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How to Answer Protestants Forum: Tony Coffey's "Once A Catholic"

by Catherine Frakas 29 Jul 2002

Tony Coffey's Once A Catholic QUESTION from Jake on October 10, 2002 Hello-
After a long road, my fiance has converted to the Catholic Church from a staunch Protestant church. Her mother is desperately trying to bring her back to their Church of God church. Her mom thinks the Catholic Church is the Anti-Christ, and has just today given her a copy of Tony Coffey's Once A Catholic to read in hopes of converting her back to left-winf Protestantism. Is there anything I should tell my fiance before she reads this book, written by an ex-priest, to keep in mind while she reads it. Are you familiar with this anti-catholic book? Thanks, Jake-
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on November 10, 2002 Dear Jake:
Though my familiarity with this author is limited, you can read excerpts from his book on
He uses the same old arguments that the Catholic Church is somehow opposed to Scripture and that Scripture Alone is a sufficient guide to Christianity.
Though I have answered that issue in the past, I must ask two questions:

1. Where in Scripture (Chapter and Verse!) is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura -- Scripture Alone taught? Remember, under Sola Scriptura ALL doctrines necessary for faith MUST be CLEARLY taught in Scripture without the need for an interpretive authority. You can look, but you won't find such clear teaching. Scripture does say that it is good for teaching, reprove, and edification, but that is a far cry from total sufficiency. 2. How do you know for certain which books are inspired? Without an INFALLIBLE authority, we cannot even know what books are the Word of God and which are works of Satan!!! Here is the gist of the question: How do you know that the Gospel attributed to Matthew is true and the Gospel attributed to Thomas is false? And don't tell me that it is because Scripture says it is inspired -- so does the Book of Mormon and the Koran! That also rules out the I believe/feel it is so it must be argument based on feelings. Remember that Mohammad and Joseph Smith both thought that they were inspired by God. If you use this as the basis for your canon of Scripture, then you must include the Book of Mormon and the Koran to your Bible.

Here are a few books that you should encourage your fiance (and her mother if she is brave enough) to read:

Where is That in the Bible by Patrick Madrid What Catholics Really Believe by Karl Keating By What Authority: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark Shea Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God from Emmaus Road Press Of these, two are absolute musts for your fiance: Madrid's book clearly shows Scriptural background and support for all the controversial Catholic teachings and Shea's book is one of the best written non-fiction books I have ever read. Both are powerful and packed with Scripture.
Most importantly, spend a lot of time praying for your fiance and her family. Tread lightly since that family is going to become your family soon. Always be prepared to defend the faith, but in gentleness and love (1 Peter 3:15-16).
My prayers go out to you and your loved ones.
Pax Christi, Troy

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