The Lord Jesus Christ never said that there would always be true Christians on the earth until the time he returns in the second coming.  He said, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld will never prevail over it” (Matthew 16).

The powers of the underworld cannot destroy the Church of God for God is stronger but the members of the Church can destroy it by apostasy.  

Jesus never stated that the Church would always be faithful. The Devil never prevailed over Jesus on the cross when he got him crucified. The Devil only thought he had prevailed for Jesus was out of the way for a while. Though Jesus let Satan, do this he was more powerful and made a comeback in the glorious resurrection. Jesus disappeared in a tomb. So the Church can temporarily disappear but God can bring it back.  Also if Peter was the rock as some say then the promise might only mean that the Church will exist as long as Peter is the rock and after that there is no guarantee.  There is nothing in the verse about a papal line coming along after Peter. That is an unscriptural invention.
Jesus told Peter he would give him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven so that whatever he bound on earth would be bound on Heaven and whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in Heaven. We reject the popular Protestant interpretation that this only refers to him being given opportunities to open Heaven to pagans and Jews by his preaching. We favour the idea that Peter was given the charism of writing and stating what was infallible and infallibly identifying and rejecting false brethren and accepting the true believers. All Christians believe Peter had this infallibility. The Catholics believe it too. Peter was infallible only in a prophetic way. He was not infallible in the way the pope is claimed to be. He did not even need that infallibility.  
This interpretation fits the facts better than the Catholic claim that Jesus was giving Peter papal infallibility and the power to accept people and excommunicate them. Interestingly the Church says the pope can excommunicate unfairly.
Papal infallibility was not used until the 1800s meaning Jesus was unlikely to bother mentioning it at such an important time. Also Peter did not need to be given the power to excommunicate or accept people. Every religious leader has such authority. The popes have never claimed to be infallible in excommunicating or admitting people to the Church.
The Bible says the faith was once for all delivered to the saints meaning the faith was revealed once. This does not rule out the Church going apostate leaving people to look at the Bible and learning from it to restore the faith.
Peter may have been called to be the main rock or support of the Church not necessarily its head but this would depend on him remaining firm. It was obviously a conditional prophecy.
Nothing in the Bible is against the idea of a universal apostasy of Christians. Indeed the New Testament warns about false Christian teachers who were there from the beginning. They had resorted to inventing traditions and doctrines and forging documents to make it seem like they came from the apostles of the Church. Paul tells us that.
Church tradition may be useful but only if it is very early tradition. But we must never turn it into an alternative word of God like the Roman Catholic Church has done. Scripture comes first. Roman Catholic tradition has no authority from God to back it up so it must be dismissed entirely.

COMMENT: A lot of good information here.  The Pope is not the head of the Church and the Catholic Church has fallen into huge error.


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