How do you share Jesus with a Catholic?
Pope Francis has quickly established himself among the masses as a very popular religious leader, but at the same time, he has generated strong resistance from key Catholic leaders. Much of the controversy he has caused is due to his tendency to make off-the-wall comments that produce widespread confusion.
Who is this Pope? Where did he come from? And what is he up to? We’ve asked these questions of Mike Gendron, the founder and director of a ministry in the Dallas, Texas area called Proclaiming the Gospel. Driven by a deep compassion for Roman Catholics, Mike brings the Gospel of grace to those who are victimized by the deception of Roman Catholicism.
Witnessing to Catholics
Dr. Reagan: Mike, when you talk to the average Catholic, what is the most important subject you focus on?
Mike Gendron: Definitely the authority of Scripture. That must be the leading principle when you witness, because Catholics have three authorities: 1) they have the Word of God, 2) their sacred tradition, and then 3) the “infallible” teaching authority of the Church. We need to eliminate the second two and have them focus on Scripture alone.
The second most important principle you’ve got to present to Catholics is Christ and all of His sufficiency. Jesus did everything necessary to save sinners completely and forever.
Dr. Reagan: Mike, you have written a book called Preparing for Eternity: Should We Trust God’s Word or Religious Traditions? Why did you write this book and what’s it all about.
Mike Gendron: I wrote the book because of my great compassion for Roman Catholics. They are where I was for most of my life, believing I belonged to the “One True Church” and believing I was on my way to Heaven. But, I found out after reading the Bible that I was destined for Hell. It is my desire to see Roman Catholics come to know the true Savior and believe the true Gospel.
This book forces Roman Catholics to make a decision: “Am I going to trust Christ and His Word, which is the supreme authority for knowing truth? Or, am I going to trust religious traditions?” And so, what I do in this book is I compare Roman Catholic tradition right out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with Scripture from the Bible. They can see that they cannot believe both, and so they are forced to make a decision: “Christ and His Word? Or, the teachings and traditions of my church?”
Dr. Reagan: One thing I’ve noticed in my study of world religions that all false religions — all without exception — teach works-based salvation. They teach you can earn salvation on your own. It doesn’t matter whether it is Hinduism, or Islam, or Mormonism, or whatever, it is you who can earn your own salvation.
Mike Gendron: You’re so right, for without exception every religion teaches a works-based salvation. So, when I’m witnessing to a Catholic, this is what I share with them: You have got to come to the cross of Christ with nothing but your sins. You have to leave everything else behind. Leave everything else you’ve been trusting in behind such as your own works, your meriting grace, your sacraments, purgatory, indulgences, good works. Leave them all behind! Come to Christ with nothing but your sin. Jesus promises to give you His righteousness when you trust in Him alone.
Dr. Reagan: One thing I’ve noticed about Catholics that I’ve worked with and who have then come to the Lord is that they often find it very difficult to leave the Catholic Church. What they want to do is they want to go back and share what they have discovered with their priest and with their people. Then after about two or three years they decide if they’re ever going to grow in the Lord, they’ve got to go to church some place else.
Mike Gendron: That is the mark of a true conversion when you want to share the truth with those who are still lost, because you get so excited.
Dr. Reagan: You do. I often said the two most excited people on planet earth is a Messianic Jew who has found his Messiah, and a Catholic who has discovered grace.