(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 3

Posted: October 13, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

From the website: pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron:

False Teachers Pervert the Gospel of Christ
The Gospel is the joyous proclamation of God’s redeeming work through Jesus Christ which saves His people from the punishment, power and ultimately, the presence of sin. It is the one and only message of redemption and the same message for every generation (Eph. 4:4-6, Rev. 14:6). Since the Gospel is about one Savior, it is exclusive and thus declares that all other faiths and religions are false  (John 14:6; Mat. 7:13-14). This glorious Gospel declares that salvation is entirely of grace  and those who add anything to it stand condemned (Gal. 1:6-9). It comes as no surprise that the most popular perversion of the Gospel is the fatal lie that good works or inherent righteousness are necessary to appease a holy God. Every religion in the world perpetrates this lie of the devil. However, Satan’s oldest and most deadly lie is “You surely shall not die” (Gen. 3:4). This lie is still spread in Catholicism (CCC, 1863).

 

 Why would any religious leader want to distort the glorious Gospel of grace? The primary reason is to control people by holding them captive in legalistic bondage. It is for this reason the Lord Jesus gave the mark of a true disciple. He said, “If you abide in My word…and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). People in religious bondage can only be set free when they come to a knowledge of the truth found in Scripture.

Roman Catholicism is not alone in perverting the Gospel of God. There are many cults and Protestant sects which do the same. Catholicism, however, not only deceives its people with a false gospel, but foolishly condemns those who believe the true Gospel. Over 100 condemnations from the Council of Trent are pronounced on Christians who believe the Lord Jesus is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever. The Catholic “gospel” emphasizes what man must DO to be saved instead of what Christ has DONE. This would include the necessity of doing good works (CCC, 2016), receiving sacraments (1129), attending meritorious masses (1405), keeping the law (2068), buying indulgences (1498) and purgatory (1030).

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Mike Gendron:

False Teachers Pervert the Gospel of Christ
The Gospel is the joyous proclamation of God’s redeeming work through Jesus Christ which saves His people from the punishment, power and ultimately, the presence of sin. It is the one and only message of redemption and the same message for every generation (Eph. 4:4-6, Rev. 14:6). Since the Gospel is about one Savior, it is exclusive and thus declares that all other faiths and religions are false  (John 14:6; Mat. 7:13-14). This glorious Gospel declares that salvation is entirely of grace  and those who add anything to it stand condemned (Gal. 1:6-9). It comes as no surprise that the most popular perversion of the Gospel is the fatal lie that good works or inherent righteousness are necessary to appease a holy God. Every religion in the world perpetrates this lie of the devil. However, Satan’s oldest and most deadly lie is “You surely shall not die” (Gen. 3:4). This lie is still spread in Catholicism (CCC, 1863).

John Martignoni:

Essentially, I don’t have a problem with the first part of what he says here.  The problem starts with the sentence, “This glorious Gospel…”  Catholics agree that salvation is entirely of grace, but I would add to the 2nd half of the sentence in this way: “those who add anything to it [or take anything away from it] stand condemned (Gal 1:6-9).”  And, while I basically agree with the words he has written in this sentence, I have to disagree with what he means by those words, which we find in the rest of the paragraph.  The sentence that speaks of the “fatal lie” regarding good works, and the last sentence in this paragraph, “This lie is still spread in Catholicism (CCC,1863),” are just a bit offbase.  I will endeavor to correct his misunderstanding of both Scripture and Catholic teaching in what he says here, but I want to first note that with his words he is actually condemning himself along with Catholics, but he is, of course, utterly oblivious to that fact.  So, I’ll just have to show him the error of his ways.

When he states the following: “This glorious Gospel declares that salvation is entirely of grace and those who add anything to it stand condemned (Gal. 1:6-9),” what he is saying is that we are saved by God’s grace – merited for us by Jesus Christ on the Cross – and there is nothing beyond Christ’s death on the Cross that needs to be done in regards to salvation.  When Christ said, on the Cross, “It is finished,” then what He meant – according to Gendron and many others – is that He has done all that needs to be done and we don’t need to “do” anything in order to be saved.  That’s it.  Nothing else to do in order for folks to be saved.  So, when Gendron says that anyone who wants to “add anything to it” stands condemned, what he is really saying is that any Catholic who thinks works play a role in salvation is condemned, because Gendron believes those works somehow “add to” the Gospel.

The trouble is, though, that he himself did something that “adds to” Jesus’ finished work on the Cross, whether he admits it or not.  You see, Mike Gendron claims that he was a Catholic for some 20 years or so.  And, according to him, he was not “saved” until he left the Catholic Church.  So, let’s examine the facts and see where it leads us.

Fact #1 – Jesus Christ died on the Cross some 2000 years ago.  As he was dying He said, “It is finished.”  According to Mike Gendron, the work of salvation was done.  There is nothing – no work – that anyone needs to do in order to be saved.

Fact #2 – Mike Gendron was, by his own admission, “saved” after he came out of the Catholic Church.  I don’t know the exact timing of this, but let’s assume it was sometime in the 1980’s.  So, Mike Gendron was “saved” some one thousand nine hundred and fifty years after Jesus said, “It is finished.”

Question: What was the difference between Mike Gendron unsaved vs. Mike Gendron saved…was it something that Jesus did or something that Mike Gendron did?  Well, by Mr. Gendron’s own admission, Jesus finished His work some 2000 years ago.  So, it could not have been something Jesus did.  The work of salvation is finished, right?  So, if it wasn’t something Jesus did, then it must have been something Mike Gendron did.  He “accepted” Jesus into his heart as his personal Lord and Savior.  He “confessed” with his lips and “believed” in his heart that Jesus is Lord.  In other words, Mike Gendron was not saved simply by what Jesus did 2000 years ago.  If that were true, then he would have been saved from the moment of his conception.  No, Mike Gendron had to “add to” what Jesus did in order to be saved.  It took an act of his intellect in order to know the claims of Christ and it took an act of his will in order to accept the claims of Christ and to follow Him.  Oh my goodness…Mike Gendron “added to” the finished work of Christ!  He is, therefore, condemned with all those Catholics who believe that faith and works – not faith alone nor works alone – are necessary responses to the free gift of God’s grace for salvation.

Now, Mr. Gendron will of course argue that he did nothing except have faith in Jesus’ finished work.  Well, isn’t having faith an act of his intellect and will?  Isn’t it something he did?  And, isn’t it something that he had to do in order to be saved?  So, whether he admits to it or not, the facts clearly show that Mr. Gendron had to “do” something – he had to “add to” Jesus’ death on the Cross – in order to be saved.  He was unsaved one day, and saved the next.  Did Jesus die again for Mr. Gendron for him to be saved?  No.  Jesus died once.  So, if Mr. Gendron – one thousand nine hundred and fifty years after the fact – was unsaved one day and saved the next, then that means Mr. Gendron had to have done something himself in order to be saved.  He had to of done something in order to have the saving grace of Christ applied to his life.  So, he was indeed saved by Christ’s death on the Cross, but he had to “add to” that death in order to have it applied to his life.  Even if all he did was believe, that is still something he did to “add to” Christ’s death.  Believing, Mr. Gendron, is a work.

Scripture backs me up on this in John 6:27-29.  That passage reads: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life…Then they said to Him, ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’  Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.'”  Believing, Scripture very plainly tells us, is a work!  It is a work of God in that it is a good work and it is done only by the grace of God, but it most definitely, according to Jesus Christ, is a work.

We have to cooperate with God’s grace in our lives to be saved.  So, in that sense, we do “add to” the work of Christ as Mr. Gendron complains.  We add our cooperation – our openness to allowing Christ to work in us and through us – and all by the grace of God.  In Colossians 1:24 Paul states, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the church.”  What is “lacking” in Christ’s afflictions?  Nothing, as far as the Head is concerned.  However, what is lacking when it comes to the Body is our participation in the life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the Head.  If we wish to be glorified with Him, we must first suffer with Him (Rom 8:17).  If we wish to follow Christ, we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily! (Luke 9:23).  Mike Gendron says, “No we don’t!  That would be ‘adding to’ the finished work of Christ.  Anyone who believes you have to do any of those things in order to be saved is condemned!”  The Bible very clearly is at odds with Mr. Mike Gendron’s beliefs and statements.

Now, regarding his last two sentences above, I really am not sure how he is leaping from Satan’s lie, “You surely shall not die,” to paragraph 1863 of the Catechism.  This paragraph is about venial sin and how venial sin “does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”  For one thing, this fits in perfectly with Mr. Gendron’s belief in once saved always saved.  For Mr. Gendron, no sin – venial or mortal – can separate you from eternal happiness if you’ve been saved, whether that sin is murder, fornication, adultery, theft, homosexuality, etc.  So, if Catholics are spreading Satan’s lie by saying venial sin doesn’t separate you from eternal happiness, then what is Mr. Gendron doing by saying no sin, no matter how great, separates you from eternal happiness?

If Mr. Gendron actually thinks that any and every sin separates you from God, is it possible, I wonder, if Mr. Gendron thinks that once one is saved he is incapable of sinning?  Does Mr. Gendron think himself to be a sinless human being?  I would be curious to see if anyone knows the answer to that question.

And, once again, Mr. Gendron shows himself to be rather uninformed regarding the Scriptures.  In 1 John 5:16-17, we find these words: “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal (“unto death” KJV) sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal.  There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.  All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.”  This is not speaking of physical death, but rather spiritual death.  Quite clearly, the Bible tells us, there are two types of sin – mortal (or “unto death”) and non-mortal.  Catholics call these sins that are not “unto death,” venial sins.  Mr. Gendron apparently disagress with the Bible in this regard.

Mike Gendron:

Why would any religious leader want to distort the glorious Gospel of grace? The primary reason is to control people by holding them captive in legalistic bondage. It is for this reason the Lord Jesus gave the mark of a true disciple. He said, “If you abide in My word…and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). People in religious bondage can only be set free when they come to a knowledge of the truth found in Scripture.

 

John Martignoni:

I find it quite fascinating that Mr. Gendron, who believes that salvation is unconditional, would use a passage that discusses salvation in conditional terms.  “If” you abide in My word.  “If,” for such a small word it really is a very big word.  What does “abide” mean?  It means to remain.  So, Jesus is saying, “If” you remain in My word you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  Well, you cannot abide in Jesus’ word if you are not already accepting Jesus’ word.  You can’t tell someone who has not already accepted the Word of God (the unsaved) that “if” they remain (abide) in that word they will know the truth.  How can they remain in the word if they are not already in the word?  The fact that He uses the word, “if,” in relation to “abiding” in Jesus’ word, very clearly points to the fact that it is possible for someone not to abide or remain in His word after they have accepted it (been saved).  So, salvation is conditional based upon whether or not one abides in Christ’s word.  Once saved always saved?  I think not.

Why would any religious leader want to “distort the glorious Gospel of grace?”  Well, most of them don’t want to, but because of pride, they do.  As 2 Ptr 3:16 says, there are those who are “ignorant and unstable” who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction and, I might add, to the destruction of others.  Mr. Gendron and many, many other “religious leaders,” because of their pride, feel that they have the most accurate interpretation of the Scriptures.  Their interpretations are infallible, so they think (although they won’t usually say that, their actions certainly indicate they believe as much).  They need not submit to any authority in regards to the interpretation of Scripture other than themselves.  This pride actually leads to ignorance and to the twisting of the Scriptures.  They need lots of prayers so that the scales may fall from their eyes.

Regarding his claim that Catholic “religious leaders,” i.e., the Pope and the Bishops, purposely distort the Gospel to lead us poor, dumb, ignorant Catholics into “legalistic bondage,” I have to say that every time I hear something like that, I have to just laugh.  When I came back to the Catholic Church, and I realized that I no longer needed to be my own Pope, Pastor, and Theologian; when I realized that the great arguments regarding faith and morals had already been worked out by minds much smarter than mine and by souls much holier than mine; when I realized that I did not have to decide for myself what is truth and what is error, what is right and what is wrong; it was an incredibly freeing moment for me.  Coming back to the Catholic Church freed me from the bondage I was in.  So, Mr. Gendron, methinks thou knowest not about which thy speak.

Mike Gendron:

Roman Catholicism is not alone in perverting the Gospel of God. There are many cults and Protestant sects which do the same. Catholicism, however, not only deceives its people with a false gospel, but foolishly condemns those who believe the true Gospel. Over 100 condemnations from the Council of Trent are pronounced on Christians who believe the Lord Jesus is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever. The Catholic “gospel” emphasizes what man must DO to be saved instead of what Christ has DONE. This would include the necessity of doing good works (CCC, 2016), receiving sacraments (1129), attending meritorious masses (1405), keeping the law (2068), buying indulgences (1498) and purgatory (1030).

John Martignoni:

Notice, please, that he did not mention a single one of the “over 100 condemnations” of “Christians” from the Council of Trent.   Why not?  Well, because when they are read in context, one can see that there is not a single condemnation of true Christians.  There is condemnation of heresy, heresy that Mr. Gendron, unfortunately, believes in, but no condemnation of Christians.  Also, why would the Council of Trent condemn those Christians who believe Jesus “is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever,” when that would mean they would be condemning Catholics?

Again, Mr. Gendron is misrepresenting what the Catholic Church believes and teaches when he says that the “Catholic ‘gospel’ emphasizes what man must DO to be saved instead of what Christ has DONE.”  That is flat out wrong.  Add up the paragraphs in the CCC that talk about Christ and what He has done, and what He continues to do with us, in us, and through us vs. the number of paragraphs that talk about what man can do all on his own.  Won’t even be close.  In fact, I don’t know if there is a paragraph in the CCC that talks about what man can do on his own without Christ, except maybe to sin.  This is either a colossal show of ignorance on his part, or a plain ol’ fashioned lie.  Let’s look at the paragraphs he mentions and compare them to Scripture.

CCC #2016 of the Catechism does indeed talk about doing good works.  Good works “accomplished with His grace in communion with Jesus.”  Gee, that’s pretty horrible stuff there.  We can only do good works by the grace of God and in communion with Jesus.  Does that sound like we’re focusing on the works of man as opposed to the works of God?

Mr. Gendron, is it a good work to forgive others of their sins?  Of course it is.  Is this good work necessary in order to be saved?  Well, if you believe Matt 6:14-15, it is.  God will not forgive us our sins unless we forgive the sins of others.  Can we get into Heaven if our sins are not forgiven?  Nope.  So, one prerequisite for getting into Heaven is to do the work of forgiving others their sins.  Is that “adding to” what Jesus does, Mr. Gendron?

What else does the Bible say about the necessity of good works to salvation?  Rom 2:6-7, “For He will render to every man according to his WORKS; to those who by patience in well-doing [WORKS] seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give ETERNAL LIFE.”  James 2:14, 17: “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works?  Can his faith save him…So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”  James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by WORKS and not by faith alone.”  1 Tim 5:8, “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  Matt 25:31-46, the sheep, the ones who inherit the kingdom, fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, visited the sick and imprisoned, and clothed the naked.  The ones who go away into eternal punishment did none of these things.  Matt 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents.  Those who did something with what the Master gave them – those who “added to” what the Master gave them – “enter into the joy” of their Master.  The one servant who relied solely on the Master, and who provided no return on what the Master had given him, is cast into the outer darkness.  Mr. Gendron, care to change your tune?

CCC #1129 does indeed say that the Sacraments are necessary.  Why?  Because that is how God’s grace is applied in our lives, through the Sacraments.  That is how the blood of Christ manifests itself in our lives, through the Sacraments.  That is how we are “[united]…in a living union with the only Son, the Savior,” (CCC #1129), through the Sacraments.  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you,” (John 6:53).  “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God,” (John 3:5).  “Is any among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,” (James 5:14).  “Therefore confess your sins to one another,” (James 5:16).  “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you,” (1 Tim 4:14).  “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one,” (Eph 5:31).  “Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 8:17).  All seven Sacraments, right there in the Bible.  Mike Gendron is not arguing against the Catholic Church with his words, rather he argues against the Word of God itself.

CCC #1405 talks about “the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.”  Is that focusing on the works of man rather than God?  John 6:27, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you.”  John 6:51, “And the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

CCC #2068…keeping the law.  This paragraph is all about how keeping the 10 Commandments is necessary for “the justified man.”  Mr. Gendron apparently disagrees with that.  Well, let’s ask a question from Scripture and compare the answers of Jesus, and Mr. Mike Gendron.  This is from Matthew 19:16, “And behold, one came up to Him saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?'”

Mike Gendron’s answer: “You unsaved Catholic, you don’t need to DO any good deeds in order to have eternal life.  That would be adding to the glorious Gospel.  Just accept Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior and that’s it, nothing else need be done!”

Jesus’ answer (Matt 19:17): If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”  Who do you want to believe…Jesus…or Mike Gendron?

CCC #1498 is indeed about indulgences, but it seems that Mr. Gendron can’t seem to quite understand that indulgences are not sold.  One does not buy an indulgence. The selling of indulgences was never taught, nor condoned, by the Church.  Anyone who did such a thing is rightly condemned.  But, that was some 500 years ago when that was supposedly happening.    For him to continually misrepresent the Church’s teaching on this is, as I’ve said previously, less than honest.

CCC #1030 – Purgatory.  How Mr. Gendron believes Purgatory is something that we must do, that it is somehow a work of man, is beyond me.  I think I’ll be tackling Mr. Gendron’s article on Purgatory in a future newsletter, so I won’t get into it here.

Suffice it to say, that Mr. Gendron’s beliefs and teachings can rightly be said to come from his own imperfect, biased, pre-disposed, very fallible, man-made, non-authoritative interpretations of Scripture.  His beliefs are, in essence, based on his opinions.  He wants you and me to renounce the teachings of the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the foundation of the Apostles, based on…his opinions.  Mr. Gendron is, however, right about one thing in this article that I’ve been dissecting the last few weeks – false teachers need to be confronted and challenged.  They also need to be prayed for…lots of prayer.

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