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ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The notion of a pope and the papacy is not endorsed anywhere in holy scripture.
The issue of the pope certainly arouses mixed and contrasting opinions. Some people literally worship him as representative of God here on earth. Others hate him with a passion and always plot to kill him. I will endeavor to present facts in this essay without reverting to emotions. 1. The pope claims to be a representative of God here on earth. He claims to have succeeded Peter as Bishop of Rome. Nowhere except in catholic documents do you find that Peter became "bishop" of Rome. In fact if you examine history you will find that Rome persecuted Peter to death. In my view therefore this claim lacks basis in history. Furthermore they have a statue in the Vatican which they claim is that of Peter. A careful examination of the statue reveals that it stands for ancient gods which have nothing to do with Christianity. In fact a look at symbols and writings in all their churches might be a clue as to who they really worship in there! 2. The ceremony of mass that is celebrated every Sunday has its origins in ancient religions which have nothing to do with God of Heaven. 3. A number of Catholic Churches and monasteries in Asia are built on the sites of ancient pagan temples. Coincidence or design? 4. There is seemingly a shift to promote Mary the mother of Jesus above Jesus Himself. Hail Mary is a common chant. 5. The symbols on the vestments of the Pope are quite blasphemous when looked at very closely. They depict a person bent on telling the world that he is God here on earth. 6. The apparent political power that the Pope wields over world political leaders is unnerving. One man on earth holding so much power is simply staggering. A person therefore who leads a "church" that on the face of it appears to contradict the strict warnings of the bible leaves one wondering who they really represent. In conclusion I must separate the person occupying the seat of the pope from the position. I think it is the system that he heads and therefore personifies that is to blame. No hate should be directed to the pope but human compassion.
I believe that Peter's confession "Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God" is the Rock on which Jesus will build his church, not the man, Peter. Jesus even says that My Father in Heaven (through The Holy Spirit) has revealed this to Peter. This does show that Peter had a teachable spirit and a listening heart toward God. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." I have heard the verse concerning the "Keys to the Kingdom" explained by a Bible scholar that in the original language the verb tense could be translated to mean that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Comfortor and Teacher, you will know what has already been bound in Heaven and what has already been loosed in Heaven by the power and soverenity of God. Always God is control, and in charge, not man, church or Pope. This is made clear as Jesus' conversation with Peter continues and Jesus explains how he must go to Jerusalem where He will suffer and be killed. Now Peter rebukes this course of action. Jesus then says "Get thee behind me, Satan!" He tells Peter that now he is listening to the thoughts of man, no longer to God. I praise God, our Father, that the Keys to His Kingdom are in the hands of His Holy Spirit, bwho opens its gates to all those seeking His Son, Jesus, The Christ and His Will for our lives. I believe what Jesus told Pontius Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world." It is a spiritual process transforming the heart and mind of believers, thereby changing the world. Amen, Florence Jordan
Christ's statement "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt 16: 18) has been unfortunately misunderstood from my point of view. Is Simon Barjona literally a rock? No. Christ was speaking metaphorically in referring to Simon's spiritual character. It is this spiritual character that Christ will build his church on, not Simon himself. It isn't a unique quality of one man only, and I believe other apostles shared in it, along with many founders of future denominations. Going to Rev. 21: 18-21 we see the 12 foundations and 12 gates of the New Jerusalem. The stone that is used for the wall and one foundation and gate is jasper, which I submit is the kind of stone Christ was referring to when he likened Simon to a stone. Other questions such as Papal Infallibility and papal succession are linked to the rest of Christ's statement about the gates of Hell not prevailing against his church. Is there only one denomination, the RCC, which will resist the gates of Hell? I think it isn't inevitable that all denominations other then the RCC will be swallowed by Hell. However, every church must take this topic quite seriously - it isn't something to be complacent about.
Let me break up my answer into three parts: 1. Papal Primacy - that the pope is first among equals. 2. Papal Authority - as designated by the keys to the kingdom. 3. Papal Succession - that there is a continuous line. Papal Primacy We see Peter mentioned in the bible as the first to step forward and speak out, courageous to step out of the boat and walk on water, heading the list of apostles, often times called "Peter and the rest". He baptizes the first Gentile, Cornelius. Jesus seem to single him out. In Luke 22:32, he prays for Peter, "that your faith may not fail... strengthen your brothers." In John 21:17, he tells Peter, "Feed my sheep." When Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter instinctively took charge. Papal Authority Peter had authority. He led the election of Matthias to replace Judas. He gave the first sermon at Pentecost, and 3000 were added to their number that day. He spoke bravely before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin couldn't keep him quiet! Lying to Peter about the price of a sold property cost Ananias and Sapphira their lives. He led the First Council at Jerusalem to discuss the necessity for circumcision. In Acts 15:7, after much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them, and the debate was over. Peter is set up as a kind of prime minister role, as denoted by the keys. In Matthew 16:17-19, Jesus gives Peter this authority, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Papal Succession In Isaiah 22:20-22, it shows the keys of the kingdom tied closely to the office of the Palace Administrator, the person second-in-command to the King. Shebna, the current palace administrator is being kicked out (he will die) and Eliakim is set to take his place. The same authority is passed on to him, "what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open." Pope is English for Papa or Father. It is in Isaiah 22:21 where we make this connection, "He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah." Peter is set up for this same office. Whenever a king, apostle, or palace administrator dies, another takes his place and the same authority is passed on to the next, as with the case of David, Judas and Shebna.
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