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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Is The Roman Papacy Biblical And Historical?

  • Defining The Issues:
         -The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ made the Apostle Peter the first pope (leader of the Roman Catholic Church) and that He built His church upon him.
         -The Church of Rome also claims that Jesus gave Peter a unique position of authority over His church which was supposed to get passed on through "apostolic succession" to present-day popes (thereby establishing the concept of an infallible church).
         -There is a great deal of controversy between  the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and all of the Protestant churches due to the issue of "private interpretation". Private interpretation of Scripture is the concept of a person using his or her reasoning to make a judgment on a particular passage from the Bible. It is a more individualistic approach to determining what Scripture means.
         -Hierarchical structured churches always insist that we absolutely must have their leaders "infallibly interpret" the Scriptures in order to preserve absolute truth in doctrinal matters and thus aid in the prevention of division within the entire congregational body. Interestingly, the Eastern Orthodox Church makes identical claims to the ones listed above (though this essay is primarily directed to the authority claims of the Catholic Church).
  • Biblical Evidence Against The Apostle Peter Being the First Pope And The Rock Of Matthew 16:18:
         -Many Scripture passages discuss the types of offices, ministers, and qualifications necessary for obtaining such positions in the church (i.e. Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 5; Titus 1:5-9). However, the concept of a pope is absent from these passages. Furthermore, the one-head bishop hierarchical structure is totally absent from the pages of the New Testament. Neither is there any biblical evidence for a mere human leader claiming to have "infallible abilities". Naturally, one would think that the office of pope would be in a category of its own (and thus have Scripture passages directly pointed at how to appoint popes, their functions, and their behavioral standards), since it is allegedly the highest office in the entire Christian church.
        -The church is built on all of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20-22). In fact, Jesus Christ is the foundation stone upon which the church is built, not Peter (1 Corinthians 3:11). While the Apostle Peter's name is defined in Scripture to mean "a stone" (John 1:42), Christ is referred to as "the rock" (1 Corinthians 10:3-4). The "rock" mentioned in Matthew 16:18 is simply Peter's confession of faith (Matthew 16:16). This interpretation of the passage is very reasonable, especially in light of the fact that the surrounding context (v. 13-18) is about the spread of the gospel and the identity of the Messiah, not the establishment of some sort of office. It is upon our confessions of faith upon which the church stands or falls. Every doctrine and practice should be in accordance to the will of Jesus Christ. Never is a mere human being referred to as "the rock" in Scripture (i.e. 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32; Psalm 18:31; Isaiah 44:8; 1 Peter 2:6-8).
       -All of the apostles were given the authority of the "keys" (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23).
       -Jesus Christ is the "head of the church" (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesian 1:22-23; 4;15; 5;23-25). In fact, the Scriptures emphatically state that the Lord Jesus holds primacy in all things (Colossians 1:17-18).
           +Roman Catholic believe that the pope is the "visible" head of the church and that Christ is the "invisible" head. However, the Scriptures make no such distinction. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and thus needs only one spiritual king (Luke 17:20-21). 
        -The Apostle Peter was not a wealthy man like modern-day popes (i.e. Acts 3:6-7). In other words, he did not have a throne, crown, or any other types of riches, as the popes have had for centuries. 
         -Peter was never addressed by titles of exultation such as are used to honor popes of later times. In other words, he was never called "Pope", "Chief Shepard", "Head of the Church", "Holy Father", or any other religious titles used to honor popes today. Instead, he was simply called an "apostle and servant" (1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) and "fellow presbyter" (1 Peter 5:1).
           +Some may argue that the Apostle Peter avoided these titles because he was humble and modest. But if that is the case, then why do modern popes refuse to follow Peter's example? The truth of the matter is that Jesus forbade the practice (Matthew 23:8-12)!
           +Jesus is the "Chief Shepherd" of the "flock of God" (John 10:10; 14-16; Hebrews 13:20) and God is the "Holy Father" (John 17:11)---not the pretentious Bishop of Rome. 
        -The Apostle Peter did not allow men to bow before him religiously (Acts 10:25-26), but modern popes accept and encourage this type of behavior. We are not to bow before people to honor their religious office or affiliation (Matthew 4:9-10; Revelation 22:8-9).
        -Peter was married and could not have been a pope (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5):
            +If Peter was the first pope, then he was also a married man. However, such is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, Peter is automatically disqualified from the Papacy!
        -Peter placed himself at the same level of authority as every other bishop (1 Peter 5:1-5):
            +The Apostle Peter openly calls himself a fellow elder, told other bishops not to be lords over God heritage, and reinforced the fact that Jesus Chris is the Chief Shepard.
        -Peter was rebuked by the Apostle Paul (Galatians 2;11-14):
             +Peter was publicly rebuked by Paul because of his hypocrisy and for acting contrary to the truth of the gospel.   
             +A person who would dare to treat a Roman Pope in such a hostile manner would most probably get executed, if done in the exact manner as presented in the text of Galatians 2:11-14. 
       -Peter was not in charge of the Christian church:
           +If the Apostle Peter was appointed by Christ to be the head of the church, then why did James preside over the first and only church council mentioned in the New Testament? Although Peter attended, it was James who made the ruling that circumcision was unnecessary for salvation (Acts 15:6-30)? Furthermore, this particular church council operated on the basis of Sola Scriptura because it drew its conclusion from the inspired words of Scripture (Acts 15:15-18, which is a quotation from the prophecy of Amos 9:11-12 showing the inclusion of the Gentiles into the gospel). This church council  used Scripture to ensure that it was in complete conformity to God's written Word. And lastly, another powerful anti-Papal inference that can be drew off the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 is that it took place in the City of Jerusalem, not Rome. This text alone attests to the ultimate authority of Scripture, and harms the claims of the Roman Catholic Church.
       -Peter was ordered by others to travel:
          +"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them" (Acts 8:14).
          +If Peter was meant to be the head of the apostles, then he should have been the one who ordered the other apostles to travel to different places.
      -Paul worked harder than Peter (1 Corinthians 15:10).
      -Peter did not write much Scripture:
         +Peter wrote only two epistles +John wrote three epistles, the Book of Revelation, and one of the four gospels +Paul wrote half of the New Testament.
      -Although Peter was commissioned by Jesus Christ to "feed the sheep" (John 21:15-17), the Apostle Paul said that all bishops have been entrusted with the same task of caring for the flock of God (Acts 20:28).  
      -The Apostle Peter was known as the apostle to the Jews, whereas Paul was the apostle sent out to evangelize the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8). In the same context, Peter is only referred to as "one of four pillars", with James being listed as first in order (Galatians 2:9).
      -If the Apostle Peter was the first pope, then how come the Apostle Paul never used the "head bishop" as the means to solve the problems that put the Church of Corinth into bitter division? Why did he rebuke those who claimed to be followers of Peter, if he were the first pope (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)? 
     -Peter did not exercise his authority on matters pertaining to church government alone:
         +The Apostle Peter was not in charge of the replacement apostle after Judas was dead (Acts 1:23-26). In other words, he did not occupy his supreme authority on this issue of church government like popes would (or if he was ever one). Instead, all of the apostles nominated two candidates (not Peter alone) and prayed to Christ for an answer (not looking to Peter). Afterwards, they all cast lots to see who the new apostle would be (Peter did not cast any). This passage actually refutes Roman Catholicism's claim that the pope has power over church government. 
  • The "Biblical" Peter:
         -It is true that the Apostle Peter was prominent and important to the spread of the gospel (i.e. Acts 1-10). In fact, he did have a form of primacy. It is known as a historical salvation primacy. But this concept is completely different than the notion of Papal primacy. In the Bible, we never see Peter revealing or exercising any of the essential components of Papal authority. He never acts as if he is the "supreme apostle", makes any ex-cathedra statements or any illusion to the gift of doctrinal infallibility, talks of a body of mysterious, extra-biblical body of oral tradition that Christians are supposed to heed to, or makes any predictions of apostolic successors. In short, the entire concept of the Roman Papacy is unscriptural. 
  • The Church Fathers On "Peter The Rock":
         -“It may jolt them to hear that the great Fathers of the church saw no connection between it and the pope. Not one of them applies ‘Thou art Peter’ to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyse it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They are not exactly Protestants. Not one of them calls the Bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the Keys. This is staggering to Catholics...The surprises do not stop there. For the Fathers, it is Peter’s faith — or the Lord in whom Peter has faith —which is called the Rock, not Peter.” (“Vicars of Christ, The Dark Side of the Papacy,”, Poolbeg Press, Copyright 2000, p. 24)
       + In other words, the so-called "Church Fathers" were anything but unanimous in the interpretation of the "rock" of Matthew 16:18 being a reference to "Peter". Many also believed that the "rock" was a direct reference to Christ or Peter's confession of faith. But if the "Peter the rock" interpretation was the one that Jesus Christ intended His church to heed to, then the early church would have had unanimous consent on the meaning behind Matthew 16:18. This is certainly not the case here, though.    
  • Examining "Apostolic Succession":
        -The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Apostle Peter (allegedly the first pope and the foundation of the church) and the other eleven apostles gave their authority to other popes and bishops who passed on their authority to the present-day popes and bishops (thereby establishing the concept of an infallible church).
        -The Apostle Peter mentions nothing about having unique primacy, apostolic successors, or papal infallibility in either of his epistles. Instead, he stated that he was writing to us so that we can remember the inspired teachings of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:1-2). This same theme was repeated by the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 3:13-17; 4:6-7).
       -The Apostle Paul mentioned nothing about "Pope Peter" or the Papacy in his epistle to the Romans.
       -The qualifications to be an apostle reveals that they would never have successors because they had to be direct eye-witnesses to the risen Christ (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 9:1). Since nobody has seen Him since His ascension into heaven, nobody can claim to be rightful apostolic successors.
      -The apostles and those whom they laid their hands on could speak with tongues, prophecy, and perform miracles such as curing the ill. The did such to prove that they were indeed inspired by God (2 Corinthians 12:12). Nobody can rightly claim to be the successors to the apostles because they are unable to demonstrate the authenticity of their authority by performing miracles. 
     -We never see the twelve apostles passing on their authority to any successors in the New Testament. In fact, they never said anything about passing on their authority to future generations.
    -The church does not need apostolic successors today because the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles are accurately recorded in the New Testament. 
    -Agreement with scriptural instruction, not apostolic succession, is the determining factor of the trueness of a church. The true church will measure all outside customs and beliefs to the authority of Scripture to see if they align with its message (Acts 17:11-12).
    -Apostolic authority was passed on through the sacred writings of the apostles, not by means of apostolic succession. 
    -When Scripture is examined in its proper context, the truth can easily be determined. The Lord Jesus Christ also promised that the Holy Spirit would come to give us spiritual comfort during difficult times, strength to resist sin in times of temptation, intercede on our behalf when we pray, lead searching souls who are lost to the light of the gospel, and even help preserve doctrinal truth (John 14:14-16; 16:13; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:10-18).
    -Possessing a physical document claiming that a group is able to trace itself back to the original settings does not actually make it so. In other words, having a list of successors claiming to trace back to the beginning of Christianity does not necessarily make a religious organization's claims true.  It is logically possible for that particular religious organization to have forged a list in order to make it seem like it is the original version of all groups, when in reality it may have originated at a much later date in time. 
     -The Scribes and the Pharisees traced themselves back to Abraham as a means to prove that they were righteous, but John the Baptist replied by saying that God "is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). They thought that they were righteous because of their physical lineage tracing all the way back to Abraham, but in reality the Scribes and the Pharisees were not at all justified before the eyes of God. Clearly, He places a much greater emphasis on the state of heart than on physical lineage or a genealogy.
  • Apostolic Succession "Proof-Texts" Debunked:
         -Acts 1:15-26:
            ^It is argued from this passage that the replacement of Judas as an apostle with Matthias is an example of apostolic succession.
               +The context of this passage is talking "specifically" about the traitor Judas and fails to mention anything about the apostles having future successors. If Acts 1:15-26 proves anything at all, then it does not provide us with an argument for continuing succession, but rather, an argument for the church replacing unfaithful and ungodly leaders (such as  Judas) with faithful and godly leaders (such a Matthias).
               +Judas betraying Jesus Christ was a prophecy of Scripture that needed to be fulfilled so that the replacement of the apostle could take place (Psalms 41:9; Zechariah 12; Acts 1:15-22). Not only does this demonstrate that God always knew about the betrayal, but it also shows us that the apostles did not get to decide who was going to be the "apostolic successor".
               + At this point, the apostles did not begin their apostolic ministry and did not even receive the power Christ had promised to give them earlier (Acts 1:8). They did not receive the power until the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, they did not have the spiritual authority to pass on to Matthias or anybody else. Judas needed to be replaced because there needed to be twelve apostles at Pentecost. 
               +Lastly, this occasion was the actual replacement of an apostle with another apostle. This is very dissimilar from the modern-day Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox understanding of "apostolic succession" because they teach that only the office of power is passed on. Modern "successors" are not apostles, as was the case in the Book of Acts!
      -2 Timothy 2:2:
         ^This text is used as an alleged proof for the concept of apostolic succession.
            +The Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to pass the truth on to "faithful men", not to "priests and bishops". We are all called to proclaim the truth of the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 2:5-9). Furthermore, this passage only describes the simple process of discipleship and the passing on apostolic doctrine ("what you heard from me"). In fact, this theme is echoed throughout the epistles directed to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:6-11; 16; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 3:14-15). There is nothing about passing on extra-biblical infallible oral information or teaching power. The Apostle Paul mentions nothing about a future successor to him, but instead points to the Scriptures as an infallible standard to rely on during times of worldly deception, that is, sin and false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:13-17). He only points us to Scripture. 
  • Apostolic Succession And The Early Church:
         -When one finds references to apostolic succession in the earliest extra-biblical writings of the early church, it is in reality quite different than what Roman Catholics envision. In other words, both use the term "apostolic succession" to mean two entirely different concepts. The earliest congregations occupied the term as a proof of the preservation of internal truth, whereas the modern Church of Rome has coined the phrase to mean the passing of authority in a specific office. The use of apostolic succession as a preservation of truth given by the apostles was used by all of the churches that were established by the apostles in the first century. Apostolic succession was a great argument to use in defense of the truth during the first few centuries of the church.
  • Was The Papacy An Essential Component Of The Early Church, If It Existed At All?:
          -The most primitive Christian churches were not governed by a single, overarching hierarchy, which therefore means that any professing Christian body existing today with a hierarchical or one-head bishop structure cannot claim to be directly descended from the apostles. The emphasis in the early church was placed on SPIRITUAL DESCENT, NOT PHYSICAL. Each individual church worked independently to preserve apostolic truth, but worked together to settle disputes. In fact, it was not until 150 A.D. that the Roman Church began to develop a single one-head bishop structure. 
        -One will search in vain to find a statement that Peter was the first bishop of Rome during the first two centuries.We can search through the writings of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and others to find nothing about the Apostle Peter being the "first pope". Furthermore, the earliest sources (such as the Didache) and the creeds never state the necessity of believing in the primacy of Peter or the infallibility of the Roman Church. These ideas are just not there in the earliest sources documenting the existence of the Christian church. These strange beliefs did not arise until the mid-third to the early four centuries. In the beginning, the church was guided simultaneously by a plurality of equal bishops. 
         -How come the pagans never objected to the existence of the Papacy during their debates and discussions with early Christian apologists such as Justin Martyr? 
         -The early church developed creeds which were all constructed off the principles of Scripture. In other words, traditions were formed off the basis of Scripture. These doctrinal developments were not foreign to Scripture, but rather, were in perfect harmony with each other.These apostolic traditions were actually Scriptural doctrines. New ideas would be tested to see if they would contradict the teachings of already established traditions. If any new doctrinal developments contradicted Scripture, then they were readily rejected.This practice is essentially the same as the principle of Sola Scriptura, which is practiced by modern-day Protestant churches.
  •  Contradictions In Later Succession Lists Of Roman Bishops:
          -Contradictions do exist in the later second century to early third century Roman Bishop succession lists. For instance, Irenaeus listed Linus as the first Bishop of Rome and Tertullian placed Clement as being the first bishop of Rome. 
  • Unbroken List Of Popes Tracing All The Way Back To The Apostle Peter?:
         -The Roman Catholic Church is notorious for claiming that it has a traceable, unbroken succession of popes from Peter to today. It uses this list as evidence of being "the only true church".
              ^According to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, there are several gaps in the list of dates for individual popes reigning (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm).
                  +In the list provided, there was no pope at all during the years 259, 305, 306, 307, 639, 1242, 1269, 1270, 1293, 1315, and 1416.
  • Altering The List Of Popes:
         -In 1947, the Vatican made changes regarding 74 popes. It removed Pope Donus from its "unbroken line" of popes because scholarship confirmed that he never even existed (he was listed as  a pope in 973). Furthermore, the Vatican dropped six additional popes and removed the sainthood of four others. But how can any of this activity be possible when the Church of Rome supposedly believes that saints are made by God in heaven?
         -Even official Roman Catholic sources of modern times have been completely unable to correctly list all of the bishops in correct order.These historical facts alone speak volumes against Rome's claims to being an infallible authority appointed by Jesus Christ 
         ^http://www.eaec.org/cults/rc/confusion_of_the_popes.htm
        -“But it must be frankly admitted that bias or deficiencies in the sources make it impossible to determine in certain cases whether the claimants were popes or antipopes.” (New Catholic EncyclopediaVolume I, page 632).
  • Doctrinal Errors And Inconsistencies:
         -The mere fact that the Roman Catholic Church upholds many doctrines that either contradict or differ from biblical teaching proves that it cannot be "the of true church which was established by our Lord Jesus Christ" and thus disqualifies Rome's claim to having genuine apostolic succession.
  • Catholic Forgeries:
        -"Substituting of false documents and tampering with genuine ones was quite a trade in the middle ages." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, pg. 136)
       -"One is forced to admit that the gradual corruption of Christianity began very early." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, pg. 414)
          +A few example of documents forged by Roman Catholics to deceive others into believing in the claims of their fanciful history would include the Donation of Constantine, Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, and many Clementine letters.
        -"We must nevertheless abandon any attempt to argue from Clementine, sine the oldest parts betray themselves more and more as a product of the third century-he was guilty of arbitrary inventions and charges." (Catholic Encyclopedia, VII, pg. 327)
        -"The supposed donation of Constantine, probably forged in the eight century." (Catholic Encyclopedia, XIV, pg. 714)
  • The Discovery Of The Apostle Peter's Tomb In Jerusalem, Not Rome:
        -In 1953, a group of professors and archaeologists discovered that the Apostle Peter's burial site was in Jerusalem, which directly refutes the Roman Catholic myth of him being the first pope. The Catholic officials in the surrounding area were absolutely stumped with the overwhelming evidence pitted against them. Come read more about this amazing discovery by F. Paul Peterson!
  • Infallible Church?:
        -The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and even some Protestant churches teach that the teaching authority of their hierarchy can never teach error.
           +Teachers in the church have been instructed by the Apostle Paul to guard their teachings and fight to maintain their doctrinal purity (1 Timothy 4:16; 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14). In fact, we have all been exhorted to examine our own consciences and contend for the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 John 4:1-4; Jude 3; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Peter 1:10-11).
           +False teachers will arise in the church and deceive many other professing Christians by preaching false doctrine (Acts 20:17; 26-32; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11). We are even given descriptions of lukewarm churches in the Bible (Revelation chapters 2 and 3). 
           +God will cast unfaithful branches of Christians off, and attach repentant branches of Christianity back to the the Trunk of Salvation named Jesus Christ, that is, into the realm of His infinite mercy (Romans 11:16-25). According to Scripture, entire congregations can fall into grave sin and doctrinal error.
            +An institution comprised of fallible beings constitutes a fallible organization by definition. The church will prevail to the end because of the power and faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
  • Papal Infallibility:
       -This is the belief that when the pope speaks "ex-cathedra" (from his chair), his words are inspired and thus infallible.
           +First of all, it should be noted that the pope speaks infallibly only when he decides to speak from his chair. This means that he can make errors in every other aspect of his life. It is my personal belief that there are ulterior motives behind the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility. This doctrine was invented to silence questioning members of the Church and to dodge opposition from the outside critics. 
          +The Apostle Peter never made an ex-cathedra statement.
          +"Ex-cathedra" statements are literally so rare that one may begin to wonder why Catholics demand that we blindly submit to their earthly hierarchy. Only a handful have been made in the past 2,000 years. The pope has had plenty of time to resolve issues throughout history, yet many issues remain unanswered and continue to arise within the dark chambers of Roman Catholicism. Rome is in a bitter state of division, though they would like to have us Protestants believe that they have perfect unity. 
        +If the pope was meant to be the infallible speaking instrument of the church, then why did so many church councils have to assemble (for periods of many years) to resolve moral and doctrinal debates? What was stopping the pope from resolving those matters once for all by simply making ex-cathedra statements? Where were his mystical powers, if he has any at all?
        +If we were supposed to submit to the Church of Rome to get all of the infallible interpretations out of Scripture and thus clear all doctrinal confusion, then we would still be in pretty bad shape because Rome has "infallibly defined" the meaning out of less than 20 Bible verses during the entire period of its existence. All of these rare occasions were for the purpose of self gain, that is, for Rome to draw scriptural support for its own doctrines. Why then should we submit to the Roman Catholic Church? How does a fallible Cardinal transition into an infallible Pope?
         +If the Magisterium was meant to be our infallible interpreter of Scripture, then who infallibly interprets the words of that infallible interpreter if divisions arise over the meaning of those words? How do we know that the Roman Catholic Church is infallible? What is the purpose of even having a Bible?
  • No Pope Was Considered Infallible Until 1870 A.D.:
         +Pope Paul IV: "I do not doubt that I and my predecessors may sometimes have erred."
         +Pope Adrian VI: "It it certain that the Pontiff...may err in those things which pertain to faith."
         + Archbishop Purcell (1837): "the bishop of Rome, though he was not believed to be infallible. Neither is he now. No enlightened Catholic holds the popes infallibility to be an article of faith. I do not; and none of my brethren, that I know of, do. The Catholic believes the pope...to be as liable to error, as almost any other man in the universe. Man is man, and no man is infallible, either in doctrine or morals"
         +"A Doctrinal Catechism", by Keenan, bearing the Imprimatur of Scotch Roman Catholic Bishops, prior to 1870,"Must not Catholics believe the pope himself to be infallible? This is a Protestant invention; it is no article of the faith; no decision of his can oblige, under pain of heresy, unless it is received and enforced by the teaching body, that is, the bishops of the church."
              ^After the year 1870, this question and answer section was removed from Keenan's catechism.  
  • "Origin" Of The Roman Catholic Church:
          -Christianity was forbidden by the Roman Empire for the religion's first three centuries. This resulted in the ruthless persecution and deaths of several Christians.
          -This changed after the "conversion" of Roman Emperor Constantine, who provided religious toleration with the passing of the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D..
          -In 325, he attempted to unify the Christian faith by calling the Council of Nicea. The Roman Emperor perceived that the religion could stop the Roman Empire from collapsing (the Roman government was starting to break down and weaken at this time).
          -Emperor Constantine did not completely endorse Christianity and continued to openly embrace paganism. Hence, the "Christian" church that he he nourished was a mixture of truth and error.
          -People did not comply to abandon their pagan religious belief systems in the name of the Christianity. The Roman Empire during this period of time was very broad and diverse, In response, Constantine encouraged the "Christianization" of completely pagan and unscriptural beliefs. 
          -This historical event is what made the Roman Catholic Church become the supreme religion and governmental power of the West in later centuries. This is how everything took a drastic turn in Christianity. 
  • Admissions To Incorporating Pagan Customs And Practices:
         -"It is interesting to note how often our Church has availed herself of practices which were in common use among pagans...Thus it is true, in a certain sense, that some Catholic rites and ceremonies are a reproduction of those of pagan creeds...." (The Externals of the Catholic Church, Her Government, Ceremonies, Festivals, Sacramentals and Devotions, by John F. Sullivan, p 156, published by P.J. Kennedy, NY, 1942)     
        -Cardinal Newman admits in his book that; the "The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields; sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison,are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church. {374}" -An Essay on The Development of the Christian Doctrine John Henry "Cardinal Newman" p.359
        -"The penetration of the religion of Babylon became so general and well known that Rome was called the "New Babylon." (Faith of our fathers 1917 ed. Cardinal Gibbons, p. 106)
        -"In order to attach to Christianity great attraction in the eyes of the nobility, the priests adopted the outer garments and adornments which were used in pagan cults." -Life of Constantine, Eusabius, cited in Altai-Nimalaya, p. 94
        -"The Church did everything it could to stamp out such 'pagan' rites, but had to capitulate and allow the rites to continue with only the name of the local deity changed to some Christian saint's name." -Religious Tradition and Myth. Dr. Edwin Goodenough, Professor of Religion, Harvard University. p. 56, 57
  • How The Pope Got His Power:
         -"The supremacy of the Roman bishop (the papacy) was created with the support of the Roman emperors. With the city of Rome being the center of government for the Roman Empire, and with the Roman emperors living in Rome, the city of Rome rose to prominence in all facets of life. Constantine (AD 272–337) and his successors gave their support to the bishop of Rome as the supreme ruler of the church. Of course, it is best for the unity of the Roman Empire that the government and state religion be centralized. While most other bishops (and Christians) resisted the idea of the Roman bishop being supreme, the Roman bishop eventually rose to supremacy, due to the power and influence of the Roman emperors. When the Western half of the Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the popes took on the title that had previously belonged to the Roman emperors—Pontifex Maximus. Pope Gregory I, ruling from 590–604, is usually considered the first bishop to truly wield papal authority."
  • Concerning The Church Fathers:
        -Romanists are prone to run to the "church fathers" in an attempt to substantiate their beliefs because they are unable to prove their doctrines from Scripture. But who gets to decide which people qualify to be labeled "church fathers"? Who gets to decide which writings should be copied and passed on to future generations? Who decided which writings were of value or significance? How can we know that the teachings of the church fathers are correct? Which of the church fathers are correct when they contradict each other, or the Roman Catholic Church? How do we know that we are correctly interpreting the extra-biblical early Christian writings?  
      -History does not prove truth. In other words, the mere fact that a belief has been upheld for a very long time does not make it true. Otherwise, the claims of Buddhism must be more truthful than Christianity, since it has been around for more than 2,000 years. Should Protestants abandon their current theological positions to embrace the heresies of early Christianity?
     -While it is true that we can gain some pretty valuable theological insights through studying the writings of the church fathers, we still need to keep in mind that they were neither inspired nor infallible. Furthermore, heresies have existed since the beginning of the Christian church. So we need to turn to an inspired standard of authority, and that standard is the Bible. It accurately records the original structure of the church and contains all of the necessary pertaining to salvation (Luke 1:1-4; John 20:30-31; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:13-17; 1 John 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:3-4). The "first" and "original" church is the one that is recorded in the New Testament.  
    -History is not prescriptive in nature, but rather, descriptive in nature. Church history does not tell us what doctrines that we should be upholding, but the different beliefs that different people held at different times. Ultimately, anybody can find a "church father" and cite them to support just about any random custom or doctrine. It is therefore wrong to say that church history points us in any "specific" direction. 
  • Scripture Is Understandable:
       -"how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets." (Ephesian 3:3-5)
       +In this text, the Apostle Paul is clearly telling his audience that we can understand the mystery of Christ, which is the Gospel of Salvation, as revealed through the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. This means that we have the capacity to interpret Scripture without any sort of mediator.  
      +Later on in the same epistle, he writes, "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). Therefore, God expects mankind to use his fallible reason to discover His divine Truths, understand them, and act upon the spiritual insights that we gain from our experiences. 
       +Quite simply, the New Testament says nothing about an infallible interpreter of Scripture because God did not provide us with one. Though having an infallible earthly entity to give us specific directions or direct answers to problems in life would indeed make matters much easier for us, what appears to be easier in our own eyes is not necessarily good for our spiritual health or safety. "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (1 John 2:27).  
  • The Papacy Is Not Historical And Is In Fact Contrary To What Christ Has Willed For His Church:
         -"Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatestAnd He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves." (Luke 22:24-26)
       +The context of the dispute among the disciples regarding who was the greatest in the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ took place on the night of the Lord's Supper, which was right before the time came to fulfill His life purpose. Even on this night, the apostles still did not seem recognize that Jesus already made Peter the head of the apostles. In fact, we never see anybody in the New Testament recognizing or acknowledging Peter's unique position of primacy. Furthermore, this scriptural text emphatically denies that the church is supposed to have an earthly head governing it!

How Children Have Lost Respect For Their Elders


Watch Your Language!


Beware Of False Versions Of Jesus Christ!


  •  “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it." (Matthew 24:23-26)
  •  "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
  •  "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)