Christ is the Rock

The key to understanding the complex issue of the Roman Catholic Church is to realize that their unique doctrine of the papacy is the very heart of this religious system. In this article we will examine in depth from their own sources what the Church of Rome claims for her pontiff, and contrast this with what the Bible itself tells us about the Cornerstone that the true universal Christian Church is in fact built upon.

The Scripture Says

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. Matthew 16:16-18

You’ve undoubtedly looked at this passage of Scripture before, and most of us are particularly familiar with verse 18. But, it will shortly make sense why we begin here, and why the willingness to thoroughly study a doctrine is what is required to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.(2 Timothy 2:15). And this is also what it will encompass to be used effectively by our Lord to reach people for Christ who find themselves trapped within the apostate Church of Rome.

This verse 18 is an extremely important one to really get down as you start dealing with those who are influenced by the theology of Rome. As we examine this passage, one needs to keep in mind that this is a key verse the Roman Catholic will use as they try to prove their church’s unique doctrine of the office of the papacy.

The Pope According To Rome

Let me first make sure that we understand from their own authoritative sources exactly what it is that the Church of Rome says about the office of the Roman Pontiff–or Pope. Incidentally for those that may have wondered the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that the word “pope” comes to us from “Ecclesiastical Latin papa from [the] Greek papas, a variant of pappas father, in classical Latin pappas…(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm).

When we are discussing such a controversial topic it is imperative that we have the materials to back up what is being taught. As we delve deeper into Roman Catholic theology, we will enter a veritable maze of twisted history and contradictions. However, you may be assured that these quotes have been fully documented in the library of Apprising Ministries, and the reader is also encouraged to check these sources for themselves.

First we have this from the close of the First Vatican Council – Session 4: July 18, 1870 where Pope Pius IX was made the first “official” infallible Pope. Here are some pertinent excerpts from the formal record:

First dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ

Pius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the Sacred Council, for an everlasting record.

4. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation.

6. And since the gates of hell trying, if they can, to overthrow the Church, make their assault with a hatred that increases day by day against its divinely laid foundation, we judge it necessary, with the approbation of the Sacred Council,…growth of the [Roman] Catholic flock, to propound the doctrine concerning the 1. institution, 2.permanence and 3. nature of the sacred and apostolic primacy, upon which the strength and coherence of the whole Church depends.

7. This doctrine is to be believed and held by all the faithful in accordance with the ancient and unchanging faith of the whole Church.

Chapter 1 On the institution of the apostolic primacy in blessed Peter

1. We teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidence, a primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church of God was immediately and directly promised to the blessed apostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.

4. To this absolutely manifest teaching of the Sacred Scriptures, as it has always been understood by the Catholic Church, are clearly opposed the distorted opinions of those who…deny that Peter,…was endowed by Christ with… primacy of jurisdiction.

5. The same may be said of those who assert that this primacy was not conferred immediately and directly on blessed Peter himself, but rather on the Church,…

6. Therefore, if anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole Church militant; or that it was a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself: let him be anathema.

Chapter 2. On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs

1. That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation andpermanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ’s authority, in the Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time [45].

2. For no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the [Roman] Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood [46].

3. Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church

4. For this reason it has always been necessary for every Church–that is to say the faithful throughout the world–to be in agreement with the Roman Church because of its more effective leadership. In consequence of being joined, as members to head, with that seefrom which the rights of sacred communion flow to all, they will grow together into the structure of a single body [48].

Chapter 3. On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff

1. And so, supported by the clear witness of Holy Scripture, and adhering to the manifest and explicit decrees both of our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs and of general councils, we promulgate anew the definition of the ecumenical Council of Florence [49], which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christhead of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people.To [the Pope], in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal Church.

All this is to be found in the acts of the ecumenical councils and the sacred canons.

2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.

3. In this way, by unity with the Roman Pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the Church of Christ becomes one flock under one Supreme Shepherd [50].

4. This is the teaching of the [Roman] Catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvation.

8. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacygoverns the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful [52], and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment [53]…

9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema (http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6, copy on file).

The Pope Is The Head Of All Christian Churches

Let’s stop right here. It now becomes clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Church of Rome is telling us the “office” of Pope is not simply a designation within their own communion. On the contrary–we are specifically being told in no uncertain terms that this office, the Bishop of Rome; the Roman Pontiff–or the Pope–is truly intended for the entire Christian community, he is the final and absolute authority, and his role was forever instituted when:

[Jesus] set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle…of the sacred and apostolic primacy, upon which…the whole Church depends.

Next we are further instructed that:

This doctrine is to be believed and held by all the faithful in accordance with the ancient and unchanging faith of the whole Church. We–[the Church of Rome]–teach and declare that, according to the gospel evidencea primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church of God was immediately and directly promised to the blessedapostle Peter and conferred on him by Christ the lord.

Then we are told that in the view of the Church of Rome the biblical record bears clear witness for the office of their Pontiff:

To this absolutely manifest teaching of the Sacred Scriptures, as it has always been understood by the [Roman] Catholic Church, are clearly opposed [to] the distorted opinions of those who…deny that Peter,…was endowed by Christwith…primacy of jurisdiction.

And accordingly, anyone who will not receive this dogma as coming from Christ Himself will come under the judgment of God:

Therefore, if anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole Church militant; or that it was a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself: let him be anathema.

Another key point which must be understood here is that, according to the Church of Rome this office of Pope can never be abolished, and hence there never could be any real reform within this organization.

That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation andpermanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for everby Christ’s authority,…

Next, when we look at the following quote, there can really be no misunderstanding that the Roman Church sees herself as the primary church within the Body of Christ, and that her Pope has always been the chief authority in the universal Church.

For this reason it has always been necessary for every Church–that is to say the faithful throughout the world–to be in agreement with the Roman Church because of its more effective leadership…indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles,…the foundation of the [Roman] Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ,…and that to this day and for ever he lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors the bishops of the Holy Roman See,…whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church

Looking carefully at this next section we are clearly told that this alleged “primacy of the Roman Pontiff” – the very “vicar of Christ” Himself–is said to be clearly established in the Bible. And we are further informed that the Church of Rome has jurisdiction over every church and every person who would claim to be Christian.

And so, supported by the clear witness of Holy Scripture,… we promulgate anewthe definition… which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold a world-wide primacy, and that the Roman Pontiff isthe successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christhead of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people.

To [the Pope], in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal Church…by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and .. Both clergy and faithfulof whatever rite and dignity,…are bound to submit to this power

Is The Roman Pontiff Really The Vicar Of Christ?

At this juncture I wish to focus our attention on this idea in Roman Catholic theology that “the Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church.” Just a bit of a lofty claim to say the least! However as you can see, the problem is now no longer did the Church of Rome teach this, their problem has instead become, is it true?

For those who may not know, a “vicar” is someone who speaks authoritatively for another. So according to the official record of Vatican I here, the Pope is not only the “head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people,” he is also reputed to be the sole spokesman for Jesus Christ upon the earth today!

We must make no mistake here as to what the Church of Rome is teaching about its dogma of the papacy, as beyond question it is the very heart of Roman Catholic theology. And this is because, without the doctrine of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, there would be no need for this apostate religious system to even exist. Yet with such force does the Church of Rome teach this message, that to deny it is–in their eyes– to risk the very damnation of the living God Himself.

This is the teaching of the [Roman] Catholic truth, and no one can depart from it without endangering his faith and salvationthe Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful [52],…

And just in case we are having trouble understanding English there can be no question left in anyone’s mind here because this record then goes on to emphatically state:

So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and …this supreme power;…over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

There can just be no no doubt whatsoever for anyone who can read that the Roman Catholic Church claims for her Pope the supreme authority over all churches and all Christians. It is a fact that simply cannot be denied. And “no one can depart from [this dogma of the Roman Pontiff]without endangering his faith and salvation.”

Before we move on let’s look at one more critical section from the record Vatican I:

Chapter 4. On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff

1. That apostolic primacy which the Roman Pontiff possesses as successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, includes also the supreme power of teaching. This Holy See has always maintained this, the constant custom of the Church demonstrates it, and the ecumenical councils,…have declared it.

9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines adoctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faithor morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. (http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM#6, emphasis added, capitals in original, copy on file)

Can you see yet again we have the statement by the Church of Rome that the Pope is the head of the entire Body of Christ. And what is more, we are told that this is a “divinely revealed dogma.” What they mean by that is God supposedly teaches this doctrine – “when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,…he possesses, infallibility… Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are…irreformable.” Do you still think that the Church of Rome ever had any intentions of changing their core dogmas at their various ecumenical councils–when such doctrine is irreformable?

PETER SAYS CHRIST IS THE ROCK

By Ken Silva, 9/23/14