Thursday, September 21, 2006

Latest from John Martignoni's e-newsletter...


We receive John's weekly email newsletter that contains a wealth of information. I appreciate his Open Line Monday call-in program on the radio, and he's been kind to visit our blog and told us we're "doing a great job and to keep up the good work." That meant a lot to me let me tell you! To God be the glory and his drenching grace who's made this blog possible. For once we were blind but now we see and now we want to help others see our Holy Mother Church across the Tiber! His service to the Catholic Church and those curious about Her, is relentless in exposing the Fullness of Truth to many non-Catholics and many cradle Catholics who want to learn more about the Faith. This is a "Challenge and response" experpt from the most recent email. You can also read it on his link on our link list, Bible Christian Society. Thanks, John, for all you do, and your relentless pursuit to proclaim the Truth in a most loving, and thoughtful manner. You bless us every week, via radio and emails. I found this one very interesting. John agreed with the writer, and also disagreed with the writer, as I did when I sat down to read his questions. We all need to learn, none of us have "arrived" and this just graced me to know how to respond to some people we know from our former Evangelical years, on our Journey Home. I long to see ALL CHRISTIANS united! So did Jesus! They DO NOT HAVE THE FULLNESS OF TRUTH in their fellowships and can't claim that they do, when THEY ALL DISAGREE with everyother fellowship. Isn't that LOGICAL? They have only PARTIAL Truth, only bits of the Truth. Don't believe me? That's okay. We can agree to disagree in charity. Are you curious? Read on. And thanks so much for working so hard and diligently and faithfully, John! We love you and hope to meet you in person one day soon!
~ Susie & Rich

Greetings!

I have a question that maybe you can explain better than my Catholic friends. First, I'm Catholic myself with some Evangelical Biblical background (spirituality). I love my Catholic faith, the Sacramental life and the deep various spiritualities, and renewal movements in the Church (Focolare, Charismatics, Cursillo, etc.) When I speak to my Catholic friends about the fullness of truth, the fullness of Christ I tell them that some Non-Catholic Christians who are in an intimate relationship with Christ (Union), under grace, have received the fullness of the truth through that relationship from Christ himself. They are living the Gospel of Christ, therefore the living Gospel of Christ himself, the living truth. My Catholic friends' response seems to always be, and it always comes off as condescending, "We Catholics have the fullness of truth, we are the apostolic church, we have have the Eucharist etc. therefore, only we have the fullness of truth."

So I kindly ask them if a non-Catholic Christian who is living a fruitful Christian life, walking with Christ only has a part of Christ and they don't know how to answer this question. They usually get defensive, being the fundamentalists that they are, and begin to distance themselves from me. I'm starting to see that these legalistic Catholics have a hard time grasping intimacy with God and maybe that's why they cannot understand that Christ can fully reveal himself to other Christians just as he can reveal himself to Catholics. God is no respector of persons right?

I believe that if you are going to say that you have the fullness of the truth, you better have the fruitful life of the Spirit (Fruits of the Spirit) to substantiate what you are saying. In other words back it up with how you live, and your life should be able to speak the fullness of truth better than your words. My non-denominational Christian friends seem to be more hospitable, unifying and open minded about the fullness of truth. They simply say, "some know Christ and some don't" With them it's about knowing Christ, not about having a collection of information, or traditions that these intellectual, fundamentallist Catholics I run into at Church seem to have. I Would like to get your comments, thoughts on this please. Reply at your convenience.

May God bless You In Christ

Abel

Hello Abel,

I would say that I have to both agree and disagree with what you are saying. I agree with what you are saying about Catholics, which is, essentially, that you need to walk the walk if you're going to talk the talk. If you do have the fullness of truth, which the Catholic Faith has, then, as a Catholic, you have a greater responsibility to live the life of Christ than anyone else does. To whom much is given, much will be required.

However, if a Catholic does not live a Christian life...does not live up to the demands of his Faith...that does not mean that his Faith does not have the fullness of the truth. It simply means that he, as an individual Catholic, is not doing what his Faith calls him to do. So, there may be something lacking in the individual, but not in the Catholic Faith itself. Which means, that I would have to disagree with you when you say that there are some non-Catholic Christians who receive the fullness of the truth through their personal relationship with Christ.

What is the truth, Pilate asked. Well, as Christians, we know that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So, Jesus is the truth. The more truth you have, the more Jesus you have. Also, Scripture tells us that the Church is the fullness of Christ. If the Catholic Church, then, contains the fullness of Christ, the fullness of truth, how can a non-Catholic, someone who does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church, ever have the fullness of truth? You cannot have both things happen at the same time. If the Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth, then someone who does not accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot ever have the fullness of the truth.

Are there non-Catholic Christians who live more godly lives than some, or even many, Catholic Christians...yes. Does living a godly life necessarily mean that you have the fullness of truth...no. If you believe, as a Catholic, that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, how can you believe that someone who denies that, has the fullness of the truth? If Jesus has truly revealed the fullness of truth to someone who is not a Catholic...then why are they not a Catholic?

From John, chapter 4, we see that it is possible to worship what you do not know. In other words, you can worship God, you can think you know God, yet not really know Him as well as you thought you did. And, it is possible to know Him, but not open your life up to Him. You say these friends of yours are living the Gospel of Christ...yet, part of Christ's Gospel is that you must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life within you...John 6. Part of Christ's Gospel is that God gave men the authority on earth to forgive sins...Matthew 9 and John 20. Part of Christ's Gospel is that He founded the Church on the Rock of Peter...Matthew 16. And so on. Your friends do not believe and practice these things, so how can you say they have the fullness of truth?

In essence, you cannot have the fullness of truth both within and without the Catholic Church at the same time...that is not possible. If the fullness of truth resides within the Catholic Faith, as the Catholic Church claims, then those outside of the Catholic Faith cannot have the fullness of truth...regardless of how godly their lives may be. If someone outside of the Catholic Faith does indeed have the fullness of truth, then no Catholic can have it. Two people who have contradictory beliefs cannot both have the fullness of truth.

One other thing...you stated the following: "They usually get defensive, being the fundamentalists that they are, and begin to distance themselves from me. I'm starting to see that these legalistic Catholics have a hard time grasping intimacy with God and maybe that's why they cannot understand that Christ can fully reveal himself to other Christians just as he can reveal himself to Catholics."

Again, Christ can fully reveal Himself to anyone whom He chooses to reveal Himself to...just look at the example of Paul. However, a sign that He had fully revealed Himself to someone would be that they start believing and practicing the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church...just look at the example of Paul. I would also say that these fundamentalist, legalistic Catholics who have a hard time grasping intimacy with God may be distancing themselves from you because they believe you to have a self-righteous, judgmental, and holier than thou attitude towards them. Maybe you don't, but that's the attitude that seems to be coming through in your email to me. So, if you do have that attitude towards them, you may wish to change. If you don't have that attitude towards them, you may wish to examine yourself to see if you possibly are offending people by your words and your actions when you don't really mean to. Do you wish to evangelize your Catholic friends and help t hem to a closer relationship with Christ, or do you wish to condemn them?

I would say that you and your non-denominational friends are probably much more "open" about the fullness of the truth, as you say, because you are not really asking questions about the truth and you do not realize that two people who believe different things about Jesus, about the sacraments, about the Pope, about the Church, about the Bible, about the means of salvation...both of those two people cannot have the fullness of the truth. Ask them some questions about the Eucharist, the Pope, Mary, and see if they truly are "open" to the fullness of the truth. I hope they are and I hope you can bring them around to seeing, through your words and your example, that the fullness of the truth does indeed reside within the Catholic Church.

In Christ,

John Martignoni

1 comment:

Tiber Jumper said...

John's ministry is a great blessing.
Thanks for posting his letter on your blog!
God bless!