching blasphemy and idolitry.

[Don] Christ is not the way to God - Christ is God. He is the only way to heaven, though - if that's what you meant. Again, please offer me any kind of citation from the Church that is contrary to Scripture. You have not. I have spent much time trying to help you, and yet you still shut your eyes. I realize that these are hard teachings for you. But please open your heart to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus lost many disciples when he preached on the Eucharist in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John. You may want to heed his warnings.

[John] they have doctrine that takes worship away from God and gives it to others.

[Don] Like?????

[John] I will not bother writing you again but will urge you to look into scripture, and ask God for wisdom.

[Don] If you were truly searching for the Truth, you would. But I'm afraid that at this time in your life, you are not. As I said earlier, I was not the one to initiate this, so if you choose to leave without trying to understand, that is certainly your prerogative.

[John] And although your family praying for me is great, please only pray to christ.

[Don] Too late, I've already asked the Blessed Virgin to intercede on your behalf. And the Saints also know of my plea for your wisdom. What difference does it make to you, anyway?

[John] He is the only one to pary to as scripture clearly states.

[Don] Where does it state that?

[John] I will be praying for you as will my wife and family.

[Don] I appreciate it, as I know that I probably need the prayers much more than anyone else I know.

[John] goodbye

[Don] God bless you

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 12:45 AM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: I forgot to send this to you....

[John] IMMACULATE CONCEPTION--Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception.(catec-490-492)

In Luke 1:46-47, Mary siad: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior." Mary is acknowledging that she infact needed a savior.

[Don] And, had you been kind enough to read the articles I sent, you would have read the explanation that the Church gives about this.

[John] Mary lived a perfect sinless life. (catec 411,493)

Romans 3:23 says"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".Revelation 15:4 says, "who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?For thou only art holy". Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no,
not one".

[Don] I could give you many examples of things and people and creatures in heaven which are called "holy" in the Bible, but what's the point, you won't read them, nor will you accept them.

[John] In costrast, Mary said that God is her savior. If so then Mary was not sinless. Sinless people do not need a savior.

[Don] Wait, I thought that you told me that you had to get to heaven through Jesus, not in any other way. Yet, here, you're saying that all you need is to be sinless to get to heaven. Where did you get that from?

[John] (i will not go into perpetual virginity because honelstly, it doesnt matter.)

[Don] It mattered to God.

[John] MOTHER OF GOD--Because she is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, therefore she is the mother of God.(catec 963,971,2677)

The incarnation means that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. mary was the mother of Jesus the man but not of Jesus as God. According to the bible, the world was created through Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2says, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."

Colossians 1:16-17 "For by him(Jesus) were all things created, that are
in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him: He is before all things and by him all things consist.

[Don] So, how does this all deny that she was the mother of God? You confuse the issue way beyond its reality. The Church doesn't teach that she created God, it states that she was the Mother of God in a very unique way. You division of Christ is a heresy and a logical fallacy. And you obviously slighted me again by not reading the articles I sent.

[John] ASSUMPTION-- at the end of her life, mary was taken up body and sould into heaven. (catec 966,974)

There are NO biblical referemces to the assumtion of Mary. If mary had been supernaturally assumed to Heaven, would John whom she lived with have metioned it in his Gospel. When Enoch and Elijah(who you ref. too) were taken up to heaven, the Bible recorded it. With Elijah it was recorded in some detail.

The assumption of mary was officially declared to be a dogma of the catholic faith in 1950. However the teaching of the assumption originated with heretical writings wich were officially condemed by the early church.

In 495AD, Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected this teaching as heresy and its proponents as heretics.

In the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas also condemed as heretics those authors who taught the doctrine of the assumption of mary. The early church clearly
considered the doctrine of the assumption of mary to be a heresy worthy of condemnation. Here we have "infallible" popes declaring something to be a heresy.

Then in 1950, Pope Pius XII, anothe infallible pope, declared it ot be offical catholic doctrine.

[Don] Huh? You've got to be kidding. First, you offer no citations for your supposed proofs, nor do you offer the words or decrees that were supposedly issued by these Popes. My guess is that you're merely copying this out of a Protestant book written to attack Catholic teaching and not from personal study of your own from both sides of the issue. I could list many quotations from the early Church about the belief in this doctrine, but I won't since they'll mean nothing to you. You've made your decision and no number of facts will convince you of the truth.

[John] I send this to you because i know how hard it is to accept this,

[Don] I have no problem accepting truth. But I've gotten none from you. You've avoided my statements, my citations, my references and my Scriptural pericopes. I think that you are truly the one having the hard time with this. Please keep in mind who started this.

[John] because i was once catholic.

[Don] Not a very good one.

[John] I had defended the catholic faith for years

[Don] Using what? What could you possibly have known to defend her? If you are so easily swayed by half-truths and distortions as taught by Protestant anti-Catholics with definite axes to grind, then the Catholic Church is probably better with you on the other side.

[John] but these cannot be explained away, cannot be ignored.

[Don] What can't be?? You have yet to offer a single convincing argument in favor of you position. When I offer you facts, articles and the Bible, you ignore them and resort to nasty attacks totally unrelated to the discussion.

[John] We are told in more than one context was is right and wrong.

[Don] Huh? What does that mean?

[John] You or anyone else only need Christ.

[Don] For our salvation, this is true. But for a good number of other things, you're wrong. For learning, we need teachers. For the Gospel message, we need preachers. For dinner, we need farmers... the list goes on.

[John] not the catholic church.

[Don] Without the Catholic Church you would not have the Bible, nor many of the doctrines and dogmas that you so easily accept now, as if they came straight from the words of Christ. You should get down on your knees this instant and thank Almighty God for the wonderful, blessed gift He has given us in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Without out, you would have no salvation.

[John] not the act of baptism, but let me explain. The physical act of baptism does not save.

[Don] I never said it did. Hey, I wasn't the one who decided this, it was Christ. If you have a problem with it, don't complain to me. read your Bible some more, especially all of Acts.

[John] The criminal on the cross next to christ trusted christ so much that he was told "today, you shall be in paradise with me." and guess what,
he wasnt baptised.

[Don] So? How does that deny what Scripture says? Noah wasn't baptized, either. But Christ was, wasn't He? Are we not called to imitate Christ in all that we do?

[John] We are baptised byt the spirit and the physical act we do but physically it doesnt have to be done for salvation.

[Don] In special cases, that may be true, but the norm is baptism. Your trying to split hairs here. Nothing you've stated denies the need for baptism. This is another case of the Protestant iconoclasm taking hold of you. Fear not, God made us physical creatures. He is a good God who wants us to live and breath in this physical world in anticipation of our heavenly life, that's why He wants us to use the physical world to help us spiritually. This is all from Christ. If you have a problem with Baptism, relics, statues, etc. then you need to deal with it, not me. I know my Faith and I'm willing to defend the truth of it. And I don't have to resort to name calling and obfuscation. If you are truly interested in the truth, then I would love to hear back from you. But, just like the hundreds of other non-Catholics I've dealt with who are hell-bent to show me where the Church is wrong, you'll disappear, looking for an easier target. I don't blame you though. I was in the USMC and I know that the best way to get at the enemy is to find the weakest point. That's why I'm sure you won't come back to me. You know that I'm able to show you where your belief system is flawed and you're afraid I'm right. Heck, my Church has been around since Christ founded it - when was yours invented?

[John] good luck and God Bless,

[Don] I don't have any use for luck, but thanks for the sentiment. Gad bless you, as well. I will continue to ask the Blessed Virgin to watch over you and your family. If you find a rose in the next day or two, know that it comes from St. Therese of Liseaux, who is also praying for you to God's altar in heaven.

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 1:03 AM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

just to let you know Don, i did read some of the links
that you gave me but its not protestant
revolutionaries that are the problem. Christ himself
would compair religious tradition and when it went
against scripture, he condemed it.(mark 7:1-13)
and yes i have read the 95 thesis. but frankly Don im
not going to go along with a belief system that says,
we are going to make up what ever we want and God will
adhere because we say so. When i talked about Jesus
being the only way, the point was the catholic church
has nothing to do with it. The Church as in scripture
ref. to the body of belivers. You may pray all you
like to Mary the Saints and whoever else but when it
comes down to it, Christ himself told us who to pray
to, how to pray and who to pray in the name of. you
can disagree all you like don but when you come right
down to it, simply not agreeing dosent mean its not
against scripture. Bowing to the virgin mary, praying
to the virgin mary is, in fact treating her like a
God, co-redemtrix. I mean come on. Queen of Heaven.
How far does it have to go before more catholics who
can see the truth stand up and say wait a minute, this
is not what scripture tells us to do. 1st timothy
talks on and on about teachers of false doctrine and
how to determine if the doctrine is false and it boils
down to scripture and nothing else. To say that in
anyway that you have to be involved with catholicism
to be saved,ONLY CHRIST, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, the
LIFE." when you search with all your heart, you will
find him. I did not send this with the intent of
getting into an argument Don but ive found sound
reason to beleive that the church to a point has been
infected with teaching that are blasphemous. I was a
catholic since 1994, but it was just recently that ive
discovered what the church teaches.
On December 8, 1854 Pope Pius IX declared the
dogma for the Immaculate Conception of Mary. After
defining the Dogma, the Pope said that if any person
dares to "think otherwise than as has been defined by
us, they thereby shipwreck their faith and cut off
from the church and stand condemned because of it.
Acts 5:29,"On Christ the solid rock i stand. All other
ground is sinking sand."This takes away from the
divinity of Christ and gives a portion to a human
being chosen by God to carry the Messiah.
The purpose of the bible is reconciliation with
God, it always has been. you may pretend that prayers
to mary are like asking a friend to pray for you but
when was the last time you said "HOLY JOHN, full of
grace.".........."Hail Holy Don." and so on. Its
worship don, its blasphemy and its a road that leads
away from God. I had to pray about this subject alot
but it boils down to who will you serve, who will you
worship. I know that if you ask God for wisdom he will
give it to you. Im sorrythat you take it as an attack
on you belief system but if it goes against scripture
and it does, then i have an obligation to stand up for
what scripture says. I cannot sit back and go,"well,
Christ said to pray to God in his name, but im gonna
pray to mary because, well, the leaders said its right
to."I know many Catholics who know Christ and reject
the teaching that is blasphemous. I pray to Our
Heavenly Father to light paths for people, to bring
people closer to him through Jesus and I for one will
continue both in my daily life and hopefully as a
missionary overseas to show the people the truth. I
pray that God opens you heart to the truth. Pray to
God in Christ name and ask him for wisdom on this and
I know that one day he will show you it. I know the
truth is difficult to take sometimes, but its also
freeing. My prayers and best wishes are with you in
Christ name.

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 1:15 AM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: I forgot to send this to you....

Sorry, just got this from you. you are quite the angry
one arent you? I will stop because your so upset. Im
not going away because you think you have pointed out
flaws, your oblivious to the truth,(if i find a rose?)
you know the truth
your just to fullof pride to accept it
(you do know what the bible says about pride, right?)
and for the record, i never called you names.

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 7:13 AM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: I forgot to send this to you....

John,

What would make you think I was angry. I feel more pity than any anger. And don't kid yourself, you're not going away because you want to pin some kind of make-believe anger to me, you're going away because you know that I have the truth on my side and you're way too comfortable living in your man-made traditions. I will continue to pray for you. In fact, I will offer my prayers at Mass today for you and your family. If you ever truly want to learn about the faith that you never learned, please don't hesitate to ask me. I've given you many answers, but in the very few links you've read, you have closed your eyes to the truth. John, try to be honest. Dig deep down, you know that your comfort and peace lie in knowing for certain what the Bible teaches. You'll never feel that comfort when you rest your understanding of Scripture on your own knowledge or that of your self-proclaimed pastor. You will only know for certain by resting on the sure foundation of the Church that Jesus founded and the one He promised would be guided in all truth by the Holy Spirit until His Second Coming.

God bless you,
Don

From: Don - John654 [don@john654.org]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 12:04 PM
To: John ****
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

John, please read my responses below: (I almost didn't send this after writing it, since I truly believe that you have no interest in what the Church really teaches, but the Holy Spirit led me to the decision to send it anyway.)

[John] just to let you know Don, i did read some of the links that you gave me

[Don] Not too many, I'd bet. And certainly not the ones about Mary - which seems to be your most difficult issue. You don't know what the Church teaches about her and I'm certain you don't understand the Bible like you think you do. Keep in mind that anyone, for any reason, can rip a verse out of context to try to defend their position. That is what you and all your Protestant forefathers have done since the 16th century.

[John] but its not protestant revolutionaries that are the problem.

[Don] It most certainly is. And it is the 25,000+ Protestant denominations all saying that they each have the truth about the Bible who are also to blame.

[John] Christ himself would compair religious tradition and when it went against scripture, he condemed it.(mark 7:1-13)

[Don] Like Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, refusal to baptize - refusal to bring children to Him, denial of the truths He taught about the Eucharist, denial of the one true church that He founded... Should I go on?

[John] and yes i have read the 95 thesis. but frankly Don im not going to go along with a belief system that says, we are going to make up what ever we want and God will adhere because we say so.

[Don] But that is what the foundation of Protestantism is about. I think that you meant that last sentence to be about the Catholic Church, when, in reality it is a factual indictment against Protestantism. But the scales on your eyes bar you from seeing that.

[John] When i talked about Jesus being the only way, the point was the catholic church has nothing to do with it.

[Don] The Church has everything to do with it. Jesus is the one who opened the gates of heaven for us. It was His death, and nothing else, that secured our redemption. But it is His Kingdom on earth that guides people to that truth. And that Kingdom is the Catholic Church and all believers who adhere to the teachings that have been preserved by the Church. If you get to heaven and were not in the Catholic Church at the time of your death, it will still be because of the Catholic Church that you got into heaven. But I don't want to try to explain this to you - you won't even accept the simplest explanations I've offered to try to clarify other misunderstandings. Something as complex as what I'm trying to tell you now will be a waste of my time. If I really thought you were interested in knowing and loving Catholic Christians, I would explain.

[John] The Church as in scripture ref. to the body of belivers.

[Don] What did that sentence mean? The Church is a beacon on a hill, to be seen and recognized by all. The 25,000 denominations of Protestants is not a beacon, it is a mess of tiny little Christmas tree lights that foster confusion, dissension and strife. Only the Catholic Church fits the bill for the early Church. http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ60.HTM

[John] You may pray all you like to Mary the Saints and whoever else but when it comes down to it, Christ himself told us who to pray to, how to pray and who to pray in the name of.

[Don] Which we do all the time.

[John] you can disagree all you like don but when you come right down to it, simply not agreeing dosent mean its not against scripture.

[Don] Again, you're the one who should heed these words. No matter how many times you want to say that the Catholic teaching is against Scripture doesn't make it so. Besides, you have given me absolutely no credible defense for your man-made belief system. I have offered you so much - most of which you have rudely ignored.

[John] Bowing to the virgin mary, praying to the virgin mary is, in fact treating her like a God, co-redemtrix.

[Don] Again, you insult me by not reading the articles I sent you. If you had, you would have seen in many places the point that this is not so. As always, you are looking at other people, judging their hearts, ignoring the clear teaching of Scripture and the Church, and casting your judgment upon them. It doesn't treat her as a God, and more than me asking you to pray for my family is treating you like a God. I won't respond to the co-redemptrix comment, since I sent you links on it that you refuse to read.

[John] I mean come on. Queen of Heaven.

[Don] That was God's decision, not mine. Take it up with Him. (Revelations 12 - read it with an open heart. The woman is Mary primarily, and then possibly Israel, and the Church.)

[John] How far does it have to go before more catholics who can see the truth stand up and say wait a minute,

[Don] They do all the time, and they're pouring into the Church. People are drawn to the truth. But in some cases, they are drawn to it, thinking that they're supposed to rip people out of the truth and into their comfy little Protestant make-believe world of fuzzy Jesus - the God that fits into their mind and who would not be any more complex than they can understand. People get tired of that feel-good theology. They know there is sin, they want truth. They open their hearts and they come back to Christ's Church all the time.

[John] this is not what scripture tells us to do.

[Don] Give me some citations and authoritative interpretations. But first, establish the authority on which you base your interpretation. In fact, Scripture is very clear that personal interpretation of Scripture is forbidden:

"You will do well to pay attention to this [God's prophetic word] as to a lamp shining in a dark place ... First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled" (2 Peter 1:19b-2:2). "

From the Church Fathers: http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos/private.htm

Please read this article, if you read no other, and answer these questions for me. Until you do, I will not be convinced that you care one iota about my soul: http://www.catholic-convert.com/writings/questions.html

[John] 1st timothy talks on and on about teachers of false doctrine and how to determine if the doctrine is false and it boils down to scripture and nothing else.

[Don] Actually, it does, and that's what I've been trying to tell you all along. But read Timothy again. Notice what it says about the Pillar and Foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/pillar.htm.

[John] To say that in anyway that you have to be involved with catholicism to be saved,ONLY CHRIST, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE."

[Don] Sorry, again, but you can't pin this on me or the Church. It was Christ Who founded the Catholic Church. He made this decision, not me. You'll have to deal with it. And again, I've said many, many times, that it IS only Christ who can save us. Why do you think that I think otherwise? But the salvific message that has been passed down to us came through is currently subsides within the teaching of the Catholic Church. You still haven't answered me why you know the Bible you have is the true Bible.

[John] when you search with all your heart, you will find him.

[Don] In fact I received Him today, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity on my tongue in the Blessed Sacrament. What a glorious thing to know that He promised this for us and even told us that we will not be saved without it. read John 6 again. It's why my website is titled John 6:54.

[John] I did not send this with the intent of getting into an argument Don

[Don] Then why did you begin this dialogue?

[John] but ive found sound reason to beleive that the church to a point has been infected with teaching that are blasphemous.

[Don] But yet every one that you think is blasphemous (based on whose authority, I still don't know), I've explained your misunderstandings, but you refuse to listen. I think you truly want to hate the Church for some reason. You'll have to work that out with God. Also, you have yet to tell me what these "infections" are, when they started, who started them or even how they are contrary to Scripture.

[John] I was a catholic since 1994,

[Don] And you never learned your Faith, I can assure you of that.

[John] but it was just recently that ive discovered what the church teaches.

[Don] You have not! You have learned what someone else told you the Church teaches. You have not gone to the source to find out for yourself. You are being dragged by the nose by some other "teachers", just as we are warned in Scripture (2 Peter 1:19b-2:2, again). Look for yourself, please. You owe it to yourself. Put down the Protestant anti-Catholic books and read the Church teachings for yourself.

Based on whose authority? Please tell me the name of the books you have read that showed you how the Catholic Church was wrong. I'd love to get some copies of them. Or were they just tracts that a Fundamentalist left on your windshield?

[John] On December 8, 1854 Pope Pius IX declared the dogma for the Immaculate Conception of Mary. After defining the Dogma, the Pope said that if any person dares to "think otherwise than as has been defined by us, they thereby shipwreck their faith and cut off from the church and stand condemned because of it. Acts 5:29,"On Christ the solid rock i stand. All other ground is sinking sand."This takes away from the divinity of Christ and gives a portion to a human being chosen by God to carry the Messiah.

[Don] It does not. I have the Apostolic Constitution right here in front of me, and there is not one instance of the word "shipwreck" in it. But you don't know that, do you. You have never read the document defining this dogma, have you. Yet you feel confident enough to attack a teaching you know very little about. You really don't have a clue as to what the Church teaches on this topic, do you? I would submit that you don't want to know. I've given you articles to read on this, but you refuse. Please tell me what article or book or website you saw this "shipwreck" quote. I would love to know the place in the document, so I can check. Oh, in case you were sincerely concerned with what the document says, and since you don't have a copy of your own, you can read it in its entirety here: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM. I really don't think you will, though. I originally thought that you were a serious searcher for the truth, or at least were interested in what the Church taught, but now I'm convinced that you're no different than all the others who just want an easy target to hit to satisfy your own pride that you,"saved" someone from the Catholic Church - or at least from some imaginary organization you'd like to believe is the Catholic Church.

[John] The purpose of the bible is reconciliation with God, it always has been.

[Don] And that purpose is stated where in the Bible?

[John] you may pretend that prayers to mary are like asking a friend to pray for you but when was the last time you said "HOLY JOHN, full of grace.".........."Hail Holy Don." and so on.

[Don] Why would I say that to you? Why would I need to? You didn't bear the Christ Child in your womb. You were not made holy. You did not assist in that way in bringing salvation to the world. I can see that you have a real issue with Marian doctrine that I've tried to help clarify.

[John] Its worship don, its blasphemy and its a road that leads away from God.

[Don] It does not. I've never felt closer to God that asking His mother for her help and assistance. It's a road that leads to the truth of Jesus, His humanity, His divinity, and the Holy Trinity.

[John] I had to pray about this subject alot

[Don] Do me a favor, when you get off your knees praying about it, pick up a book or document from the Church and learn about it. Praying is great and beneficial, but it doesn't supplant knowledge.

[John] but it boils down to who will you serve, who will you worship.

[Don] I serve God and I worship God alone. What makes you think otherwise?

[John] I know that if you ask God for wisdom he will give it to you.

[Don] And He has. And He has guided me to the Truth. It subsists totally within the Church He founded - the Catholic Church.

[John] Im sorrythat you take it as an attack on you belief system but if it goes against scripture and it does,

[Don] How? Where? You haven't provided a single consistent proof against any teaching of the Church. Of course it's an attack. What else could it be? If you began this dialogue to save me from what you've been taught is the Whore of Babylon, then why not have a little integrity and admit it. If you want to assault the teachings of the Church without a shred of evidence to support you statements, then have the honesty to admit it.

[John] then i have an obligation to stand up for what scripture says.

[Don] Then stand up for ALL of what it says.

[John] I cannot sit back and go,"well, Christ said to pray to God in his name, but im gonna pray to mary because, well, the leaders said its right to."

[Don] You're totally wrong about this, and I think you know it. There is a huge difference between asking someone to pray to God for you and actually praying to God. What does the word "pray" mean to you? What does the word "worship" mean to you? What do the words "dulia", "hyperdulia" and "latria" mean to you? Look them up.

[John] I know many Catholics who know Christ and reject the teaching that is blasphemous.

[Don] What teaching would that be? And if it's a defined dogma, then they have excommunicated themselves by their denial to accept the teaching.

[John] I pray to Our Heavenly Father to light paths for people, to bring people closer to him through Jesus and I for one will continue both in my daily life and hopefully as a missionary overseas to show the people the truth.

[Don] I pray that you first learn that Truth. It would go a long way in helping you teach it.

[John] I pray that God opens you heart to the truth.

[Don] He has, that's why I am a member of His Church and not one invented by men for their own satisfaction.

[John] Pray to God in Christ name and ask him for wisdom on this and I know that one day he will show you it.

[Don] He has.

[John] I know the truth is difficult to take sometimes,

[Don] You're telling me?

[John] but its also freeing.

[Don] As I found out when I finally left the kind of belief system you are currently part of.

[John] My prayers and best wishes are with you in Christ name.

[Don] For that, I am sincerely grateful. I need as many prayers as you can give. I am a sinner who is trying very desperately to work out my salvation in fear in trembling.

Philippians 2:12-13 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of {his} good pleasure."

I look forward to hearing back from you, if you are seriously concerned for me.

God bless,
Don

From: John **** [*******@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 04, 2002 3:27 PM
To: don@john654.org
Subject: RE: Feedback from www.john654.org

Don, you cannot even figure out that throughout all of
scripture, its reconciliation that God wants. Christ
was before any of us,(even mary). Im sorry that you
think that if people live by the truth of the bible,
they are lost. Its just not so. During my catecism i
was lied to about traditions in the church and when
compaired to Gods word it is contrary. I have given
you specific instances and all you can say back is"No
its not." After reading scripture last night, i am
told to rebuke you, let you know where you are wrong
and then leave you, for you will not accept it. My
prayers are with you and the prayers of my
church.Please dont write, i will take you off my
address list.

And that was it. He tucked tail and ran. I think that he recognized that he did not have the Truth on his side and just chose the most expedient option - wild, frantic, screaming retreat. I didn't send an e-mail back to him, but for your benefit, I have broken apart his last e-mail to me.

[John] Don, you cannot even figure out that throughout all of scripture, its reconciliation that God wants.

[Don] I have never denied that. How do you know what I can't and can figure out?

[John] Christ was before any of us,(even mary).

[Don] Wrong. The Second Person of the Trinity was before all of us, Christ was not. Jesus Christ had a beginning, and it was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that He began His existence.

[John] Im sorry that you think that if people live by the truth of the bible, they are lost.

[Don] Huh? When did I say that? Are you that desparate to defend your untenable position that you must resort to the realm of Satan and lie and confuse?

[John] Its just not so. During my catecism i was lied to about traditions in the church and when compaired to Gods word it is contrary.

[Don] I don't know whether you were lied to or not. If you were lied to, then the Truths as taught by the Catholic CHurch were not presented to you. If they had been, it would not have been a lie. It's nice that you keep repeating your same, tired, worn-out accusation that Sacred Tradition is contrary to God's word, but you give absolutely NO examples. Sacred Tradition IS God's Word, just as the Sacred Scripture is.

[John] I have given you specific instances and all you can say back is"No its not."

[Don] I'm sorry to say this so bluntly, but you're nuts. I have given you nothing but examples, links, fact, Scripture and Tradition. You are the one who has provided NOTHING in defense of your strange belief system. My jaw dropped when I first read this sentence, I assumed it must be a joke, but I don't think it was. You might as well have said "The sky is green" in most of your statements, since they made as much sense. I think I was certainly giving you the benefit of the doubt in calmly answering as many as I did - all the while doing it without you once giving me the (real) Christian courtesy of reading the information I gave you.

[John] After reading scripture last night, i am told to rebuke you, let you know where you are wrong and then leave you, for you will not accept it.

[Don] You're leaving out one very important aspect of that Scripture - you were supposed to bring me before two or more elders in the Church (Catholic Church), and then, if I didn't listen to them, you were to bring me before the Church. If I didn't listen then, then you were to leave me. Read your Bible in its entirety, please. You are only reading the part that suits your failed theology.

[John] My prayers are with you and the prayers of my church.

[Don] Thank you.

[John] Please dont write, i will take you off my address list.

[Don] That's unfortunate. I do believe that you have some little bit in you that is still open to the truth. But, as I said in an earlier e-mail, you'll leave the Truth I'm offering and go beat up on a Catholic who doesn't know their faith.