Archive for the ‘Apologetics’ Category

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 10

Posted: February 4, 2011 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

 

Mike Gendron 

John,

Your rebuke of God’s word is not backed up by any official references from the Catholic religion. In my article I state the source of my information but you appear to give your opinions instead of backing up your claims with the laughable “infallible” teachings of the magesterium.

You say Catholics are in purgatory because “they are not yet free from imperfections.” They ought to convert to Christ because born again Christians are made perfect forever at the moment of justification by the one offering of Jesus 2000 years ago (Heb. 10:14).

Where do you get the statement “grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.” Did Jesus really have to earn grace?

Where do you get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us.”
You said, “And how is it that we are able to be purified by God’s love?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  In other words, the purging of imperfections that souls experience in Purgatory is as a result of the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  It is by the blood of Christ that souls in Purgatory are perfected.  There is no other means of perfection available to us.”
According to paragraph-1475 it has nothing to do with God’s love or Jesus but instead the merits of other Catholics. “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.”

 

 
You say “Catholic teaching that the Mass is the re–presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and that the Mass is all about the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Therefore, if Masses are being offered for those in Purgatory, then it means that any sins and inclination to sin and punishment due to sin that are purged  So, to represent the Catholic Faith as teaching that the purgations of Purgatory have absolutely nothing to do with the blood of Christ, after what he said earlier about Masses being said for those in Purgatory, seems to me to be a deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic teaching.”

It is you who appears not know what the Mass is?  It is, according to your Catechism 1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. Let me ask you this – how can say the purging in Purgatory is “by the blood of Christ” when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner. Catholic teaching is not only false it is without logic or consistency.

 


John, I have compassion for you and all those who are being deceived in the name of Christ. Come out of your false religion and worship God in Spirit and truth before it is too late.

Mike Gendron

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Mike Gendron

John,

Your rebuke of God’s word is not backed up by any official references from the Catholic religion. In my article I state the source of my information but you appear to give your opinions instead of backing up your claims with the laughable “infallible” teachings of the magesterium. You say Catholics are in purgatory because “they are not yet free from imperfections.” They ought to convert to Christ because born again Christians are made perfect forever at the moment of justification by the one offering of Jesus 2000 years ago (Heb. 10:14).

John Martignoni

Mike,

Gee, good thing you don’t like condescending emails, right?  Anyway, I am not rebuking God’s Word, I am rebuking man’s word and, in particular, I am rebuking your word.  Your fallible, man-made, non-authoritative, biased and bigoted word.

You speak of the “laughable infallible teachings of the [M]agisterium,” yet you tend to also speak as if you yourself are infallible.  Do you believe your private interpretations of Scripture to indeed be infallible?  And, if not, will you then admit that your private, fallible interpretations of Scripture, in regard to Purgatory and other such Catholic teachings, could be wrong?  You won’t admit that, though, will you?  You know why?  Pride, Mike…pride.  You are too proud to admit that you could be wrong.  That your interpretations are indeed fallible and, therefore, prone to error.

Heb 10:14, “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Absolutely. But, you seem to be claiming to be perfect, Mike, is that right?  So, you are without sin?  You never commit any sin, whatsoever?  You never have a bad thought or do a bad deed?  Really?!

Well, Mike, Catholic teaching is in perfect unison with Heb 10:14, as it is with each and every passage of Scripture. But, contrary to your fallible private interpretation of this passage, it is not saying that those who are perfected are automatically perfected for all time and can never again sin, if so, then why does Paul so often remind the Christians he writes to about avoiding sin?  If you look at the context, this verse is comparing the sacrifice of Christ to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.  Those had to be offered over and over again and did not take away sins.  The sacrifice of Christ, however, was once for all time.  This one sacrifice was indeed sufficient to sanctify and perfect all men for all of time, but this verse is not saying that a man cannot lose his sanctification if he later turns away from the Lord and sins.

Look at Heb 10:38, “…but my righteous one shall live by faith and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” Why would God talk about His righteous one shrinking back, if his righteous one has been perfected for all time?  And, in Heb 6:4-6, it talks about those who have repented, and who have “tasted the heavenly gift” and who have “become partakers of the Holy Spirit” and who have “tasted the goodness of the Word of God.”  Those are Christians, right?  I mean, non-believers can’t be said to have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, can they?  Of course not.  So, what does this passage then say about these Christians?  It says that they can commit apostasy.  What does that do to your fallible interpretation of Heb 10:14?  Kind of messes it up, doesn’t it?

Regarding giving you my opinion, I do no such thing.  All throughout my dissection of your article on Purgatory and your article on false teachers, I have cited Scripture and the teachings of the Church.  Now, you may not agree with what the Church teaches, but that is not justification to knowingly misrepresent what the Church teaches.  Which you have done throughout your articles.  By the way, what sources did you give?  You cited the Catechism, out of context, and you give your private, fallible interpretation of Scripture.  Is that what you consider your sources?

Mike Gendron

Where do you get the statement “grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.” Did Jesus really have to earn grace?  Where do you get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us.” You said, “And how is it that we are able to be purified by God’s love?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  In other words, the purging of imperfections that souls experience in Purgatory is as a result of the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  It is by the blood of Christ that souls in Purgatory are perfected.  There is no other means of perfection available to us.” According to paragraph-1475 it has nothing to do with God’s love or Jesus but instead the merits of other Catholics. “In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

John Martignoni

Jesus did not have to earn anything for himself – once again you twist someone’s words to suit your purposes.  Jesus’ death on the Cross opened up for us the floodgates of God’s mercy and grace.  He didn’t earn it for Himself, He did it for us.  Do you believe we could merit God’s grace all on our own without Jesus’ death on the Cross?  That’s what you seem to be implying here.

Where did I get the idea that the fire of Purgatory is “the burning fire of God’s love for us?”  Well, how about from the Bible?  Heb 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.”  1 Cor 3:14, “If the work which any man has built on the foundation (Jesus Christ) survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up (consumed), he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  Let’s see, our God is a consuming fire and anyone who is in Purgatory has their works of wood, hay, or stubble consumed by fire…hmmm.  What fire could that be?  By the way, Mike, you said that men have their “spurious works” burned up by fire.  Please be more specific as to what kind of “spurious works,” what is the nature of the fire that burns them up (is it related to God or not), and where exactly is it this burning up of a man’s spurious works takes place?

Regarding your assertion that the burning fires of Purgatory have nothing to do with God’s love, you once again quote the Catechism (#1475) out of context.  What does paragraph #1474 of the Catechism say?  “The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.”  And, Who is that single person to whom all Christians are joined?  Jesus Christ.  So, the merits shared in the Communion of Saints have nothing to do with Jesus and with God’s love?

#1476 of the Catechism, “On the contrary the ‘treasury of the church is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ’s merits have before God.  They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father.  In Christ, the Redeemer Himself, the satisfactions and merits of His Redemption exist and find their efficacy.”  You still want to say that it has nothing to do with Jesus?

In other words, Mike, you failed to note that the link that binds together the Communion of Saints is Jesus Christ Himself.  It is only in Him, with Him, and through Him that the holiness of one is able to benefit another, because it is all ultimately the holiness of Christ Himself that the members of His Body share.  Does not what benefits one member of the Body benefit all members of the Body?  So for you to say that the burning fires of Purgatory have nothing at all to do with the love of God or with Jesus seems to be, quite simply, a lie.  And I say it is a lie because you have obviously read the Catechism, so what you’re saying is not out of ignorance but seems to be rather a deliberate misrepresentation of what the Catholic Faith teaches.

Mike Gendron

You say “Catholic teaching that the Mass is the re–presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and that the Mass is all about the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Therefore, if Masses are being offered for those in Purgatory, then it means that any sins and inclination to sin and punishment due to sin that are purged  So, to represent the Catholic Faith as teaching that the purgations of Purgatory have absolutely nothing to do with the blood of Christ, after what he said earlier about Masses being said for those in Purgatory, seems to me to be a deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic teaching.”

It is you who appears not know what the Mass is?  It is, according to your Catechism 1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. Let me ask you this – how can say the purging in Purgatory is “by the blood of Christ” when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner. Catholic teaching is not only false it is without logic or consistency.

John Martignoni

Regarding how I can say the “purging in Purgatory” is by the blood of Christ when the Mass is offered in an unbloody manner…is that really the best you can do?  Mike, do you not claim to have been saved by the blood of Christ?  Of course you do.  Yet, how can this be since Christ stopped bleeding two thousand years ago and you weren’t “saved” until what, the 1980’s?  Did Christ have to be crucified again in order for you to be saved and His blood literally poured on you or some such thing? Was not Christ’s blood applied to you in an unbloody manner?  If so, how can you say that you were saved by the blood of Jesus?  He isn’t bleeding anymore is He, Mike?!  Just as you can be perfected by the blood of Christ without having it literally poured over you, so, too, can the souls in Purgatory be perfected by the blood of Christ without having it literally poured over them.

The sacrifice of the Mass, as you well know, Mike, is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to the Father.  It is our participation in Christ’s spilling of blood on the Cross, in response to Jesus’ command to “do this” in remembrance of Him.  It is our participation in the cup of the “blood of the covenant.”  The cup in which we participate at Mass, the cup which is “poured out” for us, is the new covenant in Jesus’ blood.  No, Mike, we are not bled on at the Mass, just as you were not bled on when you were supposedly “saved” by the blood of Christ.  The Mass is the offering to God of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  It is not a re-crucifixion, it is a re-presentation of that offering.  Is not Christ in Heaven as our High Priest and does He not continually intercede for us with the Father?  What does He do when He intercedes for us with the Father, Mike?  Does He say, “C’mon, Father, Mike’s a good guy, it’s okay to save him?”  No.  He points to the blood He spilled on the Cross, He re-presents His sacrifice to the Father, and says, “See, Father.  See what I did for Mike.”  And that is how you are able to be saved, Mike.  Not because Jesus was re-sacrificed for you, but because His sacrifice was put before the Father on your behalf.   Just so the souls in Purgatory are perfected, because of the grace and the merits which are available to them because of Christ shedding His blood on the Cross.  The grace and merits which Christ makes available to us through the Mass.  The blood of Christ, offered through the Mass, for the souls in Purgatory.  Is that really the best you can do?

Mike Gendron

John, I have compassion for you and all those who are being deceived in the name of Christ. Come out of your false religion and worship God in Spirit and truth before it is too late.

John Martignoni

Save your compassion for yourself, Mike.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will grant you the grace for you to see through the darkness which has enveloped you and that the scales will one day fall from your eyes.  Your soul is in serious jeopardy, Mike Gendron, and you need to be praying to God to send you the Spirit of Truth.

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 9

Posted: January 11, 2011 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

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

The Biblical Rebuke of Purgatory

God’s Word leaves absolutely no possibility for sin to be purged away by anything other than the blood of Jesus Christ. The beloved apostle John penned these words with irrefutable clarity. He wrote, “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” and “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9). John did not say “some” sins or “most” sins, but all sin! This soundly rebukes the need for a sin-purging fire. God’s Word also declares, “All things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). When Jesus “made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). Those who desire to have their sins purged need to trust a person, not a place. The blood of Christ is the only cleansing agent for sin! Those who come to the cross of Christ must come with empty hands of faith, bringing nothing but their sins.
Every blood bought believer is instantly present with their Redeemer at the moment of death. To be “absent from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8). This good news was affirmed by the Lord Jesus with the promise He gave to the repentant thief at Calvary. He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). This habitual sinner did not need a fire to purge his sins.
Catholics who believe in Purgatory need to be asked: “Who is in charge of releasing souls from the purging fire?” It cannot be God because of His promise to believers. “Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). After conversion, God no longer counts sins against His children (2 Cor. 5:19).
Purgatory is a travesty on the justice of God and a disgraceful fabrication that robs Christ Jesus of His glory and honor. He alone satisfied divine justice, once and for all, by the perfect and finished sacrifice of Himself. The fatal deception of Purgatory blinds Catholics from the glorious Gospel of grace. It is one of Satan’s many lies which keep his captives from knowing and trusting the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. It is Christ alone that will present us “faultless before the presence of his glory” (Jude 24).

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Mike Gendron

The Biblical Rebuke of Purgatory

God’s Word leaves absolutely no possibility for sin to be purged away by anything other than the blood of Jesus Christ. The beloved apostle John penned these words with irrefutable clarity. He wrote, “The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” and “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,9). John did not say “some” sins or “most” sins, but all sin! This soundly rebukes the need for a sin-purging fire. God’s Word also declares, “All things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). When Jesus “made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). Those who desire to have their sins purged need to trust a person, not a place. The blood of Christ is the only cleansing agent for sin! Those who come to the cross of Christ must come with empty hands of faith, bringing nothing but their sins.

John Martignoni

To make the claim, as he does here, that Purgatory and Jesus’ death on the Cross are completely unrelated is due, quite frankly, to either ignorance or malice.  How is it that anyone ends up in Purgatory?  They are in Purgatory because they have died in a state of grace, but they are not yet free from imperfections.  How is it they are able to be in a state of grace?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  And what exactly is the burning fire of Purgatory?  It is, in essence, the burning fire of God’s love for us.  And how is it that we are able to be purified by God’s love?  By the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  In other words, the purging of imperfections that souls experience in Purgatory is as a result of the merits and grace earned for us by Jesus with His death on the Cross.  It is by the blood of Christ that souls in Purgatory are perfected.  There is no other means of perfection available to us.

The thing is, Mr. Gendron is perfectly aware that this is Catholic belief.  We know this because of what he himself stated earlier in this very same article.  Did not Mr. Gendron complain that Catholic priests “extract” untold riches from poor frightened and fearful Catholics by telling them they need to offer Masses for the souls of their loved ones in order to get them out of Purgatory?  What is the Mass?  It is, according to Catholic belief – which Mr. Gendron well knows – the re-presentation before God of Jesus’ death on the Cross.  So, in one part of his article, Gendron complains that Purgatory is used by the Church to gain riches from people by saying Masses for those in Purgatory, and in another part of his article he says that Catholics believe that those in Purgatory are purged of their imperfections by something other than the blood of Christ!

Now, Mr. Gendron obviously does not agree that the Mass is a re-presentation of Jesus’ death on the Cross, but he has to admit that it is Catholic teaching that the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and that the Mass is all about the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Therefore, if Masses are being offered for those in Purgatory, then it means that any sins and inclination to sin and punishment due to sin that are purged in Purgatory are purged by the blood of Christ.  So, to represent the Catholic Faith as teaching that the purgations of Purgatory have absolutely nothing to do with the blood of Christ, after what he said earlier about Masses being said for those in Purgatory, seems to me to be a deliberate misrepresentation of Catholic teaching.  So, once again, Mr. Gendron, I adjure you to retract these falsehoods.  You claim to be a Christian, well, let us see your faith by your works.

Mike Gendron

Every blood bought believer is instantly present with their Redeemer at the moment of death. To be “absent from the body” is to be “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:6-8). This good news was affirmed by the Lord Jesus with the promise He gave to the repentant thief at Calvary. He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). This habitual sinner did not need a fire to purge his sins.

John Martignoni
Gendron claims: “Every blood-bought believer is instantly present with their Redeemer at the moment of their death.” Where in Scripture does it say this?  Oh, I know, he quotes 2 Cor 5:6-8 to “prove” his assertion, but those verses do nothing of the sort.  He actually splits up the main segment of the verses he quotes in order to make it say something it doesn’t actually say.  The verse he quotes from above is 2 Cor 5:8, which states, “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  It does not say, as Gendron tries to make it say, “to be absent from the body [is to be instantly at home] with the Lord.” There is nothing in this verse, when properly quoted, that rules out the existence of Purgatory.  Paul is not saying it’s either Heaven or Earth with no in-between, he’s saying he prefers Heaven to Earth, and that is the extent of what he said. 

Regarding the repentant thief at Calvary being told that he would be with Jesus “today” in Paradise, well, exactly what does that mean?  There is only one day in Paradise, and that day is “today.” How do you count time outside of time?  “Today” is forever in Paradise. Plus, 3 days after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus tells Mary not to touch Him because He has “not yet ascended to the Father.”  Which seems to contradict Gendron’s private, fallible intepretation of what Jesus said to the good thief.  After all, if Jesus, 3 days after His crucifixion, had not yet ascended to the Father, then how could the good thief have been with Jesus “today” in Paradise, when “today” was 3 days ago and Jesus apparently has not made it there yet?

Plus, Gendron again seems to be ignorant that Catholic teaching does not say everyone has to go to Purgatory before they enter Paradise.  If the temporal punishment due to sin has been remitted in this lifetime, and one has been freed of their attachment to sin, then when they die they go straight to Heaven.  Is it possible that being crucified might suffice to requite the temporal punishment due to sin?  Which means that if the Good Thief did indeed go straight to Heaven, it does absolutely nothing to disprove Catholic teaching on Purgatory.

All of which is to say that Gendron’s Scripture citations here do not prove his point, rather they prove that his private, fallible interpretation of any and all Scripture verses should be held as being highly suspect.

One last point to make on this.  Earlier in this article, when trying to argue that 1 Cor 3:15 – “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” – does not teach anything about purging of one’s sins, Mr. Gendron nonetheless admits that there is a purging of a man’s “spurious works,” as through fire, before he gets into Heaven.  His exact words were: “Clearly, the context of this verse is the testing of a man’s works by fire. The works that survive are the ones done for the glory of Christ and are called gold, silver and precious stones (Eph. 2:10). All the other superfluous works are burned in fire and are called wood, hay and stubble. It is not man’s sins that are being purged, it is man’s spurious works that are being burned and destroyed.
So, in one part of his article, Gendron admits that there can be a purging, as through fire, that a man goes through before he enters Heaven, yet in another part of your article he claims that there can be no such purging because a man is “instantly present with their Redeemer at the moment of death.” Could you please explain, Mr. Gendron, that contradiction?  By the way, Mr. Gendron, where does this purging you claim takes place, at least in one part of your article, actually take place?
Apparently Mr. Gendron believes that a man having his spurious works “burned and destroyed” in fire does not run contrary to his claim that a person is “instantly present with their Redeemer at the moment of death,” but a man having his sins or his punishment due to sin “burned and destroyed” in fire, does.  Seems we’ve found yet another inconsistency in his argumentation.  Why does having your spurious works burned in fire not slow you down on your way to being with Jesus, but having your sins or punishment due to sin burned in fire does slow you down on your way to Jesus?  After all, in both cases a man is being purged “as through fire,” so what’s the timing difference between the two, Mr. Gendron?
Mike Gendron

Catholics who believe in Purgatory need to be asked: “Who is in charge of releasing souls from the purging fire?” It cannot be God because of His promise to believers. “Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). After conversion, God no longer counts sins against His children (2 Cor. 5:19).

John Martignoni

Here we get a little of Gendron’s once saved always saved theology which leads him, as it does many others, into taking absolutely ridiculous positions based upon their private, fallible interpretations of Scripture.  A soul is released from Purgatory once they have been purged of their imperfections.  Hebrews 12:22-23, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”  How were the spirits of the just in Heaven “made” perfect?  Hmmm.

To answer Gendron’s question, God is “in charge” of releasing souls from Purgatory.  God is “in charge” of all things. But let’s look at Gendron’s logic, or lack thereof.  Let’s go, for the moment, with Gendron’s private, fallible interpretation of Heb 10:17 and 2 Cor 5:19.  When does someone get released from Purgatory?  When all their sins and imperfections are gone.  Or, to say it another way, when their sins have been “remembered no more.”  So, why does Gendron think God cannot be in charge of releasing a soul from Purgatory after they’ve been cleansed of all imperfections…after their sins have been remembered no more?

Now, regarding the Scripture verses he is twisting, let’s take a look at them.  Heb 10:17 does indeed tell us that God will “remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.”  But does that mean, as Mr. Gendron apparently contends, that after you’re “saved” God will just give you a free pass on sin whether you confess your sins and repent of them or not?  That is a ridiculous thing to contend.  1 John 1:9, which Mr. Gendron cited a few paragraphs earlier, states that God will indeed forgive our sins “if” we confess them.  And Jesus states several times in the Gospels the need for repentance of sin.  So, even if someone is “saved” according to Mr. Gendron’s theological system, in order to have their sins forgiven, the Bible tells us they still have to confess those sins and repent of their sins.

So, my question for you, Mr. Gendron, is this: If someone is saved, and they commit a venial sin after being saved, and they do not repent or confess that sin, do you contend that if they died immediately after committing that sin, they would not need to be cleansed of that sin before entering Heaven?  Does God “remember their sins and their deeds no more” even if they do not repent and confess their sins, as you seem to be contending?  Or, does God remember their sins up until the point they repent and confess their sins and their sins are purged?

In addition to Gendron’s scriptural consistency problems with how and when God forgives sin, let’s look just a few verses down from Heb 10:17.  Heb 10:29 states, “How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace.” Who is the man described here?  He is a man who was sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Is that someone, according to Gendron’s theological system who has been saved?  You bet it is.  I don’t know how he could say otherwise.  Yet, what happens to this man who has been saved, whose sins, according to Gendron’s private, fallible interpretation will no longer be held against him, when he then spurns the Son of God and profanes the blood of the covenant and outraged the Spirit of grace?  Are none of those sins held against him?  According to Gendron, they are not.  According to Scripture, this man receives a “fearful prospect of judgment” (Heb 10:27).  Once saved always saved?  I don’t think so!  Once again Gendron’s private, fallible interpretations of Scripture get him into scriptural hot water.

Mike Gendron

Purgatory is a travesty on the justice of God and a disgraceful fabrication that robs Christ Jesus of His glory and honor. He alone satisfied divine justice, once and for all, by the perfect and finished sacrifice of Himself. The fatal deception of Purgatory blinds Catholics from the glorious Gospel of grace. It is one of Satan’s many lies which keep his captives from knowing and trusting the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. It is Christ alone that will present us “faultless before the presence of his glory” (Jude 24).

John Martignoni

The only travesty of justice here is Gendron’s spreading of misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies about Catholic teaching on Purgatory.  There is nothing in the Catholic teaching of Purgatory that “robs Jesus Christ of His glory and honor.” The Catholic teaching on Purgatory is perfectly consistent with Sacred Scripture and does nothing but glorify Jesus Christ through Whom and with Whom and in Whom we are saved.  I am Catholic and I believe in Purgatory and I believe in the “glorious Gospel of grace.”  And I believe, as do all Catholics, that it is indeed Christ alone that will present us “faultless before the presence of His glory.”  Mike Gendron’s claims to the contrary are without merit.

 

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 8

Posted: January 1, 2011 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

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

Biblical Support for Purgatory
There is absolutely none! In fact, neither the word nor the concept of sin-purifying fire is found in Scripture. The Vatican was confronted with this in the 16th century when the Reformers protested its practice of buying and selling of God’s grace through indulgences. Backed into a corner, the  Council of Trent added the apocryphal books to its canon of Scripture. Rome now declares there is scriptural support for purgatory in the apocryphal book of Second Maccabees. The council ignored the fact that the Jewish scribes never recognized the apocryphal books as inspired or part of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were never included because of their many historical, theological and geographical errors. Since God is not the author of error, He obviously did not inspire the writers of the Apocrypha. This is why the Apocrypha was never included in the original canon of 66 books.

The apocryphal verses Rome uses to defend its doctrine of Purgatory refer to Jewish soldiers who died wearing pagan amulets around their necks. Judas Maccabees “sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead…Judas hoped that these men who died fighting for the cause of God and religion, might find mercy: either because they might be excused from mortal sin by ignorance; or might have repented of their sin, at least at their death. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Maccabees 12:43-46). Rome argues that since Judas Maccabees prayed for the dead, there must be hope for those who die in sin. This of course, goes directly against God’s Word which declares, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:22). Rome’s attempt to give credence to Purgatory by using this ungodly practice of the Jews, who had a history of disobeying God, is pathetic.

In another attempt to find support for Purgatory, many Catholics point to this verse: “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). Clearly, the context of this verse is the testing of a man’s works by fire. The works that survive are the ones done for the glory of Christ and are called gold, silver and precious stones (Eph. 2:10). All the other superfluous works are burned in fire and are called wood, hay and stubble. It is not man’s sins that are being purged, it is man’s spurious works that are being burned and destroyed.

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Mike Gendron:

Biblical Support for Purgatory
There is absolutely none! In fact, neither the word nor the concept of sin-purifying fire is found in Scripture. The Vatican was confronted with this in the 16th century when the Reformers protested its practice of buying and selling of God’s grace through indulgences. Backed into a corner, the  Council of Trent added the apocryphal books to its canon of Scripture. Rome now declares there is scriptural support for purgatory in the apocryphal book of Second Maccabees. The council ignored the fact that the Jewish scribes never recognized the apocryphal books as inspired or part of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were never included because of their many historical, theological and geographical errors. Since God is not the author of error, He obviously did not inspire the writers of the Apocrypha. This is why the Apocrypha was never included in the original canon of 66 books.

John Martignoni:

First, he states that there is “absolutely” no biblical support for Purgatory, but then in the next two paragraphs he goes on to give a couple of biblical passages that support Purgatory.  How can he say there is no biblical support for Purgatory when he himself cites biblical passages that Catholics believe support the teaching on Purgatory?  Would it not be more honest to say that there are a number of biblical passages that Catholics cite in support of the teaching on Purgatory, but that his biased fallible interpretation of those passages disagrees with the Catholic interpretation of those passages?  That is the more accurate and honest way to describe the situation.

We’ll look at some of those passages below, including the ones cited by Mr. Gendron, and see if there is indeed “absolutely” no biblical support for Purgatory whatsoever.  But, before we get to that, let’s look at Gendron’s claim that Rome “added” the “apocryphal books” (the deuterocanon – Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1st & 2nd Maccabees) to the Bible at the Council of Trent, in order to be able to claim biblical support for Purgatory (2nd Macc 12:42-45).  Gendron claimed: “This is why the Apocrypha was never included in the original canon of 66 books.” His revisionist view of history is that the Catholic Church added those 7 books of the Old Testament to the Catholic bible only after Martin Luther confronted Rome with its lack of biblical evidence for indulgences (Purgatory).  Well, let’s look at the historical documents and see if that is indeed the case.

From the “Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol I,” edited by Jurgens, we see the “Decree of Damasus” (Pope St. Damasus I) from the Council of Rome, in 382 A.D. (1200 years before the Council of Trent supposedly added the deuterocanon to the Catholic bible).  In the Decree of Damasus, the 7 books of the Old Testament that Gendron claimed were not “added” until the Council of Trent, are listed as part of the canon (note: Baruch was initially included as part of Jeremias, as Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe).  Hmmm.  And, if Gendron had bothered to look, he would have found, without too much trouble, that the Latin Vulgate – the official bible of the Catholic Church – which was translated by St. Jerome in the late 4th century, included those 7 books as part of its canon.  And, the Bible Martin Luther used while still a Catholic priest, had those 7 books in it as part of the canon.  And, Martin Luther admitted to throwing out those books from the bible as part of his rebellion against the Church.  So, Gendron’s claim that, “This is why the Apocrypha was never included in the original canon of 66 books,” is absolutely false.  And he is absolutely wrong in his claim that the Council of Trent added those books to the Bible.  I call on him to correct this falsehood on his website.  But, he won’t, because he doesn’t seem to be interested in the truth, he is only interested in making the Catholic Church look bad, and if it means having to not be as honest as he could be, well, so be it….

Furthermore, he states that the “Jewish scribes never recognized the apocryphal books as inspired or part of the Hebrew Scriptures.”  This, again, is a false claim.  How does he explain, for example, the Septuagint – the Greek language version of the Old Testament – which was put together by “Jewish scribes” and which contains the deuterocanonical books, and from which two-thirds of the Old Testament quotes in the New Testament come?  Plus, the Septuagint was indeed accepted by most of the Jews of the Diaspora (outside of Israel) as their Scriptures.  Besides, the fact that the deuterocanon was not accepted by “Jewish scribes,” according to Mr. Gendron, is not a very good argument for a Christian to make.  After all, the “Jewish scribes” did not accept any of the books of the New Testament as part of their Scripture either.  Does Mr. Gendron, to be consistent in his reasoning, then reject the New Testament books?

So, since 2 Maccabees was indeed part of the “original canon” of 73 books of the bible, we can indeed claim that it provides biblical support for the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. After all, if there is only Heaven or Hell, then it is completely useless to pray for the dead.  Prayer is not needed for those in Heaven.  Prayer does nothing for those in Hell. Prayers for the dead imply that there is a place, or state of being, other than Heaven or Hell.

Mike Gendron:

The apocryphal verses Rome uses to defend its doctrine of Purgatory refer to Jewish soldiers who died wearing pagan amulets around their necks. Judas Maccabees “sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead…Judas hoped that these men who died fighting for the cause of God and religion, might find mercy: either because they might be excused from mortal sin by ignorance; or might have repented of their sin, at least at their death. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Maccabees 12:43-46). Rome argues that since Judas Maccabees prayed for the dead, there must be hope for those who die in sin. This of course, goes directly against God’s Word which declares, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:22). Rome’s attempt to give credence to Purgatory by using this ungodly practice of the Jews, who had a history of disobeying God, is pathetic.

John Martignoni:

This is a perfect example of either Mike Gendron’s complete and total ignorance of Catholic teaching on Purgatory or his deliberate and willful distortion of Catholic teaching on Purgatory.  Do you see what he says in this paragraph that betrays him?  He uses Heb 9:22 to try and say the practice of praying for the dead is contrary to Scripture.  But, what exactly is it in Heb 9:22 that actually contradicts the doctrine of Purgatory or the practice of praying for the dead?  Answer: NOTHING!  Hebrews 9:22 states that after death, comes judgment.  Catholics believe and teach that.  When a person dies, they receive their particular judgment – either they are headed to Heaven or to Hell.  Purgatory has absolutely nothing to do with judgment, however.  Purgatory has to do with the final purification of a soul AFTER it has already been judged as being just.  So, Heb 9:22 in no way, shape, or form contradicts the doctrine of Purgatory.  Mike Gendron’s use of this verse to deny Purgatory is ignorant at best, malicious at worst.

Let’s re-visit the doctrine of Purgatory as taught by the Catholic Church: 1) “All who die in God’s grace [the just] and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1030.)  2) Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.  (Catholic Encyclopedia, article on Purgatory, http://www.newadvent.org.)  In other words, Purgatory has nothing to do with judgment, it pertains to a final purification of a just soul after it has received judgment.

Mike Gendron has read the Catechism and he has read the article on Purgatory found in the Catholic Encyclopedia, yet he still apparently does not “get it.”  Or, rather, he “gets it,” but accurately portraying Catholic teaching on Purgatory does not suit his purposes, so he chooses not to do it.

And, addressing 2 Maccabees 12 again, we see that it does, with its teaching on prayer for the dead, in fact provide biblical support for the doctrine of Purgatory.

Mike Gendron:

In another attempt to find support for Purgatory, many Catholics point to this verse: “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). Clearly, the context of this verse is the testing of a man’s works by fire. The works that survive are the ones done for the glory of Christ and are called gold, silver and precious stones (Eph. 2:10). All the other superfluous works are burned in fire and are called wood, hay and stubble. It is not man’s sins that are being purged, it is man’s spurious works that are being burned and destroyed.

John Martignoni:

First of all, let’s note that Mike Gendron is apparently making an infallible pronouncement on what the passage from 1 Cor 3:10-15 means.  A fallible man making an infallible pronouncement.  Sorry, Mike, but not only do you not have the authority to make an infallible pronouncement as to what any particular passage of Scripture means, but your interpretation is: 1) fairly ridiculous upon examination; and, 2) doesn’t actually respond to the Catholic argument regarding this verse.

1) Ridiculous interpretation: According to Gendron, “It is not man’s sins that are being purged, it is man’s spurious works that are being burned and destroyed.”  What does “spurious” mean?  It means false, or bogus.  Well, what else could we call a spurious or false or bogus work?  I think the word “sin” would fit most appropriately, don’t you?  After all, I think we could all agree that a “spurious” work is definitely not a good work, right?  So, if it’s not a good work, then it must be a bad work – it must be a morally bad work.  Why else is it being burned up and why else does man “suffer” because of it?

Does man suffer for morally good works?  No.  Does he suffer for morally neutral works?  No.  Does he suffer for morally bad works?  Indeed he does.  What is another name for a morally bad work?  Sin.  So, Gendron’s classification of these works as being “spurious” works vs. being sins, is a distinction without a difference.  It’s a distraction from the fact that he has no real answer to this passage, so he makes up “spurious” distinctions.  Can Gendron give us some examples of these “spurious” works that are “burned in fire?”

Plus, isn’t Gendron himself essentially admitting that this “burning in fire” of man’s spurious works is purifying man from his “spurious” works?  What else would you call the process described here if not a purification?  What is going on in Purgatory?  Purification.  Which leads to my second point…

2) Not answering the Catholic argument: So, Mr. Gendron, exactly where is it that man’s work is “burned in fire” and they suffer loss, yet are still saved?  Where exactly does this purification take place?  Heaven?  No, no purification is necessary once you reach Heaven.  Hell?  No, no purification is possible once you enter Hell.  Where then is this purification of man taking place, Mr. Gendron?

Furthermore, if Gendron’s once saved always saved sola fide theology is true, then where exactly does what is happening in 1 Cor 3:10-15, fit into that theology?  He admits that this purification is taking place, but he doesn’t tell us why it is taking place.  Why does there need to be this purification at all?  Isn’t the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross enough?  What is this purification by fire of a man’s “spurious” works all about?  I mean, if a man has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, thus entering the rank of the “saved,” and he’s going to Heaven no matter what, then why does he have to later be purified of his spurious works?  I’m really confused…

Okay, now let’s look at some of the “Catholic” verses of Scripture that support the Church’s teaching on Purgatory:

2 Sam 12:13-18, “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’  And Nathan said to David, ‘the Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.’  And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became sick…On the seventh day the child died.”  Principle #1 – there is punishment for sin even after one has received forgiveness. See also Numbers 20:12 (Moses and Aaron being denied entrance into the Promised Land); Gen 3:16-19 (woman has increased pain in childbirth; man eats by the sweat of his brow)

Rev 21:27, “But nothing unclean shall enter it…”  The New Jerusalem – Heaven.  Principle #2 – nothing unclean, nothing with the stain of sin, will enter Heaven.  Mt 5:48, “You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  That’s because of Principle #2 – nothing unclean will get into Heaven.

Heb 12:22-23, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living god, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”  The spirits of just men, made perfect.  Principle #3 – there is a way, a process, through which the spirits of the “just” are “made perfect”.

1 Cor 3:13-15, “…each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day [judgment day] will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  Where is this place that a man, after he dies, suffers loss, as through fire, but is still saved.  Hell – once you’re in Hell, you don’t get out.  Heaven – you don’t suffer loss in Heaven.  Hmmm…must be somewhere else.  Principle #4 – there is a place other than Heaven or Hell.

Mt 12:32, “And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”  Implies forgiveness in the age to come.  Where can you go to be forgiven in the age to come?  Heaven?  You don’t need forgiveness.  Hell?  There is no forgivenss.

Mt 18:32-35, “Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’  And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”  Where can you go, that is like jail, until you have paid your debt?  Heaven?  Hell?

Rev 20:13-14, “And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them…[Hades? We know Hades isn’t Hell because of the next verse]…Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.”  The lake of fire is Hell.  So, Hades is some place besides Heaven and Hell.  Again, Principle #4 – there is a place besides Heaven and Hell.

So, let’s summarize these four principles: There is punishment for sin even after one has received forgiveness.  We have to be perfect as the Father is perfect, because nothing unclean will enter Heaven.  There is some way, or process, by which the spirits of the just are made perfect.  There is a place besides Heaven or Hell where you can suffer loss, yet be saved, but only as through fire; and where you can be forgiven of sins from a previous age; and where you will not get out until you have paid your entire debt.  Hmmm.

Principle #5 – there are several Scripture passages that simply make no sense in a Heaven and Hell only theology.  For instance, James 5:20, “Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”  Cover a multitude of sins?   1 Ptr 4:8, “Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  There it is again.  Something that we do, that covers a multitude of sins.  Wait a minute.  If Jesus did all there is to do in terms of payment for sin, then how can we do something that covers a multitude of sins?  Unless…unless, there is a penalty for sin, even after we have been forgiven, as we saw with King David, and if we cooperate with Jesus in our redemption, we can “cover” the penalty for our sins by bringing sinners back to the truth and by loving others.

Col 1:24, “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…”  How can Paul suffer for our sake?  And, how in the world can he complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions?  Is there something lacking in Christ’s afflictions?  Like the previous two verses, this verse makes no sense in a Heaven and Hell only theological system.

Finally, Heb 12:14, “Strive for peace with all men and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  We have to be holy in order to see the Lord (be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect), and if we are not perfectly holy at the moment we die – and most people will admit that they are not perfectly holy at the present moment – then there must be some way that those who are in a state of grace (saved), but not yet perfected, can be perfected.  As Catholics, we call that process of being perfected after death – Purgatory.

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 7

Posted: December 7, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

From http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron 

The Motivation for Purgatory

Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.

Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

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Mike Gendron:
The Motivation for PurgatoryOver the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire. The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory. When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican. 

John Martignoni:

Let’s take this sentence by sentence: “Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from imaginary sufferings in Purgatory’s fire.” Let’s re-phrase this sentence to make it more accurate: Over the centuries, potentially billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests for Mass stipends as priests offered literally millions of Masses for the sanctification of the dead.  Just as Job offered sacrifice for the sanctification of his sons (Job 1:5) and Judas Maccabeus took up a collection and sent it to Jerusalem to provide a sin offering for the atonement of the dead (2 Macc 12:43-45), so we ask our priests to offer sacrifice for our dead.  Mr. Gendron is upset over a practice of the Catholic Church that is fully supported by Scripture.

Has a lot of money, in total, come into the pockets of the priests over the centuries as a result of them saying Masses for the dead?  Absolutely.  But what is Mr. Gendron ignoring with his accusation?  Well, first, he is ignoring the fact that these “billions of dollars” went to literally millions and millions of priests.  In other words, no priest is getting rich, which is the underlying contention of Mr. Gendron’s statement, from Mass stipends.   Plus, money earned from stipends often goes not into the priest’s private bank account, it often goes to help pay for the cost to the parish of having a funeral – paying the cantor, the organist, paying for electricity, and so on.  But, compare what a priest makes from a Mass stipend (usual stipend that I’m aware of is $5 or so) to what Mr. Gendron charges for preaching salvation to people – it pales in comparison.  Also, when the stipends go to a religious order, they go straight to providing for the good works these orders are doing – providing food, shelter, clothing, medicine, education, and more for the poor, and quite often for the poorest of the poor.

What else is Mr. Gendron ignoring?  The fact that if a priest does keep money from a Mass stipend for his personal use, it goes to support the priest’s physical well-being – to provide food, shelter, clothes, etc. for the priest.  Is that contrary to Scripture, Mr. Gendron?  Don’t think so.  Does not Scripture say, “For the laborer is worthy of his wage,” (Luke 10:7; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” (1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18) and, “If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits,” (1 Cor 9:11)?

So, let me offer a parallel to Mr. Gendron’s statement: Over the past 5 centuries, tens of billions of dollars have been paid to Protestant ministers (and lay people such as Mike Gendron) to preach a false doctrine of salvation (sola fide), and to hold non-scriptural altar calls, and many Protestant ministers have gotten materially rich from preaching this false doctrine of salvation, and by giving millions upon millions of people a false sense of security in regard to their salvation.

Next sentence from Mr. Gendron:  “The Catholic clergy has always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money.”  This is a patently false and absurd statement.  There may have been a short time where some members of the clergy, contrary to Catholic teaching, “sold” indulgences, but it has never been a teaching of the Catholic Church that indulgences could be sold.  If it happened, it was an abuse of Catholic teaching.  One does not “buy” an indulgence.  Furthermore, I, personally, have never heard of “purchasing” a novena.  Regarding the buying of Mass cards – providing a stipend to a priest for saying a Mass on behalf of the dead – that was dealt with above.  As far as, “providing gifts of money,” to shorten the period of suffering in Purgatory, I ask Mr. Gendron to provide evidence that this has “always” been taught by the “Catholic clergy.”  Mr. Gendron, please give the papal encyclical, Council documents, or paragraph in the Catechism where this claim of yours can be found?  Have you noticed, folks, that in the other paragraphs he at least quoted Catholic sources – out of context, but at least he mentioned them – yet in these two paragraphs he doesn’t even try to quote a single Catholic source – even out of context!  He is taking a biblical principle – that those who provide spiritual services to people deserve to be compensated for those services – and basically saying it does not apply to the Catholic clergy, and he is, quite simply, just making a lot of this garbage up.

Next sentence from Mr. Gendron: “When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased’s punishment in Purgatory.” Notice his use of the word, “extracted,” as if it is an act of extortion or some such thing.  Again, Mr. Gendron shows his bias and bigotry towards the Catholic Church.  His comments can in no way be described as being fair and objective, which is what a self-professed Christian should strive for.  First of all, as far as I know, no priest comes to the family of the deceased and says, “For a Mass stipend of $xxx, I will say a Mass to get your loved one out of Purgatory early.”  I have never, ever, heard of such a thing.  The stipend for a Mass is offered voluntarily by the family, out of gratitude for the priest’s service to them and according to the scriptural principle mentioned above, “The laborer is worthy of his wage.”  It is never “extracted” from the “mourning loved ones.”

Next Gendron sentence: “When my dear old dad passed away as a devout Catholic of 79 years, I was amazed at the hundreds of Mass cards purchased for him by well-meaning friends. Mr. Gendron, when your “dear old dad” died (may God rest his soul), did the priest come to you and tell you that he would not say a funeral Mass for your dad until you paid a certain amount of money?  Please let the world know how much money the priest “extracted” from you before he would say a funeral Mass for your dad.  Surely this happened to you since you say it is the common practice of the Catholic clergy.  You must have experienced it personally, right?  Well, let us know how much money they “extracted” from you before they said your dad’s funeral Mass.

More from Gendron: “We have heard of other Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. As if giving all of your money to the Church is a horrible thing?  I guess it’s okay if Protestants do it, but not if Catholics do it.  And, I wonder if Mr. Gendron would turn down the money if someone willed their entire estate to him?  I seriously doubt it.

More from Gendron: “It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God’s grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.”  Here, again, we run into the myth of the wealth of the Vatican.  The Vatican is getting rich from all of these Mass stipends.  Really?!  I don’t know of a single penny that goes to the Vatican from the average Mass stipend.  Mr. Gendron, could you please trace the path of the money for us?  Can you give us your sources for this statement?  No, you can’t, can you?  Sorry, but that money pretty much stays at the local parish or in the particular religious congregation.  For more on the myth of the “wealth” of the Vatican, I would ask the reader to check out Issue #49 on the “Newsletter” page of our website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), where that particular topic is covered in more detail.

Mike Gendron:

Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!

John Martignoni:

This paragraph is about as ridiculous as something can get.  One billion plus Catholics being “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory.  I ask Mr. Gendron, as I did before, if he felt “controlled” by the doctrine of Purgatory when he was Catholic?  Was it Purgatory and Purgatory alone that kept him Catholic…that caused him to be “enslaved” by the Catholic Church? Gendron makes it seem that Purgatory is the one thing that keeps Catholics Catholic, and it does so by fomenting fear among Catholics.  Yet, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, with some 2865 paragraphs, the doctrine of Purgatory is contained in all of three (3) of those paragraphs.  I find it odd that the one doctrine which the Church uses to enslave its people gets such short shrift in the Catechism, don’t you?  I also find it odd that there is a complete lack of personal testimony from Mr. Gendron about how he felt “enslaved” by Purgatory and about how much money was extorted from him by the Catholic clergy in return for them saying a funeral Mass for his dad.  Come on, Mike, tell us your personal experiences in these regards.

Finally, the statement: Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception! My older brother died about 15 years ago.  My father died 8 years ago.  I do not have a “dreadful fear and uncertainty” regarding their ultimate fate that causes me to keep pouring money into the coffers of the Vatican, as Mr. Gendron claims.  I don’t know of any Catholics that do in regard to their deceased loved ones.  Oh, there is concern for the fate of the loved ones, especially when the loved ones did not appear to be living a very holy life, but “dreadful fear” that results in a ruthless “religious bondage?!”  Absolutely not.  The Church, on the contrary, teaches us that God is in control, and teaches us to turn any concern over the fate of our loved ones over to the mercy of God.  Besides, Mr. Gendron seems to be ignorant of the fact that the “Catholic clergy” cannot tell anyone the number of “years” someone has to suffer for their sins in Purgatory, because there is no time in Purgatory.  Purgatory is outside of time.  There are no “years” in Purgatory.  Furthermore, does Mr. Gendron not believe that it is God and God alone who can judge when someone is deserving of Heaven?  Why does he “blame” the Catholic clergy for not being able to judge what God alone can judge?

 

“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,”

Posted: November 25, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

“My Flesh Is Real Food”
Here’s a brief, step by step way to explain the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

By Tim Staples

Scenario:

You’re at the annual family reunion barbecue. In the midst of the fun you overhear your cousin Mark (who left the Church in college and now attends a Fundamentalist Baptist church) arguing heatedly about religion with several of your Catholic relatives. He’s got his Bible out and is vigorously explaining why the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is “unbiblical.” “You don’t really believe that you eat Jesus when you receive Communion, do you?” he rolls his eyes, shaking his head at the very thought. “It’s obvious from Scripture that Jesus was speaking symbolically when He talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He didn’t mean that literally.” Your relatives are no match for Mark’s energy and confidence. And besides, they don’t have Bibles with them, so he’s pretty much in charge of the conversation, that is, until you walk over and with a big smile you ask, “Mark, if I can show you from the Bible that your argument is wrong and that Christ did teach that He is really present in the Eucharist, will you come back to the Catholic Church?” Mark’s sermon stops in mid syllable. He grins and shakes his head. “There is no way you can prove that from the Bible. And besides, you’re a Catholic. Your doctrines don’t come from the Bible, anyway.”

Your response:

“Well, we’ll see about that. But please answer my question. If I can show you from the Bible that the Catholic teaching is true, will you come back to the Church?” “Heck yeah,” he snorts, confident your proposition is one he can’t lose. “Go ahead and try. But first, answer me this: In John 10:1, Jesus said He is a ‘door.’ Do you believe He has hinges and a doorknob on His body? In John 15:1, Jesus said He is a ‘vine.’ Do you take Him literally there? If not, why do you take His words literally in John 6 where He talked about His flesh and blood being like food and drink? You Catholics are inconsistent.”

Step One:

Explain that if Jesus was not speaking literally in John 6 (“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,” etc.), He would have been a poor teacher. After all, everyone listening to Him speak those words understood that He meant them literally. They responded, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” In the cases of Jesus saying He is a “door” or a “vine,” we find no one asking, “How can this man be a door made out of wood?” or, “How can this man claim to be a plant?” It was clear from the context and the Lord’s choice of words in those passages that He was speaking metaphorically. But in John 6 He was speaking literally. In John 6:41, the Jews “murmured” about Christ’s teaching precisely because it was so literal. Christ certainly knew they were having difficulty imagining that He was speaking literally, but rather than explain His meaning as simply a metaphor, He emphasized His teaching, saying, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Why would Christ reinforce the literal sense in the minds of His listeners if He meant His words figuratively? Now point out how the Lord dealt with other situations where His listeners misunderstood the meaning of His words. In each case, He cleared up the misunderstanding. For example, the disciples were confused about His statement, “I have meat to eat that you know not of” (John 4:32). They thought he was speaking about physical food, real meat. But He quickly cleared up the misunderstanding with the clarification, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, that I may perfect his work” (Matt. 4:34; cf. 16:5-12). Back to John 6. Notice that the Jews argued among themselves about the meaning of Christ’s words. He reiterated the literal meaning again: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you” (verses 53-54). In verse 61 we see that no longer was it just the wider audience but “the disciples” themselves who were having difficulty with this radical statement. Surely, if Christ were speaking purely symbolically, it’s reasonable to expect that He would clear up the difficulty even if just among His disciples. But He doesn’t. He stands firm and asks, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” (Verse 62-63). Did Christ “symbolically” ascend into heaven after the Resurrection? No. As we see in Acts 1:9-10, His ascension was literal. This is the one and only place in the New Testament where people abandon Christ over one of His teachings. Rather than try to correct any mistaken understanding of His words, the Lord asks His Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” (verse 67). His Apostles knew He was speaking literally. St. Paul emphasizes the truth of the Real Presence: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord . . . .Whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of the Lord’s body and blood, then St. Paul’s words here make no sense. For how can one be “guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” if it’s merely a symbol? This Greek phrase for being “guilty of someone’s body and blood” (enokos estai tou somatos kai tou haimatos tou kuriou) is a technical way of saying “guilty of murder.” If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of Christ, not Christ Himself, this warning would be drastically, absurdly overblown.

Step Two:

Next point out the fact that the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Holy Eucharist was a doctrine believed and taught unanimously by the Church since the time of Christ. The Catholic “literal” sense was always and only the sense in which the early Christians understood Christ’s words in John 6. The “figurative” or “metaphorical” sense was never held by the Church Fathers or other early orthodox Christians. This can be proven not just by appealing to the writings of the Fathers, but also by the fact that ancient Christian traditions such as the Copts and the Orthodox Churches also hold and teach the doctrine of the Real Presence, just as the Catholic Church does. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle and successor of St. Peter as bishop of Antioch, wrote: “They [the heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again” (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6 [A.D. 107]).

Even Martin Luther himself admitted that the early Church was unanimous in the literal interpretation of Christ’s words in John 6: “Who, but the devil, hath granted such license of wresting the words of holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures that my body is the same as the sign of my body?. . . It is only the devil, that imposeth upon us by these fanatical men. . .Not one of the Fathers, though so numerous, ever spoke [thus] . . . they are all of them unanimous.”

Step Three:

You can make your case another way. Say, for the sake of argument, that Christ intended His words in John 6 to be understood metaphorically. Even if this were granted, the anti-Catholic argument your cousin Mark is using still falls apart. Here’s why: The phrases “eat flesh” and “drink blood” did indeed have a symbolic meaning in the Hebrew language and culture of our Lord’s time. You can demonstrate this by quoting passages such as Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6,16. In each case, we find “eating flesh” and “drinking blood” used as metaphors to mean “to persecute,” “to do violence to,” “to assault,” or “to murder.” Now, if Christ were speaking metaphorically, the Jews would have understood him to be making an absured statement: “Unless you persecute and assault Me, you shall not have life in you. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you do violence to Me and kill Me, you shall not have life within you.” Besides being an absurd understanding of these words, there’s one further problem with the “metaphorical” view: Jesus would have been encouraging- exhorting!- His hearers to commit violent mortal sins. If it were immoral, in any sense, for Christ to promise to give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, then he could not have command us to even symbolically eat and drink His body and blood. Even symbolically performing an immoral act is of its very nature immoral. You can see your explanations are hitting home, but you’re not done yet. Mark still has a few arguments left. “Look,” he sighs. “You haven’t convinced me. After all, Jesus Himself said in John 6:63 that He wasn’t speaking literally: ‘It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ How do you get around that?”

Your response:

The word “spirit” (Greek: pnuema) is never used anywhere in Scripture to mean “symbolic.” John 4:24 says God is “spirit” (pneuma). Does that mean He is “symbolic?” Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are “spirit” (pneuma). Are angels merely symbols? Of course not. You can multiply the examples of the constant use of the word “spirit” as a literal, not figurative, reality. Now point out that sarx, the Greek term for “flesh,” is sometimes used in the New Testament to describe the condition of our fallen human nature apart from God’s grace. For example, St. Paul says that if we are “in the flesh,” we cannot please God (cf. Rom. 8:1-14). He also reminds us that, “the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it because it is judged spiritually” (1 Cor. 2:14). Remind Mark that it doesn’t require grace to look at Communion as just grape juice and crackers. It does, however, require faith and “spiritual judgment” to see and believe Christ’s promise that He would give us His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine. The one who is “in the flesh,” operating in the realm of mere natural understanding, won’t see this truth. Your cousin has a comeback ready. “But Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’ I believe this means that coming to Him is what He really means by “eating” and believing in Him is what He really means by “drinking.” Not so. Point out that “coming to” and “believing in” Christ are definite requirements for having this life He promises, but not the only ones. It would, after all, be a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist without believing (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-29). But this doesn’t erase the fact that Christ repeatedly said, “My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink.” This literal dimension of the passage can’t be explained away by appealing to “coming” and “believing.” To do that would be to make the mistake of focusing solely on just one aspect of the Lord’s teaching and ignoring the rest of it. Mark is starting to look a little uncomfortable. You’re still smiling. He’s not. “Wait!” he says. “Leviticus 17:10 condemns eating blood. There’s no way Jesus would contradict this. He would have been encouraging cannibalism if He really meant for us to eat His body and drink His blood. That would be immoral.”

Step Four:

Acknowledge that Leviticus 17:10 indeed condemns “eating blood.” Then say, “If we’re going to be consistent with the Levitical Law, then we must also perform animal sacrifices – lambs, pigeons, turrtledoves- according to Leviticus 12:8. But as Christians, we are not under the Levitical Law. We’re under the ‘law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus'” (Rom. 8:2). Hebrews 7:11-12 tells us the Levitical Law has passed away with the advent of the New Covenant. A New Testament commandment always abrogates an Old Testament commandment. For example, in Matthew 5, the Lord repeatedly uses the formula, “You have heard that it was said (quoting an Old Testament law), But I say unto you . . .” In each instance, Christ supercedes the Old Testament law with a new commandment of His own, such as the commandment against divorce and remarriage, overagainst Moses’ allowance for it in Deuteronomy 24:1 (cf. Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). This is what we see in John 6. The blood prohibition in Leviticus 17:11-12 was replaced by Christ’s new teaching in John 6:54: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.” Eating blood was prohibitted in the Old Testament, “Because the life of the flesh is found in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Blood is sacred and the life of each creature is in its blood. Many pagans thought they could acquire “more” life by ingesting the blood of an animal or even a human being. But obviously this was foolish. No animal or human person has the capacity to do this. But in the case of Christ, it’s different. John 6:54 tells us that our eternal life depends on His blood: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.”

Step Five:

By now Cousin Mark has run out of things to say. Rather than hold him to his promise to become Catholic on the spot, give him a hug, tell him you’re praying for his return to the Church and that he’s always welcome to come home. Then go get another helping of Aunt Mary’s potato salad. You’ve earned it.

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 6

Posted: November 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

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

Mike Gendron:

The Deception of Purgatory

Purgatory comes from the Latin word “purgare,” which means to make clean or to purify. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines purgatory as “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” They must be purified of these “venial” sins before they can be allowed into heaven. Here we see Catholicism perpetuating the seductive lie of Satan by declaring “you will not surely die” when you commit venial sins (Gen. 3:4). The Council of Trent dares to declare that “God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction and will punish sin…The sinner, failing to do penance in this life, may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.” (Session 15, Can. XI). Those Catholic Bishops had the audacity to declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.

John Martignoni

He correctly quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia, and then notice what he does: He inserts his own meaning into that quote.  He decides, based on his bias towards, and hatred of, the Catholic Faith, that the Catholic teaching on Purgatory means that we are agreeing with the devil when he told Eve, “You will not die,” if she ate of the fruit of the tree that God told her and Adam not to eat from.

First of all, I am not following the logic here.  How is saying that you need to be completely purified of even the smallest sins before you enter Heaven, the equivalent of telling the same lie as the devil told Eve in the Garden?  That makes no sense.  Is Mr. Gendron saying that we don’t need to be purified of venial sins before we enter Heaven?  If so, then he is saying that something unclean can get into Heaven, which is contrary to Rev 21:27, which states that nothing unclean shall enter it?  Who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?

Or, is he saying this because he contends that Catholics are wrong to teach that venial sins will not cause one to lose their salvation?   If so, then again he goes contrary to Scripture which states very clearly, “There is sin which is mortal [unto death (KJV)]…All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal [unto death].”  The Bible makes it very clear that there is sin which does not lead to death, or loss of one’s salvation.  Is Mr. Gendron denying this?  Well, he seems to be.  So, who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?

He then goes on to quote the Council of Trent when it said that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin along with the guilt of that sin.  And what does he do after he quotes a Catholic source?  He injects his own personal, fallible, biased, and bigoted interpretation into what that source said.  He marvels that the Catholic bishops at the Council of Trent would have the “audacity” to “declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.”

Uhmm, Mike…that’s not what they said.  Those are your words, Mike, not those of the Council of Trent.  When the Council of Trent said that God does not always remit the “whole punishment” due to sin along with the “guilt” of that sin, all they were doing was verbalizing a pretty obvious fact found in the Bible.  For example, when Moses disobeyed God, he was subsequently forgiven by God, right?  But, was all of the punishment due to that sin remitted at the moment Moses’ was forgiven?  According to Mr. Gendron beliefs it had to have been, but the Bible tells us no, it was not.  Moses was punished by God, even after being forgiven by God, by not being allowed to enter into the Promised Land.  So, even though the whole guilt of Moses sin was fully forgiven, the whole punishment was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated.

Another example is David’s affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband.  We see in 2 Samuel 12:13-18 that God “puts away David’s sin,” which means that David was fully forgiven of his sin.  So, according to Mr. Gendron, the whole punishment due to David’s sin was remitted at the very moment David was forgiven by God.  Yet, in the Bible, we see that the whole punishment due to David’s sin was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated.  Mr. Gendron, do you have these stories in your Bible?

Also, has the full punishment due because of Adam’s original sin been remitted?  According to Mr. Gendron, it has.  Which is why we are all right now back in the Garden of Eden, right?!  Not quite.  Read God’s words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.  Is woman still bringing forth children in pain?  Is man still having to toil to eat of the produce of the ground?  Oh yes they are.

Another thing to consider, the New Testament tells us that by bringing someone back from the error of their ways, and that through love, we will “cover a multitude of sins,” (James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 4:8).  I doubt Mr. Gendron has ever considered those passages, or if he’s even seen them.  How can our love “cover a mulitude of sins,” if the whole punishment due to sin is remitted at the exact same time the sin is forgiven?  In what way, Mr. Gendron, can we cover our sins, or “hide” them as the King James Version (KJV) states in James 5:20, if we play no role whatsoever in the remission of the punishment due to our sins?  Hey, that sounds like a good question for my “Questions Protestants Can’t Answer” series.

The Catholic Bishops at the Council of Trent did not teach then, nor has the Catholic Church ever taught, “that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin,” as Mr. Gendron falsely claims.  Christ paid the full price for the guilt of our sins.  He is the only one who could ever pay that price for our sins.  However, Divine Justice demands that we contribute what we are able, by the grace of God, to the remission of the punishment that is due to those sins, either in this life or in the next.

We do not obtain forgiveness of our sins through our efforts – Jesus is the only one Who can do that for us – but we can contribute to the remission of the punishment due to our sins.  This is why Scripture says that we can indeed cover a multitude of sins through our love, or through bringing someone back from the error of their ways.  And, we can say, as Paul said, that we “rejoice in our sufferings” and that “in [our] flesh we complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the church,” (Colosssians 1:24).  Was something “lacking” in Christ’s suffering?  Not in and of itself, but what is lacking is our participation in that suffering.  That is why we have to pick up our cross daily to follow Him (Luke 9:23).

That’s it for now, I’ve got to go catch a plane.  More on Gendron and Purgatory in the next issue…

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 5

Posted: November 12, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

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

Mike Gendron:

Purgatory: Purifying Fire or Fatal Fable

Catholics who believe a purifying fire will purge away their sins are deluded victims of a fatal fabrication. The invention of a place for purification of sins called Purgatory is one of the most seductive attractions of the Roman Catholic religion. Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church described this deceptive hoax brilliantly. He said: “Purgatory is what makes the whole system work. Take out Purgatory and it’s a hard sell to be a Catholic. Purgatory is the safety net, when you die, you don’t go to hell. You go [to Purgatory] and get things sorted out and finally get to heaven if you’ve been a good Catholic. In the Catholic system you can never know you’re going to heaven. You just keep trying and trying…in a long journey toward perfection. Well, it’s pretty discouraging. People in that system are guilt-ridden, fear-ridden and have no knowledge of whether or not they’re going to get into the Kingdom. If there’s no Purgatory, there’s no safety net to catch me and give me some opportunity to get into heaven. It’s a second chance, it’s another chance after death” (from “The Pope and the Papacy”).

The Origin of Purgatory

There was no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church. However, when Roman Emperor Theodosius (379-395) decreed that Christianity was to be the official religion of the empire, thousands of pagans flooded into the Church and brought their pagan beliefs and traditions with them. One of those ancient pagan beliefs was a place of purification where souls went to make satisfaction for their sins.

The concept became much more widespread around 600 A.D. due to the fanaticism of Pope Gregory the Great. He developed the doctrine through visions and revelations of a Purgatorial fire. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE), Pope Gregory said Catholics “will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames,” and “the pain [is] more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life.” Centuries later, at the Council of Florence (1431), it was pronounced an infallible dogma. It was later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1564). The dogma is based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history. “So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity” (CE). It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Mike Gendron:

The Origin of Purgatory

There was no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church. However, when Roman Emperor Theodosius (379-395) decreed that Christianity was to be the official religion of the empire, thousands of pagans flooded into the Church and brought their pagan beliefs and traditions with them. One of those ancient pagan beliefs was a place of purification where souls went to make satisfaction for their sins.

John Martignoni

I commented on the 1st paragraph of Gendron’s article in the last issue (#141) which you can find on the “Newsletter” page of our website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), so I’ll start with “The Origin of Purgatory” in this issue.

Okay, what’s the first thing wrong with what he says here?  He’s arguing from silence.  He states that there is “no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church.”  My response is, “So what!?”  First of all, do we have every single thing that was written by Christians during the first two centuries of the Church?  Not hardly.

Second of all, if he is going to offer the supposed silence of the early Church (as found or not found, I assume, in early Christian writings) as proof that the doctrine of Purgatory is a false doctrine, then he would also have to believe that salvation by faith alone (Sola Fide) is a false doctrine, so also Sola Scriptura (Scripture as the sole rule of faith for Christians), so also Once Saved Always Saved, so also individual interpretation of Scripture, so also Baptism as being merely symbolic, and many other doctrines that Mr. Gendron holds near and dear.  Nowhere are any of these beliefs of Mr. Gendron mentioned in the early centuries by the Church (nor in later centuries, either).  Mr. Gendron, I ask you, where in the writings of the early Church do we see the teaching of salvation by faith alone?  We don’t.  That is a dogma formulated by Martin Luther and his “church.”

The next thing wrong with what he says is this: He offers absolutely no back up for his claim that the belief in Purgatory was brought into the Church when “thousands of pagans flooded into the Church” in the late 4th century.  Please Mr. Gendron, can you give us some 4th century source documents that support this claim of yours?  Or, are you relying solely on “tradition” for this belief?  Fact of the matter is, Mr. Gendron is indeed relying on tradition for this statement.  And it’s a tradition that stems from a complete lack of integrity in historical scholarship, or rather, from just a complete lack of historical scholarship period.

Let’s look at a few sources that place the Christian belief in Purgatory before the 379-395 AD timeframe cited by Mr. Gendron.  First of all, we see Tertullian clearly talking about what we call Purgatory, although he called it Hades, in his Treatise on the Soul which was written around 210 AD: “In short, if we understand that prison of which the Gospel speaks to be Hades, and if we interpret the last farthing (see Matt 5:25-26) to be the light offense which is to be expiated there before the resurrection, no one will doubt that the soul undergoes some punishments in Hades….”  Lanctatius offers purgatorial language in The Divine Institutions around 310 AD: “But also when God will judge the just, it is likewise in fire that He will try them.  At that time, they whose sins are uppermost, either because of their gravity or their number, will be drawn together by the fire and burned [Purgatory].  Those, however, who have been imbued with full justice and maturity of virtue, will not feel that fire…”

Also, we have citations of the Christian tradition of praying and offering sacrifices for the dead from before the timeframe cited by Mr. Gendron as to when the “innovation” of Purgatory was first introduced.  These citations are important, because if there is no Purgatory, then Christiian prayers for the dead are useless since if you’re in Hell, prayer is of no avail to you, and if you’re in Heaven, prayer is not necessary for you.  Only if one has a belief in the concept of Purgatory do prayers for the dead make sense.

From the Epitaph of Abercius, who was Bishop of Hierapolis, from about 180 AD: “May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it, pray for Abercius [after his death].”  But why if there is only Heaven or Hell?

Tertullian, from his treatise, The Crown, around 211 AD: “A woman, after the death of her husband…prays for his soul…And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice.”

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, when discussing the Mass in his Catechetical Lectures, around 350 AD, describes the prayers in the Sacred Liturgy: “Next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and of all among us who have already fallen asleep; for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn Sacrifice is laid out.”  How could it possibly benefit the souls of the deceased if there is only Heaven or Hell?

All of which shows, that when one uses actual historical documents, rather than a fabricated history that grows out of bigotry towards the Catholic Church, it is quite easy to show that the Christian belief in Purgatory pre-dates the period that Mr. Gendron claims it was brought into the Church by pagans.  And not only do these actual documents show that Christian belief in the concept of Purgatory pre-dated the timeframe given by Mr. Gendron, but these actual historical documents tend to point to the fact that the belief was widespread and existed in the earliest period of Christianity.

By the way, Mr. Gendron, what Church was it that these “thousands of pagans” came into?  You obviously believe it was the Catholic Church.  So, by your words here, you are, in essence, admitting that the Catholic Church was the original Christian Church, are you not?  So, if the Catholic Church was the original Christian Church, can we not say that it was the Church Jesus was speaking of when He said, “And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it?” (Matt 16:18).  Yet, you believe that the gates of Hell did indeed prevail against it.

Mike Gendron:

The concept became much more widespread around 600 A.D. due to the fanaticism of Pope Gregory the Great. He developed the doctrine through visions and revelations of a Purgatorial fire. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE), Pope Gregory said Catholics “will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames,” and “the pain [is] more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life.” Centuries later, at the Council of Florence (1431), it was pronounced an infallible dogma. It was later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1564). The dogma is based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history. “So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity” (CE). It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines.

John Martignoni

Don’t you love it!?  The “fanaticism” of Pope Gregory the Great.  Again, his claim that this “concept” of Purgatory became much more widespread in the 600’s has already been proven false by the documents I cited earlier.  The concept of Purgatory was already shown to be widespread in the early centuries of the Church.

I also love how he quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE) to show the “fanaticism” of Gregory the Great.  Furthermore, he claims that Pope Gregory “developed” the doctrine through “visions and revelations,” yet offers no source for these claims.  I’m not saying that Gregory didn’t have visions about Purgatory – I don’t know if he did or didn’t – my point is, Mr. Gendron always and everywhere offers no corroboration for his claims.

He then makes the claim that the doctrine of Purgatory is ” based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history,” as if there is absolutely no scriptural evidence for this doctrine.  I ask each of you to go to http://www.newadvent.org, click on the “Encyclopedia” tab, and then look up Purgatory in the Catholic Encyclopedia there.  See if you think Mr. Gendron is being a bit disingenuous in his claim after you read all of the Scripture verses – Old Testament and New – cited in that article.  It’s one thing to disagree with the Church and the Early Church Fathers as to how to interpret this or that Scripture verse, it is something of an entirely different nature to pretend that the Church depends not a whit on Scripture for the certainty of its teaching on this particular doctrine.

Finally, his last sentence above speaks volumes regarding Mr. Gendron’s integrity.  It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines. His method of selectively quoting Catholic sources and then offering his own biased and bigoted interpretation of those selected quotes, is disingenous at best, and downright dishonest at worst.  Let me put the quote from the CE that he cites as “using a pagan tradition for the defense” of the doctrine of Purgatory, in context:

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

“Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

The faith of the Church concerning purgatory is clearly expressed in the Decree of Union drawn up by the Council of Florence (Mansi, t. XXXI, col. 1031), and in the decree of the Council of Trent which (Sess. XXV) defined:

“Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful” (Denzinger, “Enchiridon”, 983).

Further than this the definitions of the Church do not go, but the tradition of the Fathers and the Schoolmen must be consulted to explain the teachings of the councils, and to make clear the belief and the practices of the faithful.
Temporal punishment

That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture. God indeed brought man out of his first disobedience and gave him power to govern all things (Wisdom 10:2), but still condemned him “to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow” until he returned unto dust. God forgave the incredulity of Moses and Aaron, but in punishment kept them from the “land of promise” (Numbers 20:12). The Lord took away the sin of David, but the life of the child was forfeited because David had made God’s enemies blaspheme His Holy Name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). In the New Testament as well as in the Old, almsgiving and fasting, and in general penitential acts are the real fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 17:3; 3:3). The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, can. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.
Venial sins

All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God’s law. On the other hand whosoever comes into God’s presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His “eyes are too pure, to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). For unrepented venial faults for the payment of temporal punishment due to sin at time of death, the Church has always taught the doctrine of purgatory.

So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity. (“Aeneid,” VI, 735 sq.; Sophocles, “Antigone,” 450 sq.).”

After citing Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Catholic Encyclopedia mentions, pretty much as an afterthought, that even the pagans believed in the concept of Purgatory, “in at least a shadowy way,” and so what does Mr. Gendron focus on as Catholic justification for a belief in Purgatory?  Pagan tradition.  Do you think the people reading his article on Purgatory get a fair, honest, and objective view of why the Church believes as it does on Purgatory?  Absolutely not.  He seems to frequently use tactics that are less honorable than they could be.  He turns a brief mention of pagans believing in Purgatory in a “shadowy way” into Rome admitting that it uses “a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed ‘Christian’ doctrines.”  All the CE was saying is that this belief in Purgatory was pretty much recognized as a universal truth.  I have heard Christian apologists, when making an argument for the existence of God, talk about how all ancient cultures believed, in some way, in the concept of a god, in order to merely show that this was a universal truth believed by pagans, Jews, and Christians.  Does that mean that Christian apologists depend on “pagan tradition” as a defense for their belief in God?  What a ludicrous statement!

Finally, what do you want to bet that Mr. Gendron wears a wedding ring?  Odds are that he does.  Problem is, where does the tradition of wearing a wedding ring come from?  Christianity?  Nope.  It comes from Paganism.  Oh my…