Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Refuting Mike Gendron's "Are Catholics Deceived?"

Mike Gendron will be quoted in black; my responses will be in red.

Deception will always be exposed by Truth. Have you ever realized that you could be deceived and not even be aware of it? Those who are deceived will never know it unless they are confronted with the truth. Many go to their grave deceived about the most important issue we all face, and that is, locating the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Who are you trusting to show you the way and the truth to eternal life? What is your source for truth? Is it absolutely trustworthy? Will it protect you from the schemes and lies of the master deceiver?   The prophet Jeremiah gave us wise counsel for choosing whom we should trust. He said if you trust in man you will be cursed liked a bush in the parched places of the desert. But if you trust in God you will be blessed. You will be like a tree planted by water always bearing fruit, whose leaves are always green. No worries or fears will come upon you in a year of drought or when the heat comes (Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Amen, Mike!  And here, we are about to see that truth will expose the deception you have put forward, whether intentionally or not.  It’s interesting here that, while Gendron is about to launch into decrying Catholics for trusting “in man”, as he’d have you believe, the entire article he wants us to trust and accept as being truthful is written by...God?  No....by a man. So, how trustworthy is Mike Gendron?  Let’s find out.

Who will you trust? Many people disregard Jeremiah's advice and put their trust in religious leaders. Catholics believe that the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church accurately teach what Jesus and His Word reveal. This can be a fatal mistake.

Hold it.  It can be a mistake to trust that God was telling the truth when, after establishing His Church on earth He said that He would guide it in all Truth?  Jesus said He would establish a Church (Mt 16:18-19) and that the Holy Spirit would guide it in all Truth for all ages in the very voice of Christ (Jn 16:13, Jn 14:26, Lk 10:16, Mt 28:20).  Are we not to trust God that the Church is the pillar and bulwark...the support and defender...of truth?  Would Gendron have us believe that 1Tim 3:15 is wrong?   It seems to me that the issue here is that Gendron has an unbiblical view of what God’s Church is and he thinks God only established an invisible body of believers...another topic for another day I suppose.

Those who disregard the objective truth of the Bible and rely only on the subjective teachings of men leave themselves open to deception.

“...subjective teachings of men...” like....Mike Gendron?  Or does Mike enjoy the gift of infallibility?  You see, at the very best, when it comes down to it, the very best Mike can hope for when interpreting or seeking to understand the Bible, is a fallible disagreement with the Catholic view.    If he claims his understanding is THE correct one, then he has set himself up as an authority, and is now completely contradicting himself.

We know God would never deceive anyone because He wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (l Timothy 2:3). He gave us His Word so we could know, understand and believe the truth (John 17:17).
AMEN! We also know that God gave us a Church (Mt 16:18-19), that we are to go to this Church when an unresolvable issue arises (Mt 18:17-18) and that His Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1Tim 3:15).  We also know that His Word, Christ (Jn chapter 1) is not limited to what is written (Jn 1:1 and Jn 21:25) and that He also left us with His Sacred teachings passed down in a way other than in written form (Rom 10:17, 2Thess 2:15, 2Tim 1:13, 2Tim 2:2).

Would the Pope have a person believe what is not true? Maybe not intentionally, but what if he was deceived by previous popes who were also deceived? How do we know if any of the pope's teachings or dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church are true? The only way we can be 100% sure is to do as the Bereans did --- check everything with the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). If the apostle Paul's teaching had to be verified for its truthfulness, it stands to reason we must use the same standard for any religious leader.

Would Mr. Gendron have us believe that he, as opposed to any Pope, cannot deceive or be deceived, even unintentionally?  The question can be asked of any man:  how do we know if their teachings are true?  I would pose another question:  Where does the Bible say we should go for an infallible answer?  It says, “the Church” (Mt 18: 17-18, 1Tim 3:15, Jn 16:13).

Further, Gendron misapplies the story of the Bereans.  If you read the first part of the story in Acts 17 (verses 1-10), you will see the reason why the Bereans are called “more noble”.  It’s because they received Paul’s spoken words.  You see, those in Thessalonica adhered ONLY to Scriptures and rejected Paul’s preaching.  They were “sola Scripturists” of the 1st century.  His preaching did not match their beliefs about Scripture, so they rejected his preaching.  Yet it is the Bereans, who accepted his preaching compared it to the Scriptures (Scripture + Tradiditon) that were “more noble”.  They accepted the spoken Truth, and THEN checked to see how it applied to the written Truth.  This story in Acts 17:1-11, in my opinion, is a strong argument AGAINST sola Scriptura.

Unfortunately the elevation of tradition along with infallible teachings of popes to the same authority as Sacred Scripture has allowed deception to go unabated in the Roman Catholic Church. Popes and their teachings constantly change, whereas Jesus and His Word are constant and never change.

Hang on a minute. Is Mike saying that Scripture (the Bible) is an authority?  Now, I know that God’s Word is Authority...but to say that Scripture is God’s Word, doesn’t that require an Authority to infallibly declare what is/isn’t God’s Word in the first place?  Afterall, not even Scripture tells us which books belong in Scripture.  And if the Authority that told us which ones do belong is not an infallible Authority, then we can’t really trust that our Bible really is the Word of God, can we?  Fortunately for us, it was Christ, not the Church, that elevated Sacred Tradition and the Church (the Magesterium) as an Authority (Mt 18:17-18; Lk 10:16; Jn 20:21:23; Mt 28:18-20; 1Cor 11:23-24). 

The Apostle Paul revealed the source of all deception, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Tim. 4:1). You may be familiar with some common deceptions taught by religious leaders today: heaven is a reward for those who live good lives...

Yep, that would certainly be a falsehood.  Thankfully, the Catholic Church does not teach that.

water baptism is necessary for salvation...

Hmm...is he accusing Jesus Christ of teaching a deception?!  Jesus said that Baptism IS necessary for salvation (Jn 3:5, cf. Jn 3:22, Mk 16:16).  In fact, Scripture could not be more clear!  Col 2:11-12, 1Pet 3:21, Acts 3:28, Acts 22:16, Rom 6:3-4, etc...).  In fact, John Calvin pointed out in the 16th century that it was none other than a deception of Satan to deny infants a Christian Baptism.  I wonder if Gendron would explain his position on the man-made tradition of denying Baptism to infants, or in claiming that Baptism is NOT necessary for salvation, and cite an early Christian source (including the Bible) where Christians denied Baptism to infants or believed it to NOT be necessary?  I have a strong hunch he won't find anything pre-dating the 16th century, except where Christians were refuting these non-Christian positions.

purgatory purges and removes sin...

So, is he concerned about purgatory, per se, or with what purgatory *does*?  At any rate, we know there is temporal punishment for sin, even after forgiveness (2Sam 12:13-14) and that we all fall short (James 3:2) and that some who are NOT damned can suffer loss as through fire (1Cor 3:15) and that nothing unclean can enter Heaven (Rev 21:27).  So, I’m not sure what point he’s trying to make here.  Scripture is clear that we will be made clean and purged of all uncleanness.  A place/process where a “purging” takes place prior to entering into Heaven seems pretty darn Biblical to me.

....the sacrifice of the Mass can turn away God's wrath on sinners...

Well, that can’t be the Catholic Church he’s talking about, right?  I wonder if there is some source he was planning on providing to his readers so they could verify his claims.  Surely he wouldn’t stoop so low as to make stuff up that isn’t true just on his own whim.  Surely he read this somewhere, right?  Source Please!  Or maybe he is just resorting to deceptive tactics, using ambiguous terms to set up a strawman of sorts?

...God's grace can be earned and purchased.

Wow! I’m glad the Catholic Church doesn’t teach this one, either!  The fact that Gendron implies that the Church teaches this shows his lack of honesty in discussing the Catholic Faith. 

Satan has used lies like these to become the greatest "soul winner" in human history. For two thousand years, the master deceiver has perverted the Gospel of salvation by grace. His ferocious wolves, disguised in sheep's clothing, preach counterfeit gospels that seduce people who are ignorant of God's word (Matt. 7:15). A counterfeit Christianity is Satan's ultimate weapon, so he can, one day be worshipped as Christ. His worldwide religious system is taking shape and unfortunately it includes many people in our churches today.

I have to agree with Mike here, except for his last sentence.  It seems as though he insinuates that religion is only a tool of the devil...that God did not give us a religion.  Perhaps his definition of “religion” is different?

All this should come as no surprise to those who know the Scriptures. For this scenario was revealed by Christ and the apostles as a warning of things to come. Jesus announced that right before His second coming the deception will be so convincing that even the elect might be deceived (Matt. 24:4,11,24). The deceit will come from false prophets, false teachers and false Christs, who will snare people from both inside and outside the church. Peter warned people of spiritual deception, "There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies...and will bring the way of truth into disrepute" (2 Peter 2:1-2).

[snipped from end and placed here...since it follows the same line of thought]...There are consequences for those who do not seek God's truth through His Word. Those people who blindly put their faith in religious leaders are most susceptible to deception. Many assume that religious leaders would never seduce anyone with a false plan of salvation. Yet Luke warned, "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30).
Other people choose not to let truth interfere with their lives. They turn away from it and listen to teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim. 4:2-4). Truth demands a response. The choice is to believe it and conform, or reject it and go our stubborn way.

There are people who are devoted to God, but do not know Him personally because religious leaders conceal the source and authority of truth. People who have been indoctrinated with false teaching have difficulty believing the truth. They are always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth (2 Tim. 3:7). Acknowledging the truth requires a "turning away" from all unbiblical doctrines....[end snip]

Oh, the irony, that anyone who knows Scripture and actual Catholic Doctrine will know that there is NOTHING in Scripture contrary to Church teaching, or vice versa, and that no Christian group/denomination/etc...is immune from deceiving or being deceived by their own leaders, especially when they reject the Authority of the Church Christ established and rely on their own personal interpretations of Scripture (2Pet 1:20), potentially twisting it to their own destruction (2Pet 3:15-16).

Satan uses deception to prevent people from being saved. God uses the truth to proclaim salvation to all who believe it. Man is either saved by believing God's truth (Ephesians 1:13) or condemned by believing Satan's lie. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers by perverting God's truth through false religious systems (2 Corinthians 4:4). Any religion that teaches salvation is obtained through human effort and merit is nullifying the grace of God to its followers. We are saved by grace, "And if by grace, then it is no longer by works, if it were, grace would no longer be grace" (Romans 11:6).

It’s a good thing we have Christ’s Church to be the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1Tim 3:15) for us and the Holy Spirit working in that Church (Jn 16:13) to guide us to all Truth through that Church (Jn 14:26).  

The truth will set you free. How can we avoid falling prey to these subtle and scheming impostors? Our only defense is to experience the emancipating truth of Scripture (John 8:32).

Wait a minute!  Jn 8:32 says “Scripture”?!  That doesn’t sound right.  Let’s see:
“...and you shall know the [Scriptures], and the [Bible] shall make you free.”  No!  No, it doesn’t say that at all!  It says, “...and you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free.”  (Jn 8:32)  I don't see anywhere where TRUTH is made equivalent to “Scripture”.  (Though we DO know the Scriptures are PART of the Truth.  How we know that would be an interesting question.)  Maybe he meant to include Jn 8:31, “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine...”.  Even still, I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that says “My Word” is equal to “Scripture” [ONLY Scripture].  Nowhere at all.  In fact, the only Word spread among the disciples prior to the writing of the NT was His SPOKEN Word.  I don’t see anywhere where He says to write His Words down anywhere.  Gendron doesn’t expect that we should believe that Christ means ONLY the Scriptures here does he?  Because that isn’t what Christ said...and we only want to believe what Christ said...right?!

We must know and live the truth.

Amen!

All teaching must be filtered through God's Word.

Hmmm...I could almost agree here, except I have a suspicion that Gendron’s definition of “God’s Word” is limited to ONLY what has been written in Scripture.  In that case, I’d like to see a Bible verse that explicitly states we are to use the "Bible alone" for this purpose.  (Such a verse doesn’t exist.)

We are to use the Bible to lovingly correct and rebuke all teaching that contradicts God's inspired word (2 Tim. 3:16).

Well, what does that verse ACTUALLY say?  It says all Scripture is “profitable” or “useful” for such...but Gendron’s statement seems to suggest that it is ALL we are to use, or that Scripture is “sufficient”, or that we “must” use it.  The problem there is that, this isn’t what the Bible says.  In fact, if it weren't for an authoritative Church, we would not know which Scriptures belonged in the Canon of the Bible in the first place.

The Scriptures must become our ultimate authority in all areas of our faith.

Now, I know THIS isn’t in the Bible...anywhere...ever...at all.  This is a false doctrine of man.  And if Scripture is the “sole” authority, then the person making this claim must necessarily show where Scripture explicitly states this...and it doesn’t even hint at it.  God's WORD is our authority.  And God, Himself, in the Person of Christ, has chosen to give us His Word both orally and in writing, through the authority of His Church.

We must cling to Jesus who came to testify to the truth (John 18:37) and who is the truth (John 14:6). We are to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around our waists (Eph. 6:14). It is through living the truth that we are sanctified (John 17:17). Does the church where you worship submit to the truth of the Gospel? It is of vital importance to God that you worship Him in truth (John 4:24).

Hurray for the Catholic Church which lives this daily!  No where else can we find a Church that fulfils the OT prophecy of Malachi 1:11, “ “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My Name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My Name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My Name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. ”  Yep, “incense”, and a “pure” offering, offered every hour of every day in every nation...only in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.


It was a lack of faith in God's purpose, plan and word that separated Adam and Eve and their offspring from God. They chose to put their faith in the deceiver, which brought spiritual and physical death to us all. How divine for God to use the very instrument that separated us from Him--faith, to restore us back to Him. It is now through faith in God that we receive His gift of spiritual and eternal life (Ephesians 2:8).

(When presented with something like this, ask the person to define “Faith”...it will either result in an unbiblical theology...or a Catholic one.)

The object of our faith determines who we are --- a child of the devil (John 8:43-45) or a child of God (John 1:12); how we live --- as slaves to sin, or slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:16-18); and how we will spend eternity --- under the wrath of God or in his loving presence (John 3:36). Faith in anyone other than Jesus, and in anything other than His Word will allow deception to creep into our lives. Those who follow the traditions, opinions and philosophies of men and reject Christ and His Word will be condemned on the last day (John 12:48). By contrast how wonderful are the words of Christ that those who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Jesus and His Word teach...
  • You are saved by faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). (It’s actually “by grace, through faith...but whatever.  NOW, please show us the verse that says “by faith alone”...(James 2:24).
  • All who rely on observing the law (commandments) are under a curse (Galatians 3:10). “Law” = “commandments”??  I’m not seeing where Scripture says that!
  • Salvation occurs at the moment you believe the Gospel (Ephesians 1:13). That’s a far stretch of that verse in its context.  Mike suggests that just hearing the Gospel =- salvation.  I don’t see where Scripture makes that equation.
  • Jesus purifies sin (Hebrews 1:3). AMEN!
  • You can know for sure you are saved (1 John 5:13). ...have been saved, are saved, are being saved...working out salvation with fear and trembling.  Scripture, when taken as a whole, flatly rejects assurance of salvation.
  • The sacrifice of Jesus is finished (John 19:30).  Yet we are commanded to commemorate it and participate in it...amen!

The Pope and his church teach...
  • You are saved by faith plus works. More appropriately called “faith working through love”...Just like the Bible says...Gal 5:4-6, cf. James 2:14-24
  • Obedience to the commandments is a condition for salvation. Hmm...I’d like to see the actual Church teaching he is referring to...too bad he didn’t provide that source to support his assertion or to show the context of the teaching he may be referring to.
  • Salvation is a process from baptism through purgatory.  Huh?  Seriously...where is the source for this?
  • Purgatory purifies sin.  Well, purgatory is a purging, as it were...a means by which we experience temporal punishment prior to entering into Heaven.  Afterall, nothing unclean can enter Heaven, right?
  • You are condemned if you claim to be saved.  Again, WHAT?  Source please!!!
  • The sacrifice of Jesus continues in daily Mass.  No, it is commemorated...just like Jesus said to do in Luke 22:19.
  • As you can see these two teachings [false dichotomies Mike invented] directly oppose one another. You must make the choice as to which is true and which is deception. Your choice will determine your eternal destiny.  And being solidly steeped in Scripture, and having an honest desire to seek Truth, wherever it may lead, will help in making that choice.

6 comments:

  1. Hmm... Sounds like Gendron is just another protestant who conveniently forgets it is the Church who gave us the bible - not the other way around.

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  2. A little history on Mike Gendron...he's a cradle-Catholic (according to his bio) who was later saved from the "errors" of "Romanism". Yet much of what he asserts about the Catholic Faith is, well, just plain wrong...misconceptions about what we really believe, etc... His sincerity (or not) aside, this should scream out to every Catholic, especially parents, of the importance of proper catechesis. It's one thing to KNOW the Faith and reject it on its own merit...quite an unfortunate other thing to reject it based on a misunderstanding or an ignorance of what we really believe.

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  4. Anonymous Discerner,


    In response to my questioning of Gendron claiming that the Church teaches that "...the sacrifice of the Mass can turn away God's wrath on sinners..." you posted a You Tube video. I watched it and honed in on 9:50 as you suggested.

    (I did not post your comment with the link because I do not advertise for intentional misrepresentation of Catholic Doctrine. I asked for the Catholic teaching, not the non-Catholic misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. If you want to show the Catholic teaching, show me from an authentic Catholic source.)

    Anyway, one must keep in mind context. The YouTube video you posted presents the Mass as a re-sacrifice of Christ. The problem there is that the Mass is NOT such. It is a commemoration of Christ's once-for-all Sacrifice, just like Christ tells us to do when He says, "do this in remembrance [in commemoration] of Me".

    Authentic Catholic teaching on this Catholic Doctrine please, if you wish to discuss the Mass.

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    1. Anonymous Discerner, I apologize that I forgot to address your question. You asked whether the Mass was a propitiation...whether the Mass does in fact turn God's wrath away from the sinner through an offering.

      The answer is: it depends on what you mean by "wrath", and how you understand what "God's wrath" is and isn't. I can't do any justice to an explanation here...it's rather beyond my experience and eduication. But here is an excellent article that delves deeply into two views of this topic (I believe you will find this to be very even-handed):

      http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/08/imputation-and-paradigms-a-reply-to-nicholas-batzig/

      In Christ,
      Dave

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    2. ...and here is a much shorter explanation, taken from a thread I started at Catholic Answers Forums on this very question:

      http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=10722863&postcount=9

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