Why is there a Pope?



Q. Where in Scripture does the Catholic Church get the idea of a Pope?

A. In several places.

OLD TESTAMENT
In the Old Testament, after God brought Israel out of Egypt, He provided for a living, continuing authority in the Levitical priesthood.

2 Chronicles 19:11 “Amariah the chief priest will be over you in any matter concerning the LORD, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the leader of the tribe of Judah, will be over you in any matter concerning the king, and the Levites will serve as officials before you.”

Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty.

God gave the Israelites guidance through the various offices in the Old Testament (Moses, Joshua, Priests, Judges, Kings, and Prophets); all mere men subject to sin. So, it makes sense that He would also give men guidance in the New Covenant and not leave it up to each individual to try to figure out how to please God by reading the Bible. All of the infallible Old Testament books were written by men in these various positions of authority by the inspiration and grace of God.

NEW TESTAMENT

And again, all of the infallible New Testament books were written by mere men in positions of authority in the Church. All Christians believe that the books of the Bible are infallible, written by men subject to sin. So, on what basis would anyone doubt that God could and would continue, for all of time, to inspire one Bishop in order to guide and teach the Church infallibly?

After all He is the Good Shepherd. And a Good Shepherd does not lead the sheep to a pasture and then let them wander all over the place on their own having to fend for themselves against predators. No, He leads and protects his sheep. The Bible alone is like a green pasture full of good food to eat. But, as we have seen the Protestant sects have splintered into over 40,000 groups over the years without the concrete guidance of Christ through His chosen representative.

We believe God leads His sheep through the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. But not only that, all the bishops of the world together and under the authority and in agreement with the pope are also able to infallibly teach and guide the Church established by Jesus Christ in her councils.

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.

Jesus specifically appointed Simon Peter to be the first Pope in Matthew 16. (CCC869)

Matthew 16:13-19 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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 loosed in heaven.”
The phrase “keys of the kingdom” is an idiom meaning “you have all authority in my Name” The keys symbolize the authority given to the chief official–the Prime Minister–of the Kingdom, as in Isaiah 22:19-22. Also, in the Isaiah passage the Prime Minister is a father figure and the word Pope is simply Italian for “Papa”. So, Christ is the King of Heaven and the Pope is His earthly representative.

Binding and loosing, opening and shutting are Hebrew idioms meaning the authority to rule. And this authority Jesus also gave to the other apostles, our first bishops in order to rule the Church. But, He only gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom.

THE FIRST CHURCH COUNCIL

In Acts 15 we see the early Church dealing with the first controversy. Since God had commanded his people to be circumcised many, especially the Jewish Christians, argued that all must be circumcised. Others argued that circumcision was no longer necessary. Looking to scripture alone there was no reason to think circumcision would ever pass away. So, Paul and Barnabas decide to go to Jerusalem (the location of Authority–Peter and other Apostles –at that time).

So, a meeting was called to consider the question of the circumcision of the Gentiles. Everyone was discussing the question. But after a while PETER STOOD UP and proclaimed that the Gentiles were saved by grace which God also had poured out on the uncircumcised. In a delicate non-combative way Peter decides not to place the yoke of circumcision on the Gentiles.

Everyone was silent…..

Then James, proclaims how the decision of Peter will be applied in a practical way to the Gentiles. Just as our bishops today apply to their people the decisions of the Pope and the councils.

If Peter had not been given the authority to rule the Church and stop circumcision then he was guilty of nullifying the law of God in Genesis 17:9-19 where circumcision is said to be “throughout their generations” and an “everlasting covenant”.

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49 Responses

  1. The Roman Catholic Church’s teaching about the Pope (“pope” means “father”) is built upon and involves the following Roman Catholic teachings:

    1) Christ made Peter the leader of the apostles and of the church (Matthew 16:18-19). In giving Peter the “keys of the kingdom,” Christ not only made him leader, but also made him infallible when he acted or spoke as Christ’s representative on earth (speaking from the seat of authority, or “ex cathedra”). This ability to act on behalf of the church in an infallible way when speaking “ex cathedra” was passed on to Peter’s successors, thus giving the Church an infallible guide on earth. The purpose of the papacy is to lead the Church unerringly.

    2) Peter later became the first Bishop of Rome. As Bishop of Rome, he exercised authority over all other bishops and church leaders. The teaching that the Bishop of Rome is above all other bishops in authority is referred to as the “primacy” of the Roman Bishop.

    3) Peter passed on his apostolic authority to the next Bishop of Rome, along with the other apostles who passed on their apostolic authority to the bishops that they ordained. These new bishops, in turn, passed on that apostolic authority to those bishops that they later ordained, and so on. This “passing on of apostolic authority” is referred to as “apostolic succession.”

    4) Based upon the Roman Catholic claim of an unbroken chain of Roman bishops, they teach that the Roman Catholic Church is the true church, and that all churches that do not accept the primacy of the Pope have broken away from them, the original and one true church.

    Having briefly reviewed some of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the papacy, the question is whether those teachings are in agreement with Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church sees the Papacy and the infallible teaching authority of “mother Church” as being necessary to guide the Church, and use that as logical reasoning for God’s provision of it. But in examining Scripture, you find the following:

    1) While Peter was central in the early spread of the gospel (part of the meaning behind Matthew 16:18-19), the teaching of Scripture, taken in context, nowhere declares that he was in authority over the other apostles or over the Church (see Acts 15:1-23; Galatians 2:1-14; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Nor is it ever taught that the Bishop of Rome was to have primacy over the Church. Rather, there is only one reference in Scripture of Peter writing from “Babylon,” a name sometimes applied to Rome, found in 1 Peter 5:13. Primarily upon this, and the historical rise of the influence of the Bishop of Rome (due to the support of Constantine and the Roman emperors who followed him), comes the Roman Catholic Church teaching of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. However, Scripture shows that Peter’s authority was shared by the other apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20), and that the “loosing and binding” authority attributed to him was likewise shared by the local churches, not just their church leaders (see Matthew 18:15-19; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Titus 2:15; 3:10-11).

    2) Nowhere does Scripture state that in order to keep the church from error, the authority of the apostles was passed on to those they ordained (apostolic succession). Apostolic succession is “read into” those verses that the Roman Catholic Church uses to support this doctrine (2 Timothy 2:2; 4:2-5; Titus 1:5; 2:1; 2:15; 1 Timothy 5:19-22). What Scripture DOES teach is that false teachings would arise even from among church leaders and that Christians were to compare the teachings of these later church leaders with Scripture, which alone is cited in the Bible as infallible. The Bible does not teach that the apostles were infallible, apart from what was written by them and incorporated into Scripture. Paul, in talking to the church leaders in the large city of Ephesus, makes note of coming false teachers, and to fight against such error does NOT commend them to “the apostles and those who would carry on their authority,” but rather he commends them to “God and to the word of His grace…” (Acts 20:28-32).

    Again, the Bible teaches that it is Scripture that is to be used as measuring stick to determine truth from error. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul states that it is not WHO teaches but WHAT is being taught that is to be used to determine truth from error. While the Roman Catholic Church continues to pronounce a curse to hell “anathema” upon those who would reject the authority of the Pope, Scripture reserves that curse for those who would teach a different gospel (Galatians 1:8-9).

    3) While the Roman Catholic Church sees apostolic succession as logically necessary in order for God to unerringly guide the Church, Scripture states that God has provided for His church through:

    (a) Infallible Scripture, (Acts 20:32; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; Acts 17:10-12; Isaiah 8:20; 40:8; etc.) Note: Peter speaks of Paul’s writings in the same category as other Scripture (2 Peter 3:16),

    (b) Christ’s unending high-priesthood in heaven (Hebrews 7:22-28),

    (c) The provision of the Holy Spirit who guided the apostles into truth after Christ’s death (John 16:12-14), who gifts believers for the work of the ministry, including teaching (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16), and who uses the written word as His chief tool (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17).

    While there have been good (humanly speaking) and moral men who have served as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the Roman Catholic Church teaching about the office of the Pope should be rejected because it is not “in continuity” with the teachings of the original church, that related to us in the New Testament. This comparison of any church’s teaching is essential, lest we miss the New Testament’s teaching concerning the gospel, and not only miss eternal life in heaven ourselves, but unwittingly lead others down the wrong path (Galatians 1:8-9).

  2. Jeronie,

    All of your arguments are based on a false premise. That premise is that all Christian truth can be found in Sacred Scripture and ONLY sacred scripture. The irony is that this Protestant Doctrine of Scripture Alone or Sola Scriptura cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.

    You base your beliefs and criticism of the Catholic doctrine on Protestant interpretation of scripture which is actually Protestant Tradition.

    Click the links for more posts on Catholic TRADITION and POPE

  3. I find it interesting that apostolic succession gives the Catholic church the right to claim a direct line to Peter as the first Pope, along with the idea that those leaders, specifically the Pope, are infallible and teach according to what God has conveyed directly to them; yet the history of the Catholic church is filled with Popes and church leaders who are filled with corruption, wickedness, racism, etc. I find it hard to believe these men are direct descendants of Peter (spiritually) and receiving their cues from God, especially given the church’s war mongering history and elitist attitudes to those who did not read. The history of Catholic church has played out similarly to that of a country or political party, not that of God, but that of man – thus invalidating it’s spiritual/Godly authority.

  4. Paul,

    Jesus promised this outcome with the parable of the farmer who sowed good seed in his field but an enemy sowed weed seed. The servants asked their master if they should pull out the weeds but the master said

    “No, leave them till the harvest lest you harm the wheat. Then we will separate them.”

    Men are corruptible. Satan is Our Enemy and he has had a certain amount of success. Look …he has fooled you. But God and His Church triumph in the end. Just wait and see.

    • bfhu,

      First, I should have engaged with you in February; please forgive my delinquent response. I think we can both agree that scripture is the infallible, inspired word of God himself, right? Scripture was penned by man, as we know. God made sure that what he wanted to say was absolutely perfect and beyond reproach. For the Pope to present doctrine/policy, in a similar vein as is presented in scripture, it’s not that he would have to be beyond reproach, it’s that the doctrine/policy would have to be beyond reproach. Never in the Bible did God change his mind and retract what he previously said. How many times has the church had to retract from a doctrinal or policy stand?

      • I’ll bit , how many times has the church retracted, it’s infallible teaching?

        You said “Never in the Bible did God change his mind and retract what he previously said”

        what church did he mean in
        Matt 18:

        I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

        What church did he mean?
        When did the gates of hell prevail against his church
        Was it before or after the Bible was canonized?

  5. Matthew 16:16-18 does not state that Peter is the rock of which the church should be built upon, it is faith! God reveals to Peter that Jesus Christ is the living God through faith, and THAT is the rock to build his church upon.

    • Joe, That is 100% correct. It is through Faith that Peter saw Christ as Lord. and it is Fath that the Church is built on!!! That is smack dab right on the dot.

      Amen, Brother

  6. Joe,

    That seems reasonable until you think about the rules of grammar. The pronoun “this” is in verse 18. Peter’s confession is in verse 16. That is two verses, three sentences and seven nouns away.

    Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.

    Please take a look at this post–>Petros vs Petra

    Mt.16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.“
    17: And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
    18: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on THIS rock I will build my church.

    If pronouns in English or any other language could have seven nouns in between the pronoun and the antecedent it would be incomprehensible. For example:

    And Tom said, my house is a two-story Victorian. John said,”You are lucky Tom.”
    When I get a job, and make some money my father can take a vacation. And I tell you it may be a cave but THIS home is where my heart is.

    Which home is where John’s heart is? The Cave? or the two-story Victorian.
    or

    I have a car and I love to drive. I also have a truck. My house has a two-car garage with a pool. IT is beautiful.

    What does IT refer to? What is beautiful? The pool or maybe the whole house. Who would contend that the writer meant that the car was beautiful? And yet, that is the sort of grammatical gymnastics required to assert that Peter’s confession was the rock upon which Jesus would build His Church.

  7. I agree with Joe from earlier… If we think about it in ligistics from what you think….sure it could mean that…and it could mean several other things. How do you know that what you claim it to be is right??

    It very will could be that the church was founded on the way that the Father revealed to peter that Jesus is Lord. It easily can be said that the church is founded on the Father who revealed to peter the things.

    What makes what you say right? Use the scripture to back yourself up. and use the context of scripture and correct biblical interrpertation not what you think it means…i would like to know were your truth comes from???

  8. well first you cant argue nor discuss religion nor Biblical matters witha catholic for they do make up rules as they go . mr. benedict ( tho not a pope according God ) why show scipture to a catholics more concerned of satrifying a man thanGod . so beleive me catholics are just as bad as the mormons they make up rules as they go . I will say that mr Paul you call pope john isnt in heaven i promise that .

  9. This is disgusting. Catholics have interpreted the scripture so awfully as to think it is Biblical to have a pope. It says nowhere anything about a pope, and any allusions that you make are illusions. Utter filth. The Catholic church is so utterly corrupt; you hear so often about priests ordained in the church molesting young boys. These priests are under bishops; should not then the priests have been able to teach correctly if the bishops are able to? And should not the bishops be able to teach correctly if the pope can?

    Do not follow blindly an earthly king, follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The pope is merely a tool used to exercise religious imperialism across the world, and sadly, it works. I hope that some of you Catholics may see the error of your ways and turn toward the light instead of toward the man dressed in white; he is a false prophet and is not good.

    • Who are you to judge, NOLAN? Just because you are one of thousands of protesters from the true church does not make you right. Where did Martin Luther and Calvin get their inspiration, from a divine source? Nope. All protestant groups at one point were members of the true church and decided they wanted to break off. No Holy Spirit intervention, just a bunch of whatevers doing whatever they wanted.

  10. Dear Nolan,
    Don’t you see that Protestants have interpreted scripture so as to think Peter was not the leader of the Church. Where in Scripture does it say that anything that cannot be found in scripture MUST be wrong, error, heresy?

    How exactly do you think we have misinterpreted scripture about the scriptural authenticity of having a pope? Yes, of course there are sinners in the Catholic Church. We all are. Your criticism about the the priest scandal would carry water if there was none of this to be found in Protestant Churches, schools, etc. Sinners do not remove the credibility of the Catholic Faith. As Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” the Church is a hospital for sinners.

    Believe me, Catholics do not follow anyone blindly. Your remarks about the Pope are very uncharitable and ad hominem. Prove he is a false prophet or else you are guilty of slander.

  11. the catholic church has more than just the bible to back it up. thats what makes its The ONE and ONLY TRUE CHURCH. Maybe protestants dont like the pope because they want to make their own interpretations of the bible and their faith without having sum1 to correct them. I can assure that the pope isnt a false prophet because there are many catholics who hav gotten closer to Christ through the Catholic church. BFHU keep up the good work and DONT give up. Pray that the holy spirit guides you and helps you explaining our faith to protestants who have been blinded. I will pray for u.

  12. God wants a “strong” foundation.
    “peter” does not mean strong foundation.

    you have to have a new heart for understanding otherwise you are just………..
    (“digging a hole for a column” -theme)

    like what this has become

    -notify me of followup comments via e-mail-

    antianhydrous@yahoo.com

  13. Jesus gave Simon the new name Kepha (Jn 1.42; Mk 3.16; Lk 6.14). The reason was revealed later in the climactic event in Caesarea Philippi where Simon Peter made a stirring profession of faith. In response, Jesus disclosed the divine plan: “Thou art Kepha (Peter, Rock) and upon this kepha (rock) I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16.18).

    Like it or not, Jesus built His Church upon Kepha (Peter, Rock). If you are a true believer, then obey Jesus. Now that you know, how many of you are still invincibly ignorant of this fact? Manna or God? Your false pride or ego, or the complete surrender yourself to God? Your choice.

    • Not true.
      The name Peter is “Petros”, according to the Strongs Exhaustive Concordance #4074 defination means “small rock”.
      The word “Rock” is a different word: “Petra”, which is #4073, which means “large mass of rock”.
      The preceeding Scripture:
      Matt 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (NKJ)

      Is Jesus explaining to all present and to Peter that “upon the large rock of Revelational Knowledge) is what the Church is to be built upon.”
      Knowledge from God to man, which is indeed perfect and infalliable.

      Not some mere mortal, fallible man.

      BTW – that Revelational Knowledge is available to any true follower of Christ up to today, especially if they have recieved the Baptism of the Spirit. I have received it many times in my life.

      • hi Bruce,
        Bruce: that Revelational Knowledge is available to any true follower of Christ up to today, especially if they have recieved the Baptism of the Spirit. I have received it many times in my life.

        That is a very subjective statement, there are millions of true followers led by one Spirit but with different – even conflicting- beliefs.
        It seems hard for you to see that the Church of the ages believes differently from what your Protestant upbringing has taught you, that is, not on revelational knowledge but on Peter the Church has been built. The flock is not pastored by revelational knowledge but by a sheperd.
        “And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep”.

      • Dear Bruce,

        Handing down the keys of the kingdom of heaven by Jesus, Peter gets an office, a dignity and an authority. Reading the gospels open-minded about this subject the image is a pastor feeding His flock.
        One God, one Lord, one Spirit, one Pastor, why so much unity in the gospels and so much disunity in the belief of men. “O Man, bemoan thy grievous sins”.

  14. Unbroken like?
    In part, as the rest is too long to post here:
    Pope Honorius reigned from 625 to 638 A.D. He was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681). He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century. [Note 1]
    * In 769, Pope Stephen IV came to power with the help of an army which conquered the previous Pope. Stephen gave orders for his papal rival to be flogged, have his eyes cut out, have his kneecaps broken, and be imprisoned until he died. Then Pope Stephen sentenced a second man to die a slow, agonizing death. He had pieces of his body cut off every day until he finally died. [Note 2]
    * Pope Leo V only reigned for one month (July 903). Cardinal Christopher put Leo in prison and became Pope. Then Christopher was put in prison by Cardinal Sergius. Sergius killed Leo and Christopher while they were in prison. He also killed every cardinal who had opposed him. [Note 3]
    *Pope John XII reigned from 955 to 964. He was a violent man. He was so lustful that people of his day said that he turned the Lateran Palace into a brothel. He drank toasts to the devil. When gambling he invoked pagan gods and goddesses. He was killed by a jealous husband while in the act of committing adultery with the man’s wife. [Note 4]
    * In the tenth century, a wealthy Italian noblewoman named Marozia put nine popes into office in eight years. In order to do that, she also had to get rid of reigning popes. Two of them were strangled, one was suffocated, and four disappeared under mysterious circumstances. One of the popes was Marozia’s son; he was fathered by a Pope. [Note 5]
    * In 1003, Pope Silvester II was murdered by his successor, Pope John XVII. Seven months later, John was poisoned. [Note 6]
    * Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 1012 to 1024. He kept a private force of “pope’s men” who were known for torture, maimings, and murder. The Pope personally ordered many assassinations. He enjoyed cutting the tongues out of living men and he had a reputation for blood lust. [Note 7]
    * When Benedict VIII died, his brother seized power and became Pope John XIX. He had himself ordained a priest, consecrated as a bishop, and crowned as pope, all in the same day. John died under suspicious circumstances. [Note 8]
    * Pope Benedict IX reigned from 1032 to 1044, in 1045, and from 1047 to 1048. He became Pope through bribery. He had sex with men, women and animals. He gave orders for people to be murdered. He also practiced witchcraft and Satanism. The citizens of Rome hated Benedict so much that on two occasions he had to flee from Rome. Benedict sold the papacy to Pope Gregory VI. As part of the deal, he continued to live in the Lateran Palace, with a generous income. Benedict filled the Lateran Palace with prostitutes. [Note 9]
    *In 1298, Pope Boniface ordered that every man, woman, child and animal in the Italian town of Palestrina be slaughtered. He was known for torture, massacre, and ferocity. [Note 10]

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robin.brace/1papal.htm

    Obviously this is a “cut and paste” post from another website.
    I have see other articles that give specific names and dates of Papal successions and it is anything but unbroken, and this does not even get into the inquisitions which were authorized by the Popes and the Catholic Church.
    In order for the idea of infallability to be true the chain of succession must be absolute and proveable. If even one break occurrs then the line is broken. Period.
    Proveable also includes spiritual correctness, which must meet Biblical standards.
    Anything less then all that exists is a falsehood.

  15. Yes, the Catholic Church is a hospital for sinners. Does that surprise you? …that our popes are sinners? It doesn’t surprise us. Recently we have had much more worthy men as Pope. But we have had some pretty sinful popes. But I’ll bet your church will too after 2000 years.

    • Then you admit the claim of an “unbroken line of Popes” is false.

      BTW – why do you and others assume I had an upbringing as a Protestant?
      I have never stated such.
      I am not burdened with the dogma and doctrine of the Catholics and do have a free mind.

      I am a disciple of Christ and have recieved the Baptism of the Spirit.

      I know many others that have recieved it also.

      If I am dead wrong, along with others that are Protestant, why is God using them and performing miracles constantly among them, especially among the Pentecostals?

      The Word states, “You shall know them by their fruits”.

      I see clearly the differences the Catholic Church has which is why I am posting on this website.
      Apparently the person that normally replies to this forum needed some back up to attempt to deal with me, hence pastor oviums arrival.

      BTW – I find fault in the Catholic Church and her daughters – the Protestant churches as well. Any denomination that follows the perversion of the 10 Commandments a sin against God and the Word is full of warnings about doing so and teaching such incorrect doctrine to others.

      I don’t believe anything I am told by any religion until it is verified by The Word.

      • No, there IS an unbroken line of Popes. Even when there was confusion b/c more than one man was claiming to be the Pope, there was one authentic Pope. I never said the “unbroken line of Popes” was false. I find it interesting that you think I did. What made you think this?

        All Christians who are not Catholic are Protestant of one sort or another. And like you they, protest against the Catholic Church for one thing or the other. That is why they are called Protest-ants.

        God desires that all men be saved regardless of the error of their ways.
        So are you a Seventh Day Adventist? That popped into my mind with the “perversion of the 10 Commandments” comment.

        Why don’t you “believe anything (you are) told by any religion until it is verified by The Word”? Why do you have this conviction? You believe this conviction and yet it was first taught by Martin Luther. It is NOT in or verified by The Word. So you are following a tradition of men..well one man and many men after him. So tell my why?

        • I do not like the claim that if a Christian is not Catholic they are Protestant. Every single Orthodox and Oriental Christian is insulted by this statement. They never “protested” the Catholic Church. Calling a church ‘catholic’ or ‘orthodox’ is a matter of semantics. BUT. . . the Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Churches are as Catholic as the Church of Rome. No more. No less. They have valid orders, sacraments, liturgies and theology. And they are not protestant. If a church has apostolic bishops then it is part and parcel of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is equal to the Roman Church. Most of these Churches consider the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, to be first among equals. The Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarchs of Antioch, Constantinople and Jerusalem, and the Catholicos of Armenia, and the Patriarchs of Moscow, Sofia, Bucharest, Belgrade, Kiev, Ethiopia, Chaldea, India, etc., etc. are co-equal to each other and to Rome. THIS is the Church catholic! The Latin West is only a small part of the universal Church. Rome, because of that cities importance to the western world, assumed its’ present authority over the planet. Do not make the Catholic Church Roman only, because this is not true.

          • Dominic,
            Sorry. I thought of not lumping in the Orthodox with the Protestants b/c you are right they really only object to our papal doctrine and the creed on the Holy Spirit, I think. And they are not always protesting the Catholic Church. I stand corrected. I know that you are correct about having valid orders, sacraments, liturgies and theology. But i have no clue what churches you are referring to as Oriental. All Christians are members of the Body of Christ through baptism. It is too bad that we are not all in union, ONE as Jesus desired.

            • The Oriental Churches that I referred to are those which are, maybe one could say, one step outside of the main body of Orthodoxy by fault of ancient heresies. I believe these would be the Syro-Malabar Church and other groups such as the Church in Iraq and Iran. As history shows us there were all sorts of ideas regarding Christ and His Nature, and Who He is, in the earliest centuries of the Church. We still have differing heresies and opinions on many Church issues. So the Churches, including the Church of Rome, which followed and accepted the first seven Ecumenical, or universal Councils, are considered as Orthodox/Catholic. The ones which might have accepted some of the conciliar decisions, but not all, or rejected the Councils are considered as non-orthodox and at least in part heretical. Those same Churches enjoy the fullness of validity in sacraments, orders, liturgy, but lack a modicum of truth as set forth by a particular Council. The Armenian Church is one of these. I believe that they are monophysite in their perception of the Christ. Today this argument is so minor compared to the countless false doctrines being perpetuated by various denominations and peoples around the world. It is these same ones that condemn the Catholic Church and ignore the Orthodox Church whose doctrines are the same as the Roman Church, except for that of papal infallibility as defined by Rome. The so-called filioque question is a word put into the Nicene Creed by the Roman Church to counter an argument with Orthodoxy, at the Council of Trent. Nicea says the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. Trent (a non-ecumenical council) says the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son. A really silly argument, but non-the-less it helped to tear the Church in two. Today most Catholics, Roman and Eastern, and the Orthodox and Oriental Churches have put aside many of these really minor differences which divide us and are looking for unity in Spirit, not compliancy to Rome. We want to share the Churches, Liturgies and Sacraments, as it should be. This action was witnessed by the Sainted John Paul II when he celebrated the Holy Liturgy with the Catholicos of Armenia at Holy Etchmiadzin, the Seat of the Church of Armenia in Yerevan. Truly Pope John Paul and others like him are “bridge builders” -pontiffs. We always will have the human element in the leadership of the various Churches. Many of these popes, patriarchs, bishops and pastors are good Godly men and work for the bringing together of Christ’s flock. But then there are others of the same afore mentioned positions who still want to call Roman Catholics heretics, hate any Eastern Church in communion with Rome, and believe that they corner the market on Christian Truth. The old Patriarch of Moscow wouldn’t attend the funeral of John Paul out of hatred for him because John Paul favored the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Today the new Patriarch of Moscow is working with Pope Benedict hand in hand, as well as with the Patriarch of Constantinople to undo all the centuries of misunderstanding, petty animosities and outward cruelties from both sides that have divided us all. This work even includes the several western Protestant Churches which Rome considers to be heretical, but are still part of the Church catholic as much as they follow the Councils and consider themselves as being part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. These various Churches still hold mostly valid orders, sacraments liturgies and theology. There is actually more in Christianity, beyond Baptism, that unites us rather than divides us. The “fringe” protestant and fundamental churches are always screaming against the Roman Catholic Church, but are totally ignorant of the Roman Church’s counterpart in the Eastern Catholic Churches and all the Orthodox Churches. They rail against popes, and Marian devotions, and statues, and really dumb things. If they understood Orthodox theology, and Orthodox Mariology as being the same as that of Rome, they would either give up their diatribes against Rome, or they would then take on Orthodoxy. All the Catholic and Orthodox Churches need to stand together, breathe with the two lungs of the Church, and together hold high the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      • Dear Bruce,

        Hmmmmmm, you are neither a Protestant nor a catholic. Nevertheless any baptized person is a disciple of Christ.

  16. “This ability to act on behalf of the church in an infallible way when speaking “ex cathedra” was passed on to Peter’s successors, thus giving the Church an infallible guide on earth. The purpose of the papacy is to lead the Church unerringly.”

    The “unbroken line” entails not only being a legitamate Pope, but also passing down the mantle of infallibility from one pope to another.

    Clearly my previous post shows anything but infallibility, which you agreed “our popes are sinners”.
    I agree there has only been one perfect man but in our world there are different degrees of transgressions and no amount of repeated Church dogma will wash the truth away.

    I will say again I am not simply singleing out the Catholic church as IMHO there are only a few “religions” or denominations that are coming anywhere close to the Church that Christ established.
    Any church that follows false doctrine, dogma, and teaching, and by false I mean clearly violates the 10 Commandments as God gave them to Mankind, is in error.

    I will tell you there is a reason for some of the different “flavors” of churches, and this answer was given to me in prayer one time: So everyone looking will find a place to go that appeals to him/her.
    My intrepretation if this is no man will have the excuse not to have a church to go to and know Him and be fed with the Word.

    This also shows why the absolute need for Revelation Knowledge.

    Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.

    Jesus previously stated in verse 17 that God had revealed this knowledge to Peter.
    in verse 18 the name Peter is the word “petra”, which means “little rock, and “on this rock” the word “rock” is “petros” which means great or large rock.
    The two words are not the same and the implication is the Church will be built upon the petros – the great rock – which is Revelational Knowledge as man is weak and fallible and sinful and God is not.

    I will not accept that any man since Jesus Christ is infallible, regardless of position, title, power or place.
    Only God and His Word is infallible.

    There have been a ton of cults (and religions) based on one man leaders that claimed to be “the only one”.

    I ask any reader of these posts to utterly disregard my posts, and every one elses and simply pray to God and ask what His truth of these matters is.
    That is the great thing about being a Christian. He will tell you what you should be doing.
    It doesn’t matter what I think or ANY religion, it matters what He says.

    • Here we go again: the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church! The Catholic Church did not invent this position called a “pope”. For one, that’s only the English word for Papa or Baba, or Abba or Abouna. All words of respect given to the bishops of the Church since the very earliest days of Christianity. The Patriarch of the Church of Alexandria is called “Pope”. Pope Shenouda just recently passed away. The Coptic Church (Alexandria) will elect another “Pope”. Rome does the same thing. And if the Vatican was vacant for even ten years, the Bishops of the Church would elect a new Bishop of Rome who then holds title as “Pope”. In the United States we call the man in the White House the “President”. We could just as easily in the Constitution have called him “Leader”, chancellor, chief, prime minister, governor general, chairman, etc. But the founders chose “President”. Rome chose the word “Papa”, translated in English as pope. This is the title of the Bishops of Rome who are also the Patriarchs of the Western Latin Church. Again the title of the Bishop (Patriarch) of Alexandria is “Baba”, “Pope” in English. If you look in the Scriptures you will see that the words bishop, deacon and presbyter are present. Read about it in the Acts of the Apostles and in some of the Epistles. All of the Apostles were the original bishops of the Church. This awesome responsibility was passed on by them with the “laying on of hands” to ordain new bishops, deacons and presbyters. This is all Scriptural and not some cultish invention by the Roman Catholic Church. This was happening in Palestine way before Saint Peter went to Rome. By the way Peter established the Church in Antioch, and so all of the Patriarchs of Antioch, since the time of Peter, also claim direct descendency from the Prince of the Apostles, Peter. We do not have to worry about what kind of priesthood was in the Old Testament. It was a legitimate priesthood established by God with Moses and Aaron. Jesus Christ, the Son of God FULFILLED the old law and established a new priesthood, a priesthood based on His own Body and Blood, and His sublime Sacrifice on the Cross. “As often as you do these things, do them in My memory.” He also said: “On this Rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will NOT prevail against it.” He also said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. What you loose on earth is loosed in heaven, and what you bind on earth, is bound in heaven.” And, He also said: ” I AM with you always, until the end of the ages.” What further proof is needed to make legitimate the Catholic and Orthodox Churches? The Churches also had to crawl before they could walk, they had to walk before they could run, and after 2000 years they are well established in Scripture, Tradition, Ritual and Theology. The 2000 year old Catholic/Orthodox Churches didn’t just fall out of the sky within the past 500 years like all the non-Catholic/non-Orthodox Churches have. I would suggest to all scoffers at Catholicism/Orthodoxy to read about the first, second, third and fourth generations of Church Fathers, founders and doctors, and include the first seven Ecumenical Councils. The Greek word Katolikos means universal, and the Greek words Ortho – Doxa means the True Glory. Glory to Jesus Christ!

    • Bruce,
      Infallibility does not refer to sinlessness at all. It only refers to the fact that God protects the Pope from ever teaching error regarding Faith and Morals to the whole Church. Please take a look at my post Infallible?

      Here is an excerpt from another post:

      Q. How could Popes be excommunicated if they are infallible.

      A. Easy. There might even be popes in Hell. I hope you will read the above post but to be brief, infallibility refers to the fact that God protect His Church by ensuring that the pope, whenever he teaches on Faith and Morals to the Whole Church will never teach error. God will prevent this. The Pope is not perfectly sinless. Neither is every word from his mouth infallible. He only exercises God’s empowering infallibility when he teaches on faith and moral to the whole church.

      Q. God is the only infallible One. He is the same today as he was yesterday, and will remain the same for all of eternity.

      A. God is certainly infallible but He is able to produce infallibility in a man to accomplish His purposes. For instance, sacred scripture is all written by men who, we both believe, were used by God to teach infallibly in the written word.

      The Popes do not pass down the mantle of infallibility. God protects His Church from error by preventing the Pope from teaching error on Faith and Morals to the whole Church. The Pope can and will err in many other ways. We do not believe that the Pope is another like Jesus, sinless, and omniscient.

      Your belief that division of the Church is good “so that everyone will have a place to go” sounds like a lie from Hell because it contradicts Jesus Himself:

      John 17:11 Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
      21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

      So, Bruce, you recommend that each individual can be infallible by merely praying to God. You seem to forget Our Enemy and his ability to deceive. We need the Church to guide us into all Truth. It is much easier for me to believe that Jesus left us a sure guide to Faith and Morals in His Church and the Pope rather than that each Christian is an infallible Pope of his individual life.

      • So you have a problem with people praying to God for the truth as opposed to simply accepting what your church tells them.

        Surely I am not the only one that sees a problem with this?

        BTW – I never wrote an individual can be, or even is capable of being infallible.
        This is what I wrote: Only God and His Word is infallible.
        Any person that prays to God and recieves His infallible word then knows what His truth and can find what His will for them is.

        It is easy for you to beleive because you don’t think for yourself and apparently are against people praying to God for what His truth is, instead blindly accept what what your religion tells you to accept.
        I used to do that until God woke me up to look past tradition and to find the truth.

        Have you ever laid hands on the sick or injured and they have been healed?
        Have you ever given a Word of Knowledge to another?
        Have you ever prophesied?
        Have signs and wonders followed you?

        Jesus also came to remove the divide between the Aaronic priesthood (old Testament church) and the Jew, allowing us to boldly approach the Throne of Grace personally, bypassing the earthly priesthood.

        Hebrews 4:14-16
        14. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
        15. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
        16. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
        (NKJ)

        Jesus did away with a burdensome priesthood so every beleiver could approach God personally.

        Man then put a priesthood back into the world as soon as they could.
        Then that new priesthood changed God’s ordinances, the Law that God gave Moses and commanded him to use – that law being the one written by God and not by the hand of man – the 10 Commandments.

        I will say once again I am not simply singleing out the Catholic church as IMHO there are only a few “religions” or denominations that are coming anywhere close to the Church that Christ established.
        Any church that follows false doctrine, dogma, and teaching, and by false I mean clearly violates the 10 Commandments as God gave them to Mankind, is in error.

  17. Bruce,
    No, I do not have a problem with people praying to God for the Truth.
    But how is one to objectively KNOW he actually has the Truth?

    You reject the idea that Jesus would give us leader in the Pope, a New Testament Prophet to lead His people and instead trust only yourself. I know that you did not consider yourself infallible but that is the reality of your practice. You trust yourself to be more infallible than anyone else. You trust yourself to interpret scripture infallibly. I know you would NEVER say this out loud or even in the silence of your own heart. So, if you trust yourself, fine but I sure do KNOW I am not infallible and I do not trust myself to infallibly interpret scripture. Not thinking for oneself is one thing and certainly not something I am guilty of. Rebellion is a form of thinking for oneself but it is not born of humilty.

    Jesus did not do away with the priesthood. Where do you find proof of this in Scripture? We do have the priesthood of all believers and a ministerial priesthood. The Greek word is presbuteros and it is entmylogically the root of the English word PRIEST.

    • How does one know “he actually has the Truth”?

      That is the easiest answer in the world: His sheep know His voice.
      Past that the Bible teaches you every word shall be established by 2 witnesses (or more).

      Me infalliable?
      I would not say it because it so obviously would not be true.
      I trust His Word, which He has given me many times.

      You have resorted to making things up to prove your point, to discredit me, me which makes you dishonest.
      Not very Christianly of you.
      Or is that the Catholic way?

      You never answered my 4 questions.

    • Heb 8:6-13
      6. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–9. “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      11. “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13. In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (NKJ)

      You ought to read the Bible more.

      Jesus declared that none shall teach his neighbor or brother, and the old covenent He disregarded and declared they were becoming obsolete and growing old and is ready to vanish away.

      The old covenent was the Priesthood.
      It was replaced with the most interesting Priesthood of Melchizedek, where Christ is the High Priest

      More:

      Heb 7:11-12
      11. “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
      12. For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law”.

      Heb 7:17-19
      17. “For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” 18. For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19. for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God”. (NKJ)

      What further need was there that another priest should rise and of necessity there is also a change in the law? (The law of Moses)

      Clearly these passages mean the Levetical priesthood is no longer needed as Jesus Christ is now our High Priest in the Heavenly Tabernacle interceeding for us to God, and He stated he would write the Law in our minds and hearts and no further teaching is necessary.

      You do beleive the Bible is the infallible, unerrant, Word of God don’t you?
      If you do then here is you answer complete.

    • Hello?
      What is the matter bftu.. got no answer.

      It is interesting when confronted with the Scripture that counters you position you seem fold and go away.

      I will ask one more question:
      What is more important, Tradition or Scripture?

  18. Bruce,

    I did not fold and go away. All you did was quote scripture. We love Scripture and I totally agree with all the scripture you quoted. I just disagree with your interpretation. Scripture is infallible but as you said, you lack infallibility.

    Tradition in the Catholic Church is the Teaching of the Apostles that did not get written down at first but was passed down orally. It was not just any oral teaching. And the Scripture is the Teaching of the Apostles that did get written down and canonized. They are of equal importance because they are both derived from the TEACHING OF JESUS.

  19. The only leader or priest one should have is Jesus. If you kneel down to a pope or a pastor where is God in that? Why give glory to a human being that is not the reason for you being alive. The pope did not give you eternal salvation. Catholicism is a religion and Jesus broke down all religion because it took away from God. It did before and it still does now.

    • @Stephanie Lopez: … the false dichotomy and logical dead wood of the
      flawed Protestant worldview. It’s like saying since a Muslim invented algebra, all algebra teachers are Muslims.

    • Stephanie,
      We are human persons in time. Left to ourselves alone our faith/religion becomes something we ourselves invent. There is no assurance of TRUTH. If we then make the step of accepting only Scripture our Faith/religion then has a lot of Truth we still have no assurance that our own interpretation is TRUE. So once again we are left with a faith/religion that we can only rely upon ourselves for assurance of TRUTH. The Protestant theory of “the Holy Spirit will lead me into all TRUTH,” is a wonderful theory but in the 500 years of history since the Protestant Reformation, it has proven false. If it were true all Protestants would be led to unity of TRUTH because God is not a God of confusion and yet each year brings new denominations brought about by different interpretations of Scripture. Today there are thousands of different Protestant denominations.

      Jesus Himself desires that we be ONE even as He and His Father are ONE.

      2 Peter 1:20
      Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

      So, Protestantism’s theory of being led by the HS in interpreting scripture has not proven true. Jesus desires UNITY, but Protestantism has resulted in thousands of denominations. And Protestantism encourages private interpretation of Scripture contrary to Scripture itself. This is what led to disunity and confusion.

      But, Jesus Himself founded the Catholic Church on Peter and the Apostles 2000 years ago. We have the assurance of TRUTH as that which Jesus taught His apostles some of which was written and became the Bible canonized by the Catholic Church. And some of the apostolic truth was passed on orally and gradually has also been written as a witness to historic Christianity.

      I will go with the Church founded by Jesus. He is our king. He gave us a pope and bishops and priests. Who am I to say He did it wrong.

  20. So what you think of the new pope

    • Whether you believe in the position of a pope or bishop or not does not matter here. There are over a billion Catholics in the world. This Church has a centralized governing body. This governing body is visible in the Bishop of Rome, all of the Offices of the Vatican, all of the cardinals, archbishops and bishops around the world. It has been that way from the beginning of the Church in Jerusalem, then moving on to Antioch, and to Rome. As the Church grew it spread further from these cities. It eventually spread throughout the planet.

      You protestants and scoffers always sound to me like a bunch of whiny little kids who can’t have their way. You all are so far afield that all the explanation in the world won’t convince you about how the One, Holy, catholic and Apostolic Church, including the Orthodox Churches, was founded and still flourishes in spite of all the persecutions, revolutions, reformations, martyrdoms, prisons, undergrounds, scandals, schisms, fallings away, etc. etc. The Church still stands and none of you can insult it or its members enough to bring it down. This is our Church. This is the Church of Christ. None of you can touch it. But by Faith and through mercy and the Grace of God, you can join it. Such great sport, picking apart another’s beliefs. It is especially disgusting that you use lies to disgrace the Church and to bolster your own lack of knowledge. If you have any sort of theology it certainly isn’t anywhere near the Orthodox theology of the ancient Church Fathers from nearly two thousand years ago, and still professed this day.

      Do you know anything about the first, second and third century Churches? I would suggest you read more than the bible alone. There are countless great writings from the ancient Church which shine as brightly today as they did when written. The ONLY bible ever written is the Catholic Bible. So all of you who hate the Catholic Church really shouldn’t use the bible either.

      I am not directing this specifically to roboman40, but to all who are anti-Church.

      • I just asked how most Catholics felt about thier new Pope , I didnt ask for a lesson in Church history. Because I asked such a simple question you accuse me of being anti-church. I dont know were you got that from the question I asked. Your assuming something that isnt true. Just because you think it doesnt make true!

  21. Very Happy!

  22. Third Commandment is,”You shall have no other gods before Me”

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