Mike Gendron’s ‘Biblical Responses to Statements by Catholics’ have some serious historical errors

1588 painting of the Council of Trent


In his latest newsletter (February 2019), Mike Gendron had the following:

Biblical Responses to Statements by Catholics

Statement: The Catholic Church is the only true church.
Response:  According to God’s Word, the true church submits to its one Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and is made up of all who are born again  (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18). Its doctrine, practices and precepts were recorded in the New Testament, which is the supreme authority to the exclusion of all others. The Roman Catholic Church cannot be the true Church because none of the following Catholic traditions and rituals are found in Scripture: praying to Mary and saints, venerating Mary, submitting to a pope, infallible bishops, venial sins not causing spiritual death, praying for souls in purgatory, a sacerdotal priesthood, the propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass, baptizing infants, dispensing grace through sacraments, or successors of the apostles after Paul and Matthias.
The Catholic Church may trace its origin back to the first century, but it did not heed the prophetic warnings of Christ and the apostles. They gave stern warnings that the church would have to fight against false teachers and apostasy. Paul pleaded with the Ephesian elders to be on the alert, because “after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). He also warned that some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). The Catholic Church officially and dogmatically departed from the faith of the apostles at the 16th century Council of Trent. Therefore, it must be called an apostate church, along with the many protestant churches that have departed from the faith.

While Mike Gendron often has interesting information in his newsletter, the above contains a couple of points that are serious historical errors. So, let’s look at them in the order they were in the above article.

First, according to the Bible, the true church is made up of people who have been begotten by God and have the Spirit of Christ in them (Romans 8:9-11). The Bible, and early theological writers, taught that humans are not born again until the resurrection (for details, see Born Again: A Question of Semantics?).

Now, Mike Gendron is correct that “none of the following Catholic traditions and rituals are found in Scripture: praying to Mary and saints, venerating Mary, submitting to a pope, infallible bishops, venial sins not causing spiritual death, praying for souls in purgatory, a sacerdotal priesthood, the propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass, baptizing infants, dispensing grace through sacraments.”

The reason I did not include Mike Gendron’s comment “or successors of the apostles after Paul and Matthias” is that scripture as well as early church history indicates that people like Jesus’ brother James (Galatians 1:19) and others were considered to be apostles (some suspect that Andronicus and Junia, mentioned in Romans 16:7 were apostles). Plus there were various statements that the Apostle Paul was inspired to write (1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Ephesians 4:11). Consider that there would be no reason to say that there would be false apostles, if the position was that there could not be further apostles past Paul (1 Corinthians 1:1) and Matthias (Acts 1:26).

As far as succession goes, the Bible teaches the laying on of hands, which can be perceived as a type of apostolic succession.

Another issue to bring up is that while the Church of Rome claims to trace its origins to the first century, that is more of a widely accepted claim as opposed to historical fact.

Catholic scholars (and priests) F.A. Sullivan and R. McBrien wrote:

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish…The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained apostles as bishops…The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop…The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about 30 years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of a bishop with authority over the whole local church…Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters…There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only in the second century did the threefold structure of become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 13,14,15).

History, “the teacher of life”, teaches that there were no popes in the modern sense of the word (that is, as the sole Bishop of Rome) until the middle of the second century. Until then, the church of Rome was governed not by a single bishop but by a committee or council of elders and presbyter-bishops, perhaps with one individual acting as the body’s convener or chair. Those prominent in the Roman community may have been the ones whom the Catholic Church regards as immediate successors of Peter himself: Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, et al. But we cannot be certain. It is significant, for example, that when St. Ignatius of Antioch (d ca. 107) addressed his famous letters to the various churches of the Mediterranean world, the letter to Rome was the only one in which the local bishop is not mentioned. Indeed, there is no evidence that Peter himself ever functioned in an episcopal role in Rome. Although traditionally regarded as the founder of the church there along with the Apostle Paul, Peter was not even present when Christianity first came to Rome in the early 40s (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p. 396).

And that is certainly correct concerning Rome. There were no “bishops of Rome” in the first century and certain Roman Catholic scholars understand this (see What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?), hence the idea that there is an unbroken line of bishops in apostolic succession from Rome in the first century is false (more information can be found in the article Apostolic Succession).

The next point to mention is that while traditionally, Protestants trace themselves through the Church of Rome until the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent in the 16th century.

There are several problems with this.

One is, that although it was the Council of Trent that officially adopted extra books for the Old Testament (called the deuterocanonical books; see also The Old Testament Canon), the Church of Rome already had many doctrines based on traditions and non-biblical ideas well before the time the Protestants split from them.

The reality is that the Protestant faith also accepted many non-biblical traditions that the Church of Rome had.

Consider the following:

Table of Early Heretics/Heresies Denounced by Church of God  Asia Minor Leaders



Heretic/Heresy Denounced by COG Asia Minor Leaders

Tolerated by Rome Until

Marcion, Montanus, Valentinus

A different gospel.

Polycarp, Melito, Thraseas, and Theophilus.

Variations of the different gospels have been accepted by essentially all of the Greco-Roman faiths.


Allegory,  improper tradition, improper festivals, and   improper apparitions sometimes sources of doctrine.

Apostle John in Ephesus. Also by Melito of Sardis and others.

Variations adopted by Greco-Roman faiths.


Sabbath done away.

c. 155 A.D. by Polycarp and later by Theophilus.

Rome tolerates anti-Sabbath teaching to this day.


Ten Com- mandments done away.

c. 155 A.D. by Polycarp and later by Theophilus.

Exceptions to the Ten Command -ments accepted to this day. This is the part of what Paul called the “mystery of lawlessness” of 2 Thessa-lonians 2:7.


Jesus not coming for millennial reign.

c. 170 A.D. by Melito. Later by Nepos.

c. 180 Marcion excommunicat-ed, but heresy later accepted.


God is three hypostases.

c. 155 A.D. by Polycarp.

Still accepted; adopted by Council in 381.

Valentinus and Anicetus

Traditions in conflict with the Bible can be source of doctrine.

c. 155 A.D. by Polycarp; c. 170 A.D. by Melito.

c. 180 A.D. Valentinus was excommunicat-ed, but heresy still accepted.

Anicetus, Victor, and other early Roman leaders

Passover is on Sunday.

c. 155 A.D. by Polycarp;
c. 195 A.D. by Polycrates.

Still accepted.


False prophecies.

c. 157 A.D. by Thraseas and later others, like Apollonius.

c.206-218 A.D. Montanists finally denounced.


God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

c. 157 A.D. by Thraseas and others.

Later adopted and now still accepted.

Tradition originated in the “Gospel of James” circa 120-200 A.D.

Mary remained a virgin after giving birth to Jesus or Mary is a perpetual virgin.

c. 200 by some in Asia Minor and Jewish-Christians.

Adopted as the 5th General Council of Constantinople in 553 granted “perpetual virgin” title to Mary. Now a Catholic dogma.


Father is same as Son.

c. 200 by Smyrna presbyters.

c. 220 A.D. finally denounced; though a  version still accepted.

“Gospel of Peter”

Considering false gospel as scripture.

c. 200 by Serapion of Antioch.

Probably into 4th century.

Platonic-Gnostic and pagan sources, including Justin Martyr claiming Plato.

Cross is a Christian religious symbol of signing and/or veneration.

c. 4th-7th centuries by Paulicians of Armenia and Asia Minor.  It could have been denounced prior, but the practice was not so widespread in Asia Minor earlier.

This heresy started to appear in the 2nd century and was essentially finally formally adopted at a council in 843.

Note: All of those listed as Heretics are considered heretics to this day by the Church of Rome.

Although Greco-Roman supporting leaders outside of Asia Minor/Antioch sometimes denounced these particular heretics, their churches often ended up adopting portions of their heresies. There were other heresies introduced in the 2nd to 4th centuries that were never accepted by the faithful Quartodeciman successors to the 2nd century Asia Minor leaders, as they did not teach the Jewish apocrypha, special dress for the clergy, clerical celibacy, immortal souls going to heaven, baptism by sprinkling, unclean meat consumption, military service for Christians, a mystic Eucharist, or a winter holiday somewhat coinciding with Saturnalia/Mithra ceremonies, etc. Even certain Catholic/Orthodox “saints” in the first few centuries originally condemned many of those particular doctrines. Variations of such teachings are now accepted by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics.

Historical evidence shows that leaders in Asia Minor denounced heresies generally before Rome did. And sadly, Rome adopted and/or later accepted some version of many of these denounced heresies.

Protestants also adopted many of them.

All who profess Christ should “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

This includes not only the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics, but the Protestants as well.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Does the Church of God need to be headquartered in Jerusalem? Some say so. But what does the Bible teach? A related short video is also available: Does the Bible endorse Jerusalem as the Church of God headquarters now?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Smyrna Church Era.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
Do You Know That Babylon is Forming? How is the final Babylon forming? Are Protestants such as Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland are endorsing something dangerous? Could Pope Francis be the ‘False Prophet’ that the Bible warns against? Is an antipope expected to endorse a one-world religion? Here is a link to a related written article In Vatican City: New Babylon more openly forming!
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.

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