Monday, November 16, 2009

Roman Catholicism: Apostolic or Apostate? by Michael Gendron

Here is another good article by Mike Gendron. As usual, he has some very good insights. Following is the introduction; please follow the link to read the entire article.
Is the Roman Catholic Church the one true church founded by Christ, or an apostate church that has departed from the faith of the apostles? This question had a very clear-cut answer 400 years ago when the Reformers departed from the heretical teaching of Popes. Today, however, there are many evangelicals who are not so sure.

Jude warned the church to contend for the faith against apostates who attempt to steal away disciples. In verse 4 of his epistle, he wrote, "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord." Jude identifies the apostates by certain characteristics. They are ungodly because they supplant God’s sovereign authority with an authority of their own. Apostates turn the grace of God into a commodity that can be bought, bartered or merited. They pervert the gospel of grace into a gospel of works. They deny the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ and give His divine attributes and titles to others. They deny the sufficiency of the word and work of Christ. It is these impostors who lead people away from "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Do any of these characteristics convict the Catholic Church of being apostate? Let us compare them with teachings from the new Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Anonymous said...

Seems like, you're looking for whatever opinions, that will confirm your preconceived ideas about the Catholic church, no matter how distorted. By God's grace, one day you will change.


Jennie said...

by God's grace, I have already changed. You don't know where I was before I came to these beliefs, so you can't accurately accuse me of only trying to confirm my preconceived ideas. I need to write up a testimony of how I got here and why I am recording this blog. Yes, when I began the blog I had pretty much come to my present opinion, but wanted to understand more about Roman Catholicism and why people convert to it. I wanted to study history more and understand how Roman Catholicism and protestantism developed. I wanted to understand what scripture says about it all. That's what is recorded here, and is still in progress.

Moonshadow said...

"Catholic priests are needed to dispense salvation through seven sacraments."

An exaggeration, perhaps ... I'll never receive all seven, you see.

Not true ... "removed the 2nd commandment of God in their new Catechism (page 496)."

CCC 2083 - 2132 expound upon the First Commandment, paragraphs 2129 - 2132 on the graven image part especially. You may not agree with Nicaea II in 787 AD but Catholics do. cf. CCC 2066 explains the numbering, but the so-called "2nd commandment" is covered in the so-called "new Catechism."

This is all I have time for right now. My apologies. But I hope that these discrepancies are enough to make you wonder whether Mr. Gendron is representing Catholicism accurately. Peace of Christ to you, as always, Jennie.

Jennie said...

I don't have a printed copy of the catechism, so I'm not sure what page 496 says, but in lists of the commandments, such as inside the covers of prayer books that I've seen, the ten commandments listed don't say the part about graven images at all.

And the seven sacraments are believed to dispense salvation, since the sacrament of the priesthood is believed to be needed to dispense the other sacraments, I believe.

Moonshadow said...

Page 496 (and the facing page, 497) show a borderless table of three columns, three rows on one page and seven rows on the next. In imitation, I suppose, of the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain.

The three columns across the top of both pages are labelled "Exodus 20:2-17," "Deuteronomy 5:6-21" and "A Traditional Catechetical Formula."

Under the first column, the entire text of Exodus 20:2-17 appears according to the N/RSV Bible. In the second column, the beginning of each verse in Deut. 5:6-21 appears with an ellipsis ('...'), an indication that the biblical text has been abbreviated. In the third column, the column that Mr. Gendron undoubtably references in his careless remark that we've "removed the 2nd commandment of God in their new Catechism," is a number [1-10] followed by a single sentence, suited simply for memorization.

I say Mr. Gendron is careless because he ignores not only the rest of page 496 but also paragraphs 2129 -2132 which discuss the divine injunction against graven images.

Peace of Christ.

Jennie said...

I see what you mean, Teresa,
and not knowing what Mr. Gendron is thinking, I can't answer for him why he didn't take into account the other items on the pages. However he may have been thinking about the same sort of thing I mentioned about the prayer books, etc. He may have assumed the 'short list for memorization' that you mentioned is what most people would see printed out and so in effect they don't usually see the part about graven images or hear it spoken of. It seems to me it would confuse most people to hear the commandment against it, since there are so many graven images used in Roman Catholicism. I certainly don't remember hearing it as a child, but I remember seeing lots of images in church and in people's homes.

Moonshadow said...

It seems to me it would confuse most people to hear the commandment against it, since there are so many graven images used in Roman Catholicism.

Catholics hear the commandment against graven images, et. al., when Exodus 20:1-17 is read in the springtime.

I'm sorry, why Gendron's pretense of a supposedly omitted 2nd commandment from the Catechism?

If his (and your) evidence for Catholic apostasy is images of the God of Heaven and of His Christ and of His saints in Catholic churches and homes, why even turn to the Catechism? Because then he cannot be given the benefit of the doubt because paragraphs 2129 - 2132 spell out the justification for images. Gendron's charge carries only the air of authenticity that, when investigated closely, vaporizes.

I repeat, one may reject the justification for images but may not pretend there isn't any. There's a long-standing justification that makes sense to some of us.

Peace of Christ.

Jennie said...

I am not sure when Mr. Gendron's article was written, as there is no date on it. I am curious what the date of the new catechism is, and others before it, and if the catechism he used may have been different.
It is unfortunate to have to focus on Gendron's statement about the catechism when the real issue is that the use of images, and the practices of prayer and worship associated with them, are a form of idolatry according to scripture.

Moonshadow said...

Yes, the narrow focus is unfortunate but discussing broad topics turns unwieldy in another way.

I believe Mr Gendron used the most recent Catechism, the one I have here on my lap.

Would you comment on why God directed Moses to fashion the bronze serpent if the use of images is prohibited? (Hezekiah later smashes it, so no argument from me that the image had outlived its purpose and had become an idol.)

Jennie said...

If you read the commandment it says “You shall not MAKE FOR YOURSELF a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them."

The commandment was not against images that God had commanded them to make, but against making them for themselves, and also against bowing down to them and serving them. In the instance of the bronze serpent, the people began worshipping that, so it was eventually destroyed to stop that. The things God commmanded them to make were, as you probably know, not to be prayed to or worshipped or looked to as gods that can help them, but to represent some aspect of God or of heaven.

Moonshadow said...

not to be prayed to or worshipped or looked to as gods that can help them, but to represent some aspect of God or of heaven.

Yes, that's fine. I accept that and appreciate your answer.

On to the seven sacraments then. Few ever receive all seven, you know. My marriage isn't one because my husband doesn't meet the requirements.

However, Mr Gendron says "Catholic priests are needed to dispense salvation through [7] sacraments." He's mistaken precisely because in the case of marriage, the man and his wife administer the sacrament to each other, and the priest or deacon bears witness. (You've also read from Catholics that, in emergencies, a layperson may baptize):

"According to the Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church." (CCC 1623).

The Catechism isn't explicit on the salvific nature of the grace received in the sacrament of marriage but one may infer it: "'grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they 'help one another to attain holiness ...'"

Peace of Christ.

Jennie said...

Again, if Gendron has made a slight mistake or overgeneralization, it doesn't change the important point that the RCC teaches salvation through sacraments most of which require a priest, in opposition to the gospel of scripture which teaches salvation by grace through faith by the hearing of the word of God. The sacrament of baptism is a sign of this already accomplished justification by faith.