Refuting: Mike Gendron's "Who Holds the Keys?"

Who Holds the Keys? Written by Mike Gendron.
Two thousand years ago Jesus said to Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loose in heaven." This reference to the "keys of the kingdom" is found only in Matthew 16:19, however the authority to "bind and loose" is given to all the disciples in Matthew 18:18. Many biblical scholars believe the "keys" are symbols representing the authority to govern and minister theocratic principles on earth. However, the interpretation of this verse has been the subject of debate for hundreds of years.
Indeed they have Mike. Basically the last 500 years or so since a number of errant teachers arose and sought to put themselves forth as the new and modern interpreters of scripture.

Within the Roman Catholic tradition, doctrines have developed that give the papacy authority to delegate the power to forgive or retain sins through a sacramental system of penance and absolution. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "The power to confer or withhold forgiveness might well be viewed as the opening and shutting of the gates of heaven." It was used both as "admission to" as well as "excommunication from" the kingdom. The power to "bind and loose" also gives the Popes authority to pronounce doctrinal judgments, making disciplinary decisions in the Church and even canonize saints. This authority and power prescribes what and who Catholics must believe and how and when they must worship.
No knowledgeable Catholic will state that Christian doctrines do not develop because we know that that has been the case from the New Testament era on. The Trinity is a good example, since that term is nowhere found in scripture and yet it is universally used among Christians to express the doctrines that pertain to Almighty God.
However, Gendron here makes a serious error in his teaching because he states that these passages are the only ones that are used to support the Catholic position and that is completely untrue. He also conspicuously fails to note that, along with the above passages, we also have clear scripture that plainly tells us what the pillar and bulwark of the truth is. Note the following: (1st Timothy 3:15) “if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”
Now we already know that Gendron is an adherent of the unscriptural fundamental doctrinal error of Sola Scriptura, so he naturally ascribes all ultimate authority to the Bible, in spite of the glaring fact that there is no passage of scripture where the Bible lays claim to any such authority. (Aside: See Does the Bible teach that everything that we believe and practice has to be found in its pages? )

Even so, along with the passages from Matthew that he has cited and the one I have offered above, we can see what the Bible actually says about Christian authority. I believe the fact that none of aligns with Gendron’s teaching should cause one some serious pause.

The Vatican teaches that Peter's keys have been handed down to his successors throughout the centuries. This has given credence to the papacy to govern the kingdom of God, which they believe, is the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, Peter and his successors are said to have special spiritual powers as Christ's representative on earth.
Pretty much correct, except that as we have seen, this belief is plainly based upon the Word of God and even for someone crippled by Sola Scriptura, it becomes evident that the Catholic teaching is simply based upon God’s Word and not just a man-made teaching of men. Where then, does that put Gendron’s teaching?

Proponents of the Roman Catholic tradition point to history as supporting evidence for their interpretation of the keys of the kingdom. However, most of their historical support comes from tradition dating back only the fourth century.
This is obviously not true; since I have already shown that it predates that all the way back to the New Testament itself. There may well have been discussion and development of the doctrine in the 4th century (though Gendron seems unwilling or unable to offer any historical documentation, which one would think he would do if such existed) but again, such discussion goes hand in hand with developing doctrines, even as the Trinity was also much discussed at that time in the early church.

For extensive discussion and documentation on this point, I offer two excellent articles from Catholic Answers that do indeed offer that early church documentation.
· The Authority of the Pope: Part I
· The Authority of the Pope: Part II

An accurate historical and grammatical interpretation must consider the use of terms at the time of the writing of the original text. The concept of the kingdom and the keys must be understood from their usage in the first century. Peter and the disciples understood the kingdom to be the visible rule of Christ over the earth, not the spiritual rule of Christ over His invisible church. The king would rule from Jerusalem, free Israel from political bondage and destroy her enemies. After Israel rejected the offer of the kingdom, Christ began to teach about it from a different perspective. He taught that it would be a mystery, invisible, and progressive. It would be both present and future and could be entered only by regeneration. The kingdom would not be limited to the church, but would work through the church to proclaim the good news of God's redemptive rule.
Certainly this was the case early on in the apostle’s experience that was clearly dispelled by the time we reach the 16th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel and there’s no way that a reader can hold Gendron’s position in light of the context of the rest of that gospel, not to mention similar passages from the same time period in the other gospels. I urge everyone to read these chapters for themselves.

After the events of Pentecost, Christ's teaching and the indwelling Holy Spirit, gave the disciples a clearer understanding of this kingdom. The real authority of the keys given by Christ is ultimately in the revelation of God's principles from the Scriptures for His theocratic kingdom. Men of God were able to discern the correctness of doctrine and practice using the whole counsel of God (Acts 17:11).
This “Berean defense” is often put forth by Sola Scriptura adherents, but the fact is that not all those who followed that approach were convinced and one can see this from the context of verses 10 and 12. Moreover, in the context of the rest of the entire Word of God and especially the New Testament, again, we see that nowhere does the Bible lay claim to any such authority.

Catholic Answers has a very good article that deals with this.
Not by Scripture Alone

An example of this is found in Luke 11:52, where Jesus denounces the Pharisees for misrepresenting God and the Scriptures with a religion of their own making. As a result they were shutting the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering."
This is just Gendron’s usual attempt to take an irrelevant passage of scripture and infer that it somehow applies to the Catholic faith, which is his whole raison d'ĂȘtre. Yet does it apply, when one studies the context of the New Testament and the passages he sets forth? The fact is that it does not, especially since we can see that the Catholic Church teaches the scriptural doctrine, while Gendron offers something man made.  
The ultimate power to open and close the gates of heaven is the Gospel, which "is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe" (Romans 1:16). Peter's first proclamation of the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2, opened the door of the kingdom to thousands. Since then, the disciples, and all Christians who have succeeded them, have been opening and closing the doors of the kingdom with the Gospel. Those who hear it and believe it are forgiven (loosed) of their sin and enter the kingdom, while those who reject the Gospel remain unforgiven (bound) of their sins and can not enter the kingdom (John 3:36).
At first, one might be willing to accept this paragraph without comment, but there is simply far too much “Gendron misinterpretation” there to allow us to do that.

No faithful Catholic would deny what the scriptures he cites say, but Gendron’s misinterpretation flies in the face of the “great commission” passage, also in Matthew 28, where it plainly mandates; [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

What would be the point of such a mandate if the church was not the one opening and closing the gates to the kingdom that they have been given the keys to? Obviously Gendron is wrong in his interpretation because we also have the New Testament plainly telling us in Romans 10: [14] But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? [15] And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" Gendron has sought to diminish the very scriptural role of the church in the spread of the gospel and to mislead people from seeing that the New Testament supports the Catholic Church, the church founded by Our Blessed lord Jesus Christ, as the authority ordained by Christ Himself.
The contrast between the Catholic interpretation of the "keys of the kingdom" and the historical-grammatical interpretation is significant. One centers around the teachings of men and is based on tradition and reason, while the other centers around the Word of God and is based on His revealed will and reign.
This of course is totally untrue and Gendron is indeed the one who has plainly denied the factual historical and grammatical interpretation of these passages of scripture and set forth here his own flawed human reasoning and man-made tradition. One need only look at the facts and decide for oneself.


TC said...

Hello -- I am always relieved to read your solid responses on Catholic forums. Is there any way I can contact you privately to have a few Catholic questions answered to help me with my husband who has decided after 24 years of marriage to hate the Catholic faith? I am a desperate mom of two teenage girls. Thank you so much!

Blackie said...

You can find me as Church Militant at http://forums.catholic.com/ and can contact me privately through them. I will begin to pray for your heartfelt intentions right away.

Alvin-Yoou Bigdummy said...

thanks -- for making mike gendrons forum available-- he does give a clear understanding of the difference between the catholic version of the gospel and the scripture 1st version of the bible--

and your personal testomony is interesting because -- when you were a non catholic you were not able to get the baptism of the Holy Spirit-- which led you to find a religious setting -- to be confortable with-- but you seem to not recognize that there are millions who have the baptism of the holy Spirit -- and function in ministry - Oh well--- i guess Jesus must have appeared to you at least once-- like he does on sid roth -- and the testomony of that ministry

Blackie said...

Gendron is anything but accurate as to what either the Bible or the Catholic Church teaches, and if you take the time to carefully read all the other articles i have done on his propaganda, you will see that for yourself.

As for your opinion about my being spirit filled...here again you are completely in error, since I was a very active Deacon in the AoG and have indeed been filled with the Holy Spirit (and still am...). I don't talk about that in my conversion story because it's irrelevant to the topic, but I have indeed spoken in tongues, interpreted tongues, prophesied, and been given insights by the Holy Spirit in counseling and sharing with others.

I removed your other comment because it was basically nothing more than an ad for some preacher who apparently makes his living by telling people that he can interpret dreams. However, I would point out that, though I am no stranger to dreams from God, I also know what the Word of God says about caution concerning them.

Deuteronomy 18:10
Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard,

Ecclesiastes 5:2
Dreams follow many cares: and in many words shall be found folly.

Ecclesiastes 5:6
Where there are many dreams, there are many vanities, and words without number: but do thou fear God.

Ecclesiasticus 34:1
The hopes of a man that is void of understanding are vain and deceitful: and dreams lift up fools.

Ecclesiasticus 34:5
Deceitful divinations and lying omens and the dreams of evildoers, are vanity:

Ecclesiasticus 34:7
For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them.

Jeremiah 29:8
For thus saith the Lord of hoses the God of Israel: Let not your prophets that are in the midst of you, and your diviners deceive you: and give no heed to your dreams which you dream:

So, you see, this man you seem to trust in is not necessarily trustworthy....and neither is Mike Gendron.