Perhaps it is difficult for some to understand. I believe that the Bible is the perfect and inerrant word of God. That’s not to say every translation is inerrant, for translations are made by men who are in fact imperfect. Yet the Word of God endures forever. His teachings are pure and holy and He set about all things to bring forth the word in it’s entirety in His time. What other document has withstood the test of time like it has?
Recently there have been many people around the globe who have been shocked by the announcement that the Catholic pope is resigning. I’m sure there are questions surrounding this announcement. I’m sure there is confusion stemming from those who have chosen to follow him. But I believe they fail to see the truth. He is just a man. I know many people will disagree with this statement. It is my understanding that in the Catholic faith people believe that the pope is the head of the church and that they claim he is divinity on earth as well as infallible.
Let’s examine these statements in scripture:
First the claim that he is the head of the church. The word pope stems from the *Greek root papas meaning bishop or pappas meaning father.
So if we take the literal translation of papas as bishop then let us search the scriptures to see God’s word in regards to a bishop.
I Timothy 3:1-3 The Apostle Paul is addressing the young preacher Timothy with instructions on the appointment of bishops within the church.
“This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;”
A bishop then is to be blameless, the husband of ONE wife. It is my understanding that Catholic priests cannot marry. If he then cannot marry he is not the husband of one wife. If then, he is not the husband of a wife, how then can he take the office of a bishop?
If we take the second literal translation of pappas, father. Then, let us see what scripture says regarding this designation.
Matthew 23:8-12 Here Jesus is speaking to the Hebraic Pharisees regarding the appointment of men over the congregation of Hebrews.
“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Jesus himself, who was and is the son of God, declared that people should not call any man Rabbi, or Master because Christ is master and they (even we) are all brethren. He went on to say “call no man father upon the earth:” do you see that? Call NO MAN father upon the earth, for one is your Father and He is in heaven. I see a great deal of exultation of the Roman Catholic pope when Jesus said that “…whosoever exalt himself shall be abased and he that humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12. So if Jesus the son of God said to call no man father, then who has the right to change what he taught us to do?
So let’s then take a look at the office of the pope. I understand that this office comes with supremacy of rule over the state of Vatican City as well as realm over the whole of Catholicism. Thus he has been exalted to the status of king or emperor or supreme ruler. Another synonym for such an office is potentate.
Perhaps you are not familiar with this word. Potentate stems from the *Latin root potentātus potentate, meaning: power, dominion. One would agree that the pope has been given power and dominion over the catholic church. But is that scriptural? Does one have the authority to take that power upon themselves? Scripture teaches us that there is only one true potentate. It is found in 1 Timothy 6 and was penned by the Apostle Paul to the young preacher Timothy. In it Paul tells the young man
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.I Timothy 6:3-16
So if Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ declared in writing being inspired by the Holy Spirit that there is only one Potentate, who then has the earthly power to change that by giving the supreme authority to a mere man?
Perhaps you say: ‘The pope is the head of the church.’ This is where I believe scripture is so clear. Paul in writing to the church at Colosse as well as Ephesus refers to the head of the church.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Here in Colossians he is referring to the son of God, being through whom all things were made and that he is the head of the church.
And in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Again we see that Christ is declared to be the head of the church. So if Christ is the head of the church how then can man be given such a designation?
You see I don’t believe one can. Unless one is to completely ignore the scriptures then the teaching of an earthly head, an earthly king, an earthly potentate, an earthly spiritual father or an even bishop who does not meet the qualifications of the office as set forth by Christ’s own apostles, is false. If the teaching or practice of such teaching is then false doctrine, why would one choose to follow it? You see this isn’t about traditions of men. This is about your own salvation. Who are you going to follow? Man or Christ, Man or God?
I believe in the ONE head of the church, Jesus Christ. I believe in the ONE potentate, Christ Jesus. I believe in the ONE begotten son of God, Jesus the Christ. It is He and He alone that I will choose to follow. In Mark 16:15&16 just before He ascended into heaven He told his disciples to “
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Who do you believe? What have you done to show your belief? To whom do you bow?
Ephesians 3:14-15 says it all… “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,”
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