Time For Another Pope?
As you no doubt have heard by now, Benedict XVI resigned from his office on the last day of February. Although the precise number of popes has been a matter of debate for centuries, many sources tell us that the next elected pope will be the 266th.
I’m just curious, where is the Bible authority for the pope? I don’t ever recall reading about the office of a “pope” in my Bible. Can you find it in yours? I read of saints, bishops, and deacons as the scriptural arrangement in a local church of God’s people (Phil. 1:1). I read of the qualifications that must be met by Christian men who would be appointed in the church as elders and deacons (I Tim. 3:1-13). But I just cannot find the first mention of a “pope” in the Bible.
In fact, the title of “pope” comes from the Latin: papa, meaning father. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Himself said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). Evidently this very plain teaching of Christ doesn’t seem to bother the over 1 billion Roman Catholics in the world.
Jesus Christ is “the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). We do not read of two heads in the Bible, one in heaven and one on earth. Jesus Christ is “the head” of the church, and He shares that position with no one else!
Furthermore, Christ declared that: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Since Jesus has ALL authority in heaven AND on earth, then that leaves no authority for any man on earth!
We are told that Jesus built His Church upon Peter. Really? The context of Matthew 16:13-20 is “who is Jesus?” Peter gave the right answer confessing: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 18). Clearly, the “rock” the Church was built upon was Jesus Christ the Son of God, not a fallible man like Peter (Matt. 16:23; Gal. 2:11-16). Jesus is the chief cornerstone, not Peter! (Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11-12)
The Lord gave the same authority to all the apostles. “And whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19; cf. 18:18). Thus, the early Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42; cf. Matt. 28:18-20; I Cor. 14:37; Eph. 2:20), not just Peter’s.
Is it time for another “pope”? No, it is time to do away with the papacy altogether. Why? Because the office of the pope is an invention of men that is based on the doctrines and commandments of men (Matt. 15:7-9), as well as a perversion of the organization of the Lord’s church. It’s time for men to follow the Lord, and Him alone, by simply being content to abide in the doctrine of Christ (John 8:31-32; 2 John 9-11).