BUT PETER WAS NOT A POPE One Newscaster in commenting on the Pope of the Catholic church visiting Palestine said that this was the first Pope to visit there since Peter. The Catholics claim Peter as the first Pope and that all the rest rule over the church by his authority. However, this is not according to the Bible as well as most of the other doctrines of the Catholic church. 1. Peter was a married man. Paul said he had a right to lead about a wife like Cephas and the other apostles. (I Cor. 9:5). In the ministry of Christ he went to the house of Peter and healed Peter's wife's mother of a fever (Mat. 8:14, 15). Not only was Peter married but he stayed married even after the work of the apostles began. By going to Peter's home and healing his mother in law Christ sanctioned Peter's marriage. Now no Pope can be a married man. They along with others of the clergy in that church have to make a vow of celibacy. In Bible Times preachers and apostles were often married men and Peter is a good example. 2. Peter was not the head of the church. God put all things under Christ and gave him to be head over the church which is his body and the fullness of him that filleth all things (Eph. 1:22,23). That ruled out Peter as head of the church. However, the Pope in Rome is the head of the Roman Catholic church. It is true that Peter was given the keys of the kingdom as recorded in Matthew 16:19. However in Matthew 18:18 all the apostles are given the keys of the kingdom. This meant that they would be inspired to reveal all the truth (John 16:13, 14). They sit upon thrones judging spiritual Israel through the gospel that they have revealed. (Matthew 19:28). Each of the 12 has as much authority as any of the others and that is limited to the authoritative message they gave by inspiration. Any church with a man as its head cannot be Christ's church. The Lord said that Christ would sit upon his right Hand until his enemies would be made his footstool (Psalms 110:1). The last enemy to be destroyed is death (I Cor. 15:25, 26). As long as death is not conquered just that long Christ continues his reign. It will be the end of time when death is conquered and Christ at that time will deliver the kingdom up to the Father (I Cor. 15:20-28). 3. Catholics want to say that Christ is reigning in heaven and that the Pope is His ruling representative on the earth. However, Christ said, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). He has the authority in both heaven and earth. Christ never authorized a huge ecclesiastical organization with all the conglomeration of offices and sub offices found in Catholicism and most of the Protestant Denominations. In Bible times and teaching there was the autonomy of the local church. Elders were the overseers of the work under the chief shepherd Jesus Christ (I Pet. 5:4). Love was the only bond between congregations. Paul told the Ephesian elders, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28). Concerning what to feed them he said, "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." (Acts 20:32). The elders of Ephesus were to take care of the job of feeding the members at Ephesus and they were to feed them the word of God. 4. God's method works if it is only carried out. Most religions do not carry out these simple instructions but form themselves into man made organizations which hinder the gospel rather than teach and spread it. The very worst ones to do this are the Roman Catholics and they base it on the false premise that Peter was the head of the church and all who succeed him are doing so by his authority. Let's go to the Bible for the message of salvation and for the proper organization of the church.
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