Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pope: Other Christians Not True Churches

Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Click here for the whole story.

That's OK, I don't consider Catholicism true Christianity, so we're even. This has always been one problem that I've had with Catholicism (which follows the teachings of Cathol, whoever he was...OK, maybe not, but it was funny, anyway). There are so many Biblical principles violated by the very structure and teachings inherent to Catholicism, that I have always had a hard time with its relevance. That is not to say that there are not some genuine followers of Christ that attend Catholic churches. I have met many who are.

Anyone who follows a Pope rather than the teachings of the gospel and of Biblical precepts has their faith built upon sand and not a firm foundation. If a man can make a decree, another man can change it later. There is no standard or eternal truth in that. There is, however, that sought after truth in the Bible itself and in the teaching that comes directly from the Spirit of God himself to His sheep.

Here is one of the fallacies behind the doctrine of having a Pope, directly from the article.
"Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession - the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles.

There are a couple of problems with that concept. First is the interpretation of the words of Jesus when he said, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" as meaning that He will build the church upon Peter. Read the entire context and read about the historical setting where they will and you will see that it is a play on words.

The second problem is the assumption that apostleship is 1. handed down from one to another in a line of succession; and 2. that an apostle must have actually been with the group from the time of John the Baptist and was with Jesus until the resurrection, having witnessed it himself (see these verses for that reference). Often, you will hear cessationalists quote that verse to defend the idea that apostles no longer exist and died off with the original 12 (then a replacement for Judas, so really 13). If that is the case, then Paul did not qualify since he was not with the group from the time of John the Baptist and he did not witness the resurrected Christ when they did. He did see Christ later, however. Then again, Paul was not the last to do so, either. So have I, nearly 2000 years later.

The apostolic replacement was decided by chance, not by Cardinals' votes. The succession was not handed down. It was a "roll of the dice", so to speak. Either way, the non-Biblical claim of apostolic succession is a farce. Paul did not treat Peter as the leader of the entire Church. Actually, James, the brother of Jesus, was the leader in Jerusalem, not Peter.

The one part of the quote I gave from the article that says, "Christ 'established here on earth' only one church" is very true. There is indeed only ONE Church, meaning the Lord's Body. On the flip side, there are many congregations that are actually referred to as "churches". We find references to "the church that meets at the house of..." or "write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." Click here for that last reference. Thus, that point could also be argued, depending upon the intent of the quote's author.

There is one good thing Benedict has done, though...

Is it just me, or does Pope Benedict XVI remind you of Chancellor Palpatine?

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