A BIG DEAL ABOUT THE POPE
The news media and the world have made a big deal about the appointment of the new Pope. Our world is very careless about religion and religious terms. During this time while the Catholic Church was appointing a new Pope, I never heard anyone ask, “Is there a Pope in the Bible?” No one seems to care about God’s arrangement for the church. Even the word “church” is used most often in unbiblical ways in our world today. People speak of “the church” when they are talking about the building where the church meets. Some use the word “church” when speaking of a denomination or all the denominations; denomination and our Lord’s church are totally different things. The church is men and women who have been called out of the word and called into Jesus Christ. When Saul persecuted the church he dragged "men and women" off to prison. “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:1-3) This church was not built upon Peter nor was he the first Pope!
Terms the Bible does not use for man and claims the Bible does not make: Men use terms like "Pope," "Holy Father," "Vicar of Christ," and "Sovereign Pontiff" to refer to the head of the Catholic Church. There is not a single instance in Scriptures where any of these titles are applied to any man. The term “Holy Father” is found only one time in our Bible and there it refers to God alone. “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:11) How could anyone, so disrespectfully, apply God’s wonderful term “Holy Father” to any man? The Bible nowhere allows the use of terms such as “Pope.” The Bible gives no credence to the idea that the church was built upon Peter, nor that he was the first Pope! Such a claim is not made by the Bible. Catholic leaders say, "Jesus our Lord, founded but one Church, which He was pleased to build on Peter. Therefore, any church that does not recognize Peter as its foundation stone is not the Church of Christ, and therefore cannot stand, for it is not the work of God." In contrast to such unscriptural teaching the Bible says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) The truth is that Jesus Christ is the only foundation for the church and any church which does not recognize Christ alone as the foundation cannot be the church of Christ! We have no personal ill-will toward any, nor do we want to misrepresent anyone. But we do urge people to seek for truth with an open mind.
Common sense about the head of the church: The Bible teaches that Christ is head of the church. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” (Ephesians 5:23) This means that the church is under the authority of Christ, not the authority of the Pope or any other governing body. Catholics claim that the "The pope, as vicar of Christ, is the visible head of Christ's kingdom on earth, the Church, of which Christ Himself is the invisible head." Since Christ is the head of the church, then church leaders and members should all seek to know the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:5) Because Christ is the one head of the church, all authority has been committed unto Him. (Matthew 28:18) The headship and authority of Jesus leaves no room for the Pope, for traditions of men or for councils. Christians must simply and solely follow the will of Christ as revealed in the New Testament. God placed all things under Jesus’ feet, “and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)
A challenge to honest members of the Catholic Church: Even though leaders in the Catholic Church do not want you to do so, you should investigate, with an open mind and an honest heart, the teachings of the Catholic Church and see if they are Biblical. We cannot just blindly accept religious teachings without seeing for ourselves that they are truth. There is the ever present danger of false teaching. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) Many Catholics do not read the Bible for themselves, in fact many do not even own a Bible. Numerous teachings in the Catholic Church are opposite from what the Bible teaches. Catholics require their bishops to remain unmarried. The Bible says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Timothy 3:2) Catholics want their priest to be called “Father.” The Bible says, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9) Catholics teach that confessions should be made into the ear of the “Priest.” The Bible teaches that Christians should confess sins “one to another.” “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Catholics bow to kiss the hand of the Pope or to kiss the toe of a statue of Peter. While on earth, “As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” (Acts 10:25-26) The Catholic Church teaches that after death comes Purgatory. They teach this without one shred of Bible authority. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary is another mediator between God and man. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Much of what is found in the Catholic Church is contrary to what is taught in the Bible.
There are many things taught and practiced in the Catholic Church that go directly against the teachings of God’s Word. I beg every Catholic to read the Bible for yourself. Read with an open heart, expecting to learn the truth of God. The Truth will set you free. (John 8:32) As you read the New Testament, you will learn that you are not saved by faith only. You will find in your Bible that to be saved from sin you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32) and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) There is no room in Christianity for the Pope or other unbiblical practices. The Catholic Church disregards the word of God and is not the church of the New Testament. False religion has cursed the world from its beginning. False religion originated with Satan and has been introduced into the world through men. False religions are vain, empty and extremely dangerous to the eternal souls of men and women.
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: Baptist South Medical Center: LeAnn Parker (sister of Vickie Clark). In Need of Prayer: LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Terry Claunch, Camren Coleman, Tanner Corwin, Tim Croley, Debbie Cunningham, John Curry, Syble Farmer, Marietta Faulkenberry, Georgia Holston, Ann Jackson, Felice Kendrick, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Arthur Little, Annie McKee, Jeff Miller, Peggy Olive, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Dawson Parker, Amanda Parks, Elizabeth Perdue, Tina Pouncey, Brian Queener, Lanigah Ray, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, Becky Reynolds, Denver Reynolds, Linda Reynolds, John Reynolds, Billy Rodgers, Rosie Rudolph, Caleb Sams, Nathan Simmons, Liz Singleton (Sister of Jean Harrell), Vickie Starkie, Sarah Stidham, McArthur Taylor, Gene Till, John Tindoll, Tonia Vickers, Bobbie Walker, Danny Waller, Leroy Waller, William Ward, Michelle West, Mary Grace Wilson and Tom Young. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Davis Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders and Annie Ruth Tetter.
2. Requesting our prayers: Lacy Thompson and Kenyan Maxwell responded to our Lord’s invitation. Please remember them in your person, private prayers.
3 Prom Alternative: April 5-7, 2013 -- We are providing High School 10th-12th graders with an alternative to their school prom. Space is limited, so please call Darrell Powell at 334-382-3001 or mail in the registration form ASAP. More details concerning the event can be found at: www.walnutstreetchurchofchrist/prom2013
4. Sympathy Expressed: Our Love and sympathy is expressed to: (a) Darrell Powell and his family in the death of his grandmother, Peggy Rice, and (b) Virginia Lowery and her family in the death of her sister-in-law, Winoma Taylor.
5. Need Clear Bottles: Darrell Powell needs 2 liter, plastic bottles. Please bring them now.
6. Wayne Garlock Preaching: Today (March 24th) Wayne will present his first sermon. We are thankful for Wayne’s desire to grow in God’s service.
7. Egg Hunt and Fellowship: Marty and Alicia Sexton are hosting an Egg Hunt and Fellowship on March 30th at 2:00 pm. Make sure that your children participate. (See Alicia if you would like to help.)
8. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: March 30th Mike and Lora Gail Bagents.
9. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: March 28th Nancy Faulkenberry and Roxanne McNeil, March 29th Lomax Owens, and March 30th Mike Bagents and Mitch Bozeman.
10. Sign-Up Sheets for Vacation Bible School: June 23rd – 27th -- Let’s get an early start by signing up to help now.
11. Budget for 2013: Our weekly budget for 2013 is $6,984.73. Please give generously.
12. Developing Strong Families: Jeff Grimes will present three lessons at the Walnut Street Church of Christ on April 21st to help us develop stronger Christian families.
13. Special Prayer Request: (a) Please pray for Nathaniel Faulkenberry and his family as they will be moving to Singapore. They plan to live there for about three years. (b) Jason Godwin is in Texas for a short time, and then he will be deployed to Kosovo for 1 year.
14. Backwoods Christian Camp: Our camp week at BCC is July 7th-12th. Counselors and Campers are needed. Contact Darrell Powell or Charles Box at 334-382-3001.
15. Area Events: (a) March 24th – 27th – Gospel Meeting – County Line Church of Christ – Speakers John Dickinson, Steven Foster, Dennis Sanders and Ricky Bagents – Time Sunday Singing 1:30 pm and Worship 2:00 pm and weeknights 7:30, and (b) March 31st-April 4th – Memphis School of Preaching Lectureship – Theme: A New Testament Christian.
Which Law Was Abolished?
A great deal of confusion exists in the religious world concerning what spiritual law man is under today. Some say all of the old law still is binding. Others say that only some of it still is in effect. Many simply pick and choose laws out of both testaments and abide only by those that are appealing to them. Although most Christians readily agree that nine of the Ten Commandments either are stated explicitly or are implied in the New Testament (and thus binding today because they are part of the new law), Seventh-Day Adventists actively teach that the Ten Commandments (including and especially the command to observe the Sabbath day – Exodus 20:8) are part of “God’s unchangeable law.”
The writer of Hebrews stated that “if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.” (8:7) Then, quoting the prophet Jeremiah, he wrote: “Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.’ (8:8-9; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34) The apostle Paul stated that Christ has “nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14) The old law has become “obsolete.” (Hebrews 8:13; cf. 7:12; Ephesians 2:14-16) Although we still can learn numerous valuable lessons and principles about how to live godly lives from the old law (cf. Romans 15:4), we are bound by it no longer.
In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote: “Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart…For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.” (3:3-11) What was “passing away”? The law written on the “tablets of stone.” (Ten Commandments-Exodus 20) The New Testament explicitly teaches that the old law has been abolished. Jesus Christ fulfilled that law and nailed it to the cross forever. (Matthew 5:17-18; Colossians 2:13-17)
----Eric Lyons (adapted)
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551