Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #143

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

1) For all of you up in the Northeast part of the country, I just wanted to let you know that I will be speaking at the 6TH ANNUAL HUDSON VALLEY CATHOLIC CONFERENCE ON JULY 17. Other speakers will include: His Excellency the Most Reverend Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, along with two excellent speakers, Fr. Charles Connor and Raymond de Souza, as well as the Vatican’s traveling exhibition, “Eucharistic Miracles of the World” – this exhibition by itself would be worth traveling a few hours to see! The Conference will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2010 at the Monroe Woodbury High School in Central Valley, NY. The 2010 theme is the necessity of Catholic Unity, “Heart and Soul – Unity in Christ.”

To get your ticket for this event, or for questions about the conference, area hotels, cost, registration details or a registration form, please email Marietta Allen at weekendmag@earthlink.net or call 845-566-1425 or 845-567-9999. Get a ticket today!

2) Also, I wanted to thank everyone for clicking on my YouTube video – “Questions Protestants Can’t Answer, #1.” With over 7300 “views,” it’s a good start towards my 100,000 goal. We’ll probably post #2 in the series next week sometime, so stay tuned. The link for video #1 is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8jXidiUc8s.

I’ve gotten quite a kick out of the Protestant responses. One even awarded me the “Lamest Video” award or some such thing, but when I went to check it out, guess what? They never answered the question! I’ve seen a number of Protestants comment on the video, but only one actually attempted to answer the question. I wonder why?

The only attempt I’ve seen to answer the question in the video is this: “Well, of course a body without a soul is a dead body. We agree that there is dead faith and living faith. But, as the Bible says, dead faith cannot save you.” And it ended there. No thought whatsoever as to the obvious implication of their answer – they are agreeing with the Catholic position.

If someone responds in that way, then simply point out to them that they are contradicting their belief in Sola Fide (salvation by faith alone) because they are agreeing that just as sola corpus (the body alone) = dead body, so sola fide (faith alone) = dead faith. And also follow up with, “What is the difference between a living faith and a dead faith?” According to James 2:26, it is works. Then you point out to them that means works are NECESSARY for life, which means their belief in salvation by faith alone is a non-starter, since faith alone is dead.

What they are trying to say with their initial response is that works are the “sign” of a living faith, but that works have no role in our salvation. But, when those words come out of their mouth, go back to James 2:26 and read it to them using their interpretation. It would go something like this: James 2:26, “Just as the spirit is the sign that you have a living body, so works are the sign that you have a living faith.” Does that make any sense? No. The spirit is not the “sign” that we have a body, that’s an absolutely ridiculous assertion. The spirit is the animating principle of the body, it is what gives the body life. Therefore, for the analogy to hold, works are not the sign that we have faith, they are the animating principle of faith, they are what gives faith its life. James 2:26 very clearly says that both body and spirit are necessary for physical life; therefore, both faith and works are necessary for spiritual life. Which is why this is a question that Protestants can’t answer. Don’t let them talk around the real issue here.


Okay, let’s get back to Mike Gendron’s article on Purgatory, but first let me correct a mistake that I made in the last two issues: Gendron’s website is: www.pro-gospel.org, not .com.

Now, I’ve already shown, in the last few issues, that Gendron is a man who should not be saying much of anything about the Catholic Church until he does a little bit more research on the subject, and also that one of his favorite tactics when discussing Catholicism is to take quotes from the Catechism, or from the Catholic Encyclopedia, out of context, and insert his meaning – not the Catholic Church’s meaning – into those out-of-context quotes, to “prove” the falsehoods that he spreads about the Church. In essence, he creates a false version of the Catholic Faith, and then attacks this false version of the faith as unbiblical and ungodly. The problem is, it’s his version of the Catholic Faith, and not the Catholic version of the Catholic Faith. Let’s see if the pattern hold true as we continue to look at more of his article on Purgatory.

This week I will only be commenting on only one paragraph of his article, since I am having to get on a plane for Shreveport in a little while. If you’re in that area, I’ll be speaking tomorrow morning at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans around 10:00 AM. Speaking after me will be Dr. Scott Hahn, which means that I will soon know what it feels like to be an opening act for the Rolling Stones. For more info on that, go to: http://www.sjbcathedral.org/index.asp?include=scotthahn.htm.


From the website: 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…

In Conclusion

Well, as we see, the pattern Mike Gendron follows of quoting a Catholic source and then interpreting it in any way he sees fit is still holding true. Please keep him in your prayers.

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Apologetics for the Masses