Mike Gendron was a devout Roman Catholic for over 30 years. He was taught to rely upon the authority of the church. He followed the priests, the sacraments and was depending upon his own good works for salvation. However in 1981, after attending an apologetics seminar called, 'Evidence for the Christian Faith', the Bible became his sole authority in all matters of faith. As he searched the Scriptures he was amazed to see how often the Bible contradicts the teaching and tradition of the church he had been a part of for so long. Mike placed his trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and the Bible became his sole authority in all matters of faith. He founded a ministry, Proclaiming the Gospel, that points people to Jesus Christ as the all-sufficient Savior.
Mike began by stressing that there is no higher authority than God and His Word. This must be the standard by which every man uses to find out what is true and what is false. We are called to test every spirit (1 John 4) and we do that with the supreme authority of the Word of God.
The media has been receiving press releases that exalt Mary in celebration of what's being called 'The 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima'. The celebration is based on the May 13th, 1917, apparition that appeared to small children in Fatima, Portugal, and is believed by Catholics to have been Mary.
So how do we really know if this was Mary or not? We test what they're saying with God's Word. With that thought in mind, Mike quoted the following message that came from an apparition that appeared in Fatima:
'You saw Hell where souls of poor sinners go. In order to save them, God wishes to establish devotion to my immaculate heart and the world.' It went on to say, 'If people do what I ask, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. Only I can help you. My immaculate heart will be your refuge in the way that will lead you to God. In the end, my immaculate heart will triumph.'
Mike noted that nowhere in the Bible does it state that we are to be devoted to anyone other than Christ. So this is not an apparition of Mary but rather an angel of light masquerading as Mary in order to draw people away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ.
Jim then mentioned a Catholic vacation Bible school program to celebrate this 100th anniversary. He presented the following excerpt and had Mike respond:
'This innovative vacation Bible school program connects the joyful mysteries of the Rosary with today's youth in a fun and spiritually moving way. It comes complete in one box with nothing else to buy and features family catechists, mass and Eucharistic adoration. This year's program entitled, 'Tracking Mary: Mysteries & Messages' features the 'Queen of Heaven Express', a special holy train traveling to far away places around the globe visited by Our Blessed Mother...Children discover how Mary brings us closer to Jesus through the power of the Rosary. Mysteries and messages are revealed at each stop and encourages family prayer through a daily Rosary.'
Mike described how we know from Romans 1:16 that the Gospel, not the Rosary, is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe it. We also know from the Bible that the Rosary is repetitious prayer which Jesus condemned. It also involves a set of beads whereby people pray 53 prayers to Mary, a few to the Trinity and a prayer to the Father. This means the dominant focus of the Rosary is Mary, not God. In addition, in Deuteronomy we see that anyone who consults the dead is an abomination to God. So for prayers to be directed to anyone other than God is not only unbiblical, it's also an abomination.
For Mike, this deception is heartbreaking. Catholics end up not only with another gospel, they also have another Jesus, are led by another spirit and also have another Mary.
As this Crosstalk moved along, Mike also addressed the following:
--What about the verses in Luke that give special honor to Mary?
--The storybook called, 'Mary's Messages'.
--Was the Catholic faith handed down by Jesus?
--Was is meant by the term, 'Co-Redemptix'?
--Is Mary the new 'Eve' in the same way Jesus is the new 'Adam'?
--Does the Bible in any way communicate that Mary had a sinless nature or is co-redeemer with Christ?