Pope’s unfounded claim

by Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ 
Pope Benedict’s recent remark “Only Catholic church is supreme” made an astounding reading. The controversial Pope’s statement from the portals of the
Vatican stirred yet another controversy. The latest got a swift criticism from the protestant community and unleashed a fresh debate.   Though the church history is well written by the historians at different intervals, those writings do not give an undisputed picture, many had some assumptions which they spoke about, others created different kinds of legends out of them.   Many gullible believers blindly followed and believed it as facts. It is also obvious that the Catholic oriented writings are totally different from the protestant writers.   So it is necessary to compare these creations with the original.  The book of Acts and the epistles written by the apostles of the New Testament gives a clear history of the early church.   The apostles were men who received the instructions directly from the Lord and by His commission gave unto the world what they had received from Him. Through them, the New Testament church has received the pure, infallible Word of God, which alone carries His seal.   Paul was called out in a supernatural way, chosen to be a special tool and was placed with the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.   Since he received the instructions directly from the Lord he could boldly make the statement, “For I have received of the Lord which I also delivered unto you…”  (I Corinthians 11:23).  He is the one who wrote the majority of all the epistles, exactly 100 chapters with 2,325 verses, whereas Peter has written only 8 chapters with 166 verses.   Paul had received the gospel in the same way as the prophets have received the Word by divine revelation, He says this in Galatians chapter 1: 11-12 .—”For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man” Therefore, he had to give the admonition which goes right through the bones, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a  gospel contrary to  that which you received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).   Whatever does not agree with the original gospel preached by the original apostles is under a curse.  If we look at it like this we are facing the fact that there exists a Christianity falsified and under a curse.     The Catholic Church began about 1600 years ago and not approximately 2000 years ago as some believe. The original or early church was supernaturally founded by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.   Acts chapter 2 gives a clear picture on this. The original church consisted of men and women who truly had an experience with God.  Those who believed and were baptized in water were also in a supernatural way baptized with the Holy Spirit as members into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13).   In the original church there were no dignitaries but were only men of God who were called by the highest calling. In dignity they served the Lord and His people under the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.   early church did not know about the priests or any clergy taking an office, but the whole body of the redeemed, those who were born again, together formed the holy priesthood and the holy people of God (I Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6).   The leaders or the elders of the sovereign local churches had their responsibilities. Those among them who took leadership were called bishops or overseers, and they had to be married (I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1: 5-8).   There was also a local assembly (church) with more than one elder, with at least two leading elders in a local assembly (Philippians 1:1). This harmonizes with James 5:14 it says, ‘if somebody gets sick he should call the elders of the church to pray for him’.  Paul and Barnabas were received in Jerusalem by the assembly, the apostles and the elders (Acts. 15:4).   To take care of practical things connected to a local church there were also deacons, and they had to be married as well (I Timothy 3:8-18) It was necessary for the bishops and the deacons to be married to understand and to counsel in a practical way from their own experience belonging to the local church and having family problems and so forth. In the original church, this divine order was in existence.  The New Testament church did not know the office of a bishop as it is being practiced in some of the Churches today.  The body of believers make up the House of God which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth (I Timothy 3:15).  Private interpretation or false teachings are not permitted in the early church.  The true church is God’s habituation on earth and through it His will is being done as in heaven and so on earth.   Nowhere is a pope spoken of in the Holy Scriptures nor is therein mentioned of a successor of Peter, neither a vicar of Christ nor of any apostolic succession. Of course some terminologies are being used by catholic church, like “baptism”, “Lord’s Supper”, “repentance” etc., but they mean something else and they are being administered and practiced in a totally different way to what they were in the early church.    In short, this Church has never exhibited the nature of Christ nor has it ever represented the life of the early church.    Even the reading of the Bible was forbidden and those who did were punished.   It is shocking that especially Jews and Bible believing Christians were persecuted and burned by this church with their Bible. How such a church and its leader (pope) can claim  ‘Only Catholic church is supreme’   it is time that Pope should ones again read the Church history as well as the Bible very carefully before making such unfounded statement or claim. (The writer is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad)  


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