How has Pope Francis been battling the corruption in the Catholic Church's leadership?
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.
The Pope Cleans House
Dr. Reagan: One thing that encourages me about this pope is the fact that he took on the Curia, which is the central government of the Vatican. The previous pope, Pope Benedict XVI, all the rumors that I ever heard indicate that's one of the reasons he resigned was because of the incredible corruption and immorality that exists with the leadership of the Catholic Church. He just felt overwhelmed by it, and incapable of dealing with it, and so resigned.
But then Pope Francis called the Cardinals together and read them the riot act about their immorality and about their corruption. Mike, I remember writing you about that and said, "Wow! This is really something to have a pope do this." You wrote me back a very insightful comment. Please tell me what your reaction to this was.
Mike Gendron: What Pope Francis did is true. He not only exposed but also fired certain cardinals and bishops that have been part of the corruption within the Vatican. This is a good thing that Francis has done. He is cleaning house. His predecessor, Pope Benedict, was a doctrinal guru. He wasn't pastoral. Pope Francis is pastoral, and so he's trying to clean house. He's actually done a good job of that. He is also pro-life.
Regardless of the good Pope Francis has done, the bottom line is he's preaching a false and fatal gospel that sends people to Hell rather than to Heaven. The Bible tells us about how even some of the religious leaders in the Lord's Day will be shut out of the gates of Heaven. This pope needs to know the true Gospel, because he's responsible for 1.2 billion souls that need to know the truth.
Dr. Reagan: One of the things you said in your response to me that day that really got me was you said, "The bottom line is that the members of the Vatican Curia not only need to repent, they need to get saved. They need to be born again, because it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that they are going to be able to clean up the mess."
Mike Gendron: That's right! Only God knows their hearts. When people proclaim that they believe a false gospel, we test what they say with the Word of God. Clearly those in the Curia are unregenerate and need to know the Savior.
Dr. Reagan: Mike, you do a lot of evangelism among Catholics. In fact, I remember one time when a particular group ran a full-page ad in papers all over the nations. What was that group? Do you remember?
Mike Gendron: Yes, it was the Mary Queen of Peace Center.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, and you contacted the head of that organization. Didn't you actually go to New York and talk with that person?
Mike Gendron: No, she came to me.
Dr. Reagan: Alright, tell us about that story.
Mike Gendron: I called because they were giving daily messages from Mary, claiming the apparitions of Mary were appearing all over the world. And so I called and the director came to visit me with the goal of getting me to recognize Mary as a sinless mediator. She even came with a whole stack of books!
We sat down and I began sharing a video that I share with many people who have left the Catholic Church. About five minutes into it I realized I hadn't even prayed yet, and so I paused for a moment and I asked, "Can I ask the Lord to guide us in truth?" Within a few minutes after the prayer she recognized that she was the one that was being deceived.
Do you know what she then did? She went back to her office and she gave me the list of everybody whose name had been on the Mary Queen of Peace Center mailing list. We sent out her testimony to everybody who had been following Mary rather than Christ. It really was a work of God!
Dr. Reagan: So, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you were able to convert the very leader of this organization?
Mike Gendron: The Lord converted her. I was just the messenger.
In the fifth and last segment of my interview of Mike Gendron on Pope Francis, he'll teach us how to witness to Catholics.