EWTN Publishing has come out with a book Blue Collar Apologetics: How to Explain and Defend Catholic Teaching Using Common Sense, Simple Logic, and the Bible by John Martignoni. In this book, 30 common differences between Protestantism and Catholicism are answered using Scripture, the common ground between both groups. A full chapter is devoted to each difference, but I will break it down to knock out punch paragraphs below.
1. Decapitating Jesus
How’s that for a clickbaity title? But this is the description Martignoni uses to describe exactly what happens when a christian argues that they only need Jesus and not Church. Or a protestant might say they only need Jesus and the Bible. But the Bible itself has a verse that shows the need for the church. At least if you don’t want to decapitate Jesus. Ephesians 1:22-23 states, “And he [the Father] has put all things under his [Jesus’] feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.”
2. Forensic Justification
This sounds like a you need a Master’s Degree to understand, but it’s easy for anyone to understand. In one sentence, forensic justification, as part of Protestant theology, refers to a christian being guilty due to sin, yet his or her sins can be covered by the blood of Jesus through the personal relationship with him. Martin Luther uses the the analogy of a pile of dung being covered by snow to illustrate this belief. There is, however, a Scripture verses that contradicts this. 2 Cor 5:17 states, “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” This occurs at Baptism and during the Sacrament of Reconciliation given the Catholic is truly repentant. The difference for Catholics is that the christian is no longer a “pile of dung” but transformed into something truly beautiful and glorious.
3. Solo Fide
Solo fide is Latin for “only faith.” Protestants will say faith is the only requirement for salvation. Martignoni reasons that if salvation is the greatest thing, then faith must be the greatest thing as well. But Scripture says otherwise. 1 Corinthians 13:13 states, “so faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Martignoni argues,
“What could be greater than that one thing, and that one thing only, that gains for the individual believer the greatest gift possible: salvation? What could be greater? Love? Really? Love is a wonderful and awesome thing. However, according to Sola Fide, love does absolutely nothing for us in terms of our salvation. Yet that’s what the Bible tells us: that love is greater than faith.”
4. Once Saved, Always Saved
Martignoni explains this Protestant belief as, “once a person is saved-once he has said the Sinner’s Prayer or accepted Jesus Christ into his heart as his personal Lord and Savior-then he cannot lose his salvation.” We can go to the Story of the Prodigal Son to see this is not true. Luke 15:24 states, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” The key word in this verse is “again.” The son is “alive again.” Which means he was alive before he died.
The father in the story obviously represents God. One can have a very real, live relationship with God. It’s also possible for that same christian to lose it. But hopefully they will come back and stay.
5. Is There Anything We Can Do to Cover Our Sins?
Most Protestants would answer no to this question. They believe that Jesus’ death on the Cross alone paid the price of our sins. There is a scripture verse that needs no explanation, in my opinion, to refute this Protestant belief. 1 Peter 4:8 states, “above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” Just to be clear, catholics believe that Jesus’ death on the Cross does indeed pay the price of our sins. It’s just that in addition to faith in Jesus, we can also cover our sins with works of love.
Here’s a bonus second Scripture verse. Galatians 5:6 states, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.” The key words are “avail”, “working through love.” The fact that we can help in covering our sins is a consolation, to me at least, that I can not only have faith in Jesus to gain heaven, but to choose to work acts of love to help my cause. It’s consoling as I become more aware of my sinfulness and therefore my need for forgiveness and a Savior.
6. The Only Pure Offering
There is a Scripture verse that doesn’t so much refute a Protestant belief. Rather, it refers to something lacking in the Protestant liturgy. And that’s Jesus Christ.
Malachi 1:11 states, “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” The only thing in the world that is pure is Jesus Himself. Catholic do share with Protestants that Jesus is the pure offering on the Cross to the Father to pay for our sins. Martignoni adds that,
“Given that, do we know of any kind of worship ritual where the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is offered? As a pure offering? Along with incense? Througout the day? Among the nations? Yes, actually, we do. The Mass. In the Catholic Mass, we offer, we ‘re-present the offering, that Jesus made of Himself to the Father. How often does the Mass occur? Pretty much every hour from the rising of the sun to its setting. Where does the Mass occur? In all the nations around the world. The Catholic Mass perfectly fits the prophecy of Malachi 1:11.
For your mission in furthering Jesus’ kingdom on earth, I encourage everyone to buy a copy of Blue Collar Apologetics: How to Explain and Defend Catholic Teaching Using Common Sense, Simple Logic, and the Bible by John Martignoni.